18 Predictions for Lucha Libre in 2016
And we're back! Hey, I told you that I'd be in the mood to write coming out of hiatus, and that's exactly what you're getting here. So what do I have on tap for you tonight? Well, after giving all you folks my ten favorite matches of 2015 last night, I thought it be a good time to give you some wrestling predictions for 2016. However, this isn't your typical wrestling prediction list, which is to say that you're going to see WWE mentioned in here about as many times as the cinematic classic Weird Back: A Dinosaur's Tale. Instead, you'll get to see my predictions for what will happen for the world of lucha libre, from Lucha Underground to AAA to CMLL and back again! Some of these predictions will seem like no brainers, some will seem like reaches, and some will look like I just pulled things out of my ass while I was distracted by another Starship Troopers viewing. Either way, it'll be a good time. At least I hope it is. But enough about my insecurities; PREDICTION TIME FOOLS!
Jack Evans will fulfill his destiny and turn rudo by betraying Angelico, leading to a massive hair vs. hair match between the two. If you've been following the career trajectory of the FIFA Champ in 2015, you'll see that everyone's favorite break dance fighter proved to be a pretty effective bad guy in both LU and Pro Wrestling Guerilla. It's time that he take that great work to AAA, and what better way to do that than to betray his longtime friend and tag team partner, leading to a major match where someone's hair goes the way Chuck Pagano. You're telling me people wouldn't be all in on an Angelico-Evans hair vs. hair match at Triplemania? It's destiny, and not the kind Alberto El Patron used to talk about. Whatever happened to that guy anyway?
Averno jumps to CMLL. I mean, his longtime rival (Mistico/Sin Cara/Myzteziz/Caristico) and best buddy (Cibernetico) both jumped over there and his other pal Chessman might be heading there as well. Doesn't it kind of make sense Averno makes his way there eventually too? I know he keeps saying he's sticking with AAA, but I'd bet my copy of BOLA 15 Night 2 that the last member of Los Hell Brothers finds his way to Arena Mexico before the year is out.
Lucha Underground will hold at least one show outside of the Temple. I know, what a gutsy prediction considering rumors sprouted up last week that LU might be planning to hold shows in Dallas during Wrestlemania weekend. To be honest though, I would've predicted this anyway. Sooner or later, the best wrestling promotion in the world is going to have to spread its glorious wings out of Boyle Heights, and I expect it's a risk that will be taken sooner than later. Here's hoping that risk is taken during Mania weekend. I know they'll be competing with the mother ship for fans, but if the LU were to tape several shows on Saturday (in between NXT and Wrestlemania), I reckon they can draw a pretty sizable contingent of the Mania crowd, a group that likely are huge fans of Lucha Underground already.
Triplemania XXIIII is a better than Triplemania XXIII. Let's be real; as long as the Villanos aren't rolled out again for no reason at all and the production is kept on the up and up, this is pretty much a no brainer. You may now all resume forgetting that Triplemania XXIII ever existed. It's like that season of Dallas that was just a dream!
Kamaitachi will finally defeat Dragon Lee in a big one on one match. Remember how I said a few weeks ago in my Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi write up how it seemed like our favorite Japanese luchador was heading back to New Japan for a glorious run? Since then, he's engaged in a feud with Maximo that's seen him lose all his hair, and my understanding is he's booked for several more CMLL shows over the next few weeks. Perhaps Kamaitachi is staying in Mexico after all, and if he is, it's about time he got his due. The man is a machine in the ring, but if you look at his past year from a kayfabe perspective, poor Kamaitachi spent all his time losing his mask, his hair, title matches...the only thing he didn't lose was that Asian woman who is clearly his biggest fan. And hell, I expect CMLL will even turn her against him sooner than later! 2016 will be different if Kamaitachi stays around, and I see him finally, FINALLY overcoming his archrival in another classic match to get that big win that has eluded him like Julian Sark eluded Sydney Bristow.
Matanza debut's before the end of LU's second season. Whether it's somewhere in the middle of the season or right before the curtain closes, El Jefe will finally unveil his demon spawn of a brother in an attempt to regain control of the Temple from Catrina and Immortan Mil Muertes. It will be glorious, it'll be bloody, somebody will likely get killed and I can finally sleep at night knowing the true identity of Matanza. That's right folks; I STILL HAVE TO KNOW!
