Speaking Out, COVID, weekend show recaps

The #SpeakingOut movement continued to reveal a seemingly unending amount of terrible actions by professional wrestlers over the weekend. I feel like I’ve read a lot of the stories, but I’m sure not all of them; the volume is sadly immense. The stories range in scope from misbehavior to graphic sexual assault. Those I noticed which deal with people who come up here occasionally (with the caveat that I’m probably missing one.)

  • Kayam, of long time California team Los Chivos, is accused of tricking a wrestling student into being alone with him and soliciting sex. The allegations suggest he has a pattern of this behavior.
  • Big Daddy Yum Yum (Byron Wilcott), who was part of last year’s CMLL Anniversary show and seems connected with Nitro and others in the CMLL office still, has been accused of underage sex and death threats.
  • Joey Ryan, who appeared on the final season of Lucha Underground, has been accused of terrible acts by so many people that I’m not sure there’s a count. SoCalUncensored’s article on the situation mentions “at least 15” stories after Joey Ryan’s initial apology, and those stories kept on coming after the article went up. Joey Ryan’s deactivated from Twitter and shut down his Bar Wrestling promotion.
  • Marty Scurll, the person currently in charge of Ring of Honor’s creative side, is accused of sexual abuse. There have been social media rumors of Scurll and underage girls for years. I think this is the first time someone’s come forward with a specific allegation; I may be incorrect about that.

The #SpeakingOut trend has not translated to Mexico as of yet; the stories from elsewhere have gotten some newspaper coverages but haven’t set off the same pattern. The most I’ve seen is a woman who worked in Mexico who hinted she (and people like her) could tell their own stories but saying no more. No one’s obligated to tell their stories. I would’ve guessed a week that Mexico probably had more horror stories of this type than elsewhere. I’m less sure now, only because it was far worse elsewhere than I could’ve guessed. People coming forward with their stories must be tough, and structural reform to fix is going to be just as tough.

Sammy Guevara said a mind-numbingly stupid and threatening comment about raping Sasha Banks on a podcast. The line is from a podcast from four years ago and meant as a joke, but he still is responsible for saying it. Guevara posted an apology on Twitter. AEW has not announced anything. Sasha Banks posted on Twitter that Guevara personally apologized to her. I’m breaking this one off from the rest of them because many of the accusations up there seem worthy of criminal investigations at the least, but what Guevera did to himself will cost him in some way.

Shows I Watched This Weekend

I’m not sure if I’m giving up on recap posts, but I’m finding the duplication between writing about results in a news update and then again in a recap too annoying at the moment. This decision means fewer GIFs in your life, I guess.

Lucha Memes (WED) 06/17/2020 Coliseo Coacalco, Coacalco, Estado de México
1) Guerrero Maya Jr. b Dr. Cerebro (posted by +LuchaTV)
2) Ripper b Arez (posted by +LuchaTV)
13:52. Ricky Marvin stopped Arez from getting the win and attacked Arez, annoying Psicosis. Psicosis still won anyway. Belial made the save after.
3) Belial b Ricky Marvin (posted by +LuchaTV)
18:34. Psicosis cost Marvin’s the match. Arez made the save after, teasing either a three-way Marvin/Psicosis/Arez or a tag match.
4) Aramis b Látigo (posted by +LuchaTV)
13:17. Three fall match, with a double pin in fall 1, a DCOR in fall 2, and Aramis winning in fall 3.

This show aired Wednesday (and was probably taped around the 6th), but I just didn’t get to it until Saturday.

Cerebro outclassed Maya in their match pretty clearly. The CMLL guy was always going to win, but the Maya didn’t have his usual sharpness. It’s no surprise and nothing to be held against him, just an expected outcome of running these shows during a time where training is hard or bad.

My hunch is Arez would’ve beat Hahastary, and Ricky Marvin would’ve beat Belial because the build was ultimately towards another Arez/Marvin match even though they both came out as losers. Ripper/Psicosis was an unfortunate substitution; he and Arez didn’t fit together well (and it’s unclear who would mesh well with Ripper at this point his career.) Ripper’s also probably very unlikely to take losses on these shows, having both fo the vets beat the indie guys would be a bad look, and so Belial needs to win. Except, the closest thing to a story on these shows is no one can beat Ricky Marvin, and this gives away that win in front of no crowd, does in a way that did little for Belial, and Memes is going to have to ignore it to continue the story they want to tell. Belial got the huge win, then was the fourth most important in the segment; that pattern kills the importance of wins and losses. The match itself was good, it suffered from not having a crowd to react to the comebacks and near falls that are a big part of a Ricky Marvin match, but it was still a reasonable effort. There were some brutal-looking suplexes in the later stages of that one.

