CMLL Puebla: The Return of Octagon
Let’s be real sports fans; if this had been any other CMLL Puebla show, I would’ve scrapped the review hours ago and gone back to enjoying Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But this was no ordinary Puebla show…well if you don’t count the fact that most of the matches were dread. No, this show featured the return of lucha libre legend Octagón, making his first appearance in CMLL since the 90’s. Because of that, I couldn’t just leave this show well enough alone; it had to be documented. And so it has. So without any further gilding of the lily and with no more ado, let’s get to it so I can tell you just how big of a moment it was when Octagón returned tonight. Moses, you know what time it is.
Black Tiger, Lestat, Tigre Rojo defeated El Malayo, Fuerza Chicana, Guerrero Especial two falls to one
I have seen some dull matches in my day, but this was by far the dullest match I’ve ever had the misfortune of coming across. Jumper was more interesting than this match. I shouldn’t be too surprised; all three rudos and Black Tiger are as interesting as a Roman Reigns promo and there was little to no chance they were giving us anything worthwhile to watch. What stuns me is that they provided Lestat and Tigre Rojo no opportunity to do cool shit. Those two are as underrated as they come on the Puebla circuit, yet they’re only positive moments were the end of the second and third fall, when they finished off the rudos with some top rope dives (Rojo even hit a 450 in fall three). Beyond that, they were just guys tonight in a match that I wouldn’t watch again if Yvonne Strahovski asked me to. That’s not true; I would then, but only cause it was Yvonne. And I still wouldn’t enjoy it at all, aside from the dives and the facts that the technicos won for once.
Mini Joker, Pequeño Nitro, Pequeño Olímpico defeated Asturiano, París, Último Dragóncito two falls to one
I had high hopes for this match then París replaced Astro and I immediately reverted back to an emotion I haven’t felt since Rajai Davis tied up Game 7 in the eighth inning. In fairness, this was significantly better worked than the first match, which was dull as shit and not even close to good. The problem is this was still dull as shit anyway; nothing of consequence happened, no excitement happened. It was at this point I really started to wonder if Octagón had paid people off to look bad so he looked much better by comparison. Just a nothing match that really needed someone like Astro, a unique talent who tries hard every time, to prop it up. Instead we got six guys willing to just go through the motions till Mini Joker brought it to a conclusion.
Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora, Vangellys defeated Ángel de Oro, Drone, Soberano Jr. two falls to one
It took three matches but finally, THANKFULLY, CMLL got something that was actually watchable. Granted it still wasn’t great by any stretch, but after the coma inducing boredom that was the first two matches, anything passable was welcome and this match was that. I would’ve preferred someone other than Vangellys have been Dragón Rojo and Pólvora’s partner, but he didn’t mess anything up and the rudos were fine, albeit a bit sloppier than usual. That left the technicos to do stuff, with Ángel de Oro and Drone doing enough to get by and Soberano, of course, doing more. I’m pretty sure you could stick that dude in a 711 parking lot at 2 in the morning somewhere, in front of three people, and he’d still give his all. He’s just wired that way. All the more reason we love him and why we sit through matches like these in the hopes he’ll deliver. He did; it’s just a shame he was the only one who was in this match.
Cavernario, Mr. Niebla, Sam Adonis defeated Blue Panther, Johnny Idol, Valiente two falls to one
This match had the unfortunate distinction of happening at the exact moment AAA grew some balls and actually stripped Sexy Star of the Reina de Reinas Champion. That’s right folks; IT ACUTALLY HAPPENED!
Aside from that casting a large shadow over this match, it ended up being pretty okay. Nothing that reinvented the wheel or anything, but the action was decent and entertaining, especially once things got to the third fall and everyone started to do more. As usual, the most interesting person was Sam Adonis. He and Blue Panther got to tangle on a stream again for the first time in awhile and looked good, and CMLL actually surprised me by playing up the issues between Sam and Cavernario during the opening parts of the match. I have no idea if that means CMLL is actually going to run with that program some day, but it’s at least nice to see there’s still some life there. That, Niebla being Niebla and Cavernario getting just enough to do (he got to nail his launch pad dropkick off the top again!) was enough to make this a fun watch, at least compared to the dread in the opener.
Mistico, Octagón, Volador Jr. defeated Gran Guerrero, Satoshi Kojima, Último Guerrero two falls to one
You are about to read words I never thought I’d type about a CMLL Puebla show; this was one of the most surreal matches I’ve ever seen. Of course it had nothing to do with match quality and everything to do with the fact that Octagón, lucha legend and dude who loves interrupting autograph signings with armed bodyguards, made his return to CMLL. And it’s not like he had just been gone for a few years sports fans; this dude (not counting a joint show AAA and CMLL did once in 2000) hasn’t appeared on a show with CMLL’s name on it in 25 years, when he, Konnan and Antonio Peña all left to form AAA. Not only had he appeared but, because of how much anger Paco Alonso had towards the three for forming AAA, it was expected he’d never show his face in CMLL again. And yet here we are. I get Paco has softened in his old age and, in fairness, Octagón has yet to make his official Arena Mexico return under the CMLL banner (he worked there several times for Elite). But my Grodd if this isn’t the lucha libre equivalent of Bret Hart returning after the Montreal Screwjob or LeBron James returning to Cleveland after “The Decision.” If you feel a chill tonight, it’s because hell now resembles the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.
As for the match itself…well let’s be real now, this was never about how good it was going to be, it was all about Octagón’s return and how weird/odd/good it would be to see him back in the place he started his career. Match quality was pretty much irrelevant, which is good because Octagón was arguably the third best worker in this match. That’s not praise. The President of the Bread Club himself, Kojima, pretty much coasted throughout this match, Gran Guerrero continued to look like one of the most underwhelming Anniversary Show headliners ever and Mistico had a surprising off night, slipping on the ropes and not being nearly as tight with his hurricanranas as usual. That left it up to UG, Volador and (gulp) Octagón to carry the load, and they did as best they could. Volador gave a nice performance in cruise control mode. The UG, in my opinion, was sensational, working to make everything look good, covering for Mistico on his big botch and working his tail off with Octagón in order to give the legend a respectable debut. And to his credit Octagón was as good as he could’ve been; he looked to be in better shape than anyone expected, tried hard and at times looked to be good (his suicide dive was legit decent, and probably the only part of the match where UG failed him). He also sold terribly throughout most of the match and clearly can only do so much, but for a one off performance this was more than acceptable. Certainly this shouldn’t be something to expect every time out from the 56 year old and I fear CMLL is going to use him way, WAY too much. But, at least for this night, it was good to see him again, he wasn’t the worst thing on the show and the surreal imagery of him actually back in CMLL made up for whatever deficiencies this match had. Welcome back Octagón. Just please; leave the armed bodyguards out of this. I don’t need to see those dudes ever again.
And that’s it folks. I’m off till tomorrow, where I’ll possibly review the Tuesday show if it doesn’t make me want to tear my eyes out. Till we meet again, THIS!