CMLL (SAT) 09/16/2023 Arena México [CMLL, ContraReplica, Criterio Hidalgo, Cronista del Ring, El Universal, ESTO (Dragon Rojo), ESTO (general), ESTO (Volador), ESTO (women), Grada, Heraldo Deportes, Infobae, Kaiser Sports, La Lista, Lucha Central, Record, The Gladiatores, The Gladiatores (video), thecubsfan]
1) Stephanie Vaquer & Zeuxis b La Jarochita & Lluvia [CMLL WOMEN TAG]
12:58. Vaquer & Zeuxis win the new championships (and vacate the Occidente Women’s Tag Team championships in the process). Salvador Lutteroth III and El Fantasma appeared before the match to sanction the match, and also for Lutteroth to thank the fans.
2) Esfinge b Rugido [Copa Independencia]
11:11 via Nudo Egipcia. US ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar and Lutteroth appeared; Salazar was heckled.
3) Atlantis, Blue Panther, Octagón b Fuerza Guerrera, Satánico, Virus
4) Lince Dorado & Samuray del Sol b Soberano Jr. & Titán
5) Atlantis Jr., Máscara Dorada, Místico b Kevin Knight, Rocky Romero, TJP
20:34. Mistico won cleanly, but Romero unmasked him post match (and his fellow partners followed suit.)
6) Ángel de Oro & Volador Jr. b Averno & Último Guerrero [winners advance]
8:12. Guerrero hit Averno twice by accident, Averno clotheslined Guerrero on purpose, leading to their loss. They fought post between matches.
7) Volador Jr. b Ángel de Oro [hair]
13:27. Volador apparently suffered a right shoulder injury in the first minute of the match, off a swing into the barricade. CMLL’s doctor stopped the match twice to check on Volador, but he continued through and wrestled (and won) with one arm. Seconds were Magia Blanca and Niebla Roja. Angel de Oro got his head shaved in the ring.
8) Templario b Dragón Rojo Jr. [mask]
14:47. Dragon Rojo attacked Templario prior to the match. Seconds were Nitro and Chamuel; Dragon Rojo attacking Chamuel led to his demise. Dragon Rojo Jr. tearfully unmasked as Anselmo Rivas Castro, 42 years old, 22 years a wrestler. His wife and daughter joined him.
This show was outstanding. My top criticism going into the show was that it lacked a hugely historically important match for a 90th Aniversario. What CMLL did instead was making it feel like historically epic. The card went over three and half hours; I can’t think of another recent CMLL show that went even three. Twenty minute matches are rare outside of ciberneticos, and there were two different tag matches that got that much time. (The hair match sequence combined also went over twenty.) Nothing felt cut on time, everything got go about the length it needed to have the best possible show. This could’ve exhausted a CMLL crowd, but it seemed made up far more of diehard fans who knew the characters and less of tourists than normal. I’m not sure hit a consensus MOTYC level – though Angel de Oro/Volador will get some votes – but the show in its entirety blew away any other show in Mexico this year.
On each match:
- the opener was a “let’s do as many moves as possible” classic, it just happened to be with women instead of men. The two teams had their expected great chemistry and never lost the thread no matter how fast they were going. It might have worked with a little bit more time, but I think the frantic pace of it was part of it. Zeuxis breaking out the Spanish Fly to the floor for the first time in maybe a decade was unexpected, as was the totally clean and totally at the same time victory. (My predictions were so bad on this show, but this likely means Vaquer is coming out of this month as double women’s champion.)
- Esfinge and Rugido had a well enough constructed match that I remember very little from two days later. This match made it clear the crowd was heavy with people who actually follow the promotion: most anyone can figure out Esfinge’s crazy Nudo Egipica cradle is something important, but you’ve got to be a big CMLL dork to know Rugido’s finish is a German suplex. The crowd reacted as if was a big deal when Esfinge kicked out of it.
- Blue Panther was the star of the legend’s match, as the only legend on his side who could do anything. Virus took most of the offense because he was the guy who could move. It was a generous crowd who wanted to have fun. The old guys looked old but never were painfully exposed.
- Samuray del Sol went for a complicated dive at the start of the second fall, it didn’t go right, and then he seemed to be off a bit the rest of the match. I’m not sure if something happened there, and it wasn’t a huge issue, it was just there if you were looking for it. Lince did well, as did the CMLL too. Titan & Soberano losing here when there’s no obvious plan for the ex-Lucha House Party guys is weird. I suspect the idea was to split the CMLL versus outsiders matches and they just didn’t want Mistico to lose, even though it would’ve made more sense to go that way given the directions.
