As I may have said last night in the AAA review sports fans, the only downside of there being two lucha libre shows on at the same time is that it’s difficult to watch both of them and pretty much impossible to review them both. Thus I decided to review the AAA show last night and the CMLL show today, the morning/afternoon after. As I was watching AAA’s really good show I thought I made the right decision. NOPE! Turns out as good as AAA was CMLL was that much better, with two undercard matches that absolutely ruled, a classic main event that elevated both Flyer and Templario and, in one of the biggest moments of the year, a post main event angle that featured the return of LA Park! Thank Grodd CMLL has this show on demand so I could watch all of it this morning (I saw the opener and much of the main event, including the post match angle, live) and bring you this review. And well, we’ve wasted enough time already so let’s get into it. Trust me; it’s a good one.
Espanto Jr. & Hijo del Signo defeated Astral & Eléctrico two falls to one
To think last night all began with this match. THIS MATCH! That be like if Casablanca opened with a Paulie Shore standup routine. The good thing I’ll say about it is, once again, Astral and Eléctrico tried their asses off. They’re easy targets to mock given Astral’s love for bulking up for Mr. CMLL and Eléctrico’s…Eléctrico ness but since they started teaming together outside the Mini Estrellas division they’ve both tried really hard and more often than not held up their end of the bargain. They did so again here, with Astral in particular looking really good with several of his sequences (his triangle rana was a thing of beauty). Once more though the other side couldn’t hold up their end. Espanto Jr. was trying and his sunset flip powerbomb spot is cool, but he brings little to the table besides that and proved he couldn’t base for a headscissors properly at one point. And Signo…yeah he sucked. What more needs to be said that hasn’t been already? Those two made me long for the days of Cancerbero and Raziel against these two, and then naturally picked up the win because of course that was going to happen. It was decent because of Astral and Eléctrico’s effort, but this was your typical “Before Audaz/Flyer/Templario” CMLL opener and the most “CMLL” moment on the show. Thankfully it was also the last.
Puma, Okumura, Tiger defeated Blue Panther Jr., Drone, The Panther two falls to one
If this match is not a sign that Blue Panther should be putting together every match then I don’t know what is. And yes I’m certain he laid it out because it had his (and his sons, Puma and Tiger’s) prints all over it; unique layout with nonstop action, cool moves, different kind of finish. All the hallmarks of a Blue Panther match were here and thank Grodd because this match came off so strongly because of it. Well that and the effort by all six luchadores. I suppose you could maybe take some points off because Puma’s awesome Sunset Flip Powerbomb from the ramp and into the ring didn’t have enough oomph on it, but that aside this was a great match. Everything was smooth, the action never stopped moving and best of all most of it felt fresh because the match was designed to not be the same old standard trios match these teams can do in their sleep. They were all allowed to fly around early (except Okumura, who cannot fly), each guy got something to do and as a result we got stuff like Puma’s dive to off the turnbuckle and to the floor, an awesome Backbreaker City sequence where Junior seemed destine to backbreak everyone is sight and a whole lot of really good lucha libre. And then it was topped off with the clever ending, which saw Panther pin Puma and Okumura pin Drone…only Drone was the technico captain, giving the rudos the win. That’s smart stuff; WHY DON’T WE SEE MORE OF THAT PACO?! The point is this was really fun and, while the Panthers vs. Puma/Tiger (with other guys) is always quality, this was a step above.
Guerrero Maya Jr. defeated Fuego
These poor bastards. They did exactly what I expected in having a solid match…only a solid match just wasn’t going to do it on a night that featured at least two Match of the Year contenders. This was the Rise of the Planet of the Apes compared to Dawn and War of the Planet of the Apes! And yes, in this scenario Fuego is the Harry Potter guy, only with more charisma.
It’s a shame because this would’ve been a fun match that stood out on any other night. They had a few problems at the midway point with Fuego accidentally knocking off Maya’s mask during a ring post spot, but luckily Edgar allowed the match to continue (how refreshing that CMLL has a ref who lets things keep going!) and we got a few more minutes of solid lucha libre. I liked Fuego working the rudo here as it allowed the match to have that dynamic and both guys did a decent job of low key flying around. With everything else going on I just think they needed Maya to go a little bit harder and do his major dive. He didn’t (in favor of doing a nice suicide dive through the ring post) and thus the match topped out at just being really solid. Nothing wrong with that at all, it just came on a night where a lot of stuff was like watching Bridge on the River Kwai for the first time.
Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón defeated Ángel de Oro, Mistico, Soberano Jr. two falls to one
In yet another sign of how crazy this night was…this match was super good and it may have only been the fourth or fifth best thing of the evening. And this match featured two stage dives and Soberano doing his running tornillo dive to the floor! Absolute insanity. In defense of those who’d rate this match a bit lower, there were a few sloppy moments towards the end of the match and Mistico…I mean he turned it on at the end but my goodness there were some moments where he clearly stuck out as the weakest luchadore of the bunch (I think he may have even forgotten a spot or two). But that was approximately 3% of the match; the other 97% was absolutely ridiculous. Ángel de Oro was steady and at his most exciting given his style, all three Dinamitas wrestled a terrific all around match and my Grodd Soberano Jr. is just the perfect guy for them. Those four bring out the best in each other and this was yet another example of that, from the stage dive down to Cuatrero perfectly catching a Soberano top rope hurricanrana, swinging him around and then powerbombing him through the earth before Forastero returned his excellent running ramp springboard dropkick to seal the deal. What a match. When something like this occurs during an evening and it’s still not in the top three things that happened, you know it’s a good night.
