Hey, so, there’s a show of some important today.

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1) Dark Angel, Luna Mágica, Marcela vs Amapola, Princesa Blanca, Princesa Sujei

Blanca’s first appearance on an anniversary show. 5th time for Dark Angel, 4th for Amapola & Marcela, 3rd for Sujei. Luna was on the 2007 show; the only difference between that match and this was Hiroka in Blanca’s spot.

With Lady Apache & Hiroka out, is this the best possible women’s match? It’s a significant drop off from the Marcela/Apache/Angel tier to Luna/Dalys/Lluvia level, but I think I’m giving credit to Luna because she said she was 50% of all of them. I think I might put Estrella Magica ahead of that last trio, but she seems to have vanished right when he sister returned.

This is a teamup of the three ruda champions, and hopefully one of them loses to set up a title match; this division has been a bit stagnant for a while. Having a team of champions doesn’t mean as much as they think it does when the belts are invisible. Amapola has defended the women’s belt at least 17 times, but it’s been 2 years since she’s faced anyone besides Marcela in DF. Blanca hasn’t defended her belt this year. Sujei at least has a title defense scheduled.

2) Ángel de Oro, Delta, Stuka Jr. vs Arkángel de la Muerte, Pólvora, Skándalo

Nearly a novato trios: Angel de Oro, Delta, Polvora and Skandalo all make their Anniversary debuts. Stuka was in the opener of the 2007 show. Third for Arkangel, but he hasn’t made one since 2003. This match looks to be a rematch between the Gran Alternativa finalists (Delta/Polvora), but it’s also probably a high flyer showcase of guys that may or may not actually connect on their spots. Stuka is solid, the other guys are more unpredictable.

This match might be a 3rd/4th match on some Fridays, but it’s odd to see it make here at all. These are usually jam packed with names to get them a payday, forcing the likes of this six off the show. Notable missing names include Shocker, Terrible, Texano, Toscano, Hijo del Fantasma, Valiente, Rush, Sagrado, Strong Man, and Maximo. They’re never going to everyone they want on all the shows, but I can’t imagine Shocker not getting on an Anniversary card unless they already had plans for a second one in the very near future and they were trying to divy up the paydays a bit.

I’m guessing the rudos take it, just as much for balance reasons as any. Maybe Polvora defeated Delta to confirm his earlier win.

3) Blue Panther, La Máscara, Máscara Dorada vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Misterioso II, Sangre Azteca

I don’t have complete anniversary cards pre-1995 (if you do, let me know!), but we do know Panther has been in at least 6. (’87, ’89, ’99, ’04, ’06, main event of ’08.) This is Dorada’s second appearance and, surprisingly, the first time La Mascara’s made it. He’s been around so long that it feels like he’s should’ve sneaked onto it one year. Mascara’s earned the spot. This is the second straight year Poder Mexica have teamed up in the tercera. This is the fourth time Misterioso’s made it (going back being the third guy in the Mistico/Volador trio in ’04), and the fifth time Sangre Azteca has been here.

This should be the Mascara Dorada show. He’s teaming with the two of the few CMLL tecnicos who aren’t mostly high flyers (though La Mascara would be considered one elsewhere), he’s going up against very familiar opponents, and it’s the last match built for the night around non-cage highspots. Plus, he’s got that title match on Tuesday, and might as well be rolling into it. I wouldn’t be opposed to Poder Mexica beating 2/3rd of the World Trios champs to set up another challenge, but that doesn’t seem to be their lot right now.

4) Felino, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Charly Manson, Héctor Garza, Mr. Águila

This is going to incomplete. But it’ll also be a list so you can scroll past it.

18+: Negro Casas (’81, ’92, ’93*, ’94*, ’95, ’96*, ’97*, ’98, ’99, ’00*, ’02*, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09*) – 7 main events; was he hurt in ’01?
08: Rey Bucanero (’07, ’06, ’05, ’03, ’02, ’01*, ’00, ’99) – 1 main event
06: Felino (’06, ’05, ’03, ’01, ’00, ’92)
03: Hector Garza (’04, ’05*, ’06, ’08) – 1 main event
02: Mr. Aguila (’06, ’08); his mask loss on 09/11/98 is sometimes (incorrectly?) listed as an anniversary show
debuting: Charly Manson

Everyone expects this match to lead to a hair match very soon, either on 09/17 or 09/24. They’ve been matching up these teams for four weeks, which is usually about the limit of their attention span; either they get around to making it official here (in front of the largest crowd possible) or they might as well forget about it. The Invasors are surely losing, but I don’t think Garza is dropping his hair in this feud. The real puzzle here is which two Peste Negra guys oppose them. Negro & Felino gives you the brothers teaming, but Bucanero’s the one who’s been making challenges. My guess is it’ll be Negro & Rey vs Charly & Aguila, so the later two should pick up the win here.

I haven’t seen any of these matches yet between these teams, but I believe they’ve generally been good. It should be a different from what’s come before and what’ll come after, so it’s nice mix.

