There I was sports fans, minutes after finally completing the CMLL Live Review, thankful that the busy last few days of nonstop lucha libre coverage was over and I could finally have a relaxing day off. And then reality slapped me across the face and turned into Lee Corso.
There will be no day off sports fans. Why not? Because there are LA Park vs. Rush matters to discuss. The biggest and best feud in lucha libre has turned into some sort of Russian novel, and it’s not even because of what’s going on in the feud. No it’s because the match has become some sort of Ross and Rachel scenario; will it or won’t it? Is CMLL going to pull the trigger? Are they going to screw it up and give us a lesser match? A month ago this time that question would’ve seemed dumb to everyone. Park and Rush had just come off a month long run of successful matches culminating in a grueling, brilliant brawl, there was no other feud being built up (at least long term) and no need to run anything LA Park-Rush related until closer to the Aniversario. Then a few poorly booked CMLL shows and a several month old rumor (one that suggested Fuerza Guerrera putting his mask on the line at the Aniversario) popped up and doubts started to creep in. When Guerrera’s booking on Atlantis’ Aniversario yielded not even a hint of him being involved in CMLL long term people started to relax. Then LA Park started to take more bookings with AAA and the doubts crept back in…until a day later when Park announced he would be on the Aniversario. All’s well ends well right?
Wrong! Rumors then sprouted up that CMLL was planning a cage match for the Aniversario and Guerrera’s re-appearance on the card for Negro Casas’ Aniversario had people thinking CMLL had balked at the big Rush-Park match in favor of sticking several names in a cage…until Park was also announced for Casas’ show in a huge match with him, Fenix and Pentagon taking on the Briscoe Brothers and Rush. That should’ve ended this saga, until CMLL continued the story with (regardless of where we’re going) an inexplicable decision by releasing the ticket prices for the Aniversario just yesterday. These prices ($25.80 US as the lowest and $141.82 US as the highest) were lower than expected, especially for a match of Park and Rush’s stature. Thus the only logical conclusion was that Park and Rush wasn’t going to be the main event and that CMLL had bungled things massively in favor of a cage match no one wanted or asked for. In a way I think we all accepted that was happening…until last night, when Rush and Park tore the house down again, feuded all throughout their match and issued challenges for a mask vs. hair match at the Aniversario. These are the facts of the case sports fans and they leave me with just one question; WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON WITH RUSH, PARK AND CMLL?!
At this point I think it’s the question on everyone’s mind and it’s quite possible you’ll get a different answer from everyone you ask. Some think it won’t happen, if only because it makes no sense for CMLL to run a match as big as LA Park vs. Rush for ticket prices that low (which is true). I would tell you yes, if only because throughout this whole odyssey CMLL hasn’t even tried to suggest or promote an alternative option (not a single other program has been built to even come close to what Park and Rush have) and because if anyone was stupid enough to under price such a huge match, it be them. Both theories could easily be right, both could easily be wrong and both could have nothing to do with what is actually going on. But because I cannot rest until I get some sort of idea at just what CMLL is doing, I have come up with six theories (two of which I already mentioned) that could explain why we are seeing what we are seeing. They are as followed.
1.) LA Park vs. Rush isn’t happening at the Aniversario, with the two either facing off in a trios match in favor of a match CMLL has created out of thin air or being part of a cage match. Under normal circumstances such a big match like Park vs. Rush not happening after all this build up would be outrageous. But CMLL, a promotion that once thought Bestia del Ring vs. Diamante Azul was a fitting headliner for their second biggest show of the year, isn’t above the outrageous and the inexplicable, and the fact they haven’t 100% confirmed Park-Rush and went so far below what we all expected for ticket prices suggest they’ve screwed up again. Why would they do such a thing? Perhaps LA Park and Rush both asked for too much money to lose their mask/hair and CMLL moved on. Perhaps they think a cage match or some match they just cooked up out of the stratosphere is better because…because! Hell for all I know someone in the CMLL front office just really hates LA Park and decided to screw him. All of it is plausible, even if CMLL has done jack all to build up another strong program
2.) CMLL might be doing it, but they’re going the Atlantis/Último Guerrero route in 2014 and putting these two in a tag match, where the losing team gets put in the main event. I didn’t even think of this scenario until luchablog’s review of last night’s show, when he mentioned how Atlantis/UG had been built up as the headliner for the 80th Aniversario. We all know what happened instead; CMLL pulled the rug out from under everyone, Volador-La Sombra happened instead (with fans losing their minds over it) and Atlantis-UG was delayed a year. I could see a similar scenario playing out here because that did work out well for CMLL; the fans didn’t revolt past that one night, Atlantis-UG made even more money for them the next year, Volador became a hot technico and La Sombra…well we’ve seen what that led to! CMLL thinking they could re-create that isn’t out of the realm of possibility…except for the fact that, a pointed out, THERE IS NO OTHER PROGRAM BEING BUILT UP! Volador and Sombra weren’t at Atlantis-UG levels but at least there was something there. There’s nothing else CMLL is doing right now on that level, which means any combination going against Rush and Park for the Aniversario main event is going to have to sprout from out of nowhere.
3.) Park vs. Rush is happening, CMLL will finally get around to announcing it Wednesday and the ticket prices are low because CMLL is dumb and totally undervalued how big a draw this match is. I will happily accept that I have remained optimistic (perhaps too optimistic) that Rush vs. Park was happening even when all the chatter suggested otherwise. That remained the case yesterday because of two thoughts that popped in my head. I’ll explain the second in the next section, but the first was this; if there was ever a promotion that could completely bungle an easy money opportunity by not understanding what they had, it’s CMLL. Is it really out of the realm of the possibility to think CMLL has had Rush and Park planned all along, only they completely underrated how much fans wanted to see this match? At this point it wouldn’t shock me at all if Wednesday has come, Park and Rush are signing their contract and we’re all marveling at CMLL proving to be the dumbest group of businessmen (and women) to ever exist.
