It’s a big night for lucha libre sports fans. In a little less than an hour AAA will have their first streamed show on Twitch in a few months, which will likely feature a mixture of a really good undercard and a so-so main event scene. But all eyes will be on Arena Mexico, as CMLL honors the legendary Blue Panther on the 40th anniversary of his career. As you’d expect, Lucha Central is here to provide wall to wall coverage of this event. What are we waiting for? Let’s begin.
Pegasso & Stigma defeated Cancerbero & El Coyote two falls to one
I love it when matches play out exactly how you expect. Except when they suck of course, like this opener. Pegasso did indeed wear a Blue Panther inspired mask and did indeed try hard. It mattered very little because Cancerbero and El Coyote weren’t very good, Stigma was all sorts of “just kind of there” and this match had more timing issues than the final third of David Lynch’s Dune. Take away Pegasso’s gesture and the only thing you can say about this match is that it was rough to watch. Definitely not an opener you want for a show of this caliber.
Diamante Azul, Mistico, Valiente defeated Dark Magic, Felino, Negro Casas two falls to none
CMLL must be planning on having the Copa Halcón Suriano and/or Blue Panther’s match go for a long time because wow this match was fast. You had five CMLL headliners in this match (along with Dark Magic) and it didn’t even get to three falls. Speed Racer doesn’t wrap shit up that fast.
As such this match didn’t really have a chance to be good or bad. The action was overall fine and my Grodd Negro Casas on a big show is always a treat. He was LA Park in 2018 over, so much so that it made Mistico even more hated than he usually is on shows like this. But beyond Casas and Mistico having some nice little sequences there just wasn’t much to go on, with the other four guys feeling like they barely existed. It’s probably not that big a deal because this match was looking like one of the weaker bouts on the card and no one will care if everything else gets a bunch of time after this. But man this was short as holy hell.
Copa Halcón Suriano
Ángel de Oro defeated Black Panther, Blue Panther Jr., Dragón Rojo Jr., Espanto Jr., Luciferno, Misterioso Jr., Niebla Roja, Stuka Jr. and Templario
Leave it to CMLL and Blue Panther to completely subvert expectations with this match. Well other than one aspect; the fact that it was awesome! In fact there was a point during this mach that it felt like it could be a potential Match of the Year contender. Then (unfortunately) Blue Panther Jr. picked the wrong time to try one of the ballsiest moves of his career and (while we’ll have the gif up for you to see later) let’s just say it did not end well. At all.
Under any normal circumstance what happened to Junior (on his father’s big night no less) would’ve cast a large shadow over this match and this show. That was thankfully not the case as the match was hot fire before it and somehow regained momentum afterwards. Quite frankly the only flaw (aside from Junior’s slip) was that CMLL didn’t give Black Panther more time in this match (he went out second). Otherwise this was an example of guys performing up to their level and in some cases performing beyond it. I haven’t seen Misterioso look this good…possibly ever. Clearly he has not been giving a shit for a long ass time, but by Grodd he did here, notably doing a corkscrew moonsault to the floor. Who knew?! Luciferno also stepped up big; he didn’t last long but when in there he was explosive and reminded you that he can be really good when CMLL gives him a shot. And my Grodd how about El General?! Dragón Rojo Jr. is a guy many used to think was good before he fell off. Tonight he was on the ball; this was excellent work from him going the distance and his final few sequences with Ángel de Oro were legit money. We can’t know for sure if that was the plan considering what happened to Junior, but they sure wrestled like it was (and if it was on the fly, what a performance by those two!) and it worked even better if you remember that Oro was the guy who ended Rojo’s near 2,000 day reign as CMLL World Middleweight Champion. Just brilliant, brilliant stuff. You wish Junior hadn’t fell and I really wish they had given Black Panther more to do, but overall this was a giant success and better than the Grand Prix. Hats off to all the guys, especially Oro and Rojo.