Aramis & Latigo wasn’t as overshadowed by the booking as much, though three fall concept where two falls go to draws didn’t help. It’s too cute in most circumstances. It came off as just too much of the same after the previous two outcomes. Aramis & Latigo brought their typical good chemistry and plenty of ideas, but those breaks hurt the momentum of the match more than it made it memorable. I think they’ll do better in the future, but it was probably the best you’re going to get out of them in this circumstance.

I’d go good/ok/good/good on my ratings for these four. The YouTube file also includes Raymond Rowe/Rush and an atomicos from January 2017. I didn’t go back and watch them, so my recollection is Rowe/Rush was nothing memorable, and the atomicos was a crazy match.

There was a definite build to a follow-up show here, but no date was announced. Lucha Memes still has their July 5th show at Arena Lopez Mateos on the calendar. My hunch is Lucha Memes, along with many other promoters, who are just in wait and see mode. IWRG’s meeting with the commission on Tuesday may change the rules. The COVID traffic lights may change the rules, or at least make the promotions feel more comfortable doing what they want. We’ve seen empty arena shows under Red conditions. Those aren’t supposed to be allowed until Orange. Mexico City and Mexico State are still in Red for this week. If they get to Orange, I’m assuming we’ll see indie promoters again skip a color and start to do limited attendance shows as allowed under Yellow. I’m not endorsing this idea but just looking at the lay of the land. Bigger promotions might not be able to get away with it.

Vanguardia (SAT) 06/20/2020 Pachuca, Hidalgo [thecubsfan]
1) Jitsu & Kunay b Sagitario Jr. & Suspenso Vanguardia | Tierra de Oportunidades (posted by mluchatv)
10:13. Odiaba Squad got the win.
2) Draztick Boy © b Lobo Blanco Jr.Falcón FireMáscara de Bronce [BMLL CRUISER] Vanguardia | Tierra de Oportunidades (posted by mluchatv)
8:56. Mascara de Bronce added himself to the match. Draztick Boy got the pin to keep his title. Mascara de Bronce challenged him after.
3) Cíclope b Hombre Invisible [AKE CHAMP] Vanguardia | Tierra de Oportunidades (posted by +LuchaTV)
Santy Hernandez was the referee. Both he and Ciclope wore visors to see the Invisible Man during portions of the match Odiaba squad ran in to attack Ciclope, with Miedo Extremo making the save. The two exploded the Invisible Man for the win. He appeared to be alive when doing a post-match interview.
4) Crazy King b Aron SykesDragón BoySanty HernándezMurdockCaballero de AtenaRey DragónBilly GamerJordan The Ring AnnouncerSacmaGasaprin Jr.Símbolo AztecaDark MakerFreddy (Micro)JitsuDraztick Boy [royal rumble] Vanguardia | Tierra de Oportunidades (posted by mluchatv)
30:24. Crazy King, the current DTU champion, was the last surprise entrant. (Everyone was a surprise.) Crazy King brought the DTU belt. He’s entitled to a title match of his choice but declined to make his pick so far.
5) Gasparín Jr. & Símbolo Azteca b Cíclope & Miedo Extremo © [BMLL TAG] Vanguardia | Tierra de Oportunidades (posted by mluchatv)
12:10 Inference and a referee getting taken out led to Santy Hernandez running in and fast counting the title change for Gasparin & Simbolo Azteca. Ciclope had to win both of his matches to stay in Vanguardia. Santy Hernandez fired him at the end of the show.

Vanguardia aired on Saturday night from an undisclosed backyard. It started a half-hour late and appeared to be live. It was better than I was expected, though my expectations were low. Only the four-way is worth tracking down unless you’re already a fan specifically of the promotion.

Mascara de Bronce has still been around AAA the last few years, even after that disastrous briefcase angle with Killer Kross and Hernandez was dropped. He seemed to leave just long enough to get an indie name (Multi-Bronce) that was quickly dropped, but he was still working spot shows through January. AAA contracted luchadors have been told not to work indie bookings so far, so this means Bronce is at least out of contract and perhaps done with AAA entirely. There’s an untold story about what happened with Mascara de Bronce, how he went from a guy AAA was teasing as their next high flying star to someone they wouldn’t put on TV, not even getting another chance when Konnan came back in charge. What we saw doesn’t add up, there’s a missing piece. I don’t know the story myself, but whatever happened at least hasn’t broken him as a wrestler. Bronce spectacularly re-introduced himself and was just as good as Draztick Boy in the best match of the night. Bronce is still only 21, plenty of time to figure it out, and he’s going to be a valuable indie wrestler if he does as well as he did in this match.

