CMLL FantasticaMania Tokyo Day 3: 2018-01-22

flying Mistico

Recapped: 01/22/2018

Matches: 

Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi beat Disturbio & Puma
(8:53, Fuego La Guelaguetza Disturbio, good )

Okumura, Rocky Romero, SHO, YOH beat Jushin Liger, Kushida, Star Jr., Tiger Mask 
(11:13, Okumura reverse DDT, good)

Cuatrero & Sansón beat Ángel de Oro & Niebla Roja to finish third place in the CMLL Hermanos tournament
(9:17, Sansón super Poder Dinamita Angel de Oro, good)

Bárbaro Cavernario & Gedo beat Atlantis & Hirai Kawato  
(9:14, Barbaro Cavernario cavernaria Kawato, ok)

Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito beat Drone, Soberano Jr., Volador Jr. 
(8:38, Bushi bridging backslide Drone, good)

Rush beat Satoshi Kojima  
(10:14, Rush Driver on Kojima, good)

Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero beat Dragón Lee & Mistico to win the CMLL Hermanos tournament
(18:46, Último Guerrero Guerrero Special on Mistico, great)

What happened: 

Los Guerreros won the brothers tournament. Kawato finished up in NJPW for now. Volador & Naito had issues in their match.

Thoughts:

everyone do the Star Jr. dance

The main event is the only must see match on the show. It’s a fairly easy watch the whole way thru. It’s also a pretty quick one with no intermission. That’s part is slightly disappointing; the main event and the LIJ match might have been even better with a little more time and they seemed to have it if they wanted it.

I’d have the main event below the Gran Guerrero/Niebla Roja match on the tour, but it’s not that far behind. They got nearly 20 minutes to make something of it, and we got a lot of the big spots we’d normally see in a singles match. Mistico looked on all match, with the platform headscissors coming off really well among the rest. Dragon Lee and Gran Guerrero’s two long chop fights got over well (though I probably would’ve been OK with one; the second one seemed like they got lost for a second and used it to reset themselves.) It was noticable they pretty much stuck to Mistico/UG and Dragon Lee/GG matchups for most of the match. I woudl’ve liked to see some intermixing, but I wonder if we’ll end up seeing more Gran Guerrero versus Dragon Lee this year. Lee’s double stomp to apron looked brutal for Gran Guerero, and the one big flaw of the match was how the finish came so quick afterwards – so fast that the bump didn’t get time to sink in and so quick that it wasn’t clearly how Mistico and UG got into that position anyway. Still, it was a suitable fun way to close out the tour.

Rush goes vertical

Kojima & Rush was about as good as could be expected from those two. It was the hard hitting match it kind of needed to be. The chair shot to the head is going to be the thing talked about most from this match, but the rest of the match was interesting too. Rush taking a DDT just like his brother was amusing, and he sold big for most everything Kojima did. Rush tried, and that’s all I hope for out of Rush. That he won, and won cleanly, makes me think there’s a good chance he’ll be NJPW’s issue come August.

The fifth match was fun while it lasted, and it was just a shame it ended so quickly after the triple dive. Drone seemed to be doing better but also seemed to be get trashed for most of the match and it was no surprise he got pinned. This trip went from “maybe he has a chance to open some NJPW eyes for future bookings” to “I hope he doesn’t suck” really quick. Volador seemed to really want to work with Takahashi, to the point of ignoring when Bushi was standing right next to him and kicking him. Takahashi did some strong work with Soberano too. The Naito/Volador stuff was interesting and felt like a tease of a match, but I’m not sure when or when it would happen. This had the potential to be even more than it was, but it was still worth watching.

he’ll fit in

Kawato can do a springboard and a dive so I’m not really sure he has a lot more learn in CMLL. It seriously doesn’t seem like he’s going to need a long adjustment, and the bigger adjustment will be for us waiting for CMLL to actually do something with him. Cavernario worked great with him, giving Kawato enough to look like he had a chance before swatting him down. Atlantis didn’t even do the old man tope on these shows. If he wasn’t Atlantis, they probably would’ve told him to take the tour off.

