CMLL quietly tapes some matches, other secret shows, DTU postponed, Cassandro film

The official story on the return of lucha libre in Mexico City (and the rest of the nation) has been closed shows will be permitted only when the government says the area is in a “Yellow” health condition. Fans were to be allowed to be when it is in “Green” condition. It is unlikely Mexico City will reach Yellow any time soon; they was a report they would move backward from Orange to Red to today, but the Mexico City government instead says they’re staying Orange but in danger of getting worse. Either way, it’s not Yellow and no Mexico state is in Yellow. The unofficial story is those rules only matter if the promotions and the authorities are willing to live by them. There are groups on a low level ignoring those rules where the authorities haven’t been interested in enforcing. Thursday, there was evidence of one of the bigger ones ignoring them as well.

A reporter for Deportivo W Radio posted video of a Guerrero Maya & Stuka Jr. vs Vangellys & Okumura tag match on Twitter. The Twitter account calls it an exhibition match, though it appears to be taped for television or YouTube presentation. The reporter did an interview with Caristico which will air this morning. Caristico is in his gear, so it’s seems a safe bet he wrestled and there were a few matches. (I tried to catch that radio interview but couldn’t get the feed to work.) The CMLL announcers are calling the match from the front row, there’s a normal camera crew and other production at ringside. The luchadors and the referees are wearing facemasks. The announcers and the photographer do not appear to be wearing them. The regular seating on two sides of the ring seems to be removed. Adrian Mendoza earlier in the week mentioned CMLL wrestlers had been summoned to Arena Mexico, so perhaps this was a plan a few days in the making. It seems doubtful CMLL wanted this video and news out, but they haven’t pressured the reporter to take it down either.

I’m not sure what’s next. Fantasma and/or local authorities could come down hard on CMLL for trying this. Or they could’ve quietly reached an agreement to permit these shows given certain safety measures (like everyone wearing facemasks.) It’d be a dramatic change for these shows to be allowed, but it’s been a year of dramatic changes. CMLL shows taped in an empty Arena Mexico are going to be painfully dry to watch, but they’ll still help fulfill TV contract requirements for new content. CMLL luchadors have traditionally been paid from ticket sales so empty arena shows would require a different concept to pay them, which might be a good thing long term. It’s just a wait to see if CMLL or Fantasma says something about it.

I can understand if people are excited to have CMLL back after such a long break. I can’t get myself there within the current context. All the context: a CMLL promotion that was struggling to be interesting where the best thing going was their crowd. They’ll now be wrestling in a very empty building, during a pandemic. (I’d be shocked if CMLL was at all public about what testing they were doing; we’re going to be stuck hoping a wrestling promotion is doing the correct things and knowing in our hearts that’s rarely true.) I’m sure I’ll watch more than I’ll enjoy because of this blog and not sure I’d otherwise watch more than one show.

El Planchitas (again, it’s Planchitas) story on this situation adds an important detail: 40 wrestlers had been tested for coronavirus and 15 wrestlers tested positive. This report just came out this morning; CMLL hasn’t said anything about it or the previous Planchitas report about Microman possibly having the virus. CMLL doesn’t often acknowledge injuries when it’s as little as a twisted ankle so it would be surprising if they did say something about coronavirus. This would be giant news if it came from any other source; with Planchitas it feels worth being aware of but not running with.

SuperLuchas wrote about Coacalco’s Arena San Franciso running full shows with no particular health safety conditions. This is only slightly different than the Arena Margarita shows in San Luis Potosi before in that they’re outdoor shows, but it seems like the same situation of a promotion just going on like normal and getting away with it because no one in charge wants to deal with it. (Like Arena Margarita, it’s unlikely anyone is making much money off these shows; it’s just something to do.) The information on this show is public because a photographer showed off photos without a care on his Facebook page. You can scroll through the rest of his page to see plenty of others to see plenty of other shows he’s attended and posted. The commissions have largely been reactive rather than proactive; this show getting attention will likely get Arena San Francisco shut down for a time, but scrolling through Facebook for obvious other red flags is unlikely to occur. (And there are other shows going on where no one’s dumb enough to brag about them online, but people in wrestling can find out easily enough and choose not to know.)

DTU announced their next iPPV scheduled to air on August 16th will now stream on August 30th. The explanation is is Hidalgo is moving from Orange to Red health conditions. Hidalgo was already in Red conditions, is remaining in Red conditions, and was in Red conditions when DTU filmed their first IPPV. It is possible DTU is genuinely doing this for health concerns. It’s also possible it is a bad idea to run a private show a couple of weeks after another promotion got in trouble for running a private show. (This is not a hint at secret knowledge, just common sense.) DTU is teasing CMLL and Lucha Time names to be announced for that show, and those may be announced tonight.

