AAA on Televisa: 2016-11-12 

this was fun
this was fun

Recapped: 11/16/2016

What happened: The OGT continue to dominate the show: they cost the Apaches another match again, they cheated to beat the Xinetez again (with some help from Tirantes.) Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner had a match, but didn’t have a finish.

What was good: Nothing. The matches are clearly building up the big feuds, but the matches themselves aren’t any good.

Where can I watch it: It’s on AAA’s channel, even if I haven’t gotten around to linking to it yet. Read More

CMLL Martes de Nuevo Valores: 2016-11-08 

Panther topes
Panther topes

Recapped: 11/15/2016

What happened: Nothing? Blue Panther Jr. & Sansón had random issues. Drone remains personally unbeaten. Nothing major.

What was good: Panthers/Dinamitas is good and Maya/Virus is what you’d expected out of them for a main event. There were parts of the two top matches that were good.

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

CMLL Puebla: 2016-11-07 

this escalates
this escalates

Recapped: 11/14/2016

What happened: Rush beat up Volador enough to get DQed. Mascara Dorada has his final match in Puebla. (I’ve already recapped the Friday show, so this is the final regular show I’ll recap with Mascara Dorada on it.)

What was good: I liked a lot of the show, including the opener, the tercera and the Dorada final.

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

AAA on Televisa: 2016-11-05 

Super Fly has had enough of these guys trying to dive on him
Super Fly has had enough of these guys trying to dive on him

Recapped: 11/14/2016

What happened: Wagner/Psycho set up a singles match (for next week). Fantasma kept his cruiserwieght title. Mascara de Bronce debuted, and lost. Super Fly is set on ending Aerostar. A mystery person has now trapped the Apaches twice.

What was good: Nothing really? The title match and the opener worked less than you’d expect. The main event was actually better, but the expectations were pretty lose there.

Where can I watch it: It’s no AAA’s channel in much better quality than on mine. Read More

CMLL on ClaroSports.com: 2016-11-18 

caveman is barbaric
caveman is barbaric

Recapped: 11/18/2016

What happened: Último Guerrero won Leyenda de Azul. Guerrero Maya and Dragon Rojo are feuding again.

What was good:  Everything but the opener was good, with the semimain being great.

Where can I watch it: It’ll be up on my channel soon. Read More

CMLL Martes de Nuevo Valores: 2016-11-01

new champ
new champ

Recapped: 11/13/2016

What happened: Hechicero is the new NWA Light Heavyweight Champion, having defeated Rey Bucanero. Hijos del Infierno are still the trios champions. Mascara Dorada was sent to hell, but is now free from the hell of Tuesday Arena Mexico shows.

What was good: The Hechicero/Rey Bucanero match was great, but I’m not sure how well it’ll resonate to people who haven’t been following his career. The title match was routinely good trios title match – that one actually my translate better to more casual watchers, because most of my problems were with the routineness of it.

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

Lucha Underground 3×11: Aztec Warfare III

Angelico returning (somehow fourth most important thing on this show)
Angelico returning (somehow fourth most important thing on this show)

Matches

Sexy Star won Aztec Warfare Three, becoming the 5th Lucha Underground Champion. (great, 36:53)

00:00 Johnny Mundo & Matanza start
01:19 Son of Havoc IN
02:49 Jeremiah Crane IN
04:04 Pentagon Dark IN
(break at 4:24)
05:27 PJ Black IN
06:41 Mariposa IN
07:34 Jeremiah Crane OUT (Matanza German suplex)
08:07 Mariposa out (Matanza chokeslam)
08:19 Rey Mysterio IN
(break at 8:39)
09:40 Dr. Wagner IN
10:51 Marty Martinez IN
12:02 Jack Evans IN
12:54 Son of Havoc OUT (Jack Evans tornillo moonsault)
13:03 Sexy Star IN
(break at 13:19)
14:15 Ricky Mandell IN
15:41 Pentagon Jr. OUT (Johnny Mundo pin)
15:49 Ricky Mandell OUT (PJ Black pin)
16:12 Máscarita Sagrada IN
16:24 Máscarita Sagrada OUT (Matanza Wrath of the Gods)
16:50 Famous B IN
17:41 Famous B OUT (Rey Mysterio springboard splash )
18:32 Marty OUT (Rey Mysterio headscissors cradle)
18:41 The Mack IN
19:38 Joey Ryan IN
20:32 Mil Muertes IN
21:25 Dr. Wagner Jr. OUT (Matanza spinning back suplex)
21:25 Joey Ryan OUT (Mil Muertes flatliner)
22:02 Kobra Moon IN
22:45 Jack Evans OUT (the Mack Stunner)
23:02 PJ Black OUT (the Mack Pounce into a Stunner)
23:15 Drago IN
24:10 Kobra Moon OUT (Drago Dragon’s Tail)
24:27 Drago OUT (Matanza flipping powerslam)
26:53 Matanza out (Rey Mysterio Code red)
(break at 27:11)
28:36 Rey Mysterio out (Johnny Mundo pin)
31:01 Johnny Mundo OUT (Sexy Star pin)
32:15 The Mack OUT (Mesias Flatliner)
36:53 Mil Muertes OUT (Sexy Star double stomp after fall thru the table)

