CMLL on ClaroSports.com: 2016-02-05 

Rey de Aire
Rey de Aire

Recapped: 02/05/2016

What happened:  Volador cheated to defeat Negro Casas after Casas had done the same. Volador still wants that hair match, but Casas refuses to even discuss it.

Mascara Dorada made his first appearance in Arena Mexico in a year.

Kamaitachi also returned, losing again to Dragon Lee in the semimain. No title match was teased.

What was good: Most of the card. The first couple matches didn’t quite make the cut for me, but weren’t that far off and everything else was enjoyable. There’s no MOTYC on this show but it was one of the better Arena Mexico shows from top to bottom in a while.

Where can I watch it: It’ll be up on my YouTube channel on Tuesday and the main event is up on Claro’s site
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Lucha Underground 2×2: The Dark and The Mysterious

the matches

best sequence of Killshot’s night

Johnny Mundo defeated Killshot (Fin de Mundo, 4:23, OK)
the Mack defeated PJ Black (Stunner counter, 6:45, OK)
Prince Puma & Pentagon Jr. [O] defeated the Disciples of Death (Siniestro de la Muerte, Barrio Negro, Trece [X]) (Puma 630 senton with Pentagon stealing the pin, 7:36, good)

the developments

The main plot followed up on the events from last week. Puma & Pentagon Jr. were paired up in two versus three handicap match. In the locker room, Pentagon thanked Puma for assist in helping him break Mil Muertes arm last week, hoped Puma would do the same with the Disciples so their arms could be broken, and then promised to do the same to Puma. Puma didn’t like this idea, and they fought to a quick indecisive finish. Puma and Pentagon Jr. did win the handicap match despite Pentagon being a poor teammate. They did get it together, and they were aided by two of the Disciples taking each other on a misaimed dive spot. Puma and Pentagon’s fight resumed after Pentagon Jr. stole the pin. Pentagon tried to break Puma’s arm, but Puma got away. Both men made it clear they want Mil Muertes, but equally have problems with each other. For his part, Mil Muertes was back on his throne this week, but his broken arm was in a sling. (There was no hint he might be giving up the belt.)

Vampiro appeared to be conflicted and confused by the Pentagon Jr. thing. He didn’t like it when Striker would ask questions about their relationship (and if Vampiro orchestrated the attack on Muertes last week – Vamp deflected that), but he also didn’t like it when Striker would say negative things about Pentagon.

forget "big man"; the Mack is agile for a man of any size
forget “big man”; the Mack is agile for a man of any size

Everyone’s gunning for Muertes. The opening segment of the night saw Johnny Mundo pick up a win over Killshot (though it took an unseen foul) and issue his own title challenge. Mundo was interrupted by Cage, who added his name to the mix of challengers. Mundo and Cage had an argument over this – and over Cage beating Mundo back in Season 1. Mundo backed off for a fight, tried to sneak attack anyway, and was knocked away. Cage came off as the less detestable of the two.

The night featured a lot of Season 2 characters being introduced. PJ Black, possibly inhabited by the spirit of a wolf, fought off luchador bikers in a vignette but didn’t have the same success with the Mack. Kobra Moon got her own debut vignette and will be on next week’s show. To close out the show, the hooded man from the end of last season (and from the very first segment of the first show) was formally revealed as Dragon Azteca Jr. His new mentor explained he was trained by Dragon Azteca as well, was off the mask but went a different path, but will pass that training onto Azteca Jr. That new mentor is Rey Mysterio Jr., making his first on screen appearance.

(Dragon Azteca Jr. seemed to change people in season one, but now is clearly Tijuana luchador Rey Horuz, the former second Hijo de Rey Misterio. That adds some metatext to this plot.)

There was also a check in on Marty the Moth and Sexy Star. They’re in a new location than the end of Ultima Lucha, with Marty in normal people (normal preppy people)’s clothes, but still obsessed with moths and Sexy Star. Sexy is still locked up. Marty did say “they” would eventually bring Sexy back to the temple, though Marty’s sister remained unseen.

Pentagon was a little amped up
Pentagon was a little amped up

Thoughts

The second episode seems to be the tough one. The second episode of the first season was one of the roughest of that season, and this felt like a marked step down from the first episode. That first episode set a high bar, but this one still felt off by normal measures.

