CMLL officially announced the CMLL Gran Prix would take place on August 30th. The announcement took place on CMLL Informa. This is an annual Mexico versus the Rest of the World 8 v 8 cibernetico which has had strong turnouts in recent years. The Rest of the World team usually includes Ring of Honor wrestlers, August 30th is an open weekend for ROH, so it’s looked like this date for a while.
Forastero sticks out as a person who would not be expected in this match – he’s the third guy in his own trio – and so there might be something more to him and Volador. Ultimo Guerrero is usually in the matches and is not, so he may be busy doing something with Cibernetico. This is a good group of people and also Diamante Azul.
The Rest of the World Team will be announced next week. Count on Okumura and Dark Magic for two spots. Kawato too, if he’s not injured. (CMLL will probably have to address his disappearing act in some way.) Kenny King was said to be coming in to CMLL in August and August 30th still counts as August. NJPW has a show on August 31st, so most of their big names are going to be busy.
CMLL hasn’t announced the date of the Aniversario show. 09/13, the day most people seem to think is the date, is only 29 days away. CMLL waiting until very late to announce a match is no longer strange, but typically at least the date is out there four weeks prior. It’s already strange for it not to be out – maybe it’ll be just mentioned in commentary tomorrow, but maybe also something else is going on. If that date got pushed back, there’s no need for it to be announced yet.
Former Gran Prix winner Michael Elgin is in Mexico today, though not for CMLL. He’s part of two nights of Impact tapings on Thursday & Friday. AAA’s been promoting the shows on social media but no one from AAA is currently advertised for tonight’s show. Dr. Wagner Jr. is announced for tomorrow’s show. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter says Golden Magic, Nino Hamburguesa, and Taurus are scheduled for the shows, though Hijo del Vikingo is not because he’s got another booking. Nino Hamburguesa and Hijo del Vikingo are booked on the same shows on Thursday & Friday. I suspect Hijo del Vikingo’s other booking might not be a literal booking the same day, but that he’s booked to make his next TV appearance in AEW (whenever that can be worked out), and not in Impact.
The WON also mentions AAA is telling luchadors that the only way they’ll get to work with AEW is if they sign a deal with them. This is the same line AAA used for Lucha Underground, which didn’t seem to work out for many of the people who were signed. In that case, it appeared that part of the set up with LU was the only people they’d used from Mexico would be thru AAA. It’s not clear that’s actually the deal with AAA & AEW. Laredo Kid worked an AEW show and he’s a freelancer who works with AAA but isn’t signed with them. On the other hand, Laredo Kid can work in the US on his own and opener-level wrestlers may have trouble getting work visas in the US without the support of AAA-level company to prove they’ve got something to return to Mexico and aren’t just coming to the US to stay.
On the other hand, even an AAA level company might not be able to help them get to the US. The visa situation is cited as one of the issues with the AAA New York show in the WON; some were applied for “eight months ago” (last year?) and still haven’t come. I’ve written many times that this was going to be one of the big issues with the show from the moment it was announced. It sounds like AAA saw the same if they were working on it months before the show was announced but haven’t been able to solve it. (On the other hand, AAA not wanting to announce a lineup because they’re not sure if it’ll be correct is very unlike AAA.) On Twitter, Konnan mentioned there will be some Impact wrestlers on the show. Taya/Tessa is expected to happen, which is why Tessa had to win the title on TripleMania. Even a healthy Keyra was going to lose the title.
WWE announced a bunch of new signings yesterday. They did not announce Hijo del Fantasma, though he was introduced to everyone there. NXT tapes TV today so perhaps they’re waiting to debut him there.
La Magnifica says she expects to be a regular in CMLL. She mentions she was close to making the 2008 Olympics but suffered an injury that prevented her from qualifying.
Kairos says he’s been training with CMLL for five years, first with Tony Salazar and then with Virus and Ultimo Guerrero. He’s 19, so he started at the age of 14.
Mesias says he can be Mesias in everywhere but Mexico because AAA registered it and he didn’t. He feels better now as an independent wrestler but calls his time in AAA generally good times.
CMLL (MON) 08/19/2019Arena Puebla
1) Asturiano, King Jaguar, Meyer vs Centella Roja, Guerrero Espacial, Rey Apocalipsis
2) Arkalis, Millenium, Tigre Rojo Jr. vs El Malayo, Hijo del Signo, Toro Bill Jr.
