Chacho Herodes (Víctor Manuel Góngora Cisneros, 69) passed away Sunday. Herodes started with EMLL into the 70s and was around the promotion all the way into the 00s, though under a new gimmick and after an absence. He was a heavyweight, usually a charismatic rudo, which made him an outlier. There have always been few Mexican heavyweight wrestlers in Mexico, which means there’s plenty of room for talented ones but that EMLL/CMLL has focused on other divisions. In Herodes case, that meant he got a lot of apuesta matches over the years – nine known in Arena Mexico alone – though almost always on the losing end and not in the key months. His hair versus hair match with frequent opponent El Halcon Ortiz in 1981 is sometimes listed as the Aniversario main event that year, and might be considered his biggest match. Herodes was considered great at making tecnicos look good in his youth, though his size and injuries caught up to him quickly. AAA brought him in early in their existence, but he wasn’t what he had been by that point. He had a late run as El Boricua back in CMLL around the turn of the century, got into some controversy by attempting to lose that mask multiple times, and had been essentially retired since 2008. He’d still be seen at legends shows and with his son, Herodes Jr., but was using a cane to get around.
Friday, Ares el Guerrero (Jose Francisco Gonzalo Lopez, 50) passed away on Friday. There was an early report of this death being COVID-19 related, but it was pulled back.
Ares was part of the local Puebla luchadors who make up the undercard of CMLL Arena Puebla show. He’d been wrestling there since at least the late 90s, including both the era of the shows airing on TVC Deportes and now streaming on CMLL’s YouTube channel. Ares was never a big star but was consistently around. Ares’ mask loss to aired in 2016 and he lost his hair a year later. Ares had wrestled less the last couple of years but was still around a bit, might have figured to lose his hair once more before retiring. Paris, Ares’ son, also wrestled in the arena from 2015 to 2018.
(“Ares el Guerrero” was rarely referred to by that full name; I’m using it here to distinguish him from RIOT champion Arez and the many other people who’ve used the name Ares.)
Sombra Vengador (Rogelio de la Paz, 89?) is probably more famous as a film character than his wrestling one. He was wrestling under his real name until the debut of a movie named La Sombra Vengador. The movie character was named just La Sombra, but he kept the full name and wrestled as the masked character for the next few years until lose his mask in 1960. (On the luchawiki, have him losing his mask twice in EMLL rings, which seems unlikely.) He continued wrestling, occasionally bringing the gimmick back, all the way until 2011. He also masked again as the character in other movies, including the Campeones Justicieros movie including many of the movie luchadors. Sombra Vengador’s mask was black with a lightning bolt down the middle. The lightning bolt flared to the left. A couple of years later, El Rayo de Jalisco debuted with a black mask and a lightning bolt down the center. That one flared to the right. There’s plenty of flipped photos over the years that confuse one for the other.
Former IWRG wrestler Cyborg (Martin Hernandez Barron, 53) Kraken and Cyborg among a host of identities, was reported as passing on his Facebook page. There’s a couple of different Facebook pages and some of them have him passing away few days ago, so I’m not sure of the exact date. He was a Mexico State who was used in a variety of characters in IWRG and elsewhere; his last notable run would’ve been as Arlequin Verde in 2009. Cyborg had appearances in both CMLL/EMLL (early 90s as Rafaga Azul and Kraken) and AAA (late 90s as Kraken). He was rarely active on Facebook, talking about other recent wrestling deaths before his own came.
Furia de Titanes passes along a few regional luchadors who’ve passed away.
- Acapulco luchador Sangre Guerrera (Jorge Robles) passed away this past week. Sangre Guerrero was a regular at Arena Coliseo Acapulco, sort of a similar career to Ares el Guerrero in that he worked undercard for a regular CMLL tour stop, but just 15 years earlier when Acapulco was still a stop. Guerrera is said to be a doctor in his other life.