The Killshot/Mundo match appeared to be heavily edited. There were abrupt jumps between spots, and Striker was pushing this as a great Killshot performance when the match was two minuted old and he’d been on offense for maybe 45 seconds on it. It only went about four minutes total and the announcers were reacting to a much longer match. Mundo had a few matches against guys who haven’t been in the big title picture during season 1 (Angelico and Aerostar are the first I can think of) and those matches felt more substantive and just plain better than this one. Killshot hasn’t really connected at all yet. It seems like there’s more plans for him – those military vignettes should air at some point – but he’s missing the match to go along with it.

another day, another springboard SSP
another day, another springboard SSP

PJ Black’s vignette was great in it’s over the top Lucha Underground style. The rival bikers taking off their helmets to reveal lucha masks was so ridiculous it was right in the usual style. (Like wise, the Kobra Moon vignette was fun – laser sounds for punches – though her character was less clear.) The match itself against the Mack was missing something. I liked it more than opener easily, but it never clicked for me and the character came off weaker after it. Vampiro being unimpressed with the Darewolf nickname and not knowing much about him only kind of works if Vampiro is impressed by Black by the end of the match. The Mack won, and Vampiro wasn’t impressed, so I dunno what we were doing here. (“Darewolf” is not great, but it’s better than “Black To The Future” – especially when you’re facing The Mack.) Black wasn’t helped by Killshot using Black’s 450 as a near fall in the last match. I understand they want surprises on this show, but Black didn’t get to do his big move (which some else did), he didn’t get any other memorable spot (Mack got that), he was billed as the ‘other’ South African whose cool nickname from the vignette was silly in the match, and he also lost. This was not a successful segment.

(Flipside argument: El Rey aired a very nice Black History Month video right before the Mack’s match, including clips of the Mack in action, and I was suddenly dreading Lucha Underground having their only two black luchadors be used as enhancement talent.)

Main event felt very WWE, with the feuding top guys beating the midcard tag team champions even though they’re still feuding. The difference here is it was even 2 on 3, though they at least set up a sensible finish where the Disciples took each other out and it was suddenly the Puma/Pentagon team that had the numbers. Still – felt like there should’ve been some talk about two guys beating the trios champions, who could’ve been trios champions had they just dragged a third person out of the crowd to stand on the apron all match. The announcers avoided that topic at all. The commentary for that match sounded very post produced, as if they were retaping it to try to get something (Vamp/Pentagon?) more in the direction they wanted. There was a lot more talk about Vamp being in the mental hospital in that match than the entire first episode too.

20160203lu_5
sweet dive out of Siniestro de la Muerte anyway

I did like some stuff on this show! Context aside, the main event match was fun and easily the best match on the show. The intro vignettes were good. So was the Pentagon/Puma bit to start the show. And ending with the Rey reveal felt like a big moment.

When you look back at it – this was not a show with a superb match and this was a not a lot happened that you needed to see. They added some new pieces to the game, but they didn’t advance most of the ones you were interested in last week. Cage/Mundo was set up for down the line. Mysterio debuted, but in a 20 second bit which is only important if you missed the hype for Mysterio debuting (and the plot there was covered better in the comic book last week.) Puma/Pentagon/Muertes is going on, but you knew that last week. The Fenix/Cuerno story and the Ivelisse/Havoc/Angelico stories took a week off. If you took a week off too, you’ll probably be OK. It’ll probably be better next week.

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Cholo Driver

CMLL Arena Mexico: 2016-02-02

Cholo Driver
Cholo Driver

Recapped: 02/02/2016

What happened: Thunder cheated to beat Mr. Niebla in the main event trios. And that’s it – unless they’re bringing that back another week, there’s no new program set up.

What was good: Hechicero/Delta lightning match was the best match on the show. The rest was forgettable.

Where can I watch it: It’s on CMLL’s YouTube channel.

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CMLL Puebla: 2016-02-01

Dorada is back
Dorada is back

Recapped: 02/01/2016

What happened: Negro Casas cheated to defeat Volador. Volador wants a singles match still. The big Thunder/Rush battle ended in under seven minutes with Thunder fouling Rush. Mephisto cheated to beat Angel de Oro, which might be a start of a program there.

Oh, and Mascara Dorada is back.

What was good: I liked the opener and the main event, and there were good moments in other matches. There’s no stellar match, but this was one of the better Puebla shows in a while.

Where can I watch it: It’s on CMLL’s YouTube channel. Some matches will air on 52MX on 02/13

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CMLL on ClaroSports.com: 2016-01-29 

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Casas’ sobrinos are up to no good

Recapped: 01/29/2016

What happened: Negro Casas beat Volador Jr. with the help of his nephews Tiger & Puma. Volador demanded a hair versus hair match to avenge his father. Thunder defeated Euforia in straight falls, though the second fall finish appeared to be blown by Terror Chino.

