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.
Rob and I back to talk about lucha libre things going on right now. We’re both excited for FantasticaMania, I force Rob to talk about Guerra de Titanes, he tries to get me to make an actual decision about WrestleMania plans, I complain too much about Lucha Underground and indies promotion as well. The podcast is about 90 minutes, which is not something we’re purposefully aiming for but works out nicely.
CMLL (TUE) 01/17/2017Arena México [CMLL, SuperLuchas]
1) Acero & Aéreo b Mercurio & Pequeño Nitro Tecnicos took 1/3.
2) Arkángel de la Muerte, Cancerbero, Nitro b Magia Blanca, Robin, Sensei Rudos took 1/3.
3) Sagrado, Tiger, Virus b Pegasso, Star Jr., Stigma Rudos took 1/3.
4) Rey Cometa b Puma [lightning] Cometa won with a code red in over 7 minutes.
5) Gran Guerrero, Niebla Roja, Vangellys b Drone, Guerrero Maya Jr., Johnny Idol Rudos took 1/3.
6) La Máscara, Pierroth, Shocker b Blue Panther, Diamante Azul, Valiente Rudos took 1/3. Pierroth got in a foul on Blue Panther and La Mascara unmasked Diamante Azul.
The only thing I’ve seen from this so far is Cometa/Puma, which was a good seven minute sprint that you wish went fifteen. The rest of the card sounds like it went to form. Nothing that happened in the main event is going anywhere because the Ingobernables are off next week.
In Guadalajara, Dragon Rojo defeated Angel de Oro to keep the CMLL middleweight championship.
In Arena Aficion, La Hechicera lost her hair in the four way match with Super Fly, Joe Lider and Big Mami. They did announce Daga would lose his hair instead of Joe Lider if Lider lost, since Lider just lost his hair two weeks ago in Neza. However, much like Lider’s hair loss in Neza, there’s no photos of Hechicera bald. There’s a shot of someone using scissors on a part of her hair backstage, but no sign she lived up to the stipulation. People pointing out the Lider situation eventually caused him to shave his head, and maybe that’ll happen again here, but ou’re a sucker if you believe an apuesta bet on AAA show.
ROH announced Volador Jr. would be on their 04/01 show, with Dragon Lee. n
Wrestling streaming service FloSlam put up a press release, noting they’re missing lucha libre programming on their network and announced they were adding Pro Wrestling Revolution out of northern California and Lucha Future out of the UK. PWR has been running iPPVs on FiteTV, usually with a couple big lucha names (Caristico’s their current champion) and locals. Lucha Forever is using a lot of familiar (and talented) wrestlers from the UK scene, some who trained at the lucha school in London, but not anyone who would be considered primarily a luchador and appear to be running a normal indie card. (Lucha Forever swears their name will make sense when they run their first show.) Calling Lucha Forever something that fills a lucha libre gap is dumb: no one who looks at their lineup will believe that, it distracts from the actual good matches they’re promising, and it’s just generally patronizing. PWR is a good first step to having some lucha on the service.
IWRG (SUN) 01/22/2017Arena Naucalpan
1) Cadilac vs Keshin Black
2) Omega vs Adrenalina
3) Freelance vs Aramis, Araña de Plata, Demonio Infernal, Black Dragón
4) Leo, Mike, Rafy, Teelo vs Killer Jr., Oficial AK47, Oficial Fierro, X-Fly
5) Dragón Fly, Emperador Azteca, Veneno vs Apolo Estrada Jr., Heddi Karaoui, Herodes Jr.
6) Golden Magic & Mr. Electro vs Pirata Morgan & Pirata Morgan Jr.
7) Imposible vs Relámpago [IWRG IC MIDDLE] Listed as without referee. 5th defense for Impossible.
Main event gets back to where they were two weeks ago, though I’m not sure how the match will finish without referee. (There probably will be a referee.) A frustration with IWRG was building around the not-great heavyweights when they had Imposible, and they’ve actually done a lot with Imposible this month.
AYM has only been airing the top 4, so we may not get the five way match unless +Lucha posts it. (They should!)
CMLL (TUE) 01/24/2017Arena México
1) Acero & Aéreo vs Pequeño Universo 2000 & Pequeño Violencia
2) Flyer, Metatrón, Star Jr. vs Arkángel de la Muerte, Canelo Casas, Hijo del Signo
3) Fuego vs Skándalo [lightning]
4) Pegasso, Stigma, Tritón vs Misterioso Jr., Sagrado, Virus
5) Ángel de Oro, Guerrero Maya Jr., Rey Cometa vs Ripper, Sam Adonis, Vangellys
6) Atlantis, Stuka Jr., Valiente vs Rey Bucanero, Shocker, Terrible
Of all the people flying back from Japan, it’s old man Atlantis and Stuka who have to work the first day back. (Or everyone else is stuck taking the shuttle to Guadalajara.) This card isn’t much better than the others, with a some matches which might be good but nothing that looks great and definitely some things that look bad. That minis opener is close to the worse one they can throw out there.
