CMLL Super Viernes: All Hail!
In the wake of Lucha Underground’s super big and super emotional (in more ways than one) episode this past Wednesday, I forgot about something; CMLL! Granted I perhaps wanted to after they presented me with one of their shittiest shows of the year this past Wednesday, a smorgasbord of suck and blow not seen since Mega Maid. That, and a friend in need, is why you saw no preview for Friday’s Super Viernes, a big show that featured the Leyenda de Azul tournament in tribute to Blue Demon. So what happened? As per usual, CMLL picked themselves off the mat and turned the ship around with a fantastic show. Aztec Warfare III good? I’m not sure, but it was close thanks to the Leyenda de Azul proceedings, a great trios match, a great Lightning Match and a solid second match. The recovery was strong is this show folks; here’s hoping my review is just as strong. Let’s find out. Moses; meme attack!
Tiger & Virus defeated Fuego & Pegasso two falls to one
By far the most disappointing match of the night, even though it was pretty solid minus a mistimed Backcracker by Tiger in the third fall. The problem? Everyone besides Virus, who always looked ready to kick ass, was going through the motions. I have no idea why; maybe it was the restrictions, maybe Tiger, Fuego and Pegasso were unmotivated after being left out of the fun that was coming later, maybe they had dinner reservations to catch at Super Astro’s place. Whatever the case the extra effort needed wasn’t there (aside from Virus) which pretty much resulted in this being a by the book, okay match that ultimately didn’t do much for anyone. That would’ve been fine this past Tuesday, but not tonight when shit got real very quickly from this point forward.
Drone, Guerrero Maya Jr., Rey Cometa defeated Bobby Z, Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora two falls to none
Not that people disliked this match but I probably am going to rate it higher than most. On a scale from one to LUGER WON THE TITLE, this was a solid Sexy Star double stomp on Mil Muertes (sorry; I had to). I liked the opening of the match where the technicos came out hot with some cool stuff. I loved that CMLL decided to go back to the Dragón Rojo-Guerrero Maya rivalry, which got the crowd fired up. I enjoyed the rudo beat down that was cut off by Maya rolling up Rojo for the surprise first fall ending. But most of all I greatly enjoyed the end of the match, where Cometa and Drone went nuts after a long rudo beat down and Maya and Rojo went toe to toe before the expected “unmasking for a DQ” finish happened. I’m sure most probably would’ve preferred this to go longer with more action, but I thought it was very good for what they were trying to do. Regardless, I don’t know how anyone can walk away here not feeling good about Dragón Rojo’s effort tonight. I mean he’s generally good regardless but there was a viciousness about him tonight that one doesn’t see unless Jeffery Dean Morgan is involved. I loved the way he went after Maya after initially acting scared and loved his relentlessness in the attack. It made this match for me and probably is why I enjoyed it more than others. So good work Rojo. Now please; convince Paco and the gang to let you and Maya have that singles match so you can tear the house down and get rich from people tossing all them coins into the ring!
The Panther defeated Okumura
Let the record show here that this match is where I almost gave up on CMLL for good this evening. What can I say; the Tuesday show was that bad, the opener here was that uninspired and I was fully expecting Panther to lose to Okumura here just like every other young guy with an opportunity in these Lightning Matches. All of that makes it even more satisfying that I’m breaking out that Dr. Cox clip right now.
Not only was I wrong on the result but I was wrong to doubt this match. I absolutely loved this match, so much that it may be right up there with Hechicero-Soberano in terms of the best Lightning Matches I’ve seen this year. I was certain during the first few minutes that Panther and Okumura weren’t making it past the four minute mark; that’s how fast a pace they were cutting, with a slew of cool sequences and the best suicide dive Panther has pulled off in awhile. Amazingly the match just kept going and going (all while keeping the same pace mind you) and before you know it we had passed the eight minute mark and CMLL was once again making me wonder if this could possibly go to a draw. That’s what made the Hechicero-Soberano match so great and that’s what made this one so great; you could buy anything thanks to the work of both men. Okumura is always reliable, but he was especially stellar tonight and probably should get more opportunities for matches like this.
And gorram how about Panther? If anyone needed this it was the guy who many had seen being surpassed by his brother this year. Not only did he look explosive for the first time in awhile but he was switching it up; you don’t often see Panther nailing hurricanranas off the apron to the floor (which I’m still not sure how he pulled it off) or Lionsault’s. Perhaps that ROH experience was a nice kick in the ass for him. Either way he looked great and best of all was rewarded for his efforts with a win. Big ups to him, big ups to Okumura for putting him over and big ups to CMLL for letting these guys cut loose and making the right decision in the end. This was fantastic, and somehow still was only the third best match of the night.
