El Signo, AEW/CMLL, Magnus/Mistico tonight, Penta and more

El Signo 

El Signo (Antonio Sánchez Rendón, 69) passed away on Wednesday. No cause of death was mentioned. Signo was in good enough health to be part of a delegation of retired wrestlers meeting with Mexico’s congress earlier this year, but had been noted as having mobility issues for years. El Signo’s retirement match was in 2013, though he essentially stopped wrestling around 2006.

El Signo wrestled for both CMLL and AAA, but he’ll be always remembered as a El Toreo (UWA) classic luchador of 70s and 80s. Signo was a successful young wrestler in the mid 70s. He had long runs as the UWA lightweight and the welterweight champion. Holing those belts meant something closer to the US -based NWA championships of the time; crisscrossing the country and defending them weekly, if not more often. Signo was respected as a worker, enough to be drafted to carry Huracan Ramirez, close to the end of his career, in a hair versus mask feud to end 1981. The promotion, then called Promociones Mora, came up with the idea of teaming Ramirez with all-time legends Blue Demon and El Santo as a legendary team. Negro Navarro and Texano, a promising undercard duo trying to get a gimmick of “Los Cowboys” over, were paired with Signo for the night. The young rudos won the match on November 2, 1980, but the story was El Santo having a medical issue during the match. Promociones Mora and the friendly wrestling press, first tried to cover it up as a minor health issue – then later pivoted, confirming mainstream reports that El Santo had a heart attack during the match, and using that heart attack to get heat on the rudos. The three young men who had nearly beaten the wrestling legend of Mexico to death were to be known as Los Misionarios de la Muerte, and El Signo went from solo star to the leader of the first and greatest trio act in the history of Mexican wrestling.

The Santo heart attack started out the Misionarios hot, and they kept it going as they were sensation works. El Signo doesn’t look physically impressive in photos, but he was said to be a great wrestler – maybe the best of the three. Los Misionarios, with Black Power II eventually replacing Texano, would win the UWA trios championship 7 times before the promotion folded. Signo, on his own, headlined Promociones shows with various top tecnicos in apuesta matches. His record wasn’t great in those once he became a trios wrestler, but he was good enough as a wrestler to get into those positions. Signo was also respected enough that CMLL frequently brought him in for co-promotional matches. (Promociones Mora/LLI/UWA shows were not taped by the promotion until the early 90s, so there’s very little footage of his time there available today.) Many of the long-time UWA wrestlers were cast adrift as that promotion fell apart in the early 90s. Signo was no different, with short and less memorable runs in CMLL and AAA. (Signo spent most of his career unmasked, but had a very short run as Piromaniaco in 1995 AAA, one of dozens of vet Antonio Pena put under a mask in hopes of finding some magic again.) His last major feud was with Villano III around 2001 in CMLL, which really was just a revival of a feud done many times before in UWA. Signo did not have that great second act in another promotion and did not re-invent himself in the way that partner Negro Navarro was able to; he just faded out in a way where fans and journalists remembered him when he passed away, but no promotion gave his passing the acknowledgment it deserved.

SuperLuchas has an El Signo obituary.

CMLL

CMLL (FRI) 06/07/2024 Arena México
1) Xelhua vs Disturbio [lightning]
2) Futuro & Max Star vs Espíritu Negro & Rey Cometa
3) Akuma, El Hijo del Villano III, Villano III Jr. vs Gemelo Diablo I, Gemelo Diablo II, Kráneo
4) Esfinge, Magia Blanca, Rugido vs Difunto, Star Black, Zandokan Jr. [Relevos Increíbles]
5) Máscara Dorada, Star Jr., Volador Jr. vs Ángel de Oro, Euforia, Templario
6) Místico vs Magnus

The biggest match of Magnus’ life. It also may be one that could signal what the Aniversario main event be, and also inform if it’s a good idea – from match quality, from crowd interest. No pressure. With a few days to think about it, I’m still skeptical CMLL would book Mangus/Mistico in a mask match as the main event of their biggest show of the year, Magnus is just a notch below of where CMLL pulls guys for that event. My opinion is worthless as soon as the whistle blows on this one. If Mistico without hassle, then we can be pretty sure this is just a fun thing to do in June. If Magnus wins, through any means, then it’s time to start penciling it in.

There’s nothing in miles of importance on the rest of the show, but where everything has a chance to be good. If Mistico versus Magnus draws, this could be a very hot show with the ation to match. I couldn’t even guess which one of those will be the best. Match 3 is the hardest bet, but the Gemelos have to know they’ve got to impress on a rare Friday night chance. The fourth match feels like a setup for something, but the odd number of rudos could just mean it was a programming quirk resulting from the earlier tecnico/tecnico tag match.

