We’re only a day into the New Year and already there has been a ton of great wrestling! There’s also been CMLL Piedad, which was an example of some relatively unexciting good wrestling. Seriously sports fans, I’m having trouble summing this show up; on the one hand it was largely forgettable but on the other it featured a lot of stuff I would consider to be good and nothing that was bad (a marked improvement over most CMLL shows). In a way I guess it serves both as a step up from recent CMLL shows and a still damning statement about the state of the promotion that, even at their best, you’re still not that engaged to what is going on. And on that note, let’s give the show 2K plus more words than it’s probably earned. TO THE REVIEW MOBILE!
Black Panther, Drone, Guerrero Maya Jr. defeated Sagrado, Tiger, Universo 2000 Jr. two falls to one
Well…the good news is CMLL’s first opening match of 2020 was indeed better than most of their opening matches in 2019. The bad news is that I will also forget this match like I forgot the majority of the openers in 2019. While this match was certainly worked better than the majority of CMLL’s show starters and did feature some decent work from everyone involved, it also just felt lifeless. There was some effort, but no one other maybe Drone was looking to have a great match and nothing really stood out. It was basically a three fall match that featured smooth work and then it ended without anything special happening. Quite lame. I guess I could say I should be kinder towards this match, especially when you consider the rest of the CMLL openers this year will be shit. Once again though, I’ll have forgotten this match by the time AEW ends later tonight so it doesn’t matter anyway.
Felino, Hechicero, Mephisto defeated Audaz, Rey Cometa, Star Jr. two falls to one
Here began a stretch where CMLL seemed to lose grip of what they were trying to do. This match started off with an outstanding first fall that looked to be the prelude to the first great CMLL trios match in awhile…and then the match petered out and ended in fall two. I know; I don’t get it either!
Now obviously the lack of time this match got, coupled with the second fall being unable to follow a really strong first fall, hurt this match quite a bit. But you can still have a great two fall match if executed correctly and that just didn’t happen at the end, with Mephisto especially looking completely lost on several spots and some of the technicos seemingly a step behind as well. It’s honestly a little weird because everyone was just humming in the first fall and even though Mephisto isn’t what he once was, you’d think he’d still have enough skill to not lose track as badly as he did. Alas. I’m still going to give credit for that first fall; everyone was trying hard (including Felino and Mephisto), Audaz, Star Jr. and Rey Cometa looked really good and Hechicero was, as per usual, great. They just couldn’t sustain the momentum, and while some of that was on CMLL inexplicably keeping this short, I must admit I’m disappointed that these six seemed to lose steam the further they went.
Cavernario, Hijo del Villano III, Negro Casas defeated Atlantis Jr., Kráneo, Soberano Jr. two falls to one
And here the trend continued. Honestly more went right in this match than the last one, mainly because the only problem with the finish here was that it felt anticlimactic; everything else was at least smooth with no timing issues. Of course this match had nowhere near the excitement its predecessor had as it was mostly built around Kráneo and Negro Casas having entertaining if simple sequences to get the crowd all hyped up. That worked out fine, it just didn’t do a lot to help this match in the same way the few cool Atlantis Jr./Soberano Jr. sequences did. A forgettable match overall where the one big positive was that we did at least get to see Hijo del Villano III do something other than disappear. That’s right; he caught a few dives. At least we now know he can semi-base properly.
Mask vs. Mask Match
Príncipe Diamante defeated Espíritu Negro two falls to one
In the words of that Martin Sheen meme that was around during that infamous Charlie Sheen meltdown, I am disappoint. I was expecting quite a bit from this match sports fans given that it was the biggest match Príncipe Diamante or Espíritu Negro have ever had, only for them to go out there and have pretty much the same Lightning Match they had already done. That sounds quite harsh and in fairness to these two guys the match wasn’t a disaster. There were some cool moments, the crowd was surprisingly more into it than I could’ve guessed and Espíritu Negro sold the loss in the post match really well. But you could definitely see why Príncipe Diamante and Espíritu Negro have been preliminary guys for all these years. Their work was largely simple, the lack of urgency from either guy was kind of startling (this is the biggest match of your life dudes!) and nothing they did made this match feel like it was any different than a normal singles match. That’s the greatest sin a mask vs. mask match can make and these two made it here, to the point that I think we can safely say they aren’t getting another chance like this ever again. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was a huge disappointment for someone like me, who thought these two could rise to the occasion. They did not.
CMLL World Tag Team Championship Match
Carístico & Mistico defeated Cuatrero & Forastero two falls to one
Finally something that I expected to be good actually being good! Of course this match still didn’t quite reach the levels I would’ve thought but it was at least an honest to Grodd good match so I can’t be too disappointed. Frankly the only reason I can point to for this match not being better is just a general lack of creativity. Everything else was on point; both Carístico and Mistico came to play (though I suppose Mistico could’ve broken out a couple more moves to add to the drama), Cuatrero and Forastero gave easily the best effort I’ve seen from a non Universo 2000 Jr. Dinastia in months, the crowd was into everything (save Mistico) and the action was all relatively smooth stuff (save Cuatrero’s springboard elbow drop) that built to a finish that actually wasn’t anti-climactic. This was a good match that just didn’t have enough to differentiate it from better performances these guys have had to make it a great match. I guess that’s a long way of saying this match needed less routine and more inspired moments like Carístico and Mistico breaking up the Dinamitas Monkey Flip attack. That’s something that had never been done before and was very inspired and cool. A little more of that and this could’ve been something even better. Instead it was just good, which on this show was more than enough.
