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CMLL/New Japan FantasticaMania: Night Five Preview
To order New Japan World and watch FantasticaMania or not to order New Japan World and watch FantasticaMania; that is the question. Well at least it’s the question I’ve been asking myself over the past few weeks. On one hand I like my sleep, I haven’t been given any assignment from Rudo Can’t Fail to cover the shows and I really, REALLY like my sleep. On the other hand I’ve regretted not staying up to watch Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada from a few weeks ago and, honestly, the thought of watching lucha libre in the wee hours of the morning as myself and the other hardcore members of the lucha community go nuts online is something that feels like it shouldn’t be passed up. And so I’m not going to pass it up. I’m officially in on the final three FantasticaMania shows and as such this calls for a preview of all three. Don’t worry; they aren’t at the same time! Instead we’ll start with the early Friday morning show, which is MONEY, and you’ll see why once we get to the semi-main and the main event. So let’s not waste time getting to those. Moses, to Korakuen Hall!
Blue Panther Jr. & Henare vs. Ephesto & Will Ospreay
What to Expect: Junior! Will Ospreay! IN THE SAME MATCH! Of all the combinations you could think of in wrestling, never in a million years did I expect to see something like Blue Panther Jr. and Will Ospreay on opposing sides. Sadly I doubt they’re working together much, which means poor Junior is stuck with Ephesto. To be honest, this is the one match I’m not entirely sure of on the card. Ospreay is without question one of the best high flyers in the world and I think everyone knows I’m a Junior mark by now (though I have heard he’s struggled on this tour), but Ephesto is Ephesto and I had never heard of this Henare guy prior to looking up the card. Considering all of that this match could end up being quite good or it could be quite mediocre. Let’s hope it’s the former.
Winners: Junior hasn’t had too much luck at FantasticaMania thus far, but he is 1-0 with Henare as his partner so that’s a potential good sign. That and the fact that I have a soft spot for the youngster leads to me picking him and Henare to win. Just please CMLL (or Gedo, whichever one of you is booking this) give me at least two minutes of Junior-Ospreay interactions and please make sure it works as smoothly as possible.
Jushin Liger, Soberano Jr., Tiger Mask vs. Gedo, Jado, Raziel
What to Expect: You gotta love FantasticaMania; it’s legit the only tour in the world where an exciting young luchador like Soberano can go from the undercards of Arena Mexico to teaming with Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask in the span of a week. How he’s been able to perform in these matches is beyond me. I’d have this look on my face the entire time and be incapable of getting anything done.
Anyways, Soberano and his legendary pals get Raziel, Jado and Gedo here and I honestly have no idea how to feel about it. I at least know Raziel is pretty good on his best day and considering where he is he’s probably going all out. But Jado and Gedo are mysteries to me; the only things I know about either of them is that Gedo is New Japan’s booker, both are members of Chaos and wherever Kazuchika Okada goes Gedo is at least with 30 feet. Whether they can still work or not is beyond me. Even if they can’t though, Raziel is more than capable, Liger and Tiger Mask both have some hops left and Soberano is so tremendous that I can’t imagine this is anything less than good. Really I’m just super stoked to see Soberano get this opportunity. You will not find many young luchadors more talented than this dude, and I hope he takes advantage of the opportunity he has to get people’s attention.
Winners: When in doubt, go with the head booker! Gedo, Jado and Raziel take this one after Raziel pins Soberano. I know; even in Japan Soberano can’t escape putting over Raziel!
Máximo Sexy & Stuka Jr. vs. Hechicero & Okumura
What to Expect: This will be the prelude to the big CMLL World Heavyweight Championship match Máximo and Hechicero have the next day. That match should be spectacular, whereas this match will be…good? Honestly I’d expect this match to be a bit more laid back than that championship match is guaranteed to be. Máximo can go all out, but he’s not going to do too much here when he knows he can go all out the next day and get by on his antics for this match. Plus he’s got Stuka with him and you know Stuka is capable of taking some of the load. I’d expect at least a few Stuka dives, Máximo playing to the crowd, Okumura doing the usual Okumura things and Hechicero giving the greatest effort because he’s Hechicero and he never slows down. Should be an enjoyable undercard bout before we get to the meat.
Winners: I really, REALLY want Hechicero to win the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship during this tour and conventional wrestling wisdom suggests him losing here to Máximo would likely signal a change (then again, when has conventional wrestling wisdom ever been involved with recent CMLL?). Alas I can’t bank on that and I won’t. Hechicero will win this match with a submission on Máximo to lead into their match; likely meaning Hechicero has no chance at the title. Dammit now I’m sad. I promised myself I wouldn’t get sad over this. Dammit Cult!