What happened: Goya Kong returned, and later betrayed her brother Psycho Clown to side with the rudos. Aerostar & Drago kept the tag titles and united with Argenis to form a new unnamed group.
What was good: Nothing stuck out as something you should go out of your way to see, but nothing was truly terrible either. The opener was too short and the main event was too long, but it was a very normal AAA TV episode.
Where can I watch it: It’s on AAA’s channel.(more…)
CMLL (SUN) 01/15/2017Arena Coliseo Guadalajara [Domingos Familiares]
1) Destructor b Capitán Cobra Rudos took 2/3.
2) Linterna & Mr. Brisa b Cosmos & El Alteño Rudos took 1/3.
3) Javier Cruz Jr., Neutrón, Reycko b Carlo Roggi, Demonio Rojo, Gran Kenut Tecnicos took 1/3, Neutron pinning Gran Kenut
4) Frezzer & Furia Roja b Joker & Sádico Team Frezzer & Furia Roja (brothers) took 1/3, Frezzer pinning Joker win straight falls.
5) Explosivo, Flash II, Omar Brunetti b Mr. Trueno, Pitbull I, Rey Trueno Tecnicos took 2/3.
Freezer gets that title match against Joker this Sunday.
CMLL (MON) 01/16/2017Arena Puebla [+LuchaTV, Plantilla Deportiva]
1) Centella Roja & El Hijo De Centella Roja b Rey Apocalipsis & Toro Bill Jr.
2) Black Tiger & Tigre Rojo Jr. b Fuerza Chicana & Policeman
3) Astro, Shockercito, Último Dragóncito b Espíritu Maligno, Mini Joker, Pequeño Violencia Astro pinned Pequeno Violencia
4) Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora, Skándalo b Ángel de Oro, Guerrero Maya Jr., Stigma Dragon Rojo pinned Angel de Oro before their title match
5) Johnny Idol, Marco Corleone, Valiente b La Máscara, Máscara Año 2000, Vangellys
6) Carístico b Negro Casas Caristico took 2/3, the last when Negro tried La Mistica but Caristico won with la casita
Main event was better than the Tuesday Negro Casas match, though it didn’t rise to being a must see. The minis feud seems to have changed or it being dropped; Pequeno Violencia isn’t back next week.
If I caught it correctly, it sounds like CMLL will have an announcement on Homenaje a Dos Leyendas on Informa this week. It seems early, but announcing a date or (more likely) a legend would make sense.
Today’s CMLL show is the better of the two Arena Mexico streamed show this week. The main event (Blue Panther, Diamante Azul, Valiente vs La Mascara, Pierroth, Shocker) doesn’t sound strong, but there’s good matches snuck in elsewhere on the card. Rey Cometa and Puma resume their rivalry in a lightning match, and the tercera has a promising Pegasso, Star and Stigma versus Sagrado, Tiger and Virus lightning match. There’s a lot of good luchadors there, plenty enough to have more exciting cards during FantasticaMania, but CMLL just hasn’t made any special attempt to focus them. The cards are not bad because of FantasticaMania, they’re bad because CMLL isn’t trying hard for good cards.
The rest of the show is the usual grab bag. Drone, Guerrero Maya and Johnny Idol take on Gran Guerrero, Niebla Roja and Vangellys in the semimain, which should be fine. Magia Blanca, Robin and Sensei take on the angry old man squad of Nitro, Arkangel and Cancerbero. Acero & Aereo against Mercurio & Pequeno Nitro open the show. I really like the team of Mercurio & Nitro, but I expect just a lot of biting in a Tuesday opener.
The show will air at 7:30pm on CMLL’s YouTube channel.
CMLL (MON) 01/23/2017Arena Puebla
1) Lestat, Rey Samuray, Zaeta Roja vs Hijo del Perverso, King Jaguar, Rey Apocalipsis
2) Acero, Aéreo, Asturiano vs Espíritu Maligno, Mini Joker, Pierrothito
3) Esfinge, Fuego, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kráneo, Olímpico, Ripper
4) Ángel de Oro, Blue Panther, Diamante Azul vs Rey Bucanero, Shocker, Terrible
5) Johnny Idol, Marco Corleone, Valiente vs La Máscara, Máscara Año 2000, Vangellys
This is probably the last card before the FM guys are back, depending on if they have them work on Tuesday. Tercera could be good. This is Esfinge’s first match outside of Guadalajara in six weeks.
“Perverso” is listed on the card, but in a story broken by Perverso Jr., it’s actually Puebla luchador Hijo del Perverso. I’ve never seen him in action, and have no better idea why they’re going by Perverso than you. I don’t think it means about the same as it would in English.
