What happened: Volador and Mistico won the two big singles matches to close out another FantasticaMania tour.
What was good: Like yesterday, every match past the opener was worth watching (and even that would be a better than average match on an average Tuesday.) The two singles matches were great and the showcase tag match could’ve fit alongside them if the first couple minutes were smoother.
Tonight’s The Crash show is ongoing as I type this. It looks good in highlights, but internet issues meant the stream never was broadcast. It’s too bad, because there was something to see even beyond the matches. Early in the night:
.@Konnan5150 just came out to cut a short promo, ended with "que chingue su madre Triple A."
As far as I can tell, no one said they were quitting at AAA, but that’s obviously the implication. Pentagon would only change his name if he was leaving – AAA owns the name, and trademarked Cero Miedo when they previously were scared of him leaving – and showing up on a Konnan booked promotion in 2017 is pretty much handing your resignation to AAA. It’s notable they had the Perros del Mal gear with them, since that also takes the most popular stable in AAA.
Daga & Pentagon are booked on the next two AAA TV tapings, and Garza is booked on the first one, next Friday. That show on Friday in Toluca will might be the first time we get an idea of what’s going on. There probably will be questions asked if AAA holds a TripleMania press conference on Tuesday as ESPN Mexico reported.
This is a significant blow to AAA if this is permanent (and really, all we have is an in-ring bit.) The promotion is already low on names and stars, and losing Pentagon in particular messes up more of their main events. It’s not clear if AAA was told in advance: Pentagon losing would make some sense if they knew it was his last night, but they couldn’t have known Daga was losing or they wouldn’t have set him up as the next challenger for Johnny Mundo.
(AAA said they were going to announce the Tlaxcala lineup this past week, and did not. I thought it was just a timing thing, and now I wonder if more was going on. AAA had a private and likely free show at Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera tonight. I don’t think there was ever a public lineup, but perhaps Daga or Garza didn’t show for that and that’s when AAA found out? Pentagon Jr. was working an indie in San Diego, which made coming to this show easy to do.)
The Crash has talked about running 20-30 shows this year. This gives them more full times names to do it. These guys aren’t jumping to work four shows a year either, and it’s not worth the coming war with AAA unless they’re running a lot more shows. This is probably the first of a lot of news for the Crash, and a lot of hard back and forth between the two promotions. Konnan also personally gains a lot of power, since he’ll be helping booking out the two most popular Mexican guys to indie promotions going forward.
This also does give an indication of what Pentagon believes about Lucha Underground status. Either he’s been assured AAA won’t be able to affect his Lucha Underground status, or he believes LU is a long enough shot to return that he’s not risking much by leaving AAA. If LU had been running tapings this month, or if LU had already gotten live shows and merchandise coming in where these guys were being paid more during the taping breaks, it might have been a much harder decision. This is the cost of LU not getting deals done. Hopefully, Pentagon Dark is still on Lucha Underground in Season 4, but he (and Daga and Garza) now go on the unknown status list with Sexy Star, Fenix and Jack Evans.
I’ll add more to this post if they say anything more after the show.
Juventud Guerra had a few quick words from the guys who jumped. No one says all that much but everyone seems in a good mood.
On Twitter, Konnan says this is the same as 1996. That’s when Konnan and others exited AAA to for Promo Azteca.
Edit 7:20AM: On Facebook, Pentagon confirms he’s out of AAA and completely independent. (I’ve checked the headline to this post.) Pentagon – or, Penta El 0M – says he’s talking to the person in charge of Perros del Mal to see if they’re continue using that name.
Earlier, Perros del Mal said they had no idea guys were going to jump and will release official information on their plans going forward. Joe Lider is the only Perros del Mal member who’s still in AAA, so the group would either cease to be or a lot of people who haven’t previously been part of the group will suddenly be sporting the shirt.
Daga and Garza Jr. should not have name issues. Garza Jr. appears to have trademarked his own name after appearing on AAA TV with it. Daga used his name prior to coming to AAA.
We can safely assume AAA will try to fight this somehow. The question going forward is who will be on each side. There’s people still in AAA who associated with Konnan behind the scenes; Hijo del Fantasma and Taya are the biggest names to come to mind. At the same time, the more people who leave, the more likely AAA’s handing out better deals to keep people to stay.