Developments

this is a good summary of about the first five minutes of this match
this is a good summary of about the first five minutes of this match; so much kicking

Sexy Star is the new Lucha Underground champion, and, as Matt Stirker made sure to emphasize in an extended (and scripted if passionate) monologue at the end of the show, she’s the first woman to win the championship. Sexy and Mil Muertes, the final two, had about a four and half minute exchange to close the match, with Mil seemingly more intent on destroying Sexy than beating her. Sexy got one near fall after Mil speared a table (a moment similar to the Ivelisse/Mil match), but Mil kicked out. Sexy kept kicking out and Mil decided to finish her with a flatliner off the corner thru a table. Sexy shoved Mil off and thru the table instead, then followed with a double stomp for the win. In addition to the Striker’s speech, the show was careful to get reactions of groups of women in the final moments, including reacting to Sexy Star’s win. They got the reactions they want (though it’s worth noting most of the people who ended up on camera felt similarly, and most lucha shows don’t have groups of women.)

There was a new champion, because the old champion was eliminated before the final commerical break. Matanza was still in the ring after eliminating Drago easily, and got caught by big moves from the others left. It wasn’t a coordinated attack, just people passing thru and getting in a shot. Matanza was hit with a Mundo kick to the head, a Mil spear, a Sexy Star front cracker, a Mack jumping knee and stunner, a Mundo springboard kick, and a Mysterio 619 – and yet, he still caught Rey going for another 619. It was only when Matanza went for a behind the back piledriver that Rey was able to turn it into a Code Red and defeated the previously undefeated monster.

superkick crash to break
superkick crash to break

Both Cuetos flipped out. Dario screamed at the referee that Matanza should still be in, while Matanza destroyed Rey, smashing him into the steel guardrail many times among other beating. Referee Rich Knox tried to stop Matanza and got punched out. Dario tried to calm Matanza with the key, and his brother punched him in the face too. Matanza did storm off after that. Matanza’s general level of awareness of what’s going on around him wasn’t clear when he was first introduced, but he obviously is aware enough to be very angry about losing his title.

Rey wasn’t doing well either. Mundo stole the pin on him after Matanza left Mysterio for dead, and Mysterio left the arena on a stretcher. Rey was positive as he was being taken away. Still the clear idea is he might have won the Loser Leaves Town match a few weeks ago, but he may be done anyway.

a PJ Black highlight reel?
a PJ Black highlight reel?

Matanza is the former champion, Sexy Star is the current champion – will Johnny Mundo be the next champion? Mundo claimed he was confident enough that he’d be champion, but still wanted to cash in the Gift of the Gods title next week against the winner. Neither I nor Dario understood how that would actually work if Mundo did win, but at least Dario wasn’t concerned about the possibility – he was certain Matanza was winning. Dario was also quickly annoyed with Mundo’s bragging, and moved him up from #12 to #2 as punishment. Mundo was #2 in the first Aztec Warfare, where he lasted until the end. He didn’t last quite as far this time, despite lots of him from Jack Evans & PJ Black. The two came back even after they were eliminated to help attack Sexy Star, only for Angelico to return and wipe up the trio with another dive from Dario’s office. Sexy Star picked up the pin.

