The CMLL 84th Aniversario Preview
Well sports fans, it has arrived. Less than twenty four hours from now, the biggest show in lucha libre and the oldest show in wrestling, the CMLL Anniversario, will hold its 84th edition live from Arena Mexico. You could say that’s kind of a big deal. As big of a deal if, say, Atlantis, Rush, Dragón Lee or someone of that ilk was headlining it? In fairness no. While the Anniversario is always a treat to watch and almost always delivers, it cannot be denied that CMLL’s headliner for this year’s show is, as the kids put it, weak sauce. It didn’t have to be if CMLL had put their other mask match in the headlining spot instead, but as it stands the Anniversario looks to have its weakest headlining match in about thirty years or so. But don’t let that ruin the fun! The rest of the card looks to be in good shape (albeit with a few deserving names missing) and that other big Apuesta match should be one for the history books. Hell for all we know the main event may deliver too! The bottom line is we can’t get down; not on Anniversario day! And what would Anniversario day be without a really, REALLY late preview from yours truly because I was stuck writing part five of a massively long column all day? With that said, let’s waste no more time. Moses, are you ready to rock and roll?
Blue Panther Jr., Stuka Jr., The Panther vs. Dragón Rojo Jr., Hechicero, Pólvora
What to Expect: Save for the fact that Panther, Junior and Stuka would probably serve as better opponents for the New Dinamitas, this match has all the makings of being a hot opener. In fact, I’d argue Panther, Rojo, Hechicero and Pólvora all probably deserve a higher spot on the card. That should only motivate them to work harder, and we know that Panther will be going a million miles per hour looking to leave his mark. The only concern here is if they’re shortchanged for time (possible) or if Junior is having a bad day. Beyond that, these are six talented guys who always seem to bring it on the big shows and I expect no different here. Watch out for Panther and Hechicero specifically; those two guys are better than the opening match and they know it. There’s a 50% they do something off the wall and end up next to each other in the hospital.
Winners: The Panthers are on the rise and Stuka is consistently pushed as a midcard threat, so it’s not a stretch for me to see them winning. That said I’m fairly convinced that CMLL had bigger plans for Rojo and Pólvora on this show before Bobby Villa got himself exiled for whatever role he played in The Destruction of Último Guerrero’s Car (directed by Máximo and La Máscara). Thus, I say CMLL rewards them here with an opening match win, happening after Rojo hits the Double Stomp on Stuka and Pólvora nails Panther with a top rope Pólvora Driver.
Diamante Azul, Marco Corleone, Valiente vs. El Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón
What to Expect: The biggest questions here are a) whether Diamante Azul will be back from France in time for this match or not and b) why did CMLL even leave an opening for Diamante Azul to make it back for this match? As I’ve said over 9,000 times, I’ve got no problem with Diamante Azul and I honestly think he can be very useful provided he isn’t forced to work with Pierroth. But I mean…really CMLL? You have the Dinamitas, arguably the best trio on your roster right now and three dudes super gifted at working with high flyers, and you decide to put them with Diamante Azul of all people? There wasn’t another place to put him so Dragón Lee or Dinamitas nemesis Soberano could’ve torn it up? I’m hopeful that Lee or Soberano will be in this match after Diamante fails to make it back in time, and for his sake he should too. The internet’s reaction is otherwise going to resemble something like this.
Whether or not Diamante Azul is in this match is important for the quality too. If they replace him with Lee or Soberano (the two obvious choices) than this match immediately gets bumped to potential Match of the Night status. If Diamante is there, who knows? The big issue is that Cuatrero, Sansón and Forastero are far more experienced in handling smaller high flyers; look no further than the killer matches they’ve had with Soberano this year. If Diamante Azul is there, only Valiente will be around to do dives, and that won’t be enough despite the likelihood of Valiente going big for the Anniversario. In a way I’m almost kind of intrigued to see what kind of work the Dinamitas would do with Diamante and Marco. All three are amazingly gifted and at some point, you figure they’ll have to work these kinds of matches against guys who don’t necessarily mesh well with them. So either way, I’m intrigued. If Diamante Azul stays, the match becomes a test to see how Sansón, Cuatrero and Forastero handle working with guys like him and Marco. If Lee or Soberano get in here though, watch out. It could be something special.
Winners: The Dinamitas have been built up so well by CMLL that it’s hard for me to imagine them losing here, even with important figures like Diamante Azul and Marco (or potentially Dragón Lee) on the other side. They take this one in three falls after Forastero levels Valiente with that running springboard dropkick from the ramp. That’s right sports fans; he’s gonna try it again. It’s the Anniversario after all.