- Mexico State luchador Pilatos/Super Porto Salvaje (Mario Delgadillo Mendoza, 60) is said to have wrestled in Promo Azteca for a short time. He also wrestled on a rare indie show at Arena Coliseo back in 2017. He trained wrestlers as well, with Zoom Driver the most well known name.
- Mexico State luchador Temerario I (Raúl Ramírez Garduño, 45) , as well as his mother and brother, died in the last week.
DTU (FRI) 06/12/2020 Pachuca, Hidalgo [Critero Hidalgo]
1) Gran Cobra b Dariux, Dragón Suicida
2) Aero Panther & Blaze b Fight Panther & Samuray Jr.
3) Brazo Celestial, Brazo Cibernetico Jr., Brazo De Oro Jr. b Black Fire, Kaleth, Paranoiko
4) Aborto b Crazy Boy, Corsario Negro Jr., Chaneke [no-ring]
a cinematic style match
5) Último Guerrero b Camuflaje
Texano Jr. was announced, but replaced by Ultimo Guerrero.
I didn’t see this one, but the set-up – a ring outside with a big blue sky and mountains behind it – looked superb. None of the matches got particularly strong reviews, with the concept for the fourth match not really coming together. The Facebook group for this video was showing over 700 members; that’s a good number if even half of that was paid.
IWRG announced Friday night they were running Sunday June 14. An earlier +LuchaTV post about the plans for the Rey del Ring tournament had suggested a June 14th start date, but IWRG had gone quiet for a couple of weeks. It’s unclear why they announced at the show last second; my best guess is maybe it took that long to get someone to approve it.
IWRG (SUN) 06/14/2020 Arena Naucalpan [+LuchaTV, IWRG, thecubsfan]
1) Atomic Star b Tromba
2) Avisman b Eragón
3) Diosa Quetzal b Fulgor I
4) Puma de Oro DCOR Yoshioka
5) Shun Skywalker b Shil-Ka, Alas De Plata, Fresero Jr., Lunatik Extreme, Chico Che, Jessy Ventura, Ovett, Hijo De Dos Caras, Fly Star, Relámpago, Toxin, Hijo del Alebrije, Súper Nova, Dragón Bane [IWRG Rey del Ring, semifinal]
about 28 minutes. Shun last beat Dragon Bane to win, advancing to a singles final on June 28th.
The Rey del Ring plans have changed twice. It’s normally a 30 person Royal Rumble with eliminations by pinfalls & submissions. IWRG announced it’d be a 30 person single elimination tournament this year to avoid having multiple people in the ring. That would’ve required two nearly 20 match card, which is perhaps why the plans were changed to being two 15 person Royal Rumbles . The early portion of match – via eliminations, delayed entries, and people being thrown out – felt like they were working the match to still keep it 1v1. More people piled up in the ring as it went along though. The match picked up a lot when Hijo de Dos Caras, normally bad and looking worse with the layoff, was finally eliminated from the match. Dragon Bane and Shun Skywalker got a lot of time and did a lot of moves as the final segment.
I think Fulgor/Quetzal was the best of the undercard, though it felt weirdly rehearsed (weird because how would they be rehearsing things at this point?) Yoshioka committed to doing nothing at all for a large stretch of his match and then they just repeated the same finish they did with Skywalker and Super Nova before the shutdown. (Nova & Skywalker interacting in the Rey del Ring match was at least a callback to a bit that didn’t go anywhere.)
Wrestlers were shown getting disinfected and temperature checked upon arriving at the arena. This does nothing to prevent people from entering who have COVID-19 but aren’t yet presenting a fever. There are states who are requiring a COVID-19 test for these functions; so far, Mexico State does not appear to be doing so. Some wrestlers appeared to be wearing face masks arriving and during the show; many were not when they were all gathered in the ring to honor the recently deceased.
