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CMLL/New Japan FantasticaMania: Night Six Preview
Night Five of FantasticaMania is in the books, which means Night Six is only one day and even less sleep away. Good Grodd these shows are going to be the death of me. I’ve got more columns to do today folks and want some relaxation time in between, so we’re really not going to waste any time here. Moses, meme meme meme!
Blue Panther Jr., Henare, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask vs. Ephesto, Gedo, Jado, Raziel
What to Expect: Today it was Soberano teaming with legends Liger and Tiger Mask; tomorrow it’ll be Junior and Henare’s turn. Lucky bastards. I’d expect a combination of those two matches here, with Junior, Henare and Raziel getting a lot of shine, Ephesto hitting his dive, Tiger Mask and Liger doing enough cool things to satisfy the quota and Gedo and Jado dropping more F bombs than a South Park episode. It’s such a shame we didn’t get those two against Ospreay during the streamed shows, if only so we could get a glimpse of what a Tarantino film about wrestling would be like.
Winners: Once again the youngster will prevail over the vet, with Junior submitting Raziel with Nudo Laguerno. Please note that we may need to find a new booker for CMLL’s Tuesday show when this happens, on account of the old one blowing his brains out in anger over a young luchador beating a veteran. You just don’t do that folks!
Stuka Jr. vs. Okumura
What to Expect: Holy early singles match Batman! I know a lot of people who would’ve preferred someone like Soberano get a singles match over Okumura. I wouldn’t have been opposed to that either but come on peeps; this show is in Japan, Okumura is from Japan. As The Killers would say, it’s only natural. On top of that I reckon this match will be pretty solid. Okumura may not be special like a bunch of other luchadors but he’s nowhere near awful either and actually has a pretty decent move set all things considered. He’s like a good NBA bench player; he doesn’t excel at everything but he does most things well, and he’ll do most things well here against an above average performer in Stuka, who I’m sure will be motivated to do well in his first singles match since…gosh I don’t even remember. It’s been awhile. All the more reason to expect this match to be better than what some are saying.
Winner: Okumura gets the W in his home country, pinning Stuka after a second Nail in the Coffin. And yes, I’m forever referring to the Michinoku Driver as the Nail in the Coffin. I saw Vamp do it first folks and that’s how I remember it; don’t try to change me.
Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi, Soberano Jr. vs. Cavernario, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay
What to Expect: Will be interesting to see what they do with this match considering Cavernario may not be able to go following that dislocated shoulder injury. If he’s there and at 100% then this match could be special, what with Kushida, Soberano, Ospreay and Cavernario likely to be flying around. Even if he isn’t there this match still has a good shot as long as BONE SOLDIER isn’t the guy brought in to replace Cavernario. I just have to requests for CMLL and New Japan here; give me Soberano and Ospreay going at it for five minutes and Soberano and Okada going at it for three. That’s all. I’m not saying he should pint them, get highlighted over Kushida or Taguchi or anything like that; just let the kid work with those two and watch the magic happen. I’m getting chills just think about it right now!
Winners: Team Okada takes this after Okada Rainmaker’s Taguchi and his weird ass mask all the way to the Tokyo Dome.
David Finlay, Dragón Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Titán vs. Bushi, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi (Kamaitachi), Naito, Sanada
What to Expect: Chris Tucker, sum up this match for us.
Gorram right it’s going to be crazy. Look at the talent here. You’ve got Dragón Lee, Titán, David Finlay (who was really good in short bursts during Night Five) and Tanahashi one side. You’ve got Naito, Kamaitachi and Sanada on the other side. There’s at least a 75% chance someone is going to do something mindboggling and a 65% chance someone is going to do something they regret later in life, all in this match. It’s gonna get that nuts. Throw in what should be at least one awesome Ingobernables beat down and it wouldn’t shock me at all if this was a Match of the Show contender. Can you tell I have high hopes for this one?
Winners: Unless I’m totally misreading how things were booked at New Year’s Dash and this morning’s show it seems like Dragón Lee and Kamaitachi are going to be feuding for quite a bit. Therefore they’re going to be involved in the finish, where I see Lee winning it for his team after he gets a pin on Kamaitachi. I wouldn’t be entirely floored however if Titán got one over on Kamaitachi to avenge his loss. As KG would say, anything is possible.