Bestia del Ring, Rush, Terrible defeated Atlantis, Diamante Azul, Kráneo two falls to one
Speaking of knowing when it’s a good night, you also know that’s the case when the worst looking match on the show, ends up over delivering. Here I was thinking this would just be a lot of Los Ingobernables brawling before a DQ…and instead these guys actually had a normal, okay match!
Granted this was still closer to the bottom end of the spectrum given all that happened last night. The match mostly centered on Atlantis and Rush going at it, which was exciting at certain points and then later depressing because holy shit it is gone for Atlantis. I don’t know what he did to piss off the injury gods or what not but he not only looks held together by tape but his confidence looks to be completely gone. It remains the most depressing aspect of CMLL in 2018 and thank Grodd the rest of this night was as spectacular as it was or otherwise it be more a focus. At least Rush was able to get a little out of the legend and most importantly got the pin to settle that score and set himself up for other things. Really that was the match; Kráneo did a few things, Terrible did a few things, Diamante Azul looked really good and The Artist Formerly Known as Pierroth…was also there. It was quick, it didn’t light the world on fire but it was also relatively painless. And that’s quite all right when Match of the Year contenders and hot angles are falling out of the sky from every other direction. And with that we now segue into something that featured both!
Gran Alternativa Final
Flyer & Volador Jr. defeated Templario & Último Guerrero two falls to one
Let us begin the recap of this glorious match/angle the only way we can.
There’s a lot to cut into but we’ll start with the match, which was in fact a MOTYC and the best match from last night. Yes; even better than that AAA opener and my Grodd that AAA opener was like playing Uncharted 2 while drinking a Sunkist. Aside from one or two sloppy moments at the end this was perfect. Volador and the UG were their usual selves. Templario, as expected, stepped up big and looked like an equal working with Volador. Flyer was tremendous; this was the confident performance his match with Magia Blanca didn’t entirely had and he looked right at home working with the UG the way Star Jr. did not just a week ago. Together these four essayed the CMLL “big main event match” style to perfection. It started slow, it kept escalating and escalating and before long you were wondering just how many big moves these guys had left to do. The false finishes were outstanding (with Tirantes for once doing his job decently) and the escape of Volador and Flyer after the UG and Templario hit the Guerrero Special and the Mad Scientist Bomb was as exciting as it was surprising. It was edge of your seat stuff and I marked out like crazy when Flyer pinned the UG (HE PINNED THE UG!) with a Spanish Fly and Volador sealed the deal with a sick Poison Rana on Templario. If CMLL had ended it with Flyer and Volador hugging then this still would’ve been epic. Naturally they followed it up with Los Ingobernables running down to attack the winners, followed by the ultimate “HOLY F#%K!” moment of LA Park (and Hijo del LA Park, can’t forget him!) running down to make the save.
My first reaction to seeing Park run down was that CMLL security had failed to prevent a fan from rushing the ring; it took a minute to realize it was actually the Chairman! Once I did I was like everyone else; screaming in disbelief and hoping CMLL didn’t give him a microphone to ruin it all! They did give him one and, judging by the news today, his classic LA Park promo didn’t change any plans, which is great because this whole thing set up the dream match many have been wanting for some time; LA Park vs. Rush, mask vs. hair at the Aniversario. Not only will it be a match with crazy heat, not only will it be a match Rush will try his ass off for but considering the classics these two have had in the past with just pride on the line, it could be an absolute classic if we all somehow get there in one piece. I hope we do because it’ll give this show, the whole night really, even more meaning. Certainly this angle would’ve been great without the awesome match preceding it and the match wouldn’t have suffered if the angle hadn’t followed it. But together they created something that can only be described as magic. Suddenly CMLL’s next few months seem to be can’t miss. They have the biggest feud in lucha libre in their hands. They have two hot stables, La Familia Real vs. Los Ingobernables, lined up against each other. Perhaps the most underrated factoid of this whole thing is that CMLL gave Flyer an opportunity and he turned himself into a major player in one night; having watched him improve so much over the past year I couldn’t be more proud of him to see him take advantage of the opportunity and make the leap (Templario too. It goes without saying, but his future is just as bright coming off that performance). If AAA hit for the cycle last night with their excellent show then CMLL, with this main event and the strong show underneath, hit a grand slam. What a way to close out an excellent show and seal the thunder one of the best nights lucha libre has seen in quite some time.
That’s it sports fans. I am all done and will now be going far, far away from my keyboard to enjoy some well deserved rest. I’ll see you tomorrow for the CMLL Puebla preview. Till then, welcome back Chairman!
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