CMLL 82nd Anniversary Show Review!
It’s 2:27 a.m. and I am spent. Not just because I’m tired as all hell, but because I just got done watching CMLL’s 82nd Anniversary Show (a day later, but still). How was it you may ask? Well, as someone who has ever experienced a full CMLL show before, I have to say that it was completely and utterly amazing, and I can’t wait till the next. Seriously; as much as I love Lucha Underground and respect AAA, what CMLL did this past Friday was, at least in my humble opinion, excellent. In the face of stars being fired, cards being rushed and just a general lack of exposure, the oldest wrestling promotion in the world managed to pull out a show with lots of entertainment, solid matches and one unforgettable main event. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done. And while that may be enough to sum it up, I’m now going to tell you more by breaking down each and every match. Sounds good? Good. Let’s not waste time; I have sleep to catch. ON WITH THE SHOW!
Six Man Tag
Disturbio, Puma and Virus defeated Esfinge, The Panther and Fuego two falls to one
This was a mixed bag as far as openers go. I thought the beginning, featuring a ton of really refined technical wrestling, and the fast paced final third of the match clicked really well, with everyone looking like a million bucks. The middle portion of the match though was sloppier than the last Adam Sandler movie. Look, no offense to Disturbio or Virus, but it’s pretty clear that out of the six guys in this match, these were the two who probably should’ve been elsewhere. They tried, and at times they were passable, but there was a period of time in this match between the first and second fall where they just made everything lame. Now I know how Mazza feels when he watches Arsenal. That said, overall it wasn’t a terrible match, and the technico’s and Puma all came across really well. In fact, I’d dare say Puma and Panther were the two stars of this match. Really good work from both men, and I expect we’re just going to see Panther get better. Remember, he’s only seventeen. He can barely see rated R movies!
Six Man Tag
Rey Escorpion, Polvara and Dragon Rojo Jr. (Los Revolucionarios del Terror) defeated Maximo, Guerrero Maya Jr. and Stuka Jr. two falls to one
Know how the last match was a tad underwhelming? Not so here! Not only did the six men here make sure this was an entirely different match than the first (less technical work and much more high flying/brawling/character stuff here), they made sure it was vastly better. Aside from a few lulls right before the climax, I loved almost everything. There were some excellent spots, including a suicide dive from Guerrero Maya Jr. that had so much momentum he ended up in the crowd afterwards. The teamwork of Los Revolucionarios was sublime; somewhere, Mil Muertes is wondering what it will take to eliminate the Skelator Army and replace them with these three dudes. I especially liked the interactions between Maximo and Escorpion here; both did a great job telling the story of Maximo being completely in Escorpion’s head, and how the rudo spent the whole match working his way towards overcoming that psychological disadvantage. Great stuff, and even better, I totally called the ending. Go look at my preview and you’ll see I totally said Escorpion would get the pin on Maximo to set up a title match later on. If this match is any indication of what that’ll be like, sign me up. Great job by all six.
Dark Angel defeated Princess Sugehit
This was a really, REALLY good match that should’ve been a great one. And it’s through no fault of the performers in my opinion; both Dark Angel and Princess Sugehit were in top form here, and you could tell that the future NXT trainer was giving it her everything to make this match special (wouldn’t you if it was your last match in Mexico?). The problem here wasn’t the in ring action, it was the lack of heat. For that, I’m going to have to put the blame on CMLL for that. Aside from this being Dark Angel’s last CMLL match, the only thing this match had was two kick ass women doing some fine in ring work. That’s all well and good, but as someone would argue the Divas Revolution has shown, you need more than that? Imagine if CMLL had put Sugehit’s mask on the line here? I think that would’ve been exactly what the doctor ordered to get this crowd involved and to take this match to a higher level. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Still, nothing wrong with this match at all, and while it’s not on the level of Sasha-Becky, it’s a damn good women’s match with two great performances. Hopefully NXT allows Dark Angel to do more than just train people, as she could be a really valuable asset. And hey, if it doesn’t work there, she’s always welcome in Lucha Underground. Excuse me while I go daydream about a Dark Angel-Sexy Star match. WHY MUST I WANT THINGS I CANNOT HAVE?!
Six Man Tag
Dragon Lee, Mistico and Valiente defeated Negros Casas, El Felino and Mr. Niebla two falls to one
I learned several things watching this bout. One, there are way too many Sin Cara/Mistico/Myzteziz clones out there; Sting doesn’t even have this many people masquerading as him! Two, the original Sin Cara/Mistico/Myzteziz is clearly the best of the three (which is saying a whole lot). Three, even at age 55, Negros Casas is better than both Mistico and Valiente, which shouldn’t be possible (and yet). Four, Dragon Lee is the fucking man. And finally, man does CMLL have to do something about the technico’s, as the crowd treated them the same way Rose’s mother treated Jack (like a dangerous insect that must be squashed quickly). Oh, the match was also pretty good, especially as it went further a long and Dragon Lee was allowed to do more. I said this would be a star making performance for him, and aside from his partners being shit on, it was just that (props as well to the rudos, who were top notch throughout themselves). Now, can CMLL pair him with someone else next time? Or maybe not put him against three legends who are treated like royalty in Mexico? Just a thought!
