CMLL’s 80th Anniversary show was nearly two weeks ago. It was the show to end all shows – except they still have to keep running shows, that’s kind of the whole idea. Where did the show leave the most important people on it?
Averno: has had a pretty awesome six months. He beat Mistico to win the Mexican welterweight title, then he turned back Titan, then he actually won this feud. That’s a staggering successful stretch for a guy who’s been otherwise petrified of submission holds. Averno saving his hair now should give him better credibility when he faces a strong unmasked tecnico down the line, but there’s no one set for him right now. Rush is busy and not a good match. Rey Cometa is probably not the right guy (though that should be a title program.) Maybe a tecnico Volador, but that’s not happening any time soon.
Blue Panther: solidly in the end stages of his career, where the fans still love him enough to support him in hair matches but no one should expect him to win any of them going forward. Usefully as a conduit to the 35th Anniversary CMLL vs Indy Legends matches, which sounds like it will continue for a while longer. Seems unlikely to make it to his 40th Anniversary but also seems like a guy who will keep wrestling even occasionally as his career winds down (in Brazo de Oro fashion.) There’s been no mention of his sons since his Anniversary match and we probably should not be expecting them to turn up right away.
Atlantis & Ultimo Guerrero: Friday’s match was a big opening to bring up the feud again. CMLL staying away from pushing the mask match seems to indicate they think the match is radioactive at the moment, but it’s also not like they’re keeping them totally away from each other. I think the mask match is coming back, but it’s nothing they’re going to any time soon; Dos Leyendas is the soonest, Anniversary 81 seems more likely and neither is a sure thing.
Atlantis seems about to be involved in the tag team title picture. Guerreros could always get a trios title match to keep them busy. There’s enough to do keep Guerrero and Atlantis separated for the short term and that’s seems likely where they’re going once they’ve run thru the Anniversary rematch.
Volador Jr.: updating his passport? The thing about Japan is there’s not much steady money in it for anyone in the NOAH/AJPW/W-1 tier of promotions. It’s possible someone could promise big money, but big promises are unlikely to be kept. That leaves Dragon Gate, who have their own guys, and NJPW, who could use some new juniors but see the lucha guys just as flavor additions but not key players. Plus, if they wanted a luchador, I’m sure CMLL would just give them Dorada or whoever full time because that’s the way the relationship seems to be working. (Also, this is probably where being mean to Devitt comes back to hurt.)
Which leaves – WWE? (I wrote this paragraph before today’s news, but it still works.) You’re also not getting paid much when waiting for a spot there, but there’s a pot at the end of the rainbow and big payoff to a mask match could hold you over for a while. If Volador Jr. wants to make the move, this is the time to due it – WWE has hopes of people panning out but no one’s taken the spot yet, Volador’s 32 (so really can’t afford to go much later) and Volador seems to be in decent shape. No one’s said Volador can speak English, which is always the big problem. The safest move is staying with CMLL. Most guys just take the safe move.
Volador figures to get some revenge wins for a while in CMLL. He’s already picked up a few on Mistico and Sombra and will continue to get ‘rebuilt’ for the time going. There should be a good hair match with him down the line but, like with Averno, there’s no unmasked tecnico for him to feud against. Hopefully he doesn’t let no mask stop him from continued creative outfits.
La Sombra: One of the many reasons I thought Sombra versus Volador couldn’t possibly happens is it takes away Sombra’s biggest challenge. Sombra and Volador will continue to have many matches against each other because they’re good against each other but, even when Volador wins, Sombra’s still forever won the feud. Sombra beheaded his generational rival – he can’t quite go back to feuding with Dragon Rojo. Sombra’s win cements him as one of the pillars of CMLL for the foreseeable future, but what do they have left for his next act?
BUILD SOMEONE UP: Let’s pick a name at random. Puma is awesome. Puma also needs 18 months of CMLL treating him importantly before he can credible feud with Sombra. There are people much father up the card who could work, but again they’d need to get serious wins for a serious amount of time just get them to point where people care about them versus Sombra. (There’s definitely no sense they had another guy being built up for this role, unless they’ve just done a really bad job building.)
GO AFTER THE OLD PEOPLE: maybe do Ultimo Guerrero versus Atlantis never and do Ultimo Guerrero versus Sombra next? Even then, people would figure Sombra was winning and they’d be right. Plus, it’d be a waste of a year of Sombra matches because they’d also be Ultimo Guerrero matches. Or just cause everyone to go insane and do an Atlantis versus Sombra mask match. I thought the 80th Anniversary was the last best chance at an Arena Mexico riot, but the finish to an Atlantis/Sombra might get it done. That might mean Sombra gets booed forever, which is not the idea here. (LA Park is not on the list.)
BRING MISTICO I BACK AND FEUD HIM WITH SOMBRA: I was finally convinced in Mexico this is not happening. Suffice to say, the WWE locker room isn’t the only one with people not too happy with Sin Cara.
DEFEND MEXICO: we’ve gotten some of this already – the big positive reaction Sombra got for beating Nakamura assures me that the fans will be cheering him again soon enough – and Sombra should take more of the feuds against the visiting NJPW guys instead of Rush. It works out nicely that Tama Tonga’s probably in for a while – we’re probably getting more of their feud as Sombra’s thing to do right now, though that only takes care of the issue short term.
TURN SOMEONE: if CMLL was like pretty much every other promotion, CMLL would be doing periodic teases to the Rush versus Sombra match that’s got to happen someday. Those two should be rivals, except they’re sort of on the same side and they’re being kept far away from each other. Enough so that CMLL must be doing it on purpose to save that match, but they don’t seem to be planning on going to it any time soon. Turning Sombra would seem to be counter productive, but it would work with the current reaction and for the people who think Sombra’s too cocky already. Mascara Dorada or La Mascara could be his big rival and there’s obviously a lot more interesting possibilities. (And he’d still fight Volador every other week.)
There’s no good answer. Maybe it’ll take time to get there, but if CMLL thought highly enough of La Sombra to have him win the biggest match in the history of the promotion (give or take), there really ought to be a plan for everything he does going forward.