AAA TV (FRI) 01/20/2017Gimnasio Olímpico Juan de la Barrera, Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal [AAA, ESTO, Estrellas del Ring, R de Rudo, Record, SuperLuchas] Guerra de Titanes, 2017
1) Dave The Clown, Lady Shani, Mamba, Mini Psycho Clown b Bengala, Big Mami, Dinastía, Pimpinela Escarlata Shani got the pin on Pimpi. Taya came to the ring after the match and Shani challenged her for a title match. Taya, Mundo, Mesias instead beat up all the rudos. Earlier, Bengala did a moonsault of the upper level.
2) Averno & Chessman b Faby Apache & Mary Apache Xinetez helped OGT win, but said their would be a price to pay for their help.
3) Aerostar & Súper Fly L Argenis, Australian Suicide, Angélico, Carta Brava Jr., Daga [cage] Moved down a spot. Daga entered himself into the cage match (maybe to beat Australian Suicide again; it wasn’t made clear.) Order of escape was Carta Brava, Argenis, Angelico, Daga and Australian Suicide. Aerostar and Super Fly were the last two and ended up bloody. They advance to an apuesta match at Rey de Reyes.
4) Hijo del Fantasma b Garza Jr. [AAA CRUISER] Moved up a spot. Fantasma won with the Thrill of the Hunt in what’s aid to be a good match. 5th defense (4th on TV)
5) Dr. Wagner Jr., El Mesías, Pagano b La Parka, Psycho Clown, Texano Jr. Moved down a spot. Monster & Murder helped Wagner win. Pagano and Mesias had issues.
6) Johnny Mundo b Pentagón Jr. [AAA LA] Moved up a spot. Taya got involved often and hit Pentagon with a light tube to win. 2nd defense. Daga demanded a title shot.
Air Date: 01/28 & 02/04
Mundo & Taya beat up their fellow heels earlier in the show. Pentagon did a pro-Mexico speech in front of a sold out crowd on a highly charged day. The match was moved to the main event, the last thing fans would see that night. It was a dream scenario to make some a top star, a chance to create a memory those fans would have forever, and definitely in mind next time they’re buying a ticket to an AAA event. Instead, AAA did the same match they always do, with lots of interference and Pentagon failing. At least we have some certainty with Pentagon: he’s not going to be a top guy in AAA and will have to go elsewhere if he ever wants to be that guy. No idea if he will. It’s hard to imagine Daga is going to get the win Pentagon wouldn’t get, but it’s hard to understand AAA’s thought process so maybe he will.
Otherwise, they’ve set up Aerostar vs Super Fly and maybe Taya vs Lady Shani for Rey de Reyes. In the window of time after the opener and before the main event, it looked like Taya/Shani was happening so Taya could drop the Reina de Reinas title with her and Mundo finishing up as regulars. Perhaps that’s still happening at Rey de Reyes, but it seems less likely. Shani picked up a couple of previously unlikely wins on the last few TV tapings of the year (including the show airing today), so AAA might have been planning towards that title match for a while.
Mesias & Pagano having issues and Mesias being with Mundo & Taya earlier in the show seem to suggest Pagano is eventually going tecnico. It still seems early for that, and maybe it’s early enough on that it’ll change. On the other hand, this week’s WON said everything in AAA had been planned out until at least April, so they know what direction they’re going with all of this. Mesias & Pagano are booked together on the next two tapings, so there’s space for them to so a split up if that’s happening.
ESPN Deportes writes AAA will hold a press conference Tuesday for Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner Jr. to sign for their mask match. AAA hasn’t said anything about this yet. This has to be the third or fourth time AAA’s done an announcement for the match, though it’ll obviously get more attention by making it a public event. The same article says TripleMania will be back in Arena Ciudad de Mexico. That’s probably the smart move; it was a strain to figure out how they’d fill up a bigger arena, and nothing they did last night would’ve helped to do that.
CMLL (FRI) 01/20/2017Arena México [CMLL, ESTO, Estrellas del Ring, SuperLuchas, thecubsfan]
1) Flyer & Oro Jr. b Akuma & Inquisidor 13:15. Tecnicos took 1/3.
2) Fuego, Pegasso, The Panther b Disturbio, Sangre Azteca, Skándalo 15:12. Tecnicos took 2/3.
3) Tritón b Misterioso Jr. [lightning] 9:08. Misterioso won with the Rosa Driver.
