Blue Panther Jr., Guerrero Maya Jr., Stuka Jr. beat Hechicero, Rey Bucanero, Shocker
(17:14 [3:04, 3:16, 10:54], 1/3, n/r, 00:05:28)
Titán beat Flyer, Tritón, Esfinge, Rey Cometa, Drone, Black Panther, Audaz, Templario, Virus, Sagrado, Pólvora, Kawato San, Vangellys, Tiger, Universo 2000 Jr.in a CMLL’s Reyes del Aire
(29:21, good, 00:28:04)
Black Panther dropkick to the head Universo 2000 (07:57)
Virus nudo Drone (10:34)
Triton climb up legdrop (11:54)
Tiger casita Black Panther (13:02)
Flyer wristlock Virus (16:19)
Super Pólvora Driver on Esfinge (17:28)
Rey Cometa rope flip spanish Fly Tiger (18:12)
Audaz straight jacket cavernara Pólvora (19:15)
Vangellys northern lights suplex Rey Cometa (20:51)
Kawato Dragon suplex Audaz (21:12)
Titan reverse rolling cradle with bridge Vangellys 541(21:58)
Triton & Kawato double pin tapatia (22:49)
Templario super powerbomb (24:04)
Titan backside cradle (29:02)
Carístico, Dragón Lee, Volador Jr. beat Cuatrero, Sansón, Último Guerrero
(6:29 [2:30, 3:59], 1/2 DQ, ok,01:07:11)
Titan won the Reyes del Aire for the first time.
Hechicero & Stuka set up a title match for next week that we may or may not ever see.
The main event was a short quick match to show a little bit of everyone and set up an Último Guerrero versus Carstico match. That match never happened because they were out to Japan by the following Sunday and no one will remember this (as opposed all the other times they feuded), so there’s no real great storyline reason to do a DQ finish. Got them out of there in eight minutes, which might have been all the reason they needed.
The Reyes del Aire didn’t ever really feel like a Reyes del Aire, and more just like a general cibernetico. You had the usual high flyers doing their usual high spots for the most part. Triton & Cometa brought out the trickiest version of their dives, but there wasn’t anything new or different to be found here. It was more just general action from any sort of match, with a couple of more flyers thrown in. Flyer eliminating Virus with a wristlock of all things is not the right choice for this match, though it was still better than a destroyer. I’m not sure the atmosphere helped, it felt like the announcers were more sharing stories than invested in the match, but it wasn’t really any great match they were talking over. Templario and Titan did fine at the end but neither man used their bigger moves and Titan couldn’t get over on his finishing bridge. This is still good action but nothing you need to go out of your way to see.
The opener was not interesting enough to write about.
Carístico, Místico, Volador Jr.beat Gran Guerrero, Templario, Último Guerrero (12:24 [6:02, 2:11, 4:11], 2/3 DQ, good, 00:57:57)
Último Guerrero unmasked Carístico for main event DQ.
Shocker is a fill-in on the técnico side for Diamante Azul in the semi-main. He fights the NGD but doesn’t get along with his partners. Atlantis actually hiptosses Shocker in the third fall, Shocker attacks Atlantis, and Sansón immediately cradles Atlantis for the win. Valiente gets punched in the face too.
The main event was wrestled at Friday level, with Místico breaking out more big spots than expected on a big show. Carístico and Último Guererro feuded – to build up a match that CMLL never got around to happening – and do fine doing it. The other four show more, with Templario & Gran Guerrero doing some of the fun teamwork spots. The crowd is into this the whole way and Templario being in with the top guys and not looking the slightest bit out of place is nice to see.
Titan/Felino is a lot of the stuff seen with them in trios matches for the first four minutes – Felino & Zacarias dance, Zacarias gets blown up by a Titan dropkick. It escalates with a nice sunset flip powerbomb and Felino is trying a lot harder than usual in the last few minutes. That stage isn’t long enough to develop into anything big but it felt more worth your time than it would indicate on name alone.
Someone I don’t know mentioned the tercera here was a good match. I’m not sure if I would go that far, but it was better than usual. The second and third falls finished up strong, with especially a lot going on to end the match. There was a tease of the Black Panther/Virus mat exchanges that have disappeared in the last year, and Drone’s sunset flip set up to the Panther boomerang kick was a good idea that needs slightly better timing. Sangre Azteca & Nitro hold no surprises but this was about as good as match gets with them involved at this point.
This is part 2 of this feature on Sunday CMLL matches deep in the NJPW World archives. Apparently, I have a part 3 coming now! This was all written up around 01/14.
