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CMLL Lucha Kingdom Review!
There are not many things that live up to the hype sports fans. In fact, off the top of my head I can only name five things; Ultima Lucha Uno, Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada, 7 Up, Mad Max: Fury Road and the 2016 Chicago Cubs Postseason. Well you can now add tonight’s CMLL show to the list. This bad boy, which I dubbed Lucha Kingdom in my preview, was hotly anticipated by almost everyone I know in the lucha community. And yet I know I wasn’t the only one who feared, or possibly even thought, that CMLL would find a way to…well, CMLL up the proceedings by either screwing with the match format, having their referees screw up at the worst times or booking the worst finishes possible. Guess what; none of that happened. Hell aside from maybe the finish to the first match nothing went wrong at all. Over the course of 2 hours and 5 minutes, tonight’s CMLL Lucha Kingdom was a work of art in every facet. The show was expertly paced, finding enough time for all seven matches in its short time frame, all while producing no stinkers, at least six good matches (and I’d argue all seven were at least good) and three can’t miss bouts that could easily wind up being Match of the Year contenders when all is said and done. This was said to be an experimental show for CMLL to test the waters with; judging from how they timed the show, the hot crowd they drew and how everyone performed, I’d say the test was a complete success and should be tried again soon. Whether it will be or not is something we’ll just have to wait and see. For now though, let’s see what made this show so good by breaking it down as only I can. And it all begins with the Queen of Lucha Libre. Moses, meme as you bow.
Estrellita, La Vaquerita, Marcela defeated Amapola, Dalys, Zeuxis two falls to none
Things were going quite smoothly here…until Zeuxis found herself unmasked, leading to Pompin disqualifying her in the second fall and giving the technicas the win. WHAT?! Let’s forget for a moment that Zeuxis may or may not have taken the mask off herself (my vision was a little blurry at the time so I can’t say for sure); regardless of how the mask comes off or where the ref is when it comes off, the technico(a) is always DQ’d in that situation. It’s basic luchanomics. Yet here Pompin decides to be a hero and give the win to Vaquerita?! Pompin, I think Jack Nicholson speaks for everyone when he says the following statement.
That convoluted finish aside this match was quite good. Some of the luchadoras may not have had the best night (I thought Dalys was a little off) but everyone was trying hard and a lot of the sequences were quite good, including everything Zeuxis did and the Amapola/Marcela sequences. I get the feeling that if CMLL had actually let these girls go another fall we might’ve been in for something pretty cool. Alas it was not to be, but at least the match was fun while it lasted. Plus we got Zeuxis kneeing Vaquerita’s face all the way to Super Astro’s restaurant. You can never go wrong when that happens.
Cavernario defeated Rey Cometa two falls to one
The first match of the night to be worthy of Poptarts’ “CRAAAAAZEH GOOD!” slogan. I don’t think this was quite on the level of some of the matches these two had in 2016 but it was still significantly better than anything you’d see in this slot normally and on most CMLL shows would’ve been the Match of the Evening hands down. Cavernario in particular was terrific, keeping things grounded, flying around when he had to and doing the little things that we all love. It’s truly amazing how far he’s come in this past year, and he was already talented to begin with. That’s not to take anything away from Cometa either, though I do think a few more dives from him would’ve put this over the top. Regardless it was still a really good match and exactly what the show needed after the disappointing finish to the opener. Best of all, the show never stopped being awesome from this point forward.
Negro Casas, Puma, Tiger defeated Blue Panther, Blue Panther Jr., The Panther two falls to one
Remember Wes Bentley’s somewhat cringe inducing monologue about how there’s so much…beauty in the world? Yeah, he was talking about this match. This was absolutely tremendous from beginning to end; the only flaws I can think of were a few clunky moments Junior had and he more than made up for those as the match went along. Everything you thought would happen in this match happened. The first fall was not the standard, as Panther not only pinned Tiger but Puma as well to end it, making him look like a million bucks (this never happens). Every single pairing got a look and more often than not was excellent. Puma and Tiger didn’t hit a lot of double teams early, but once they started they only got more and more creative. There were even dives from practically everyone, including a Blue Panther suicide dive that nearly brought the house down. And oh yes, we got Blue Panther and Negro Casas throwing down as the Arena Mexico crowd lost their mind and gorramit there were a few moments I thought I’d died and gone to lucha heaven during those sequences. Whatever CMLL has planned for the next few weeks, they may as well scrap it and just let those two face each other in the main event. The money they would make and the stars they’d get from Big Dave Meltzer would be Wrestle Kingdom esq I tell you. For now they’ll have to settle for being part of the best trios match so far in 2017, a wonderfully paced, wonderfully worked contest from all six guys. It may have even been the best match of the evening, though its successor…well we’ll get to it in a moment!
