Averno’s time with CMLL wrapped up this weekend. He was never got to be the top figure, and rarely was even the top rudo, but he was a key part of the promotion for the last decade. Averno was elevated when he became Mistico’s default opponent, and turned that into a long stretch as a top of the card gatekeeper for young high flying tecnicos. He’s going to AAA to one again fill that first role, but hopefully gets to a little of that second role as well.

Here’s 15 (!) matches to recap his CMLL career.

2001-06-19: Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero vs Averno & Satánico

There’s not much of Rencor Latino listed as airing on TV (this is the earliest known match in the database, this one has a much more interesting group of people). Rencor Latino was used previously by Averno’s father, and he begin using the name himself in dying days of the UWA. That’s not a well remembered time, and so Averno usually gets lumped in as a CMLL trainee despite having started elsewhere. Rencor Latino quietly worked opening matches for a few years before being swept into Satanico versus his pupils Ultimo Guerrero and Rey Bucanero. Satanico had spent the last few months recruiting rivals to help him take back his Infernal group name from the students who had turned on him and taken the identity with them. Satanico couldn’t get the big win that way, so he eventually decided to switch tactics and recruit new soldiers to battle his old ones. Rencor Latino walking thru Satanico’s (cheesy special effect) fire to become Averno is one of the most remembered vignettes of the period.

This match is early on from that feud, with Satanico & Averno fighting Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero. Avenro’s the least important guy in this match, out matched for the moment by the much more experienced Ultimo Guerrero and Rey Bucanero team. He’s also wearing his first Averno mask, a split Ultimo Guerrero/Rey Bucanero mask. It works thematically, but looks a bit ugly. (It still wasn’t his worst Averno mask.) The Satanico’s Infernals versus Rebel Guerreros feud was one of CMLL’s great succeses of this time period, using Satanico and the long history of the Infernales name establish a whole bunch of guys as meaningful players, and they had to pull it off despite some injury absences. Mephisto, seen briefly in the skit before the match, suffered an arm injury in training just before he was supposed to debut. Toscano (then Tarzan Boy) suffered a neck injury earlier and wouldn’t be back for a while longer. Mascara Magica, seen threatening Averno late in the match, ended up getting pulled into the feud as a replacement – and ended up in the long run with about a two year run as a upper level tecnico which wouldn’t have otherwise happened.

2004-10-01: Atlantis, El Hijo Del Santo, Místico, Negro Casas vs Averno, Rey Bucanero, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

Footage, especially footage that is freely available on the internet, is scarce at this point. I’d like to link to Hijo del Santo versus Averno, a match designed to give Averno credibility even in a loss so he’s someone a little more important before the Mistico run begins. This will have to do as a replacement match. It’s all about the young guy in the silver mask, as everyone bends over backwards to make it clear Mistico is the new star. Mistico gets the last entrance, his veteran legend partners insist on letting him start, and the announcers shower with him praise. Averno is moved up to the top mix as a body product, and gets a few moments of getting the better of Santo and Mistico. BONUS: everyone looks much older a decade later, except Atlantis stopped aging at some point.

2005-01-30: Mistico vs Averno

Mistico, under the name, debuted in the summer of 2004 and won the Gran Alternativa soon. That win marked Mistico as someone for the future, but it was the 2005 New Year’s Day win over Averno for the NWA World Middleweight Championship which declared the future was right now. That match never aired. It was a Sunday, which wasn’t being used for TV and so the match probably wasn’t taped.

This was the first defense, off in Guadalajara. Title matches taken through out the country tend not to vary all that much, so I suspect this might not be that far off from the original. There’s still raw at this point, and everything would good refined and improved over the next couple of years. Averno does a lot more flying here than he would as years went by, but his holding together headscissors skill is already present. Mistico has a few detracting slips, but also an incredible tornillo. The crowd is already treating like to Mistico like a star, and absolutely lose their minds when he wins. (This show doesn’t seem to have drawn much mroe than Guadalajara does of late, but that’s change soon.) THIS referee is still in this building too. Bonus fun: Dos Caras Jr. as Mistico’s buddy!

