2016 FantasticaMania lineups announced

NJPW World doesn’t appear to list which shows will air, but at least the last three shows are a good bet.

CMLL NJPW (SUN) 01/17/2016 Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan
1) Kushida & Stuka Jr. vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
all Tanaka/Komatsu matches are part of a challenge series.
2) Guerrero Maya Jr. & The Panther vs Boby Zavala & Okumura
3) Fuego & Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario & YOSHI-HASHI
4) Dragon Lee & Jay White vs Hechicero & Virus
5) Atlantis, Juice Robinson, Máscara Dorada vs Bushi, Evil, Tetsuya Naito
6) Ryusuke Taguchi & Volador Jr. vs Mephisto & Shinsuke Nakamura
7) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Mistico vs Gedo, Kazuchika Okada, Último Guerrero

Tanaka & Komatsu are having a farewell tour in the openers. (Given tradition, it’s likely they won’t win anything.) NJPW’s press release on the tour mentions they’ll be heading to CMLL at the conclusion. Edit: CMLL’s version of the card announcement mentions they’ll be starting in Mexico on 01/31 as Fujin (Komatsu) and Raijin (Tanaka). A little bit bizarre they announced that, since they’re likely masked gimmicks – they’re Japanese weather gods. 01/31 is a Sunday, so they’re probably starting on an Elite card.

Maybe notable, maybe not: NJPW’s press release doesn’t mention anyone from CMLL going over to NJPW for a year. Maybe I missed it? Maybe Sombra really was the plan? Maybe it was just an oversight?

Hechicero doesn’t get a lot to do on this tour; this match with Virus, Dragon Lee and Jay White is probably his chance for a notable match.

CMLL NJPW (TUE) 01/19/2016 KBS Hall, Kyoto, Japan
1) Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
2) The Panther vs Okumura
3) Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Boby Zavala
4) David Finlay, Dragon Lee, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Hechicero, Virus, YOSHI-HASHI
5) Atlantis, Máscara Dorada, Stuka Jr. vs Bushi, Evil, Tetsuya Naito
6) Kushida & Mistico vs Gedo & Último Guerrero
7) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Volador Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada, Mephisto, Shinsuke Nakamura

Singles matches are setting up a later Coliseo matches. Third match is the rematch of the En Busca de un Idolo final.

CMLL NJPW (WED) 01/20/2016 Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan
1) Jushin Liger & Stuka Jr. vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
2) The Panther vs Boby Zavala
3) Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Okumura
4) Jay White, Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Gedo, Hechicero, YOSHI-HASHI
5) Atlantis, Fuego, Máscara Dorada vs Bushi, Evil, Tetsuya Naito
6) Juice Robinson, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Mephisto, Shinsuke Nakamura, Último Guerrero
7) Dragon Lee & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Okada & Virus

That’s a main event I’d never thought I would see. I don’t have any record of Virus & Okada teaming up in Mexico, but I’d guess they crossed paths before.

The other half of the singles matches in the first few matches.

CMLL NJPW (FRI) 01/22/2016 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Fuego & Stuka Jr. vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
2) David Finlay, Guerrero Maya Jr., Jyushin Thunder Liger, Kushida, The Panther vs Boby Zavala, Gedo, Hechicero, Okumura, YOSHI-HASHI
3) Atlantis & Juice Robinson vs Evil & Tetsuya Naito
4) Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario © [MEX WELTER]
Barbaro second defense
5) Máscara Dorada vs Bushi © [CMLL WELTER]
BUSHI first defense
6) Dragon Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Virus
7) Mistico & Volador Jr. vs Mephisto & Último Guerrero

First night of Korakuen and two really good title matches, both rematches of the title change. If Cavernario is going to NJPW, Titan could take the title back. (Or it could just sit around doing nothing like Dorada’s title.)

Main event is a all CMLL tag match main event, a rarity on these shows. Also rare: Atlantsi teaming with the NXT’s ex-CJ Parker. Atlantis doesn’t really have a role on these shows besides getting annoyed by the Ingobernables de Japon.

