CMLL Super Viernes: No FantasticaMania? No Problem
So you know how CMLL's show tonight was supposed to be kind of meh with a quarter of the roster doing FantasticaMania in Japan? NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Turns out the new look, different taste CMLL is, in fact, doing things differently and for the better so far this year, with five of tonight's matches (in my eyes) delivering and one of the matches being so average it didn't matter either way. Taking last week's show into account, the two passable shows from earlier this week AND the Negro Casas-Sam Adonis match, CMLL is looking poised to have a pretty strong 2018. But don't just take my word for it...take my word for it. Should've thought that out. Let's move on now.
Eléctrico & Stukita defeated Mercurio & Pequeño Nitro two falls to one
And so Eléctrico’s time in the Mini-Estrella division ended the same way it usually went; with very little fanfare and the substance of a Jessica Alba performance. In fairness, Eléctrico did have one of his better performances in his final Minis match, hitting his big headscissors spots far better than usual and just overall looking like a guy who was motivated. Hey I would be too if I was moving on up in the world. There’s just so much Stukita (who was his usual solid self) and an above average Eléctrico performance are going to out of Mercurio and Nitro, who are about five more lazy performances away from being christened with the name The Sleep Walkers. They’re that boring to watch these days. In the end this wasn’t about them though, and I for one would like to congratulate Eléctrico for going out on top in his final match with the Minis. Let’s all hold onto that when he’s lost 80 consecutive matches to Raziel and Cancerbero by this time next year. Somewhere, Astral and Príncipe Diamante are nodding in sadness.
Cancerbero, Raziel, Universo 2000 Jr. defeated Flyer, Pegasso, Stigma two falls to one
It’s not very often that CMLL has matches where little high flying happens and the action is still above average, and in those rare events the bouts generally involve Blue Panther, Virus or Negro Casas. This was one of those super rare times where the match was fun without a lot of death spots and without any of those three dudes. Hats off to all six luchadors for pulling it off. Universo Jr. is still green and was definitely the weak part of the match, but I thought he improved as he went along and you can tell that he’s going to be something when he finally gets a hang of things. Everyone else was above average. Cancerbero and Raziel were awesome destroying Stigma in the first and second fall. Stigma gave a better than usual performance. Pegasso was a million times better than I expected, working like he had a point to prove. And Flyer was Flyer, only a little toned down as compared to his recent performances (which isn’t a bad thing at all). I’ll probably be the only one who thought this and you can certainly understand people wishing the match had some extra oomph, but overall I thought this was a good match that never bored me.
Sagrado, Tiger, Virus defeated Blue Panther Jr., The Panther, Tritón two falls to one
It was just ten days ago when, in the midst of a potentially great match with The Panther, Tritón went for a Corkscrew Moonsault and ended up knocking himself silly to the point that he couldn’t finish the match. That sort of thing would’ve made lesser luchadors (*cough* Oro Jr. *cough*) a little gun shy next time out. How did Tritón respond? By doing a death bump off a missed suicide dive in fall one, hitting a West Coast Pop in fall two and then pulling off a Triangle Rope Walk Hurricanrana off the apron in fall three. Let that be a lesson to all you young luchadors. When you fall, don’t give up; get right back up and do something even crazier! How else can you become like Tritón the Lucha Libre God?
Tritón’s absolute brilliance aside, this match was super fun. Well aside from that weird sequence where Tiger and Junior momentarily forgot what they were doing, but hey, mistakes happen. Everything else clicked, from Virus and Panther starting things off with some great mat work to the escalation in action the rest of the way. Perhaps the only negative here is that I keep going back to Tritón as the highlight performer, with the rudos serving as great bases and both Junior and Panther coming off as just pretty good in comparison. I guess that’s what happens when, I’ll say it again, your partner does a Triangle Rope Walk Hurricanrana off the apron. It just can’t be topped. Props to Tritón for getting back up and doing that, props to Sagrado for doing a great job protecting him on it and props to everyone overall for a solid effort. A very fun match.
