We’re halfway thru the year, so it’s long past time I’ve posted a working MOTYC list. Working plan is to update this after every month of TV. You can find it linked here even after it gets moved off the top of the page. I use air dates, because the post is recommending matches rather than an arbitrary date limit.
– Sexy Star eliminated Mariposa (15:04, Marty punch→ Sexy Pin)
– Sexy Star eliminated Marty the Moth Martinez (17:52, cross armbreaker)
Mil Muertes defeated King Cuerno in a death match (13:47, martinete, great)
Only two matches tonight, which were more definite conclusions than setting stuff up for later. That was saved for the outside the ring moments.
Night Claw debuted in the Gift of the Gods match, which was turned into an elimination match this time. The layout of the match took advantage off that change (and was likely the reason for the cage.) The first half of the match was showcase for Claw, breaking the curse on new wrestlers by picking up two pinfalls and a moonsault off the cage. Killshot beating Night Claw moved the match to the second part, built around the two Moth feuds this season. Killshot was unable to gain revenge on Marty, and Marty still has the dog tags. It went better for Sexy Star, who was able to defeat both her tormentors (with a little accidental help from Marty hitting Sexy) to win the championship. Sexy’s been in every Gift of the Gods match so far, and becomes the first woman to win the title or any singles gold in Lucha Underground.
Of note, Kobra Moon is still hanging around watching Daga. No progress on that front.
There wasn’t much story in the main event, just brutality. King Cuerno’s natural arrogance caught him at moments, but mostly the reborn (again) Mil Muertes was way too much for him or anyone else. Mil put Cuerno thru four tables, smacked him with a crowbar to the back of the head, and dropped him with a martinete for the win. Cuerno was attended to by paramedics. He did not appear to be literally dead, but he was pretty well killed off. I’m still not convinced of Sexy Star’s chances, but Muertes appears to be a fearsome challenger to whoever comes out of Ultima Lucha with the big belt.
That title match came up at the end of the show. Striker directly asked Vampiro what his relationship was with Pentagon Jr. at the moment. Vampiro responded by dumping his meds in the garbage and announcing he was leaving to go train his protege.
The Crew and Joey Ryan do not have a match at Ultima Lucha 2, but they made their own payoff. Mr. Cisco was sent into to talk to Dario while wearing a wire. Dario had no time for him, then paranoid thought Cisco was working against him. I guess it’s not paranoid if you’re right, and Dario quickly figured out Cisco was working for the police. Dario snuffed out the microphone, then snuffed out the life of poor Mr. Cisco, beating him to death with the same red bull that Dario says was used to kill his mother. (Joey & Cortez were shocked by being found out, but didn’t rush in to make a save.) While Dario’s hands were still covered in blood, he picked up the phone and told someone “it’s time.”
I liked this episode better than last week’s, although I’m not sure either match hit it’s peak potential.
The 7 way match was seriously great during the Siniestro/Daga/Claw/Killshot dominated portion, with some incredible sequences and great big spots. Night Claw came off as a star on Day 1, looking spectacular in the ring, getting those first two pinfalls, and wowing everyone with his moonsault. I would’ve liked to see him go any farther, but they gave preference to the story they were telling from that season and Night Claw was being set up more for Season 3. It’s just that Sexy Star didn’t have a good performance tonight, looking slow and awkward at time, and it was hard for me to get into her story. It seems like her and the Moths feud is over now, but it felt like it was over at No Mas and it just keeps hanging around. The crowd was into her winning, but it didn’t connect with me.
The death match was a near one sided bulldozing, but an entertaining one. Cuerno got some hope spots in, but never felt like he was that close to defeating Mil. Mil’s utter destruction of him was impressive. The biggest challenge for Mil’s big matches is he’s had so many of them on this show already, and every new one has to compete against the old ones. This didn’t have the passion (or blood) of the Fenix matches, and seemed more designed to repair Mil than to be interestingly competitive.
The irony is the Mil Muertes match was laid out with the idea King Cuerno wouldn’t be available to Lucha Underground for a long time if ever again, the Night Claw match was to make him a big deal going into season 3, and it would’ve been more useful the other way. As best as we can tell, this was Night Claw’s one and only match with Lucha Underground. Perhaps they quietly taped some vignettes, but he didn’t appear before the crowd in Season 3 and seems unlikely to again given his harsh breakup with AAA. It’s shame, because just this taste of him set up so many more matches I would’ve loved to see him here. The ultimate destination of a match with Prince Puma would’ve been incredible, as their alter egos have shown elsewhere.
Night Claw won’t be the first LU character to suddenly vanish between seasons – maybe we’ll see him up on a wall in S3? – but they had already set him up as a big part of the mythos and it might be tougher to extract him. And they might not have even been sure what to do with him at first, because his status wasn’t clear for a while.)