CMLL NJPW (SAT) 01/23/2016 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Máscara Dorada & Titán vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
2) Fuego, Juice Robinson, Kushida vs Gedo, Hechicero, YOSHI-HASHI
3) Guerrero Maya Jr. & The Panther © vs Boby Zavala & Okumura [Arena Coliseo TAG]
first defense
4) Ryusuke Taguchi & Stuka Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario & Shinsuke Nakamura
5) Atlantis, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask vs Bushi, Evil, Tetsuya Naito
6) Dragon Lee © vs Virus [CMLL SL]
Dragon Lee fifth defense
7) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada, Mephisto, Último Guerrero

Lee and Virus is also a rematch of the title change. This is a good point to note Kamaitachi didn’t make this tour. No idea when he’s going back now, but missing these shows seemed likely when he just wasn’t leaving Arena Mexico.

Maybe we should pretend THIS is the title shot Zavala gets for winning En Busca de un Idolo?

CMLL NJPW (SUN) 01/24/2016 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
1) Guerrero Maya Jr. & The Panther vs Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
2) Fuego, Kushida, Stuka Jr., Tiger Mask IV, Titán vs Boby Zavala, Gedo, Hechicero, Okumura, Yoshihashi
3) Jyushin Thunder Liger vs Virus
Lucha de Maestros
4) Atlantis, Máscara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Bushi, Evil, Tetsuya Naito
5) Dragon Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura
6) Mistico vs Último Guerrero
7) Volador Jr. © vs Mephisto [NWA WELTER]
7th defense

Main event is the annual Volador crazy spot exhibition, probably similar to their October title match. Mistico seems like the underdog in the semimain, a lot different from where we’d thought he’d be a few years ago. Liger/Virus is not a match I’d ever think I’d see and justifies the tour alone.

CMLL NJPW FantasticaMania 2015 Day 6 Results

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.

CMLL NJPW FantasticaMania 2015 Day 5 Results

CMLL (SUN) 01/18/2015 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan [NJPW]
1) Ángel de Oro, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask b Gedo, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI
10:40. Tiger Mask beat Gedo
2) Kushida & Tritón b Bárbaro Cavernario & Okumura
7:29. Mr. Niebla & Rey Cometa were dropped from the match. Cometa seconded his team, Niebla did not appear at all. Triton and Cavernario (splash to the floor). Okumura half crab on Triton to win it. Cavernario attacked Cometa as soon as the match ended and both men talked up their match for tomorrow (to make it clear it was still on.)
3) La Sombra, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tetsuya Naito b Captain New Japan, Mascara Don, Máscara Dorada
10:24. Sombra rope flip moonsault on Captain New Japan. Heavy on Mascara Don comedy, but Dorada & Sombra feuded to set up next week’s match.
4) Volador Jr. © b Gran Guerrero [NWA WELTER]
10:24. Spanish Fly for the win. Volador Jr.’s second defense.
5) Mephisto © b Stuka Jr. [MEX LH]
13:06. Stuka kicked out of a Super Devil’s Wings and landed back to back torpedo splashes, but Mephisto still beat him with another Super Devil’s Wings to win a very formula match. Mephisto’s 11th defense
6) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, Stigma b Kazuchika Okada, Pólvora, Shinsuke Nakamura
11:56. annual Black Cat tribute match. Stigma wrestled in a half Black Cat mask. Mistico, in obvious right knee pain late, beat Polvora with La Mistica. Polvora said tomorrow would have a different result.
7) Último Guerrero b Atlantis
Guerrero Special in a very good match.

Main event was another good match in the Atlantis/Ultimo Guerrero rivalry. They did enough different to make it feel worth watching; it’s borderline Great by my weird scale. The 2nd and 3rd matches were good, and the 4th match was the Volador showcase in the usual style. I’m kind of tired of that but it was better than it looked on paper. Cavernario and Triton did very well in their match and Dorada & Sombra were locked in (despite it being a semi-comedy match.)

Mephisto & Stuka was the opposite of Atlantis & Ultimo Guerrero – they did a couple extra finish kickouts but otherwise the same match they would’ve done on a random Tuesday in July. Stigma & Mistico were set up to have big spots in their trios match and just couldn’t totally pull it off. Mistico is looking like a guy who was not ready to be on this tour and he probably shouldn’t be on Friday’s Arena Mexico show either. If his limp was as bad as it looked, he won’t be (and even tomorrow’s match has to be a question mask.) Opener was just a match.

(so the ratings are ok, good, good, good, ok, ok, great)

Mephisto joining the Bullet Club looks to just be a way to sell the Bullet Club Latin American t-shirts. They should’ve just gotten Terrible on this tour.