5) Atlantis vs Jushin Lyger, Último Guerrero, Averno, Mephisto, Mr. Niebla, Histeria, Psicosis, Místico, La Sombra, El Alebrije, Volador Jr., Ephesto, Olímpico [cage, mask]

again, incomplete
19+: Atlantis (’84*, ’86, ’88, ’89*, ’92, ’93*, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99*, ’00, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’06, ’07*, ’08, ’09) – 5 main events
11: Ultimo Guerrero (’09, ’08, ’07*, ’06, ’05, ’04, ’03, ’02, ’01*, ’00, ’99) – 2 main events, both cage matches
10: Averno (’09, ’08, ’07, ’06, ’05, ’04, ’03, ’02, ’01*, ’99) – 1 main event
09: Mephisto (’09, ’08, ’07, ’06, ’05, ’04, ’03, ’02, ’01*) – 1 main event
08: Olimpico (’96, ’97, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’04, ’06, ’07)
06: Volador Jr. (’09, ’08, ’07, ’04, ’03, ’02)
05: Mistico (’09*, ’07*, ’06*, ’05, ’04) – 3 main events
04: Mr. Niebla (’08, ’01, ’99*, ’97) – 1 main event
04: Ephesto (’09, ’08, ’07, ’01)
03: Sombra (’09, ’08, ’07)
01: Jushin Liger (’09)
first: Histeria, Psicosis, Alebrije

This is the fourth straight year Averno, Mephisto & Ephesto have been teamed together (though this is not quit a normal teaming.) Their second most often partners are Satanico & Olimpico.

CMLL’s run two cage matches at the anniversary show before. In 2007, Blue Panther defeated Lizmark Jr. to take his mask. Those two had been feuding up until the announcement of the anniversary show. Alone, it wouldn’t have worked as a main event, so they hid it with bigger names. Villano V was the clear lowest man on the totem pole in that match (though Panther would’ve been second most likely to lose, and we all had a moment of fear Lizmark would take it. Maybe that was the better option.) CMLL’s other cage match main event was in 2001, when the rebel Infernals (Ultimo Guerrero, Rey Bucanero, Tarzan Boy & Mascara Magica) faces Satanico and his New Inferanles (Averno & Mephisto, who’d just gotten become those characters.) That match followed the typical cage match pattern: the lowest ranked guy dropped his mask. Mascara Magica wasn’t so dramatically lower than the other guys as his career looks today, but it was clear it’d be him or Satanico and it didn’t make sense for Satanico’s new group to lose in their first big match.

By my count, CMLL has run 13 cage matches in Arena Mexico since 2000. In general, it’s not the least pushed person who loses the cage match, but it is someone in the lower half. There’s always pressure to deliver something (positively) memorable for the anniversary show, plus they’d be foolish to leave a bad taste in the fan’s mouths if they’re planning on bringing them back later this month for a near equal show. This is not a night for Histeria or Olimpico, the two biggest afterthoughts in this match, to lose their masks.

Who will win?

This is a better place to start, becomes it informs the other part.

Mistico is the most important guy, but he’s already gotten his big win for the year (Oriental), and CMLL doesn’t usually give more than one of those per person per year. Same thing applies even stronger to Sombra. Lyger too, though there are other obvious reasons for him not to win. Volador just turned rudo, so it would only make sense for him to beat a tecnico, but there’s only two of those and they’re not losing. Ephesto, Histeria, Olimpico, and Alebrije would all be bizarre choices. I could’ve seen Mr. Niebla winning if he had been around full time, but it’s out of the question now.

That leaves (in least to best chance)
Mephisto – would still be pretty bizarre
Psicosis – a repeat of last year’s No Limit story, where the outsiders pick up surprise big wins to set up a loss later (note: this would require running Gran Alternativa again so Alebrije could win)
Atlantis – seems past the point of needing masks, would start a countdown on Atlantis losing his own mask, and there’s been no hint of that
Ultimo Guerrero – usual rudo defender of CMLL role; did get V5′s mask
Averno – only mask win under that name is Plata, way off TV.

I’ve flipped between the last two a few times, but I’m picking Averno. I don’t know if they’ll ever do Mistico/Averno while it still matters, but I believe they think they’ll get to it. If you’re ever going to do it, it’s sure going to help to be able to point to an Averno big mask win in Arena Mexico. Anything they can use to put a question into that finish will help.

Who will lose?

Atlantis, Lyger, Ultimo Guerrero, Averno, Mephisto, Mistico, Sombra, and Volador aren’t worth discussing. CMLL wouldn’t be running a cage mask if they were going to have one of those guys lose their mask. Alebrije’s career would essentially be over without a mask; he’d have to completely rework his character and he’d be forfeiting years off his career.

from least to most likely
Histeria – would cause unprecedented amounts of message board whining. Much more likely to be the first guy out.
Olimpico – at least a ‘true’ CMLL guy would be losing. Would also cause much eye-rolling.
Ephesto – can’t shake the notion that this is more possible than everyone realizes, but two masks guys and one unmasked one isn’t what CMLL does for trios.
Psicosis
Mr. Niebla

When the match was announced, I was sure the final would be Averno over Psicosis. Averno was the most important guy int he match who hadn’t gotten anything this year. Psicosis time under that name seemed limited (and may still be.) The tipping point was the Hijos de Averno/Invasors feud that randomly popped up on Sundays. It was purposeful and quickly intense, but they didn’t go anywhere with it. Maybe I’m being very generous, but it seemed like they were bringing some attention to a feud so everyone might remember it later on, but not so much to give it away.

Since then, CMLL added four more men, and they’ve set up the Invasors/Peste Negra feud. It’d make no sense for an Invasor to lose here if they’re building up another Invasors/CMLL match as a big deal right after. There’s no way they bring back Mr. Niebla yet again, who was expected to lose his mask on this show before, just to have him climb out of the cage. No, Mr. Niebla is back to lose his mask, at a drastically reduced rate, while they still have the chance to take it. It doesn’t make sense for Ephesto to be the only unmasked guy in a trio of masked men, and I think Mr. Niebla’s no longer going to be the only masked guy in a group of unmasked wrestlers. The leader of Peste Negra takes the big loss here, and his men get one back later on.