2005-04-01: Atlantis & Blue Panther vs Averno & Mephisto

Again skipping a lot of years here due to lack of available video. (I don’t have a good Generic Red Averno & Generic Black Mephisto match to share, but you can check that lacking look out here.) Averno and Mephsito had already become a strong tag team, Atlantis & Blue Panther were only tag team champions as part of a former enemies who were not friends deal, and this title change seemed overdue by the time it occurred. Mephisto and Averno became a team of two luchadors with one mind, completely in sync with each other and always on the same page, even as Mephisto would add a lot of muscle as time went on. This match featured a lot of spots which would always go wrong for them going right this time, including actually connecting on the top rope swandive headbutt spot. Despite the usual bit of cheating, they win the tag team titles in the cleanest way possible, with Averno even beating Blue Panther with his own armbar.

2006-05-13: Okada & Milano Collection AT vs American Gigolo & Trent Acid vs Bruto Issei & Okumura vs Averno & Mephisto

There is no historical importance to Averno in this match at all, I just thought you should see it given that lineup. That’s a real lineup to a real match that happened at the first DragonMania, because Ultimo Dragon is a well traveled man with an eclectic group of friends and known associates. NJPW top star Okada is a trainee in dark hair and the third most interesting person on his team, behind Milano and his monkey Venezia. The match is not much, as they start with the comedy spots and then continue with many more comedy spots. Averno and Mephisto get disqualified and leave early after crotching the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion into the post in the one time a year that’s a disqualification.. Okumura is still in Mexico, somehow. Trent Acid passed away a couple years ago. Issei and Milano both retired due to injury, though Milano is around NJPW as a commentator. I haven’t seen Gigolo’s name in a while, but I’m sure he’s working hard someplace. Both referees are still in CMLL!

2009-01-16: Sombra & Volador Jr. vs Averno & Mephisto

It’s Averno & Mephisto in a showcase for young tecnicos. This is their native habit, expect to see it most of the rest of the way. Sombra crashes and burns on a tornillo to the floor early on, and is left with one working shoulder the rest of the way. It would takethe impossible for Volador & Sombra to win the tag titles on this day, but this continues a pattern of Sombra pulling out the impossible.

(Also, this was the end of good times for Sagrado, as his trio with Sombra & Volador is quickly dismissed and he returns to midcard purgatory until this day.)

2009-06-15: Ultimo Guerrero vs Averno

The Infernals/Infernales feuded ended with Satanico’s group taking the name. Averno & Mephisto later decided to boot Satanico out of the group themselves, which caused Guerrero & Bucanero to crow about being right all along – and then everyone was just friends going forward. Those four didn’t cross paths as opponents much after than, instead teaming with each other in usual CMLL mix and match fashion. Still, there’s a case to be made that Ultimo Guerrero was the biggest obstacle to Averno’s career, since they were similar types of rudos only Guerrero was always a little bit heavier and a little bit more of a star. Averno couldn’t even permanently leapfrog him on the rudo totem pole without either one of them joining the tecnico side, and neither man was cut out to be a tecnico for any long stretch. This match, the end of a short Puebla feud, is their one known full length singles match. They’d trade decisions wins in the CMLL Universal tournament in 2010 and 2011.

2009-07-21: Hijo del Fantasma vs Averno

Hijo del Fantasma biggest shining moment in CMLL comes by defeating the guy who might soon be his stablemate. This is the era of Fatnasma inexplicably wearing the K-Swiss logo on his mask for reference. This is also the era when Hijo del Fantasma was a rising star in CMLL, before Whatever Happened, Happened. The match itself is not super great – falling into a pattern of trading moves that happens in some Averno matches – but the large Tuesday crowd is thrilled for the title change.

2011-01-23: Mistico vs Averno

Skipping from (almost) the first one all the way to the last one. Don’t worry, you can go back and find plenty more, or you can just wait a few weeks and see plenty of new ones. Both guys know this, the main event of the first FantasticaMania, is Mistico’s final match with CMLL. Very few others know, but they got out with the classic version of their match compressed into one fall. Mistico ends the show by declaring Japan his second home and challenging Averno to return to Japan to do this match again. That’s all just talk for the crowd, but I’d be very surprised if that didn’t happen this year. (Though the mask/mask part might not work.)

2011-03-18: Averno vs Mascara Dorada

Averno wins the title from Mascara Dorada in what appears to be the start of a mask versus mask feud with Mascara Dorada. Averno suddenly has other places to be, so he’s cashing in a mask he won’t soon need. Unfortunately, Mascara Dorada gets an offer to go to Japan for three months, and is suddenly unavailable for months. This is a tease of what could’ve been, but instead the win goes elsewhere and Mascara Dorada is still lacking that career defining win. Dorada’s since noted he was supposed to be in the mask match, but I wonder if he knew that prior to accepting the NJPW trip. It would say a lot about how things in CMLL were looking at that moment if he did.

