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The Mega 2017 CMLL Leyenda de Plata Preview No One Asked For!
It’s a big week for CMLL sports fans. Well if you don’t count the fact that the Monday and Tuesday shows were as lame as usual. This Friday the promotion is bringing back arguably its biggest annual (or semi-annual) tournament, the Leyenda de Plata (The Silver Legend). It’s so big that it makes Donald Trump’s hands look even smaller than they already are! That and it’s big enough that I’ve decided to scrap the usual (or semi-usual) CMLL Super Viernes preview I generally do and just go full out into previewing this match. It’s that big. And because it’s me, you’re also going to get a nice little history lesson on the Leyenda de Plata tournament itself. Why? Because it’s good to be informed peeps; just ask all the people who fucked up on November 8th of last year! But enough political jokes that I’m only making to hold back the tears; we’ve got lucha to talk about. So let’s get into this Leyenda de Plata business. Moses, give the kids a little meme before I start educating.
What is Leyenda de Plata?
Starting in 1998, Leyenda de Plata is a tournament designed to honor El Santo (although these days, El Hijo del Santo will tell you it was made to troll him. Just ignore him). Who could’ve ever guessed that upon reading Leyenda de Plata’s translation?! Like most CMLL tournaments, it’s done via cibernetico rules; you get two teams of six to eight luchadors, have them duke it out and the last guy standing wins. In most instances the winner of the cibernetico would then go on to face the winner of last year’s Leyenda de Plata, making the event more like a title defense. After last year’s Leyenda de Plata winner La Máscara took a ball bat to Último Guerrero’s sports car however, the winner will now be determined by a one on one match next week between the last two men in Friday’s cibernetico. Confusing? Of course; it wouldn’t be CMLL if you weren’t saying “that doesn’t make any sense” to yourself. The good news is that this cibernetico is full of excellent talent across the board; there’s not one weak luchador in the match, which means it’s going to be a fun ride down before CMLL’s weird rules leave us scratching their heads. And with that, why don’t we meet the competitors and see which ones actually have a shot to be in the final two?!
The 2017 Leyenda de Plata Field
You are looking at one of the two most successful luchadors in Leyenda de Plata history right here. Carístico has appeared in the tournament five times during his career and walked out victorious on three occasions. That means 60% of the time, Carístico wins the Leyenda de Plata trophy every time. Of course he benefited twice from being the defending champion, he hasn’t been in the tournament since 2008 and he’s no longer CMLL’s golden boy, so Carístico’s chances of becoming the only 4 time Leyenda de Plata winner aren’t what they would’ve been if this was 2007. Still, he’s a big CMLL star with a great history in this; to dismiss him would be like counting out the Yankees. You may want to, but it’s just going to make you unhappy when they inevitably come back and crush your hopes and dreams. Chances: Very good.
Cav has been in the last two Leyenda de Plata’s and has been the eighth elimination both times. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same fate befalls him this go around! Look sports fans, Cavernario is great and arguably the best young rudo CMLL has (if you listen closely, you can hear dozens of New Dinamitas fans screaming at me, neglecting that their dudes are still merely upper midcard singles stars while Cav is a main event player). He was also that the previous two years he was in this tournament and he was the eighth man out like clockwork. Combine that with the fact that CMLL’s more than likely making him the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion a week after this whole tournament wraps up and I’m guessing Cavernario will have to settle for heading out in his usual spot after a pretty boss performance. And to think I had him going to the finals with Volador when I first saw the lineup announced. This is why you do research into CMLL guys and gals. Chances: Slimmer than a Slim Jim.
I mean, does it really matter how this turns out for this dude? It’s Dragón Lee in a cibernetico. Let me repeat that in all caps; IT’S DRAGÓN LEE IN A CIBERNETICO! The only things that compare to that are Ridley Scott directing Blade Runner, Brand New hitting the chorus for “Limousine M.S.” and Yvonne Strahovski answering your date inquiry with Bryan Danielson’s favorite word (like Yvonne, it begins with a Y). Lee is going to do some crazy shit and best of all he’s going to get do crazy shit with a group of guys (Forastero, Puma, Sansón, Tiger) who he’d otherwise only be interacting with at Paco’s annual Christmas rager. It doesn’t hurt either that Lee is probably one of the favorites to be a finalist considering CMLL has given him nothing to do this year outside of airfare for his flights to Japan. I’m telling you, if we’re not praising Dragón Lee to holy hell following this match then I can only conclude that he injured himself hitting Mephisto with a tope that Mephisto obviously failed to catch. Otherwise, he’s got the look of someone ready to avenge his loss in the 2015 Leyenda de Plata final. Chances: Stronger than Oak.
