CMLL Puebla Preview: The Smell of Gunpowder
The week is about to begin anew and with that comes CMLL, that significant other who delivers when it counts but otherwise leaves shaking your head in despair while you resist the urge to scream out “TIRANTES!” at the top of your lungs…what the fuck did I just say? Let’s move on. The point is CMLL is back Monday in Arena Puebla for a show that looks very good at the top and oh so bad at the bottom. Why? Beats the hell out of me; I’m just the guy that previews and reviews these bad boys for all fifteen of you who read them. So with that said lets kick the tires and light the fires big daddy…what is wrong with me? Moses, meme the people while I quickly get lobotomized.
Centella Roja & El Hijo de Centella Roja vs. Ares & El Malayo
What to Expect: The excitement here is pretty much contained to the arrival of Centella Roja’s son. Is he good? Is he bad? No idea! There’s no record of the guy working on Wikipedia, CageMatch or even LuchaWiki; the best I can find is that he’s the second son of Centella Roja to be working in Mexico (the first is Centella Roja Jr. How very Máscara Sagrada of this family) and according to cubsfan has only been working since 2015. That’s right, less than a year. I suppose Hijo de Centella Roja could be the next lucha libre prodigy, but considering who his father is and his experience I’ll be satisfied if he makes it through this match without him looking lost 50% of the time. Hell that may happen anyway with Ares and Malayo involved.
Winners: When in doubt, go with the rudos…except when debuting nepotism is involved. The Centella Roja’s take this and nothing else comes from this ever again.
Arkalis, Asturiano, París vs. Fuerza Chicana, King Jaguar, Sombra Diabólika
What to Expect: Evidently this was the day CMLL decided on MOAR DEBUTS, because we’ve got more fresh meat here in the form of Sombra Diabólika. The good news; unlike Hijo de Centella Roja this new Sombra has been working since at least 2008 around the Arena Puebla/Arena Coliseo area. The bad news; he hasn’t branched out of that area, which either means a) he’s not very good and CMLL is keeping him there to prevent us from seeing him or b) he’s actually La Sombra, having returned from NXT to work Mexico while assuming the identity of this lowly Sombra so Hunter doesn’t notice he’s flown the coop. I don't know why; I'm sure Hunter would accept the news well. In fact, here's a rough sketch of how he'd take it according to my sources.
Alas that scenario isn’t mean to be and thus I wouldn’t have high hopes for this match unless Asturiano and his Valiente styled attire are allowed to truly cut loose. Even if this new Sombra is good his teammates are most decidedly not, while Arkalis and París are just as likely to go full Temple of Doom as they are to go full Last Crusade. And you never go full Temple of Doom folks. Basically your best bet is to hope this Sombra is actually Sombra (or at least a half decent imitation of him), Asturiano is ready to do dives and everyone else just gets out of the way. Otherwise you might as well skip this and do something else. Maybe watch this Last Crusade clip since we’re talking Indiana Jones so much?
Winners: The force is strong in debuts this week. Sombra Numero Dos gets the win for his team in the third fall, pulls off his mask, reveals himself as actual Sombra and screams “IT’S ME HUNTER! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG HUNTER!” This is the point I wake up from my dream by the way.
Pegasso, Rey Samuray, Soberano Jr. vs. Arkángel de la Muerte, Rey Apocalipsis, Toro Bill Jr.
What to Expect: You hear that Mr. Anderson? That’s the sound of CMLL punting this match too! What a pity too because Soberano is involved and you know he’s good for at least one super cool moment. The problem is everyone else; Pegasso has been the poor man’s version of himself in recent weeks, Rey Samuray is, well, Rey Samuray, Rey Apocalipsis and Toro Bill are inconsistent as hell and GOOD GAWD THAT’S ARKÁNGEL’S MUSIC! I don’t know what we did to deserve him returning from ruining CMLL’s future stars after weeks of blissful calm but dammit I want it back! Maybe he gets lost on his way to the arena? Unless he does and everyone not named Soberano starts working like Soberano, you may want to skip this too. Except you won’t because Soberano. He’s that good. Trust me.
Winners: Soberano pins everyone. Yes, even his teammates. He’s just gonna flat out knock them all out ala LL Cool J and pin all of them. How I wish. At least he’ll be pinning one of the rudos to give the technicos the win in fall three. If not, it’ll be Arkángel who will be blending in, disappearing and never seen again because I’ll be after his creaky old ass.
