What happened: Último Guerrero cheated to defeat Carístico in the main event, and they teased a mask/hair match. Both teams cheated a little bit in the women’s match, and they set up a rematch next week. Máximo cheated to defeat Mascara Año 2000 (for no good reason, he’d gotten in his finishing kiss) too. Nothing in particular was set up there, maybe because they were already doing two mic segments.
All these feuds coming up at once suggest there’s a big show coming. It’s possible they could hold them all off until the holidays, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise if they did some of this sooner. Último Guerrero is often back home around Christmas week, so that may be one getting done a little quicker.
Principe Diamante also re-debuted as a member of the main roster. He’d been around before as a mini, and still looks like a tall mini, but a tall mini who won the Mr. CMLL contest. There’s always suspicions the bodybuilding contest may be as predetermined as everything else. Suddenly getting booked regularly (when CMLL seems to be scheduling shows weeks in advance) seems a sign of some plan, but losing in his debut suggests there’s not one.
What was good: One of the matches without an angle! I really loved the Casas/Angel de Oro match for a nine minute showcase. The second match was good as well.
Where can I watch it:I’ll have it up later. After drama earlier, there was no particular geoblocking problem on Claro. I’m not really sure that we fixed it. It could’ve just been the social media person being wrong because they have been before. It worked, that’s all that really matters.(more…)
CMLL (TUE) 11/29/2016Arena Coliseo Guadalajara [Martes de Glamour]
1) Capitán Cobra & Fugaz b Linterna & Mr. Apolo Tecnicos took 1/3
2) Nitro, Okumura, Sangre Azteca b Robin, Soberano Jr., Stigma Rudos took 1/3.
3) Bobby Z, Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora b Esfinge, Stuka Jr., Titán Bobby is in the Revolucionarios (at least for now.) They took 1/3.
4) Diamante Azul, Marco Corleone, Máximo Sexy b Kráneo, Rey Bucanero, Terrible Tecnicos took 2/3.
5) Carístico b Negro Casas Caristico took 1/3.
CMLL has a normal show this Friday. CMLL’s preview hypes the Dinamitas and Hechicero. It’s Hechicero’s first ever Friday main event, teaming with Ultimo Guerrero and Euforia against Atlantis, Carisitco and Valiente. It’s mostly Hechicero filling in as a Guerrero while UG & Caristico feud, but he’s a better pick for that spot than other choices they’ve made in the past.
The Dinamitas – Sanson, Cuatrero and new full time CMLL wrestler 58 year old Mascara 2000 – face Maximo, Volador and Marco Corleone in the semimain. Mascara is here because CMLL thinks young Sanson & Cuatrero need their much older uncle to get over. I guess it’s good CMLL is trying to get someone over, but I’m skeptical a guy looking like a shell of himself having bad matches is going to convey much star power. There’s also a decent chance they’re setting up a Maximo/Mascara hair match; they feuded in their Tuesday match and Christmas apuesta season approaches.
Angel de Oro and Negro Casas face in a lightning match. The weekly women’s match is Estrellita, Marcela and Sanely against Metalica, Tiffany and Zeuxis. The Panthers team up with Drone against Okumura, Virus and Disturbio in the second match. Oro Jr. & Principe Diamante (billed as making his debut; that is not accurate) face Raziel & Cancerbero.
Caristico talked to Plantilla Deportiva a few days ago, and LigerFever translated it on his Tumblr. It’s classic Caristico, coming off as highly confident in his own abilities. You really need to read it. Caristico’s retelling of his return to NJPW is the fans cheered him the moment he came out and all the time until he left, overshadowing Volador and everyone else. This is not exactly how I recall that going. Caristico says NJPW told him they wanted him for FantasticaMania and doesn’t know why he’s not on it. Caristico says he only told them he wants to move up from Juniors and challenge for a heavier belt. Caristico insists he wants to help make new stars, though it seems to escape his mind about the names of any new stars he’d like to make.