3) Black Panther, Blue Panther Jr., Stigma vs Hechicero, Máscara Año 2000, Tiger
4) Atlantis, Stuka Jr., Valiente vs Cavernario, Felino, Negro Casas
5) Cuatrero, Forastero, Místico, Sansón vs Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Soberano Jr., Último Guerrero [Relevos Increíbles]
The main event seemed headed to Mistico/UG but we’ve seen those things change from week to week. I often wonder why CMLL is using Mascara 2000 the way they do. This lineup makes me wonder why Mascara 2000 wants to work these dates; surely a late-night Monday tercera isn’t really that appealing to a 60-year-old man. That seems like a booking to pawn off on Universo 2000 Junior.
Fénix, Laredo Kid, Pentagón Jr.beat Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson (18:57, Penta/Fenix spike package Piledriver Matt Jackson, good, 03:52:16)
Blue Demon Jr.beatDr. Wagner Jr.in a mask vs hair match (14:41, Demon brick Wagner, excellent,04:26:16)
A lot. It’s TripleMania.
Dr. Wagner Jr. was seconded by his sons and many other people in Wagner outfits. Blue Demon Jr. just had his yet to be named son. That was enough, with Hijo de Blue Demon Jr. pulling out the referee after a third Wagner Driver. (He was supposed to pull him out by the second one.) Demon, who had earlier assaulted Wagner with a hammer, took advantage of the ensuing chaos to hit Wagner in the head with a rapidly disintegrating brick to set up the winning pin. Wagner got his head shaved in the ring and declared he would retire (which lasted a week.) Backstage, LA Park attacked Demon for winning the match in such a manner, only for Demon to be saved by the nearby Psycho Clown & Cain Velasquez.
The Elite lost, despite Kenny Omega stealing Fenix’s mask during the match. Omega still challenged Fenix to a title match, though everyone was very clear in not knowing when that match would happen. (They eventually settled the where would be in Mexico.)
Cain Velasquez wrestled in an El Toro mask and got the winning submission for his team.
Ayako Hamada replaced the injured Keyra, who was in a wheelchair and couldn’t wrestle. (The title was vacated.) Chik Tormenta attacked Keyra. Later, if by karma, suffered an injury when a fall out of the ring onto a ladder missed the ladder entirely. Tessa became the new champion.
The Copa TripleMania included eliminations over the top rope as well as pinfalls and submissions. Konnan and Vampiro made surprise appearances in Copa TripleMania, with Vampiro throwing Konnan out and then just leaving. Aerostar entered from a raised platform above the ring. He and Mosnter Clown feuded. Pagano & Chessman did as well, with Pagano winning in the end. Seconds after the match ended, the lights went off, back on, and LA Park and his family were in the ring. They destroyed Pagano while LA Park challenged him to a match and promised to be a pain to Marisela Pena.
The trios championships were technically vacant, but it was only a paperwork change. Hijo del Vikingo & Myzteziz Jr. still came to the ring with the belts and left with them, with Golden Magic picking one up along the way.
Silver King was added to the Hall of Fame. Antonio Pena, Joaquin Roldan and Paco Alonso were honored too; Alonso may have been added to the Hall of Fame as well.
Lady Maravilla betrayed Nino Hamburguesa, fouling him to set up the title win.
Blue Demon and Dr. Wagner Jr. figured out their formula a while ago – blood – and went all the way with it for the climax. This is a match without a lot of moves but an extreme amount of drama. And that extreme amount of blood; Demon seems to blade himself once, then a couple of times later thinking the first time wasn’t enough. He ended up soaked in his own blood, a dark red covering his face as much as the mask by the end. That blood and the hammer made the match feel like a serious fight and added so much to the armbars that followed. This wasn’t the most technically sound match and it was messed up by some confusion at the end – Tirantes tells Hijo del Demon something near the ned, Hijo del Demon goes to get the brick, then doesn’t make it back in time to grab him to break up a two count- but it is an amazing spectacle. It’s absolutely one of the must-see matches of the year.