The third place game was a much better outing for the NGD, who showed more of the offense and selling that made them stand out so much this past year in CMLL. They were all around to make the Angel brothers looked good, and seemed more aggressive on offense. Niebla Roja’s hurting and was moving slow at times, but his brother was making up for it. It’s strange how Angel de Oro always seems to fit in better in Japan, but he did well here and all thru the tour. This was a good change adjustment to a more serious fight after the early foolishness.

a little him from his brother

The atomicos was the kind of silliness that only works on these shows and only really once a year. It had Mima madness, had the técnicos all doing Star Jr.’s dance, had Lyger getting to do the tapatia, and had all sorts of Rocky Romero references on CMLL. It was far from the most serious match, and I didn’t really want to see Okumura win, but I guess he’s in a main event trio in the moment and at least that meant Mima won too. This would’ve been too much on anything but the tour ending show but it worked here.

Opener was a perfect opener, the right mix of comedy bits with Taguchi and some actual lucha mixed in. Disturbio looked much more into the match than yesterday, and even got a Kamehameha to work on Taguchi. The rudos were here mostly as stooges to make the técnicos look great and the técnicos did look great, so it worked out well enough. Taguchi and Fuego came off as a stars before getting the win.

a little Dragon Lee craziness

CMLL FantasticaMania Tokyo Day 2: 2018-01-21

Gran Guerrero, new master of the chokeslam

Recapped: 1/21/2018

Matches: 

Disturbio & Puma beat Drone & Star Jr.  
(9:21, Puma casita Drone, ok)

Fuego, Ryusuke Taguchi, Soberano Jr. beat Okumura, SHO, YOH
(11:07, Soberano tornillo Okumura, good)

Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito beat Atlantis, Hirai Kawato, Kushida, Satoshi Kojima
(11:47, Rush Driver on Kawato, ok)

Ángel de Oro & Niebla Roja beat Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero in a CMLL Hermanos semifinal
(11:18, Gran Guerrero top rope toss Niebla Roja, good)

Dragón Lee & Mistico beat Cuatrero & Sansón in a CMLL Hermanos semifinal match
(10:24, Mistico La Mistica Sansón, good)

Volador Jr. © beat Bárbaro Cavernario for the NWA World Welterweight Championship
(22:01, Canadian Destroyer, excellent)

What happened:

Sofia Alonso talked to the crowd to start the show, thanking NJPW for their partnership on these shows.

Thoughts:

super hero stuff

It’s really the main event as the only match you need to see from this show. And that’s Volador as his most Volador, which sparks some wildly diverse opinions. The rest of the show wasn’t bad, but it was definitely worse than the first show and there were under delivering matches.

The main event surpassed their own match from Arena Mexico last year, which might have been the best match singles match there. They’re both really good at what they do. This was Volador’s high spot match turned up to the once a year max, with Cavernario matching him move for move. Both men looked sharp and were thorough; the Japanese commentators were trying to figure out what they both had left by the end of it. The superkick versus slap fight at the end felt like a Japanese twist to the usual style. It’s going to be hard for them to go back to this match, because they did everything they could do and their only story is to do everything they can, but this was as good as they could do that story. Cavernario remains super popular in Japan despite hardly ever winning a big match; if tomorrow’s show included an announcement that NJPW was getting to keep him for the year, the crowd would go nuts.

thru the corner we go

This NGD/Munoz tag match was good but disappointing. The Dinamtias brothers came of as stronger singles wrestlers in their matches on the previous show than they came off as tag wrestlers here, and that’s not at all the way it seemed like it should go. They left their team offense back in Mexico for some reason, seemingly trying to wrestle as singles guys instead of what made them interesting in the first place. It wasn’t like they were just avoiding the springboard moves because of the ropes, there’s wasn’t much of anything else they normally do in a trio, even when Forastero isn’t around. There were still some good spots here, with Dragon Lee having the best night and the start of the match being really fun, but this should’ve stolen the show with a better rudo performance and instead was just alright. I’ve got it good because Dragon Lee was so good but can see people having it lower.