CMLL (SAT) 06/08/2024 Arena Coliseo
1) Kaligua & Pequeño Magía vs Full Metal & Pequeño Polvora
2) La Vaquerita & Maligna vs Amapola & Olympia
3) Fuego, Hombre Bala Jr., Legendario vs Dark Magic, Espanto Jr., Vegas
4) Fugaz vs Felino [lightning]
5) Blue Panther Jr., Dark Panther, El Hijo De Blue Panther vs Hijo del Villano III, Mephisto, Villano III Jr.
6) Blue Panther, Flip Gordon, Volador Jr. vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Hechicero, Terrible

Mephisto is not quite Kid Stuka or Zandokan but the semimain might be good. It’s a lot of left overs otherwise.

CMLL (SUN) 06/09/2024 Arena México
1) Acero & Aéreo vs Mercurio & Pequeño Violencia
2) Astral, Leono, Robin vs Emperador Jr., Platino Kid, Rayo Metálico
3) Dulce Gardenia, Fuego, Volcano vs El Coyote, Okumura, Pólvora
4) Kira, Sanely, Skadi vs Hera, Reyna Isis, Zeuxis
5) Valiente vs Zandokan Jr.
6) Atlantis, Máscara Dorada, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Dragón Rojo Jr., Terrible

Titan being back in Mexico is very strange; he’s booked back in Japan on June 15th. I thought that was the last booking on his current tour, but maybe it’s the first booking on the next one? Maybe he’s got other quick stops to make in the US anyway?

CMLL (MON) 06/10/2024 Arena México
1) Meyer & Rayo Metálico vs Dreyko & Rencor
2) Shockercito vs Mercurio [lightning]
3) Hombre Bala Jr., Robin, Valiente Jr. vs El Perverso, Multy, Prayer
4) Guerrero Maya Jr., Stigma, Xelhua vs Brillante Jr., Max Star, Neón
5) Averno © vs Esfinge [CMLL LH]
6) Místico vs Ángel de Oro

A rare double singles main event, along with a lightning match earlier. Averno is defending the title he won from Cavernario a few months ago. Esfinge is national light heavyweight champion, so he could unify the titles if he wins. (He is surely not winning.) Match four is already scheduled to be rematched next week; it’s odd how this card and the 17th have both that trios and a Mistico main event. The foreign wrestlers are a difference between the two cards.

CMLL (TUE) 06/11/2024 Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
1) Avispón Negro, Cosmos, Último Ángel vs Abigor La Pesadilla, Rav, Shezmú
2) Adira, Magia Azul, Náutica vs Diablita Roja (Puebla), Estrellita Mágica, Lady Metal
3) Exterminador & Maléfico vs El Perverso & Prayer
4) El Hijo del Villano III, Villano III Jr., Zandokan Jr. vs Bestia Negra, El Elemental, Furia Roja
5) Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero vs Averno & Euforia
6) Místico & Titán vs Magnus & Volador Jr.

Mistico faces the guy who’s he wrestling tonight and the guy he’s wrestling next Tuesday. Hopefully Titan doesn’t betray him too. Match 4 seems to be missing Yutani (or maybe Guerrero de la Muerte is the one missing and Elemental is the sub.)

CMLL announced there will be a Mistico led pilgrimage and mass on Thursday June 20th, the day before his Aniversario show. This is the same bit AAA does every year leading into TripleMania Mexico City, though it’s Mistico honoring Mistico instead of AAA honoring Antonio Pena and Joaquin Roldan. Additionally, Mistico, Michael Oku and Amira Blair will do the LuchaTour meet and greet on Friday June 21st.

Mistico did a lot of press Wednesday and Thursday for his Anniversary shows. Mundo Deportivo’s angle is on Mistico’s appearance in La Quinta Estacion’s “Me Muero” music video. That group doesn’t really exist any more, lead singer Natalia Jimenez went onto a solo career, and then recently reunited with Mistico in videos for her social media. That meeting (1 million views on TikTok) regained some interest in the song, and Mistico’s said he’d like to make it work that he can use Me Muero as his entrance music once again for the show on the June 21st. It is not official, just something he hopes they can work out.

Mistico was asked about not actually being Mistico for twenty years – he was off in WWE for a while, Dralistico had the name for a while even when he returned – but to him, he was always Mistico. He’d wrestle as Sin Cara and get Mistico chants, he’d wrestler as Caristico and get Mistico chants, it was all one thing. Mistico also noted he gets requests to sign photos from adults of when they were kids and met Mistico, or to take photos with their kids now. He says, instead of making him feel old, it rejuvenates him. Mistico would like everyone to show up in his colors for tonight’s shows – white, silver or gold.