4) Bobby Z, Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora b Guerrero Maya Jr., Johnny Idol, Rey Cometa 15:32. Rudos took 1/3.
5) Ángel de Oro, Blue Panther, Marco Corleone b Felino, Negro Casas, Sam Adonis 11:50. Tecnicos took 1/3.
6) Carístico, Diamante Azul, Rayo de Jalisco Jr. b Mephisto, Rey Bucanero, Terrible 16:18. Tecnicos took 1/3.
The main event really played down the Rayo/Terrible thing compared to last week (though Rayo made sure to get his revenge post match), with the show ending up instead having Caristico hype his match with Mephisto for today in Arena Coliseo. The best thing they did on the show was the big introduction to the new Revolucionarios, which helped them come off as big stars prior to the victory.
I liked this overall better than the previous day’s show, though Cavernario/Dragon Lee might have been better than anything here. The unexpected wild brawling and blood helped the Rush/Atlantis match. The NJPW crowd gave the main event more of a chance than it would’ve gotten elsewhere, and it was a good match. Soberano continues to do very well in his matches and that tercera was a nice hidden highlight for the show.
The tour finishes up tomorrow morning at 3:30 AM. Volador faces Ultimo Guerrero and Mistico fights Euforia, building off their strong tag match today. Dragon Lee & Titan versus Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI is the other big match on the show, with NJPW putting a lot of focus on the upcoming title match. CultIcon previews this show.
There’s also a show in Tijuana tonight for The Crash, starting tonight sometime around 10pm. It’s a loaded card: Rey Fenix & The Hardys take on the reunited Mexicools (Juventud Guerrera, Nicho el Millionario, Super Crazy) in the main event. The semimain will have at least Brian Cage, Willie Mack and Jeff Cobb – La Mascara was supposed to be in it, but said he wasn’t sure if he would be and has gone silent on the show. (That match looks better without him.) Flamita takes on AR Fox in a first time ever match which could be outstanding, as could be the Jack Evans & Rey Horuz vs Bestia 666 & Jinzo match prior to it. The opening matches have Angel Metalico, Black Boy and Orauclo against Douglas James, Tiago, Tony Casanova, and Black Danger against Arkangel Divino, of the famous super fast Mistica.
The Crash shows have generally been good but haven’t had every match work out like intended. If they do tonight, it’s going to be a great show. CultIcon has a preview of this show too. The Crash’s website says they’ll be streaming the show tonight. It’s usually a single camera from not a poor angle, but it’s free and you can’t beat free.
Hijo del Pantera says he’s moved to United States full time, blaming promoters in Mexico for not using new talent and lowering the level of lucha libre in the country. Hijo del Pantera doesn’t really show up in lineups in the US much either (and probably needs to cross over into normal US indie feds if he’s going to be booked more), but is part of a show Sunday in Berwyn with Aerostar, Ciclon Ramirez Jr. and Huracan Ramirez Jr.
CMLL (TUE) 01/24/2017Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
1) Explosivo & Gallo vs Maléfico & Pitbull I
2) Princesa Sugehit, Silueta, Skadi vs La Seductora, Reyna Isis, Tiffany
3) Blue Panther Jr., Esfinge, The Panther vs Disturbio, Puma, Tiger
4) Negro Casas vs Mephisto
5) Dragón Lee, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Cavernario, Gran Guerrero, Último Guerrero
Lineups aren’t being posted on CMLL’s website for the moment – Alexis Salazar and Miguel Reducino being at FantasticaMania is probably the reason – so the Fuego en el Ring just took a photo of the handbill and put it up. Negro Casas & Mephisto was weirdly set up last week, and I have less understanding why they’re doing when it’s just a semimain. Not sure Cavernario will be working this show.
What happened: Máximo defeated Hechicero to keep the heavyweight title. Rush beat Atlantis bloody, but needed help from the rest of the Ingobernables to get the win. Último Guerrero defeated Volador before their match tomorrow. Soberano continues to do very well.
What was good: Pretty much everything. Skip the opener and watch the rest of the show.
What happened: The new version of Revolucionarios debuted with a big introduction and a win. Rayo de Jalisco’s feud with Terrible was toned down; he got the revenge pin in the first fall and the focus was on Mephsito & Carístico (who have a singles match tomorrow in Coliseo.) Nothing else really happened.