Ángel de Oro, Rey Cometa, Titán vs. Bobby Z, Kráneo, Okumura
What to Expect: It’s as if Tirantes, after laughing his ass off over how badly a show he was constructing through matches 1-3, finally realized “You know what? I should probably put something together that doesn’t suck!” This is that match, and you honestly need to hold your breath here considering its Arena Puebla, the place where restrictions lord over luchadors like John Hurt lorded over England in V for Vendetta. Even still I can’t imagine this match being any worse than okay. The rudos are too reliable (and Kráneo should be more entertaining than usual now that Mije has returned to him), Rey Cometa and Titán are too good and Ángel de Oro is too motivated for this to be anything less. If nothing else it should be a nice warm up before we get to the real main event of the show.
Winners: The next match may throw this result for a loop but it feels like a technico victory. I’ll go with Oro submitting Okumura in the third fall with that modified Billy Goat’s Curse of his after a cool dive sequence with him, Cometa and Titán. The safest of bets as it were.
CMLL World Lightweight Championship Match
Dragón Lee (c) vs. Pólvora
What to Expect: You gotta love CMLL; not only do they always somehow manage to put a high caliber match on a show for us fans but they once again inexplicably put that match second to last because...BECAUSE! And yes this is a safe pick to be a very good match. I would’ve had my doubts prior to yesterday, but then I watched a shit ton of Pólvora while doing research for my column on him. He’s damn good folks and better yet he’s damn good against smaller luchadors who love to defy gravity and death at every opportunity. And who represents that in CMLL these days more than Dragón Lee?
Now here are a few concerns I have. First, as I said in regards to the preceding trios match, it’s Arena Puebla. They aren’t as laid back as Arena Mexico (which isn’t exactly laid back either), which means the normal stuff these two would do might not be done here. Second, Pólvora’s track record of great championship singles matches is well documented but he hasn’t had one in quite a bit; does he still have the magic? And thirdly, what Dragón Lee are we going to get; the one who goes all out and looks like a mega star or the one who takes nights off and just hits the standard amount of acceptable spots? I can’t lie and say those things don’t give me some pause in regards to this match. Even still they’re minor in the grand scheme; Lee is Lee, Pólvora is as reliable a vet as they come in lucha and Arena Puebla wasn’t able to stop matches like Carístico-UG, Volador-UG and even Dragón Rojo Jr.-Ángel de Oro from being great earlier this year. I expect it’ll be unable to do the same for these two. I’m just hoping it reaches the potential it can, because if it does this match will be something special.
Winner: Maybe it’s because I wrote about him just yesterday but I’m rooting for Pólvora. Besides that it makes no sense for him to win; he doesn’t need a title, Lee just won the title back from Kamaitachi not too long ago (although the Kamaitachi reign was so short that you can argue Lee’s held the belt for a good portion of the last year and a half) and Lee’s higher on the food chain than Pólvora, unless you don’t think headlining CMLL’s biggest show qualifies him. I can’t see him losing this match and he won’t, taking it in three falls. Sorry Pólvora; maybe you can beat Máximo for the Heavyweight belt? I wouldn’t mind that.
Atlantis, Diamante Azul, Johnny Idol vs. Hechicero, Shocker, Vangellys
What to Expect: Other than Shocker everyone here is acceptable. Unfortunately this match will be going on after a hot title match and thus will likely be nothing more than five guys looking to get to their dinner reservations as quickly as possible. I say four because Johnny Idol and Hechicero will still undoubtedly do something here that’s super cool while working their asses off till the end. That’s why we love these guys. I just hope Hechicero and everyone else can cope with Diamante pinning him to end this match. Shit, spoilers!
Winners: That wasn’t a joke I just made folks; I would bank on Diamante pinning Hechicero in the third fall followed by a quick succession of face palms, table flips and pictures like this from the lucha community.
Is it that big of a deal? Not for me it isn’t. I like Diamante as a performer still and his flaws are much better hidden in matches like these, where he can just do his cool power moves, Monkey Flips and dives without being exposed. Unless this is setting up him taking Hechicero’s title away (it won’t) it won’t be a bother. That doesn’t mean it won’t be for others folks. I’m telling you; expect this result. You’ll see more salt than the last Sexy Star victory. When was that again?
And I’m spent! That’s the show sports fans; I’ll be back tomorrow to preview a BIG Lucha Underground show this Wednesday, a medium sized CMLL show this Tuesday and review this show we just talked about. It’s gonna be BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. Till you can get over me quoting the animated Frosty the Snowman, here’s DUCHOVNY to soothe your soul.