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CMLL Puebla: How to Lose Fans and Alienate Cult
There are moments in time when you’re involved with something and it suddenly you’re wondering what the fuck you’re doing with your gorram life. Last night’s CMLL show in Puebla was one of those moments. I’ve seen some bad CMLL shows in my time folks, but last night’s show was something worse. Not because the performers were bad and not because every match sucked, but because at the end none of what was good seemed to matter as much as what blew chunks. I generally have an optimistic view of what CMLL brings to the table. After last night, the lack of caring for what the fans want with the direction of the company going forward has me questioning whether or not I want to keep watching this company once Lucha Underground returns. But enough critiquing; there will be enough of that to come and some people on this show actually deserve to read a few nice things about them (looking at you Panther family). Moses, just get the damn meme.
Espíritu Maligno & Saurón defeated Arkalis & Millenium two falls to one
This was, in many senses of the word, just a match. There wasn’t nothing terrible about and there wasn’t anything particularly exciting about it…really it was the Starship Troopers of matches; mindless entertainment that you won’t remember five days from now unless you watch it again. That said, credit to all four of these guys for doing their damndest to make it something more and I ultimately did come away impressed with Millenium and Maligno, who seemed like two dudes capable of being quite exciting under the right circumstances. This just wasn’t that. Hey, at least I called Saurón winning this one! Never bet against the dark lord and his bad ass eye.
Ares, El Cuatrero, Sansón defeated Black Tiger, Rey Samuray, Tigre Rojo Jr. two falls to none
The bad news; this match was a squash match. The good news; the right people were doing the squashing. Naturally I thought Sansón and El Cuatrero were fantastic here, being allowed to dominate most of the action and showing off the reasons why I’m from this point forward referring to them as Los Cientificos (Spanish for “The Scientists”). Meanwhile Ares stayed enough out of the way to let them do their thing and the technicos did a good job making them look good. I suppose the problem in the end is that that’s all they were allowed to do. I’ll never complain about Sansón and Cuatrero getting to look great, but a little bit of back and forth here and there could’ve done a lot of good, especially since Tigre Rojo (replacing Starman, who I assume is locked up in the same place Stukita) and Rey Samuray looked like they could’ve had some beautiful sequences at certain points.
Felino, Puma, Tiger defeated Blue Panther Jr., Stigma, The Panther two falls to one
I think I may be alone with this opinion (and frankly this goes for the next two matches as well), but I greatly enjoyed this match and I enjoyed it despite the fact that CMLL went away from the formula that I felt would’ve worked best. To my pleasant surprise Blue Panther Jr. continued to look impressive even when given more time; there’s still some rough spots to be worked out, but overall I thought he looked great and his confidence seems to be growing. He was greatly helped by the fact that both Puma and Tiger (who worked with him most of the match) were on their game as well, doing the little things that have made their uncles so great like going for pins and submissions in the second fall (no one else on this show did that) and not being afraid to break out the jetpacks here and there. If there’s any complaints I have about this match, it’s that Stigma was ultimately relegated to selling most of the time (aside from a nice Asai Moonsault) and Felino was only given bits and pieces to work with, the main one being the part where he pinned Junior to win the match after Junior had impressively stolen a pin on Puma to make it seem like the technicos had a shot. Nothing against Felino, but what harm would it have done if Junior and his team had gotten the win? You can see the confidence and ability growing and both him and his brother; the least you can do is help keep it up by giving them a few W’s here in there. In the end, that quibble isn’t enough to damper my enjoyment of this match. It won’t be a Match of the Year candidate, but it was entertaining and more than serviceable.
CMLL World Women’s Championship Match
Dalys (c) defeated Lluvia two falls to one
Time for more unpopular opinions; this match was really, REALLY good. In fact, thanks to the actions of a lone referee on the grassy knoll during the semi-main, this was the best match of the night. I’m not saying it was a classic; much like with Junior there’s still a lot of rough edges on Lluvia that held this match back, particularly how she failed to even come close to flinging Dalys into the ring posts on the outside not once but twice. But other than little things like that, there was a ton to be excited about with this match. The pace was very good, the effort was great, Lluvia’s performance improved as the match went along (I thought she hit some really nice dives and just looked far more comfortable by the beginning of the third fall) and Dalys put on one hell of a performance both looking like a champion and carrying Lluvia to a point where it looked like the challenger was good enough to become champion. That doesn’t even begin to mention some of the minor things that helped this match, like Negro Casas (serving as Dalys’ second) preventing Lluvia from reaching the ropes at one point. When was the last time you’ve seen a second do that?! In the end, at least for me, this was a really good match thanks to a great effort by the challenger and an even better performance by the champion, who proved just why she is trusted to hold that belt. Big ups to Dalys for her work tonight.