- The NJPW team played strongly rudo, and did a good of shocking Kevin Knight to make him look like an important inclusion on this show. Just like the other tag match, there was a lot of action and it all was pretty good. Rocky seemed like he planned to take Mistico’s mask, and the other two guys realized they might as well too.
- The leading tag match got a decent amount of time and a straight enough forward story: the team that couldn’t work together quickly lost. I was wrong about Averno losing his hair here, but the post match brawl made it seem most definitely happening sooner or later.
- Angel de Oro swinging Volador into the barricade happens a lot in big matches and never much comes of them. (CMLL did put in self-promotional stickers on the barricades, among a lot of other dressing up the building for the 90th Aniversario – but it didn’t seem like the barricades themselves were any stiffer.) CMLL seems like they have two medical staff; the guys who are part of the commission who are slow to check on the wrestlers no matter what has happened (and tend to be involved in worked stuff) and the new-ish medical staff that’s always sprinting out from the back (and seems to get worked by wrestler’s selling from time to time.) This was the new doctor who hurried out and checked, much to Angel de Oro’s visible frustration. Volador wasn’t ever letting the match be stopped, it couldn’t really be stopped given the finish, and the doctor’s attempt at helping wasn’t much help, so maybe that whole procedure could be refined. It did lend some credibility to the drama of Volador wrestling the match with one arm, taking big risks where he would be unable to protect himself if they went wrong, and pulling of pretty much everything he could. We won’t know what got cut out, but it came off like they basically did the match they had planned from the start, a really good match under normal circumstances and a memorable one with one arm.
- Dragon Rojo/Templario was well put together. He didn’t have to do anything too complicated as far as setting Templario up for moves. (Templario’s big spots were landing on Dragon Rojo or picking him up.) Dragon Rojo’s offensive limitations were fixed by having him use every surprise cradle in the CMLL playbook to tease nearfall after nearfall. Even the finish was the lucha libre classic of a luchador wrestling his perfect match only to make one mistake that immediately costs him. Templario probably could’ve done more with someone else but looked spectacular with what he did, and that match layout worked a lot better with two people than it would’ve with three. Dragon Rojo’s emotions about losing the mask seemed very much real, and probably were to a large extent. It makes a mask match feel like a hugely significant deal if the loser is inconsolable, rather than brushing it off as happens more often nowadays.
You should absolutely watch this one. The VOD is still up for a few more hours as I post this. (Tech nonsense: the video itself still seems to be on the server much longer than tonight, it’s just the page that plays the video gets taken down.) If you don’t get it tonight, you should absolutely sign up for CMLL’s YouTube on Sunday when it’ll go up there.
Dragon Rojo Jr. was highly emotional after his mask loss, sobbing in the ring and in post-match interview. He told the press he was in a lot of (emotional) pain, that the mask let him open up in a way he hadn’t before, and he wasn’t sure how he would continue without it. Dragon Rojo talked about maybe putting his hair on the line against Templario, but that seemed more like just throwing an idea than a real plan. (Likewise, Templario mentioned facing Soberano in a mask match next, but that wasn’t a story CMLL pushed at all.)
CMLL announced Monday afternoon that Volador Jr. is out indefinitely with a right shoulder injury. There was no mention of the severity or specificity of the injury, just a mention there may be more information on this week’s Informa. Templario will replace Volador Jr. tonight in Puebla, and that will no longer be a CMLL trios title match. Voaldor Jr. was also scheduled to team with Templario against Mascara Dorada and Mistico in Queretaro on Tuesday; there’s no replacement for that yet.
Volador Jr. has been incredibly durable with CMLL. He’s never missed a long period with an injury despite wrestling (by my database), an average of 160 matches a year. Volador seemed distraught about his injury status in his post match interview, which seems to foreshadow a long absence.
Boletia/Neerme passed its biggest test: there were no issues with the stream, the VOD was quick and had no issue, and no one really complained about how to use it – when they eventually figured out the show wasn’t on TicketamsterLive anymore. CMLL’s website went down for a time, probably with people trying to find out that new way to order the show at the last minute – it’s still new to most people. We’ll never see the numbers, but I suspect this was the most bought CMLL PPV of all time CMLL’s hotter than last year and this Aniversario the show people will actually try to buy. It also was a rare CMLL show actually to get pirated; I see that with TripleManias but never outside of Aniversarios. People taking screengrabs of action should be more careful to crop out the Facebook “Live” indicator.
