CMLL Puebla: All Hail Volador and the UG!
Ladies, gentlemen, certain wrestling fans who won’t give in and give Lucha Underground a chance (looking at you Dr. Chad Matthews!); tonight was a good night to be a lucha fan. Alright it was also a mediocre night to be a lucha fan at times, but thankfully that all got turned around by the time CMLL’s Puebla show hit the home stretch. After a slow start, the show closed strongly with a solid women’s match, a vastly improved rematch from last week, a good tag match, an underrated gem of a mask vs. hair match and finally a tearing down of the house by two of the best luchadors found under Cthulhu’s cold dark sun. Let me tell you all about it. Moses, bring on the meme!
Guerrero Espacial, Rey Apocalipsis, Toro Bill Jr. defeated Asturiano, París, Zaeta Roja two falls to one
There’s no easy way to say this peeps; this match was bad. Unfortunate considering the effort was there from all six guys, but sometimes effort isn’t enough when the way the match is structured works as well as Paulie Shore doing Shakespeare. Everything about how this match came about, from the pace to the style to the amount of time they were given (almost twenty minutes, at least fifteen minutes longer than it should’ve been) was just flat out wrong; there was way too much mat wrestling (which is fine when it’s Atlantis-Blue Panther but not when it’s this group of guys) and an obscene amount of dives teased by the technicos, only for them to never actually do them. I’m assuming the latter is because of CMLL’s weird Puebla rules about little to no dives in the opener, but whatever the reason it absolutely killed this match and any chance for the performers to branch out from mediocrity. Not the start to the show that we all hoped for, and it was especially a shame because the crowd started this match super hot. More on that in a moment.
Cancerbero, Fuerza Chicana, Raziel defeated Flyer, Pegasso, Tigre Rojo Jr. two falls to one
Much like the first match, this started off with the crowd being hot. Also like the last match, the crowd was let down by a disappointing match. Unlike the last match though, there was an effort to branch out here from the slow grind that the opener had. I thought the pace to this match was much better and the effort from all the guys was there. The problem was the execution wasn’t, especially from Flyer and Cancerbero who seemed to click as well as Dakota Johnson and that dude who died five episodes into Once Upon a Time. This was especially apparent towards the end, when Flyer was struggling to hit spots he normally hits without problem on Cancerbero, who wasn’t exactly the most helpful in this situation. Really the only thing I took away from this match was how bad I felt for Flyer. The poor kid is usually really good and is capable of better, and I expect this match to be a mirage that we all soon forget. Also CMLL; if we can go without seeing Cancerbero again for, let’s say, ever, that would be great.
Lluvia & Sanely defeated Dalys & Zeuxis two falls to one
I can see Liger Fever reading this review right now wondering “WHY IS HE PRAISING THIS MATCH? SAY IT ISN’T SO CULT!” Sorry Fever; it is most definitely so. That’s not to say that this match was perfect by any means or that I’m not being a little biased because Zeuxis was involved. Overall though I thought this was the first match of the night to rise above mediocrity and I thought it got progressively better as it went along, particularly when the technicos started to perform better. While Zeuxis and Dalys delivered the usual goods from start to finish, looking crisp, hitting big moves and just generally being the best rudas in CMLL as they usually are, the match ebbed and flowed with the progress of the technicas. They didn’t start well; Lluvia was slow and easily outpaced, while you could clear tell that new girl Sanely (replacing Estrellita) was quite green. To my surprise however they seemed to settle in as we went along, with Lluvia gaining confidence and Sanely showing some nice high potential with a couple of really good high flying moves. Their progress was enough to impress me here, enough to get me excited for a Dalys-Lluvia title match next week (which they set up all match by having both women go aggressively at one another) and perhaps most importantly has me invested with Sanely’s growth. It’s perfectly clear the woman still has a way to go, but she showed enough flashes of athleticism to make me believe that with a little experience she can be something. Basically what I’m saying CMLL is put her with Zeuxis and let the best in the world teach her how to get shit done. You’ll have a winner on your hands within a year I tell you!
Máximo Sexy, Stigma, Valiente defeated Dragón Rojo Jr., Rey Escorpión, Skándalo two falls to one
I must confess dear reader; I didn’t get to see this entire match. Just as the women’s match was ending and I was getting excited for what looked to be a good rest of the card, the internet went Angel at the end of season two and died on me. I’m talking complete and total crash, so much so that I ended up missing the first fall and a half of this match! I haven’t been this disappointed in missing something since I missed the Guns N’ Roses reunion show at Gillette last week. They had Lenny Kravitz opening for them too; you know you’re a big deal when you have Mr. “ARE YOU GONNA GO MY WAY?” serving as your warm up act.