Meanwhile, Cuerno was unable to go elsewhere and is eventually going to have to return here. He’s still a cool character, but the later half of this season has done him no favors and he’s going to need some of his own repairs to recapture his original spot. You never know how things are going to turn out – hey, maybe things will change and they’ll find a way to use Night Claw too.
There’s no repairing Mr. Cisco, who’s true and well dead. (That’s three out of the four Crew members gone, with Bael murdered by Matanza and Big Ryck offed in the comic books.) He had his best run as a psuedo-tecnico in the last few weeks, though there was always only going to be so much run with that setup. “Dead” people on this show have ways of sneaking back in under other identities and hopefully we’ll get to see him in one which better allows that style.
How did Ryan and Cortez not make a move when their informant is exposed? Their work leaves much to be desired.
This was not a blowaway show, but it was pretty strong one. Next week lines up to be great.
AAA aired the Lucha World Cup, so there’s no recap this week. No IWRG, no Proesa, no Noches, so there’s nothing on my TV list else to check out. I really liked the Gran Prix and Fenix/Mundo more than other people.
CMLL (TUE) 07/12/2016Arena México [CMLL, thecubsfan, Yahoo! Deportes]
1) Astral, Fantasy, Stukita b Mercurio, Pequeño Nitro, Pequeño Olímpico 15:38. Tecnicos took 2/3.
2) Estrellita, Lluvia, Princesa Sugehit b Amapola, Dalys, Zeuxis 14:35. Tecnicas took 1/3.
3) Blue Panther Jr. b Sagrado [lightning] 6:23. Blue Panther Jr. won via nudo lagunero.
4) Kráneo, Okumura, Ripper b Blue Panther, Stuka Jr., Valiente 13:22. Rudos took 1/3.
5) Rey Escorpión & Tama Tonga b Kushida & Niebla Roja [seeding battle royal] 2:03.
6) Kushida & Marco Corleone b Felino & Niebla Roja [semifinal] 6:03.
7) Rey Escorpión & Shocker b Tama Tonga & Tangaroa [semifinal] 3:17.
8) Kushida & Marco Corleone DQ Rey Escorpión & Shocker [final] 5:25. Escorpion fouled Kushida & Marco for the DQ, then fouled Shocker after the decision
Show was generally better than Monday’s show, though the best matches from Puebla were better than the best here and it was another tournament that ended with someone decided they’d rather just get DQed.
Lucha Underground has episode #25 of the season, Ultima Lucha Dos – Part 2, the final 1 hour show of the year. Next week is 2 hours. Matches announced:
Mil Muertes vs King Cuerno in a death match
Mariposa vs Sexy Star vs Killshot vs Marty the Moth vs Daga vs Siniestro de la Muerte vs Night Claw for the Gift of the Gods championship – opening clip here
There’s usually a third match, but it hasn’t been announced. Those were the first two TV matches taped on that day, and the third was the trios title match. I’ve also seen mention that they may air Taya/Ivelisse. They’ve tended to announce the last match Wednesday afternoon, so you’ll know soon.
WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic also kicks off tonight, at 8pm CT. (That’s directly after Lucha Underground airs.) If they follow the same order as the matches were taped, Gran Metalik/Mascara Dorada versus Alejandro Saez is the first match tonight. Raul Mendoza’s first round match would air two weeks from today. All three were interviewed on WWE’s Espanol site. Mendoza says he couldn’t use Jinzo due to a trademark issue and that an agent contacted after seeing him in his work in Japan. That’s a few years ago now. Over on +Lucha, Mendoza gives a WWE Network plug. UPDATE: WWE’s saying Ibushi/Maluta airs tonight; that was the third episode live, so they have changed around the other of matches. Mendoza’s match aired on that episode, but they have made more changes in order; your guess is as good as mine.
TripleMania tickets suddenly went on sale today. Tickets run from 240MXP ($13USD) for obstructed view up to 2160MXP ($117.58USD) for ringside. Ringside is more the 2X than the next section. Of note, the description mentions three wrestlers: Psycho Clown, Pagano, and Dr. Wagner. Leo Riano’s column today says Pagano/Psycho and Mundo/Pentagon are set for the show.
SuperLuchas also has a piece writing about the rise and recent fall off of women’s wrestling since the Mexico City ban was lifted. I like a lot of it, but the author asks “when’s the last time Mary Apache has wrestled on AAA TV?” and it feels like she’s done it pretty often. (They did skip make the last women’s match YouTube only.)
Box Y Lucha’s magazine published this lineup. Mr. Electro’s the favorite but it’s not a certainty. I wonder if Pagano will be the ex-AAA TripleMania apuesta loser here in a few years. Trauma I is listed in two matches, oops.
