It was an eventful night for CMLL sports fans…and not in the way they wanted! A night that was supposed to be all about the 86th Aniversario and Rush’s Ring of Honor Championship victory instead turned into the night where a) CMLL’s stream on FITE TV didn’t work and b) Rush and Dragón Lee officially departed CMLL to become independent luchadores in Mexico (Bestia del Ring did too, although that’s more of a plus than a minus for CMLL). Not exactly how CMLL drew it up! The fall out to all this will certainly linger for a few days and the ramifications could potentially be huge regarding CMLL’s relationship with New Japan and Ring of Honor (two places that use and love Dragón Lee and Rush and to keep them); all of which is to say the Aniversario got overshadowed in a big way. Maybe that’s a good thing given both the issues the FITE stream had and the fact that the show was…a show. In all honesty the Aniversario wound up being a bit better than I expected, with three good matches and a cage match that wasn’t nearly the disaster we all feared, but the show was still nowhere close to an Aniversario caliber show. In actuality it was more like a middling Friday show, especially after two finishes in the undercard that were so bad they need to be seen to be believed. The other stories will be bigger, but CMLL could’ve used a good show last night and in the end they didn’t quite get it. And now let me tell you why.
Audaz, Rey Cometa, Stigma defeated Misterioso Jr, Tiger, Virus two falls to one
Well…this was indeed a better opener than most CMLL openers, which should tell you all you need to know about the bulk of CMLL openers this year. Boy did this whelm sports fans, and it whelmed because a) some guys didn’t seem to give a crap and b) two of the guys who did were exposed as not being worthy of this show. I think we all kind of believed Stigma and Misterioso Jr. should’ve been replaced anyway but they proved it here; at no point did Misterioso ever look worthy of opening a 200 seat indie show (his timing, his motor, his everything couldn’t have been worse) and Stigma, bless his heart, just isn’t at the level. A Star Jr. would’ve done far more in that spot, but he’s not related to the right guy (unlike Stigma) and thus here we are. The good news for Misterioso and Stigma is that no one else was great either. Audaz, Tiger and Virus were the closest, but all three either a little off (Audaz almost slipped on a Best Moonsault Ever spot) or weren’t allowed to do much. That was still better than Rey Cometa, who wrestled this match like he’d rather have been anywhere else. Then again I watched this match wishing I could be anywhere else so can you blame him? I don’t know if this was as bad as some people have claimed but yikes; this was nowhere near what it could’ve been.
Diamante Azul, Dulce Gardenia, Titán defeated Hechicero, Hijo del Villano III, Rey Bucanero two falls to none
Imagine a world where we have a match like this, with a finish that was so unbelievably terrible…and it still wasn’t the worst finish on the show! That happened here sports fans. CMLL actually had the balls to end this bout two falls in with two straight DQ’s and somehow it was one of the better looking finishes on the show. How the hell does that happen?!
So yeah; the finish for this match sucked and it sucked so much that it brought this match down a ton. Granted Diamante Azul and Rey Bucanero were doing that already; Azul was trying but clearly is still not in good enough shape to deliver his best (which of course is still mediocre) and poor Rey Rey Buc just can’t go like he used to anymore. Everyone else though was actually doing a decent job. Hijo del Villano III was rough around the edges at times (although how much of that was him or Diamante Azul working with him remains to be seen) but he tried hard and had some good moments, including an entertaining dance off with Dulce Gardenia. Speaking of Gardenia, he continued his trend of being really good in matches like this, and I’d say even outperformed Titán, who was good but kind of fell into the background after a great opening stretch with Hechicero. Then again, how can one not look great with Hechicero? Even with other stuff going wrong in this match, even with CMLL seemingly entering DEFON 3 with all the other stuff going on, Hechicero still went out there and put on a world class performance of great mat work, great basing and great creativity. He was tremendous in this match and it’s a shame he didn’t get something better to work with. I thought going in this match desperately needed Atlantis Jr. and a talented young rudo in the places of Azul and Bucanero to make this work. That would’ve helped, but nothing, not those two or Hechicero’s performance, were saving this match from a two fall DQ fest. I have no idea what CMLL was thinking. And yet somehow it wasn’t the most inexplicable decision CMLL made last night.
Mexican National Women’s Championship Match
Metálica (c) defeated Dalys two falls to one
Sports fans I have seen the Hulk Hogan-Giant Monster Truck sumo match, I’ve watched The Room countless times, I bought a ticket to see Oz: The Great and Powerful; hell I’ve even see a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). But never have I seen such unintentional comedy like I did for the finish of this match, where Metálica pinned Dalys while using the ropes and while Dalys’ shoulder was higher than Willem Dafoe in the first twenty minutes of Platoon. It wasn’t a botch; IT WAS ALL PLANNED!
This is the sort of stupidity that could only be thought up by someone (or some people) who think Dalys is as big as Hulk Hogan and Mil Máscaras at their peaks and needed to be protected at all costs. Of course Dalys isn’t even 1995 Diesel and 2019 Seth Rollins, so all this finish did was make her look like the most tyrannical top women’s star since Fabulous Moolah while simultaneously turning Metálica into the biggest geek this side of Stranger Things. It all be so sad if it wasn’t so funny; well aside from the Metálica part. That is just sad given that Metálica is actually talented, worked really hard to get into shape for this match and redeem herself from that terrible first match these two had last month. It wasn’t to be; the finish was bad, the entire back half of the match (which reverted to “The Dalys Show” after some solid if unspectacular back and forth action prior) and this match will go down as a travesty. And rightfully so. The CMLL luchadoras division isn’t anything write home about on a good day, and this match will only do more to suggest that the division is little more than a joke. How could it not be with an ending like this?