Also on Wednesday’s CMLL Informa, CMLL aired a Zack Sabre Jr. video to lead into additional match announcement for the weekend following FatnasticaMania. The idea seemed to be ZSJ just sent into this promo which caused the matches, though it was also clearly the same ZSJ promo they aired when they originally announced FantasticaMania. Maybe they meant to air an older promo from when ZSJ challenged Hechicero a match, because that’s what was announced next:

CMLL (SAT) 06/22/2024 Arena Coliseo
4) Ángel de Oro vs Rocky Romero [lightning]
5) Hechicero vs Zack Sabre Jr.
6) Místico & Taiji Ishimori vs Hiromu Takahashi & Volador Jr. [Relevos Increíbles]

Anyone who is paying for the CMLL subscription for FantasticaMania is also getting the Hechicero/ZSJ match expected for FantasticaMania. It may even be a better venue for it. So we won. But what happened here?

  1. CMLL always planned to do Hechicero versus Zack Sabre Jr. the day after FantasticaMania, and decided to roll out the announcements in a way that made people very upset with CMLL, on purpose
  2. CMLL saw to the bad reaction to not running it and decided to make it good the next day.

CMLL would like people to believe the answer is 1, incredibly. It may be! Whatever, everyone who wanted to see that match take place in Mexico won.

Dr. Landru semi-seriously made the best point about this whole situation: everyone who wrote on Facebook complaining to CMLL about not booking ZSJ/Hechicero, everyone who complaints about there’s not being enough ‘real’ wrestling in CMLL has to show up for this match. This is absolutely a “put their money where their mouth is” situation, as a US promoter might have said last year in a slightly more profane way. No asking for pirate links or finding something else to do that day; you’ve got to prove to CMLL you’ll really give them money if they do the match you say you want. CMLL does not believe people truly care about Hechicero in the way they claim, and the performance of his match at the box office (and at the YouTube virtual one) is either going to confirm their entrenched biases or force them to admit that – at least this one time – they might be underrating the appeal of this guy and his type of wrestling.

The safe bet, as always, is unfortunately to be on wrestling fans talking a big game on Facebook and not always backing it up – to not show up, to ask for pirate links rather than putting their own money down for something they say they want to see. I think this might be a big leverage point if people back it up.

(RevPro is teasing running this ZSJ/Hechicero match too. Maybe FantasticaMania USA still does it as well and they’ll go at it three times over a few months.)

CMLL also announced the top matches for the Sunday show.

CMLL (SUN) 06/23/2024 Arena México
4) Averno vs Rocky Romero
5) Hiromu Takahashi, Magia Blanca, Rugido vs Hijo del Villano III, Taiji Ishimori, Villano III Jr.
6) Máscara Dorada & Místico vs Magnus & Zack Sabre Jr.

A main event I couldn’t have conceived of this time last year. I think CMLL put Ishimoi and Takahashi on the wrong teams; Hiromu needs to be with the crazy Villanos (if only so they don’t kill each other.)

CMLL also announced the Felino 40th Anniversary show will no longer be one show, but “due to popular demand”, would be a three show event similar to the Mistico 20th Anniversary shows. Felino’s shows will take place on July 1st in Arena Puebla, July 2nd in Arena Coliseo Guadalajara and July 5th in Arena Mexico. I’m not really as sure what main events there will be since a lot of Felino’s rivals and friends aren’t around CMLL now. Certainly he’ll team with Felino Jr. and Rey Bucanero, the current unnamed trio. Negro Casas won’t be appearing, Heavy Metal won’t be appearing, I wouldn’t expect Pepe Casas either. (Maybe it’s a chance for Puma King to return, but he’s been out of wrestling for months and I have no idea what’s going on with him.) Maybe a Pesta Negra reunion with Barbaro Cavernario? I wonder if he’ll fight Brillante Jr. in one of them.

AAA

AAA held a press conference on Thursday to announce three items, also announced in a useful press release:

  • Latin Lover is the Director of Talent
  • They’re back on US TV with Unimas and TUDN.
    • Shows will air Saturdays on Unimas at 3 pm eastern, and repeat Mondays at 7 pm on TUDN, starting June 15th.
    • There’s no answers of the episode order or anything like that.
  • They’re partnering with the KidZania entertainment complexes

The last one is quickest: KidZania has a bunch of kid themed indoor sort of education sort of entertainment centers where kids can learn about all sort of jobs. This’ll probably be some luchadors making appearances so kid’s can learn about those jobs.

