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LuchaPalooza! CMLL 83rd Anniversary Show Review
I’m not happy with CMLL folks. I know; not a great way to begin a review of their biggest show of the year but it’s the truth. It has now been almost two days since the 83rd Anniversary Show took place and it’s only now I’m getting this review to you because a) CMLL inexplicably didn’t show it live and b) even more inexplicably didn’t have it available on their YouTube VOD until this morning! In the name of Cthulhu how could they allow this to happen? AAA can have Triplemania go off without a hitch on iPPV and you can’t give it to us live? I’m not happy folks and after watching the show I’m even more irritated than before. Why? Because this is one of the greatest shows I’ve ever gotten to watch and I had to wait two full days when we all could’ve seen this Friday and lost our minds! Ladies and gentlemen I’ve seen all of When Worlds Collide, I have rewatched Bash at the Beach 1996 countless times; I’ve even witnessed a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). The 83rd Anniversary Show may not have had a match quite as timeless as the former show did and it didn’t (at least as of now) feature an angle as big as the latter did. But from top to bottom it’s hard to recall the last time I was this satisfied with a show. No match was worse than very good, four of the six were at least great (and it would’ve been five if the fifth match didn’t get cut for time), two were potential Match of the Year candidates and every performer (save one) rose above their normal level and exceeded expectations. Oh and if that’s not enough, there was a potential game changing angle at the end of the show that could be leading to something bigger and better than what we saw tonight (and I’m not talking about Máscara Sagrada appearing at the 9/16 show, though that is both huge and awesome!). But enough hype; let’s break it all down. Moses, meme it like your life depended on it.
Amapola, Dalys and Zeuxis defeated Lluvia, Marcela and Princesa Sugehit two falls to one
Only on the 83rd Anniversary Show would a match that normally would be the best on any given Monday, Tuesday or Friday show wind up being the least impressive. The problems here were two fold. Too often the match, especially in the beginning, felt like it was a little disjointed. It wasn’t extreme mind you, but there was enough timing situations that were just a tad off that kept me from getting into this match as much as I’d like. The other issue was that Marcela and Dalys left a lot on the table. We’ve seen better days from both. I thought Dalys at least tried and had a few noteworthy moments while Marcela had none and simply looked slow and out of place. That’s something you expect from Tiffany, not a woman who is more than capable of delivering good matches on a regular basis. Take those things away though and the match otherwise worked. Lluvia was fine (and hopefully is okay after getting stretchered out). Amapola stepped up and was quite good I felt; certainly one of her best performances in awhile. And the two performers you’d expect to be the stars of the match, Sugehit and Zeuxis (who sported one of the sexiest looks of all time. Yes I said it and I’ll fight whoever disagrees!), was just that. They provided energy throughout the first two falls (and knees! Can’t forget Zeuxis’ glorious knee attacks) and then turned up the heat in the final one, with Zeuxis breaking out a great suicide dive and Sugehit at one point legit tossing Zeuxis into the stands. They’re interactions made you wish that CMLL had just had them go at it one on one instead of including the other four. Even still this was a good match and a solid kick off to a show that only got better from here. If nothing else we’ll always have Zeuxis’ heart melting look. This is why she’s the Queen folks!
Marco Corleone, Máximo Sexy and Stuka Jr. defeated Shocker, Ephesto and Mephisto two falls to one
If you didn’t think this Anniversary Show was going to be full of surprises you certainly did after this gem. Against all odds this match, one that I was pretty sure would wind up being the worst match of the night, ended up being all around tremendous. You could clearly tell that the Anniversary Show factored in with the effort here because every guy and I mean every guy, looked a hundred times better than you usually see him. In fact the weakest guy in the match was Mephisto, and that’s mainly because he was too busy receiving the brunt of the action instead of performing it himself. Ephesto suddenly looked ten years younger, moving great and even doing a pretty nice suicide dive in the third fall. Marco didn’t do much outside of left hands and crossbody’s but damn if they weren’t the best lefts and crossbody’s of the evening. Máximo, who CMLL should really consider having main event one of these shows in the next few years, really stepped up; he played up the gimmick when he needed to but he was mostly toned down, he actually hit his suicide dive and then hit a couple of others (both which were mightily impressive). Stuka was great (as expected) and his sequence to start the third fall is what really took this match from good to great. Between this, his recent good string of lightning matches and his ROH appearance, CMLL may want to think about moving Stuka up a level. Or two. Or possibly three.