I guess Forastero must’ve beaten Cuatrero in the coin flip. That’s the only reason I can think of he’s in here instead (well that and to base for people). Hey, it’ll be a good learning experience for the dude who, while talented, is clearly the third wheel behind his two more refined family members. I suspect he’ll do some cool stuff like the running stage springboard dropkick he likes to do, he’ll catch a few dives and then he’ll head backstage to brag to Cuatrero about being in this match. Beyond that, his only shot of winning is if he’s actually Último Guerrero moonlighting as a new Dinamita. Chances: The same as Orlando Bloom being good in Troy.
Guerrero Maya Jr.
Of all the things I absolutely need to know about this match, the main one is who Guerrero Maya slept with to get into this bout and if he can keep sleeping with said person! We need more Guerrero Maya Jr. in big matches peeps; there’s few luchadors smoother, more refined and able to go from classical lucha into BAT SHIT CRAZY lucha in a matter of seconds. I love this guy. He’s got no shot of winning of course and in fact may be racing with Forastero and Tiger for the opportunity to be eliminated first in this match. But while he’s there he’ll be very impressive and best of all will have an opportunity to hit that suicide senton dive of his that generally sends him into the third row. Seriously Maya; whatever you did to get into this match, KEEP DOING IT! The people want you higher on the card; THE PEOPLE NEED YOU HIGHER ON THE CARD! Can you tell I’m excited he’s in this match? Chances: 0.0.
Good old Mephisto. He’s always in these bad boys and you know exactly what you’re going to get from him each time; a few really cool sequences, a surprise dive, a Devil’s Wings off the top rope that may or may not kill a man and several moments where a luchador dives on top of him and you wonder if the luchador was better off just going splat on the floor (they pretty much just do that anyway!). All that aside, Mephisto is actually super good and super respected by CMLL, which means he’s probably going to go very far in this before the rug is pulled out from under him and he’s off to the back to jam with Luciferno to their favorite Ramstein CD. By the way, why isn’t Luciferno in this match? Did he just see Dragón Lee was in it and backed out to avoid Rob Viper cracking “Lee is eliminating Luciferno!” jokes? It’s stuff like that, who Maya slept with to get into this match and why Valiente decided a blonde mohawk was the way to go that we all need the answers to. Chances: Decent.
I don’t know what it is, but Mistico strikes me as the kind of dude who will go up to you and tell you that it was he who actually won those three straight Leyenda de Plata’s back in the mid 2000’s. If you’re smart, you’ll then make this face at him.
False bragging aside, Mistico is a big enough star (and a guy without a marquee victory to his name) that you could potentially see him going all the way and making it to the finals. Of course then you’ll remember there’s a reason CMLL has never given him that big solo win, that there’s several other young luchadors in this match that are slowly overtaking Mistico on the totem pole and that Mistico in a big singles main event on a Friday show is going to lead to more heat than Sam Adonis’ last Arena Mexico meet and greet. So look for him to be the technico version of Mephisto; he’ll go far, he’ll do some cool shit and then he’ll be making the long walk to the back as Volador Jr. continues to do awesome stuff in the ring. Combine the fact that Valiente is backstage washing his pants (!) during all this and this is pretty much the Sky Team story in a nutshell. Chances: If all the other technicos get hurt, he’s got this.
Remember how I said that Carístico was one of the two most successful luchadors in Leyenda de Plata history? Negro Casas is the other; he’s won the tournament three times, been a runner up twice and has appeared in more Leyenda de Plata’s (12) than anyone in history. And people wonder why he’s still referred to as the GOAT. I’d honestly be very tempted to make him a favorite for this match if not for one glaring reason; Sam Adonis. He and Casas are on a collision course for a big hair match in the future, and Sam is conveniently absent from this match and not above distracting Casas to get him eliminated. In other words, Casas should have Felino and Mr. Niebla make sure Sam is locked out of the arena; if he does that then he’s got a great shot. Otherwise he won’t be competing with Carístico to set the record for most Leyenda de Plata victories. Chances: Good if Sam Adonis isn’t there, not so good if Sam is there.
Remember last year, around this time, when we were all briefly wondering if Blue Panther Jr. was starting to better his brother and that Panther was coasting too much? The lesson as always; we done messed up. Ever since then Panther (with an assist from a brief ROH run) has been lights out and one of the best kept secrets CMLL has. Sure, he wouldn’t be if CMLL actually used him better but hey, it wouldn’t be CMLL if they didn’t do things that made you want to wander around aimlessly contemplating the meaning of existence. The good news here is that we all know Panther is only going to be in this match long enough for the buffalo bites to be cooked to their max potential. He’ll work really hard, he’ll do an awesome tope and he’s probably going to last a lot longer than most of us think. And in the end he’ll still be able to make his dinner reservation on time. Chances: Slimmer than two Slim Jims on a diet.