Titán defeated Rey Cometa
This was pretty much exactly what I expected going in; Titán got most of the flashy offense, Cometa got one dive in while mostly keeping things grounded and overall the two had a really strong match. I maybe would’ve had it go more towards the ten minute mark and it did seem like Titán was holding back a bit, but that could just be me comparing his performance to the one his old partner had just a few minutes before. Overall, this was really good and the best part may have been the end where Titán broke out this new cradle style submission that turned into a cradle pin that Cometa had no chance of escaping. Even Blue Panther would’ve been proud of that pretzel Titán used. Good match and perhaps will go down as one of the better Lightning Matches we’ll see all year.
Blue Panther, Stuka Jr., Valiente defeated Ephesto, Mephisto, Sam Adonis two falls to one
How on earth can I be expected to hate a match when it starts out with Blue Panther and Negro Casas presenting Sam with this brand new flag?
I mean look at that beaut! The only things that could possibly be more beautiful than that are Yvonne Strahovski, the Abbi sings “Edge of Glory” scene from Broad City, Blade Runner 2049’s visual effects, that Tritón Triangle Rope Walk Hurricanrana off the apron and the day the man on Sam’s new flag gets dragged out of the White House kicking and screaming. Besides that, this takes the cake, not just because it’s hilarious but because it immediately got this match off to a hot start that never relented. They didn’t tear down new ground here but the crowd absolutely loved everything these guys did and why wouldn’t they; Valiente and Stuka were doing impactful dives, Mephisto (who ironically wore a mask that made him appear balder than Sam’s flag) was solid, Ephesto got to do absolutely nothing (always a plus) and I’ll be damned if Sam and Blue Panther aren’t still magic together. Hell I’ll be damned if Blue Panther isn’t straight magic period; everything he does is just an absolute joy to watch (and oh yeah, his hair is growing back in. Someone tell Bryan Danielson!). As a result, so was most of this match, and I kind of wish CMLL had decided to go all in on Sam-Panther II for next week instead of what they did in the main event. Not that that was bad but come on; you aren’t beating the bald Trump Flag and the wig removal spot. That’s just tops.
Carístico, Diamante Azul, Marco Corleone defeated Kráneo, Terrible, Vangellys two falls to one
Turns out I was dead right that CMLL was setting up a heavyweight championship match with this main event. Of course since Diamante Azul didn’t actually challenge Terrible after the match I can’t say for sure it’ll be next week, but the way they feuded tonight guarantees it’s happening at some point. And you know what; that’s fine with me. It may not have Trump Flags or wig pulls, but Terrible is awesome and Diamante Azul is still underrated in my eyes, which means they should be able to have a pretty decent encounter. Hell tonight was evidence they could as I actually enjoyed this main event far more than I expected. We had Kráneo being Kráneo, Marco being Marco, Carístico getting in a decent move here and there, the Diamante-Terrible stuff and, get ready for this, Vangellys hitting a cool looking spear out of the ring and onto the ramp on Marco. VANGELLYS DID SOMETHING RAD! You’d have to go back to that scene where he yelled “OF COURSE!” in Street Fighter for the last time that happened. Considering neither Shocker nor Mr. Niebla (who Vangellys replaced) was going to do that, I’d say we can call his last minute sub a big win. Just like this match and just like this show, which this match summed up pretty damn well. Who knew that everyone going away to FantasticaMania wouldn’t hurt so much…he says before next week’s card features Tritón jobbing out to a returning Skándalo and Diamante Azul nearly killing himself and Terrible on a Monkey Flip attempt. You’re gorram right I’m attempting a reverse jinx with that last paragraph.
And with that, it’s time to retire! I’ll be back tomorrow with the final part of the Legend of Mike Vernon column, which got delayed today on account of me having to go to the grocery store. Hey, can’t write if I can’t eat! Till we meet again, some Gary Thorne and Bill Clement (with a John Davidson cameo)!