What was good: The Revolucionarios match was the most watchable. None was really bad and some stuff (opener) was better than usual, but there wasn’t a lot you need to go out of your way to watch. People watching the stream were generally higher on the show than me.
Where can I watch it:It’ll be on my channel soon enough.(more…)
We don’t have a card for Tuesday’s Guadalajara show (and we may not be getting one though the show will go on), but Negro Casas/Mephisto will have a match because they can’t stop doing Negro Casas singles matches. Those two met in a 2014 CMLL Universal opening round match, but their only three fall match was in September 2005, eleven and a half years ago.
This is the first FantasticaMania where they’re explicitly building to another show down the line instead of making it self contained, and that affected the top couple matches. The goal of Takahashi/Titan was to continue to position Takahashi as the top of the division. Titan wouldn’t be in the top 10 of contenders at this point, so Titan had to go down hard and that was the story of the match. Takahashi being Takahashi, he was still willing to take the death bump if it had gone right. Still, this was the back and forth fight hoped for because that didn’t serve NJPW’s plans. Dragon Lee & Cavernario got more time because Lee hasn’t had that epic in NJPW for a year, but the longer match slowed down the pace a bit. The length and violence of the match might have worn them out of the end, and the match seemed to end a little early due to Cavernario’s injury.
NJPW’s recap mentions Cavernario suffered a right shoulder injury and seemed to believe it happened on a reverse huracanrana. There’s some uncertainty if he’ll be back in the ring the rest of the week, though he was fine enough to be back on Twitter afterwards.
The full show from the first day of the tour (as aired on SamuraiTV) is now up.
Tomorrow’s (early morning) FantasticaMania show will have the Atlantis versus Rush and Maximo versus Hechicero title matches. That title match will be interesting: the crowd was into Maximo tonight, and NJPW apparently will give them a lot of time out of deference of it being a title match, but it’s still a strange match up. It should be good, but I’m not sure what the reaction is going to be. (I’d expect Atlantis/Rush to go shorter than Titan/Takahashi.)
The undercard is the strongest of the three Tokyo shows, though we probably shouldn’t expect greatness out of it. The other five Ingobernables face Dragon Lee, Titan, Juice, Tanahashi, and Finlay. Kushida, Taguchi and Soberano are scheduled to face Okada, Ospreay and Barbaro Cavernario in the tercera; that could be a strong match if Cavernario can go. It’s another good chance for Soberano, though he’s likely to take the pin. Stuka and Okumura have a special singles match as the second match, and the opener is an atomicos with Bleu Panther, Henare, Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask against Ephesto, Gedo, Jado, and Raziel.
Culticon previews the show. It’ll air at 3:30 AM CT on NJPW World and will be available to watch on demand immediately after if you’re the type who prefers normal amounts of sleep.
Euforia will face Mr. Cacao in a singles match in Nagayoa on the 29th.
While CMLL is offering a title match in Japan, they’re offering a Rayo de Jalisco match in Mexico City. Tonight’s main event is a rematch from last week, with Rayo de Jalisco, Caristico & Diamante Azul versus Terrible, Mephsito and Rey Bucanero. Terrible cheated to win last week, with definite hints they’d be heading to a Rayo/Terrible match. A Rayo de Jalisco Jr. singles match is a bad idea and maybe CMLL won’t actually do it. The crowd that showed up last week did seem to be into the nostalgia of seeing Rayo, but it also didn’t seem to draw a bigger than usual crowd. (Maybe a normal crowd is good enough given the people involved.)
The only somewhat important match on the show is the official debut of the new Revolucionarios trio, with general Dragon Rojo and colonel Polvora welcoming captain Bobby Z to the trio. They face usual rivals Rey Cometa & Guerrero Maya, with Johnny Idol tagging along. It’s CMLL, so it’s a 50/50 shot the new group wins.
The rest of the card has Marco Corleone, Angel de Oro, Blue Panther taking on Negor Casas, Sam Adonis and Felino, who hasn’t been on TV in about three weeks. It’s no big deal, but weird given the lesser amount of people around. The lightning match has Triton versus Misterioso Jr., which should be good. Fuego, the Panther & Pegasso take on Skandalo, Disturbio, Sangre Azteca, which will be a **1/4 match. Flyer & Oro Jr. open the show against Inquisidor & Akuma.