Latin Lover as Director of Talent feels like old news – AAA’s been setting that up since TripleMania Monterrey – but this was the first time it was rolled out for the press and so it got played up big. Latin Lover said he, Dorian Roldan and Konnan (not present) would all be working together to put together stories all fans will like. AAA’s press release lists Latin Lover’s responsibilities as working with wrestlers inside and outside the ring to develop them. Latin officially starts on the job at TripleMania Tijuana.

The US TV seems like the biggest deal but got far less attention than Latin Lover. Mexican wrestling press barely cares about TV deals and has even less interest on international deals. The press conference itself was set up as if to give credit to Latin Lover for the deal happening, even though it was likely in the works for months and doesn’t have anything to do with his stated role. There was no mention of AAA moving to Televisa in Mexico; it appears CombateMX saw AAA was signing with Televisa and just missed the information on for which country the deal was being made. Again, Mexico wrestling sites do not care about international TV so it probably didn’t even occur to them AAA could be doing a US deal.

I didn’t have a chance to relisten to entire Q&A portion of the press conference, so there may be some more news scattered in there I haven’t grasped. Latin Lover was asked about the comments about making announcing changes that went viral. He said that decision was up to Dorian Roldan, and Roldan did not seem like he would be making changes. They both mentioned Andres Maronas was still in poor health; there’s been no update on his status after requests for blood donations about two weeks ago. It came off like they’ve reached out to Maronas to see how he’s doing.

Latin Lover and Dorian Roldan did interview scrums after the press conference. Latin was interesting, as always. The big mentioned was Latin Lover claimed he had received messages from CMLL wrestlers who felt undervalued and not heard in CMLL and were interested in jumping. He took those names to Roldan to discuss and Dorian will have the final word on if any of it happens. There are perennially people who are unhappy and talk about leaving every wrestling promotion, but the ones who actually do by their own choice are few – this may not come to anything.

Latin’s mantra is he wants AAA to be more of a show and more like a telenovela that you follow week to week. He wants the wrestlers to be characters and superstars that people notice at airports. Latin plans to sit down with each and every talent and want to give all them a chance. He wants to focus on Mexican talent, rather than foreigners. I’m not sure if he knows there are two Japanese wrestlers under AAA contract, but the general idea is he wants to concentrate on AAA wrestlers and not outsiders – he pushed back at the idea of working more with outside promotions (AEW/ROH/NJPW) when brought up in the Q&A, wanting AAA to make AAA stars. This is obviously a difference from the way AAA’s been run for years. Latin also wants to better intermix the “Origenes” talent and the newer wrestlers to hep give them exposure. He’s high on the young talent; Latin says he felt the best two matches on the May Juan de la Barrera taping were the first two (Karis La Momia vs Noisy Boy vs Bengala + Vengador vs Tigre Blanco vs Brazo de Oro Jr.), and that the main event was not good. Latin repeated a story he told at that taping, where he felt Konnan was too hard on the guys in the opener (for time cue reasons) but that Konnan’s Konnan, he’s a rudo, and Latin Lover is much more a tecnico. Latin says the only time he’s talked to Konnan is at the TV tapings he’s attended so far, but he’s also said not really started yet so they may not have had reason to interact.

Latin is asked about TripleMania Mexico and say he’s got two big surprises coming but overall pushes the idea of change. He doesn’t care if people credit him with change or Latin Lover with change, but that people will notice the changes. Latin’s asked specifically about Fresero Jr. coming in. Latin Lover had Fresero Jr. on his podcast a few weeks back, and the indie name wrestler has teased coming into AAA since that point. Latin Lover made it sound like a possibility, but not a definite one – he wants to concentrate on the people who work for AAA already. Latin’s podcast comes up and he mentioned Mistico and Ultimo Guerrero as among those people he’d like to have on; I don’t think they’ll be appearing on an AAA podcast.

Dorian Roldan‘s interview has less new information in it, but it’s tough to compete with Latin Lover right now. Roldan explains Latin as someone who has lots of knowledge in entertainment but also has a complete understanding of wrestling; sometimes people come into wrestling without understanding the industry but that’s not a problem with Latin Lover. Roldan says he and Latin Lover agreed that when they first started talking about him coming back that it’d be as an executive, not a wrestler. Roldan referenced criticism Latin had of working conditions from wrestlers in his day by saying he feels AAA has improved a lot in that area – Latin mirrored those sentiments in his interview – and Roldan feels his roll is to grow the revenue pie as big as possible so everyone is better off. He feels like the mix of Konnan and Latino’s skills and work will be great for the fans.