Black Warrior, Blue Panther, Euforia, Panterita del Ring defeated Cuatrero, Forastero, Máscara Año 2000, Sansón two falls to one
Let’s begin with the pre-match ceremony. It was awesome! It was also kind of sad considering Blue Panther Jr.’s fall in the last match kept him from coming out; whatever you feel about him as a talent, he certainly deserved to be out there with his father and it’s a shame he didn’t get to be. Besides that this was, like the Atlantis and Negro Casas ceremonies, very heartwarming to watch and you can tell Panther was overwhelmed by the moment, especially when his family came out. On the one hand you don’t want CMLL to do too many of these shows because then it will dilute their importance. On the other hand you do want to see more of these shows because moments like this are so, so great. This was no different.
Now to the match. It was also awesome, and that’s despite the fact that there’s only so much guys like Máscara Año 2000 and Black Warrior can do anymore. It’s a testament to a) how the match was laid out, b) how great the other three Dinamitas are and c) how off the charts the effort was from all eight luchadors that this match turned out the way it did. Even some of the stuff that didn’t work somehow worked, like Panterita del Ring’s attempted plancha where he slipped on the ropes, leading to him improvising and doing a far superior suicide dive. Speaking of Panterita, this was yet another case of a full time CMLL guy (Panterita is Ephesto after all) stepping up on this show. Much like Misterioso, I can’t remember the last time he was this good. And yet Ephesto, under his old persona, tried his ass off, did things no one expected and looked immensely impressive. Credit must go to Cuatrero, Forastero and Sansón for working well with him but there’s no question he stepped up big. Euforia was also great too, having a sequence in the third fall that would’ve been the best sequence of almost another match. In a way it’s very fitting that all this happened while Blue Panther kind of took a backseat in his own showcase match. Never fear though, because the legend still found time to take a death bump on a missed suicide dive AND still managed to submit Máscara Año 2000 with an armbar to get the win. Just great stuff. This was easily the best CMLL Leyendas match from this year, another great showcase performance by the Dinamitas and proof of how big this show was due to the effort we got from guys who normally don’t give it. It was tremendous fun.
Cavernario, Rush, Terrible defeated Carístico, David Finlay, Penta Zero M two falls to one
Going into this match CMLL had the choice of a) using this match to set up a bigger match between Pentagon and Carístico, Pentagon and Rush or some other combination, b) have a banger of a main event or c) all of the above. They went with d) none of the above. This was straight up your run of the mill, mailed in Los Ingobernables affair, with Rush and Terrible going through the motions and everyone, save maybe Pentagon, either following suit or not getting the opportunity to do more. I was so tempted to check out of this match several times, didn’t thinking it would get good and the moment just never came. Not good sports fans. Even worse, the only thing I’m feeling coming out of this match (besides the fact that Flip Gordon should’ve been the guy to stick around instead of David “What the Hell Am I Doing Here?” Finlay) is that Pentagon’s CMLL stay has been less fulfilling than Hijo de LA Park’s. Seriously; besides teaming with Fenix (excuse me; King Phoenix) and LA Park at Negro Casas’ Aniversario and the 85th Aniversario, has Pentagon had any matches of note? All the trios where he faced Carístico were disappointing and went nowhere, and this match was pretty much the same thing. It feels like CMLL has no idea what to do with him, and quite frankly if I were Pentagon I’d skip town and stick with AAA in Mexico till CMLL figures shit out. Just not good. I guess it wasn’t a terrible match in the traditional sense but man did I not care for this. Compared to the rest of the show, it was a giant waste of time.
What a sour note to end a good show on sports fans. I guess if we’re splitting the difference this wasn’t a good show, with three uneventful matches outnumbering the good ones. But man were those good ones great. I really enjoyed the Copa Halcón Suriano and the Blue Panther match was a lot of fun too. You could tell that many of the luchadores in both matches cared about this being a good show and thus we saw a lot of effort from guys we normally don’t see that from. That’s awesome; you wish you could bottle that sort of thing up and unleash it at every show. So while the main event was disappointing and the first two matches were basically nonexistent, ultimately I think CMLL did a good enough job with the third and fourth match to make this a worthwhile show to honor Blue Panther. I enjoyed myself.
And with that I’m off sports fans. As you may have noticed, the Top Ten Blue Panther matches didn’t drop today, which means you’re getting an extra day of Blue Panther Week tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled for the list. TILL THEN!
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