AAA returns to TV taping tonight. They’re also in Mexico City, at their usual home of Gimnasio Olimpico Juan de la Barrera, with this year’s Guerra de Titanes. There’s two title matches on the show: Pentagon challenges Johnny Mundo for the Latin American championship, while Garza Jr. does the same against Hijo del Fantasma for the cruiserweight championship.
Pentagon versus Mundo was built up on TV, with Pentagon getting a singles non-title win over Mundo after losing the title way back at TripleMania. The match was brought up during the year in review stuff, but didn’t seem to get any special hype on last week’s TV show. Johnny Mundo’s sent in promos to build up matches previously, but I think he’s only just RT-ed the Guerra de Titanes poster this time. Maybe there will be more today, but I get the feeling this might be it for Mundo for the moment in AAA. The thing is, given Taya is still Reina de Reinas champion, not being around doesn’t mean you can’t still be champion. (And it’s not like Pentagon is going to be around every weekend either.) I expect a title change, I’m just not certain of it.
The other title match is Hijo del Fantasma versus Garza Junior. AAA’s done nothing to build up the title match or Garza in anyway. They’re teaming, now they’re not, and now they’re going to have a match that’ll be OK. Probably not much more than that because Garza Jr. hasn’t been much better than OK in his AAA run. It probably doesn’t matter for his career to have good matches, because he seems to be getting booked (on his own, without AAA) pretty well without having many good matches. It still would be nice if he had one, but I think his lack of full time status means he’s unlikely to win the title.
The main event has gotten the most hype on the show, but it’s among the least interesting. La Parka, Psycho Clown, Texano Jr. face Dr. Wagner, Mesias and Pagano in a match that continues the autopilot ride to Psycho Clown & Dr. Wagner at TripleMania. Perhaps the most we can hope for is Texano getting a title feud, as the heavyweight champion of the promotion hasn’t had anything to do since TripleMania. Earlier, there will be a cage match with Aerostar, Super Fly, Argenis, Australian Suicide, Angelico and Carta Brava Jr., where the final two will have an apuesta match at Rey de Reyes. Aerostar and Super Fly is the only feud they’ve pushed from that bunch, but they could do a different match up without it really changing much. Faby Apache & Mary Apache take on Averno & Chessman in a rematch from TripleMania. I had hope for that match turning out well way back then, but months of Tirantes related finishes and non-finishes has killed my interest. (A lot of stuff seems to be direct follow up to TripleMania, showing how little has actually happened in the months since.) The opener will be Bengala, Big Mami, Dinastia, and Pimpinela Escarlata against Dave the Clown, Lady Shani, Mamba and Mini Psycho Clown.
AAA’s hinted at big news outside the matches. They have not yet announced the TripleMania location, but we know they’re at the very least considering Plaza Mexico. That announcement could come today. Alberto el Patron is also in Mexico City, and AAA officials were special guests at the Combates Americas show last night. Alberto has said he’ll be back in AAA at some point, and this would be an easy way to make an appearance and set up something for later in the year.
Guerra de Titanes is listed at 8:45pm CT start local. It’s usually a little bit later, but perhaps not as much in Mexico City because there won’t be a local promoter dark match. The show is not officially streaming, but I’d guess live fan cams will pop up during the night. It’ll air on TV starting next weekend.
AAA says the show is sold out, a full day ahead of time. There will be no tickets available at the door. That’d be over 5,000 people. AAA’s run this venue in recent years, but never advertised it as a sell out and definitely not a full day ahead of time. It’s so unexpected that I’m curious if they’re simply not selling all the seats. (There’s no sign of that.) This is a really good sign for a promotion hoping to sell a lot of tickets in Mexico City this year. They’re probably missing an opportunity by not putting this on iPPV, but I wouldn’t have guess that ahead of time and I’m not surprised they didn’t either.