CMLL announced Homenaje a Dos Leyendas would take place on March 18th. Based on tonight, you’d expect either Volador/Casas or Thunder/UG as the main apuesta match. (Both singles matches are unlikely.)

What was good: The main event was fun while it lasted, but the feed died for a couple minutes near the end of the match. I liked the third match, but the crowd didn’t and I may be on an island. It was generally a card that looked much better on paper than it did in the ring.

Where can I watch it: It’ll be on my YouTube channel on Tuesday, and the main matches will air on Azteca on 02/20. ClaroSports may have a full version of the main event by the time you read this. (more…)

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CMLL FantasticaMania 2016 Day 1: 2016-01-17 

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Recapped: 01/22/2016
This is the show from Kochi Sunpia CHRES, Kochi, Japan, on the first day of the tour.

What happened: Los Ingobernables cheated to beat Atlantis and friends, then took their masks. Zavala & Okumura won a non-title match before their title match, and Volador & Mistico got wins over their rivals in singles mattes on the last day.

What was good: The Jay White/Dragon Lee versus Hechicero/Virus was match of the night, with everything else being close to the cut line, one way or another.

Where can I watch it: It’s on RealHero’s rutube channel. At some point, I’ll figure out how to add to rutube to make it searchable in the database as well.

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Lucha Underground 2×1: A Much Darker Place

Brillo Cometa

the matches

King Cuerno defeated Fénix to win the Gift of the Gods Championship (7:46, unnamed piledriver variant, great)
Ivelisse defeated Angelico & Son of Havoc to win an immediate Lucha Underground Championship match (6:15, Ivelisse casita on Angelico, good)
Mil Muertes (c) defeated Ivelisse for the Lucha Underground Championship (4:31, good)

developments

we”ve got cameras underneath now?

It’s at least 180 days since the Ultima Lucha. The Temple has been shut down during that period, but Catrina & Mil have taken over and are resuming shows. (Catrina continually says Mil is the one in charge, but she’s the one actively doing things while Mil sits on his throne.)

Vampiro has been in a mental ward – the Youssef Floro Clinic – but is discharged at the start of the show after lying about his violent tendencies going away and promising to stay away from things which might bring them back. Matt Striker picks him up, and they head right back to the Temple. Striker got in the show title, which might be a trend.

Fénix wants to cash in his Gift of Gods immediately. Catrina is prepared, reminds him he must wait one week, and schedules him for a match against King Cuerno. Cuerno wins in an even battle. A brief segment in the locker room indicates he’s made a deal with Catrina and Mil, and perhaps he won’t be cashing in any time soon. Cuerno did look a little conflicted by whatever was going on.

I hope there’s one moment in my life where I’m as cool as King Cuerno is in this moment

Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc were also eager to pick up where the left off, getting a rematch for a trios championship. Catrina (& Mil) had a strategy for them as well, offering them a match among themselves with the winner would get a shot at the Lucha Underground championship. They quickly accepted. Ivelisse seemed to hold back the least of the trio, which might have been the reason she won. The title match was immediate (well, relatively), with Catrina calling out the Disciples of Death to take out Angelico and Son of Havoc and drag them away.

Ivelisse was competitive with Muertes, trying a different strategy then the flyers who had fought him before: lots of in close submission work, trying to wear Mil down and catch him in a vulnerable position. Her greatest chance came when Mil took out Catrina with a spear, but Mil kicked out of the cradle. Mil’s Flatliner, at least this time, now has a choke hold setup.

even more violent this year

Catrina teased giving Ivelisse the Lick of Death, but instead ordered Mil to drop Ivelisse with the Flatliner again. Prince Puma returned to make the save, getting Ivelisse and himself out of the ring quickly. Mil Muertes started at them – and missed Pentagon coming in from the other side. Pentagon took Mil down and broke his arm. Striker briefly noted Vampiro was Pentagon’s mentor, but Vampiro’s feelings on all of this were not clear.

