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LuchaPalooza: The Ins and Outs of the CMLL 83rd Anniversary Show
With Triplemania now buried beneath the sand it’s time to move on to the next big show of LuchaPalooza. That show is the CMLL 83rd Anniversary Show, Wrestlemania of both CMLL and all of Mexico. Triplemania may be big but it doesn’t hold a candle to this show; every luchador worth his salt grows up wanting to compete on this show and many of the best matches in lucha libre history have taken place on this night. And while CMLL is doing their best to make sure we don’t get to see the show this Friday (don’t ask, I’ll inform you at the end of the column), this is a card that looks like it’ll live up to the Anniversary Show name. We’ve got six matches, with only one looking like a dud, three that could be Match of the Year candidates and a main event that, against all odds, could become the next mask vs. mask match to take its place in lucha libre lore. It’s that kind of show folks. And with only a few days to go it’s time to bang out the preview. Moses, meme it down and hit that epic music!
Amapola, Dalys and Zeuxis vs. Lluvia, Marcela and Princesa Sugehit
What to Expect: This is how you start a show folks, by putting four really, REALLY talented performers in this match and allowing them to get the engine running. Of course there are also two other luchadoras here that aren’t on that level but you work with what you can right? Keep this in mind though (and this applied to Triplemania, the IWRG show and the LU premiere as well); the effort for all of these matches is going to be higher than any Puebla, Tuesday or Super Viernes show you’ve watched. It’s the gorram Anniversary Show! You don’t go half ass at the gorram Anniversary Show, unless you want a one way ticket to Paco Alonso’s dungeon. So you know that Amapola and Lluvia, decent performers who aren’t on the level of their partners, will step up here. You also know the good performers will step up here too, and considering Dalys, Marcela, Sugehit and the Queen herself Zeuxis are already really good then they should be a million times better here. Hell I’m expecting Zeuxis to be working so hard that when she delivers those knees to the corner she just goes right through whoever she hits. The point is, this should be a good way to start the show and I am excited for it. Although I suppose I would be anyway because the Queen is involved. Now that’s someone of royalty.
Winners: Here’s the other thing about these Anniversary Shows; they’re ridiculously tough to pick)! This is Fury Road or Road Warrior type call here. Except not really because if you read me you know I have certain rules in life; when in doubt always go with the rudos (or rudas), Sunkist Orange Soda is only for special occasions and never, EVER, pick against the Queen of Lucha Libre. Zeuxis is the Queen and thus that makes this easy. Rudas win this in three falls.
Shocker, Ephesto and Mephisto vs. Marco Corleone Máximo Sexy and Stuka Jr.
What to Expect: Spoiler alert; this is a pretty good Anniversary Show card all things considered. The exception is this oddity. Everything else on this show makes sense, be it because the match looks great on paper or because there was an actual story leading into the match. This match has neither of those things, but it does have a Rime of the Ancient Mariner sized albatross cursing it to the depths of the ocean. Oh yes, you all know where I’m going with this one.
How in the name of Cthulhu did Shocker manage to weasel his way onto this card? Better yet, why did CMLL allow him to weasel his way onto the card? The company may love booking the lucha outhouse known as Pierroth all the time but even they knew better than to include him on this show (besides a potential second appearance for his son in the main event). Apparently not so with Shocker, who gets on the card despite having one good performance in the last year (and that is clouded by the fact that Pierroth was that bad opposite him) while actually talented people like Rush, Terrible, Rey Escorpión, Star Jr., Soberano Jr., Hechicero, the Panthers, Fujin, Raijin, Okumura, Johnny Idol, Sam Adonis and Los Cientificos get held off. Hell I’d even take Luciferno over him! It just makes no sense and it makes it hard to get excited about this bout. I have no doubt Shocker will try and he thankfully is surrounded by good performers who will do their best to make this match mean something. This will ultimately be fine. But of all the matches on this card, this is the one where I just find myself unable to care. Damn you Shocker; why couldn’t you just take the day off?! ONE DAY OFF!
Winners: Maximo, Marco and Stuka Jr. You never know with Shocker, but his team is as makeshift as they come and it would make absolutely no sense for them to win. Plus even CMLL isn’t stupid enough to mess with Stuka Jr.’s aura now that he’s getting ROH bookings. Technicos win two to one and if there’s a Cthulhu in the sky Stuka and Marco will fly around a ton while Máximo kisses everyone. No dives for him though; seriously Máx, until you start actually hitting people with the suicide dive you need to retire it. It’s like your high fiving people these days.