The Guerreros/Angels tag match had some nice moments. Both the Oro/Roja dive combination and the Guerreros own version got over well. The crowd reacted well for the tapatia spot, though the rest of the Angel de Oro/Utlimo Guerrero open dragged a bit. The Niebla Roja/Gran Guerrero finishing sequence felt a little bit too much like the same order of things as the previous match and didn’t get quite as over as last time. Still, there was enough good to be worth watching.

 

The LIJ match wanted to build up Kojima/Rush for tomorrow and do one last LIJ send off for Kawato. They got so much mileage out of Kawato surviving and surviving and then being killed dead. It’s something in favor for the NJPW way of doing things, though Kawato’s own ability to show fire and fight back strong helped too. The Kojima beat down segment didn’t do much for me. The brawl with Rush afterward too. Atlantis relying on La Parka like rudo stooging and an armdrag doesn’t seem a great sign for him. Hopefully it’ll get better.

this went much safer this time!

The second match was a simple fun trios match, heavy with Taguchi comedy. Soberano still got to show off a lot. Soberano never got to work with Sho & Yoh much in Mexico in front of the cameras. They worked well together here, and I wonder if they might have met much more often as training partners given their similar experience levels. The early Soberano/YOH sequence was really clean despite Soberano doing some tricky headscissors escapes. Soberano getting the pinfall again was a good sign for him. Fuego was way in the background for most of it, just getting in his signature stuff.

Kawato loses his head

The difference between Drone & Disturbio’s drowsy opening and Star Jr. & Puma’s fast pace start was immense. It told the story of the whole match quick: Star Jr. & Puma were wrestling on a much higher sharper level than their the partners Drone was acting erratic throughout the match and seemed to realize he had an bad performance by the end. Disturbio looked like he was trying to get his way thru a segunda. It made Puma & Star Jr. stand out even more, but this match should’ve been much better. The super press powerbomb spot went a lot better for Star Jr. & Puma this time around and the crowd really got into Puma around the time of his delayed suplex. I was surprised he got the pinfall win, though it clearly was the right call the way the match played out.

CMLL FantasticaMania Tokyo Day 1: 2018-01-19 

Soberano Jr.

Recapped: 01/19/2018

Matches: 

Okumura beat Fuego  
(6:49, reverse DDT, good)

Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito beat Dragón Lee, Hirai Kawato, Satoshi Kojima, Star Jr.
(15:57, BUSHI boston crab Kawato, good)

Atlantis, Drone, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Disturbio, Puma, Último Guerrero
(12:33, Atlantida on Puma, good)

Cuatrero beat Ángel de Oro © for the CMLL World Middleweight Championship
(11:42, spinning crucifix powerbomb, good)

Soberano Jr. © beat Sansón for the Mexican National Welterweight Championship
(11:16, fire driver, great)

Niebla Roja © vs Gran Guerrero for the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship
(16:14, super Furia Roja, excellent)

What happened:

when things were going well for Angel de Oro

Cuatrero won the middleweight championship in a surprise.

Los Ingobernables beat up Kojima and Star Jr. after their match

Disturbio pulled up a little lame near the end of the match, appearing to have pulled a hamstring.

The second match was the annual Black Cat memorial match.

Thoughts: 

back at it again

The final two matches are worth going out of your way to see. I thought the main event had a little more to it and felt a little less like an exhibition. Sanson/Soberano had more athletic amazement, a better pace, so I could see people enjoying it more. It’s closer in my mind than the great/excellent difference up there.