(Taya wasn’t present in the match, but was filming Mundo backstage for a movie they’re making during the conversation they were having. This is mostly an excuse for Johnny to take his acting to another level, but no prop is without a purpose. It’s not exactly Chekov’s Gun, but characters doing their own camera work on TV dramas almost always end up recording something they were not meant to see. Something to keep watching for.)

a game of Catch The Mysterio goes horribly wrong
a game of Catch The Mysterio goes horribly wrong

Mundo moving #2 to meant Sexy Star moved from #2 to #12. Sexy Star probably would not have won if she was in danger of being eliminated the whole match – she might have not lasted the full first 90 seconds alone against Matanza. Sexy Star’s won with on her own at the end, but some bounces also definitely broke her way. Mundo’s elimination by surprise return was one. Pentagon also being eliminated by surprise return was another. Black Lotus return to the Temple midway during the match, with three unidentified fellow Black Triad ninjas, attacking Pentagon in revenge for Pentagon breaking Lotus’ arm last Ultima Lucha. The new ninjas are Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, and Io Shirai from Stardom to us, but the announcers had no idea who they were in the Lucha Underground world. Their bit only lasted a little bit more than a minute; unless you’re a fan of Japanese wrestling, you’d also have no idea who they were. They did give them a few impressive moves on Pentagon Jr. before dropping him with a Canadian Destroyer, and Mundo snuck in the pin.

It didn’t go as well for the rest of the Lucha Underground woman. Cartina helplessly watched as Mil was defeated. Neither Mariposa and Kobra Moon lasted all that long. Mariposa tried seducing Matanza. It didn’t take. Kobra Moon spent much of her time in the match sitting on the announce desk and this week’s recruitment pitch to Drago seemed to involve running him into the post. It didn’t take. There was no direct reference to Ivelisse missing the match, only Striker implying Mandell was a replacement due to injuries. Vampiro pointing Mandell was in at 13, saying “trece!” repeatedly. That was too over the top even for Matt Striker.

Marty was fired up for a small role
Marty was fired up for a small role

Joey Ryan tried handicuffing himself to railing again. Mil broke the handicuffs and beat him without much trouble. A person who looked a lot like Dr. Wagner Jr., but could not possibly be, was pinned cleanly at the same time, as if he was on the same level as Joey Ryan. There was an earlier Wagner/Pentagon/Rey sequence, with the clear idea that they know that’s actually a big deal, but being a big deal didn’t last for Wagner.

Famous B revealed he was in the match, tried to recruit Rey, and failed. Pentagon and Matanza had a big face off at one point. Son of Havoc and Jeremiah Crane did not have any special interaction, though it was the one time where announcers brought up Ivelisse. Sagrada was in the shortest time. Jack Evans appeared to wrestle his entire stint in his walkout gear, only taking it off when he ran back in later.

Is that all? I think that’s all? That was a lot of stuff.

Thoughts

That WAS a lot of stuff. Aztec Warfares usually have a lot of story involved, but this might have had the most. It definitely was a strange pace to it. If you’re reading it now, probably the only way you have to watch it is without commercials. With those breaks, it was not a great rhythm: two segments that went about four minutes, and then one long going fourteen minutes where everything seemed to be happening at once. There always seemed to be a lot of people hanging around outside the ring and brawling just off camera. There were seven people in before one was eliminated, and eleven people in before three left; it was chaotic and hard to keep up with. (I was looking for a recap of who was left near the end, only to watch back later and realize it had been said, only I had missed it trying to keep up. It was that kind of chaos.)

All the storyline advancement and general bodies all around makes the match worth recommending, even to non-Lucha Underground viewers; if they don’t like the action they’re getting at that very moment, all they have to do is wait about 30 seconds and something else will be happening. That same reasons make it hard to rate over Aztec Warfares; there wasn’t the one big story from beginning to end, there were a lot of smaller stories competing which each other at the same time.

nice move, and nice of Matanza to duck out of the cameraman's view
nice move, and nice of Matanza to duck out of the cameraman’s view

The real talking point is Sexy Star winning the title. Only, it doesn’t feel like a talking point, because we all (or at least me) had heard this was happening seven months ago and the shocking moment is now yesterday’s news. Generally, this came off better on TV that I would’ve thought. Sexy Star matches have worked best with the levels of violence which aren’t done (or maybe allowed) in other matches – Sexy Star got punched in the face, and Sexy Star hit Mil with several unproected chairshots to the head. They didn’t have her do a lot of complicated moves for near falls – she did a DDT, she did a cradle, she jumped off the ropes and hit her target. Sexy didn’t beat Matanza, but she beat someone of note in a way where you could believe that person was beating. She came off much better than in the Mundo match. She benefited from a lot of things breaking her way, but that seems like that’s just going to be the thing in these matches with a bunch of other storylines going on. If Lucha Underground had to make Sexy Star champion in Aztec Warfare 3, this is probably as good as they’re going to be able do it.