Hair vs. Hair match
Rey Bucanero vs. Súper Crazy
What to Expect: The first of three matches that had significant buildup and in a lot of people’s minds the worst match of those three. This all started because of the CMLL/Lucha Libre Elite partnership that oddly enough may be kaputz now. Súper Crazy (an Elite star) won a hair vs. hair match earlier in the year against CMLL star Felino and in the eyes of Bucanero, one of the biggest stars in CMLL over the past decade, took exception to his gloating. The two have at it since clashed in Trios action and a Lightning Match, which saw Crazy and Bucanero switching roles (the former turning rudo while the latter turned technico) and a whole lot of great lucha from their partners, particularly Golden Magic and Sharlie Rockstar. And so here we are, with one man defending the reputation of CMLL, the other defending Elite and both defending their hair, a good thing considering neither guy probably pulls off the bald look well. Especially Crazy; take that hair away and it pretty much outs him as being Hugo Savinovich in disguise.
While the story of this match does sound good, those who have seen these two tangle know that match quality is a Riddler sized question mark. Súper Crazy, who yes is the same guy from ECW and WWE for those of you tuning into CMLL for the first time, still has it when motivated and considering this is the biggest show he’s done in years you know he will be. Bucanero is a question mark. Several years ago he would’ve been a sure thing in this match, but a weight gain has led to him becoming pretty inconsistent in recent memory. He has moments when he looks great (like his Lightning Match with Crazy) and then there are moments like last Friday’s Super Viernes where he looked like his body was snatched by Shocker and Pierroth at the same time. Not to put all the pressure on him here but this match hinges on what Rey Bucanero we get. If it’s this past Friday’s then this match will be the worst of the night. But if he comes in with a good effort (which he will) and stays within what he can do then this match could surprise you. I’m optimistic so I’m leaning towards the latter. I don’t think it’ll be the best Match of the Evening, but it’ll be good and not nearly the disaster of mediocrity everyone is expecting.
Winner: Bucanero, all day every day. I was pretty certain about this ever since CMLL pulled the trigger on the double turn, but the weird happenings with Elite now only further cement Paco going with his own guy over the Elite star. Bucanero takes this in the third fall, Súper Crazy reveals he’s been Savinovich all along and hopefully the fact that he’s winning gives Bucanero the jolt he needs to make this a memorable bout.
Cavernario, Felino and Negro Casas vs. Atlantis, Caristico and Máscara Dorada
What to Expect: Now this is a thrown together match I can get behind! On the one hand it is a shame to see so many talented guys left in this match when they should be higher. Cavernario, Negro Casas, Caristico and Máscara Dorada could all be in the main event of this show, while Atlantis probably should be. Arena Mexico has drawn well over a million dollars at the last two Anniversary Shows because of him, only for CMLL to stick him in this match here. That’s like taking John Wayne from The Searchers and then giving him a bit role in a ridiculously overcast film about Jesus. Oh wait; Hollywood actually did that! At least CMLL aren’t the only ones not thinking.
Here’s the good news about all these guys being left out; there’s no chance in hell they don’t go in with a chip on their shoulder looking to prove CMLL made a mistake. Combine that with the fact that they’ll already have a high effort level and this should be a barnburner provided Negro Casas stays in. And he will; he may be banged up but there’s no way the GOAT is missing the Anniversary Show for anything. At worst he’s kept to his routine, which won’t hurt anything because Cavernario will be flying around, Atlantis will be dishing out his backbreakers and a few extra moves while Dorada and Caristico take our breath away. Really the only guy here who won’t do much is Felino, and that’s because he’s a smart man who knows he doesn’t have to when that much talent is there. I could honestly see this being the Match of the Evening when it’s all said in done and you’ll definitely remember it afterwards. I’m just hoping this isn’t the last time we see Máscara Dorada in Arena Mexico, although if it is you can expect he’ll be throwing out everything to give the fans a proper farewell.
Winners: I gotta take the rudos here for the same reason I took the technicos in the second match. Atlantis, Caristico and Dorada may be big time but they’re also a thrown together team with little life past this night beyond random trios matches, while Casas, Cavernario and Felino will be a regular team for the foreseeable future. Plus not all the technicos can win on this show. La Peste Negra wins this in three falls.