CMLL (TUE) 07/19/2016Arena México
1) Bengala & Flyer vs Apocalipsis & Camorra
2) Metatrón, Oro Jr., Soberano Jr. vs Cancerbero, Metálico, Raziel
3) Hombre Bala Jr., Pegasso, Star Jr. vs Fujin, Okumura, Raijin
4) Fuego vs Virus [lightning]
5) Ángel de Oro, Blue Panther, Súper Porky vs Kráneo, Olímpico, Ripper
6) Johnny Idol, Marco Corleone, Máximo Sexy vs Pierroth, Rey Escorpión, Sam Adonis
I guess Johnny & Sam are the Nuevo Valores. Idol as a trios partner with Marco & Maximo might work.
Fuego and Virus had this same lightning match three week sago. Fuego won that time.
Third match is first streaming appearance for Fujin & Raijin in a month (or just about as long as the NJPW guys were around.) Could be best match of the night.
CMLL (TUE) 07/19/2016Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
1) Magnum & Vaquero Jr. vs Diplomático & Mr. Apolo
2) Magnus, Starman, Tritón vs Arkángel de la Muerte, Canelo Casas, Sangre Azteca
3) Marcela, Princesa Sugehit, Skadi vs Amapola, La Comandante, La Seductora
4) Atlantis, Máscara Dorada, Valiente vs Cavernario, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas
5) Carístico, Dragón Lee, Mistico vs Euforia, Mephisto, Último Guerrero
That’d be Dragon Lee’s first CMLL match back since his injury; he confirmed on Twitter that he’s working the MDA Monterrey show on Sunday, so he should make it to this match. Less sure about Caristico (the Guadalajara Twitter believes so), but that’s going to be quite a trio if they’re in there. Semimain would be Mr. Niebla’s return, after a three week break.
What happened: Kushida & Marco won the tag team tournament when Escorpión gave up and fouled them both for the DQ. Marco & Kushida seemed like they were going to win anyway, and Escorpión fouled his partner Shocker for good measure. No other feud were set up.
What was good: I liked the tercera and the opener wasn’t bad. The Kushida/Marco vs Felino/Niebla Roja tag match was the best match of either tag team tournament on both days, though nothing you must see.
Getting back on track. The best match this week was savaged pretty hard by the feed dying. I very much wish CMLL would put it up in full, mostly so I could get people who don’t watch CMLL to check it out.
CMLL (SUN) 07/10/2016Arena Coliseo Guadalajara [Domingos Familiares]
1) Destello & Quca b Avispón Negro Jr. & Micro Rudos took 2/3.
2) Destructor & Diplomático b El Alteño & Javier Cruz Jr. Rudos took 1/3.
3) León Blanco, Randy, Star Black b Demonio Rojo, Exterminador, Gitano Tecnicos took 1/3.
4) Mágico TLDRAW Maléfico [lightning] 10 minute draw, with Malefico seemingly closer to winning at the end. They both asked for a no time limit match to settle it.
5) Esfinge, Flash II, Metatrón b El Chakal, Espectrúm, Furia Roja Tecnicos took 1/3
Flash II got the winning pinfall in the main event. It feels like something is up with him but they haven’t hinted at a particular feud.
This week’s Box Y Lucha includes an interview with Magnum, openly discussing he’s in charge of programming (booking) for this building. That was known and had been discussed here, but it’s still unusual to see an active luchador talk about it.
Those first two matches going 40 minutes might have messed up the rest of the show. These tournaments always have silly short matches, but it got crazy by the end. Someone must’ve thought the final was going to get some time to make it a three fall match – the finals of these often get a few more minutes, but are never three falls. This time, it got less time than every other match in the card despite going two falls. It was such a ludicrous bit, a designed mockery, that I should’ve laughed. The problem was the last 90 minutes of the show were not much better – that second match was really boring, and the tournament was a lot of nothing. The opener and the title match were fun, but the show was more to be endured than enjoyed. It’s too bad they didn’t deliver more given the big crowd they had; they focused on making matches for next week, but did them in such a way that no one could care all that much about seeing them.
Mascara is friends with Shocker on Fridays and his enemy on Monday. It makes no sense.
CMLL has another random tag team tournament tonight, though luckily a shorter one with only four teams this time. Teams are Kushida & Marco, Tama Tonga & Tangaroa, Rey Escorpion & Shocker and Felino & Niebla Roja. The brothers are the only regular team and the favorites to get the win in their last CMLL appearance for the time being. There’s no obvious strong matches on the entire card; the preview list the Panther instead of his brother Blue Panther Jr. versus Sagrado in a lightning match. Either way, that might be the best match of the night. The show leads off with minis and women’s trios, and the semimain has Blue Panther, Stuka Jr., Valiente versus Kraneo, Okumura, Ripper.