Lucha Libre FMV announced that Dorian Roldan is now the General Manager of Lucha Libre FMV. The press release says he’ll be in charge “live events, talent relations, sponsorships, merchandising, and licensing.” The idea, as explained by Eric Van Wagenen on Masks, Mats and Mayhem is that Dorian will bring AAA’s experience in running live events and helped shift them towards more touring. That seems to be the general focus of the next few months: they’re aiming to run tapings in the fall (not a firm date), but Van Wagenen said he was confident there’d be live events sometime this spring and summer. That may not even come in a traditional fashion; there’s been talk about trying to help out the wrestlers by making it more allowable for them to use their LU gimmicks elsewhere (which has been a real issue for guys like Mil Muertes and King Cuerno, who are much less valuable under their AAA characters.) They’ve even spitballed an idea of offering a package of wrestlers/characters to foreign places where the show is airing (like Germany.) It was made clear these are ideas they’re just throwing around and nothing is committed, but that they’re working harder in this area and expect to make some progress.
Van Wagenen also gave his side of the LU hiatus. The hiatus wasn’t planned when they were taping. The idea didn’t come to him until “November or December”, and even then it wasn’t a certainty, just trying to figure out at what point it would make sense to take a break. They weren’t ever told how long they’d be gone and it didn’t come off like EVW had been told a specific date even at this point. His guess was like mine after the El Rey upfront – they’re on hiatus so they can be on the air when LU’s new shows are ready to start airing. Van Wagenen pointed out that El Rey may not even yet know when those shows are going to be ready, which would prevent them from giving a firm Lucha Underground date. It’s important to note he was guessing at this, is not speaking officially for LU or El Rey.
Dorian Roldan having more power in the Lucha Underground power structure, specifically over “talent relations”, seems like bad news for talent who have bad relations with AAA. Jack Evans, Sexy Star, Fenix, even Flamita have left AAA and already had uncertain futures with LU. If this gives Dorian sole control, they may not return to LU without returning to AAA. On the other hand, LU’s invested a lot of time in some of those characters – Sexy Star & Fenix especially – and other parts of the management team may not want to lose that investment. It seems less likely those people will be back whenever LU tapes again, though this definitely doesn’t shut the door.
There’s screen shots of the WWE survey sent out to Mexican fans this past week. CMLL & AAA do not come up by name, but just by concept. They want to know if WWE fans are interested in them at all, or if they’d be interested in a new Mexican league. There’s also a section devoted to find out how much having more content in Spanish (or specifically with Mexican voices) is important to subscribers. These surveys are about figuring out priorities.
The Box Y Lucha commission of Ahome, Sinaloa gave out 2016 awards: Omar Brunetti was the stellar wrestler of the year, while Dark Fire was the luchador of the year. Sagrado Tormento, Mr. Iguana, Alma Grande as the tecnico trio of the year, Payaso Infernal, Dr. Terror, Mario Mora as the rudo trio of the year. Cholo Chriss & Mr. Iguana were revelations of the year, Dragon Rider the novato of the year. Dark Fire & Sagrado Tormento won tecnico tag team of the year and Dr. Terror & Cholo Chriss were the rudo version. Tony Golden was given special recognition for his work in lucha libre.
What happened: Dragon Lee defeated Cavernario to keep the lightweight championship. Takahashi dominated Titan, but had less luck attack Lee after the main event.
What was good: Nothing was bad on this show, but it’s the last three matches which are worth watching. The main event was strong, though possibly ended early due to injury. Titan/Takahashi was a little disappointing but effective for it’s purposes. The Guerreros/Okada vs Mistico/Volador/Juice match was just fun.
Where can I watch it: It’s on NJPW World for subscribers.
FantasicaMania! I’ve written about it a few times. The shows are subscriber only. You don’t actually have to get up at the early morning hours to watch it; NJPW does make those available for VOD right away.
CMLL Retro jumped around a bit last week, showing a main event three weeks ahead of the rest of the card. That doesn’t really make any sense unless they’re going to be doing more jumping around, so my guesses may be off.
AAA has the second part of Guerra de Titanes. I was thinking the other day that the mystery person stalking Cuervo & Scoria fifteen minutes ago was probably supposed to be Zorro since they’re teaming together now. It just was never well explained, which I was I’m just explained it to you about a year after they started teaming up. Perhaps they’ll be explaining the mystery Apache attacker on this show, the last from 2016.
The first FantasticaMania show will take place before the next time I write one of these posts. The full schedule for the weekend is like this:
All three FantasticaMania days will air at 4:30 AM ET, 3:30 AM ET, 1:30 AM ET. They’re all on NJPW World and you will have to subscribe (for about $9 USD month, automatically renews on the first day of the month) to see them. It’s probably a sane thing to get normal sleep and just watch these shows in the morning, but you’ll need to stay away from Twitter and this website tomorrow if you want to watch without being spoiled.