No one rose to the occasion more than the two guys in the main event. This was a really tough ask for guys who’ve not been in that position a lot, but Niebla Roja & Gran Guerrero put together their personal best match and the best built match of the night. It was hot from the start by the powerbomb catch, and they found little ways to keep escalating it. The clothesline/spinning forearm exchange was the moment where it was clear they had something, and the Japanese crowd loved Roja’s spinning forearm even more than I do. Both men really leaned into taking their opponents big moves in the most destructive looking ways. They also showed more offense than usual; I don’t know where Gran Guerrero got the super Michinoku drive but it looked great here. Everything pretty much went well, and you can say that for a most of this show – it was especially clean show given some of the youth in key positions. Niebla totally won over the crowd by the time it was done. Hope he can get that feeling in Arena Mexico too.

The Sanson/Soberano match was a super Soberano showcase, with him unloading all the biggest dives in his arsenal. He nailed every move had had to, with all his tornillos coming off well and the rare in-ring move going OK too. Sanson’s much more of a personality than his brother, and he’s also got much more he can do in singles matches at this point. I liked how they surprised with his near finish at the end, and they gave Sansón enough spots where he looked almost as good Soberano.

 

fair catch

The fourth match seemed all the world like a good Angel de Oro match, and a safe way to use Cuatrero in a single match. Angel de Oro picked up a knee injury, which didn’t stop him from doing his extended dive package, and it seemed like he was cruising to the campana win, until he lost it. Cuatrero winning clean with his crucifix powerbomb was an absolute shock. Cuatrero was fine for his first televised singles matches. His strikes, his stomps and small kicks, look really on point and painful. He could’ve used a bit more offense and he had one dropkick that looked horrible. Cuatrero didn’t come off as an undeserving champion, but a more overwhelming performance would’ve made more of an impact. He was more just moving around for Angel de Oro’s spots for a lot of this.

The second atomicos was more a getting to know you match than one going full out, but they accomplished their goal well. Disturbio’s done well for himself on this tour, showing more aggressiveness. Mistico & Último Guerrero continue to play a lot to the crowd on these shows, which gets over and their big moves later in the match get over. Cavernario seemed to talk to the crowd in-between every move, and the crowd really liked it, so I’m not going to stop him. Atlantis looked fine, which is probably partly due to Puma. It’s possible they could’ve had a better match but this worked for what they were going for.

Sanson bomb

This played out a lot like the Day 1 tag, just with slightly longer Dragon lee/Takahashi and Kojima/Rush segments to build that latter match. (You’d think they were doing the other one too soon, but that’s it for them as a combo on this tour) Star Jr. had an an eye opening performance for new fans, with the beautiful tornillo and surviving long in the match with his mask ripped. Rush destroyed Star Jr.’s mask pretty completely, and he had to kind of just work thru it or a while, then Star got crushed by a Rush chair shot to the head. Kawato shows some good fire and it’ll be interesting to see what happens when he gets to do some moves.

The opener worked for me. Fuego did so much more in an opener here than he does in an average match in Arena Mexico, though that’s not much of a surprise. It was nice to see the fosbery dive back for one night. Breaking out the springboard moves explained why he went thru his crowd playing moves so early. Okumura slapping Mima got the wrong kid of heat, and I think they quickly realized they had messed up there.

everyone dropkick

CMLL on SamuraiTV: 2018-01-18 

the tornillo looked good, probably didn’t feel well

Recapped: 1/18/18

All matches are from the Aichi Congress Center Event Hall, Nagoya, Japan, taped on 01/12/2018

Matches:

Drone beat Disturbio
(6:49, Drone headscissors submission, ok)

Okumura & Puma beat Fuego & Star Jr.  
(9:44, Puma casita Star Jr., good)

Cuatrero, Rocky Romero, SHO, YOH beat Ángel de Oro, Jushin Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask
(9:40, Cuatrero spinning crufix powerbomb, ok)

Niebla Roja, Soberano Jr., Volador Jr. beat Bárbaro Cavernario, Gran Guerrero, Sansón
(9:23, Soberano tornillo Sansón, good)

Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito beat Dragón Lee, Hirai Kawato, Kushida, Satoshi Kojima  
(12:47, BUSHI boston crab Kawato, good)

Atlantis, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico beat Gedo, Kazuchika Okada, Último Guerrero
(10:57, Mistica on Ultimo Guerrero, good)

What happened: 

Soberano magic

This was the tour opening show, and people are working about the level of a tour opening show.