Perros del Mal remains a stable, with Pentagon Jr. as the new leader. Quietly, the last remaining members of Perro Aguayo Jr.'s brainchild (Pentagon, Taya, Joe Lider and Daga) have continued to come out to Perros del Mal's theme and with Perros del Mal gear. The group is still alive, and while I don't expect to see any new members added, I do see these four continuing on in 2016, with budding mega star Pentagon taking the reigns as ruler. Why not? As long as the group is kept small and AAA doesn't try to add a new member to replace Aguayo (which would be like replacing Sean Connery and Roger Moore as Bond with Timothy Dalton), this is a group that can still mean something.
Maximo will lose the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship. Probably the safest pick of this list considering Maximo has suffered a leg injury recently and may have to miss time. I'd have made this pick even if he hadn't, but the injury pretty much confirms that the son of Super Porky will be a former Heavyweight Champ sooner than later. The question then becomes whether Maximo drops the title, is forced to vacate it (leading to a tournament) and who will be the next champ? My guesses are he will vacate it, there will be a tournament and that the "John Cena of Mexico" Marco Corleone finally gets a long overdue run as champ and wins the title. Get ready for the #CorleoneForCMLLChamp hashtags by the end of January!
Teddy Hart makes his return to lucha libre, competing for both AAA and Lucha Underground. Part of this is already true, as Hart is going to be teaming with Johnny Mundo and Pentagon Jr. at a Crash event in the next few weeks. I see that as the first step to Jack Evans' best friend returning full time to the lucha scene, with AAA bringing him back once again (likely to team with Evans after he turns on Angelico), followed by LU bringing him on board. Surprisingly, I have no problem with this. There's no doubt that Hart has an Eddie Furlong list of issues, but he's a super talented dude who deserves to show the world what he can do. As long as he stays out of trouble, he can do that this year, perhaps as a potential Comeback of the Year candidate.
AAA tries a PPV broadcast again. It may not be Triplemania, but AAA, despite the bust the last time they tested PPV waters, will try once more this year to see if they can expand their audience on PPV. Whether or not it works better than last year remains to be seen.
Rush headlines the 83rd Anniversary Show in a hair vs. mask match against either Atlantis or Caristico. With La Sombra off to WWE to become their next big Hispanic draw, his former Los Ingobernales should take his place as CMLL's top rudo, which means he also should find himself at the top of CMLL's biggest show come September. The only question now is who puts their mask on the line to face Rush. On one hand, the former Mistico/Sin Cara/Myzteziz makes sense considering the budding feud building between the two right now. On the other hand, Atlantis is still CMLL's king of the hill and he always seems to a) main event the Anniversary Show and b) do a damn good job while doing so. Whichever one it is, they will be facing off against Rush, meaning that either the coolest hair in CMLL is shaved off or one of the most famous masks in lucha history is taken off. I don't know what would make me sadder; Rush losing his hair, or Atlantis losing his mask. Either way, that match will leave me crying the hardest I have since I saw Titanic.
Pentagon Jr. will win the Lucha Underground Championship. I don't know who he beats and I don't care. Before 2016 has faded into the abyss, the man of Cero Miedo and Lucha Underground's most popular star will climb the mountain and claim the LU's top prize. Arms will shiver in far, Vampiro will celebrate like Angelico just jumped off the roof again, and the internet will have a reaction that looks something like this.
In a shocking development, AAA and CMLL put their differences aside and briefly work together for the 2016 Lucha World Cup. Seems like a bold pick here, right? Except it's not. Remember, there were rumblings just a month or so ago that AAA and CMLL may be looking to work together and there were also rumblings that AAA wanted CMLL to be a part of the 2015 Lucha World Cup back in May (CMLL declined if I recall correctly). I say this year the two rivals put their differences aside for one month and collaborate to help put together the biggest version of the Lucha World Cup thus far (yes, it's only the second year of it, but still!). Of course, it'll inevitably be followed by one side backing out in rage after their team loses to the other, but still!