CMLL Lucha Libre Retro: 2017-01-13 Cloud Drive
taped 2016-10-15 @ Arena Coliseo
1) Flyer, Oro Jr., Robin vs Arkángel de la Muerte, Disturbio, Hijo del Signo
taped 2016-11-05 @ Arena Coliseo
2) Diamante Azul vs Terrible
taped 2016-10-15 @ Arena Coliseo
3) Atlantis, Máximo Sexy, Valiente vs La Máscara, Mr. Niebla, Niebla Roja
CMLL on ClaroSports.com: 2017-01-13 Cloud Drive
taped 2017-01-13 @ Arena México
1) Astral & Eléctrico vs Demus 3:16 & Pierrothito
2) La Vaquerita, Princesa Sugehit, Silueta vs Amapola, La Comandante, Tiffany
3) Blue Panther, Johnny Idol, The Panther vs Kráneo, Ripper, Sam Adonis
4) Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Bobby Zin a lightning match
5) Ángel de Oro, Marco Corleone, Valiente vs El Cuatrero, Máscara Año 2000, Sansón
6) Carístico, Diamante Azul, Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs Mephisto, Rey Bucanero, Terrible
CMLL NJPW (MON) 01/16/2017 Nagoya International Conference Hall, Nagoya, Japan [NJPW, Puroresu Spirit]
1) Gedo, Jado, Raziel b Henare, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask 8:40. Jado submitted Henare to a crossface.
2) David Finlay & Stuka Jr. b Ephesto & Okumura 4:21. Stuka defeated Okumura.
3) Bushi & Sanada b Ryusuke Taguchi & Soberano Jr. 9:33. Bushi beat Soberano with the MX. LIJ took the tecnico’s mask after the match.
4) EVIL & Naito b Blue Panther Jr. & Máscara Don 7:38. Evil beat Blue Panther with Evil. Naito unmasked Mascara Don post match.
5) Máximo Sexy, Mistico, Volador Jr. b Euforia, Hechicero, Último Guerrero 12:18. Hechicero submitted Mistico to a rolling half crab.
6) Hiromu Takahashi & Rush b Atlantis & Titán 7:53. Rush Driver on Titan.
7) Dragón Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida b Bárbaro Cavernario, Okada, Will Ospreay 13:03. Dragon Lee powerbombed Cavernario
Apolo coming back to lose his hair right is strange in anywhere but IWRG. Maybe the weirder part is Apolo wrestling in an Ephesto tank top of all things. Hijo de Dos Caras actually appeared and there doesn’t appear to be anything with that. IWRG claimed Mascara 2000 Jr. didn’t get back from Jalisco – maybe that was just confusion, he was in Cuernavaca, just a bit over an hour away. It’s not impossible he could’ve worked both, and it would explain why they bumped his match back.
Tonight in Arena Puebla is another chapter in the Carsitico/Negro Casas feud. They’ve been on opposite sides of matches since 2008, and this is the third singles match they’ve had since returning. Casas won on a Elite show last January, Caristico won in November in Guadalajara, and this will be the first match televised since Caristico’s return. Negro Casas singles matches have been on the short side lately, but hopefully Caristico will inspire him to do more than Maximo did on Tuesday.
There’s not a lot to look forward to on the rest of the show. CMLL’s depth isn’t great with the guys in FantasticaMania, but these cards seem worse this year than the last few. The semimain is Johnny Idol, Marco Corleone and Valiente against La Mascara, Mascara 2000 and Vangellys. Angel de Oro, Guerrero Maya and Stigma face Dragon Rojo, Polvora and Skandalo, which might be good outside of the Stigma/Skandalo feud. The tercera is a minis match, Astro, Shockercito, Ultimo Dragoncito against Espiritu Maligno, Mini Joker and Pequeno Violencia. Violencia & Shockercito feuded last week and seem headed to a singles match. The setup trios will likely be better than the singles match. Puebla opens with two locals only matches: Black Tiger & Tigre Rojo Jr. face Fuerza Chicana & Policeman, and Centella Roja and one of his sons face the Batilon del Muerte to kick off the show.
Puebla airs on CMLL’s YouTube channel at 9pm.
I watched the Blue Demon show last night. It’s not really about Blue Demon. It’s not even much about a fictional Blue Demon luchador, with his biggest match instead a framing device about his journey from childhood to becoming a wrestler. They start off with lucha libre because that’s what people are expecting, but it seems like it’ll be a long way before becoming lucha libre.
The show started with a big block of text saying names may be historic, but any relation to real events or real people is coincidence and it’s a work of fiction. It’s really a period drama where the lead character eventually becomes a luchador. The lucha libre scenes are treated like the sport is 100% legit, and that’s not even the hardest thing to believe on the show. The wrestling is a little bit like current Hijo del Santo, but generally something more akin to a modern match than anything Blue Demon and El Santo would’ve had in the 50s.
The premiere aired on Univsion, while the rest of the show will air on Unimas every night. Unfortunately, at least for me, Unimas hasn’t put in episode guide information. Every episode is listed as the same generic episode, making it very hard for a DVR to record it. You can get English captioning, but have to figure out how to get closed captioning 3 to work.