Niebla Roja is now wearing a Chippendale style bow tie. Rocky Romero decides to wrestle in the Black Tiger mask for about 10 seconds into his match.

Sofia Alonso is sitting directly in the center of the picture for the whole show.

Thoughts:

Puma & Star were OK with dying in this match

This was a fine enough show, but – like most years – just for people who have to see anything. The 2nd and 4th matches were the best two on the show and the two to watch if you’re going to watch any of this. (It’s on the RealHero drive if you’re looking for it.)

Main event was well worked if not extraordinary. Mistico and Último Guerrero had a great night working with each other, with Mistico’s tricky stuff connecting well and UG coming off super strong on the front superplex. It’s probably just a quirk of the schedule, but it’s weird to see Mistico be presented as the star of the show at the end when he’s not booked that way. Tanahashi & Okada didn’t totally mail it in. Atlantis looked slow and a little bit heavy. I was scared when he was going to dive. It was a relief he didn’t.

The semimain was pretty long, with face in peril sections for both Kushida & Kojima. That meant plenty of Rush but really a lot of Dragon Lee. He and Takahashi did give the crowd their usually really strong exchange early on, but not much more. The crowd really wanted Kawato escape the crab at the end but it wasn’t happening. Match told that story well, and Los Ingobernables were as popular as anyone on the show. I could’ve used a little better comeback, but the match still had it’s moments.

The fourth match was the best of the night. Soberano was popular from the moment he appeared and won the crowd even more over during the match. Sansón and Cuatrero lose something not being together. There’s still good, but there’s a stronger confidence together. The finish played into the upcoming title match, but they actually seemed to go cross rivalry for most of the match and did it pretty well. Gran Guerrero worked well Volador and seemed to have the best night of the rudos.

Mistico tricky armdrag

 

This is three parts goofy comedy match and one part the CMLL guys. Angel de Oro & Cuatrero pick up the speed of the match dramatically when they get it, and seem lost at all the various Romero & Taguchi based shenanigans. The CMLL guys felt like they were barely in, just really an exchange in the middle, and the finish. The rest was fine for a touring show but nothing must see.

The second tag match had good pace and sharp looking moves. Fuego is over in Mexico, but he’s really over in Japan and that got the crowd into the match from the start. Puma did well, though Star may have a difference of opinion about his catch on the tornillo. He probably could’ve gotten the pin on the super powerbomb, that looked more brutal than intended. (Sofia seemed very concerned.) Star looked sharp in his performance. Okumura isn’t anything great, but he knows all the parts and where to be at the right time. This was usual FantasticaMania match fun.

The show little bit of a dry opener. Both Drone and Disturbio used their bigger moves, but there wasn’t a great flow to the match and neither man was had experience working with this crowd. Disturbio didn’t really do a lot more than he’d at home. Drone didn’t stick out.

Dragon Lee

CMLL on SamuraiTV: 2017-01-19 

Soberano Jr.

Recapped: 01/23/2017

What happened: On Day 1 of the tour, many outcomes set up challengers for later shows (though Máximo beat Hechicero before their title match.)

What was good: The third and fourth matches were the best on the show. The event was generally watchable, though not as good as the NJPW World shows. Even when good, the matches also often felt like shorter warmup versions of later matches.

Where can I watch it: It’s on the Real Hero archive.

I’m watching this last, though this as the first show to actually take place. Read More

CMLL FantasticaMania 2017 Day 7: 2017-01-22 

Mistico totally unconcerned with the fans, he’s sure he’s skying over them

Recapped: 2017-01-22

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.

Where can I watch it: It’s on NJPW World! Read More

CMLL FantasticaMania 2017 Day 6: 2017-01-21 

incredible

Recapped: 01/21/2017

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.

Where can I watch it: It’s on NJPW World. Read More

CMLL FantasticaMania 2017 Day 5: 2017-01-20 

javelin tope

Recapped: 01/20/2017

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.

