With Tetsuya Naito and New Japan Pro Wrestling officials making a stop at Arena Mexico tonight, it kind of felt like CMLL would be stepping up their game from their recent streak of ho hum shows. Boy did they ever! Tonight was, for me, easily the best show CMLL has streamed all year; there was not a single weak match to be found, two of the matches were either great or borderline great and the main event, while not quite on that level, was a lot of fun. This was a complete success of a show, which will make it all the more frustrating when CMLL reverts back to lameness next week. But that’s the future; let’s now focus on the recent past. TO THE REVIEW MOBILE!
Pegasso & Stigma defeated Akuma & Disturbio two falls to one
In case you couldn’t tell that New Japan officials were in the building, this match made it abundantly clear. This wasn’t quite a great opening match but it was a good opening match, and for CMLL that’s a rarity of itself. The effort level was predictably strong from all four luchadores, things were overall pretty smooth and they managed to get a few cool things in, like Stigma’s headscissors off the apron and to the floor on Akuma. Pegasso also broke out the 450; he totally landed on his knees but he at least tried the move! I still think CMLL probably would’ve been better off putting some more exciting technicos in this spot, like Halcón Suriano Jr. and Oro Jr., but in the end this was still a good match and probably the best Super Viernes opener we’ll get until the next time New Japan officials show up.
Black Panther, Blue Panther Jr., Drone defeated Kawato San, Tiger, Virus two falls to one
Apparently the opener being good wasn’t enough of shock because this second match was borderline great. A BORDERLINE GREAT SECOND MATCH IN CMLL! What’s next, a new AAA video game?
Boy I cannot believe how good this bout was. It was borderline great in all honesty. We had Kawato doing Trevor Lee spots (the Standing Double Stomp), Black Panther and Blue Panther Jr. looking like superstars, Tiger and Virus stepping up their game and Drone doing the exact opposite of what he did the last time New Japan officials had their eyes on him. Oh the irony! I figured the effort level would be higher than usual in this match, but what I didn’t expect was how much creativity these six would bring to the table. They were definitely trying new things to prove a point, and they managed to do so while also keeping things relatively smooth. A pleasant surprise sports fans, and I expected this to be a decent match.
Felino, Rey Bucanero, Templario defeated Esfinge, Flyer, Tritón two falls to one
If we’re talking about this match from an effort perspective, this bout made CMLL 3 for 3 on the evening. If we’re talking about it from an execution standpoint…not quite. There were some hits and there were some misses sports fans. I thought the rudos looked a bit shaky towards the end of the second fall, poor Flyer had a hiccup at the end of the third and Esfinge…well no amount of effort is going to correct that problem! Even still there was a lot to like in this match. Flyer had some really good moments which will get lost because of that last spot going wrong/hitting a Canadian Destroyer (which I didn’t mind but others will), Templario and Tritón were tremendous and Felino, Rey Rey Buc and Esfinge weren’t terrible, if nothing else. Some of the stuff they did was absolutely brilliant, like a late third fall dive train. It just didn’t feel like we had enough consistency for it to be on the level of the other matches. Still good, but only barely.
Dragón Lee, Mistico, Titán defeated Cuatrero, Negro Casas, Sansón two falls to one
In the words of Chappelle Show character Dylan, this match was SPITTIN HOT FIRE!
The difference between this match and say the other matches on this show is that I expected it to be this great. Go look at the tape if you don’t believe me! You just knew, on a big show like this, that these six were going to deliver and they did. Cuatrero and Sansón were tremendous and they were basically the background guys in this match! Mistico looked great. Titán was a bit more understated than his partners in this match but boy did he look excellent with everything he did. Dragón Lee wrestled like this was his Madison Square Garden match. AND HOW ABOUT THE AGELESS ONE NEGRO CASAS?! As expected he got the crowd going from the start and as expected he performed like a guy who was 39 instead of 59. And it wasn’t just with one guy; Casas had outstanding moments with all three technicos during the course of this match. The man is simply sensational sports fans and, as I often say, the day he retires will be the saddest day in lucha libre history. If I were Ring of Honor, I’d be calling CMLL right now and demanding that Casas be in the Honor Rumble at MSG next week. If only…well at least he has this performance to go along with his other great performances. Terrific, terrific match across the board.
Mexican National Light Heavyweight Championship
Cavernario (c) defeated Forastero two falls to one
Going into this match sports fans I said we were going to learn a whole lot about Forastero. What I didn’t know was that we’d also be learning a lot about Cavernario, a dude I thought we knew everything about because hot damn is he great. Nope; there was more to learn and it’s that Cavernario might be the best wrestler alive right now. That’s because he had one of his best individual performances ever with a guy in Forastero who, as it turns out, isn’t all that and a bag of potato chips. It’s got me feeling like this quite frankly.
Now this next bit is going to sound harsh but it’s the truth sports fans. Aside from his really great double jump senton dive late in the match, Forastero was pretty much just tagging along for Cavernario’s ride. His offense didn’t stand out at all, his periods of control were uninspiring and he seemed to lack all the charisma or creativity his more talented cousins Cuatrero and Sansón possess. That stuff can be hidden in trios matches but as this match, last week’s Lightning Match with Cavernario and the two Lightning Matches with Soberano Jr. proved, Forastero isn’t ready for any big spotlight beyond that. He’s an average singles wrestler who was frankly outshone by Dark Magic (Cavernario’s second) in this match; which of course makes it all the more marvelous that Cavernario got as great a match out of him as he did. It was a situation where Cav put this match on his back and carried it across the finish line with all sorts of terrific moves, storytelling and psychology. I’m not sure anyone else could’ve done what he did here and CMLL has some talented guys. Just tremendous, tremendous stuff from the Caveman. For that, and Dark Magic’s Negro Casas style second work (say what you will about Magic’s wrestling ability but he sold the emotion of the situation here) I’m going to call this a borderline great match. It could’ve been even better with a better opponent…but alas.
Carístico, Valiente, Volador Jr. defeated Rush, Terrible, Tetsuya Naito two falls to none
Alright so this match didn’t quite turn out to be the barnburner it could’ve been given the time. You know what it did turn out to be though? Serious fun. I’m talking both intentionally and unintentionally, like Rush’s giant whiff on a dropkick that caused me to chuckle. These six weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here, they were just out trying to have a good time and I thought they succeeded. The story was how much effort Naito would put in; turns out it was a decent one, which inexplicably included Naito allowing Valiente to dominate him at times. Can’t say that was something I saw at the beginning of the year. I also can’t say I saw Naito and Carístico having exchanges that made me want to see a singles match between them, but that happened too. Like I said, this was all just fun. The only issue I had with the match was that Terrible (still nobly trying to fight through his shoulder injury) should probably take a breather to fully heal. Beyond that the guys looked to be having the time of their lives, they put good enough efforts in and just tried to be entertaining. They succeeded and as a result did a nice job capping off this CMLL show.
That’ll do it sports fans. I’m off to sleep for the first time this month. Till next time, only twelve hours left for the Lucha Madness Sweet 16. You know what that means.
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