This show started an hour later than the start time. In typical anti-fan behavior, no one with the promotion or +LuchaTV acknowledged the delay for about a half-hour, and then just said it was a tech problem that would be fixed soon as it dragged on. There were indeed more tech issues than usual for a +LuchaTV broadcast; Demonio Infernal joined JMG and Bernado to talk about the main event, and was barely audible. There were other gremlins throughout the show. There’s no strong reason any closed-door show should be airing live at this point; most of the problems could’ve been fixed had this show been taped in advance or aired later. Having two additional camera crews filming the show seems like an unnecessary health risk. At least +LuchaTV was heavily pushing charity options throughout the show; Estrellas del Ring posted the complete show with no mentions of any of the donation information.
KAOZ (WED) 05/27/2020 Monterrey, Nuevo León [+LuchaTV]
1) Baby Love & Komander b Lady Puma & Origen
2) Dulce Kanela b Sexy Dulce ©, Diosa Quetzal [KAOZ WOMEN]
3) Charro Negro b Oro Negro, Origen, Puma de Oro, Komander [KAOZ JCRUISER]
4) Rico Rodríguez & Vazco Jr. b Charro Negro & Oro Negro and Dark Cuervo & Dark Scoria [KAOZ TAG]
KAOZ’s PPV was a bait and switch. It appears everyone who paid will eventually get the full show, but the promotion didn’t explain what they were doing before-hand and left many of the buyers feeling ripped off. KAOZ aired four matches from their Anniversary show in an hour, then ended the show announcing they’d air the rest of the matches the following week. The promotion says the same link to watch the show will work again at Sunday at the same time. KAOZ did not make it clear that the show would be split over two weeks when people bought the show; they only wrote hints that make sense in hindsight. Anyone who paid for this show and wanted to see the bigger names now has to have next Sunday free as well. The video player had a chat room next to it, and the reaction there was heavily negative.
The show was 100 pesos, so it seems a waste of time to get upset. But it’s also just a dramatic self-inflicted wound. You just can’t ask people to pay for a full taped wrestling show and then tell them mid-way through it that you’ll have to come back next week to see the rest. It’s just not done. And if it is going to be done, you have to overexplain it going in. The people who are going to pay for a lucha libre iPPV are the most loyal fans possible and the promotion just screwed with them for no reason. That sort of thing runs off customers and people interested in lucha libre, not the silliness that mostly consumes attention.
I recorded the show but didn’t watch it live, betting that there wouldn’t be a VOD option offered. (That was also never explained.) I bet right, though the stream went out for me for part of that recording. KAOZ was hyping people to buy next week’s airing who had not bought the first week, though those people will not be able to see the first half of the show under the current setup. Anyway, I plan on watching this later and didn’t get much feedback about it so far.
This upcoming week has a Lucha Memes show airing on Wednesday, a Vanguardia show on Saturday and likely an IWRG show on next Sunday.
Many Mexican states were given the orange lights to resume more activities this week. The actual safety in resuming some activities and the willingness of business and individual states to care about these lights is up in the air. At this point, I see them more as a leading indicator for when people are going to be willing to attend public events. Until there’s a green light, and a belief that the green light means something, plenty of people are going to stay away.
At any rate, Queretaro was one of those states given an orange light for this week, meaning athletic functions behind closed doors can happen start June 17th. Marco Mejia, the Arena Queretaro administrator, says there’s no chance of an empty arena events happening in his arena. The medical costs are – 2500 pesos minimum per COVID test – means it’s impossible to make money on a closed-door PPV right now even with the biggest names. (I do not know of any of the closed-door lucha libre shows doing COVID testing.) Mejia is considering a function with sponsors to get some local wrestlers money, but isn’t sure about it. The local government previously told Mejia they would not approve shows until September, so he doesn’t think the change in color code changes much for him.
The Tijuana Boxing, Lucha Libre, and MMA commission says none of the local lucha promotions has applied to run a show as of yet under the new conditions. It may be financially unwise for them to run at the moment.
Pentagon Jr. told Record that he’d like a mask match with Psycho Clown, LA Park or “why not, even my own brother”. Pentagon Jr. says his key to success is giving 100% of himself in every match.
Psycho Clown’s Record column teases an AAA return “much sooner than you think.”