Read More

2017 FantasticaMania lineup revealed

NJPW

Hooray! Quick takes on the lineups:

CMLL NJPW (FRI) 01/13/2017 EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Japan
1) Henare & Soberano Jr. vs Jado & Raziel
2) Jushin Liger, Stuka Jr., Tiger Mask vs Ephesto, Gedo, Okumura
3) Blue Panther Jr. & David Finlay vs EVIL & Sanada
4) Dragón Lee & Titán vs Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi
5) Kushida, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Euforia, Último Guerrero
6) Atlantis & Máscara Don vs Naito & Rush
7) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Máximo Sexy vs Hechicero, Okada, Will Ospreay

This show opening event is the sole taping understood to be airing exclusive on SamuraiTV (and may surface about a week later.) It’s the first of two shows to have Lee/Titan vs Bushi/Takahashi, though this is probably build for the second.

Will Ospreay being included on this tour is a surprise. They haven’t used non-Mexican fly-ins for these shows in the recent past. It’s not a clear build to a match, since Ospreay is just flying out tags. The heavyweight ranks of CHAOS (Yano, Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi) aren’t around, so maybe he was pulled in as a really good fill-in.

Mascara Don is Manabu Nakanishi’s mask persona, which he’s used on this tour in previous years.

Raziel is working against Soberano most of the tour. In some other parallel universe, Raziel might be Jado. Raziel, Soberano, Blue Panther Jr. and Ephesto are limited to tags the entire tour.

CMLL NJPW (SAT) 01/14/2017 Ehime World Trade Center, Ehime, Japan
1) Henare & Jushin Liger vs Ephesto & Jado
2) David Finlay & Soberano Jr. vs Gedo & Raziel
3) Blue Panther Jr., Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask vs Bushi, EVIL, Sanada
4) Dragón Lee & Stuka Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario & Okumura
5) Máximo Sexy & Volador Jr. vs Hechicero & Último Guerrero
6) Atlantis, Máscara Don, Titán vs Hiromu Tanahashi, Naito, Rush
7) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida, Mistico vs Euforia, Okada, Will Ospreay

The first of three untelevised shows. The 4th and 5th matches are the ones I’ll miss the most, though the main event is no slouch.

Jushin Liger is seven months older than old man Ephesto.

CMLL NJPW (SUN) 01/15/2017 KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan
1) Blue Panther Jr. & Henare vs Ephesto & Raziel
2) Jushin Liger & Stuka Jr. vs Jado & Okumura
3) Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi, Titán vs Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada
4) Dragón Lee & Tiger Mask vs Bárbaro Cavernario & Gedo
5) Máximo Sexy & Mistico vs Euforia & Hechicero
6) Atlantis, Máscara Don, Soberano Jr. vs EVIL, Naito, Rush
7) David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Volador Jr. vs Okada, Último Guerrero, Will Ospreay

Main event looks fun here as well. Henare is a heavyweight rookie who will be taking the loss in every match he’s in.

CMLL NJPW (MON) 01/16/2017 Nagoya International Conference Hall, Nagoya, Japan
1) Henare, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask vs Gedo, Jado, Raziel
2) David Finlay & Stuka Jr. vs Ephesto & Okumura
3) Ryusuke Taguchi & Soberano Jr. vs Bushi & Sanada
4) Blue Panther Jr. & Máscara Don vs EVIL & Naito
5) Máximo Sexy, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Euforia, Hechicero, Último Guerrero
6) Atlantis & Titán vs Hiromu Takahashi & Rush
7) Dragón Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Okada, Will Ospreay

This is the additional date that was added late. Another great looking main event that we won’t get to see.

I wish I could bet on the outcome of the third match. It doesn’t look good for the tecnicos at all.