Arena Mexico was a sell out, and one where the crowd seemed to be there very early and into the show. The after party at Salon Los Angeles also sold out in advance; La Jornada says it was about 2,000 people. (Guesses for Arena Mexico capacity was all over the place; no one really is sure how much that building holds right now but it’s probably not the old 16,800 number.) This seems like a one-show blip – attendance was back down to ‘normal’ a day later – but it’s a good blip to have. CMLL pushed the Dia de Luchador show for next Friday and the Noche de Campeones for the Friday after that, but no more.
CMLL had announced there’d be a new person debuting at that after-party. The big reveal from that was a new mascot, a red version of the KeMonito outfit with devil horns. CMLL hasn’t mentioned the new character on their social media, the photo was only shared by the party goes and the building hosting the after-party. There’s no name for him yet. The look makes it seem as if he’s a rival for KeMonito, which only makes sense if KeMonito (or a KeMonito) is aorund. There’s no sense in having a third rudo mascot also standing bored in the corner like Mije and Zacarias have been doing since late July. Their bit only works if they have someone to bully. There’s probably more coming.
No one’s saying what the deal is with the original KeMonito. The best chances to get an answer are when CMLL talks about this new guy, or if he does press around the KeMonito La Ultima Comida documentary. He did make it to Poza Rica for the show on Sunday, so he’s healthy enough to get around and so that’s probably not the issue. It feels like KeMonito is gone, but CMLL is weird and it could be some something else. Maybe some double secret suspension for unclear reasons no one knows about, maybe some very Mexican wrestling argument about who exactly owns the rights to the character.
(This is not the first ‘other’ KeMonito. A week after Ultimo Guerrero kick that sent KeMonito flipping into viral GIF infamy, Guerrero debuted Ultimonito – an evil monkey to fight KeMonito. The gimmick, portrayed first by Tzuki and then by the eventual Mini Maximo, only lasted a few months.)
CMLL (SUN) 09/17/2023 Arena México [@robviper, CMLL]
1) Hombre Bala Jr. & Pólvora b Nitro & Sangre Imperial
Polvora replaced Flyer, wrestled the match without issue, then helped the rudos beat up Bala afterwards.
2) Magnus b Blue Panther Jr. [lightning]
3) El Audaz, Magia Blanca, Volcano b Kráneo, Misterioso Jr., Okumura
4) Guerrero Maya Jr., Pegasso, Stigma b Felino, Felino Jr., Rey Bucanero
Guerrero Maya Jr. replaced Rey Samuray.
5) Kevin Knight, Rocky Romero, TJP b Lince Dorado, Samuray del Sol, Valiente
6) Esfinge, Templario, Último Guerrero DQ Ángel de Oro, Averno, Dragón Rojo Jr. [Relevos Increíbles]
Esfinge replaced Volador. Straight falls, Dragon Rojo unmasking Templario in the second.
Not the turnout from the Aniversario show, but the sort of finish you’d expect following it.
Dark Silueta won the vacant CMLL Japan Women’s Championship on Sunday, defeating Kohaku. Silueta encouraged Kohaku to challenge for it in Mexico; it’s a safe bet she’s on the list for the Women’s Gran Prix.
The Tuesday and Friday lineups were out days later than usual, probably because the Aniversario threw everything off.
CMLL (TUE) 09/19/2023 Arena México
1) Micro Gemelo Diablo I & Micro Gemelo Diablo II vs Átomo & Chamuel
2) Aéreo, Galaxy, Shockercito vs Mercurio, Pequeño Olímpico, Pequeño Violencia
3) Futuro & Neón vs El Coyote & Pólvora
4) Blue Panther Jr., Dark Panther, Volcano vs Akuma, Kráneo, Okumura
5) Atlantis Jr., Esfinge, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Hechicero, Terrible
6) Máscara Dorada vs Soberano Jr.
Though, CMLL could’ve pretty much released this card on Wednesday. The Dorada/Soberano show was set up last week, and the rest is just filling in names. Soberano/Dorada is a rematch from Guadalajara, and might be subject to Tuesday effort limits.