CMLL World Trios Championship match
Mistico, Valiente and Volador Jr. (c) vs. Euforia, Gran Guerrero and Último Guerrero
What to Expect: Definitely the biggest trios bout of the night and a match running neck and neck with the main event for potential Match of the Evening status. Impressively CMLL has also given this match some buildup leading into the show, with Volador and UG squaring off numerous times both in trios and singles action to carry the bout. They’ll likely be paired up here too (potentially to set up another singles match down the line) but just because that’s the money match up doesn’t mean the rest isn’t worth seeing. Mistico, Valiente and Euforia are world class luchadors; the former two may be different than the latter in style but they all excel at their specialty and they’re going to excel here. Gran Guerrero might be the only true question mark and I’m honestly not that worried about him as he’s been steadily improving and will have the safety net of UG and Euforia (the best safety net in lucha) to prevent anything from going off kilter. To keep this brief so we don’t run around in circles, this will be great unless Mistico pops out the shoulder again. If your draw doesn’t drop at least five times from Volador’s speed, Valiente and Mistico going full blast or the UG just being the UG then there’s something wrong with you. Or I guess the match, but it’s likely you.
Winners: We’re getting a title change folks. The Sky Team have held the belts for almost two years now and have never seemed to be too tight to begin with (Volador I believe even stated that once they lost the belts it was unlikely these three would team together again). It’s the Guerreros time once more and they will redeem their loss of these belts to the Sky Team last year by winning them back in three falls. Volador will then move on while Mistico and Valiente find a new partner to challenge for the belts and eventually win them back. I’m guessing Dragón Lee; they’ve had Dorada and Volador as their partners so it only makes sense to get the next great high flyer. And speaking of Dragón Lee…
Mask vs. Mask match
Dragón Lee vs. La Máscara
What to Expect: Well folks, here we are. This is the one for all the marbles; the match every luchador dreams about as a little kid, the most anticipated match in lucha libre every single year, the be all end all, the Blade Runner of lucha. Call it whatever you want but this is the biggest match of the year to many in lucha libre circles and, to my pleasant surprise, CMLL has turned it into such. I’ve been on record saying that this match shouldn’t have been the main event of the Anniversary Show. In fact I’d still say it today; for all their craziness L.A. Park vs. Rush is a match that features the heat, the intensity and the ability to be a transcendent match in the same way Atlantis’ last two mask vs. mask matches with UG and La Sombra were. I didn’t think this match had anything close to that. I was wrong. Dragón Lee vs. La Máscara may never be what Park-Rush would’ve been but they’ve proven ever since this match was announced that any fears this would be a lesser Anniversary Show main event were unfounded. I think huge credit for that goes to Máscara. Even if you didn’t love the idea of this main eventing (and many didn’t) we were all excited to see Dragón Lee, the best young luchador in CMLL, get a chance in the spotlight and figured he would at least make this match worth out time. But Máscara, long considered an average/bland luchador, has notably changed ever since this match came to be. The dancing and the laid back cockiness of his Los Ingobernables days have been channeled into a ruthless rudo intensity that has transformed Máscara into a compelling luchador. He legitimately looks like a completely new man.
And because of his change this match suddenly takes on a whole new look. When this match was announced I expected it to be a good, maybe a great match if Dragón Lee had the performance of his life. Now I expect it to be a great match with potential of being a Match of the Year candidate and maybe more. That is how big a difference the transformation of Máscara has been since they first put this match together. There’s still some questions I want answered and there’s no doubt that the shadow of the Dragón Lee-Kamaitachi feud looms large over this as many will be expecting Lee to deliver a similar piece of work. But he and Máscara know this is the biggest match of their careers to this point and the great thing about Lee is that he’s passed every single challenge thrown at him. As long as Máscara continues his great work and Lee busts out a few new things to keep us on our toes these two should tear the house down. At worst I can’t see it being anything less than the second best match on the card. At best, who knows how high this could go? I never in a million years thought I’d be saying that about this match weeks ago.
Winner: Unless Dragón Lee is on the verge of leaving for WWE there’s no way he will, nor should, lose his mask. CMLL is unpredictable, but they’ve historically known when they’ve had someone great on their hands and the fact that they’re trusting Lee in this match indicates to me that they’re ready to trust him for years to come. So let it be known; Dragón Lee will unmask La Máscara to win the main event of the 83rd Anniversary Show. Who knows where we go from there; I just know that Máscara will probably have to change his name. You can’t be the mask without a mask. It just doesn’t work.
There you have it folks. Be sure to check out the CMLL 83rd Anniversary Show this Saturday on CMLL’s VOD thing, because inexplicably you cannot watch it live. I don’t get it either, but at least you’ll get to see the show I guess. I’ll be back long before then with a preview of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles event today, a review of tonight’s CMLL Tuesday Show and much, much more later this week. Till then, some more Spider-Man. These memes just kill me.