CMLL Retro is two hours early today. If you miss it, you’re not the only one. The ratings says almost no one is watching, with the show averaging under 20,000 viewers a week (or far past the point where the numbers are statistically accurate.) Fox Deportes is not a heavily viewed station, but it’s lower than the programming around it. I’ve always wondered how few people are watching the lucha shows on even more obscure channels. 52MX and AYM are on much less systems in the US, so maybe they’re as low as the thousands or the hundreds? (Though both of those are at least available in Mexico too.) As long as they keep paying CMLL, CMLL is probably still OK with it.
The AAA TV taping schedule is one of my weird obsessions of a minor issue – they’ll have a TV show, and we’ll know what they’re airing on Fridays nowadays – but now I’m thinking they’ll just start air the Juarez episodes the next two weeks, then go into the year end stuff, which will give them plenty of time to tape Chilpancingo before it airs. That’d mean there’s only two more episodes with new material to air, starting with Saturday’s episode.
CMLL Retro similarly starts a new episode, though two and half months behind reality. It’s also two hours early; they’re airing the Pac12 championship game in the usual slot.
This week’s Lucha Underground is the first one in weeks where no matches were announced ahead of time. The preview mentions a Battle of the Bulls tournament begins. I’ve got a very good guess that they’ll air two matches from that tournament. The preview also mentions we’ll get Kobra Moon explaining her tribe’s backstory and the return of Cortez Castro.
CMLL LI (SUN) 11/27/2016 Arena Coliseo Guadalajara [+LuchaTV, Domingos Familiares]
1) La Magnifica & Súper Estrella b Chik Tormenta & La Pantera Magnifico & Estrella took 2/3.
2) Flash (Jalisco), Flash I, Flash II b Antrax, Centinela, Évola [Copa Dinastia Tapatia 2016, torneo] first part
3) Gallo, Ráfaga, Ráfaga Jr. b Frezzer, Furia Nazi, Furia Roja [torneo, Copa Dinastia Tapatia 2016]
4) Flash (Jalisco), Flash I, Flash II b Gallo, Ráfaga, Ráfaga Jr. [torneo, Copa Dinastia Tapatia 2016] billed as the first part out of a larger tournament
5) Hijo del Solar, Huracán Ramírez Jr., Pantera II b Canek Jr., Hijo del Fishman, Septiembre Negro Jr. Tecnicos took 1/3.
6) Fuerza Guerrera, Satánico, Universo 2000 Jr. b Huracán Ramírez, Rayman, Solar I Fuerza pulled Rayman’s mask to pin him. Rudos took 1/3.
7) Canek, Cien Caras Jr., Máscara Año 2000 b El Fantasma, Máscara Sagrada, Rayo de Jalisco Jr. Rudos took 2/3. Mascara attacked his partner Rayo after not getting along with him all match. Rayo bled.
CMLL NOBA (WED) 11/30/2016 Parque Acuatico Papagayo Adventure, Acapulco, Guerrero [Estrellas del Ring]
1) Astro Nave & Bitter b Allen & Kid Dragón
2) Araña de Plata Jr., Enigma, Fresero Jr., Limbo b Aspirantito Jr., Atomic Star, Baxter, Rey Nocturno
3) Psicosis II & Trauma I b Decnnis & Eterno (IWRG) [Copa Atlantis, semifinal] Ripper/Psicosis replaced Trauma II.
4) Blue Panther Jr. & The Panther b Puma & Tiger [Copa Atlantis, semifinal]
5) Blue Panther Jr. & The Panther b Psicosis II & Trauma I [Copa Atlantis, final]
6) Cazador b Mercurio (Guerrero) [mask] Mercurio (a local one, not the CMLL mini) lost his mask to Cazador. Mercurio is Felipe Noriega, from Acapulco, 5 years a wrestler.
7) Atlantis & Octagón b Fuerza Guerrera & Último Guerrero tecnicos took 2/3.
