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CMLL Super Viernes: The Great Disappointment?
Ladies, gentlemen, lucha fans of all ages…I reckon you’re probably not feeling so hot right now. Earlier today CMLL announced that their 83rd Anniversary Show would take place on September 2nd, an exciting announcement for all lucha crazies considering Triplemania and the Lucha Underground are also being held in the same week and a half block. After tonight’s Super Viernes show however, it seems as though any excitement has now swung firmly into the AAA/LU camp, leaving CMLL colder than when Mr. Freeze is coming. Some of that in my opinion is misguided; I found a lot to like about tonight’s show, be it the second and third matches, the set up of a young luchador getting a huge match at the big show and a card that outside of the opening bout didn’t feature anything bad. That being said, the momentum to kick the Road to the Anniversary Show into high gear was missing and numerous other factors combined with that to leave this night feeling a little disappointed. Let’s dig into why. Moses, meme me with your best shot.
Eléctrico & Último Dragóncito defeated Mercurio & Pequeño Nitro two falls to one
What turned out to be a surprisingly disappointing night for many fans began with a surprisingly disappointing opening match. Many, such as myself, were expecting this to be a repeat of last week’s really great minis match, especially since it four of the competitors from said match. Instead this match was weighed down by a really, REALLY bad performance by Eléctrico. Last week’s standout never seemed to get into the flow of the match and proceeded to botch several moves and look sloppy even when he did hit something. Even with the other guys giving a good effort and working quite well (especially Mercurio, who truly did carry over his solid work from last week), Eléctrico’s piss poor work was enough to leave a bad taste in the mouth to start this show and it may have been enough to give CMLL pause about the minis featuring at all on the Anniversary Show.
Fujin, Okumura, Raijin defeated Oro Jr., Pegasso, Soberano Jr. two falls to one
If the first match justifies the feelings many had for this show tonight, the second match (and the third, but more on that later) should serve as a reminder that there was still plenty of good on this show. I was heavily impressed with what I saw here. There wasn’t a ton of flash and I think some may take points off because there were so few dives, but overall I thought the match worked just fine to generate excitement even without all that. As expected, the New Japan rudo squad looked better than they did the last time. The chemistry between Fujin and Raijin remains off the charts (how about those double team moves they used to end the match?!), their individual work looked much improved and Okumura was highly impressive, delivering a great number of high impact moves at a high level. On the technico side, everyone but Pegasso clicked from the go, and even Pegasso figured it out by the third fall, shaking off the nerves and finally finding some chemistry with Okumura (who served as his dance partner most of the night). Even if he hadn’t, Oro and Soberano were both solid and electrifying enough a presence (Soberano attempted a standing 450 and landed on his feet for crying out loud!) that the match would’ve suffered little anyway. Sometimes as long as you do the little things right to a high enough degree a match can still be entertaining. That’s what this was to me, and this should set up all six men pretty well for a spot on the big show.
Golden Magic, Sharlie Rockstar, Súper Crazy defeated Bobby Z, Rey Bucanero, Vangellys two falls to one
Here’s where the show peaked with what turned out to be the undisputed Match of the Evening (even with the second match making a surprising run). Aside from a really weird Countout finish to the first fall this match checked everything off; it set things up, it featured a lot of excitement and surprisingly a lot of dives. Oh and it also gave us more than a glimpse on what Golden Magic could do and if Sharlie Rockstar’s performance last week was a fluke or not. For the first question, we learned that Magic has a really bright future ahead of him if he can stay healthy; he flashed some heavily athleticism and some great dives throughout the match, including a corkscrew moonsault towards the end that might’ve been the best dive of the night. Meanwhile Rockstar…I don’t even know what to say. I came into the match he was in last week expecting him to resemble a Shocker or Cibernetico; a washed up older star living off his name. Instead he heavily impressed last week and was somehow even more impressive this week, delivering a few more really nice suicide dives, a really nice springboard hurricanrana and an overall consistent level of in ring productivity. In the past two weeks no one has made the most out of the minutes they’ve been given than this guy. Not even the mini Jason Heyward comeback in the Cubs game today was as surprising.
The match was more than just those two performances however. I thought the rudos team was overall impressive (even if Bobby Z could’ve been given more to do) and most importantly CMLL wisely continued to build up this budding Super Crazy-Rey Bucanero feud. I know it’s puzzling to some people (looking at you Rob Viper) as to why CMLL and Elite chose this feud to be the crossover, but both men have carried themselves with a fire during their interactions the past two weeks (I loved that Crazy had to brawl with Bucanero right from the start tonight) and at the end of the day these are two talented guys who will be able to deliver an above average match. That’s all we ask for in the end right? I’m quite comfortable with what I’ve seen here, be it the interactions, the fact that Crazy seems to be in the best shape he’s been in years or just the fact I know these two can deliver, to believe that these two will give us something good when the time comes. Just as long as they take care of Rockstar in the end. Seriously; would anyone complain if CMLL chose him over Mascara to headline the Anniversary Show at this point? Who says no?!