Michael Elgin, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón
(CMLL @ Arena México on 09/30, 8:31, ok,NJPW)
NGD don’t get to wrestle outside heavyweights that much, so this stuck out as a chance to see how that might work. It doesn’t really work out that way. Elgin is the only one putting in a lot of effort. NGD and Elgin do not smoothly mesh here. This is a standard B-show main event, a few high spots and not much more.
Ángel de Oro, Niebla Roja, Valiente vs Cavernario, Rey Bucanero, Terrible
(CMLL @ Arena México on 10/28, 9:35, ok,NJPW)
This is the start of the Niebla Roja/Rey Bucanero issue. It feels no different than most CMLL B-show insta-feuds, with Bucanero cheapshotting Niebla Roja for no reason and ducking a fair fight most of the match. Bucanero is doing a little more here than usual but there’s no special connection. Vaeitne’s tope on Cavernario at the end is pretty strong.
Flyer vs Dragón Rojo Jr.in a lightning match
(CMLL @ Arena México on 11/04, 6:02, ok,NJPW)
Dragon Rojo loses Flyer on a spot early, angrily stomping him with then spot doesn’t work, and this match feels like it’s going sideways quick. It does improve from there, especially with Dragon Rojo nifty pulling thru a roll thru spot, but these two guys have enough individual shakiness that doesn’t get solved by putting them together. Flyer hesitates on the Asai moonsault a lot, to the point where it would definitely be a personal twist on a regular move if it made any sense. They have a decent layout on a match, it just doesn’t come together smoothly. It could’ve been worse, all considering.
Carístico, King Phoenix, Penta 0M vs Ciber, Gilbert el Boricua, The Chrisin a relevos increíbles match
(CMLL @ Arena México on 11/18, 13:59, good,NJPW)
Maybe the best CL4N/Gilbert match in CMLL in 2018? They all had small moments where things didn’t look great, but they were putting in a lot of effort and going things we didn’t see from the other matches. The Chris looked the best, mixing it up with Fenix will and pulling out a rolling dropkick of all things. Gilbert seems to be in the least of anyone, leaving me wishing they did more with him and Fenix for old times’ sake. This was not Fenix and Penta top performance but they showed enough that first-time viewers – which appeared to be most of the people commentating this match – came away impressed. Easy fun match that would be fondly considered if it was streamed on a Friday and not behind the paywall of another promotion’s subscription site.
They went thru the usual bits of a big match and the effort was there, but there wasn’t enough to this match to overcome my dislike for one of the wrestlers. Diamante Azul had an expensive mask for his big match and not really the performance to match. He missed the very stationary target on his big dive and his backbreakers weren’t any better. I wish I could be so impressed by him Azul being big as the people who promote him because it is not fun to see him as a bad wrestler makes matches worse just because he’s big. This felt like they wanted to give Diamante Azul a world title but don’t have a lot of confidence in him being on his own. They still tried to make it his big moment and he still struggled.
Niebla Roja vs Rey Bucanero, hair vs hair
(CMLL @ Arena México on 11/18, 21:16, ok,NJPW)
So, is the problem here is that this is a match built around Rey Bucanero getting beat up a lot and he can’t really have a good match that way in 2018, or is the problem that they’re doing that style of match in the first place. This would’ve been a very exciting 2004 Rey Bucaneo match that’s a struggle at times and never settles into a story beyond “here are some moves.” Like all recent Rey Bucanero big matches, he’s willing to try and it’s just his inability to execute and their unwillingness to take a different track that limits how interesting it came to be. If you want to see a similar match to what other people have done, just in a less exciting fashion, then this will still work for you. It worked for the fans, who seemed very into the drama of what seemed like an obvious result. Niebla Roja is more popular than it seems or Bucanero has a lot of credibility to them. Myself, I can’t tell you it’s really worth your time to watch this match, though at least it’s not nearly as long as the video file suggested. They give the haircut plenty of time.
Esfinge, Guerrero Maya Jr., Tritón vs Misterioso Jr., Sagrado, Universo 2000 Jr.
(CMLL @ Arena México on 12/02, 12:15, below average, NJPW)
I have no idea why they decided to air this show. There’s nothing much on it. The Super Astro/Espiritu Negro lightning match is not shown but might be the only promising match. This match did remind me there was a point where Sagrado cared and was good. I think that person went away sometime in 2108. A relatable situation. The lowlight of this match is Universo 2000 apparently rolling out the wrong side of the ring, so Esfinge sets up for a corner moonsault to the floor, than just stands there posing when there’s no one in the zipcode. CMLL cameras help out not all by focusing on him, and never showing Triton dive on the other side of the ring. It could not be more awkward. Universo and Esfinge fail at a takedown a moment later. This is a bad night.