Roldan was asked about the Unimas TV deal and said that was the part he was most excited about at the press conference; it’d been a long time to get there. He also feels like it’s a great time to re-introduce US fans to the product, since the Origines tour has brought in a lot of wrestlers fans might know from the last time AAA aired in the United States. Roldan confirmed AAA’s still with Azteca in Mexico and looked for positive things to say about the relationship: he felt they were doing good at the original Friday afternoon spot, and then personal and other changes during the pandemic moved them to late Saturday night that hasn’t been as well received. Roldan feels fans still want to see lucha libre, they just have to be able to find it.

There’s an AAA TV show this week! No idea what they’re airing. Latin Lover’s repeated point is that fans should want to tune into these shows each week to see what happens and that’s sure not the case right now.

Destiny, in promoting TripleMania Tijuana, reveals he’s such a fan of lucha libre that he flew to Mexico City to see the Psycho Clown versus Dr. Wagner Jr. mask match at TripleMania. Now he’s going to be on one.

AEW 

This section is confusingly long.

The CMLL/AEW relationship has progress slightly:

  • started as CMLL wrestlers will not appear on shows with people CMLL considers as AAA or otherwise undesirable.
  • moved to CMLL wrestlers and AAA/other wrestlers can appear on the same show, but can’t both wrestle on the same show
  • moved to CMLL wrestlers and Fenix can both wrestle on the same show, though not each other.

There is progress here, even it feels small. It’s enough to makes AEW’s life easier. The WON further clarifies that it’s not a CMLL change in policy towards AAA wrestlers, it’s more CMLL allowing non-AAA Mexican wrestlers to work on shows with their CMLL wrestlers, and being sufficiently convinced that Fenix is not an “AAA” wrestler at the moment. The same reasoning may apply to Penta, Rush and other Mexican wrestlers, but the WON was not certain enough in each case to state it definitively. If I had to guess, Penta is likely a “OK” and Rush is “who even knows”, but I think it’s only AEW and CMLL who know for sure. Komander is 100% on the other side – he’s an AAA wrestler and he’s AAA’s Cruiserweight champion, so he’s as AAA as it gets to CMLL and will not be wrestling on shows with their wrestlers. (I suppose it’s possible Komander would be allowed to still do non-wrestling segments on AEW TV but that takes us to fictional lands of unicorns and rainbows and we need not concern ourselves with them.)

Like everything else in this policy, there are no hard rules to any of it, it’s just what CMLL and AEW can work out, and it’s always subject to change. AEW proving themselves to be a valuable partner to CMLL has surely helped AEW convince them to give them extra leeway.

(More about Penta many paragraphs down. More about Komander father down too.)

As it goes with wrestling news, this was quickly overstated. Here are things that haven’t happened and might never happen.

  • AAA and CMLL are not working together.
    • Tony Khan and Rocky Romero have not gotten AAA and CMLL to work together.
  • CMLL wrestlers are not working with AAA wrestlers in AEW
  • CMLL wrestlers are not wrestling on the same show as AAA wrestlers in AEW
  • Non-AAA Mexican wrestlers are not wrestling CMLL wrestlers, yet
  • Non-AAA Mexican wrestlers are not wrestling NJPW wrestlers, yet

AAA is not really involved; they might have not even know something happened unless they watched Dynamite. CMLL did not change their policy towards AAA. It’s just that fuzzy group that CMLL considers AAA no longer includes Fenix, and likely doesn’t include Penta either.

Notable lucha libre things that actually did happen on this AEW Dynamite

  • Stephanie Vaquer versus Mercedes Mone is official for Forbidden Door, and will be a title (TBS) for title (NJPW Strong) championship match; the winner will have both belts.
  • Rey Fenix won a four way match, will face Will Ospreay for the AEW International Championship this coming Wednesday
  • Team CMLL (Volador, Magnus, Rugido and Esfinge) lost to the BCC, when Rugido taking the pin. There were hints of further Wheeler Yuta/Volador Jr. in social media interaction.

Vaquer/Mone being for both titles is a little bit of a surprise, and probably means Mone is going to be a double champion. Stephanie Vaquer raised the value of that championship but NJPW’s talking about cutting down the number of their belt. That’s an easy one to drop. The bigger question is if there’s a follow up to come in Arena Mexico for the CMLL title. AEW announcing that title match now kills any suspense in the FantasticaMania Mexico NJPW Strong defense against La Catalina Vaquer but a) Catalina never beats Vaquer and no one though she was going to do it this time and b) an AEW title match spoiling another title match happens to NJPW all the time with AEW and they’re all fine with it, right? Right? Ok, sorry I asked.

