CMLL (MON) 01/19/2015 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Jushin Liger, Kushida, Stuka Jr., Tiger Mask b Gedo, Okumura, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI
9:28. Stuka Jr. hit Okumura (and Mima seperately) with a torpedo splash. OK.
2) Ryusuke Taguchi & Tetsuya Naito b Captain New Japan & Tritón
6:51. Naito submitted CNJ to the Puma Blanca. Comedy match with a lot of time spent on Taguchi’s masked act. Syuri appeared before the match to hand Taguchi & Naito flowers. OK.
3) Mephisto & Yujiro b Ángel de Oro & Stigma
Yujiro replaced Gran Guerrero on Sunday. 10:22. Super Devil’s Wings on Stigma. OK>
4) Bárbaro Cavernario b Rey Cometa
11:28. Fantastic (Excellent) rematch, with a lot of their huge spots back from the Anniversary and a few new ones thrown in. Cometa obviously still had a knee injury but battled well, including (barely) pulling of Brillo Cometa. Cavernario also did the top rope splash to the floor among plenty of other moves. They were going hard from the whistle. Barbaro ultimately survived the 450 splash to put Cometa in a cavernaria for a win.
5) Mistico b Pólvora
11:28. Mistico was clearly limited, but they worked around it. La Mistico for the win. OK match smartly worked.
6) Atlantis, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Volador Jr. b Gran Guerrero, Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Último Guerrero
11:47. Gran Guerrero replaced Mr. Niebla on Sunday. Atlantis submitted Gran Guerrero to an Atlantida.
7) La Sombra b Máscara Dorada
Mascara Dorada was announced as joining NJPW on a one year contract prior to the match. Not the crazy spot exhibition of last year’s match, but one of of big spots building towards a finish. Sombra seemed off and hampered by leg issues, but it was still a great match. Dorada pulled off the over the top rope apron headscissors (the successor to the over the top dropkick Dragon Lee has been doing.) Sombra had mild interaction with guest announcer Yuji Nagata and a match between the two was teased. Sombra was able to sidestep a springboard flip tornillo attempt and beat Dorada with a Shadow Driver. Sombra thanked the fans and left, while Dorada stuck around to take part in the usual tour ending celebration. (Mr. Niebla was not seen.)
The Mascara Dorada signing is the big news. NJPW full time contracts are (usually) one year deals that quietly get renewed every year about this time. BUSHI came to NJPW from AJPW on a similar one year loan, and just never went back. That has to be considered a possibility for Dorada as well. At the same time, Mascara Dorada was also a guy rushing out of Arena Mexico on Friday nights to get on the last bus to Guadalajara so he could make it home to his family, which doesn’t sound like the sort of guy who’s going to want to be full time in Japan. It’s an great opportunity but one that requires quite a bit of personal sacrifice, and it’s possible no firm decision will be made until this time next year.
I’m going to have to rewatch the main event at some later point. I really was thrown off by the news. I think Sombra was hurt early, because he had a handful of spots where he couldn’t finish and didn’t look like himself. There was a super inverted huracanrana where it seemed like both men were actually going to land on their head which might have been than way because of the injury too.
There’s an obvious story here is Dorada spends a year in New Japan, defends his CMLL Welterweight title once or twice, challenges for IWGP titles once or twice, learns things, and comes back next year to be Sombra to show his growth. The obvious story doesn’t always happen, but that fits. NJPW also kept cutting back between Nagata & Sombra post match; I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Sombra in NJPW for this year.
We’ll probably find more about the Dorada situation today. If this goes well, I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happens with Sombra down the road. To be honest, Sombra’s the guy I always thought this would happen with, but he’s also the guy CMLL would have a harder time letting go.
Mistico and Mephisto had a brief skirmish after Mistico’s match, so that’s supposed to still be a thing. Only, Mistico’s really not 100%. It’s too soon to know what percent he’ll actually be getting to, but he looked like a guy who needed more time off before returning. There probably won’t be any changes to CMLL’s cards based on injuries from this tour until they all get back home, but I’d expect to see a few. Polvora’s surprisingly good sense at making singles matches work comes up again.
Like UG & Atlantis yesterday, Cometa & Cavernario had a match worthy of following the Anniversary one. They stole the show and made names for both of themselves. Cavernario got over huge and will obviously be back in NJPW. Between Dorada and the other guest appearances, maybe you’ll want to hold onto your NJPW World subscription a while longer.
Cavernario/Cometa, the main event, and the fun atomicos prior to it are worth going out of your way to see. This card is by far the best of the tour (including the ones we haven’t seen) and is worth getting a subscription alone. The rest of the matches were alright, but you can pick and choose here.
Besides Cavernario & Cometa, Angel de Oro impressed NJPW fans. Gran Guerrero got put in tough spots and did fine for his experience level, though I still wish they’d back off him a bit. Stigma struggled in his big mach but was OK in the others. Triton had a good showing and Polvora and Stuka got over as characters.
No sign of Mr. Niebla. Nakamura did a little bit of the Niebla dance while wearing his Niebla hood, but that’s the only sign of him on this show. Niebla did not appear in the annual post show celebration. He would’ve been there if it was just an injury. Niebla really screwed up this time. I hope he’s OK, but CMLL was teasing Niebla vs Atlantis as a genuine possible mask match this year and he’s proven they can possibly do that. It’s possible we might not see him around at all for a while.