NGD kept their trios titles. Carístico gave credit to Volador for being the better man, and both men reacted like normal (Volador making sure to bring that up in his promo, Carístico celebrating forever after the match anyway.)
Volador/Caristico was Volador’s best singles match in a while. They did a unique thing of just going dive crazy to start the match for about the first eight minutes, and then just staying in the ring for big near falls the rest of the way. Their big moves came across smooth and there was more intensity in the match even when it was just mostly flying. The Mistica tease was well done, a moment we don’t get often in Arena Mexico. If you’re tired of Volador, this isn’t going to change your mind, but it was still a good tour ending match.
I don’t know what to say about the semi-main. It was truly as weird as it set out to be.
All the undercard CMLL matches delivered on the last night, with all action and generally bigger moves than we had seen before. Soberano and Místico both had spectacular moments, looking as good as they in the rest of the tournament. Namajague & Dragon Lee fought well and made it clear they’re going to be doing it again sometime in 2019. Guerreros seemed to get to show off more moves here than they had even in their tag match yesterday, and Último dropped Soberano hard on the finish.
The NGD finally got the monkey flip senton and a lot more. They’ve been fine as individuals but the trios title match made the best impression by far. Their team-work spots were on point the whole way, and they came off as worthy champions. Atlantis was fine, maybe better than fine, in the match which seemed like it was going to be the biggest test for him. Angel de Oro & Titan did good, though this match wasn’t as much about them. This was exciting all the way to the finish, and worth checking out.
A great mystery is most everyone in the LIJ match showing more effort in the match that was ending with a run-in DQ. Sho & Yoh really stood more here than as Fujin & Raijin, but it felt like we got more out of BUSHI & Takagi as well. They made a point of Henare trying and failing again. Even failing, it gives Henare an arc and a storyline carrot, which is a lot better than being in trios matches with no direction.
Atlantis Jr. showed good effort in his match, though the execution didn’t seem to always be there. The finishing sequence, where he had to put on the Atlantida three times for it to work, was not the smoothest thing. He looked good the rest of the match, coming out strong with the dives early on. His quebradoras are better than Diamante Azul, not that’s saying much. Atlantis Jr. needs to be taken a little slow in Mexico because he’s not really on the level of the guys in the opener yet, but more regular work should help. He’s not on the cards yet for next week, but hopefully, he starts as a regular before long.
They just went all out from the start in the opener, both sides just doing everything they could for ten minutes. Templario works well with everyone, so it was more surprising to see a whole bunch of Flyer & Audaz team moves scattered into the highlights. Flyer had his best match in this tour in the process, and the other wrestlers weren’t far behind. Templario and really Audaz have made great impressions; luchadors in their position don’t usually get brought back in the same year, but they seem to have a good chance to come back someday.
Carístico, Cavernario, Namajague beat Audaz, Soberano Jr., Volador Jr.in a relevos increíbles match
(11:11, Carístico Mistica Audaz, good)
Terrible beat Satoshi Kojima
(11:32, Terrible Styles Clash, ok)
Dragón Lee & Místico beat Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero
(17:56, La Mistica on Gran Guerrero, good)
Carístico and Volador had a standoff and a handshake after their match.
The main event was fun, though it was just kind of missing a little more energy. I thought the NGD match was a little bit better as far as building excitement, but this was still had some great spots. Dragon Lee & Último Guerrero meshed well and it was weird to see them completely disappear for the finish. They played to the crowd a lot early and the crowd loved it, but the match didn’t kind of stayed at the easy crowd-pleasing level for as long as it went, even though it had so much time.
I can’t believe Terrible won. Match was alright, hard-hitting if slow-paced match it figured to be. Terrible probably could’ve sped it up a little more on his part, but that seemed part of a story of him being overconfident leading to a loss. Only he didn’t lose, so Terrible was exactly the right level of confident. This was exactly as good as you’d think a match between Kojima and Terrible in 2019 would be.
The Volador/Caristico trios match was very good for the most part. There was an incredibly weird sequence where Volador & Carístico might have messed up a Destroyer, then did a mask pull, then everyone seemed to panic, and then Carístico got his mask back on and everyone just went back to their match. They should not do whatever that was again. Everything else should be done again. Audaz continues to have a strong tour, stealing the show in the opening seconds with a great sequence with Namajague and getting the highlight comeback headscissors. Soberano did well and Audaz still totally outshined him. Namajague has been a great part of his matches, I’m going to miss him when he’s not back around. Volador & Carístico were fine but the show here was the other four guys.