Cassandro has been the focus of many long-form articles and a couple of documentaries over the last decade. There will now be a feature film on his life. Deadline announced Gael Garcia Bernal will star in the independent film. The article doesn’t have any details on when it’ll start filming – that’s tough to do at the moment. It does mention they’re in talks with Amazon to distribute the movie.

A new documentary on Villano III Jr. went up on the Vizion Libre YouTube channel on Wednesday. Again, someone needs to make a virtual film festival of all the luchador documentaries.

The CMLL virtual media interviews included Metalico, who says the only way he’d return to wrestle is an exhibition match on a Virus retirement show and Terrible, who talked up his team with Texano while saying he’s got no interest in leaving CMLL. Leaving might have been more towards Los Ingobernables, who can’t be mentioned even in media interviews.

Mexico State referee Toby (Juan Carlos Garcia) passed away Wednesday. Garcia was most often seen in Arena Neza, though he also worked for IWRG occasionally. He’s said to be the programmer (booker) for the Promociones Sanchez group that ran Arena Neza. No cause of death is mentioned, though some reports allude to Toby being sick for many months.

Retired Juarez luchador El Costeno (Rodolfo Diaz Rodriguez) passed away Thursday.

Nino Asesino (Mario Alberto Ortiz Hernandez, 61) passed away Thursday.

Lucha-Masks.com and Lucha Central are running a “design your own facemask” contest. Details are in the link, you have until next Wednesday to draw up a concept, with a winner announced on August 19th. The winner will get to see their mask made and also get royalties off each mask sold, which is a better deal than usual for these sorts of contests.

The Rey Mysterio eye injury saga – still unresolved! – has led to a lot of articles about wrestling injuries. Terrible talked about his own eye injury and loss in his interviews. Former CMLL referee Baby Richard says he retired from that job due to his own eye loss. He told the La Tijera YouTube channel, which was pointed out by Los Pleyers. Babe/Baby Richard was a 80s/90s midcard luchador who became the lead referee in CMLL in the 00s, up until Tirantes supplanted him in that position after arriving in the 2010 “Invasors” storyline. Richard quietly disappeared after that, and it wasn’t ever public why. Richard, in the interview, says he got elbowed in the left eye by accident in a post match bit. (It doesn’t read like a bump from an angle, more one guy accidentally shoving him into it.) They were able to originally save it via transplant, but he got an infection and the left eye had to be removed and he decided to retire. He now runs a screen printing business.

Gran Metalik gets a WWE IC title match on tonight’s episode of SmackDown. It’s a rare big singles match for Metalik in WWE, and most of the ones he’s gotten has been short. That’s a reason why it is hard to have much interest in this one: either it also may not be much or Metalik will somehow get replaced before it happens. It’d be nice if it was better than that but WWE’s successfully trained me not go out of my way to check out Metalik matches.

Jack Evans and Angelico are apparently in Jacksonville this week because Jack Evans wrestles QT Marshall on the upcoming Tuesday AEW Dark episode. It’s possible this means they’ll be on Dynamite next week. Meanwhile, Penta & Fenix haven’t appeared in AEW in a few weeks; I’d like to believe they’re staging a walkout to protest the lack of a DQ for mask removal in that promotion.

Aeroboy is in the US this weekend. He’ll wrestle Friday and Saturday in IWA-MS’s King of the Deathmatch, which is airing on FITE, then wrestle in GALLI on Sunday.

Planeta Wrestling has an interview with Violento Jack, who welcomed a new daughter into the family during the pandemic.

Aramis has joined Jonathan Gresham’s Foundation. I still have no idea what this is.

Vanguardia/DTU, why Santo/Demon hasn’t happened

Friday is the next coronoavirus update day for Mexico. Mexico City typically has a press conference at noon to announce their status. There’s a country-wide press conference to announce the health status for all the states at 6 pm, though there was no update last time. A Yellow traffic light means closed-door shows can be approved. A Yellow traffic light for Mexico City would be surprising; the mayor says the number of patients in hospitals is rising, and it needs to actually fall under a certain limit to reach that Yellow status.

There’s no definite conclusion to the Vanguardia shut down show saga. Crazy Boy appeared on CuadrilateroTV Facebook video show, saying he and DTU had nothing to do with it. Crazy Boy’s position is he’s so focused on his own work that he doesn’t even know what else is going on; he was contacted by someone asking if he was running a show but didn’t even know it was happening or who was running it. (This story also helpfully fits into the DTU narrative of the Vanguardia guys still seen by normal people as DTU stars and Vanguardia not having succeeded on their own.)