You gotta love CMLL; when booking this match, it’s as if they finally looked at the roster sheet, saw Puma’s name, went “holy shit, that guy’s pretty good isn’t he?!” and put him in this match. Never mind the fact that they should’ve done this months ago instead of strapping their wagon to the two legged horse known as Pierroth. We now go live to the reactions of long time Puma fans.
Much like Panther and Guerrero Maya, the odds are ever not in Puma’s favor. And that’s okay! Like I just said, Puma is really, REALLY good and has deserved this spot ever since he took Rey Cometa’s mask in an awesome match and CMLL responded by saying “I’m sorry, I was too busy listening to the Macho Man rap CD. How was the match?” If nothing else this is an opportunity to strut his stuff, and opportunity to do it against guys who aren’t Panther, Junior, Esfinge and Fuego. Tell me you aren’t looking forward to seeing Puma and Dragón Lee having sequences, or Puma and Volador doing stuff that makes you sad it’s the only time they’ll do this all year. It’s a chance for Puma to prove once again that CMLL is dumb for not using him higher on the card and he’ll do it…right up till he gets eliminated early in the match. And just like that I’m sad again. Chances: Can a puma challenge the lion for the throne of the jungle?
We’ve entered the realm of the sleepers, and I’m not talking about that shitty 90’s movie where Robert De Nero was the priest and Jason Patric reminded us that there is a step down from Keanu Reeves (and if Sleepers didn’t prove that, Speed 2: Cruise Control sure as hell did!). I know what you’re thinking; doesn’t Forastero not having a shot mean Sansón has no shot? Wrong sports fans. Unlike his less refined family member, Sansón has already started to break out a bit from his trios team and has proven to be a really dependable worker in big matches. He’s also nearly won two tournaments this year (La Copa Junior and the Gran Alternativa) and the fact that he’s both a tag and trios champion right now signals CMLL’s got big plans for him. I’m not sure those plans involve him making it to the Leyenda de Plata final, but at worst he’ll definitely be in this match for awhile and, if CMLL is feeling frisky, may somehow sneak his way into contention. That sound you now hear is dozens of New Dinamitas fans apologizing to me for my statement earlier. I too am glad they realized Cavernario is indeed the best young rudo in CMLL too! Chances: The rudo sleeper pick.
The best luchador alive today not named Rey Fenix is in this match sports fans! That is cause for celebration. And luckily, like Sansón, he’s a guy who has a shot, even if it’s not the greatest shot. Look, I’m not going to get too crazy here. Yes Soberano Jr. is my current favorite luchador in the world and yes I tend to not see things clearly when he’s involved (see my prediction that he’d win the Universal Tournament earlier this year). But I’m smart enough to know that, despite CMLL’s push of him this year and his rise to near main event status, he’s not someone you should expect to win this match. But I will say this; it’s not out of the realm of possibility either. Like Sansón, I think Soberano goes really far, I think he continues to impress and if he’s one of the two guys standing tall come the end of the match then I won’t be shocked. I will however be mocking several people on social media relentlessly, because even I’m not above pettiness. I may even hire someone just to fire them later for posting a picture with anyone! You’re move, Vince McMahon. Chances: The technico sleeper.
Tiger is like Puma if you took Puma’s entire buzz and drowned it in a tub of black oil from The X-Files. He’s awesome, he doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves and he’s somehow even more ignored than Puma because…he’s a tiger? How should I know? Luckily he too is going to get some time to shine in this shindig and, chances are, most of his sequences are going to involve him and his brother doing double teams. That’s good, because there is no rudo team walking planet earth right now that has the chemistry, timing and ability that Puma and Tiger have when their clicking like the clickers from The Last of Us (that sound you hear, besides the clicking, is dozens of New Dinamitas fans now mad at me again. Denial is strong. Also, maybe start running. Those clickers are serious business!). That’ll be the extent of it and Tiger will probably be out around the same time Puma hits the showers, but like his brother, I’m just happy to see Tiger getting a shot. Not as happy as I am to have referenced the black oil and The Last of Us in the same paragraph though. It’s a gift really. Chances: He’d have a better chance battling a clicker with no weapon.
Remember last year when we all thought Titán was going to be primed for an awesome 2017, despite the fact that CMLL was definitely going to misuse him? Yeah, he’s instead gone the opposite direction of The Panther. I haven’t seen a fall this bad since America decided Kim Jun-Un, American edition was the way to go. Or if we want to get less political, I haven’t seen a fall this bad George Springer decided “I can totally leap for this ball early and it’ll work out” during Game 4 of the Red Sox-Astros series. Thank Grodd the Astro’s were playing the Red Sox or Springer’s tumble would’ve been baseball’s “we’re firing you because you took pictures with the competition. But don’t worry; THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY COMPETITION DAMMIT!” What was my point again?