Atlantis Jr. struggled a little bit early in this match. He got better in the ending run with Okumura, but I think this was his last complete performance of the ones we’ve seen so far. Forastero had a bad moment he covered for well, but he really hasn’t shined here as he in Mexico. I thought they’d finally do the monkey flip spot here to give him something. Guess they’re saving it for tomorrow. This is an easy skip.
The LIJ match seemed fine. I’m over the LIJ matches. Henare going after Naito to the determent of the match was good storytelling. That’s all I got.
The Titan/Angel de Oro match on this show was even a bit better than their match back on Friday. Titan & Angel de Oro are getting to show a lot more in Tokyo, and they got tons of time here to just to run thru everything in fine fashion. Templario’s power spots get over easily with this crowd, to the point the teasing the gutwrench powerbomb (before it got reversed) got over. He and Cuatrero did well as the improvised team for the night. Including Atlantis in this is going to be a challenge tomorrow, but Titan & Angel de Oro might be able to carry it on their own.
Flyer got in a good dive, got hit by a Taguchi dive, then stood in the corner for about five minutes. Flyer did his usual hesitation for a springboard headscissors, which didn’t land too well. He got the big moment against Ishimori in the end and ran thru a kick that looked like he was supposed to sell and didn’t? It was not the greatest Flyer performance once again. I think the other Taguchi matches on this tour have been better.
Ángel de Oro & Titánbeat Forastero & Okumura
(8:41, Titan figure four leg underhook pin Forastero, good)
Fujin, Raijin, Satoshi Kojima, Toa Henarebeat Bushi, Shingo Takagi, Terrible, Tetsuya Naito
(11:48, Kojima Western Lariat Terrible, ok)
Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrerobeat Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.
(11:47, Gran Guerrero package piledriver into a powerbomb, ok)
Carístico & Namajague beat Flyer & Volador Jr.in a relevos increíbles match
(9:49, La Mistica on Flyer, ok)
Bárbaro Cavernario beat Soberano Jr.
(15:40, cavernaria, excellent)
Dragón Lee & Místicobeat Cuatrero & Sansónin the finals of the 2019 CMLL Family Tournament (14:07, Dragon Lee powerbomb Sansón, great)
Dragon Lee & Místico advance to face Último Guerrero & Gran Guerrero on Sunday.
The tercera was the annual Black Cat memorial. Black Cat’s widow took a photo with the técnico side before the match.
The main event would’ve been the standout match on most any other CMLL show. It was closer in experience than those grades really indicate, and it’d be understandable if people saw it better. This match had great coordination between two teams, with a lot of four men interacting at about the same time. It was leaning towards a Mistico/Dragon Lee showcase, with NGD being able to fight off the loss for a while but only rarely coming close to winning. Still, they handled the big match spotlight in a foreign country exceedingly well and showed off a lot of what people have come to like about them in Mexico. This came off like a big match, not just the final of a random tournament, and the win felt like it was big deal. I would’ve liked them to give Dragon Lee & Místico more than a few seconds to celebrate it before sending the Guerreros out, but I guess they had time issues. This is well worth watching.
Cavernario & Soberano were young men interested in doing crazy things for about fifteen minutes. It was a match where Cavernario’s splash to the floor wasn’t even the most insane spot. That spike whatever move was and looked incredibly painful. Soberano’s had some shaky moments in Japan when wrestling on NJPW shows, but did well here in something under the CMLL manner. The differences between him and a guy like Flyer were stark watching them back to back, with Soberano smoothly hitting his moves, keeping the pace high after taking a great beating. Cavernario always delivers in big matches and did it again, coming off as dangerous even while playing to the crowd. (He’s learned a lot from hanging around Negro Casas all these years.) There is a limitation that the only way these guys can seem to have an outstanding match is one of all crazy moves and we’ve seen how that can cause diminishing returns for other CMLL wrestlers over the long term. For now, Cavernario’s had two memorable matches already this year and this was the better one.
Flyer’s gotten bigger name opponents than he has in Mexico this tour and it hasn’t worked out great. He looked nervous again here, coming close to a bad accident on his first dive, crawling to make a tag when he wasn’t supposed to later, and not landing his near fall cleanly. It wasn’t a terrible performance but one that showed his flaws more than what he did well. Volador & Carístico faceoffs were fun, both during and after the match when Volador refused to look at him. I think they’ll have no problem getting the crowd into that main event.