The Crazy Boy interview doesn’t seem to change anyone’s mind. The fanbases of those two promotions are polarized to see each other as the enemy, even while the promotions are making the case there’s room for both of them. (There is, because no one’s really making much money on all of this; if the business was the real concern, both would be making more out of their older content or working on any other way to make money outside of running shows.) The people who are publicly staying neutral are Mas Lucha, who avoided talking about the situation until late in their podcast and suggested many other possibilities for who could’ve called the authorities on Vanguardia. DTU & Vanguardia are two of the only Mas Lucha promotions left running at the moment, so the production outlet isn’t really in a position to take sides.

I suspect Vanguardia will quietly try to run that show again sometime in the next couple of weekends; probably whatever weekend DTU isn’t running since they’ll need Mas Lucha to film it.

El Hijo del Santo told digitalmex (probably reprinted from elsewhere) why a mask match between himself and Blue Demon Jr. could never happen. Is it the money? The ego? The lack of a sturdy promotion to support it? No, it is none of these things. El Hijo del Santo explains that the mask match between them has never and will never happen because the fans would be too depressed if one of them no longer had a mask. He believes that’s why their fathers never faced off either. Strangely, this does not stop Santo from wanting to do that mask match with Atlantis, “because at least I lose it toa g great luchador if I lost.” He would absolutely not be losing.

Veracruz luchador/promoter Rayo Vengador’s death this past Saturday is now reported as COVID-19 related.

While not listed on the card under that name, one of the Generacion XXI wrestlers worked under the name (and mask) of Coronavirus on their recent secret show.

Xalapa luchador Tigre Cosmico says empty arena shows are stopped in the city. A recent wave of infections and three deaths (Pitufo, Anticristo, and Gabriel o Gabriela) convinced the wrestlers they’d be better off in quarantine. Pitufo & Anticristo had not previously been acknowledged as It’s unclear if those cases came from those shows; I think Gabriel o Gabriela’s case is suspected as occurring at another outing.

There was another round of sign-ups for loans at the Mexico City lucha libre commission’s office. There are 25,000 peso loans, to be paid back within 33 months. The sign-ups included wrestlers, referees, advertisers, mask makers, vendors. It also included wrestlers from Mexico State (IWRG) and Hidalgo. All of this is an expansion from the original Mexico City luchador only focus, though the wrestlers are still required to be licensed.

NVI Noticias has a nice bio of Oaxaca luchador Increíble (Silverio Miguel Jiménez Orozco). It’s a sign of the time that I had to keep checking to see if he had died recently. Instead, it’s a different reason a luchador might be profiled at the moment: Increible lost the lower half of his left arm in a childhood accident and still was able to become a luchador.

Terrible, Reyna Isis, Tiger, and Hijo del Villano III will appear on CMLL Informa this week. That’s less than usual, though they’ve also been adding some of the non-Julio Cesar Rivera announced as guests.

Arena Guatemala Mexico says they’ll be announcing a return date soon. Shopping malls and restaurants started to re-open in the country on Monday. Mexican name wrestlers usually cross the border south to work in that arena a few times a year. That border is currently closed but I wonder if we might see more names than usual if wrestling does open up there first.

Murder Clown wants a shot at the AAA Megachampionship. I wish wrestling could still be a thing so there Kenny Omega versus Murder Clown would be a thing to dream about. (Note that Murder Clown refers to the champion as “whoever has it”, so maybe he’s not dreaming about it.)

LuchaTalk returns with the first part of a discussion about the Mistico boom.

CMLL on Televisa: 1995-03-18/03-25

just a sight

Recapped: 2020-07-23

1995-03-18 matches:

Atlantis, Negro Casas, Vampiro beat Emilio Charles Jr., Jason The Terrible, Pierroth Jr.
(03/14 @ Arena Coliseo, 9:04, 1/2 DQ, ok, Roy Lucier CMLL)

What Happened: In the intro, Miguel Linares says Jason the Terrible is Australian! The match is joined with the two teams fighting prior to getting to the ring.

Review: Everyone looks fine but this one doesn’t really pick up before it ends. It’s an abrupt ending, Emilio fouling Vampiro to send this to a straight falls finish in a match where they hadn’t feuded much. 1995 Vampiro likes to take flip bumps out off of clotheslines. He often seems like he’s wrestling his own match, unaware of what is going on around him. He keeps wrestling Jason the Terrible in the first fall long after his partners have ended the fall.