Ángel de Oro, Dragón Lee, Volador Jr. defeated Cavernario, Felino, Negro Casas two falls to one
Isn’t it just beautiful when highly anticipated matches actually deliver exactly what was promised? CMLL has seemed to forget that recently…until tonight when this match delivered on all cylinders. And that’s despite Dragón Lee not going full blown Dragón Lee mind you. He didn’t have to because Volador, who I’m pretty sure could do everything he does in his sleep at this point, was on point and Ángel de Oro continued what looks to be a career renaissance. I thought Panther’s performance tonight post ROH was something; Oro looked (and has looked) like a different luchador, with more intensity, better pace (he looked Volador fast at times) and sudden urge to take more risks. You may have seen that this past Tuesday when he tried a handspring moonsault to the floor, only he mistimed the distance and was forced to pass it off as a fake dive. No issues tonight; he got the distance right, nailed the moonsault and even stuck the gorram landing. Just excellent work from him and really everyone involved, including Lee despite him not going full out. The fact that I haven’t even mentioned Negro Casas, Cavernario and Felino (all of whom were brilliant), the entertaining mascot violence between KeMonito and Zacarias and Volador’s pitch perfect Canadian Destroyer (it was so good I nearly walked out of my house and kept walking) just goes to show you how much this match had going for it. Tremendous stuff, and somehow it may not have even been the best match of the night. At best it was a tie I’d say, because…
Leyenda de Azul
Último Guerrero defeated Stuka Jr., Marco Corleone, La Máscara, Máximo Sexy, Diamante Azul, Valiente, Blue Panther, Atlantis, Terrible, Máscara Año 2000, Rey Bucanero, Gran Guerrero, Euforia, Hechicero, Kráneo
…the main event, against all odds, was absolutely spectacular. Alright it wasn’t quite against all odds once we found out this match was in fact a cibernetico, which was touch and go for a moment considering CMLL inexplicably did a seeding battle royal no one wanted or cared for prior to the actual match. Once that was out of the way though this was hard to take your eyes off of. The key was CMLL realizing the differences between this cibernetico and past ciberneticos (there were a lot less high flyers here than usual) and thus making this match more about mat/technical wrestling with cool moments and even cooler interactions sprinkled in between. The result was a match that featured everyone having a standout moment (save one guy) and the match flying by as the action impressed. Here were some of the highlights.
-Atlantis and Blue Panther started the match off with some old school mat wrestling out of the classics these two used to have in the early 90s. They could’ve done this for the whole hour tonight and I would’ve sat there glued to the screen as if it were the latest Yvonne Strahovski picture.
-Stuka had the one big dive in the match and sadly was eliminated after that. Probably the only flaw I could find in this match.
-Máscara Año 2000 had me worried that he would a) win this match and b) suck while doing so for quite awhile. Ultimately I wouldn’t say he was great, but he tried, he didn’t actively suck and he was eliminated early via Máximo roll up. If only Shocker could employ this strategy more often. I kid I kid!
-La Máscara may be a better rudo overall, but it’s always fun to see him break out some technico style every now and again. Tonight was a prime example.
-If there’s a better luchador alive right now than Hechicero I’d like to meet him. Everything he did in this match was PERFECT; the only equivalent I can imagine is if you were having the greatest Pepsi ever while watching Buffy stake vampires. He was that good folks! Someday CMLL is going to put him in the Anniversary Show main event and watch as the money drowns Paco Alonso.
-Hey CMLL; did you see how energetic and crisp Terrible looked tonight, the one time he’s been allowed to do stuff in months? You should keep putting him in situations like that.
-Diamante Azul and Euforia were two of the biggest unsung heroes of this match tonight and no one will remember this because of they ended the match pulling each other’s masks off and then brawling anyway. It was an absolutely terrific spot and one of the more unique finishes CMLL has come up with in awhile. Good job by both guys pulling it off, even if it did overshadow Diamante showing off the good side of his athleticism and power and Euforia’s impressive technico routine.
-Was it just me or did Atlantis, even beyond the Blue Panther interactions, look more motivated than he has in months? Don’t get me wrong; I love Atlantis and enjoy him every time I see him if for nothing else than the fact you know he’s backbreaking several people perfectly at one point during his match. This was different tonight; he looked like Anniversary Show headlining Atlantis here at times with his movement and sequences with multiple guys. Another hint CMLL; give this man worthwhile stuff to do! He’s only your most valuable technico right? Let him continue to show people why.
All in all that and more (I haven’t mentioned poor Kráneo, Gran Guerrero or Rey Bucanero yet, all three of whom did well in limited time) made this match good right to the end, when UG and Valiente were the surprising final two. It looked to me like it would be Atlantis-UG in a throwback to the 2014 Anniversary Show main event, but Valiente got the legend caught in a roll up, leading to the second UG-Valiente final pairing in recent weeks. In the end I’d probably say the first one was better, but only because it was far more unpredictable and the time given for those two to work their magic was more plentiful than here. Still these two did good work, with Valiente displaying that wonderful aerial offense of his, UG checking off his signature moves and ultimately overcoming everything Valiente threw at him to get the win with a Guerrero Special.
Was it the right call? I probably would’ve preferred someone else winning and Valiente taking this to go along with his Universal Championship win would’ve no doubt raised his profile even more than it already was. As DoradaFan pointed out to me though, that may have led to Valiente being forced to lose his mask to UG (keep in mind he would’ve had two pinfall victories over UG if he had won tonight) and that’s definitely not the direction I would’ve gone in. Ultimately the UG is a great performer and it’s hard to be too upset that he won this tournament, which doesn’t seem to carry the same weight as the others. So good for him, good for everyone involved in this match and good for CMLL on delivering the goods. This was a great way to end the show and, along with the preceding two matches, served as one of the best hour plus blocks of programming CMLL has presented this year. May they keep this up next week!
That’s the show folks. I’ll be back…sometime soon. I hope? Till we meet again on that sunny day, let the great DUCHOVNY see you out.