Friday’s main events have the highest upside of the tour. Dragon Lee versus Kamaitachi (Takahashi) was the best match last year, and both of them will have singles matches against guys just about as good. Dragon Lee defends the lightweight title against Cavernario in the main event, and Titan gets a non-title match against the top junior in NJPW in the semimain. The undercard should be good – it’ll be the one and only time you ever see Ephesto & Will Ospreay as two man team! – but those main events are worth sacrificing some sleep on a work day.
CMLL Informa actually had news this week. I’m confused too. The biggest news was the announcement of this year’s Homenaje a Dos Leyendas. It’ll take place Friday March 17th. Villano III will be honored. He was interviewed at the end of Informa and in tears over the honor. Villano III is obviously worthy of being recognized by CMLL. He was chosen specifically for this year because this show will be exactly 17 years since his famous mask match with Atlantis.
This is far earlier than CMLL usually announces a major show and is good news to anyone who might want to make a trip to Arena Mexico from a long way away. We have no idea what will main event the show yet (though Blue Panther Jr. & Ripper seem to be feuding towards this point), and I’m not sure if if any indie promotions will be running around Mexico City that weekend, but H2L is usually one of the best CMLL shows of the year and most attended. If you want to attend a loud CMLL show, you’ve got two months notice instead of the usual two week notice.
CMLL Informa also had an announcement of Astral moving up to the main division. They explained Paco Alonso himself gave the approval. Astral’s last match as a mini will be this Sunday, and then he’ll be start in the main division on February 10th (Friday). Astral relinquished the CMLL Minis championship on Wednesday as part of this move. There was no word on how they would determine a new champion,
Astral’s technically the second person to move from the mini division to the main division in the last year, but we don’t think of Principe Diamante as a mini because he rarely appeared before winning this year’s bodybuilding contest. Principe Diamante has amusingly lost every single match he has had since re-debuting. CMLL midcard booking is fairly random, but that seems to be the welcoming pattern for minis moving to the main division. When Demus moved to the main roster, he was the lowest rudo on the totem pole, and eventually felt the situation was so bad that he’d rather just move back to the minis division. It’s not impossible to do well, Virus has made a name for himself, but moving form the minis to the main division is just the start of the battle.
Informa aired a video of Ray Rowe highlights, and confirmed he’d be wrestling on the 01/27 CMLL Arena Mexico show a couple days prior to the Lucha Memes show. Lucha Memes had been hinting at that for a while, with the idea that it’s the start of a pattern of CMLL/ROH/Lucha Memes talent sharing.
WWE recently sent out a survey to Mexican subscribers of the WWE Network, asking them questions including their interest in lucha libre programming on their network. AAA & CMLL were name checked (and the only two name checked.) WWE routinely sends out these surveys to different countries to gauge interest in other promotions, and there’s rumors they will be adding outside promotions to their service in 2017. This is the first time CMLL & AAA have been brought up. Even if CMLL & AAA wanted to get on the WWE Network (and there’s no indication of that), both have existing deals that would make it tough for them move their shows onto any new service in the short term.
The debut of the Blue Demon series in the US, aired on both Univision and Unimas, had 1.7 million viewers. There were 1.3 million watching on Univsion (more than ABC & CBS among 18-34) and 400K on Unimas. The show is airing on Unimas nightly so far, and we may be able to find out how it’s doing later; Univision posts it’s ratings on Tuesdays. This show probably will end up with enough visibility that it would increase in interest in a Blue Demon luchador, but Blue Demon Jr. wants nothing to do with it and there’s no one else to take advantage.
El Siglo de Torreon, starting a weekly column spotlighting local luchadors, profiles Psycho. Psycho shows up in La Sombra’s photos as a trainer or workout partner when he’s back in Torreon. Psycho has been wrestling for 15 years, and claims he kept his wife in the dark about his wrestling career for two years until a neighbor spilled the secret
Alberto el Patron, hyping Thursday’s Comabtes Americas show, says he (still) plans to retire in mid 2018.
Legend posted the flyer for the first ever show in Arena Aficion in 1952. They have a couple walls of old posters hanging in the waiting room area outside the main arena but I didn’t get a photo of that one.