The Team CMLL/BCC match was good if it didn’t totally click. There still seems to be some issues with getting all the people who should be in AEW there, or AEW has some very eclectic tastes to end up with Esfinge and Los Depredadores. The bulk match took place at the start of the second hour and the quarter hour ratings were significantly up from previous weeks. That could be for lots of reasons having nothing to do with Team CMLL – BCC are among the most popular acts, there was less sports competition this week, there was only one ad break – but going up significantly is still useful to quiet the doubters ever so slightly.

Tony Khan announced Thursday night that Mercedes Mone would defeat TBS championship against Zeuxis on Wednesday’s episode of Dynamite. I’d love to go see that and Will Ospreay versus Rey Fenix, but Des Monies is about a four hour trip on a Wednesday – I think I’d have to take two days off to make that work.  Truth to be told, I’ve been thinking about a month about heading out to the Collision taping in Council Bluff on Saturday. That’s an even longer drive, six hours each way, but it’s a weekend and I don’t have many pressing obligations on this one, I could make it happen if there was a good reason to do it. I watched Dynamite hoping AEW gave me that reason; what they gave me was no matches announced. No wrestlers either. AEW’s made a shift to announcing their matches on social media in the days before the show, if at all. I’m sure they have their reasons, and maybe it works for them, but that shift in match announcement philosophy meant I’ll be around home this weekend.

Now, for reasons I don’t totally grasp, it would actually possible for me to try to ask people in AEW who’s booked on their show on Saturday and have a chance of getting an answer. That was my choice not to do it, not to ask for that special privilege. I’m not big on special privilege. I did tell someone (not in AEW) about this situation and their understanding is there’s no CMLL people booked.  The CMLL show in Saltillo on Saturday scoops up some people AEW would be interested in. (They’re surely putting Vaquer in a match on TV at some point.) I’ll be fine writing a TripleMania preview instead.

CMLL additionally appears to be teasing Titan for an upcoming AEW appearance. Of everyone in CMLL, he always felt the most likely to appear on a Forbidden Door because of the LIJ tie-in.

Wrestlenomics, a website that has earned my respect, reported Wednesday on AEW’s deal to run a series of shows at a Texas venue over the next few months. The story is worth reading; AEW got themselves a sweet deal was my takeaway. There is a mention of an email exchange between a venue official and a AEW one about offering use of venue to NJPW and CMLL as well. It doesn’t appear AEW had extended that offer – the AEW official mentions wanting to make sure AEW dates were all set before talking to anyone else – so it’s likely CMLL hasn’t been contacted and doesn’t even known any of this.

I only take note of this because I think if AEW proposed CMLL run their own show in Texas, CMLL officials heads may explode. Mine definitely would if it happened. AEW themselves promoting a FantasticaMania special in Texas would be fine. Subletting the building to a Martinez Entertainment and letting them bring in some CMLL wrestlers, that’s cool too (though they’d never need a building with TV production.) CMLL spending entirely their own money to run anyone else’s building would be completely outside of their business model that it would completely change the way I think about the promotion. CMLL has the least “manifest destiny” of any promotion in the world; they’re fine where they’re at, they’re focused on making that place better. They’ve got no reason to take the risk to run some place they don’t own with a guarantee, and no burning desire to conquer the world. They’re CMLL, the world comes their front door. The venue operator surely doesn’t know that and the AEW official probably doesn’t it either.

Lucha Libre Online reported Pentagon Jr.’s contract expires between August and September, and said there would be some WWE interest. WWE seems to want their wrestlers to relocate to the United States, Pentagon has shown no interest in leaving Mexico, so I’m guessing it would take WWE paying a significant increase over what AEW would offer to get him to move. (I don’t think Penta in WWE would go well at all creatively, but there’s plenty of people who’ve built some really nice houses and pools for themselves through taking big money deals that weren’t ever going to work out creatively.) Overpay is something a previous version of WWE may have done, just to mess with the competition. This version of WWE seems less aggressive, less willing to go over the top to retain even their talent. I’m doubtful TKO is going to offer enough to make Penta switch his mind. I think it’s probably the opposite – WWE surely has interest, but if Penta’s people already knew WWE had the number he wanted, they wouldn’t need to float a story about his free agency. It’d be a done deal.

The Lucha Libre Online report doesn’t mention Fenix. The Lucha Brothers would’ve signed the same time. It’s possible AEW has used a clause in Fenix’s contract to extend his contract for the time missed due to injury. It’s also possible contract expiration information is being spread out for maximum impact and there will be a report about Fenix’s contractual status in the next few days.

The Lucha Libre Online report also doesn’t mention returning to AAA as a possibility. That looks like an early sign the Unimas deal is not a game changer, because “bringing home” someone like Penta would be a top priority if AAA was suddenly flush with new revenue. AAA may still be doing well with this new Unimas deal, but it’s just another step to the long term goal.