Atlantis, David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Bushi, EVIL, Naito, Rush, Sanada
What to Expect: Good Grodd; look at all the names in this one! On the rudo side we have the one true Los Ingobernables lineup that would be the greatest starting five ever if the technico side didn’t feature one of five greatest luchadors of all time (Atlantis), one of the greatest wrestlers of all time (Tanahashi) and one of the best junior/cruiserweight/light heavyweight wrestlers in the world today (Kushida). It doesn’t even matter if the son of Fit Finaly and Ryusuke Taguchi don’t measure up (and they’re both very good in their own right); those three are so great you could put Jordan and Pippin against them and you’d have a hard time picking which was greater. That spectacle alone will carry this match, which should be pretty good anyway considering all five are good workers and we have a Rush-Atlantis match to get to the next day. Provided they get fifteen minutes at least this should be quite a bit of fun, and definitely is the first true big match on this card.
Winners: Ingobernables steal this one with Rush pinning Atlantis as the final chapter before those two collide on Saturday. Have I mentioned how stoked I am for that match?
Juice Robinson, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs. Euforia, Okada, Último Guerrero
What to Expect: All you need to know about this one is that Volador and Okada are on opposing sides, they’re probably going to cross paths and the internet will react like this.
Luckily the rest of this match should be pretty fly as well, even if we are getting more UG-Volador sequences that I could probably go a few years without seeing. Euforia will get some shine with Mistico due to their big match coming up on Sunday, Okada is Okada and Juice Robinson has highly impressed me every time I’ve seen him since he left WWE. Hell I thought he was even a tad bit better in ring than Cody Rhodes during their match together at Wrestle Kingdom, especially from a selling standpoint. Whatever way you slice it, these six should have an excellent match that could border on being great if they’re looking to do so.
Winners: Seeing as UG-Volador and Euforia-Mistico have an extra day to set up their matches, I’m going with Juice, Mistico and Volador to take this one after Mistico gets Euforia with La Mistica. Again though the result is meaningless; all I want is Volador and Okada to face off for at least three minutes. Give me that and I’ll never complain about the rudos winning every match on the Tuesday show ever again CMLL. I mean it.
Titán vs. Hiromu Takahashi (Kamaitachi)
What to Expect: The first of two straight matches that make it worth getting up so early in the morning. I love everything about this match folks. It’s got two exceptional young talents, a hidden gem in Titán who will without question be looking to prove a point (to both New Japan and CMLL) and best of all it’s a fresh matchup. Other than a September 2015 Lightning Match (which you cannot even find on YouTube) Titan and Kamaitachi have never tangled one on one before and even if you have seen that previous match I’d imagine they’ll get significantly more time to work their magic here than they did on that fateful Tuesday night. In short; get up early and watch this match folks. It may not be the Dragón Lee-Kamaitachi rematch everyone wanted (that’s coming next month) but this is basically the next best thing (plus, aren’t we a tad sick of Kamaitachi-Lee by now anyway?). This should be a hell of a match.
Winner: It’s interesting to me that Kamaitachi’s Junior Heavyweight Title isn’t on the line here. I mean I’m still picking him to win considering it’s his home turf and all. But I must admit the non title stipulation has my attention. Don’t be surprised at all if Titán pulls off the upset.
CMLL World Lightweight Championship Match
Dragón Lee (c) vs. Cavernario
What to Expect: If you’re thinking about coming up for air after the shit Titán and Kamaitachi are going to do then you’re out of luck because this match promises to be just as crazy. Like the last match this is completely fresh for most people. Lee and Cavernario have actually worked together numerous times in trios matches and even three singles bouts, but two of those were En Busca de un Ídolo 2014 matches (which went 9:57 and 7:04 minutes respectively) and their lone legit singles match took place in Guadalajara and thus wasn’t streamed. Thus this is basically new ground for us and them and considering both luchadors are out of their gorram minds I expect this match to be as such. It’ll get tough competition from the semi-main but provided both men are at the top of their game and the energy level is high this should be the match of the night, no question. In fact I dare say it may be the match of FantasticaMania when all is said and done.
Winner: I’m going upset folks! I was planning on picking Dragón Lee initially, but the more I think about it the more I’m not sure he’s going to be around in Mexico all that much this year with New Japan looking to use him. Granted that means little considering CMLL titles are treated like glorified props, but I just can’t see CMLL keeping that belt on Lee if he’ll be here working with Kamaitachi and Kushida for an extended period. As such, I expect Cavernario to shock the world and pull off the upset by defeating Dragón Lee with La Cavernaria, winning his second ever title for CMLL in the process. You heard it here first.
On that note let’s get out of here. I’ll be back bright and early at 4:30 tomorrow to review this show, followed by previews for the next FantasticaMania show on Saturday and a preview of The Crash’s big show that same day. That is if exhaustion doesn’t kill me first. Till next time, no sleep till DUCHOVNY!