CMLL NJPW (FRI) 01/20/2017 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Blue Panther Jr. & Henare vs Ephesto & Will Ospreay
2) Jushin Liger, Soberano Jr., Tiger Mask vs Gedo, Jado, Raziel
3) Máximo Sexy & Stuka Jr. vs Hechicero & Okumura
4) Atlantis, David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Bushi, EVIL, Naito, Rush, Sanada
5) Juice Robinson, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Euforia, Okada, Último Guerrero
6) Titán vs Hiromu Takahashi
7) Dragón Lee © vs Bárbaro Cavernario [CMLL SL]
4th defense

This is the meat of it. The last three shows will air live on NJPW World, though the Friday and Saturday shows will have no commentary. All Korakuen Hall shows are listed as starting at 5:30pm local, which is 2:30AM 3:30AM Central Time.

The top two matches could be outstanding. Cavernario and Dragon Lee go back to their En Busca de un Idolo year, when Barbaro won both of their matches. They haven’t had a big feud Arena Mexico feud since, but Dragon Lee’s beaten him twice since the tournament, including a match in Guadalajara for this same title back in March (aired locally, but never turned up.)

We were begging for CMLL to put Kamaitachi against more people on the CMLL roster, and we finally get it with him taking on Titan. The outcome of both these matches seems obvious, but this a huge match for Titan regardless of the result. Titan’s stuck in the role as good but replacable CMLL junior in NJPW’s eyes, and could use a breakout match if he wants to advance past that role.

The rest of this card isn’t a slouch. The 10 man tag is the annual Black Cat tribute match. The third match is building to singles matches on the next show.

CMLL NJPW (SAT) 01/21/2017 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Blue Panther Jr., Henare, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask vs Ephesto, Gedo, Jado, Raziel
2) Stuka Jr. vs Okumura
3) Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi, Soberano Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Okada, Will Ospreay
4) David Finlay, Dragón Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Titán vs Bushi, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, Naito, Sanada
5) Mistico & Volador Jr. vs Euforia & Último Guerrero
6) Atlantis vs Rush
7) Máximo Sexy © vs Hechicero [CMLL HEAVY]
9th defense

I couldn’t quite figure out which NJPW guy they’d allow Maximo to beat in a title defense, and that’s because it turned out to be a non-NJPW guy. Hechicero goes from being in the extra undercard rudo role Ephesto & Raziel are on this tour to main eventing a show. (He’ll be main eventing the slightly bigger Arena Naucalpan 8 days later. What a crazy time.) Truth be told, he’s main eventing here because he’s not a big name, and so they can afford to feed him to Maximo, but it’s still amazing. Hechicero is beloved in lucha libre circles and not really considered that much outside of them, and this could change that. Maximo can find another gear in big matches and this will be one of the biggest in both men’s careers. A slight improvement over Mascara 2000, at least.

Atlantis versus Rush will be something else entirely. The old man is going to have a long night. This will be the first real match between them: they ran into each other in 2012 Unviersal tournament with Rush winning, but this will go a lot longer than that. This would be a meaningful win for Rush.

Fifth match is Sky Team versus the Guerreros without the least important people on both teams. That’s probably good. Third match looks like a delight, though Okada’s going to need to learn some flips to keep up.

Okumura gets a singles match because of course he does.

CMLL NJPW (SUN) 01/22/2017 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Blue Panther Jr., Henare, Soberano Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Gedo, Jado
2) Jushin Liger, Stuka Jr., Tiger Mask vs Hechicero, Okumura, Raziel
3) Dragón Lee & Titán vs Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi
4) Juice Robinson, Máximo Sexy, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Ephesto, Okada, Will Ospreay
5) Atlantis, David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida vs EVIL, Naito, Rush, Sanada
6) Mistico vs Euforia
7) Volador Jr. vs Último Guerrero

The final show is – good, but kind of underwhelming? Maybe too similar to the formula from past years and hurt by my own expectations. Dragon Lee/Takahashi is happening, but probably not until February. Volador/Kushida doesn’t appear to be in the card at all despite the teases. There’s not even a Never Trios title defense, despite Nakanishi working some shows on this tour. (Maybe card is subject to hcange; this feels short one big match compared to previous years.)