Último Dragón © beat Corazón De León for the NWA World Middleweight Championship
(03/17 @ Arena México, 10:11, 2/3, ok, Roy Lucier CMLL)

I was sure this was going to be a match I was really going to enjoy. I couldn’t find a way to give a positive grade even coming in wanting to like it. This is very much a match they could’ve done in the Japan or US with two fall breaks wedged in. It’s not bad for that reason but feels out of place on a CMLL card. It feels weird that Jericho’s going to chinlocks to slow down the match to built to an Ultimo Dragon comeback, and the relatively short time for this match doesn’t really allow those pauses. It’s possible they just edited it down, but what we’re left with doesn’t feel great. Jericho is unpolished, with some moments that really don’t go well. (The dropkick counter/moonsault spot they both try for at the end doesn’t come close to working.) This is one which may have worked better in the time – they’re doing all sorts of suplexes and top rope moves which were more novel in 1995. It doesn’t hold up well now.

Sangre Chicana beat La Fiera for the hair
(03/17 @ Arena México, 7:23, good, Roy Lucier CMLL)

This is maybe a bit of a generous grade. They got to the fighting I was hoping for in the third after two relatively forgettable falls. There’s one tope worth seeing too, though the match ends abruptly (and maybe after an edit.) This is not a patch on the 80s Sangre Chicana hair matches but acceptable for this sort of thing.

1995-03-25 matches

Almost every match on this show (full link) is clipped. I just have the tournament matches listed as airing, but there are clips of matches from other shows which last longer. It’s a useless show if you’re just looking for great matches. The conditions don’t allow for any of the matches to come off well, and the focus is on building to matches on future shows. Might as well talk about that instead of the matches.

Non-tournament matches

  • The 03/21 @ Arena Coliseo Salavador Lutteroth cibernetico from 03/21. Mostly just eliminations shown. Dr. Wagner wins over buddy Pierroth.
  • The trios main event from the 03/21 Arena Coliseo show. Satanico fouls Hector Garza to continue that issue.
  • The 02/24 @ Arena Mexico Reyna Jubuki vs Lady Apache CMLL Women’s Championship, ending when Lady Apache was disqualified for refusing to let go of a hair pull. It’s a bad ending. A Lady Apache sit down interview precedes this building to a rematch. In reality, that was Jubuki’s final match in Mexico and she’s left as champion. It’ll take a year and a half for CMLL to come up with a reason to vacate the title (Jubuki appearing in WCW) and get it to Lady Apache. Jubuki leaving with the title appears to end the 80s/90s rebirth era of the women’s division, with CMLL paying little attention to the championship until Dark Angel showed up.

Those matches take place in between rounds of a Salvador Lutteroth trios tournament on 03/24 in Arena Coliseo. This is prior to the era of Homenaje a Dos Leyendas, with CMLL looking for a way to honor their founder in March and not yet having struck on building a show around it. There is a seeding battle royal.

  • Brazo de Oro, Brazo de Plata, El Brazo beat Damián el Guerrero, Guerrero del Futuro, Guerrero Maya in 0:55 shown
  • Apolo Dantés, Atlantis, Rayo de Jalisco Jr. beat Cadáver De Ultratumba, Espectro Jr., Kahoz in 0:54 shown
    • The rudos fouled Rayo to cost themselves an easy win
  • Bestia Salvaje, Emilio Charles Jr., Sangre Chicana beat Wagner Jr., El Hijo Del Gladiador, Gran Markus Jr. in 1:26 shown
  • Dos Caras, El Dandy, Héctor Garza beat MS-1, Pirata Morgan, Satánico in 0:28 shown
    • Satanico & Hector Garza feuding was the focus
  • Brazo de Oro, Brazo de Plata, El Brazo beat Apolo Dantés, Atlantis, Rayo de Jalisco Jr. in 1:43 shown
  • Bestia Salvaje, Emilio Charles Jr., Sangre Chicana beat Dos Caras, El Dandy, Héctor Garza in 1:28 shown

The final was shown complete, or close to it. It still wasn’t long.

Bestia Salvaje, Emilio Charles Jr., Sangre Chicana beat Brazo de Oro, Brazo de Plata, El Brazo in a tournament final
(03/24 @ Arena México, straight falls, 5:56, ok, Roy Lucier CMLL)

The whole tournament was building up to miscommunication between El Brazo and his two brothers, leading to a violent fight after the match. El Brazo had been a rudo since late September 1994; it was more surprising he was getting along with his brothers for one night than that they broke up. This leads to a hair match between them the next week, though a trios tournament comes off as a strange way to set that up. Garza/Satanico, which is two weeks away, is a lot more conventionally built. Bestia Salvaje remains a quiet joy, doing a couple of interesting things in every significant match.