I don’t know if they had to do it, and I don’t think they should’ve. Sexy did just have that terrible match to start of this season. Matches like No Mas are the exception for her. LU’s put a lot of creative energy behind Sexy Star since the start of the first season, and yet she doesn’t seem any more popular than Ivelisse or Catrina. Or the Mack! The Mack being in the final three totally came off as if someone forgot to eliminate him earlier, but I’m sure that crowd would’ve gone nearly or even more crazy if the Mack beat Muertes to win the title. He’s gotten almost zero creative energy behind him, he’s just really good and gets over just being out there. But the Mack is a guy, Sexy Star is a woman and that’s the difference.

That’s not me making judgments, Striker (or the person who wrote his lines) was very clear that this was about women breaking thru a glass ceiling to by winning a championship. Lucha Underground, from day one, has promoted itself around the idea that intergender wrestling on their show makes sense because their women can beat their men just like in a video game. Their words haven’t always matched their actions but, if they’re really believing in what they’re saying, a woman had to get the biggest win of all at some time. I’m just skeptical Sexy Star, even with all they’ve put in her, is the woman to pick. And I don’t think it’s the right time – Matanza getting bumped off in midmatch and Sexy Star following a dominant champion isn’t a great story.

we needed something I like to break this up, and I liked this.
we needed something I like to break this up, and I liked this little moment.

Sexy winning right at that moment being not a great idea isn’t just a problem with Lucha Undergrund context, but the greater wrestling context. Sexy Star refused to show up to lose a title belt just two months prior in AAA, arguing she didn’t understand she was ever meant to defend it and believed it was a trophy the company had given her to keep forever. A month before that, Sexy happened to have a car accident on the way to another show where she thought she would be asked to lose – but no worries, her good friend happened to be ready to replace her. Sexy would later explain she had no idea why anyone was upset with her. After this LU season ended, Sexy Star did interviews saying she was done with wrestling and would start boxing, and then has returned to wrestling still without having a bout. That’s just this year.

AAA deserves some some of the blame for those situations – both for their own actions, and for enabling her in the first place – but Sexy Star has acted like a ridiculous person so often that there’s no way I’d make her the centerpiece of anything. There’s been no reports of things like that happening with Sexy Star in the US, and it’s possible – likely! – the experience Lucha Underground has had with her has been completely different, but it doesn’t erase what I’ve already seen of her. And, again, it’s not like she’s shown to be a great wrestler or really over – the concept of the top female wrestling star on an intergender show is really over. I think it makes business & creative sense to have a female Lucha Underground champion, this just wasn’t the person to go with and it’s discouraging that she’ll be able to bank of this the rest of her career. There will be a second female Lucha Underground champion someday and I’ll probably be happier about them winning, but you can only have one First champion and I wish it was more careful chosen.

for the historical GIF record - or whatever this blog is - here's the win. Interested to know if those women are regulars because they totally shot it as if they were plants.
for the historical GIF record – or whatever this blog is – here’s the win. Interested to know if those women are regulars because they totally shot it as if they knew they were getting the reaction they wanted.

I’m kind of excited for the rest of the season now, despite or maybe even because of the outcome. Sexy Star’s title reign was something always looming on this season, always inescapable. Now that it’s here, it’s closer to being over, and the stuff I’ve been dreading gets put in the rear view mirror. I don’t really want to debate the worthiness of Sexy Star, I’d rather find out more about the Black Lotus Ninja (or at least see them more than a minute.) Still 29 of these to go.

AAA Star Battle Japan: 2016-10-26 

Angelico barely escapes
Angelico barely escapes

Recapped: 11/12/2016

What happened: Pagano got a rematch win over Psycho Clown, though it took a lot of Tirantes helping. Nothing much else – this wasn’t really an angle show, but more of a loaded house show for the foreign audience. (Theoretically, this is the newest “maybe last ever Rey Mysterio appearance in AAA!” but who knows.)

At least on SamuraiTV, this seems a bit like a vehicle to promote Lucha Underground airing on the station – it was brought up even by NOAH guys.

What was good: Nothing jumped out as must see but the show overall was easily more enjoyable than Heroes Inmortales. The Angelico/Fantasma vs Hidaka/Tanaka match was the best match on the show to me, with the three way and main event watchable too. Nothing was bad, though the times indicated the first few matches were decently edited (probably as much for time as spots.)

Where can I watch it: It’s in the RealHero archive. AAA’s teased they may show it complete on their own show at some point – they probably should show 2/4/5/6. Read More

CMLL Puebla: 2016-10-31 

20161031cmllpuebla-6-3
Sky Team dive

Recapped: 11/12/2016

What happened:  The Sky Team kept the trios title, with Valiente saving the day for his team. Marco & Máximo feuded comically in their match.

What was good: Main event was good. The incredible teams match was better than some of the recent ones, but nothing you need to see.

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