Crazy King showing up is the other big news. He is the DTU champion and brought the DTU title, while there’s an unspoken issue between DTU & Lucha Libre Vanguardia. Both sides are not talking about it, but those in one promotion can’t work the other, and the few words spoken about each other aren’t positive. Crazy King had been working Black Mask Lucha Libre and other groups working with Vanguardia, so it’s not a total surprise he’d be here. Crazy King also held the DTU belt with pride during his interview; this wasn’t a NWA/Shane Douglas moment. It’s indie wrestling, so it’s always possible this will lead to both promotions working together at some point. DTU hasn’t said anything about the situation.

The rumble was long, not very interesting. Even the +LuchaTV announcers didn’t seem to know many of the people in it; I’m 100% confident I have names wrong. The tag opener was fine, with the Matamoros guys looking better than most of the random provincial guys making appearances on the show. Jitsu might have gotten shaken up late in the match because the finish looked badly mistimed and like they were missing a piece. Ciclope handled the Invisible Man bit better than they did the Bloodsport bit last time around, though this promotion does just do a lot of stuff they’ve seen elsewhere. The fans in the YouTube chat seemed to really enjoy, and I suspect the people who will get angry about it (when the clips make Facebook in the next couple of days) are those who probably were never going to watch Vanguardia the next few days. It’ll be red meat for people who write the same “this is making a mockery of lucha libre and killing it” columns twice a month, while things like poor business practices or old men trainers using their schools to find young women to hook up with will be politely ignored.

The main event tag match was just a lot of moves, and nothing really matters until the interference. Like Belial/Memes booking, the tag title win did nothing for Gasparin Jr. & Simbolo Azteca on this show. They got the win in a way that didn’t mean anything, and they were rushed off-screen as quickly as possible because Ciclope, Miedo Extremo, Crazy King, and Santy Hernandez were still the main stars no matter the outcome. I’m sure Ciclope will be on the next show in some way. I’d go ok/good+/ok/ok/ok for grades.

KAOZ (WED) 05/27/2020 Monterrey, Nuevo León [+LuchaTV, thecubsfan]
1) Baby Love & Komander b Lady Puma & Origen
2) Dulce Kanela b Sexy Dulce ©Diosa Quetzal [KAOZ WOMEN]
7:53. Dulce Kanela pinned Sexy Dulce after Dulce was rammed head first into a chair.
3) Charro Negro b Oro NegroOrigenPuma de OroKomander [KAOZ JCRUISER]
9:56. Charro Negro pinned Komander after a second rope German suplex.
4) Rico Rodríguez & Vazco Jr. b Charro Negro & Oro Negro and Dark Cuervo & Dark Scoria [KAOZ TAG]
5:09. Vasco pinned Cuervo after interference from Divo. End of Part 1.
5) Galeno del Mal & Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. b Fresero Jr. & Mr. 450
5:56. Emperador Azteca attacked Mr. 450 to set up the win.
6) Ayako Hamada & El Divo b Baby Love & Dark Cuervo [KAOZ MIXED TAG]
4:46. Title vacant; past champs Christi Jaynes/Gilbert el Boricua to get a shot at a later time.
7) Dr. Wagner Jr. b Blue Demon Jr.Daga
7:21. Wagner pinned Daga after a suplex.

I watched the second part (5/67) last night, then went back and rewatched my recording of the first part. Neither is available now. I suspect they’ll eventually show up on YouTube at some point. The last match ended fifteen minutes before the top of the hour, and the wrap up mentioned the idea of coming back to the same site to watch a show next week. Reports from the tapings suggested they taped enough matches for 2-3 more shows, but the promotion hasn’t announced anything yet.

I’d probably give it a watch if it was free or part of the same iPPV I already purchased. Not sure I’d pay for another two weeks of this, even if it was better explained this time around. This came off as a TV show that didn’t get picked up, so they aired it iPPV instead. There were many angles (both in-ring and in backstage stuff not mentioned up there) setting up matches for other shows. None of them seemed particularly appealing. Most of the matches here were short TV-style matches, not what you’d expect for a big anniversary event. Interest in this seemed much down the second week too, so I’m not sure how much more appetite anyone has for it as a iPPV.

The five-way match was the best of the night, better than the Vanguardia four-way match for me. Charro Negro is a standout already and should be at least a traveling indie star whenever people can be traveling again. Komander and Origen, who I’m suspecting I know under another name, did well in both their matches.

