La Sombra gets his WWE release, Marvel Lucha Libre returns, strong RIOT show

Andrade (La Sombra) received his release from WWE late Sunday night, after asking for it a week prior. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter says Sombra is not under any “no-compete” limitation; he’s able to start working for any other promotion immediately if he should choose. This is unusual behavior by WWE; it could mean a bigger story behind the scenes, or it could mean WWE holds him in so low esteem that they don’t believe it’ll hurt them to go elsewhere. WWE wrestlers do not seem to feel the same; he’s wished well by many publically on social media. Andrade thanked William Regal, Paul Heyman, and Triple H by name.

La Sombra’s next appearance may not be immediately immediate. Among possible destinations: ROH has just completed their next block of TV, AAA’s probably not taping TV again until early May, and going to NJPW would require a two-week quarantine if it could even be approved this quick. (He’d just miss their next big show unless he’s already flown to Japan.) CMLL’s live on Friday so Andrade could show up there, though that would still be a surprise. AEW Dynamite is also live this week.

That’s all this week’s stuff, it’ll work out smoother in the bigger picture. My guess remains that Andrade will eventually make NJPW his home and work at other places around that. I’ve been skeptical that he’d show back up in CMLL again at all, but others believe he’ll at least make an appearance there as a return home. It still seems a waste for La Sombra to show up anywhere in Mexico before fans are allowed at shows.

WWE absolutely didn’t use Andrade to his fullest. They seemingly gave up on him multiple times during his stint with WWE, not just the one at the end. On the main roster, they seemed to have little trust in using him except against other luchadors, something that’s been a constant limitation for Mexican wrestlers in WWE. It’s still worth noting that all the excitement about where La Sombra might appear next didn’t exist when he was a CMLL wrestler in 2015. No one outside of NJPW (and US lucha promotions like UIPW) were bringing in La Sombra, even as obviously talented he was. There were far more independently available wrestlers for promotions to pick from, perhaps Sombra wanted more than people were offering, but La Sombra was still an intensely talented wrestler who was mostly ignored outside of Mexico. There was a glass ceiling for Mexican wrestlers; no matter how talented you are or what big shows you headline, US wrestling promoters treat it like none of it matters until you do it there. And that still exists. Whatever credit you want to give WWE for improving him as a wrestler, they deserve many more times than for raising his profile as an international star. And if WWE missed on understanding what La Sombra could offer to the table, so did everyone internationally beyond NJPW.

Angel Garza posted a “create your own destiny” statement on Twitter, which was interrupted as related to this. On Facebook, he explained more in-depth it was about Mexican wrestlers letting Mexican promoters take advantage of them and the need for them to stand up for themselves, in reaction to the march on Friday.

AAA had their first of three nights of AutoLuchas on Saturday. They’re off this week and then back for the next two Fridays. I don’t have full results, but people were effusive in praise for the Laredo Kid/Arez title match on the second show. Those shows were taped for TV, should early on Space in May and on YouTube in late May/early June.

La Jornada has a video story on the shows. The photos of the late-night show appear to be a “full house”, whatever that means for cars. Didn’t see as many photos of the earlier show.

AAA’s TV show aired the second week of tapings from Valle de Bravo. The matches weren’t much to talk about, though the main event was notable. The Marvel Lucha Libre characters made their first appearance since TripleMania, in what was scheduled to be Leyenda Americana (Capitan America) against Terror Purpura (Thanos.) Estrella Cosmica (Capitan Marvel) interfered to help Leyenda Americana, and it essentially turned into a 2v1 handicap match. When the tecnicos had Purprua beat and pinned, Purpura used his superpowers to teleport away from the ring and stand a distance away. (The camera pulled back slowly, which accidentally revealed the platform he was standing on to seem taller.) The match just ended there with no obvious finish. This presentation came off as b-movie stuff, though maybe the kids will like it.

Leyenda Americana and Terror Purpura were played by Daga & Brian Cage at TripleMania. They were clearly not the people in the outfits this time around. Texano was Terror Purpura and I believe Octagon Jr. was under the Leyenda Americana mask. (Estrella Cosmica was Lady Maravilla previously and still appeared to be the same person.)

Record has an article talking mentioning all wrestlers and staff were given COVID tests in Mexico City before these tapings, which again seems like AAA making a point of demonstrating their COVID protocols after they were called into question earlier. No one tested positive. I believe they were also tested before the AutoLuchas shows this week.