Anyways, this is probably going to be Titán’s only non New Japan chance this year to really show us the goods, so I expect he’ll probably be awesome. And hell, even if he’s only “just kind of good”, that still means he’s totally hitting that out of this world third rope Asai Moonsault of his at some point. Beyond that though, Titán isn’t going to be long for this match and there will be a brief moment where we all think about what might’ve been (cause that was then!) before someone else does something cool and Titán’s potential goes on to exist only in our memories. Hot damn, maybe CMLL should give Titán another match against Mephisto right about now. Chances: Less than no chance.
I’d like to imagine that Virus was just spending his Saturday like every luchador would, went to look at the Super Viernes poster to see who he’d be working in the second or third match, saw he was in this one and then immediately front flipped out of his chair. Seriously; when was the last time Virus was in a main event level match?! I can only assume Vampiro was still working with CMLL at the time because otherwise I can’t think of a time. Never the less he’s in this match and it’s all the better for it because Virus is Hechicero without the cult following; an outstanding luchador capable of great mat work and surprising you with his athleticism. There’s no way he’s winning this match, but I guarantee he’ll be starting it off (more than likely with Guerrero Maya) and the two of them will lay the foundation for the match with some great chain wrestling before the chaos takes over. Good for you Virus. Now if you could just tell Raziel and Cancerbero to be more cooperative with the young luchadors that would be great! Chances: Makes Titán look like the odds on favorite.
Is it just me or does it feel like it’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a classic Volador Jr. performance? It actually hasn’t as Volador has had plenty of really, REALLY good matches this year, both in New Japan and Mexico (remember that match he and UG had for the Universal Championship?!). It just hasn’t quite been the same as last year when Volador was seemingly having top performance after top performance week after week. It may start to feel that way with this match though. Volador is easily the biggest star in this tournament, a former winner of said tournament (back in 2011) and someone you can always count on CMLL to count on in a big time situation. There’s no way he isn’t one of the final four luchadors of this match and I’d be absolutely floored if he isn’t one of the two guys standing tall. To me, the question of this match isn’t “who will be the final two that go on to face each other next week?” but “who will be the guy that goes on to face Volador next week?” He’s as locked in to the final as Navarro was to El Dorado as it pulled him to the ocean bedrock. Chances: The favorite to end all favorites.
Who Will Win?!
So yeah, I did kind of give up the ghost a little bit in the last paragraph by saying Volador would be one of the two finalists. But I didn’t reveal who the other guy was, so technically we still have a little suspense. Or to be more frank, a lot of it; I’m honestly not quite sure who CMLL will have go the distance with Volador. A rudo would make the most sense but if you look at the rudos in this match (Cavernario, Forastero, Mephisto, Negro Casas, Puma, Sansón, Tiger and Virus), all of them either have something else coming up on the horizon (Cav, Casas, Sansón), won’t be given such a prime time spot (Forastero, Puma, Tiger, Virus) or are Mephisto (Mephisto). Likewise, the technico side features a lot of guys who don’t seem like they’d be pushed in this situation and CMLL generally doesn’t do technico vs. technico or rudo vs. rudo matches anyway (despite Volador being a performer capable of playing either role perfectly). In short, we’re either looking at CMLL pulling out a big surprise (HA!), giving Sansón an upset win or going against the grain by doing a technico match between Volador and one of the other big stars on his side. If I had to guess, I’m going to say it’s the latter and I’m going to say the technico in question is none other than Dragón Lee.
Now sure, that seems a little bit crazy but I don’t think so. Dragón Lee is an important star to CMLL, a guy who they haven’t really given much to do in terms of big matches this year and, perhaps more importantly, a guy who I’m pretty sure has never had a big one on one match with Volador in history. And I don’t think I need to tell you that Dragón Lee vs. Volador Jr. would be MASSIVE; it’s two former Aniversario main eventers and two of the best luchadors in the world duking it out in a match that is sure to feature awe inspiring moments of high flying and a lot of great wrestling. Not only does it draw us internet nerds who watch CMLL, but it’ll be a decent draw for the Arena Mexico crowd too, something CMLL sorely needs in the wake of the Mexico City earthquake. Perhaps I’m way off base and CMLL goes with a rudo candidate I’m dismissing (looking at you Mephisto or Sansón), another technico is used in Lee’s place (Carístico vs. Volador would be huge too) or there’s another scenario in play that will shock us all. But as of now, Dragón Lee and Volador seems to be the matchup that makes most sense. I say they are the last two survivors in the Leyenda de Plata cibernetico and will go on to have a killer match next week for the trophy. In case CMLL changes the rules though and makes this cibernetico for the trophy itself, I’ll say Dragón Lee wins. There, all bases are covered!
That’s game sports fans. I now retreat into a cloud of lunch and (eventually) Batman: Arkham Knight, but I’ll be back tomorrow to break down both this match and the rest of the CMLL Super Viernes card with a review. A good time will be had by all hopefully. Till we meet again, THIS!