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CMLL Puebla: Nothing Gold Can Stay
Looks like I picked the right week to come back from vacation! Ladies and gentlemen CMLL did something they haven’t done in many moons this evening; they had an Arena Puebla show that wasn’t just good, it was great. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I don’t think I’d have believed. But I did and I do, thanks to a strong card that featured no bad matches, a really good main event that set up a (Mike Francesca voice) YOOOOGE match two weeks from now and an emotional send off for Máscara Dorada in the semi-main that lived up to the hype and then some. The only complaint you can maybe have is that there were no Match of the Year contenders, and if that’s your only nitpick then I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you the “CM Punk is not impressed” face. When you get a moment like you did with Dorada and a slew of good to very good matches in Arena Puebla, a place that has seen more shit than a Mount Washington port-a-potty these days, you take what you get. And what we got here was a great show. Let’s go into more detail as to why. Moses; go go Memezilla!
Espíritu Maligno, Mini Joker, Saurón defeated Asturiano, Centella Roja, París two falls to one
I should’ve known this one would be good the moment Centella Roja used “The Final Countdown” as his entrance theme, allowing to me to crack a ton of Bryan Danielson jokes. Regardless of that, the string of impressive openers and minis matches continued, and frankly it should’ve been even better. Unfortunately París wasn’t quite on the ball tonight, especially during a sloppy sequence in the second fall, while Saurón missed a springboard elbow drop in the third fall that was likely his greatest failure since Frodo dropped the ring into Mount Doom. Take those two away though and this would’ve been one hell of a tag match. Asturiano may be dangerously close to reaching Valiente territory with his ring attire, but he was electric here and continues to be someone CMLL should give a better look to higher on the card. Centella Roja (who I thought would be the weak link) looked spry himself. And, in a theme that would continue throughout the night, the rudo team was shockingly good. Sure Saurón had his faults, but his partners were excellent and they even helped Saurón look excellent in the second fall by combining for several triple team moves that were out of this world good. There was one where they all picked up Roja from the turnbuckle, carried him around the ring and then had Saurón drive him down into a Nail in the Coffin like move. Absolutely tremendous and enough to make you forgive the warts the Dark Lord brought to the table. I don’t know what’s gotten into the minis recently, but whatever it is they should keep at it, for this was a strong start to the show.
Lestat, Pegasso, Tigre Rojo Jr. defeated Ares, Metálico, Policeman two falls to one
This was maybe an even bigger surprise than the opener. You figured that Lestat (who looks like a superstar by the way), Pegasso and Tigre Rojo would come out firing on all cylinders to make this match good; what I never expected was that the rudos would match their intensity. They were really good these three! Policeman looked better than ever. Ares was doing stuff that I didn’t think he was capable of. Metálico looked good (though I at least knew he was capable) and even gave the crowd a little extra with an entrance that made one particular lady swoon. Sure these three didn’t exactly turn into Carístico in his prime, but the effort level was there and their mistakes were basically nonexistent. I can’t tell you how huge that was. If Policeman, Ares and Metálico had been their usual selves than this match would’ve been nothing but a few nice sequences from the technicos. Instead the rudos did their job, didn’t make mistakes and thus this was a really good match with some great highlights, notably everything Lestat did (seriously; this guy is a stud waiting to happen), Pegasso’s 450 and Tigre Rojo Jr. breaking out the most beautiful moonsault in the history of the western hemisphere. On scale from one to LUGER WON THE TITLE, that moonsault was easily a LUGER WON THE TITLE! Tremendous stuff from a tremendous match. And hey, the right team won as well!
Felino, Puma, Tiger defeated Guerrero Maya Jr., Stigma, Stuka Jr. two falls to one
Things were going so well with the show at this point that I was all but convinced the other shoe was about to drop here. And come on; can you really blame me? It’s a CMLL show in Puebla, a place where shows go to die and where matches like this that look great on paper suddenly turn into the last fifteen minutes of Sunshine. I thought, especially with how good the first two matches surprisingly were, that this would be the point where something would go wrong and this show would course correct itself into being another average Monday night show. I’ll let Dr. Cox tell you how that turned out.
In fairness, I still think this wasn’t the best match this collection of six guys can have. Stigma had a few sloppy moments here and there (though he also did a hell of a job at saving himself several times during spots that looked on the verge of being botched) and there were a couple of moments in the second fall where I thought there was a little too much stalling in waiting for spots. But those quibbles aside the rest of the match was Backdraft levels of fire. The first fall ending was spectacular, with the fight descending to the floor with each team trading backbreakers, Stigma hitting a nice suicide dive and then Maya (who was super crisp and well paced throughout this match) finishing off Felino with a roll up in the ring. It was a great sequence that was only beaten by a tremendous third fall, which featured Stuka breaking out a Moonlight Drive (new moves!), Stigma and Tiger diving around, some great tag team action by Tiger and Puma (including Puma Reverse Alabama Slamming Tiger into Stuka) and a finishing sequence by Puma and Stuka that was so good I can’t accurately describe how well they pulled it off. It was perfect, and combined with everything helped this be the co Match of the Evening alongside the main event. And like I said, these two teams could probably do even better! Let’s hope CMLL one day wises up and puts these six together again in Arena Mexico and lets them cut loose; not since the episode Chuck and Sarah finally got together will there have been something as good as that match would be.