Tiger made his re-debut as Felino Jr. on this week’s CMLL on Televisa show. This is the show which will go up on CMLL’s YouTube next Sunday. Felino Jr. was originally supposed to debut on Copa Junior when that was scheduled to take place on Christmas. It was still a surprise he showed up as the character before the rescheduled date. It was a surprise to him as well; on Instagram, Tiger mentioned he expected to wrestle Mistico as Tiger but was told by CMLL officials one hour before the match to go home and get his Felino Jr. gear to use instead. Felino Jr. lost that debut match to Mistico. That’s survivable if he does well in Copa Junior on Friday. If he doesn’t and he’s just in the same spot, it’s kind of sad but not surprising.

CMLL’s YouTube of last week’s Televisa does air promos for this Friday’s PPV. That’s an improvement from the quick graphics they were doing before, though the ads simply say “go to” for more info, without talking about Ticketmaster. Perhaps there’s a restriction on Televisa (though they could easily put up different versions on YouTube, and put in a link to tickets in the description.) Those ads weren’t airing on the AMX show.

Dragon Rojo, in a media tour to promote his return, says the first doctor he visited told him he had knees of a 70-year-old. Dragon Rojo worked through a lot of injuries, which he believes caused him to fall down the card and wasn’t the right move.

CMLL’s show on AMX included a Dark Magic & Okumura versus Flyer & Soberano Jr. match. Late in the match, Flyer & Okumura went to the top rope for a spot. Flyer lost his balance, grabbed onto Okumura, and both tumbled backward out of the ring. Okumura landed hard on his side. It could’ve been much worse, given his long recovery from neck surgery a couple of years ago. Flyer’s become a danger to himself and others – his tag team title match (taped last year, aired a few weeks ago) had him injuring Los Cancerberos. Okumura probably shouldn’t be taking top rope moves at this point in his injury history. They really had no business attempting that spot.

RIOT held COVIDIOTAS on Sunday night in an undisclosed location not in Monterrey

RIOT (SUN) 03/21/2021 Nuevo Leon [Lucha Central]
1) Madness b KaientaiHooligan ByronEl CatrinMad DogMuerte ExtremaMadnessLord Byron [Benny Rumble] Emisión en directo de Luchamania Monterrey (posted by Luchamania Monterrey)
2) Iron Kid (Estado de México) b Aramis (Indie) Emisión en directo de Luchamania Monterrey (posted by Luchamania Monterrey)
3) Kratoz & Prometeo b Kill Korton & Willy Banderas Emisión en directo de Luchamania Monterrey (posted by Luchamania Monterrey)
4) Látigo b Erick Ortiz [RIOT CHAMP, #1 Contenders] Emisión en directo de Luchamania Monterrey (posted by Luchamania Monterrey)
5) Arez b Hijo Del Vikingo [RIOT CHAMP] Emisión en directo de Luchamania Monterrey (posted by Luchamania Monterrey)

First the annoying: the internet streaming quality was not good. The opening rumble was unwatchable at times because of the low frame rate (though it may not have been a great idea to watch even at 60 fps.) It was a bit better the rest of the show, though not what you’d expect if you’re used to watching Mas Lucha and some people may have not stuck through it. There was also a ringside camera that seemed to be broadcasting in a different aspect ratio or picture quality the rest of the show, and they missed some dives on the hard camera side. It was RIOT’s first attempt at broadcasting a show live and it definitely felt that way. Brian Villa also missed a RIOT show for the third time and I’m starting to disbelieve Bryan Villa is an actual person. The show was also delayed nearly an hour, but that’s what you expect with indie lucha libre.

If you can survive the bumpy feed, this is a show absolutely worth watching. The wrestling quality was there, as good as any RIOT show. Arez/Vikingo had high expectations given who was involved, and somehow exceeded them. There are the usual inventiveness and athletic impossibility, but they’re also some smart planning and building – just small stuff like Arez moving out of Vikingo’s dive range repeatedly early on helped make it mean more when Vikingo finally got him with one. Vikingo’s gotten some more attention from AAA in the first few 2021 runs, but this felt like they could be doing even more with him; at the very least, AAA should just be ripping off RIOT and running this match back next time they get a chance to be in front of cameras. Arez is going to do so well on those GCW shows in a couple of weeks if he’s given half a chance. This is the best singles match I’ve seen this year.