And then, in the most shocking development of the night, there was Shocker giving a GREAT performance. I mean it; a great performance. I have never seen Shocker like he was tonight. Part of that was because CMLL wisely used him mostly to bump for the technicos, but anyone watching can’t deny that Shocker was impressive. He moved well, his effort was fantastic, he never once looked out of place and in the closing moments delivered the most impressive spot of the match when he nailed Corleone with a vicious spear as Marco tried his over the rope crossbody (it didn’t help as Máximo got the win for the technicos right after with a splash on Mephisto). I’ve said a lot of things about Shocker getting a spot over more deserving guys and chances are I’ll continue to do so; you won’t see many more performers from him like you saw Friday. But at least for this match Shocker earned his keep and looked like the guy who once was a huge star for CMLL. If nothing else it was nice story in a match full of really good moments.
Hair vs. Hair match
Rey Bucanero defeated Súper Crazy two falls to one
After the second fall, which much like the first was quick as humanly possible, I was beginning to wonder if CMLL realized these two couldn’t deliver what was expected and was looking to end this as quickly as they could without shitting entirely on the match. Fifteen to twenty minutes later I stood up from my couch and gave a standing ovation to what was the second best, and maybe even the best, Match of the Evening. They did it; against all odds Rey Bucanero and Súper Crazy found the DeLorian, hit 88 mph and went back in time to deliver a classic. Crazy suddenly became ECW Súper Crazy once again; he dove off everything from the announcer’s table to the stage, where he performed another one of those picture perfect moonsaults. Bucanero meanwhile turned into a bump machine; he made Crazy look (pun fully intended) Crazy good in catching all his moves, taking bumps like a wicked backdrop from the ring to the floor and so much more. He also dished it out, doing some of his own dives and looking more like the guy from the Lightning Match these two had weeks ago and less of the dude who struggled to do a rope assisted dive just a week ago. It was overall stupendous, it was miraculous and gorramit it was a little inspirational too. I thought at best these guys could make this a good match; almost everyone else I know thought at best this could be passable. Instead it was one of the two best matches of the past two weeks and an absolute privilege to watch. Congrats to both men and a speedy recovery to Súper Crazy’s hair. He’ll need it too; Crazy went from looking like a guy in his late 30’s to a guy in his late 40’s in the span of one haircut. Not since David Flair cut Eric Bischoff’s hair has one aged so rapidly!
Atlantis, Caristico and Máscara Dorada defeated Cavernario, Felino and Negro Casas two falls to one
Even more so that the match preceding this and the main event, this bout was the one that featured the most spectacle. I myself was nearly overwhelmed by the entrances; none were overtly flashy but they were powerful if only because it’s a powerful moment to see a rising star like Máscara Dorada, legends like Negro Casas and Atlantis and a man in Carístico, making his first Anniversary Show appearance in six years, walk down the ramp. It was a big deal, a complete and utter contrast to what AAA did with the Lucha Underground guys we saw one week ago in Triplemania. It was really cool and it was sadly the biggest thing about the match because, for whatever reason, CMLL didn’t give these guys nearly enough time. The match was super for what it was given. Dorada was Dorada and was presented once more as a guy there for the long haul. Carístico and Casas both looked to be recovered from their injuries and their interactions (a call back to their mask vs. hair match at the 76th Anniversary Show) were absolutely electric. Cavernario was superb. Atlantis, freed from the pressure of filling up Arena Mexico once more, looked to be having a great time and dished out four of the greatest tilt-a-whirl backbreakers in row. Even Felino, often the forgotten man, was actually allowed to do something for once and looked great. It’s what makes it even more frustrating that they were only given a small amount of time to work their magic. A few more minutes and this would’ve been the fifth match of the night I’d consider a home run. Instead it was a very impressive double, which all things considered isn’t a bad thing in the slightest.
CMLL World Trios Championship match
Mistico, Valiente and Volador Jr. (c) defeated Euforia, Gran Guerrero and Último Guerrero two falls to one
Arguably the one match of the night that lived up to expectations; it just so happened that those expectations were for this to be one of the best bouts of the night. It also featured the most impressive dives of the night and they all came from an unlikely source; Valiente. Yes the Buff Daddy of lucha, and maybe the most underrated high flyer CMLL has, not only had the best entrance gear of the night (aside from Dragón Lee) but couldn’t seem to stop flying. He nailed two suicide dives by my count (the last one being right up there with Zeuxis’ and Dragón Lee’s) and that unreal springboard moonsault of his where he jumped from rope to rope before taking out Gran Guerrero. Speaking of Gran, Valiente also worked with him throughout the match and their sequences were perhaps the most underrated aspect of the evening. It was tremendous, well paced lucha that really set the foundation for this match. Never fear though because everyone else was active too. Team wise we got to see the Euforia and UG catch Mistico and Volador on attempted over the rope sentons, a sight that frankly never gets old. Individually it was more of the same. Poor Mistico, booed mainly because he’s not Carístico, dished out hundreds of hurricanranas it seems, each one more impressive than the next. Euforia was tremendous as usual and hit a backbreaker so good that I thought Atlantis was going to come out to hit another one just to make sure his backbreaker wasn’t called into question. And even though it didn’t start with them going at it, eventually the match came down to Volador (diving into the stands again by the way) and UG, who continued their brilliant work together. And this time Volador got the job done, managing to outsmart UG and pick up the win for his team. I might’ve had the Sky Team go their separate ways and given the Guerreros the belts, but that’s a minor quibble after a match like this. Exactly the kind of match you would hope it to be, and yet somehow it was only the third best match of the night. It was that kind of show folks.