Meanwhile, 375 miles from Boyle Heights, Dario Cueto and Black Lotus seem to have set up a new Temple. When some yokels came by to look for the underground fighting, Dario let them in – and then revealed they would be doing the fighting, against Matanza. We didn’t see it, but it sounded like it ended well.

thoughts

A excellent start to a second season. They took what worked in from Season 1’s debut (having the owner set the stage, a really hot match that’ll get people talking about the show even if they’re not into the stories) and brought it back for another try. Vampiro said it was the first match between King Cuerno and Fenix and he’s right by those two names. It’s also a feud we saw in AAA last year have some hot matches, and this was a shorter (and a little edited) version of those. I was a little concerned they were going too much just setting up dives in early, but they found a good balance and those dives looked great. Fenix’s Brillo Cometa is a scene stealer. This one came off as a close match where neither man would’ve lost a lot by losing, but Cuerno had a little more to gain by winning. Fenix kicked out of the Thrill of the Hunter, and they put over the modified package piledriver like it was Cuerno’s new big move.

Skandalo Driver #2

The three-way was much better than these guys were against each other back when this story all started. Ivelisse seemed to be less concerned with beating up her friends than her partners, which is consistent with her previous actions. Son of Havoc looked especially spectacular in this match.

Main event gets points for being worked smartly, even if didn’t have the action or time as the other two matches. They found ways where Ivelisse could maybe get a win – grabbing a limb and trying to pull it hard before Mil mauled her – and they got the crowd on the big near fall. The post match was great, giving a tease of one big match and then surprising everyone with a second. I’m sure I’m going to end up as a high score on this, but points for overcoming a challenge.

It was a good idea to get Dario on the first show, even if he’s not supposed to be around. (As promised, the show went far from the Temple!) The bit was funny this week, but they’re going to need to find more to do with him if he’s going to be on regularly. It was a little surprise not to see Rey in the first episode, but perhaps they really didn’t have him signed until later on.

Vampiro is back to his old self.

They went long in the first segment, showing about a few minutes of Vamp at the mental hospital, a couple of minutes of Fenix setting up the title match, and the time for the title match and the entire Fenix/Cuerno match. That got the show off to a hot start, but the trade off is the show hitting a speedbump near the end: Ivelisse won, break, Angelico/Havoc dragged off, break again, and the bell rang about 14 minutes after the last match ended. It’s probably not going to happen that way most weeks. Maybe we’ll find the upside of not having a partner like Unimas means they can experiment more with when and how they do the commercial breaks, because something else would’ve been better here. Again, this is probably just a first episode problem – I can attest to it being a little slower when you’re getting everything started again.

This was a really good start. The scifi/fantasy stuff – Catrina pulled her vanishing act, Vampiro had some vivid dreams, Matanza killed 3 more people – is going to turn off people. They specifically had two intergender matches in the first show, including having a woman challenge for the main championship, sending a message about not being afraid of criticism of those. This isn’t Mid South, there’s an element of unrealness to the show – some people will be pushed away because of it, some people will be brought in for it. The clear message is Lucha Underground is not shying away from any of it, and maybe leaning into it more.. It may be A Much Darker Place, but it’s still going to be Lucha Underground.

#0M

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AAA on Televisa: 2016-01-16 

Suicide crushed

Recapped: 01/16/16

What happened: Los Perros del Mal beat everyone up, with Daga demanding an apuesta match with Australian Suicide. La Secta & Zorro rebounded to get their first win as a team.

The show also promoted the three Guerra de Titanes matches with a title involved. The matches on the show felt very disconnected to the card (and anything, really.)

What was good: The first two matches were fun and worth watching.

Where can I watch it: It’s on my channel and AAA’s channel.

The episode features promos for Guerra de Titanes that lists the matches (though they appear to be too new for the voice over to actually name them.) (more…)

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CMLL Arena Mexico: 2016-01-26 

Angelito is a little excited to finally get a match

Recapped: 01/26/2016, live show

What happened: Maximo beat Rey Bucanero, but Bucanero wanted a singles match with Maximo anyway. Maximo said OK. Notimex’s recap says it’s a title match, but the title didn’t seem to be mentioned in the ring. Maybe it was mentioned backstage?

What was good: I liked the minis more than most. Everything else wasn’t much good. This was not a promising start for Tuesday shows, which might be a show to skip unless there’s an obvious good match.

Where can I watch it: It’s on CMLL’s YouTube channel.

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CMLL Puebla: 2016-01-25

Los Ingobernables

took place Arena Puebla, 01/25/2016
Recapped: 01/25/16

What happened: Rush challenged Thunder to a wrestling match for some reason. (Thunder cheated him out of a win, but still.) Delta also challenged the Boricuas to a win for equally unsound reasons. No tribute to Espectrito.

What was good: The first two matches were good. The rest was forgettable.

Where can I watch it: It’s on CMLL’s YouTube channel. (more…)

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