The matches in the middle were really strong as well. Latigo/Ortiz was a submission hold battle, as Ortiz matches tend to be, but Ortiz also did a dive because everyone flies against Latigo. The tag match was wild spots with not much in between them, though the wild spots were indeed wild. (I will pay Kill Korton to stop trying to do dives though.) Iron Kid versus Aramis was more normal Mexican indie style, with a nice surprise finish. I also thought the commentary – Kaientai & Lord Byron after they got through with the rumble – was entertaining and added to the show. I hope they’re used again in that role.

This show will be up for a couple of days on YouTube. RIOT says they’ll post a better version on Pivotshare soon after. RIOT’s Donadora remains open for a few more days as well; they’re at 56% of their funding. The buzz from the show helped push that number up a lot, though it’d be a surprise if they got to 100.

IWRG (SUN) 03/21/2021 Arena Naucalpan [Mas LuchaMas Lucha (Video), ArenaW730]
1) Cheff Benito, Chicanito, Halcón Galáctico, Legendario, Mexica b Carrillo, El Manchas, Internacional Mara, Jorge El Salvaje, Pistoler [cage, hair]
Benito defeated Carillo, who lost his hair
2) Baby Xtreme b Baby StarRelámpagoAster BoyPuma de OroSobredosis [cage, #1 Contenders, IWRG REY DEL AIRE]
Baby Xtreme gets a title match with Dragon Bane
3) Death Metal, Dick Angelo 3G, Súper Nova, Veneno b Hombre Rojo I, Hombre Rojo II, Hombre Rojo III, Hombre Rojo IV [cage, hair]
One of the mystery men in red loss, revealing himself as Apolo Estrada Jr. He unmasked and lost his hair, with Veneno getting the win credit.
4) Eterno & Hijo del Espectro b Demonio Infernal & Fresero Jr. [hair, mask, IWRG IC HEAVY, IWRG Rey del Ring]
Eterno pinned Demonio Infernal, winning the IWRG Rey del Ring championship.
5) Pasion Kristal b Big Chico Che [hair, cage]
Chico Che lost his hair. Fresero & Demonio attacked Kristal & Jessy Ventura after the match.

This was a Mas Lucha premium show, and not enough people are watching them for the rest of us to know. The show did draw well. They did more hair match losses than seemed to be indicated on the poster, so that’s a nice bonus. The second match had the usual dive off the top of the cage. Galactus, a young IWRG wrestler who passed away in December, was remembered with a moment of applause.

MexiSquad (Bandido, Flamita, and Rey Horus)’s rematch with Shane Taylor Enterprises (Shane Taylor, Kaun, Moses) for the ROH Six-Man Titles will be part of the free hour of the ROH PPV on Friday. It’ll take place between 7 and 8 CT, airing on YouTube and Facebook and elsewhere. The ROH episode currently up on its website for free has the LFI versus the Foundation and Rey Horus vs Eli Isom. A MexiSquad match will also air Tuesday at noon on ROH’s YouTube page.

Alberto el Patron and Blue Demon Jr. are listed as wrestling on a show in McAllen, Texas on Sunday. This is Alberto’s first match in at least a year and since his latest round of legal issues. On Konnan’s Keepin It 100, Konnan mentioned he heard Alberto is involved with the impending Nacion Lucha Libre relaunch, though Alberto expects to be working behind the scenes and not in the ring.

Kriminal Lucha Libre announced their Prohibido tournament will conclude place on April 3rd. That’s the final two rounds; the rest of the tournament took place in January and I’ve half-forgotten about it.

04/18 Lucha Memes at Coliseo Coacalco (4th Anniversary Part 1)

The big idea is this show is a normal Memes show with an international wrestler to be announced, and Part 2 on 04/25 will be a more bloody show.

The Gladiatores held a video discussion with Rey Mysterio, Penta, Damian 666, and others sharing their memories of Perro Aguayo six years after his death.

Texas Highways Magazine has a long story about lucha libre in Juarez, profiling Flama Roja, Cassandro and Eddie Guerrero.

Queretaro’s Halcon Negro Jr. is accusing a reality show producer of sexually harassing him.

Hijo del Dr. Wagner says he believes he’ll become the top Mexican star in the world.

Reporte Indigo has a profile of Hija de Gatubela.

NVI Noticas has an profile of Oaxaca’s Pirata Negro Jr.

Paraoniko was able to reopen his lucha libre school for children in Tulancingo.

Segunda Caida has a review of the April 30, 1995 AAA show recently posted by Roy Lucier. I’m looking