I have a theory about these contract expiration information leaks. I know there was a theory that WWE was doing it, so they could later sign those WWE free agents and claim this as a hard fought wins. (For their part, Fightful says that’s not the case with their reports, they’re not getting them from the WWE side.) In sports, when there are big loud stories about pending free agents and where they might have interest in going, those tend to be from the player’s side – often their agent. And it’s not being done for the people who would normally sign them, the people at the GM level who make most of these deals. They’re the talent relations people in wrestling, and they almost always are going to know who’s a free agent when no matter which side they’re on. That’s part of the gig. Leaks like this, if they’re leaks, are usually intended to either poll fan sentiment about a player/wrestler, or to go over the head of talent relations. AEW’s hired some new people, changed around the front office a bit, but it seems to be generally the same process there. The power structure in the other company sure has changed a lot in the last year, and that may be what is at play here – agents and other representatives hearing one thing from talent relations, and poking and prodding around to see if there’s someone at a higher level with different interests who might overrule them. This 100% happens in sports, where an canny agent will look to find ways to go around a GM and straight to an owner, who might more moved by feelings to go to pay a bit more for their player. (See: the past Washington DC Football team. And definitely the baseball team. And maybe the basketball team too.) I don’t know that’ll work for this WWE/TKO structure, but I think that’s the whole bit – no one’s completely confident where might get involved, so they’re throwing lines out there to see if someone bites. In this case, maybe there’s a talent relation team coming up with a dollar figure keeping in mind their current talent and goals of places to run, and the hope there’s some TKO executive who’s kid just loves the 0M handsignal enough to overrule his team and go higher. Maybe TKO has a tight structure and there is just 2-3 people who are making these decisions, and all of this posturing means nothing. (It hasn’t seemed to mean much for high profile WWE people who’s contracts have come up.) No one’s going to be sure how that new WWE/TKO machine is actually going to work until they try pressing all the buttons, so this is a period of people pressing the buttons just to see.

Getting back to Penta, Mas Lucha posted a great sit down interview with him from the Martinez Entertainment show in April. There’s a lot in there and it’s a good listen – Penta saying Cody Rhodes was his idol in and out of the ring was unexpected – but this post is going to be a million words long as it is. The Mas Lucha tease on the interview is Pentagon talking about AAA status. Penta says he likes the Origines tour, it’s great to see old friends people who were stars when he was just breaking into the promotion returning. Penta, however, is taking a break from AAA. He’s got no problem with Konnan, no problem with Dorian Roldan, no problem with anyone AAA, he just has a surprise he’s working on. This leads into extended period of talking around what the actually situation is. Penta says it’s something international, he wants to get the pieces in place, he doesn’t want to do anything bad, and he’s hoping to achieve one of his goals. “There are certain things I have not been able to achieve in this sport and, in order to achieve them, I have to sacrifice certain things.” This leads into talk about CMLL wrestlers in AEW and again talking around the issues that block guys like Penta from wrestling them. Penta says he has no problem fighting whoever his boss wants him to fight, he has a contract with AEW and only AEW, and he’s ready to take advantage of any opportunity given.

Again, that interview was taped in April, so the things that are happening now – the Lucha Brothers being allowed to work this Forbidden Door cycle – might be what Penta was hinting at two months ago. Penta does mention internationally, mentions things he never has be able to achieve, and so I don’t think that’s working a bunch of Dynamites. Even wrestling CMLL people wouldn’t make sense – he’s done that before, and it’s not really international. The story about WWE having interest might mean it’s that, but there’s no reason he’d have to distance himself from AAA to go to WWE – Dragon Lee was working there up until the minute he signed. The only places where avoiding AAA helps are CMLL and NJPW. There was a tease of the Lucha Brothers in NJPW earlier this year – El Phantasmo dropped their names in daring a whole bunch of teams to come challenge for the IWGP Tag Team Championship – and a NJPW trip would fit as one thing internationally Penta hasn’t done. The Lucha Brothers have worked for smaller Japanese promotions but not for the big ones. You can even go back to that NJPW press conference talking about the 10 things they wanted to improve, where one of them was to demonstrate to their fans that NJPW and AEW were equal partners and were going to do so soon. Bringing in more AEW names, like Fenix and Penta, might help with that.