There’s still no Friday lineup. I left this space blank to put it here and waited and waited. I gave up if you’re seeing this sentence.
Revolution Pro announced the lineups for their FantasticaMania UK shows. It’s two shows on the same day, an afternoon and an evening one:
RevPro , CMLL , 2 pm (SAT) 09/23/2023 Manchester, United Kingdom
1) Magia Blanca vs Levi Muir
2) Audaz (CMLL), Ricky Knight Jr., Zak Knight vs Kid Lykos, Kid Lykos II, Sangre Imperial
3) Capitán Suicida vs Wild Boar
4) Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews vs Okumura & Zandokan [BRITISH TAG]
5) Titán (CMLL) vs Robbie X
6) Hechicero (CMLL), Trent Seven, Último Guerrero vs Atlantis Jr., Guerrero Maya Jr., Michael Oku
These cards are mostly RevPro vs CMLL, or at least mixing it so there’s only one CMLL vs CMLL show between both shows. (It’s on the next one.) Robbie X is a well regarded wrestler who seems to be missing something; maybe he’d have found it under a mask if he grew up in Mexico. You may know Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews from various WWE subpromotions; they’re teaming as Subculture now. Suicida/Boar is a delightfully weird match. The Knights are relatives of AEW’s Sayara; you may have seen them shown at AEW’s All in. The Kid Lykos team wrestled Arez and Latigo and Gringo Loco over this past weekend, so they’re getting a full Mexico experience.
RevPro , CMLL , 8 pm (SAT) 09/23/2023 Manchester, United Kingdom
1) Levi Muir & Trent Seven vs Capitán Suicida & Guerrero Maya Jr.
2) Audaz (CMLL), Ricky Knight Jr., Zak Knight vs Okumura, Sangre Imperial, Wild Boar
3) Magia Blanca vs Robbie X
4) Flash Morgan Webster, Mark Andrews, Titán (CMLL) vs Kid Lykos, Kid Lykos II, Zandokan Jr.
5) Último Guerrero vs Atlantis Jr.
6) Hechicero (CMLL) vs Michael Oku [BRITISH HEAVY]
In true FantasticaMania fashion, the last show is meant to be the best card. The Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship is RevPro’s main belt, so this is a big match for Hechicero in their world. It should be great beyond that. Ultimo Guerrero/Atlantis know each other well, the trios match could be pretty good too.
RevPro has experimented with live streaming, but these are outdoor shows at a taco festival so that seems like a stiff challenge. I expect these probably go up on their VOD service within a few days. European fans always seem to complain about the production quality of these shows so keep maybe keep that in mind.
Hijo del Vikingo was injured on Saturday’s Ring of Honor taping, needing to be helped to the back midway through match. It appeared to be a leg injury to those in attendance. WOR reported it was actually a hip injury, I’ve seen a mention that it was feared to be a rib injury; there are lot of details missing here, obviously. All I know for sure is he was encouraged to go to the hospital to get it checked out, and passed on that option on Saturday night. Logically, the injury means Vikingo is doubtful for Saturday’s AAA TV taping in Mexico City, where he’s scheduled to defend the Mega Championship against Komander. It is Vikingo though and he’s worked through enough scares and actual injuries that I just default to assuming he’ll find a way to work no matter what. It’d be a surprise if AAA gave any update before Saturday as well (and, to be fair, AAA and Vikingo may still be figuring out Vikingo’s status at this point.)
You can skip AAA TV if you’re looking for good matches. AA is airing the full taping after all, which meant we got Baby Love and Reyna Zahori in a green looking match. They also aired Delta, La Momia, Niño Hamburguesa vs El Líder, Medico Brujo, Toscano, which was a comedy match where the referee seemed to count the pinfall when he wasn’t supposed to. Chessman & Antifaz versus Pagano & Vampiro was about what you’d expect for that match, really just building to Alberto interfering to give the tecnicos the win (and give the announcers reason to scream very loudly.) They did air Vampiro’s retirement speech, but cut it off so suddenly I was left wondering if something got cut out.
One thing you can say in favor of this taping is you could hear the crowd. I swear, there crowd reactions came through better on this show than TripleMania Mexico City (and eons better than Orizaba.) The last two matches interest me at all but it was much easier to make the case the fans in the building cared, because you could actually hear the fans in the building.
Alberto el Patron did his own promo during the show, announcing he’d wrestle on the 11/26 Showcenter card.