Kráneo, Rush, Sam Adonis vs. Cavernario, Felino, Negro Casas
What to Expect: The first match of the night with an actual story behind it, as well as the potential to set up a big match for the upcoming months. We were all kind of wondering what would be next for Sam Adonis after he avenged Art Barr and took Blue Panther’s hair, and it appears the next opponent is ether Negro Casas or Cavernario. The two have teamed with Sam over the past month and each time has ended with Sam making like a tree as Cav, Casas and the technico team have tried to wipe him off the face of the earth. This will now be the first time Sam has faced off against the two La Peste Negra members and we should get some direction on where this goes next. On top of that, we should also get a fun match. Sam will most definitely bring the heat, Cavernario and Negro Casas are world class luchadors on their worst day and even third wheels like Kráneo and Felino fit in here to provide moments of laughter and even an unexpectedly cool move. The only wild card is Rush, and as down as I am on him, I can’t imagine that he won’t give a great effort on the biggest show CMLL has this year. Unless he just completely shits the bed, this should be fun and should give us direction for what CMLL’s next big money feud will be.
Winners: There is very little doubt in my mind that La Peste Negra is winning this match; my only question is which one is pinning Sam and making the challenge afterwards. To me it all goes back to how much longer CMLL thinks they can run with Sam as the most over villain in Arena Mexico. If it’s short term, then Cavernario deserves to be the next opponent to give him another big Apuesta win to go along with his victories over Rey Cometa. As I don’t see Sam winding down any time soon though, my guess is they will send Negro Casas after him next, which means Casas is kicking out Sam’s knee and rolling him with La Casita in the third fall to take this bad boy home and set up Casas-Sam at either one of the Dia de la Muertes shows, Infierno en el Ring in December or even Sin Piedad in January. Let’s now all take a moment to realize that Sam Adonis will more than likely have taken the hair of Blue Panther and Negro Casas in the span of a half a year. What’s next; a women’s mask match on the Anniversario? Totally nailed that segue!
Mask vs. Mask Match
Princesa Sugehit vs. Zeuxis
What to Expect: I’m not going to mince words; this is my 84th Anniversario main event. It’s the match I want to see the most, the match I think most lucha fans want to see the most and in my humble opinion the fact that it’s not headlining this show is criminal. And that’s not even me hating on Niebla Roja vs. Gran Guerrero, it’s just the simple fact that when you compare these two matches, Sugehit and Zeuxis has much more going for it. They have a history of great matches dating back to next year. There is legitimate heat in this angle, rooted over the two feuding over the Mexican National Women’s Championship before spilling over into both luchadoras wanting the other’s mask. Whatever way you slice it; this match should be closing the show. The fact that it isn’t just continues to show how behind the times CMLL is. That or how much Paco Alonso is trying to appease Último Guerrero after the UG’s car was nuked in Paco’s own parking lot. Seriously; why else would Roja and Gran Guerrero be the headlining match over this?
Alas, the fact that these two even made it onto the card is an accomplishment even of itself and, regardless of where it is on the card, I would be stunned if it’s not one of the two best matches of the night. I do have some concerns about Princesa Sugehit; she’s a very talented worker and probably the second best luchadora in CMLL, but she’s also not someone I’d count on to carry a match by herself and the fact that she didn’t show much in the Mae Young Classic does trouble me. What doesn’t trouble me is Zeuxis. We all know I’m a noted fan boy of hers by now and for good reason; I think she’s easily the best luchadora in Mexico and I’d argue one of the best workers anywhere. She just hasn’t had the stage or the opponent to show it until this show, and I have the upmost confidence that she’s going to knock it out of the park and turn the really good Princesa Sugehit into a great worker for this match. This will be heated, this will be hard hitting, this will feature more high flying than you expect and it will be special by the time is all over.
Winner: The easiest pick of the night for me. I never, ever bet against the Queen of Lucha Libre and I’m not going to do so in the biggest match of her life. Zeuxis will defeat Princesa Sugehit two falls to one, closing out the third fall with a top rope Spanish Fly to take Sugehit’s mask. And yes, I will be partying all night long after that happens.