Rush & Naito won today in NJPW’s World Tag League. They’re up to 3-2, 6 points, with two matches left, and two points behind the leaders. One of those matches is against a team unlikely to get a win in the tournament, so they’re sure to go into the final day (December 7th) being in play for 1st place in the block.
This is for nothing particular reason, except I was staring at the AAA TV chart trying to figure out what would air this weekend, but I’m guessing Guerra de Titanes is 01/20. Unless something weird happens, AAA will run out of TV around 01/21, I’m guessing the show is back in Mexico City, and Mexico City shows are usually Fridays, so there’s the guess. Could be completely wrong.
Pentagon Dark b Doku (6:10, ref stop broken arm, OK)
Pentagon Dark b Yorei (7:10, ref stop broken arm, good)
Hitokiri b Pentagon Dark b (12:46, Far East Destroyer, good)
(Black Lotus vs Pentagon Dark never really starts.)
Pentagon Dark’s battle against the Black Lotus Triad took up the entire hour. (Helpfully, the introduction recapped the build up to this feud and nothing else.) Pentagon faced the three new women one by one. Doku tried to strike with Pentagon, and quickly paid the price. Pentagon brutally destroyed her for a long period of time before Doku was able to mount a comeback. Doku landed a famous elbow drop, but went for it again and was caught in the armbreaker.
Yorei found more success with speed and traditional moves, then even beat an off balance Pentagon around the ringside area. (She tried to use the ring bell on him, with comically soft results.) Pentagon was able to turn it around once they got back in the ring, smiling Yorei made one more charge, but was caught right in position for the package piledriver. She was done, but Pentagon made sure to break her arm too.
Hitokiri had the best plan, sneaking in behind Pentagon, dropkicking him out of the ring, and then taking him out first with a moonsault, and then a tope. This was the most back and forth of the matches, the longest, and maybe most violent. Hitokiri even dove off Dario’s office (the first woman to do so, which might be a bigger trophy than winning the title in Lucha Underground.) Pentagon tried to break her arm, but instead was beaten by Hitokiri’s Far East Destroyer for the second time.
The final match, with Black Lotus, never really took place. Lotus decked the referee before he could call for the bell. Yorei & Doku returned to help Lotus and Hitokiri break Pentagon’s arm. Pentagon was too worn down to fight back. As soon as they did, Dragon Azteca appeared on the stairs. Azteca came to the ring and, despite their antagonistic history, Azteca & Lotus didn’t fight. Lotus took the Triad away while Azteca grabbed Pentagon’s good arm, and broke that too. Pentagon broke both Azteca and Lotus’ arms at Ultima Lucha 2, and they both broke his arms tonight. Vampiro, who’s been thrilled by the violence (in general and to Pentagon Jr. in particular) was very pleased by the outcome.
That wasn’t the last of Vampiro. The show closed with a shot of Prince Puma waking up in a half opened casket, with a demonic Vampiro looking over him. Vampiro told Puma to come with him as the show ended.
There were no other matches on the show, but a couple of other vignettes. Catrina ran into Jeremiah Crane, who seemed hopeful Ivelisse would return in time to face Catrina as Ultima Lucha 3. Catrina wasn’t there to really talk about that, but the necklace Crane’s been wearing (one that’s been unremarked upon until this point.) Catrina claimed the stone in the necklace was from her Stone, and “his flesh” was here for her; he was still in love with Catrina. Catrina declared she was in love with someone else. She could’ve meant Mil Muertes or Fenix by that, and she could’ve meant some ancestor of Crane was in love with her. As with most Catrina segments, the truth wasn’t really clear, but it was accurate enough to leave Crane uncomfortable.
We did briefly see Dario Cueto, attempting to make the obvious match from Aztec Warfare 3: his brother Matanza getting a title rematch against Johnny Mundo. Matanza loudly bellowed he didn’t want that, much to Dario’s confusion. Matanza wants revenge on Mysterio instead, revaling he’d bloodied his fists by pound the wall, and used the blood to draw a question mask. Dario was freaked out. It was that kind of episode.
