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.
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.