The five-way was so good that it made me suspect they were editing these matches for quality reasons. (I’m not against that, it just changes how you can estimate in how well these wrestlers would do elsewhere.) The women’s title match was a strong case in that no editing was done. My feed went out for a couple of minutes of it, so I’m passing on a rating, but Diosa Quetzal and Sexy Dulce were a terrible combination. Sexy wasn’t much better Kanela and made a point of getting up to her feet after getting pinned to not sell the finish. She’ll never change, it’s mostly impressive KAOZ got Dulce to lose at all. Sexy Dulce did a bit post-match (and in an interview with +Lucha), where she complained Dulce Kanela shouldn’t be allowed to the women’s champion as a male exotico. I think it’s supposed a controversial bit to get a reaction, but the reaction that bit would get in the US – especially during Pride Month – would’ve ended in an official apology on Twitter and maybe a parting of ways with Sexy Dulce. Except they probably would’ve had to part ways with her already.

Everything else: the mixed tag match would’ve been good if it got more time. I worry Baby Love is too small to hold up to the punishment of frequent wrestling, but she’s got something. The other tag match would not have been good if it got more time; the Wagners weren’t doing a thing. Daga took the worst of his match, as you’d expect. Wagner beat Daga with a regular suplex; Wagner doesn’t seem to be doing the Wagner Driver any more, which doesn’t seem like a good sign. Wagner is carrying a lot of mass, and it concerns me after the way his brother passed away, but I’m not a doctor.

Matches vaguely set up for the next show.

  • Daga defending the AAA Latin American Championship against Blue Demon
  • Charro Negro & Oro Negro vs. Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. & Galeno del Mal
  • Emperador Azteca vs Mechawolf/Mr. 450
  • Dulce Kanela defending the KAOZ Women’s Championship against Sexy Dulce.

There are a lot more angles to these shows than I’d expect for no fans events of promotions, which run about once a month. US wrestling has conditioned me to believe the thing to do when running a show during hard moments are vanilla shows, just matches, and finishes. They avoid complications because people don’t want to think much about things. Fewer people are paying attention in general. Mexican indie promotions seem to be going the other way, baking they have a captive audience for a jumping-on point.

Other News

Additional empty arena shows took place in Torreon (sponsored by the local sports authority) and in Xalapa. Dr. Wagner versus Black Taurus headlined the Torreon show.

Reynosa luchador Gran Titan (Juan Manuel Miranda Galvan) passed away on Saturday.

Mexico City luchador Cojo Rojo II was a skeptic of the existence of COVID-19, then was hospitalized by COVID-19. He’s out of the hospital and doing better now, though he believes his lungs are damaged and isn’t sure he would’ve lived had he been a smoker. Coco Rojo believes he picked up the virus in his job as a graphic designer, though he did work the empty arena Sin Piedad show on May 16th. (That was the with Oro Jr. in the headliner.) Coco Rojo believes he didn’t pick it up there, but would not work another empty arena show.

COVID-19 testing in Mexico only is happening for people showing significant symptoms. Even if Coco Rojo did not receive or transmit COVID-19 at the empty arena show, someone working one of those shows probably had the virus at this point. The rate of infection remains high, and the number of people who have it without knowing it is also high; it feels like simple math.

DTU’s next iPPV is 07/17, “A Cielo Abierto.” Full card yet to be announced. The show is 50 pesos if you buy in advance (so maybe the early 70 pesos price is if you buy the day of the show.) It’s the same Whatsapp/Account/Facebook setup as before, with info at that link.

Esther Moreno is featured in a three-part documentary (one two three, each around five minutes) on the unlikely relationship between Neza and Japan based on lucha libre. This documentary went up last month; I didn’t hear of it until this press release article.

Michoacan luchador Mutilador LP asked for luchadors to wait longer before returning to the ring, fearing the spread of COVID-19 both in the ring and the locker room.

La Estrella de Panama has a history of lucha libre in that country. Wrestling was first introduced to Panama in 1932. The 60s and 70s the heights of wrestling (with lots of people coming in from Mexico.)

NVI Noticias has a similar history piece about lucha libre in Oaxaca.

El Manana has a brief interview with Komander about wrestling on the KAOZ show.

El Siglo de Torreon has an interview with CMLL’s Misterioso Jr. for father’s day. Many of his children are wrestling or training to wrestle.

California’s Misterioso is among those announced for a series of taped NJPW US shows. The shows have been taped already and will be airing on NJPW World on Saturday nights starting July 3rd.

RobViper writes about June 21st in lucha libre.

A Last Thing

I was planning on launching a luchablog vault google drive last week. I did start it, but I haven’t mentioned it. It hasn’t seemed the right time. I’ll have a post explaining it at some point.