Ángel de Oro, Mephisto, Niebla Roja defeated Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Soberano Jr. two falls to none
It took us three matches and two unbelievably bad finishes but finally…FINALLY, we got to a good match on the CMLL Aniversario.
Now good may be all relative here given what came before it, not to mention that these two teams are capable of doing more (and certainly deserved more than just two falls) but overall I had a good time watching this. After all the bullshit we had gotten it was just nice to watch six good luchadores go out there, give a good effort and have good performances. Mephisto wasn’t asked to do too much and thus looked better than he has in awhile. Ángel de Oro and Niebla Roja were solid, if slightly unspectacular compared to normal. And while they didn’t get too ambitious, I loved the Soberano/Euforia/Gran Guerrero team. They have great chemistry, they showed off a lot of creativity and most importantly they seemed to be the first three guys, outside of Hechicero, who wrestled like this was the gorram CMLL Aniversario. Why they were the first three beats the hell out of me but their effort was appreciated, at least by me. This wasn’t a world beater of a match, but I enjoyed it and was greatly relieved that we finally got something good at this point. Now hopefully the eventual Oro/Roja vs. Euforia/Guerrero rematch (which was set up by Oro and Roja’s victory) will be even better. It certainly has the potential to be.
Mask vs. Mask Match
Microman defeated Chamuel
Stop the presses; the match that looked to be the best match on the Aniversario going in was, in fact, the best match on the Aniversario when all was said and done. Who could’ve guessed it…besides everyone in the world that is? I’m sure there will be some grumbles because this match wasn’t as smooth as it could’ve been but I’m not docking off that many points for Microman and Chamuel being unable to perfectly hit one sunset flip roll up. Everything else in this match was fun, fleet and really well worked, and featured an Arena Mexico crowd that finally had something to sink their teeth into. It just goes to show you how good a job these two did getting the people invested going in (unlike a certain main event) and how well they did at keeping them invested tonight. Chamuel was absolutely terrific basing for Microman and being an absolutely brutal rudo (his kicks were vicious) and Microman did everything from a Vader Bomb to an excellent dive off the stage. Even Soberano and Templario did a hell of job seconding! On a night where a lot didn’t go right for CMLL, it was nice to see this match deliver exactly what was promised. A very good, very heated mask match that in retrospect probably should’ve main evented. Seriously; do you think anyone would’ve complained if the cage match went here and these guys headlined? Besides all the other luchadores of course, but hey; it’s not like they were delivering what these two did in the lead up (or tonight).
Mexican National Trios Championship Match
Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón (c) defeated Carístico, Mistico, Valiente two falls to one
There was a brief moment, as fall two was wrapping up, where I was beginning to worry that this match was going to somehow be a colossal bore. Then the third fall happened and this match wound up being a slightly better wrestled, nowhere near as emotionally heated contest as the Microman-Chamuel match was. That still means it was pretty good though. As expected Carístico, Mistico and Valiente (who are all generally good anyway) all stepped up their game, with Valiente breaking out the Valiente Special while Carístico and Mistico dazzled in some great sequences. The stars however were the Dinamitas, as they should’ve been. In turbulent times for CMLL Cuatrero, Forastero and Sansón will be looked at to carry the load and they showed capable here just by doing what they do best; basing well, throwing in a few creative triple teams and keeping the pace fresh and fast. This was really fun and really good, miraculously giving us three of those matches in a row for this show. Too bad about what became before it.
Seven Way Cage Match, Loser Loses Hair
Big Daddy, Cavernario, Ciber the Main Man, Gil Muertes, Último Guerrero and Volador Jr. defeated Negro Casas
This was not a good night for CMLL sports fans. Whether you want to look at it from the lack of anticipation for this show, the Dragón Lee/Rush departures or the streaming issues, it was definitely a night CMLL would like to forget sooner or later. But I will say this for them; there were a lot of stupid things CMLL did yesterday, but this cage match wasn’t one of them. I DID NOT HATE THIS MATCH! Of all the things I expected to say about this show today, that wasn’t one of them. And yet somehow, here we are.
Now I didn’t love this match either. It’s a CMLL cage match so there’s always a ceiling on those things, and Ciber the Main Man was absolutely terrible in his limited time here, almost as bad as those two finishes earlier (almost). But besides that this match was just fine. Guys like Big Daddy and Gil Muertes, who could’ve been weaknesses, weren’t in that long. The match was kept short to keep from dragging. The crowd was into everything. Most importantly CMLL had a strong final two in Negro Casas and the UG, who had a really good five to seven minutes before the UG hit the tightest Guerrero Special in history to get the win. I will freely admit I have no idea why CMLL didn’t just do UG-Casas, hair vs. hair straight up if this was the plan for the final two. Even if Casas can’t go twenty minutes anymore, the man has proven to be good for at least twelve and a one fall match between UG and Casas would’ve been more heated and more exciting than this cage match. I guess that’s just another question CMLL will have to ask themselves going forward. If nothing else though they can at least they got something average out of this match. It was a bad night for CMLL and this match most definitely never should’ve happened. But all things considered, the match itself went 100 times better than it had any right to. I suppose CMLL can comfort themselves with that if more luchadores do decide to leave in the next few weeks.
And with that we have reached the end sports fans. I am off to not write a damn thing till Monday night and maybe not even then as I will be traveling Monday to Maryland. It’s a duel trip; I am visiting family and will be attending the first ever AEW Dynamite TV taping on Wednesday. Fun times. We’ll talk more about it when I see you again. TILL THEN!
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