Thankfully I was able to revive the internet by the time the second fall of this match was ending and caught the final half of the match. From what I saw, this was a vast improvement over last week’s match. Maximo was his usual entertaining self (though I actually saw him the least), Skandalo did a good job at taking punishment from the technicos and although he was far more grounded than Friday Valiente still heavily impressed and looked buff doing it. The two standouts here though were Rey Escorpion and Stigma. He may not do many high flying moves, but Escorpion is just an absolutely amazing all around performer; whether it was selling moves like a springboard hurricanrana, catching dives running for his life the man was just in top form. You can’t find many performers more consistently entertaining than him. As for Stigma, this was a great comeback from last week; he looked a lot more crisp, a lot more energized and motivated to prove that last week was a fluke. Those two performances were a big difference in improving this encounter over last week’s and set the stage for a thrilling final three matches.
Ares & Disturbio defeated Black Tiger & King Jaguar two falls to one
Remember how I said there’d be more on the crowd being killed by the first match? We’ve arrived at that discussion point. Despite this match featuring at least two local guys in Tiger and Jaguar, the crowd had been so thoroughly cooled by the first two matches that they weren’t able to muster up much energy for both this match and the next two. It was a shame because this match was actually quite good. All four guys impressed me greatly; there wasn’t anything earth shattering but they all worked smart, all carried the right amount of desperation required for this match (as expected; the losers of this match had to put their mask and hair on the line) and all pulled out tricks that the guys in the opener either wouldn’t do or weren’t allowed to do. It wasn’t a masterpiece by any means, but this was a good match with the appropriate amount of drama that also gave us the right match up for the mask vs. hair match. And boy oh boy, what a match that…woops almost spoiled the whole thing.
Mask vs. Hair Match
Black Tiger defeated King Jaguar
I think I’m going to be the lone voice of lucha crazies saying this but what the hell; I adored this match, the same way I adore Speed Racer, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and first two seasons of Lucha Underground. I think a lot of people won’t feel the same because a) there wasn’t a whole lot of flash in it and b) the crowd wasn’t into this match nearly as much as you’d expect. Even still I don’t care; the effort, the work rate and the pace these two men (both of whom are on the other side of forty) were off the charts for me. This is exactly what a mask vs. hair, mask vs. mask or hair vs. hair match is supposed to be like; a lot of drama, a lot of great action and a lot of desperation that keeps you on the edge of your seats. I got that feeling throughout this whole match and I left it highly impressed with the performances of both Tiger and Jaguar, who wrestled just as well, if not better, than guys half their age. The best part; just like any great Lucha de Apuesta match, I left this bout feeling both happy for the winner (Tiger) and heartbroken for the loser (Jaguar), who sold losing his hair like it was the end of the world for him. Considering he just lost his mask last year, I can understand that emotion. Perhaps next year the third time will be the charm, right?
Último Guerrero defeated Volador Jr. two falls to one
Let the record show that I was heavily worried prior to this match about whether these two would be given enough time to create something memorable (you can thank the opener and second match running long for that). Naturally these two then proceeded to tear the house down over the course of fifteen minutes in one of the four best matches I’ve seen this month (all of which took place in the last week). Oh yes it was that good, and I think it was that good because they didn’t do entirely what I expected. What I was expecting was Volador to come out guns blazing and keep flying throughout the course of the match; instead the UG (brilliant as ever) took control early, grounded Volador for most of the match and only lost the first fall because of a fluky few seconds of offense from the fastest man alive. Instead of just heading into the high flying, they built and built to it, which made it more effective when it came time for Volador and UG to hit all their big moves and kick out of all them. Other than an extra ten minutes, you can’t ask more from what these two pulled off and I thoroughly loved this match from beginning to end, even the goofy ref bump that gave the crafty UG the victory. That’s right; UG won a big match against a big time opponent! Sure it wasn’t clean, but semantics right. What will be most interesting is where this goes from here; Volador clearly wanted a hair vs. hair match after the bout, but UG (wise gentleman and scholar that he is) turned it down. On one hand that’s good; either one of these guys bald would be a site so horrifying it would make John Hurt in The Elephant Man look like Fabio. On the other hand, the people want more Volador-UG; THE PEOPLE NEED MORE VOLADOR-UG! You can thus understand the predicament us lucha fans all find ourselves in now. Even if it doesn’t lead to hair vs. hair, let’s hope the finish does bring us more Volador vs. UG in the next few weeks with a bit more time. This match was great; another five to ten minutes and I’m pretty sure these two could have a match that Dave Meltzer would give five stars too. You know if it was in Japan. Bam, shots fired!
That’ll do good people, that’ll do. If you want to catch this show, click here! The whole thing is on YouTube! I’m off till tomorrow evening when I’ll be reviewing the CMLL Tuesday show; it may be delayed a bit as I’ll be out for my mom’s birthday dinner (happy birthday mom!). Till then, let’s bring this bad boy to a close with another one of those funny out of context pics from old school lucha films!
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