Hair vs. Hair Match
Dulce Gardenia defeated Kawato San two falls to one
You may recall that going into this show CMLL had two different strategies for the two Apuesta matches. The Príncipe Diamante-Espíritu Negro strategy was for them to have promising Lightning Matches and little heat; this match between Dulce Gardenia and Kawato San featured a ton of heat but very little wrestling between the two. As it turns out the Gardenia-Kawato strategy was better, as these two had plenty of heat going in and, with people unsure of what to expect, were able to deliver what wound up being the best match on the show.
Granted that last point wasn’t hard but it’s still impressive given these two hadn’t really wrestled each other leading into this match. I mean they had matches, but it was all about low blows, kisses, other fouls; nothing that would give you any indication as to how this match would go. Turns out they were saving it for here and it was a good decision. It wasn’t perfect; the first two falls were completely unnecessary and yet again it felt like CMLL went to a finish a few minutes before they should’ve. But the third fall was pretty damn good, with Dulce looking strong and Kawato finally putting together that CMLL performance people have been waiting for. Frankly I thought he carried this match. Dulce was really good but it was nothing we haven’t seen from the exotico before. Kawato meanwhile had a ton to prove and he not only wrestled a complete match but he showed some creativity and new ideas we hadn’t seen from him before, all of which looked impressive and all of which worked. It’s obviously still a bit discouraging it took this long for it to come together in a match but it’s at least nice to know the good young wrestler I saw in New Japan all those years ago is still there, and hopefully he’s sticking with CMLL long enough to have a few more performances like this one. I don’t want to be too over the top with the praise because this match is very likely not going down as one of the best matches of 2020; hell it wasn’t even the fifth best match of today. It was however a very good main event that showed Kawato has a lot more to give and one that will hopefully establish Dulce Gardenia as someone CMLL can steadily push going forward.
There you have it sports fans. Before we go though, let’s do a quick preview of tomorrow’s CMLL show so we can save some time!
Sonic & Super Astro Jr. vs. El Coyote & Grako: A noble attempt by CMLL to actually try and top the opener from this show. It won’t work, but at least we’ll get two combined moments of coolness from Sonic and Super Astro, two guys who deserve far better than what they’re getting. Winners: Coyote and Grako.
Estrellita, La Jarochita, Marcela vs. Amapola, Dalys, Metálica: New year, same old CMLL Luchadoras division. Actually it may be worse now considering this match features the frequently lost Estrellita on one side and Dalys (Lex Luther if he was a luchadora) on the other side. I see no way this match can be good as it’s booked, unless Avispa Dorada rides in on the white horse and replaces one of the technicas. And that won’t happen because Dorada is much better than all these luchadoras (save maybe Marcela and Metálica) and we can’t have good lucha mucking up this division! Winners: Team Dalys.
Atlantis Jr., Esfinge, Rey Cometa vs. Misterioso Jr., Pólvora, Vangellys: I guess one of CMLL’s mission statements for 2020 is to put Atlantis Jr. and Rey Cometa into as many trios matches featuring questionable rudos as humanly possible. The good news is that those two are so good that there’s always a chance they can get a good match out of it under the right circumstances. The bad news is they’re teaming with Esfinge in this match while two of their opponents are Misterioso Jr. and Vangellys. In the words of every horror movie victim right as things are getting dicey, GULP! Winners: Team Cometa.
Soberano Jr., Titán, Volador Jr. vs. Cavernario, Forastero, Templario: There is legitimately no reason this shouldn’t be a great match. Zero. The technico side is tremendous with two guys in Soberano and Titán who almost always give a high level effort. The rudo team features two of the best all around performers in lucha in Cavernario and Templario (who also always go full throttle). Unless this is used to set up a future match or Volador and Forastero just don’t try at all this match should, at the least, be very good and possibly great. Now watch it be depressing because of what I just said. Winners: Team Soberano.
Bandido vs. Cuatrero: Easily the biggest match of the week for CMLL…and this is a week where they had two Apuesta matches and Volador-Carístico 5….thousand! On paper this should be a Match of the Year candidate. In reality we have no idea how much Cuatrero is going to want to put into this or how invested CMLL is into making Bandido, a legit star, look like a star. I’m very tempted to say this match will disappoint but in the end Bandido and Cuatrero are too good for this to not wind up great and ultimately I think this will wind up being the King Phoenix (Fenix) vs. Cavernario of 2020. If not, then there truly is no hope for CMLL at all. Winner: Bandido.
Ángel de Oro, Carístico, Niebla Roja vs. Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Último Guerrero: The most interesting thing about this match is that it led to me realizing I was spelling Ángel de Oro’s name “Ángel del Oro” over the last few weeks. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME?! But yeah, this is just going to be a simple, quick main event to wrap things up for these six before they head off to Japan to actually do cool lucha shit. Amazing how everyone in CMLL only tries now when the words “New Japan” are involved. Winners: Los Guerreros.
And on that note this long strange journey has come to an end! I’ll see you tomorrow for a review of CMLL Super Viernes sports fans. TILL THEN!
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