Volador Jr. defeated Mephisto two falls to one
So much for going through the motions. The moment Volador walked out with a gorram Transformer you knew this was going to be special; in fact I predicted we’d get at least one dive into the stands and one stage dive. The stage dive didn’t happen but everything else did; Volador pretty much unleashed his whole arsenal (minus a few tricks) and pretty much looked like the guy who was the best luchador of 2016. Don’t sleep on Mephisto here either; he was a fantastic base for Volador the entire match and had some impressive power moves of his own, including a backdrop on Volador to the floor that may have sent cold chills down Kenny Omega’s spine. Some may have quibbles with it being the standard Volador Specialty match, but when the crowd is that entertained and the spots are so well done it’s hard to get that mad. Overall this was a significantly better match than the one the two had on that Tuesday show weeks ago and for my money it was right there with the trios match for Match of the Evening status. I suppose you could make the argument this is where the show peaked, but that’s unfair considering the good moments the rest of the show had. I’d suggest treating this match like Buffy the Vampire Slayer season two actually; this was definitely the high point, but that doesn’t mean seasons 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 weren’t pretty good too. Hell this show was even better on account of it not having any Riley Finn esq qualities. You never want a Riley Finn around folks.
Marco Corleone & Máximo Sexy defeated La Máscara & Rush two falls to none
This was nowhere near the quality of the previous three matches but it wasn’t intended to be. Instead these four went out there, got the crowd involved and had a pretty fun tag match that featured Marco being Marco, Rush and Máscara giving a slightly toned down version of their super cool personas and Máximo committing an act of incest by kissing his cousin (Máscara). Yes that was a legit thing that happened and more people need to be aware of it! Like the opener I do think this probably could’ve been better if CMLL had wanted to and I do hope we see this match again; a super focused Rush and Máscara against a serious Máximo and Marco is big money if they want it. But with CMLL wanting to keep the show moving and these guys capable of getting a crowd hot on cruise control I understand why they kept it the way it was. A fun, perfectly acceptable middle of the show tag match.
Valiente defeated Último Guerrero two falls to one
First off, Valiente did in fact not wear pants yet again. I know; you’d think a show this big he’d dress for the occasion, and instead there he is again looking like Fox Mulder in “Duane Barry.” It’s disgraceful I tell you. Secondly, I TOLD YOU ALL VALIENTE WAS WINNING THIS MATCH! Whether it was just my natural instinct or the fact that absolutely nothing of note was on the line, the Man with No Pants was able to pull out this match after two straight Valiente Drivers that featured (wait for it) NO UG KICK OUTS! Now that’s a miracle, and I can only assume this means UG is beating Valiente over 9,000 straight times from this day till the ending of the world. Besides the finish the match itself was pretty good, though not on the level of the second, third and fourth matches. I thought Valiente’s effort was sublime (his four consecutive suicide dives were savage and he did a pretty great Kenny Omega with his Valiente Special) and UG was doing everything he could to get the crowd riled up. It’s just very apparent right now that unless he’s with a fresh opponent UG isn’t doing much but go through the motions, and he was doing that even tonight, thus keeping this match from reaching a level of those earlier bouts. Still this was in no way disappointing, and if you were watching UG for the first time you likely walked away quite satisfied. I just wish I could go back to that time already.
Atlantis, Carístico, Mistico defeated Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Niebla Roja two falls to one
Can I just say; how boss was Atlantis’ mask tonight? I thought it was the exact same thing he always wears, only to see he added a new design towards the bottom of it. Pretty bad ass stuff. On a scale from one to LUGER WON THE TITLE, I’d put it right between YOU ARE THE OPPOSITE OF BATMAN and the time Carístico came out with a Batman esq cape. Spoiler alert; the latter moment also happened tonight. Look what you’ve done CMLL; give Carístico one huge feud and now he’s acting like its 2006 and six all over again. Next thing you know he’ll be whooping Black Warrior’s ass again while wearing the cape and proclaiming himself the one true Batman.
Oh yes, there was a match here. Again, I wouldn’t quite say this was on the level of the earlier stuff but it was supremely entertaining in its own right and at times was utterly terrific. I would’ve liked to have seen more from the rudos, who aside from a triple submission were pretty much just there to catch every huge technico move. But good Grodd were those technico moves impressive. Carístico continued his renaissance tonight, with everything he did looking more and more effortless as he went on. The man is that much a natural when he’s on sports fans. Mistico, who I can’t recall seeing recently, looked like he had been shot out of a cannon and at one point looked faster than Volador (blasphemy!). And how about Atlantis; cubsfan at one point said Atlantis looked to not be moving well, and I guess the legend heard him because he immediately started moving great, hitting all his usual moves and even a hurricanrana. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw an Atlantis hurricanrana; I can only assume Brandon Routh was still Superman at the time. Those three were all quite tremendous and they combined for what I’d argue was the best spot of the night; the ending of this match when Atlantis got Euforia in La Atlantida while Mistico and Carístico did dueling La Mistica’s. It was totally unexpected and super cool to see; a great ending to another good match and a really awesome show. I mean my goodness, they even nailed the ending. Truly someone must’ve hijacked the book for this one sports fans.
And that, girls and boys, is the stuff that dreams are made of. I hope you enjoyed the review and most importantly enjoyed the show because it was/is well worth going out of your way to see. For now I step aside, but I’ll return tomorrow for that Golden Globes preview I promised. It’ll be two parts, it’ll be full of wrestling references and dear Grodd I’m probably going to make a fool of myself. But hey, it’s all in good fun right? Till then, bow down to the SCULLY!