Atlantis, Blue Panther, Stuka Jr. defeated Rey Bucanero, Terrible, Vangellys two falls to one
This should’ve been the Match of the Night and if not for the final minute of this match probably would’ve been. Like the Women’s Title match this wasn’t perfect by a long shot; there wasn’t a whole lot of high flying excitement and the final minutes of the first fall were so chaotic that I’m pretty sure the ref lost control and forgot to count a submission obtained by Terrible. After that though the match settled in and was a lot of fun; the rudos did what they did best, Stuka and Atlantis provided a few moments of lucha goodness and the ageless Blue Panther joined his sons in being one of the most entertaining aspects of tonight’s show. Ladies and gentlemen I was there when Sir Paul McCartney perform nonstop for over three hours at the age of 74, I have witnessed many a great athlete turn back the clock for one night; hell I’ve even seen a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). There was energy in Blue Panther tonight that you just don’t see very often, and one that a hell of a lot more luchadors could use. I had a blast watching him do the simplest things to him flipping out so much that his momentum led to him tumbling out of the ring! I haven’t seen someone get that excited since that time James Van Der Beek walked in on Ali Larter wearing nothing but a whipped cream bikini in some stupid teen movie about football. What was the name of that again?
Naturally, the great work in this match was all for naught because of the boneheaded work of the official. Let’s make something crystal clear for those who weren’t watching; the rudos won this match. Terrible hit a terrific Last Ride esq powerbomb on Stuka and pinned the man just as his teammates were rolling up both Atlantis and Blue Panther for pinfalls. There’s just one problem; the ref for some reason didn’t count the three. Why? You’d have to ask him; maybe he blacked out like Elliot during the period in between the second to last and final episode of Mr. Robot’s first season. Whatever the case, Terrible all but beat the referee up after this match, giving the technicos the DQ win and leaving everyone from the performers to the fans fuming at what just happened. An absolute train wreck of a finish that ruined a good effort by all involved. Seriously Paco, what are you doing employing guys like this ref? Its one thing to not let us have L.A. Park vs. Rush as the Anniversary Main Event. It’s another thing to have La Mascara and Shocker potentially headline over them. But to have referees with the competence levels of Pig Pen from Out Cold calling and ruining matches like this all the time? We gotta draw the line somewhere Paco. If this dude isn’t sent home by the end of the month, it might be time for me to write another letter than the recluse won’t read.
Mistico, Shocker, Volador Jr. defeated La Máscara, Marco Corleone, Último Guerrero two falls to one
As if the ending of the semi-main wasn’t enough of a bummer, the main event made sure to leave us feeling even more depressed. Remember how it looked like we were getting a super cool Volador-UG match soon with their hair on the line? In the words of the CMLL creative team before this show, tough break losers; you’re going to get Shocker vs. UG instead and you’re going to like it! We now go live to everyone’s reaction to this news.
Now in fairness, UG did a damn good job making Shocker look like a competent wrestler during their interactions tonight and he ultimately didn’t accept Shocker’s challenge, although that might’ve been because Shocker and the fans refused to let him talk afterwards, leaving UG no choice but to say “fuck it” and leave (kind of like the rest of us, amirite?!). But even still, what a shot to the gonads (for us and someone as talented as UG) that was watching CMLL bypass a sure winner in UG-Volador so we could get another singles match out of gorram Shocker. Just an absolutely frustrating way to end what was a frustrating show, and I feel bad saying that because the effort from everyone here otherwise was decent, not to mention that it was great to see Mistico both healthy and working at a high level a few days after an injury scare. But man, this main event left me feeling the same way WWE used to make me feel; the guys you like don’t matter, the matches you want will never happen and mother of puss bucket do I miss Lucha Underground right now.
And that’ll do it. I don’t feel better now. You’ll see me again in a few hours with part two of my list of the best matches from Lucha Underground season two, and then a review of tonight’s (hopefully) better show from CMLL. Till then, a meme for me and all the other depressed lucha crazies out there.
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