A bad thing for Atlantis teaming with his son is he looks even older every time they do stereo moves together. Atlantis Jr. going full speed on a tope and Atlantis going something less was not a beneficial comparison. Maybe Papa Atlantis was just going full speed for him, he’s looked slower as this tour has gone on. Eight matches in eleven days is a schedule he might not do the rest of the year, and for good reason. Atlantis Jr. was fine and the Guerreros did well in this match. I can’t recall ever seeing Gran Guerrero pull off a package piledriver into a powerbomb before.
I can’t blame the wrestlers for being disinterested in the LIJ tags if I am also disinterested in the LIJ tags. This served its purpose, though Kojima getting his win over Terrible before the singles match was a bit of a surprise. Fujin & Raijin have worn open eye masks since the opener; I wonder if they were having trouble seeing thru the mesh. If only that could’ve been fixed years ago, maybe that might have been the missing factor in CMLL.
Fantastica Mania got to Tokyo and Titan woke up. Being in a straight lucha match instead of a luchador added to a NJPW focused match definitely helped; he and Forastero seemed to get most of the match instead of being relegated to bit players. Titan looked energized getting to show more than he had in those previous matches and stood out over everyone else here. Okumura and Angel de Oro had one off sequence, but otherwise Oro went thru his usual trios offense fine.
The opener followed the usual “early dive + ending sequence” minimal participation for the CMLL wrestlers. The ending sequence even seemed shorter less than past matches. Templario & Audaz looked good in what they got to do, but this isn’t a match to see them. A lot of focus on Taguchi and Ishimori instead.
Ángel de Oro, Audaz, Soberano Jr. beat Bárbaro Cavernario, Namajague, Okumura
(12:10, Soberano guillotine moonsault Okumura, good)
Terrible & Tetsuya Naito beat Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare
(1209, Terrible Clash on Henare, ok)
Carístico, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask beat Gran Guerrero, Templario, Último Guerrero
(11:21, La Mistica on Templario, ok)
Cuatrero & Sansónbeat Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.in a CMLL Family tournament semifinal
(9:51, Sansón super torture rack powerbomb Atlantis Jr., good)
Dragón Lee & Místico beat Flyer & Volador Jr.in a CMLL Family tournament semifinal (14:41, Dragon Lee Mad Scientist Bomb Flyer, good)
Sanson & Cuatrero will meet Dragon Lee & Mistico in the CMLL Family tournament final on Friday.
The main event was the strongest match on the show, with some hot sequences and the biggest moments. Flyer kept up with the other three, though his hesitations and lack of smoothness also popped up. (Not sure who’s fault the long pause before the Spanish Fly was, or if was even meant to be a Spanish Fly at first.) Getting to see Dragon Lee and Volador fight was a treat, and Lee looked great through the match. Místico & Dragon Lee could use a non-dropkick two-man spot, but they do work well as a pair. I expect more out of the final but this was a good lead up to it.
Probably overrating the semi-main, just because Atlantis Jr. continues to look impressive. He was better here than in his debut and carried the majority of the match for his side. His offense is still not super flashy but he executes it well. He took NGD’s moves nicely. Papa Atlantis was trying but maybe too much for his own good; he was limping noticeably after the plancha to the outside. NGD showed enough to come off the as the deserving winner but their next match should be better.
The last trios match started really slow, with a fair bit of comedy and stalling before they got rolling. (You can safely skip everything until Último Guerrero gets unmasked in most UG Fantastica Mania matches.) They ended up meshing without issue once they got going, and there was more Tiger Mask versus Último Guerrero than could’ve been figured. It would’ve been nice to see a bit more of Templario, but he seemed oddly not on the same page of his partners and probably was just happy to be there.
The LIJ heavyweight match was dragging early. They never ended up doing anything with Kojima & Terrible to make it an attractive match, with this focusing a lot on Henare as an underdog instead. The last few minutes picked up well, Terrible & Naito had some good timing as a team. Nothing you need to see though.
The tercera was leaps better than the matches which preceded it, with flowing sequences and fast-paced actions. Soberano & Cavernario got to interact a lot leading into their singles match, though they weren’t involved in the finish. Cameras missed two different Audaz spots in the comeback, but at least he did the chops spot well. He and Namajague worked well together and Audaz got to show off some of his weird escapes.
LIJ versus Fujin/Raijin was a fine match that I wasn’t all that emotionally invested in. Thought the Raijin/Takagi sequence in the middle of the match was the best part of it, but it never really got to as high as you’d expect for something setting up a title match down the road.
The opener followed the pattern seen on the first day’s shows, where the Mexican wrestlers mostly worked with just each other. Forastero & Titan got the ending sequence to themselves at the trade-off of not being in much early. They were fine, though seeing Forastero & Titan wrestler just each other is less than novel. The Taguchi/Ishimori fight was the real focus.
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.
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.