Penta & Fenix have signed with AEW (maybe)
The Elite are have been doing least secret “surprise” indie appearances possible in the weekends since they announced the start of the AEW promotion. They had loudly hinted towards Atlanta this weekend, so it was no surprise to see them at the Mcaloon Productions indie show among a lot of indie names Friday night. The Young Bucks appeared after the SCU versus Lucha Brothers main event, pitching Penta & Fenix on joining AEW to find out who is really the top tag team. The Jacksons said they had no contract right then, but could offer a handshake. Penta & Fenix shook their hands and did not sign anything. Everyone is really confused because they were still signed to LU at last word. I was as well.
Lucha Central explains the situation with the most logical answer: the Lucha Brothers have signed a deal to work non-exclusively AEW shows, similar to the ones they’ve signed with Impact and MLW, not the exclusive deals that hinted at last night. It seems a safe guess the same as true with Joey Ryan, who’s been part of these AEW appearances and also under a LU deal.
As long as they’re under Lucha Underground contracts, that’s the most Fenix & Penta can do. My informed assumption is that AEW contract will likely be changed to an exclusive one when/if LU is canceled. Other agreed upon deals will be fulfilled – similar to how Bandido is still working some non-ROH dates – but there will be no new shows added after that point. No one knows when LU’s future will be decided and AEW probably didn’t want to wait until forever to get it worked out.
This is a subheadline: assuming Penta & Fenix do sign with AEW, they join Rush & Bandido in recent Mexican wrestlers who’ve passed up likely WWE/NXT deals to go elsewhere. I think WWE is still capable of signing Mexican wrestlers, but those who have had experience and become an international star outside of CMLL seemed to be looking at other options. WWE’s going to have to target those who haven’t made names outside of Mexico.
AAA Officially Off Televisa
AAA announced the end of their official relationship on Twitter on Friday night. This has been something talked about for weeks on the internets but it is still surprising news to most people. The last episode on Nueve (formerly GalaTV) aired on January 5th. AAA programming disappeared from Televisa’s cable channels later that week. I’ve been writing about this for several weeks. It has been a topic of discussion since dating back a year. As soon as AAA started airing on SpaceTV and Twitch, it foreshadowed an end to a relationship with the television company that helped start the promotion.
Record, a who has an ongoing relationship with AAA, reports the promotion and TV Azteca have been in negotiations about a deal this month. I’m unsure how likely that deal is, but it suggests AAA doesn’t believe the current Space/Multimedios deals are sufficient.
There’s potential positives to leaving and trying to go elsewhere for AAA. Televisa generally never did much to promote AAA (except for one notable exception) and Space has treated it their much valuable properties. There is an advantage to being a big fish in a small pond at times. On the other hand, AAA making this announcement late on a Friday night seems like a strong indication they thought this was news they wanted to bury.
The one notable exception the recent live airings of the main events from the last two TripleManias. (Televisa also did a special taped broadcast of the Lucha World Cup prior.) Those TripleManias, especially the first one which followed the Mayweather/McGregor fight, did big viewership numbers. Maybe they were enough to convince AAA they deserved a better offer and promotion than they normally got, or for a channel like Space to take a chance on them they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Or maybe this all would’ve happened anyway, as Roldans plans for expansion wouldn’t have ever been satisfied with a bad timeslot on a network paying no attention.
CMLL left the same Televisa GalaTV network in 2013. The effect on CMLL is debatable. There’s definitely an argument that CMLL has been less able to create stars with their current network of small TV channels and internet streaming. The issue could also just as much be about a stagnant and indifferent creative department. (It is not strong recent TV presences which made LA Park, Fenix & Pentagon ticket-selling stars in Arena Mexico.) CMLL has also carefully positioned themselves as an important part of the culture of Mexico City, a destination that belongs on traveler’s lists of attractions to see when visiting. It’s something that’s kept them from being completely vacant on a lot of Tuesdays nights. AAA would like to be the same and has tried to make that effort, but it’s tougher to accomplish when you’re a traveling caravan who may not be in town that week.
That’s AAA’s business plan though. They’re the circus, they come to your town once or twice a year and all the families come to see the big show. The unanswered question going forward is if those same fans (and the local promoters who actually run the shows) will still see AAA as a big show if they’re only on Space and Twitch if they don’t get on Azteca, or if they’ll treat them as no more important than any independent show coming thru. AAA did do well in Mexico City and Ciudad Madero while already off Televisa and we’ll have to see how that sustains over the year.
Terrible wins CMLL Universal Block A
CMLL (FRI) 02/01/2019 Arena México [+Lucha, CMLL, ESTO, Lucha Central, luchablog, Marca, Ovaciones, PubliMetro, The Gladiatores]
1) Akuma & Espanto Jr. b Robin & Star Jr.