The WON mentions that Komander and The Beast Mortos (Black Taurus) have been sidelined due to work US visa. Komander last appeared on the April 24th episode of Dynamite, Mortos a few days later on the April 27th Collision. (I felt, at the time, that Mortos definitely should’ve defeated Rey Fenix in that match but – knowing now that he’d be gone for a month anyway – that would’ve been a waste.) Komander and Mortos are said to be approved for visas and simply are waiting for the paperwork to show up before returning to AEW. That sometimes takes a little time in Mexico. Komander will likely be sidelined anyway this month due to Forbidden Door so it may be moot there. Mortos is 100000000000% not with AAA any more so maybe he has a shot.

(1) – Can you imagine a universe where CMLL would sit down for a press conference to talk about 10 things they wish to improve on? AAA? IWRG? RIOT? Maybe RIOT. These promotion admitting something they did wasn’t perfect would be harder then them working together. There’s nothing they can possibly improve on.

Impact

Sure why not

Laredo Kid lost the TNA Digital Championship on Thursday’s edition of 20th Anniversary episode of Impact to “Top Dolla” AJ Francis. Francis and Rich Swann are a group, Laredo sort of lost because he was too busy going after Swann. Maybe there will be follow up to that, maybe not. Laredo got no real run with the belt; the one defense he had was because travel issues changing around a PPV card, and TNA got it off of Laredo as soon as they could – they may have only waited this long to have a title change for that 20th Anniversary episode.

I don’t really care about the third most important TNA men’s singles championship. It’s alright if Laredo is losing if he’s getting a more creative attention in a feud with AJ Francis and Rich Swann. I also have no reason to think it’s happening. My hunch is Laredo Kid was just a transitional champion: New TNA management wanted to get the belt off former champion Crazzy Steve because they weren’t as high on him as the old management, Laredo’s been around for years and has been a good solider so they rewarded him with a token reign while figuring out what to actually do with the belt. Laredo Kid was supposed to face Swann in his first match after winning the belt (on a PPV pre-show, because it’s always a pre-show with Laredo Kid and TNA), so TNA probably immediately knew they were getting the belt to Francis and were working a story to get it there. It’s not really a change for Laredo; it didn’t appear the old TNA management believed him and the new one doesn’t seem much different on that. Laredo Kid does get to add “former TNA champion” to his list of accomplishments, but he’s stuck in a promotion that doesn’t seem to have much interest in doing anything with him.

GALLI is helping to promote next week’s TNA Impact tapings in Cicero. There will be a match two GALLI wrestlers (Quintero and someone TBA) versus two TNA wrestlers. The GALLI ad lists Laredo Kid as wrestling on Saturday. In also has Tasha Steelz pictured. They’re both supposed to be wrestling on TripleMania Tijuana that same day. I assume they’re all ending up in Tijuana and not Cicero, though I now notice Laredo Kid isn’t actually pictured on the TripleMania Tijuana poster. Probably nothing but bad organizing.

Vaquer/Cuatrero

Antonio Nieto (Siete Letras) posted an update on the case, which is actually more a status quo check in. Cuatrero had a hearing on Wednesday to see if he’d be released from jail awaiting trial, the judge said no, Cuatrero still poses a threat to the victim (Stephanie Vauqer) even if he has not been found guilty. The same ruling happened in a previous hearing, which also cited social media threats by fans of Cuatrero toward Vaquer as a reason to keep Cuatrero behind bars. Nieto mention those treats are being investigate.

Cuatrero has been in jail for well over a year at this point; there’s no mention of when his case might go to trial. Mexico does not have a digital public docket in the way the US does; there’s no public way to know what’s going on in a case outside of what leaks reporters get and choose to pass on.

IWRG

IWRG (THU) 06/06/2024 Arena Naucalpan [IWRG]
1) Fauno & Histeriosis b Águila Oriental & Ajolotl
2) Rey Halcón & Sol b Águila Roja & Halcón Suriano Jr.
Sol foul on Aguila Roja for the win, challenges followed
3) Sexy Star b Keyra
sets up an IWRG Women’s championship match on Sunday
4) Spider Fly b Noisy Boy © [IWRG REY DEL AIRE]
title change
5) Látigo & Toxin b Cerebro Negro & Cerebro Negro Jr. [TLC]

Both the women’s match and the title change were said to be worth watching. I guess I have more time to maybe do so?

Other News

Family of murdered Puebla luchador Rey Komodo are upset there’s been no movement in the case in the last two weeks. They all seem pretty sure they know who did it, but are afraid of retribution for saying it and want the police to act instead.

MexaWrestling, which was a hot Mexico City area indie for a while, returns on Saturday in Arena San Juan. They’re running the same Pigs vs Pandemia trios match seemingly run at Arena Neza every third week, but there is some more creative ideas on the undercard.

06/15 RIOT

Lady Apache is headed to Barcelona.

A story about a lucha libre school for kids in Queretaro.

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