Matt Striker: “It’s violent, it’s disturbing – and Vamp, it is awesome.”
Vampiro: “I’m so happy.”
Vampiro’s occupied and delighted all episode by the violence. Both just the existence of the violence, and that it happens to be his old estranged student Pentagon. We’re meant to be a little concerned by his behavior. Striker’s the voice of the writers, and his line was more a mission statement of what we were supposed to feel. I was most of the way there. It was definitely violent and it was definitely disturbing.
Near the end of the show, I wrote about how this episode would likely be more polarizing than even Sexy Star winning. I got some push back on that, and it’s not with out merit. If you’ve found yourself uncomfortable with men on women violence, you probably have not made it to episode #80 of this series. (Though, I’d expect – just like with the Sexy Star win – those who did give up on this show to react to this as validation for their decision.) Those who are left have made either no issue with it at all on a scripted television show, or have decided the overall positives of the show outweigh the negatives. I think I started out in the first category and moved to the second somewhere along the line, and then felt myself moving past that a bit tonight.
I know these are all trained skilled professionals. I know the women would and probably have taken the same level of punishment in matches against other women as they took from Pentagon. The rational part of my brain knows Pentagon and Doku performed an excellent looking superkick spot, and still the irrational part is not all entertained by seeing that man kick that woman very hard. This is a ruthlessly rational website, and yet that’s not the part of the brain that’s winning this argument.
The match with Yorei was the most resembling a normal wrestling match (and, thanks the comedic bell shot, definitely the least violent.) The opener with Doku, and large portions of the fight with Hitokiri, were disturbing and meant to be so. The best art leaves you a little disquieted. It’s a too much to call an episode of Lucha Underground art, but they definitely wanted to get feelings out of people and they surely succeeded.
One bit I’m sure they wanted to get out is Pentagon, at least up until the end of this episode, was meant to be the bad guy in all of this. Striker had the unenviable task of trying to portray the rabid Temple crowd as secretly trolling Pentagon by loudly chanting his catch phrase. I’m not sure a single person bought into it, but it was obviously a way to prepare the audience for both Black Lotus and Dragon Azteca getting their revenge without making them into the bad guys. (This might be the first time Azteca has actually succeeded at something since the trios title win!) This was Pentagon’s past catching up to him, and hopefully he’s reborn without baggage when he comes back. The Puma/Vampiro skit suggests he (or we) won’t be that lucky.
In a more strictly wrestling perspective, Pentagon took the loss and had his arms broken, and he still seems more over than when he started the night. The deadliest man has been crippled twice in two seasons and still comes across as ferocious in the process. And, while all three women did fine for themselves (and looked more gifted than “the best athlete in Lucha Underground, Sexy Star”), Hitokiri shined brightest. She’s obviously a superstar, they realized it enough to make sure she was the one who didn’t get her arm broken, and I hope they do whatever they can to get her back for Season 4. (Sadly, it’s one match an out for Season 3.)
I liked the Crane/Catrina segment, if only to look forward everyone else trying to make head or tails out of it. If El Rey had the budget for these things, they ought to cut together a special of Catrina’s scenes with in between explainers to help people out with the plot. (Or, maybe a fan should do it, if it was possible to do those sort of things on YouTube without getting a takedown notice.) Matanza came across menacing in his promo, though the bloody hands might be some unfortunate foreshadowing. The Puma/Vampiro bit to end was a nice bit of weirdness, and probably an intentional call back to Catrina/Mil reawakening scene in episode 1. Coming back from the dead has it’s consequences.
CMLL (TUE) 11/29/2016Arena México [CMLL, Culticon]
1) Bengala & Sensei b Apocalipsis & Grako Sensei replaced Leono.
2) Astral, Eléctrico, Último Dragóncito b Mercurio, Pequeño Nitro, Pequeño Olímpico Tecnicos took 2/3.
3) Fuego b Forastero [lightning] Forastero replaced Arkangel.
4) Misterioso Jr., Olímpico, Sagrado b Oro Jr., Pegasso, Star Jr.