Instead, we get Volador versus Ultimo Guerrero. It sets up for the usual Volador showcase to end the tour, and neither man’s title being on the line muddies up the outcome a bit. Mistico versus Euforia is the Mistico showcase we get every year. Euforia should bring out the best in him. The tercera tag match should be great. This card should be good. Still, the last night is usually by far the best night of the three, and it’s a lot more even this year.

great match roundup: CMLL NJPW FantasticaMania 2016

One last time to put in a table. Here’s all the recaps again

I’ve added links to RealHero’s videos of the first three days (except I’ve lost track of the day 3 opener.) NJPWWorld didn’t split up those shows into individual videos and I’m not a subscriber at the moment so you’re on your own.

You need to do what you need to do to see Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi. There were a lot of Good matches that weren’t far off Great. I’m low score on Volador/Mephisto; those less fatigued with those matches rate it higher. There wasn’t a bad match on the tour.

rating matches TV Show
excellent Dragón Lee vs Kamaitachi for the CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
great Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario © for the Mexican National Welterweight Championship Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
great Mistico & Volador Jr. vs Mephisto & Último Guerrero Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
great Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
good Fuego & Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario & YOSHI-HASHI Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
good Dragon Lee & Jay White vs Hechicero & Virus Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
good Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Mistico vsGedo, Kazuchika Okada, Último Guerrero Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
good Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Boby Zavala KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
good David Finlay, Dragon Lee, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Titán vsBárbaro Cavernario, Hechicero, Virus, YOSHI-HASHI KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
good Kushida & Mistico vs Gedo & Último Guerrero KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
good The Panther vs Boby Zavala Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
good Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Okumura Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
good Jay White, Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Gedo, Hechicero, YOSHI-HASHI Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
good Atlantis, Fuego, Máscara Dorada vs Bushi, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
good Juice Robinson, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Mephisto, Shinsuke Nakamura, Último Guerrero Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
good David Finlay, Guerrero Maya Jr., Jyushin Thunder Liger, Kushida, The Panther vs Boby Zavala, Gedo, Hechicero, Okumura, YOSHI-HASHI Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
good Máscara Dorada vs Bushi © for the CMLL World Welterweight Championship Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
good Máscara Dorada & Titán vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
good Ryusuke Taguchi & Stuka Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario & Shinsuke Nakamura Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
good Dragon Lee © vs Virus for the CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
good Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada, Mephisto, Último Guerrero Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
good Fuego, Kushida, Stuka Jr., Tiger Mask IV vs Boby Zavala, Hechicero, Okumura, Yoshihashi Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
good Jyushin Thunder Liger vs Virus Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
good Mistico vs Último Guerrero Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
good Volador Jr. © vs Mephisto for the NWA World Welterweight Championship Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
ok Kushida & Stuka Jr. vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
ok Guerrero Maya Jr. & The Panther vs Boby Zavala & Okumura Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
ok Atlantis, Juice Robinson, Máscara Dorada vs Bushi, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
ok Ryusuke Taguchi & Volador Jr. vs Mephisto & Shinsuke Nakamura Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan: 2016-01-17
ok Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
ok The Panther vs Okumura KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
ok Atlantis, Máscara Dorada, Stuka Jr. vs Bushi, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
ok Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Volador Jr. vsKazuchika Okada, Mephisto, Shinsuke Nakamura KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan: 2016-01-19
ok Jushin Liger & Stuka Jr. vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
ok Dragon Lee & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Okada & Virus Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan: 2016-01-20
ok Fuego & Stuka Jr. vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
ok Atlantis & Juice Robinson vs EVIL & Tetsuya Naito Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
ok Dragon Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi vsKazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Virus Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-22
ok Fuego, Juice Robinson, Kushida vs Gedo, Hechicero, YOSHI-HASHI Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
ok Guerrero Maya Jr. & The Panther © vs Boby Zavala & Okumura for the Arena Coliseo (DF) Tag Team Championship Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
ok Atlantis, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask vs Bushi, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-23
ok Guerrero Maya Jr. & The Panther vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24
ok Atlantis, Máscara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Bushi, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan: 2016-01-24