(My recording has the sound off a bit; I’m not sure I’m going to bother to fix it. I think I generally would’ve bene better off going through a couple more 1957 Box y Luchas; they might have been more relevant to today’s lucha libre than this obvious time filler taping.)
AAA put up Verano de Escandalo as a full show on Sunday. This appears to be the show as it aired live. That means it includes Daga promo and a Sam Adonis attack on Psycho Clown building up TripleMania that didn’t air on the TV version for whatever reason. It does helpfully catch up AAA’s YouTube a bit; they’ll be only three weeks behind now.
Fightful reported QT Marshall was working without a contract with AEW and recently signed a short team deal. QT Marshall confirmed the extension through the end of the year in an interview. He seemed to indicate that was his talent contract (he’s got an additional VP contract.) It would be very funny if a) AAA put a title on a guy (in part) so it’d be on AEW TV and then he was no longer on AEW TV and b) if they had to vacate a title because the champion got scooped up by WWE again, but both of those seem very unlikely. It does seem likely Marshall knew his contract was coming up, wanted to position himself the best, and maneuvered his way into getting a high profile program in AAA in an attempt to raise his value. That’s smart in a way where more wrestlers aren’t as savvy. It doesn’t make me like having a third different guy doing the evil foreigner bit and having uncreative matches in AAA, but credit to him for working the system if the story is true.
Marshall claims he’s trying to reach 33 defenses before losing its title, which would explain his rapid rate of defenses in some obscure places. I hope he’s keeping track of the defenses because I know I’m having a hard time keeping up: add another one on 10/22 in New Jersey.
IWRG , RGR (SUN) 09/17/2023 Arena Naucalpan [Mas Lucha]
1) Águila Roja & Histeriosys b Legado & Ryu
2) León Dorado & Mr. Leo b Noisy Boy & Spider Fly
3) J-Rod & Keyra b Satania & Zyra
4) Vito Fratelli b Hijo de Canis Lupus [IWRG Rey del Ring]
5) Diva Salvaje & Mamba © b Hijo del Fishman & Rey Espectro [RGR TAG]
Mamba left the match injured but Diva won anyway. Lion Brothers asked for the next show.
6) Diamante Azul (Indie) b Forastero [RGR SUPREMO]
went to a draw, asked for an extra fall, Diamante Azul won
7) Coronel VIP L Galeno del Mal, Hell Boy, Cerebro Negro, Tonalli, Dr. Cerebro, Hijo del Pirata Morgan, Jessy Ventura [cage, mask, hair]
Match came down to Pirata & Hell Boy, but VIP came back in to help Pirata, Hell Boy and Pirata escaped, and VIP got shaved.
Mamba got a long and deep cut on the head, so leaving the match was no angle.
There’s no lineup for Thursday’s IWRG show yet, but they’ve announced a no rope “grappling” tournament and a Hip Hop Man 10th Anniversary battle royal. IWRG’s YouTube show announced the eight participants on their YouTube show, and that list included Travis Banks. IWRG then started promoting the names on Instagram, but left off Banks name. My guess was they were just trying to avoid negative responses about Banks, but IWRG’s now posted a teaser with the first round match-ups and there’s no Banks there either. There’s a blank spot instead. Those match ups are
- Aramis vs Judas
- Dr. Cerebro vs Cerbero Negro
- Avisman vs ?
- Super Comando vs Heddi Karaoui
I did go see the Cassandro movie on Friday. I occasionally do the things I say I’m going to do in these columns. I thought it was good and worth your time but I’m not a movie person so it’s hard for me to put in context. The movie debuts on Amazon Video on Thursday and I presume that’s where most people are going to see it, so it seems a better idea to wait to talk about it until then. (The theatre release is apparently an eligibility requirement for some movie awards, but it was nice to see it on a movie screen.) The movie is in English and Spanish (with subtitles in English), and 1h47m minutes long. The length means the wrestling itself gets cut down and simplified; there is still plenty of in-ring scenes in the movie, but the movie is much more interested in how wrestling affects the character than the wrestling itself. They’re going for a character study (and trying for one that can win some awards for the lead character), not a fully accurate depiction of lucha libre. I don’t feel like I can write more without actually talking about the movie, so maybe we’ll pick up here next week.
El Sol de Orizaba interviews local Rey Cobra, who estimates there are about 50 “professional” luchadors in the city and the same amount of amateurs.