Rey Mysterio doesn't win either the AAA Mega Championship or the Lucha Underground Championship. That's right; the top star of both AAA and the LU won't get the biggest title for either promotion, instead serving as a top notch special attraction. And yes, I know this prediction is really going to bite me in the ass when Rey beats either Fantasma or Johnny Mundo for the title at Guerra de Titanes three weeks from now.
Aerostar and El Hijo del Fantasma/King Cuerno become main event players for both AAA or Lucha Underground. You could argue Fantasma already is a main event player in AAA, but if you're still on the fence, 2016 will knock you off it. Fantasma will at least challenge for both the Mega Championship and LU Championship this year (and I would bank on him winning one of them), while my buddy Aerostar looks to be on the verge of exploding. Seriously, the dude went from the most underappreciated high flyer in the world to having standout performances in the LU, PWG, AAA and CHIKARA in 2015. He's quietly one of the most popular luchadors alive right now! Look for this to be the year AAA finally takes notice and Aerostar starts to be someone who could be Mega Champion. You heard it here first!
Dragon Lee is positioned as CMLL's next top technico. It's only natural, considering La Sombra is gone, Carastico's time has passed, Rush is a better rudo, Maximo is hurt and dudes like Atlantis and the GOAT Negro Casas will have to slow down sooner or later. In their place will step Lee, who is by far the most exciting young luchador not named Pentagon Jr. in the world right now and, at only 20 years old, has at least 30 high quality years of wrestling ahead of him. If you're one of the only two people who don't think this kid is special, you're going to think it by the time this year is over. Guaranteed.
WWE doesn't sign another luchador from Lucha Underground, AAA or CMLL. This is a little bit of a reach here considering WWE can always use more Hispanic talent, not to mention that a successful NXT run by La Sombra (all but guaranteed in my opinion) could lead to them wanting to add more of a good thing. That said, La Sombra fills the WWE's need for a young Hispanic star right now, and their lack of interest in any other CMLL names plus the inability to get anyone signed to both LU and AAA indicates that they'll stand pat for at least a year. By the way, can we just marvel at the fact that WWE somehow wasn't interested in either Rush or Dragon Lee? How is that possible? It's like having the chance to rent Fury Road and The Force Awakens and deciding to just go home and watch what's on cable. Or as Hugo would put it...
A big name from either the US or Japan will leave for AAA, CMLL or Lucha Underground. This would normally be a reach, but a quick look at the upcoming free agent pool in wrestling shows that a lot of names could be had for the taking. Ring of Honor stars like Jay Lethal and Kyle O'Reilly will see their contracts run out soon, and both would be great fits down in Mexico. AJ Styles' contract is up with New Japan soon and he's spoken fondly about Lucha Underground in recent interviews. There's always the chance of a disgruntled star from WWE, New Japan, TNA or ROH being let go before 2016 is up and heading down to Mexico. And of course, there's Daniel Bryan, who's WWE future is more mysterious than Gone Girl and who's stated that he wouldn't mind wrestling a hair vs. mask match in his immediate future. It could be any one of those guys, it could be someone we don't even expect; I just know that at some point this year, a name bigger than you think will work in a lucha promotion, and we're all going to be super stoked about it. Like Bill and Ted levels of stoked.
Lucha Underground gets a season four AND reaches a deal with a Network/streaming service. The first part of this prediction is a no brainer; as long as the LU continues its run of high quality TV (and there's no reason to believe they won't), El Rey and Unimas will continue to bring them back for shorter seasons at least. That being said, I'm going to bank that things go even better and that Lucha Underground either a) finds another Network (along with El Rey and Unimas) to showcase themselves on a bigger scale or b) gets on a Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. It's the next logical step after getting more merchandise available (which they have through Pro Wrestling T's) and running a live event or two. With both of those likely to be out of the way sooner than later, it seems like only a matter of time that LU makes the next step in their expansion. Which means we can all look forward to a Lucha Underground movie in the 2017 predictions column!
That'll do it friends! Let's hope my predictions work out, otherwise my credibility will go back to levels Uwe Boll only dreams of. I'm off to re-watch Night Two of PWG's Battle of Los Angeles, because why the hell not?! Till next time, how about some Etemon to close the show? Digimon FTW!