4.) Park vs. Rush is happening, CMLL will announce it Wednesday and the prices are low because Rush is going to lose and his pay day will be far less than a potential Park pay day. One of the things that have surprised me about these past few weeks is how everyone seemed to be under the impression that Park was going to be the one to lose this match. I’ve never been convinced by that and Park taking a string of AAA bookings before and after Triplemania has confirmed my suspicions; AAA would not be booking LA Park so steadily if they didn’t have huge plans for him, and I’m willing to bet those plans involve Park having his mask (especially since the year Park has had has made his mask more valuable long term then any of us could’ve expected). If Park losing is off the table, then suddenly CMLL wouldn’t have to break the bank for a payout to the loser of this match and while Rush’s hair will cost more than usual, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that it would cost low enough that CMLL could get away with charging prices lower than expected. Of course, even if that is the case CMLL is still dumb as holy hell. Just because you don’t have to charge as much as expected doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, especially since CMLL could’ve drawn the highest gate they ever have with this match, regardless of the result. The point is that, whatever way this goes, CMLL is likely coming out of this looking like complete idiots. Unless it’s one of these final two theories (and even then they might be).
5.) Park vs. Rush is happening, but the lucha libre commission is keeping CMLL from announcing the match until after Triplemania in order to protect the finish of that match. I’m pretty sure everyone who reads this column knows this by now (hell I may have mentioned it earlier) but just in case; LA Park is scheduled to headline Triplemania in a four way mask match against Pentagon Jr., Psycho Clown and El Hijo del Fantasma. There’s even a poster and everything!
Obviously that’s a huge match in its own right and while theoretically Park vs. Rush could be announced before Triplemania and slightly changed to a hair match if Park lost at the event, announcing him in another Apuesta match (with his mask on the line) that will take place after another huge match could be seen as a spoiler. After all, who could believe LA Park would lose his mask at Triplemania when he has a huge match with Rush two weeks later? I’m not up to date with how the lucha libre commission operates (my impression of them is they’re extra shady with a slight hint of credibility), but I am aware that El Fantasma is a higher up with the group and, oh what do you know, his son happens to be in that Triplemania match with LA Park and is widely expected to lose. Could the commission advise CMLL that it be best to hold off on announcing LA Park vs. Rush (or even hinting at it with higher than expected prices) until Triplemania is all done and dusted? I’d be surprised (I doubt the commission cares that much considering some of the things that are let go) but it can’t be discounted.
6.) Park vs. Rush is the plan, but CMLL won’t announce it till after Triplemania because they believe AAA may try to screw up their plans in the meantime. This is one of the the least likely scenarios in my book but it’s also the Juiciest. It didn’t hit me until I really thought about it but there’s been a truth that has fallen by the waste side during this crazy time. We’ve all been caught up in how guys like Park, Fenix and Pentagon now have the power to work whenever, wherever that we’ve missed just how much of an advantage that’s given AAA over CMLL. By getting Park (and to a lesser extent Pentagon) for that Triplemania main event, AAA has pretty much seized CMLL by the balls. If they wanted to they could offer Park enough money that he couldn’t refuse to drop his mask (which AAA could easily do given how they could afford Dr. Wagner Jr.’s payday last year) and turn LA Park vs. Rush, mask vs. hair into just a hair match. I’m sure some will argue that would do well (and it would) but it wouldn’t be the same as the original scenario. If you really think about it, there’s nothing at all to stop AAA from doing that, and that is something that could definitely leave CMLL feeling enough like the kid from Troll 2 to keep from committing to Park vs. Rush.
Now do I believe AAA will do that? Not at all. Last year I would’ve, but this is a whole different AAA with Konnan running the show. That’s not to say Konnan wouldn’t screw over CMLL if given the chance, but unmasking Park just to spite CMLL seems like a shortsighted move when it’s clear (at least to me) Konnan has bigger plans for Park. Again, there’s a reason AAA has the Chairman booked so much going forward and I’m pretty sure it’s not because they want him to lose the mask this year; it’s cause they want to build to a mask match of some kind next year (or the year after). So I don’t think AAA has or is planning to screw CMLL over. Would CMLL know that though? And even if they did, would they trust AAA? I’m not sure on the first question but I’m definitely sure the answer to the second is no.
So which of the five is it? If I had to pick the likeliest scenario to the least likely, I’d go 4, 3, 6, 1, 5, 2 and I wouldn’t doubt it’s a combination of those first three scenarios (or maybe another combination). My gut tells me Park vs. Rush is on, that CMLL hasn’t announced it yet out of misplaced fear that AAA will ruin their huge match and due to that fear, Rush being booked to lose the match and sheer stupidity they’ve decided to sell Aniversario tickets for far lower a price than they should’ve. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. I believe it will happen but I’ve come to realize at this point it’s foolish to think there’s not potential for this to fall apart. This easily could be a case of CMLL getting cold feet and ruining a potential masterpiece, another combination of the scenario’s in play or something else entirely that no one has even grasped yet (if it were any other promotion, I’d even suggest this was all a work. But with CMLL? Not a chance). I have no idea. What I do know is that this has become the most fascinating wrestling story of the year for me, an odyssey of excitement, fear, joy, disappointment, potential, wasted potential and about a hundred other things. One way or the other though it’s pretty clear that CMLL has dropped the ball. I just hoped it’s a scenario where they missed out on making more money than one where we’re left watching a shitty cage match wondering what might’ve been.
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