With all the excitement from Monday night, and the cage match this Sunday, today’s activities may be overlooked. This is a mistake, because there’s a couple of big events taking place tonight.
CMLL: This is the first Friday night show in over a month where CMLL’s fanbase won’t be thinking more about the World Cup than the matches. CMLL’s taking advantage of this with a loaded card. There’s a lightning match between two of the best women in Mexico, and there’s multiple matches with exciting tecnicos against rudos skilled at making them look good. On top of all of that, CMLL probably is setting up some of it’s top matches for the anniversary show.
Sombra & Volador will defend their CMLL World Tag Team championships for (at least) the ninth time. This tag team title run, eighteen months long, has been the best stage of both of their careers. Volador was a guy with a half dozen start/stop pushed and damaged from them. Sombra was destined for the top, but in a company that sometimes stops short of getting their guys there. Both were seen by the fans as lesser Mistico’s. Neither have the equal of Mistico’s fame now, but they’re stars on their own footing. Like with all championships, it wasn’t simply holding the belts that made Volador & Sombra stars, it was the people they beat: Averno, Mephisto, Heavy Metal, Negro Casas, Atlantis, Rey Bucanero, Ultimo Guerrero, Felino, Terrible, Texano, Ephesto and Mr. Niebla. There’s not to many other people to beat, and the champs were beating them in the big arenas in important matches, and now they’re top guys. There are complains with what CMLL’s programmers have done, and the rate they do it, but this tag team championship reign has indisputible success. Credit should go to the chefs.
Friday night is probably the end. Volador appears headed to the rudo side. As a member of the nomadic Parka family, he’d even fit in greatly with the guys he’s facing, the Independents. Last Sunday’s main event was a reminder Volador & Mistico still do not like each other, even if it’s been ignored by everywhere else, and recent Friday night shows have teased Sombra being forced to make a choice between his Super Sky Team partners. It may not end up being an active decision by Sombra; a few things go wrong in the title match, the challengers become the champions, and Volador could make the decision for him. Back when Niebla vs Shocker was the proposed Anniversary main event, everyone agreed CMLL would need a strong semimain. Even with a different main event, Sombra vs Volador for the first time, or for the National Light Heavyweight championship, would definitely qualify. It could start Friday night.
That does bring attention to the problem of CMLL holding the Anniversary show eight weeks from now, and currently having no particular match to headline. That may be solved by the semimain, which has a lot of possibilities. Rayo/Universo has been teased already. Mistico taking Psicosis’ mask might work, if he’s losing he mask because he can’t use the name. Mistico vs Jushin Lyger, with either mask stips or the welterweight title, would work too. (That’s during NJPW’s G1 tour, which Lyger wouldn’t be much needed in-ring.) The Anniversary main event doesn’t have to be any of these, but it is time for them to be heading in some direction.
There’s also the X% chance Dr. Wagner might show up and cause the internet to explode again. I have no idea if X is 50, .00005, or something in between (though I’m believing the lower number), but anything is possible with Dr. Wagner.
Masked Warriors: the first show airs 10pm EST on MTV2 tonight.
Program guide says an hour – I thought it was a half hour? Not complaining. This is most likely footage from their 06/06 Palm Springs show, and should include the return to TV of guys like Marco Corleone, Tieniblas Jr., Charly Manson/Malice, Oreintal (still masked!), Mascara Purpura, Hijo del Lizamrk, Super Nova and Neutron, plus Mascarita Dorada being Mascarita Dorada and assorted US indy guys.
More people in the United States will see this show than any other lucha libre TV this year. Maybe combined; Galavision’s shows get very low numbers, and I’m always surprised people outside of this blog even know the other shows exist. People know Masked Warriors exist, they’ve been running ads for it all over the place. Most people in the US don’t know lucha libre outside of the broad outline of masked Mexicans doing professional wrestling, and most United States wrestling fans would be hard pressed to name five luchadors (and four of them would be ex-WCW guys.) These guys have a chance to become the popular identification of what lucha libre is, and who the important luchadors are. It’s a tremendous opportunity; no matter what the odds of them succeeding or failing are, it’s a chance all the major promotions in Mexico have not made for themselves, and are paying the price.
I haven’t had the highest perception of this group since they started TV, but the perception going in doesn’t matter much once the show airs. This is a TV promotion, so they’ll make it or not based on the quality of the TV show. We’ll start to have that answer tonight.