2011-06-17: La Mascara vs Averno

La Mascara first and only (so far) singles main event in a main show after the market had already cratered, no significant semimain event, plenty of word out about Averno’s planned departure and CMLL generally having a scatterbrained and panicked year following Mistico’s defection. Tony Rivera and friends attempted a blockade of the show, protesting the working conditions. CMLL got them to disappear a few hours before show time (and the whole thing has never been explained or mentioned again), but they still caused many hours of speculation about the big show being canceled. All that worked against the show, and they still managed to draw 13,500. This show won’t be remembered much a decade from now, because it didn’t happen in March or September and La Mascara has still never become a draw, but it’s really one of the biggest CMLL successes in the era.

The vignette building this up, emphasizing La Mascara wasn’t just fighting a satanic demon man but also two decades of Brazo failure, were the best job CMLL Has done in building up a match in this decade. La Mascara lacks much depth as a luchador and was exposed by the many rematches, but he and Averno put enough together here to give the fans a memorable match.

2011-07-15: Hijos del Averno vs Generacion de Oro

Just four weeks later, everything flips. La Mascara, Mascara Dorada (returned!) and La Sombra seem like they’re headed to a record establishing ninth known defense while Averno is wrapping before heading to WWE. Only, Averno beats La Mascara with La Mascara’s own campana, the Hijos del Averno win the world trios titles for the first and only time, and it’s a clear a monkey wrench (or a failed drug test) has change the course of events. Looking back, it’s obviously plans had changed as far back as the 4th, when Averno kept the middleweight title over La Mascara in Puebla, but this trios title change made it definite Averno was staying around for a while longer.

There’s not a lot of trios matches on this list. The Hijos del Averno were in the argument for the best trio for large portions of their run, but the trios championship seems to go more often to teams who need help getting into that argument. Ephesto, added onto to Averno & Mephisto long after those two had started being a team, always felt like a third wheel as well. They evolved into a good team, but a lot of it was Ephesto learning to do the Averno/Mephisto spots rather than adding something new, and the tag team generally felt like the better formation. This was their big moment together, a few moments after it seemed they were no longer meant to be together. The silver lining is it gave Mephisto, Ephesto and CMLL an extra two and half years to figure out exactly what they would do if they were no longer all together.

2011-09-16: La Sombra vs Averno

CMLL had spent the spring building up Averno for his big match, and spent the summer doing La Mascara/Averno rematches. Months of treating Averno like a top star put him in great position for one more big loss. This time, the breakthru win goes to La Sombra, following up his two 2010 mask wins by winning the tournament to declare himself the best in the promotion. This was the signal Sombra was meant to be the (a?) Mistico replacement, and who better to face him than Mistico’s old opponent. Being the new young star right after the last one left comes with some pluses and minuses, but this match is all pluses. It stands on it’s own as an excellent final (and was my pick for best match of the year), but Sombra’s dynamic performance is a breath of fresh air after all the repeatitive drudrgery of the La Mascara feud.

2011 is probably the best year of Averno’s career. Maybe also the most disappointing.

2013-09-13: Blue Panther vs Averno

CMLL’s secret most interesting non-feud for quite a while was Blue Panther versus Averno. For whatever reason, when they were matched up in a routine trios, they frequently broke out of that routine with different mat work, fall structures and finishes. It was rarerly an official feud, just a random Tuesday when Panther and Averno happened to be matched up and wanted to do something out of the ordinary for their own purposes. They finally got to match up full time and for real leading into the 2013’s apuesta match with submission only rules. I have quibbles with the finish, wanting to see a cleaner or more direct win than occurred, but the match was well worked the rest of the way, in a type of match which hadn’t been done in that building. They’re telling a story in very bright primary colors – Averno’s a rudo, so he’s dumb and will forget the rules and must cheat to win – but the level of lucha libre performed may it one of the best matches of the year.

2013-12-01: Averno vs Titan

And this was one of the best feuds of the year. It was really simple: Titan’s almost good enough to win, but Averno baits him into the same mistake every time and beats him just because of it. Only this time, Titan finally finds the will to survive his mistake and come back to win. (Ironically, both Averno and Mephisto have gone the other way with their finisher, where it’s been kicked out so many times that the survival doesn’t get the reaction any more.) This is Averno helping another young high flyer to put it together in Arena Mexico, his defining role for many years.