Of all the days where I don’t have the time to review a FantasticaMania show, it had to be this one! The CMLL/New Japan tour’s first show in Korakuen Hall looked good on paper and in the end turned out to be even better than expected thanks to the two headlining matches. I would’ve loved to have reviewed this show in full…alas the real world doesn’t work that way. Luckily I still had the time to watch the show so I could bring you the results and at least a couple thoughts on the matches. If you missed this morning’s show, here is what happened.
Audaz, Jushin Thunder Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Gedo, Taiji Ishimori, Templario after Audaz submitted Templario with the Rolling Armbar. Another day, another FantasticaMania opener that was THE EXACT…SAME…THING! Seriously, some sequences in this were spot for spot what they did in Osaka and Chiba. The focus was once again on Taguchi and Ishimori building their program, leaving the luchadores and even Liger and Gedo little time. Poor Templario was even getting shoved out of spots at times by Ishimori, which pretty much sums up his tour. Only Audaz was able to stand out, with some great counters, dodges and outstanding Brillo Dorada.
Ángel de Oro & Titán defeated Forastero & Okumura after Titán pinned Forastero with that unreal, yet to be named pinning combination he’s using where he ties the guy into a pretzel. It’s really something. This was a much better match than an opener, save for a spot where Oro and Okumura got turned around and lost momentum briefly. Titán, freed from the opening match shackles, had his best performance of the tour, working very well with Forastero. Oro and Okumura were solid and the crowd was heavily into both Oro and Titán. There was a lot of feuding between Titán and Forastero, suggesting maybe a singles match, but Titán’s decisive victory seemed to suggest otherwise.
Fujin, Raijin, Satoshi Kojima, Toa Henare defeated BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Terrible, Tetsuya Naito after Kojima pinned Terrible after a Burning Lariat. THE POWER OF KOBASHI COMPELLED HIM! This match was the Black Cat Memorial match, which featured a small ceremony involving Black Cat’s wife right before the start. The match itself had the distinction of being just kind of there while still having one of the best sequences on the show when Shingo and Raijin squared off. Those two are money together. Terrible was alright and worked decently with Kojima but the crowd didn’t react to him as strongly as I would’ve liked. Henare once again worked well with Naito and did a great job as the face in peril.
Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero defeated Atlantis & Atlantis Jr. after Gran Guerrero pinned Atlantis Jr. following a Sitout Package Powerbomb. That’s a new one for the GG and it looked really good. I enjoyed this match immensely, especially from the perspective of the long time Atlantis-Guerrero rivalry. Atlantis Jr. was once again very impressive, never looking out of place with his more experienced (and more established) opponents while showing great moxy in kicking out of several of the UG’s big moves. Both the GG and UG were excellent, and Atlantis once again put forth a great effort, even if his body is holding on by a thread. As with most of these Atlantis matches it won’t go down as one of the best on the tour, but given Atlantis’ limitations and young Atlantis’ inexperience these matches continue to overachieve.
Carístico & Namajague defeated Flyer & Volador Jr. after Carístico submitted Flyer with La Mistica. A weird match and that’s putting it kindly! I wouldn’t go as far to say it was bad but this was definitely a sloppier match than the Flyer/Volador vs. Dragón Lee/Mistico match, with Flyer having several hiccups and one hilarious moment where Carístico and Namajague went for a double team, only to find Flyer wasn’t there (he was trying to make a tag). Not sure who screwed that one up. There were good moments as well and the crowd was into it, but it should’ve been better.
Cavernario defeated Soberano Jr. after submitting Soberano with La Cavernaria. Just as someone here predicted! This was an absolute epic; it’s easily the best match of FantasticaMania to this point, better than both matches each guy had on last year’s FantasticaMania and was even better than their great Arena Mexico match from last year. Their lone sloppy moment was Cavernario slightly going over the ropes on an arm drag attempt; that’s how smooth the match was. Both guys were at their apex, keeping the pace fleet while giving the crowd time to breathe. They even found time to break out a REVERSE CANADIAN DESTROYER, the highlight of a match loaded with them. The only complaint I may have is that the Korakuen Hall crowd, while into this match, wasn’t as hot for this as Arena Mexico would’ve been. That keeps this match from being at Fenix-Cavernario level, but only a shade below. Go out of your way to see this.
Dragón Lee & Mistico defeated Cuatrero & Sansón to advance to the finals of the CMLL Family Tag Team Tournament. The finish came when Lee pinned Sansón following a Orange Crush Powerbomb. I would have Soberano-Cavernario as the better match but you could make an argument for this one. It was far better than the match they had last year, with both teams showing improved chemistry against each other. Cuatrero looked like an absolute beast during this match and Mistico had one of his best performances in recent memory. Why can’t he be like this more often?! Just an absolutely terrific match, and it should set up Lee/Mistico vs. Gran Guerrero/Último Guerrero to be the same.