NJPW usually posts details a few hours after the show takes place – Club NJPW gets them immediately – so I’ll update this when they give the Mr. Niebla explanation. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt but history is not on his side. It’s a shame Rey Cometa had to miss another show, though at least this gives him another day of rest before fighting the caveman.

01/14 CMLL/NJPW FantasticaMania live notes

I can not imagine there’s someone who’s reading this website who’s not up watching this, but…

In non FantasticaMania news, Brazo de Plata suffered a neck injury in Puebla and is supposed to be out two weeks. Porky is booked on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and it’s not an easy week to come up with replacement luchadors.

Music muting is so annoying.

CMLL NJPW (TUE) 01/14/2014 Body Maker Coloseum, Osaka, Japan
***CMLL NJPW FantasticaMania 2014***
1) Taichi & Taka Michinoku b Bushiroad & Titán
~9:14. Titan looked good doing his signature spots. Taichi pulled Bushiroad’s mask for the win (though he struggled with a cradle.) Rudos took Titan’s mask as well.
2) Fuego, Rey Cometa, Stuka Jr. vs Niebla Roja, Shigeo Okumura, Vangellys
Mima Shimoda was back with Okumura. Rey Cometa wrestled the match in his mask, but it didn’t help him – Okumura reversed his huracanrana in ~6:30 for the win. The other four were taken out by dives right before the end. Cometa took off his mask post match.
3) Jushin Liger & Máximo b Gedo & Jado
Maximo kiss of death on Jado.


4) Naito & Volador Jr. b Kushida & Máscara Dorada
Volador beat Mascara Dorada with the Canadian Destroyer in 8:36. Like Rey Cometa, Volador wrestled the match in his mask and unmasked after his win.
5) Shinsuke Nakamura & Último Guerrero b La Sombra & Rush
Ultimo Guerrero beat Sombra with the Guerrero Special in 12:30. Best match on the show so far.
6) El Desperado, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico b Mephisto, Okada, Rey Escorpión
Tanahashi had the CMLL Universal championship. Desperado slipped out from the Rainmaker and landed a big tope con giro, taking Okada and half the announce desk. La Mistica on Mistico in 10:18.

CMLL/NJPW FantasticaMania Day 3: 2013-01-20

Depsite being the biggest day of the show, the crowd seemed dead again here. There was good stuff here, but it was not the final day show the previous years had been. There was nothing on the level of Sombra/Volador or Mistico/Averno or the Apollo 33/Golden Lovers tag match the last couple years. They did the best they could to tell a story leading up and thru the main event, but they could’ve just not made it the main event.

This was the show where I figured out that a) SamuraiTV/NJPW must only have footage of CMLL’s big shows and that’s why some of the footage was odd (the establishing Titan shot is the one where he’s wearing half of Triton’s mask?) b) Samuari TV decided the June big show was Rey Escorion vs Black Warrior, and not the women’s match and c) they must’ve not sent the Busca en un Idolo footage over and that’s why Euforia didn’t have a video clip. He wasn’t on the other big shows. Useful factoids are what you come here for, totally.

taped 2013-01-20 @ Korakuen Hall
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CMLL/NJPW FantasticaMania Day 2: 2013-01-19

This was the most responsive crowd of the three days. This is also where the gap between what’s probably best for the live crowd and what I wanted to see widen. Maximo doing the bit he does twice on TV every week does not work for me, but Maximo doing the bit he only does three times a year entertains the Korakuen Hall fans. Euforia/Atlantis is interesting to me because it’s a unique match for CMLL, but it’s probably not as special for people who all the CMLL match up are unique matched. (Stil, could’ve used more Euforia/Atlantis matches on these cards.)

taped 2013-01-19 @ Korakuen Hall
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CMLL/NJPW FantasticaMania Day 1: 2013-01-18

I’m not doing pbp recaps for this set of shows. (There’s a strong argument I shouldn’t be doing any of those.) I do have thoughts on each match and maybe some moving pictures.

This was the least intersting day of FantasticaMania since they’ve started to them. There’s not one match I’d grade as “GOOD”. The Devitt/Rojo seemed like the best of the day but it’s an easily skippable day. Attendance on all three days seemed down – even more than NJPW claimed – and the crowd wasn’t as responsive. It doesn’t seem like it was a great idea to extend this to 3 days. Maybe that was a tradeoff to bringing over more guys.

taped 2013-01-18 @ Korakuen Hall

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NJPW/CMLL 2013 FantasticaMania Lineups

Lineups. HOORAY.