The show airs at 7:30pm CT, on CMLL and YouTube. This strongly seems like a show you may want to skip watching, at least live.
There’s another CMLL show you can watch for a small price. CMLL is offering Sunday’s show, complete and with announcing, for $0.99. It’s a rental, not a purchase – you have 30 days to start watching it, and 72 hours to finish once you’ve started. CMLL did this with the Gran Prix (though never put up Cavernario/Cometa), but I believe this is the first time a lucha libre show that wouldn’t have otherwise been aired on TV or PPV was sold in this fashion. The closest to this is what Black Terry Jr. has been doing on his own, selling individual matches on his own, but not by an official promotion.
Elgin/UG is absolutely worth the $1; I’ll have a review of that and maybe another match later on. The big hope here this is the beginning of a trend. I’m not sure if this works for all of CMLL’s shows – if tonight’s show was $1, I’d skip it – but if it’s cheap enough to do, it seems absolutely worth doing for any big matches like that. And it makes sense for indie groups; I’d happily give money to see a professional version of the latest Chairo show (and haven’t gotten around to watch the few camera phone videos because those aren’t usually worth the effort.) Piracy is an issue, dealing with getting the money actually from YouTube is an issue, but this has always seems like an easy source of money that lucha libre hasn’t used. I haven’t really been able to convince people of this, but maybe CMLL will have enough success that other people borrow the idea.
LigerFever translated a Pentagon Jr. podcast interview from March, and it’s so great. I’ve grouped the 7 posts into this storify to bundle, and it’s worth reading if you’re interested enough in lucha libre to find your way to this site. The stories are good, and you get a great insight into his personality and his drive. Pentagon is a very driven guy with a strong idea of what a rudo should be. The stories are worthwhile too: Pentagon believes he was Lucha Underground’s final pick of the AAA guys who started with the promotion (Blue Demon, Sexy Star, Fenix, Drago, Cuerno, Muertes) because they wanted flyers, and he and Fenix and Drago just blew everyone away with their three way match. Pentagon Jr. explaining he spent two years as a handball player in the park, making money off people gambling on his game, is my new favorite story. You should read the entire thing.
The reason the Fenix/Pentagon match got scuttled from Oaxaca is because they (and Drago) are booked in Atlanta that day. The good news is AAA may have gotten a calendar and fixed the error before the date officially got out, and they’ll probably have a good match in Atlanta. Hopefully Fenix/Pentagon happens another day.
Konnan Big has signed with the FILL promotion. I have no idea what this really means, though it’s reported as he’s no longer with Llaves y Canados. It may just be a way of saying Konnan Big won’t be on ColiseoMania 4, which was announced for September 4.
Impossible title matches are the only thing that pop out to me to watch in IWRG, even though he has a little bit too sameish stuff in his matches. (Everyone should be countering the silla off the stairs at this point.) Semimain might be good as well.
Mascara & Sharlie winning would be weird, but too weird for CMLL? Fifth match can only be better than last week. Disturbio & Black Tiger were involved in the finish last night, enough so that a mask/hair vs mask/hair match seems possible (and maybe they planned to do the apuesta match the week after to see if they can draw a second big turnout.)
El Heredero is another Puebla indy guy, showing up since at least 2015.
What happened: Mephisto defeated Mistico to retain the CMLL Welterweight Championship. Dragon Lee & La Mascara were at ringside, but didn’t get involved in the match and Mistico was defeated cleanly.
Atlantis (as a sub for Caristico) and Ultimo Guerrero won an eight team tournament. They defeated Rush & Volador in what was unusually a three fall final to the tournament. It was also pointlessly a three fall final: the young men lost the first fall in just over a minute, then lost the second fall in just over a minute. It was a lackluster end to a largely useless tournament, the shortest match of the entire series. (It’s possible the final was hurried because the show was running very long – the show reached 11:30pm local, the latest they’ve gone in memory – but it didn’t explain why they needed to do two crap finishes in a row.)
The tag tournament did set up two matches for next week. The terrible Volador/Rush vs Ultimo Guerrero/Atlantis match will be rematched in seven days. At least more time might improve that match. An uninspiring Rockstar/Mascara vs Casas/Shocker tournament match will now become a tag title match next week, which promises to be a struggle.
Rockstar & Mascara promptly lost their next match quickly. All three NJPW teams were eliminated in the first round.
Surprisingly, there was no Ares/King Jaguar match set up. The two did feud in their (bad and lengthy) match, but were not directly involved with each other on the finish.
What was good: a The opener was a lot of fun. The main event didn’t reach the heights it could’ve – there was one singular believable near fall before the finish – but might be more enjoyable without having to deal with the tournament. Under no circumstances should you watch the second match or the tournament.