The crowd was whistling about ten minutes into the Elite vs Lucha Brothers/Laredo match. They wanted another match. They got ten more minutes of this match. It was a hard-working match of a lot of spots that also felt a bit soulless and inorganically part of this show. They could’ve worked the same match most anywhere, and it was really only when the AAA referee tropes stated when the crowd decided to care about this match. This wasn’t anyone’s best effort, it wasn’t a poor effort either, it just was a misplaced one. These six guys were doing the same kind of match that had opened the show, except the guys opening the show had crazier moves and did while people were filling in, instead of doing while people were wanting to see the main event already. No meaningful stakes and no real purpose to this match made this tough to get over; it really relied on the work being that much better than any other match, and it wasn’t that much better. It was still good, it was also nothing I had any great urgency to see a second time. Enough fans knew Kenny Omega to give him a reaction when he first came in, but not enough to make this match feel like a big deal or the teased match feel like something they had to see. It probably would’ve been aggravating to see AEW come in and win on this show but Omega should’ve beat Fenix if that was the challenge to be made after the match.
The Cain Velasquez match seemed to exist to give the people some big Velasquez moments and to give Velasquez a chance to have a real match. It worked for both. Slams and suplexes would’ve been fine but the headscissors and armdrag was something extra people weren’t expecting. Velasquez got the full experience. Everyone else was less so involved; they weren’t completely ignored, but they gave a little to get the point of the match over. Cain has places to improve when the novelty wears off but the novelty was plenty.
A lot of the undercard felt very fast-paced. The women’s match was the one that felt like it was being rushed as if they were cut on time but still trying to get everything in. The Chik Tormenta injury seemed like a product of that situation. She wasn’t lined up to fall on a ladder as seemingly planned but it was time to go so go she went. It was lucky it wasn’t worse in a lot of ways. It didn’t feel like there were many attempts to actually climb the ladder in real-time. It did happen, I can see it in the replay, if only because everything else doesn’t feel overwhelming. It still feels numbing and with a lot of stuff that doesn’t stick; I have no idea why the thumbtack spot happened and it doesn’t end up meaning anything. People disappear for long stretches. I’m not sure where Faby is most of the match. The finish felt anticlimactic because the director switched to Ayako going nuts on the outside rather than show the moment where Tessa knocked Taya off the ladder to win. It was just a mess.
I thought I had something written about the Copa TripleMania but apparently, I didn’t. That’s about right. The cameras couldn’t keep up with the match either, missing eliminations that weren’t replayed (but usually caught by the announcers.) The high points of the match – the brief Vampiro/Konnan fight, Aerostar’s dive, Pagano wining, LA Park showing up – got over. The rest in between was nothing special, but this format hasn’t really lend itself to great matches. This wasn’t good and it still probably was the best recent Copa TripleMania, which is where the match is. If they’re going to keep doing them (and they’re probably going to keep doing them), then it’ll probably be more of the same.
The Jinetes title win was a great match, full of craziness. It was also the point where there seemed to be so much of the same sort of craziness that either this one is better appreciated as a standalone match or they needed to something slightly different in this spot. I think the Exoticos were meant to contribute that something different, by adding some levity, but this was also a lot of big match Maximo working very hard to keep up with everyone else. Pimpinela and Mamba kept up where they could, though having so many people running in and out did hurt the match; there’s an obviously higher level for a Poder del Norte/Jinetes match. We’ll get to see this eventually it and this was very strong for something on the way there.
The mixed tag made the best use of eight people all hurrying around the ring as they could. There was so much happening that a little of it didn’t stand out and some of it didn’t look good. It was overall entertaining and a satisfying pay off to the story they’d been telling. Vanilla was trying a lot we haven’t seen from her before, and I’m not sure how she didn’t break her knee on the odd landing of the missed 450 splash. Suicide was trying a lot too, though it seemed like he was either betrayed by the camera angles or didn’t cleanly land a couple of them. I’m not sure exactly when Villano III Jr. got hurt, he takes a lot of falls that look like they could be it. He is clearly out of it when he comes back in the ring the last time, with Big Mami visibly calling spots and Villano still not seeming the grasp them. I’m not sure what they were meant to be doing on their part of the finish.
The first minute of the opener, when there’s no noise except for the ring and Aramis & Dragon Bane botch a spot very obviously, seemed like this was going to go wrong. It did not go wrong. The six-way submission brought in everyone and they just kept going from there. There were a couple of moments past that which didn’t go right, but they were just going so fast that there was no time to dwell. Everyone got their moments, helped out by getting significantly more time than usual for this sort of thing. The absurdity of Aramis’ double torture rack slam finally got the crowd into it. Astrolux seemed more useful as a tiny guy who could get killed easily than what he got to show up on offense; maybe Dragon Bane was best at that. Toxin seemed also more notable for taking the big moves, though he did get a big run in the middle of the match. This totally achieved what it was set out to do.