Six Man Tag
Shocker, Ultimo Guerrero and Volador Jr. defeated Marco Corleone, Rush and Thunder two falls to one
Let it be known that the most surreal moment of the night came during the entrances of the rudo team. I don’t know about you, but the sight of Marco Corleone (a man I haven’t watched wrestle since he was released from WWE some ten years ago) coming out to the ring, followed by Rush coming out to Chris Benoit’s theme…maybe I’m crazy, but that’s some “did that just really happen?” shit on the level of Cooper’s dream sequence from Twin Peaks, Macho Man’s rap album and every single story that involved the words “Paris” and “Hilton”. Seriously, Mark Jindrak and the Chris Benoit theme on a wrestling show is half of Triple H’s worst nightmare. All that was needed to complete it was CM Punk having live sex with Stephanie McMahon on the CMLL stage, while AJ Lee watched with that sinister smile of hers.
In some ways, this was the most entertaining match of the night, although it was pretty clear that CMLL was missing Dr. Wagner Jr. and La Parka presence (even if they’ll never admit it). No offense to Shocker, but aside from one spot, he really didn’t add anything here, while Thunder, and I’m being serious here, might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen the Nicolas Cage Wicker Man. Everything about that man, from his timing, to his mannerisms, to his speed (which ranges from slow to excruciatingly slow to nonexistent) was just abysmal. Congratulations Eva Marie, you are no longer the worst at everything. Take those two out and replace them with La Parka and Wagner (or simply make it a tag between Guerrero and Volador vs. Corleone and Rush), and this may be the best match of the night. That’s how much fun it was even with those two (and with the unfortunate DQ finish, even though it does set up stuff going forward). Guerrero, even though he isn’t the best wrestler, was captivating on his fighting spirit alone (and he even performed the minor miracle of making Thunder look like something that didn’t suck!). Volador is a really talented dude with an interesting look. Corleone is a flat out beast; how WWE, TNA or any major company hasn’t given him a second look is dumbfounding considering his size and what he can do with it. And of course, there’s Rush. I’ve only heard of this guy prior to this show, but friggin a, he’s the real deal. He’s got the charisma. He’s got the ability. Perhaps most importantly, he’s got the psychology (I loved him running away from Volador every time he felt threatened by his enemy). He instantly jumped off the screen for me, and will do so for any first time CMLL viewer. This dude is going to be a huge star, and I cannot wait to see more of him. Hell, if CMLL does Rush vs. Volador, hair vs. hair sometime soon, I may just have to go down to Mexico to see it. It’ll be like Road Trip, Nacho Libre, and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia combined, which might either be the best, worst and/or weirdest thing in the history of the western hemisphere.
Lucha de Apuestas, mask vs. mask
Atlantis defeated La Sombra two falls to one
In the preview for this match just a few days ago, I wondered whether or not this match, by far the most anticipated of the show, would live up to the hype, or if it would be another solid spectacle the same way Rey Mysterio-Myzteziz was a month ago at Triplemania. What we’ve come to learn is that this match not only lived up to the hype, it obliterated it into a thousand pieces. No doubt about it, this was the match of the night, and for my money, one of the ten best matches we’ve seen this year in Mexico, the US, Japan, wherever. And as per usual, it was all because a simple idea was worked to perfection. In one corner, there was La Sombra, the young star with a chip on his shoulder, looking to come of age and secure his name in the halls of lucha libre by unmasking one of its legends. In the other corner, that very legend Atlantis, a hero fighting for the mask that made his legacy, fighting for the mask that so many people love and believe in, fighting to claim the mask of yet another rival who overlooked his greatness. In the end, both protagonist and antagonist played their parts perfectly. La Sombra was incredible. Atlantis, at 53 years old, perhaps gave the greatest performance of his career. Supporting characters like Rush (that beautiful son of a bitch) and the referee (if anyone can give me his name, I’d appreciate it) added to the drama instead of distracting us from it. The crowd was appropriately jacked, and to be honest, I’ve never heard a lucha libre crowd as loud for a match as they were for this one (I’m sure there’s been louder, but still). Hell, even though I don’t speak the language, I didn’t need to know Spanish to know the announcers did a bang up job selling the match. Nothing will ever be perfect, but the way CMLL handled this match was close to it.
What may have been even better than the match was the aftermath. Sometimes, no matter how much you script stuff, you just can’t beat realism. And the raw, real emotion after the match when La Sombra unmasked was riveting. I felt for the guy, and not just because I wanted him to win. I felt for his family, who legit looked devastated. Losing your mask in lucha libre can be a career killer, and while I certainly don’t think La Sombra’s career is going downhill after this, it certainly won’t be the same again. Thus, I really appreciated the raw emotion following the match, as well as the mutual, earned respect between both La Sombra and Atlantis. I can’t think of a better way to end the show. And how about this for the follow up; did you see how angry Rush was for the fate of his friend? What would you say to a Quentin Tarantino esq revenge story that sees us one year from now witness Rush putting his precious hair on the line to try and avenge his friend by unmasking Atlantis? If that doesn’t make you excited, I submit that I don’t know what will. I don’t know if you’re reading this CMLL, but if you are, make that match, put the show on PPV and watch what dreams may come for you when those two lock up.
And with that, I am spent and off to bed. Hope you enjoyed this review, and hope it inspires you to check out the show. If you’ve never experienced CMLL before, dare I say you are in for a treat with this one. I’ll be back soon, after sleep. Till then, take it home DUCHOVNY. Take it home.
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