12:03. Rudos took 1/3
2) Kaho Kobayashi, Lluvia, Princesa Sugehit b Amapola, Dalys, Reyna Isis
14:16. Tecnicos took 1/3.
3) Atlantis, Atlantis Jr., Niebla Roja b Hijo del Villano III, Mephisto, Villano IV
12:15. Tenicos took 2/3.
4) Flyer, Místico, Volador Jr. b Euforia, Templario, Último Guerrero
Straight falls. First by excessive violence DQ. Second hurried after Flyer suffered a leg injury.
5) Carístico & Cavernario b Dragón Lee, Valiente, Stuka Jr., Terrible, Gran Guerrero, Forastero[CMLL Universal, seeding battle royal]
6) Terrible b Stuka Jr. [CMLL Universal, 8f]
2:31. Top rope splash.
7) Gran Guerrero b Valiente [CMLL Universal, 8f]
5:16. Super Samoan Driver (Gran Guerrero Special)
8) Dragón Lee b Forastero [CMLL Universal, 8f]
4:45. Super poweromb.
9) Carístico b Cavernario [CMLL Universal, 8f]
3:23. La Mistica.
10) Terrible b Gran Guerrero [CMLL Universal, quarterfinal]
3:38. Nudo lagunero
11) Dragón Lee b Carístico [CMLL Universal, quarterfinal]
5:00. Suplex powerbomb.
12) Terrible b Dragón Lee [CMLL Universal, semifinal]
10:06. Terrible blocked a bodyscissors cradle and hooked a rope to get the win.
The only portions of the show you need to watch are the last two matches. It turns out Dragon Lee is one of the best wrestlers in the world! He and Caristico had surprisingly good chemistry and did really well in that time. Terrible’s match with Dragon Lee was much better than the Kojima one with some impressive back and forth. Terrible winning should not have been a surprise – it’s a heavyweight champion against a lightweight champion – and so CMLL even slightly protecting Dragon Lee with the rope grab finish stands out.
Atlantis Jr. looked green but not terrible in his official Arena Mexico debut. Both he and Hijo del Villano III are not really ready for the levels they’re at, but it’s a fair theory that putting them in those positions will get them ready faster than hanging out in the segundas. There just are going to be a lot of bumps along the way.
Earlier in the night, Flyer’s left leg got caught in the ropes on a toss spot. The injury wasn’t graphic but he appeared to be an immense amount of pain and they went to a finish as quick as possible. There’s no firm update on his injury; the doctor’s statement says they’ll let him rest a couple of days before evaluating his condition.
Next Friday’s lineup:
CMLL (FRI) 02/08/2019 Arena México
1) Príncipe Diamante & Robin vs Metálico & Nitro
2) Black Panther, Drone, Rey Cometa vs Kawato San, Misterioso Jr., Universo 2000 Jr.
3) Atlantis, Atlantis Jr., Místico vs Gran Guerrero, Hijo del Villano III, Villano IV
4) Ángel de Oro, Carístico, Valiente vs Gilbert el Boricua, La Bestia Del Ring, Rush
5) Volador Jr. vs Niebla Roja, Diamante Azul, Soberano Jr., Último Guerrero, Sansón, Mephisto, Cuatrero [CMLL Universal]
Diamante Azul becomes the favorite to advance in this block and win in this tournament. CMLL is clearly under the impression he’s one of their best wrestlers, he’s got a fellow heavyweight to face, and he hasn’t won this tournament yet. Volador is always an option.
More heavyweights are present in the semifinal with Gilbert returning for an odd match. The Atlantis/Villano stuff continues in the tercera, which still seems to be the best guess at a H2L main event.
Sammy Guevera is still AAA Cruiserweight champion. He defeated Laredo Kid in Tijuana, which was probably the original plan and so didn’t change no matter what else is going on with Guevera. Laredo got a visual pin but Sammy came back to win. I guess that’ll be drama to figure out later. The show drew well, looking close to a sell out if not actually selling out.
AAA announced a Tijuana TV taping date of Friday April 5th. For the rest of the world, that’s the Friday night before WrestleMania. Penta, Fenix and many others who’ve worked AAA in the last year are probably going to be in New York, which is a fair bit away from Tijuana. There was talk of an AAA WM weekend show at one point, and this confirms that won’t be happening. The taping that will happen might be missing some other AAA names who will be working those shows; Impact is definitely interested in using some AAA wrestlers after their recent appearances on their TV show.
Today’s show include RIOT’s Tonto Evento Sorpresa #2 in Monterrey, a show with no announced matches or wrestlers as part of a mystery theme. They say they’re close to selling out. Over near Mexico, FILLM has a Satanico wrestling appearance, teaming with Romano Garcia against the odd duo of Wotan & Hijo de Fishman.
La Mascara did beat Maximo last night in Arena Lopez Mateos. There’s no photo of bald Super Porky but we can imagine the other dozen times he’s lost his hair.