Mask vs. Mask match
Dragón Lee defeated La Máscara two falls to one
I have a confession to make; my view of this match was hurt by the fact that the result of the match was spoiled to me yesterday on Twitter by an unwitting fan. Thus while I knew jack shit about the other matches, this one the result was clear and I think it took me out of it a little bit. Not much though because this match was still excellent and, at least for right now, is my Match of the Evening (though Bucanero-Crazy is close and may catch it when I rewatch them). I will still contend that L.A. Park vs. Rush should’ve been this show’s main event and as good as this was I don’t think it would’ve equaled what that match would’ve added to this show nor did it equal what Atlantis did with the UG and La Sombra (who was in attendance by the way. But he’s happy where he’s at right Hunter?!) the last two years. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that this was yet another epic entry in the lore of great Anniversary Show main events. I thought La Máscara wrestled the match of his life; no joke. He was brilliant; the intensity and aggressiveness he displayed in the lead up to this match were on display again and the crowd, very much pro Máscara, seemed to spur him on too. He didn’t do anything flashy, but his use of the little things such as kicking Rush on the outside, posing after powerbombing Lee on the apron and just being overall sound was top notch. He made this match; I think he was even better than Dragón Lee, who was great himself but mostly stuck to his usual routine (not that that’s a bad thing; if I were Lee and did the shit he did I’d do the same). But this was Máscara’s match, both from a performance standpoint and in the eyes of the crowd and even if he never has another match like this he can forever say he at least lost his mask in style.
But even bigger than Máscara’s performance, Lee’s performance or the result (the right one by the way), arguably the biggest development of the match and the night took place afterwards. As briefly mentioned Rush was here as the second for his brother Lee while Shocker was Máscara’s second (can you imagine if Sombra had been allowed to be Máscara’s second even as a onetime deal?!). That didn’t last long as Rush interfered often during the first and second fall, helping Lee win the first and then costing him the second when he was caught retaliating for Máscara attacking him. That incident led to Rush getting ejected, only for him to come back with a two by four to distract the ref, which accidentally led to Máscara nearly picking up the win when he fouled Lee with a low blow (not to be outdone, Shocker himself got ejected sooner after for throwing Lee back in the ring despite being warned by Tirantes, who amazingly gave his best performance of the year tonight as well. It’s the Anniversary Show mystique I tell you!). Was that the end of it? Not even close. Rush would come down to the ring after the match and took the mic and it looked for the entire world he was about to congratulate his brother…until he shoved Lee out of the way and then reunited with La Máscara.
You read that correct folks; barring some change on the next few shows it looks like Máscara, mask or no mask, is back in Los Ingobernables alongside Rush, Rey Escorpión and maybe Pierroth (though that’s understandably far more murky) while Lee has been abandoned by his own brother. I know! This wasn’t an accident either or two guys getting caught up in post match emotions like cubsfan suggested; this was a legit angle through and through and potentially it’s an amazing one. Now we’re looking at the possibly of Rush going up not against Máscara but his own brother, a match that I can safely tell you now would be so good it could scorch the entire Earth. We obviously can’t say for sure and the 84th Anniversary Show is too far away to make any bold prediction but that angle, nor Mistico coming out to hug a distraught Lee (in what should’ve been the happiest moment of his life by the way), was done with a purpose in mind and I for one can’t wait to see what that is. Regardless of whether it turns into a yearlong struggle that involves Lee and Rush colliding next year in a mask vs. hair match (with a Rush-Mistico mask vs. hair match along the way) or if it’s nothing, it effect what was a phenomenal main event. Maybe it wasn’t the last two years, maybe it wasn’t what Park-Rush would’ve been and my goodness it would’ve been nice if Arena Mexico had treated Dragón Lee better even if it’s understandable why they didn’t. But even with all of that this was a great match and a great way to end one of the best shows I have ever seen.
And with that it’s time to go. Somehow I’ll try to make my way back later tonight to preview tomorrow’s Puebla show, but if not you can surely count on me reviewing it tomorrow night. Till then, I need to go throw water on myself.