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CMLL Puebla: Polvora-Lee Rules!
Well, it looks like Volador and Mephisto are going to have some big shoes to fill. Monday night’s CMLL show in Arena Puebla is in the books and it was a one match show; luckily that one match was utterly spectacular and exceeded the high expectations many had for it. Best of all no fifty year old former WCW stars were involved. Dammit I promised no unprovoked shots. Too late now I suppose. So how did Dragón Lee and Pólvora steal the show? And how did the rest of the show do overall? Let’s take a look. Moses; meme it like its HAWT! Oh Grodd, why did I just do that?
Centella Roja & El Hijo de Centella Roja defeated Ares & El Malayo two falls to one
If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to watch Cleopatra then this match is for you. My Grodd was it long and my Grodd was it boring, especially the second fall which seemed like it was destined to go on till the end of days (note that this fall probably contributed to the show going long as a whole). It’s clear why it did; Centella Roja wanted to give his son as long a showcase as he could. The problem is that Hijo de Centella Roja is just like his father; a mediocre luchador who should probably be toiling away on the indies as opposed to taking up time on a show as valuable as yes. Damn right that’s mean but it’s the truth. Yes he was working with Ares and Malayo but I seriously doubt he shows that much more unless he was in the ring with Virus, Hechicero and Pólvora; hell even then he probably would have nothing. And thus we had nothing thanks to this long, dull opener. Thankfully the show was full speed ahead from this point forward.
Fuerza Chicana, King Jaguar, Sombra Diabólika defeated Arkalis, Asturiano, París two falls to one
This too was a match that went longer due to having a new luchador to showcase. Luckily for us both Sombra Diabólika and this match were significantly better. I wouldn’t dare yet say New Sombra (who apparently is a sixteen year vet according to cubsfan) is actually good, but he certainly wasn’t bad and showed off some nice pace and power here and there. If nothing else he’s an average hand to have around, which is far better than what either Centella Roja’s showed. Everyone else here was just fine, with the possible exception of the always useless Fuerza Chicana. King Jaguar was impressive and probably should get all the spots Ares gets. All three technicos I thought were superb, with París looking better than usual, Asturiano (who CMLL wisely paired with New Sombra) being his usual high end self and Arkalis scoring more points than usual by standing up to Tirantes and looking like he was going to deck him. Bravo to you good sir. It’s a shame they couldn’t take the W, but you get CMLL wanting to give New Sombra a win his first time out like they did Hijo de Centella Roja. Here’s the one problem; they let Chicana win the final fall! Good Grodd CMLL; you have a new guy debut, let his team win and don’t even let him be the reason? Better yet, you pick the worst guy on the team to get it?! That be like if Gordon Bombay had chosen to put Guy Germaine in goal instead of Julie “The Cat” Gaffney with Gunner Stahl looming for Iceland.
Pegasso, Rey Samuray, Soberano Jr. defeated Arkángel de la Muerte, Rey Apocalipsis, Toro Bill Jr. two falls to one
This is worth seeing for the sole purpose of witnessing Soberano owning Arkángel at the end and getting the win for his team. There’s justice and then there’s that. Beyond that this match was about as good as it could possibly be considering a) it wasn’t that long and b) it had Arkángel heavily involved. We did at least get a few cool dives from Pegasso and Samuray (including dueling 450s and synchronized dives at the end of the third fall), Soberano being Soberano, a better than expected Toro Bill and Rey Apocalipsis and, perhaps most notably, Samuray working through a rib injury suffered from his great 450 to put on a good performance in the third fall. Big ups to Samuray, and as it turns out that was just a preview for what we would see involving a potentially legit injury later on in the show.
Bobby Z, Kráneo, Okumura defeated Ángel de Oro, Rey Cometa, Titán two falls to one
This wasn’t quite as good as expected thanks to a poor final end of the first fall, largely because Titán didn’t seem to have his best stuff tonight. I don’t know if it’s because he didn’t mesh well with Kráneo or if it merely an off night but this wasn’t the Titán we’ve become accustomed too. It was basically like watching a great pitcher go from putting up 7 innings, two hits and one run a game to 4 innings, 9 hits and 5 runs. Or as Jered Weaver calls it, every other start.