Mistico & Volador Jr. vs. Euforia & Último Guerrero
What to Expect: I gotta give big ups to Gedo; not only has he (and whoever is on the CMLL side) booked the show to go into intermission hot but he has it coming out just as hot. These four were involved in the best multi-man match of Night Five and I see no reason to believe they can’t make a go of it here. Even better is that there will be more for all four to do now that Juice and Okada aren’t involved, which should mean more Mistico high flying, more of UG checking things off the list, more Volador and best of all more Euforia. If you read me you know I love Euforia but also know I don’t say nearly as much about him as I should. That’s going to change in the next few days folks; between Night Six and Night Seven Euforia has a huge chance to have a coming out party with fans beyond the CMLL base. This match is where he shows you glimpses of just how special an all around talent he is before we get the full taste the next day.
Winners: Euforia tapped out Mistico on Night Five and I think he gets the better of him here again. This time it’ll be a pin though around the fifteen minute mark.
Atlantis vs. Rush
What to Expect: Hot take alert; when all is said and done this will be the best match of the FantasticaMania tour. I had this feeling before the tour began (this was the match I most wanted to see) and I feel even more strongly about it now that we’ve seen how they built to this match on Night Five, Titán-Kamaitachi and Dragón Lee-Cavernario. Certainly Atlantis may not have the ability to do what Titán and Dragón Lee do so often and yes Rush has a few too many off nights for my liking in the ring. But there’s no doubt in my mind that when he’s on Rush is the best rudo/heel in wrestling right now and Atlantis remains as great a big match wrestler as you can find. Just look at that match he had with La Sombra a little over a year ago for proof, a match that serves as the last big singles match Atlantis has had (something you know will be motivating him to go big here). What this match may lack in high spots and high risks it’ll make up for with huge heat, great storytelling, high levels of emotion and the unpredictability of Rush. I’m telling you now; best of the tour folks. Mark it down.
Winner: The only way Atlantis isn’t winning this match clean is if CMLL is using this show to set up a mask vs. hair match between the two either at Homenaje a Dos Leyendas or the Anniversary Show, in which case Atlantis wins when Rush pulls off the mask. You could maybe talk me into the first scenario (Villano III is the legend being honored at that show seventeen years to the day he and Atlantis had one of the five greatest matches in history), but I wouldn’t bank on it. Thus Atlantis will take this with Atlantida, followed by Rush and the rest of Ingobernables coming out to beat up poor Atlantis sore loser style.
CMLL World Heavyweight Championship Match
Máximo Sexy (c) vs. Hechicero
What to Expect: How I feel about Atlantis-Rush is how many others probably feel about this match. In my defense I’m not far behind, though I must admit I’m more excited about Hechicero headlining a New Japan co-promoted show than anything else. If that seems like it shouldn’t be a big deal then you’re mistaken. Just a year ago Hechicero was a well regarded but lower midcard guy within the CMLL system; now he’s NWA World Historic Light Heavyweight Champion, potentially on the verge of becoming the CMLL World Heavyweight Champion, a CMLL headliner and without question one of the best in ring performers in lucha libre/wrestling today. All he needed to do was sign with the Chicago Cubs and 2016 would’ve been the year of Hechicero.
As for the match itself my hopes are pretty high. Not quite Atlantis-Rush high, but I can definitely see why people would prefer this match and why this match could wind up being better than Atlantis-Rush. I’ve already raved about Hechicero and we know he’ll bring it, but what many casual viewers will ignore is that Máximo’s gonna be bringing it too. As I said in my review, there’s few people in lucha libre as versatile as him; he can play to comedy, he can fly around if necessary and this past year proved in matches against Rush and Kamaitachi (especially against Kamaitachi) that he’s so much more as a performer than most people realize. He will be up for this match and thus these two have the potential to have an absolute classic.
Winner: I really, REALLY want to say Hechicero here; he deserves it after all the hard work he’s put into getting to this point and I’m honestly not sure what more there is for Máximo to do with a belt he’s held for nearly two years (it’ll be exactly two come January 30th). That said I just can’t see it, at least not yet. In the end Máximo retains the title after an excellent match, sealing the win with something that isn’t The Kiss. He’ll do The Kiss for sure folks, but I think he’ll have to dig deeper to put Hechicero away, which works out for all of us and the match itself.
And scene. I’m off to relax for a few hours before previewing the Crash show folks. Till then, THIS!