Carístico, Flip Gordon, Volador Jr. vs. Mephisto, Satoshi Kojima, Último Guerrero
What to Expect: Ah, the old “high flyers vs. great bases” special. It wouldn’t be an Anniversario without it. And while I know some are wondering why Carístico is in this match instead of Mistico, I must honestly ask…really? You’d prefer the wildly talented, but inconsistent luchador who gets booed out of every Anniversario over the guy who more than likely won’t and will deliver at the same time? I’m not one to judge, but that’s pretty weird bro (or sis). That aside, this should be very good and could be great if Flip Gordon adjusts to Arena Mexico well. I haven’t seen a ton of the guy, but he received great reviews from his Crash stint and from his short time in ROH. He should definitely be able to hang with Carístico and Volador when it comes to aerial attacks, and you know those two will be bringing it with the big show atmosphere. Throw in how great Mephisto and the UG are in multi-man matches and Kojima’s never ending enthusiasm (seriously; does this guy ever stop having fun) and this should be a great semi-main to lead us into a headliner that will surely have no boos whatsoever. Oops, I nearly said too much!
Winners: I don’t think I’ve had the technicos winning a single match on this show yet (unless you count La Peste Negra as technicos for this show). That trend stops here; Carístico, Flip and Volador take home the big prize after Volador finishes of Kojima with…is Kojima willing to take a Super Rana? Why not; Super Rana by Volador finishes off Kojima in the third fall. He’ll just eat some bread and walk it off afterwards anyway.
Mask vs. Mask Match
Niebla Roja vs. Gran Guerrero
What to Expect: You may have noticed that I’m currently doing a History of CMLL series in between all my other columns. Aside from driving me crazy from all the writing I’m doing, it’s allowed me to learn a whole lot about the promotion. One of the things I’ve learned is this; the last time there was a CMLL Anniversario with a main event this underwhelming was 1987, when Mogur took on As Charo. Oddly enough that was thirty years ago, so maybe CMLL planned it out that way. I can’t entirely fault CMLL here for two reasons. First, no one could’ve foreseen whatever the hell happened to Niebla Roja over the past few weeks, causing him to miss almost every show leading up to the Anniversario and killing whatever momentum this match had. Secondly, it’s an honest to Grodd attempt by CMLL to create a new star, regardless of who the winner is. That’s what we’ve wanted them to do for awhile right? It’s hard for me to hold that against them when it’s something they needed to do. Having said that, it still doesn’t change the fact that this feud is DOA, that Roja and Guerrero are as exciting as Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and that these two are going to be booed so bad Roman Reigns and Mr. Burns will feel bad for them.
So yeah, this is not the ideal CMLL Anniversario main event. It’s going to be heckled endlessly by the Arena Mexico crowd, it’s not going to deliver the same raw emotion that the Atlantis-Último Guerrero or Atlantis-La Sombra matches did and there’s a lot of concern about healthy Roja will be going into this match. If he is though, allow me to make this point; remember that As Charo-Mogur match I brought up earlier? Yes it was one of the least anticipated Anniversario main events ever…it was also fucking awesome by the time it was over. Just because a match doesn’t look good going in doesn’t mean it will suck, and I’ve seen enough of both guys to know that they don’t suck. Sure they may not be over, but Gran Guerrero has greatly improved over the past year to the point I think he can have an above average match with anyone, and right before he was injured Niebla Roja was doing stage dives, springboard rana’s into the ring and all sorts of cool stuff we’d be lauding if it were anyone else. That doesn’t even take into account the critically acclaimed matches Roja had with Dragón Lee earlier this year, and it wasn’t just Lee (although in fairness, that guy could probably make Pierroth look like a superstar at this point). What I’m trying to say is, provided Roja is all healed up, there’s hope. It won’t be nearly as big as the Dr. Wagner-Psycho Clown match from a few weeks ago and these two will definitely hear it from the crowd. But they’re both going to be trying their asses off and they can both deliver, which means we cannot discount the possibility that they pull the rabbit out of the hat. Another thing to consider; Último Guerrero is more than likely going to be Gran’s second and there is a 100% he’s on the level of Negro Casas as far as second’s go. That may be as big a boost to this match as anything.
Winner: This is all about making a star…well that and possibly giving the UG something after he watched his car get destroyed earlier this year. Either way, Niebla Roja seems to be a guy destined for glory only as a rudo, while Gran Guerrero can be someone who has big time matches going forward in any role. Thus I see Gran Guerrero winning the biggest match of his life, defeating Roja two falls to one with the last fall ending after a Reverse Powerbomb off the top. There will be many tears afterwards…by Ángel de Oro, who is probably going to be the guy taking Roja’s mask off after. Otherwise I wouldn’t expect a tissue shortage in Arena Mexico.
Game…blouses. I am all done for the night folks, but I will be back tomorrow to finish up the History of CMLL series. If it doesn’t kill me first that is. Till then, THIS!