There was a lot to like about this match otherwise though. Bobby Z and Rey Cometa had a great sequence in the first fall that made it seem as though this match was off and running before Titán and Kráneo ran into issues. I did think the rudos did a good job of recovering some momentum in the second fall (though that seemed a little long), but it wasn’t until the third when the dives started coming and Ángel de Oro started to branch out that the match seemed to kick into gear. Plus I can never say a match is bad when it features a Nail in the Coffin as good as the one Okumura hit towards the end of this match. Overall I’d say this was good, if not as good as it could’ve been. Poor Titán; he goes from having an off night here to now having to face Máscara Año 2000 tomorrow. Going from 80s to Metallica to 90s Metallica isn’t that steep a drop in quality.
CMLL World Lightweight Championship Match
Dragón Lee (c) defeated Pólvora two falls to one
As if this match wasn’t already the event of the evening, Pólvora and Dragón Lee had to go and make this even better than I expected. You could tell from the moment this match began, with nonstop offense, that these two were going to go full blast and never let up, regardless of the obstacles. And there was a big obstacle in the form of Lee possibly injuring his left leg after landing on it when Pólvora hit him with a Super Pólvora Driver (this wasn’t on Pólvora by the way; Lee intentionally landed this way to avoid a head injury). Lee was hobbled the rest of the match, but gutted through it excellently, first by winning the second fall with an amazing front roll up (where he caught Pólvora while Pólvora was in mid step) and then by going all out with dives and big moves in the third. You could even argue the leg injury worked to their advantage ala Shocker/Casas vs. Mistico/Volador, with Pólvora focusing on it throughout the second and third fall to add a little storytelling. Even Jimmie Johnson didn’t get that big a break yesterday. Oh wait…yes he did.
But enough about NASCAR; this match was legit tops and probably the best match we’ve seen in Puebla in quite some time (and yes, I’m pretty sure I’ve said that recently about another match but so what?). The best part was both guys walked out looking better than they walked in. Pólvora had convinced me of his greatness when I was researching him prior to this match, but there was still some who thought he may be the weak link. Instead he may have been the strongest; he nailed all his stuff, nailed all the little things (watching this match you would’ve thought Pólvora had studied Lee every waking hour he was so in rhythm with Lee’s style and how to work with it) and at one point even pulled off a gorram Kamaitachi impression with a Canadian Destroyer that had me leaping off the couch. Hell I almost left out his devastating forearm smashes, which were so good that Nikki Bella probably felt a cold shiver down her spine as he nailed Lee with them. He raised his stock big time here and it may prove to get him a gig with ROH somewhere down the road. But even still the story will be Lee and it should, both for being uber impressive and for gutting out a great performance despite being hobbled. He had to work for this one both literally and figuratively (another aspect of Pólvora’s performance that worked) and the match ended up being better off for it. I’m not sure if it was better than anything Lee did with Kamaitachi (probably not), but it was superior to the Lee-La Máscara matches and might be a low key MOTY contender. Well done to both guys!
Atlantis, Diamante Azul, Johnny Idol defeated Hechicero, Shocker, Vangellys two falls to one
The semi-main may have been the best match of the night but this match was the biggest surprise. Not because it was good (it was) but because it ended up going sixteen minutes, which is about ten minutes more than I expected. Good on these six for not wrapping it up in five minutes and actually giving an effort. It wasn’t perfect; Vangellys was a non factor and Shocker was Shocker for better or worse. But the other four guys were superb (Hechicero and Idol in particular went full out as expected) and CMLL gave us a nice taste of what life would be like if Hechicero and Atlantis were to ever get into a feud. In fact that may have been the most tantalizing and cruel aspect of the show; CMLL gave us a glimpse of that and nothing more. The only problem is that I now NEED MORE! Come on CMLL; you can’t show us the best rudo in lucha libre against the greatest living legend not named Negro Casas in lucha libre going at it and then not expect us to want more. That match is dynamite waiting to happen, especially since you know Atlantis has been dying for something, ANYTHING of substance to do. Even without setting anything up CMLL teased us with that and now I’m just left wanting more. Is that a good or bad way to close this show? Only Grodd knows I suppose.
The show is over folks. Tomorrow is a new day that brings new columns, such as my preview for Wednesday’s Lucha Underground episode. It’s a big one, what with the fall out to Sexy Star’s title victory and all. Till then, may the great DUCHOVNY watch over you. In a non creepy way of course.