5) Ephesto, Luciferno, Pierroth b Blue Panther, Guerrero Maya Jr., Rey Cometa Pierroth replaced Ripper. Rudos won in straight falls, Ephesto sneaking in a foul Maya.
6) Ripper, Shocker, Vangellys b Ángel de Oro, Dragón Lee, Mistico Ripper replaced Mephisto (though Pierroth was listed there this morning.) Rudos took 1/3.
I didn’t watch the card. It seemed OK. The deal with Pierroth remains weird.
Diamante Azul is off all cards. Volador replaces him Saturday. Atlantis is in on Sunday. Not sure if it’s an an injury or he’s gone back to France (he indicated he wouldn’t be going back any time soon on his last Informa appearance.) Forastero also replaces Sangre Azteca on Sunday.
Today’s Lucha Underground episode is 3×13, “Breaker of Bones”. Matches announced
Pentagon versus the Black Lotus Triad
and nothing else
Lucha Underground has revealed the names of the Triad: Doku (Kairi Hojo), Yuri (Mayu Iwatani), Hitokiri (Io Shirai – or Oyuki if you have a deep memory of short term AAA gimmicks.) The clip they’ve released appears to be the open of the show, which leads into Pentagon Dark versus Doku. (Also, Vampiro telling scary campfire stories.) There’s no other match hinted at, which suggests the gauntlet may last the whole hour. I’m just not sure how that’ll work; if they go one match per segment, they’re still short at least a segment. Maybe there’s another match or surprise coming, but I generally suspect they’ll catch up with a lot of other people in cut scenes.
Lucha Underground EVP Eric Van Wagenen was on last week’s Masks, Mats & Mayhem for about the first half of the show. He was very excited for this week’s episode, saying it’s a rare episode where he watched the live cut of the show the same night it happened because he just wanted to see it again. For him, it’s one of their “top two or three” episodes. They love the Stardom women. DeJoseph saw them at the first Stardom USA show and call Van Wagenen raving: “I just saw the three greatest female Japanese wrestlers, and one of them (Io) is the Japanese Fenix. You’ve got to check them out.” Van Wagenen went the next day to see the second show, was similarly impressed, and tried to sign them right away. I had thought they were only used for a limited time because the travel/cost, but Van Wagenen says he was told their schedule was already pretty much full. Shirai, Hojo, and Iwatani happened to be coming over this weekend for a convention, so they worked the scheduled around it.
(Mia Yim/Jade and Santana Garrett were mentioned as two others LU tried to sign off those Stardom shows. I think they came up before.)
There was a fair bit of talk about the Sexy Star title win and loss. To his knowledge, Sexy was not the long term original plan, but something that came up “fairly close to the match.” Chris DeJoseph and Chris Roach dropped the idea on him, he asked “you know we’re going get shit on for doing this, right?”, they did, and they went with it. The general idea they don’t want to ever be playing it safe: “We’re not traditional, and we don’t want to be traditional.” Once they decided to do a title match, it was always meant to be a one episode thing, they didn’t have cold feet and change their minds or anything. Van Wagenen’s feeling is the fan reactions the last couple weeks was about what they expected, but more towards the positive side, and they figure/hope that if you don’t like that, there’s something else they’re doing that’d keep you watching.
That did leave me – and the hosts – with one big question: if Sexy Star was a late decision, who was supposed to be champion? Van Wagenen was evasive on that, only saying they had to change the first half of the season because of “injuries and other travel issues.” Angelico & Ivelisse are the most obvious injured people, and the hosts pressed about Ivelisse. Van Wagenen thinks the fans would’ve bought into it, and the Season 2 opener was testing the waters for it, but didn’t seem to think it was the plan.
(The travel issue might have been related to Taya based on a later discussion, or it might have been more people. Travel/immigration comes up again when talking about a discussion about who’s really dead, so maybe it was a Daga joke?)