Dragón Lee, Máscara Dorada, Máximo Sexy defeated Ephesto, Mephisto, Pólvora two falls to one
This didn’t quite have the great wrestling of its predecessor nor the intriguing match ups of the main event to get into the Match of the Evening discussion. But other than that this match was, from a spectacle and big moment standpoint, flawless. You can say a lot of things about CMLL, how they promote shows/matches and how they book certain things, but if there’s anyone out there who thinks they got this wrong tonight, I want to meet them so I can tell them their flat out wrong. This company and Máscara Dorada couldn’t have come up with a better last chapter for his final Arena Puebla match if they tried. They brought him out last during the technico introductions to get him the big pop. He was the last technico in the ring during the third fall. He was allowed as many big spots as Arena Puebla would allow and nailed all of them, clearly set up as the shining star of the match (though Dragón Lee made a valiant effort to equal him by rising to the occasion himself). He was allowed to primarily work with Mephisto, the most fitting opponent you could think of for Dorada at this stage. Best of all, Dorada was allowed to win the match and afterwards got an emotional send off where the entire CMLL locker-room (save for the main eventers) came to hug him, lift him onto their shoulders and leave all of us like we had just watched Jack freeze to death at the end of Titanic all over again. It was an absolutely wonderful moment, for the fans, for CMLL and most importantly Dorada, who you could tell was emotional throughout the match. I can’t think of a better send off for him than this match and the aftermath…and yet he’ll probably be getting an even bigger and better one this Friday when he says good bye to Arena Mexico. I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive that one peeps. I bet even Meltzer sheds a tear!
Cavernario, Negro Casas, Volador Jr. defeated Atlantis, Rush, Último Guerrero two falls to one
The more I think about it, the more it makes no sense how this match should’ve worked. You had Cavernario (a last minute addition after Mr. Niebla was sent home) teaming with Volador, the guy he was beefing with just a few weeks ago. You had Atlantis teaming with one of his biggest rivals of all time (the UG) and a guy who once promised to take his mask (Rush). Neither of those alliances should work; and yet in the wacky world of CMLL both teams ended up getting along because CMLL! To add to the crazy, CMLL not only neglected to continue building towards Atlantis vs. Negro Casas (DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT!!!) but also switched their roles; tonight Casas (and Cavernario) were technicos while Atlantis worked as a rudo.
I know right? So many twists, so many turns and not a one of them should’ve led to this match working. And yet it did. Atlantis, who until the middle of the match I had forgotten was once also UG’s best pal and an outstanding rudo in his own right, looked like a natural bad guy throughout this match and was so happy to be bad that he even hit a high caliber suicide dive. Cavernario took to the technico role immensely well, continuing to prove that he’s absolute money to CMLL from here till eternity. Casas and UG were tremendous, in particular when they interacted with each other. I doubt CMLL will put them in a match any time soon, but they totally should because it was electric and every time they crossed paths the CMLL crowd perked up. Thankfully CMLL has a good excuse not to do the match because it’s quite clear they’re setting up Rush vs. Volador soon (likely in two weeks after a trios rematch next week). Let’s go live to the internet’s thoughts on this development.
Sure it’s no Atlantis-Casas (a dream match only bested by Atlantis-El Hijo del Santo, mask vs. mask and L.A. Park vs. Rush, mask vs. hair), but it’s match with nuclear heat potential that easily fills out Puebla and puts CMLL’s best rudo against their best technico. CMLL is wise to put that match together and thus I find myself still excited by the possibilities this match presented. Frankly the only complaints to have about this match is a) it could’ve gone longer and b) Tirantes had to get a shot in on Rush at the end when he DQ’d him, which was rectified when Rush dropkicked Tirantes and sent him backstage like the scared rat he is. Take that away and this match worked across the board; it built to a huge match, it featured great action and it featured luchadors excelling in different roles. It was a great way to close a great show, the best Puebla has offered in awhile and perhaps the best Puebla show (and one of the best CMLL shows) of the year. Your gorram right I said it.
Good Grodd, it’s time to go! Fear not though sports fans for I’ll be back tomorrow to review CMLL’s Tuesday show and preview Grave Consequences III between Prince Puma and Mil Muertes, which is only a day away now. BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN LUCHA! Till we meet again, be sure to check out my previews of both the Tuesday show AND Believer’s Backlash II between Famous B and Mascarita Sagrada. The great DUCHOVNY demands it!