NJPW CMLL (FRI) 01/18/2013 Korakuen Hall
1) Tama Tonga & Titán vs Euforia & Shigeo Okumura
2) Bushi, Diamante, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Ishii, Rey Escorpión, Yujiro
3) Rush vs YOSHI-HASHI
4) La Máscara, Máscara Dorada, Máximo vs Taichi, Taka Michinoku, Volador Jr.
5) Jushin Liger, Mistico, Tiger Mask vs Gedo, Jado, Mephisto
6) Prince Devitt vs Dragón Rojo Jr.
neither man’s titles are on the line
7) Hiroshi Tanahashi & La Sombra vs Misterioso Jr. & Shinsuke Nakamura

Main event Misterioso (to take the pin, but he may main event more times in Japan this year than in Mexico.) Devitt & Rojo is a rematch of their Arena Mexico match, where they didn’t seem to mesh well to me. Rojo’s probably not going to be challenging for Devitt’s Junior title so he’s unlikely to get a win here. Mistico teams with other gimmicks, including someone else who’s taken on the name of a more famous (and better) wrestler. Rush gets to resume his beatings on Yoshihashi. Titan is the opening match, where’s unfortunately stuck for most of the matches.

NJPW CMLL (SAT) 01/19/2013 Korakuen Hall
1) Máximo & Tama Tonga vs Taichi & Taka Michinoku
2) Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, Titán vs Gedo, Jado, Misterioso Jr.
3) Diamante & Máscara Dorada vs Mephisto & Shigeo Okumura
4) Bushi, Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI
5) Mistico vs Euforia
6) Hiroshi Tanahashi, La Máscara, Rush vs Okada, Rey Escorpión, Volador Jr.
7) Shinsuke Nakamura vs La Sombra [IWGP IC]
Nakamura is champion

Sombra gets his title match! Sombra’s probably not going to win his title match, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. I’m most interested in seeing how that match is going to go of all of them.

That’s the first Rush/Okada matchup, but probably not the last.

Mistico gets the best opponent he could get to look good in Euforia. They’re making sure not to expose him here.

NJPW CMLL (SUN) 01/20/2013 Korakuen Hall
1) Máximo vs Taichi
2) Bushi, Diamante, Jushin Liger, Máscara Dorada, Tiger Mask, Titán vs Gedo, Ishii, Jado, Misterioso Jr., Shigeo Okumura, Yoshihashi [cibernetico]
3) Rush vs Rey Escorpión
4) Dragón Rojo Jr. vs La Sombra [NWA WELTER MIDDLE]
Dragon Rojo is champion
5) La Máscara vs Volador Jr. [MEX LH]
Mascara is champion
6) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, Prince Devitt vs Euforia, Kazuchika Okada, Mephisto

Main event is IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Junior Heavyweight and Mistico together for the photo op.

Mascara and Volador had that singles match 7 times last year, and could do have again in their sleep. That’s especially good for Mascara, who didn’t appear to be awake when he was here two years ago. That’s the one title match on this tour I’m not quite sure how is going to finish, but I know how it’ll go.

Sombra’s coming home with a title belt on the trip. There’s no way he gets two title matches and loses them both unless he’s just not coming back here anytime soon. (Also, it’s Dragon Rojo, and he has another belt. That probably means he’s winning on Saturday, since Friday & Sunday seem bad draws for him.)

If Rey Bucanero was healthy, it’s him versus Rush on this card and probably a Rush title win. Rush is still set up for a pretty strong weekend.

Mascara Dorada, Titan and Diamante don’t really get highlight matches this three show trip. There’s only so many guys you can highlight. You can argue any of them over Mistico, but that’s a problem with making Dragon Lee Mistico, not really the booking. Anyway, the point is this cibernetico is the best place to change that. It may be the best match of these shows.

Maximo vs Taichi is the annual match.

CMLL.com mentions all three shows will be taped for SamuraiTV. No mention of iPPV; I’m not really sure how many times NJPW plans on making their shows iPPV a year, but Sunday would be the show to do if they’re doing any of them.