The other thing that came up about the title change was the shot of the four women in the front row cheering for Sexy Star right at the finish. Plenty of people, myself included, wondered if they were plants. Van Wagenen’s explanation is they were the wife of a cameraman and her three girlfriends, in Los Angeles for a bachelorette party. They were on VIP guest passes, and they were moved to a camera friendly position as part of a normal policy of trying to make the crowd look as diverse as possible on TV. (That’s a thing you can do when you don’t charge for tickets.) Van Wagenen were not paid to be there, and the show generally can’t afford to pay to cast people as plants if even they wanted to do that. Later, when talking about the camera people who love to work on the show for the experience, Van Wagenen mentions an Emmy award winning cameraman turning up one weekend to ask to film the show, but they had no room in their budget to pay him. (In that case, the camera guy still wanted to work for free, and they used the footage for some of the “previously” show opens.)
The big picture question is when Season 4 will be taped. That’s still up in the air. It won’t be January, and the closest to a date is Van Wagenen saying “Ideally, we’re taping in the spring”, to avoid taping in the hot summer. He was careful with his words, noting a lot of things are in the air. He made it clear he expects the show will return for season 4, but as of yet they don’t have a pick up or a set budget and don’t expect to have that by the end of this year. They can’t work on taping dates until that happens.
I’m already cribbing too much, so I’ll cut if off there. You should go listen to the podcast for the stories about Mil Muertes punching Van Wagenen at the last LU live event and why there were so many Rabbit Tribe vignettes.
Kahn-Del-Mal promoted the upcoming Chilapancingo taping as “the last one before Guerra de Titanes.” My guess has been AAA would start 2017 with their usual year end show (which I guess is now the usual year start show) and that seems to be happening. The date and location is still unknown; it was 01/22 in Mexico City this year.
CMLL’s health announcement with the senate turned out to be participation in a campaign against prostate cancer. Hechicero & Estrellita represented CMLL. The cancer is currently not discovered/treated until it’s in an advance state for 75% of Mexican men, so they’re working on prevention and awareness in a campaign starting next year. Hechicero says his father has fought this cancer for 20 years.
Bandido sees his first season in Elite as improving from making a lot of errors in his debut to improving enough to win the welterweight title match in the end. (That generally would be true if not for the harsh ending to the title match.)
CMLL (TUE) 12/06/2016Arena México
1) Acero & Aéreo vs Pequeño Universo 2000 & Pequeño Violencia
2) Príncipe Diamante, Sangre Imperial, Sensei vs Arkángel de la Muerte, Metálico, Nitro
3) Star Jr. vs Raziel [lightning]
4) Blue Panther Jr., Drone, The Panther vs El Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón
5) Blue Panther, Guerrero Maya Jr., Rey Cometa vs Ephesto, Luciferno, Pierroth
6) Ángel de Oro, Atlantis, Carístico vs Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Niebla Roja
Semimain is a rematch; not sure if Ephesto/Maya has a better chance than Ephesto/Idol but who knows. Fourth match should be fun. Principe Diamante gets booked two straight weeks, which maybe justifies working all year for a bodybuilding contest.
CMLL (TUE) 12/06/2016Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
1) Mágico & Reyko vs Carlo Roggi & Thunder Boy
2) Leono, Magnum, Star Black vs Artillero, Ráfaga, Rey Trueno
3) Princesa Sugehit, Silueta, Skadi vs Amapola, La Comandante, La Seductora
4) Johnny Idol, Máximo Sexy, Titán vs Cavernario, Felino, Terrible
5) Mistico, Valiente, Volador Jr. vs La Máscara, Mr. Niebla, Último Guerrero
What happened: OGT won the titles by DQ. Tirantes was helping them all match, but actually fairly ruled the DQ since the Apaches got involved and attacked him. (This might have been a Zorro plan, but everything Zorro says confuses me.) Psycho Clown is now losing to the likes of Murder Clown.
What was good: Nothing. This show is in a dry spell for matches and doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon.
Where can I watch it: It’s on AAA’s channel.(more…)