Cavernario, Felino, Negro Casas defeated Máscara Dorada, Mistico, Valiente two falls to one
And here is where the wheels came off. This match was supposed to easily take the Match of the Evening award…and to be honest was on the way to doing just that. The first fall between these two teams was excellent, with all the great Negro Casas work you’d expect and all the crazy dives you’d figure Dorada, Mistico and Valiente would deliver. The problem; somewhere in between all the chaos Mistico dislocated his shoulder completely out of socket, forcing him out of the match and forcing the remaining five men to complete an improvised finish. I thought they did what they could do and for a moment it looked like CMLL may even pull a rabbit out of the hat by giving Valiente a huge run in the third fall down three men to one. Alas it wasn’t to be, and you really can’t blame anyone for throwing the plans out after Mistico got hurt. Overall this match was fine for what they could do and no one is going to throw stones for something that was out of the luchador’s hands, but it was pretty clear following this incident that the show wasn’t quite going to live up to what people wanted. In the end, I think I speak for everyone when I say I hope this injury isn’t too serious and that Mistico is back sooner than later. The man has been so damn good in recent months, and to get injured now and miss the Anniversary Show would be an absolute travesty.
La Máscara defeated Dragon Lee two falls to none
I’m of two minds of this match. On one hand, especially after the preceding match, it boggles my mind that CMLL only gave this match a little more than five minutes. This is the second straight week the company has given La Mascara a big time match up only to short change the match on time; at some point they need to give the man the opportunity to show whether or not he can sink or swim in a high pressure situation, especially considering he’s likely going to a headliner at CMLL’s biggest show of the year. I get that some of this was out of their hands considering the unpredictable injury that happened one match prior, but the lack of time here combined with the skepticism that exists over Mascara’s push already just gave this a bad look.
On the other hand, I wasn’t disappointed with the performances of either guy or what the booking of the match seems to be leading to. Say what you will about Mascara, but his rudo work tonight was really inspired; I thought he worked his ass off to get over as a ruthless villain and ultimately I thought he was able to get the crowd to hate him, as opposed to the general indifference they have towards him. Meanwhile Dragon Lee looked very sharp coming off his injury (another reason the match may have been short) and even though I didn’t love Mascara kicking out of all his big moves it was clear that things are being set up for him to eventually overcome his rival in a big way. That last point is ultimately why the end result didn’t bother me. Yes Mascara will still factor into the top of the Anniversary Show card over people that may be more talented and yes CMLL is still heavily protecting him for what seems to be little to no reason. But this finish and the quick post match promo (where Lee challenged Mascara to a mask vs. mask match and was violently rebuffed) firmly established that Dragon Lee and not Rush will be taking on Mascara at the show, which a) is great because Dragon Lee totally deserves a huge singles match at the Anniversary Show and b) it frees Rush to still potentially have the huge match we all want for that show, him vs. L.A. Park. So even though it’s easy to shit on what just happened and easy to just hate on Mascara being heavily involved, there’s still a lot to be positive about here as opposed to just being flat out dismissive. Hence why I can’t be just yet. Maybe I will be next week or the week after, but for now I’m okay with the direction and interested to see what they do next.
Marco Corleone, Máximo Sexy, Volador Jr. defeated Shocker, Terrible, Último Guerrero two falls to one
I have no problem with this match for what it ultimately was, which was an entertaining bout mainly used to placate the live crowd. It did just that; Maximo went full HAM with his act, UG acted as the perfect foil to him by at first no selling his antics and then letting them get the better of him, Terrible did Terrible things, Shocker was used wisely and (thankfully) sparingly and the Marco/Volador combo flew around as much as they could. I could’ve gone for more UG/Volador stuff considering they’re feuding in Puebla, but they interacted enough to remind you of issues and it was clear by this point of the night CMLL wasn’t going overboard to set anything concrete up for the Anniversary Show. In short; I can see why some people had a problem with this match, but it didn’t personally offend me. That pretty much sums up my feelings on this show too!
That’ll do it boys and girls. You’ll see me again Sunday Night to preview Monday’s Puebla show. Till then, some Batman v Superman stuff, because I did this column while watching the Ultimate Edition! Ain’t I a boss multi-tasker?
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