LuchaPalooza: CMLL Puebla (50/50)
You often here so much about 50/50 booking in wrestling and how it’s bad for the profession. What does one make of a 50/50 show then? That was tonight’s CMLL, which featured three matches that ranged from “eh” to “DEAR CTHULHU IT’S TEARING THROUGH MY RECTUM!” and another three that ranged from “good” to “LUGER WON THE TITLE!”. That kind of show. Luckily the good outweighed the bad and we’ve ended the night with another great match and a reminder that the 83rd Anniversary Show main event can indeed be a potential classic. What more can you ask for than that, besides more Dragón Lee-Máscara Dorada interactions. But enough about dreams that may or may not ever come to fruition, it’s time to dissect. Moses, meme it! MEME IT NOW!
Artillero, El Malayo, Espíritu Negro defeated Arkalis, Meyer, Robin two falls to one
This was 100% better than I expected it to be and frankly should’ve been better. I can’t believe it either! You gotta give full marks to the technicos for this. Robin was his usual solid self and in fact was the third best member on his own team. As it turns out Meyer and Arkalis came to play today and looked absolutely marvelous, with the former busting out all sorts of great arm drag combinations while the latter dished out some hurricanranas and a sick Tornado DDT during the first fall. They were great and the rudos weren’t bad either; the problem is they weren’t quite on the level as the technicos thanks to their rudo beat down all but grinded the match during the beginning of the second fall and some sloppiness at the end of the third fall. It was enough to bring this match down slightly and certainly enough to make you wish it had been the technicos winning instead. Regardless this match was just fine and a great way to start off the night. It also has the distinct advantage of not being matches 2, 4 and 5 which…we’ll get to it. Even if I wish we didn’t have to.
Black Tiger, Hombre Bala Jr., Espíritu Maligno defeated Ares, King Jaguar, Policeman two falls to one
Like everything else that involved Black Tiger, King Jaguar and Ares the past month this match just didn’t click. Hell I think the Adam Sander abomination Click clicked more than this. There wasn’t anything offensive about this match or anything but aside from some nice pace from Maligno and the usual solid Hombre Bala Jr. performance this was a match that was just there. And there’s nothing worse than a match that’s just there that goes on for an eternity. Great freakin Cthulhu was this several minutes longer than it needed to be, especially when you consider the main event (a substantially better match) got what felt like half the time.
CMLL World Mini-Estrella Championship Match
Astral (c) defeated Demus 3:16 two falls to one
Hold up ladies and gentlemen because there’s a new contender for Match of LuchaPalooza! I said in the preview that I knew this match would be at least be good and wanted to see Astral and Demus prove that it could be more. They did that and then some. The first fall started off great with the two working it to a stalemate before Astral hit a sweet hurricanrana to the floor and followed it by putting Demus down with a third rope splash. Then came the second fall and all bets were off. That second fall folks; it was lengthy, it was epic and it told a really nice story about Demus working his way back into the match and still being unable to knot it up despite hitting every big move in his arsenal. Tremendous stuff and for a moment I was even questioning what fall it was! In the last week CMLL has somehow convinced me that a Lightning Match could end in a draw and that a two out of three falls match had already gone through two falls without me noticing. Hi apocalypse, my name is Cult!
Demus of course did eventually tie the match up with a muscle buster variation and we got to an equally thrilling third fall that became all about Astral throwing everything at Demus to retain the belt and Demus resorting to the power techniques that brought him to the dance. Ultimately the former won out and really it’s hard to be upset either way. Astral was simply phenomenal, delivering his best performance that I’ve ever seen him give and a massive improvement over his last few showings in trios action. And Demus; that beautiful son of a bitch. He paced himself, he took the match seriously, he essayed his role perfectly (especially the spot where his arrogance ultimately led to him letting the match slip away) and fucking A he was just gorram spectacular. This was better than I could’ve possibly imagined and joins Pagano-Psycho Clown, Hechicero-Soberano Jr. and the Four Way Triplemania Tag Title match as one of the best bouts of LuchaPalooza thus far. As Martin Tyler would say, STUPENDOUS!
Kráneo, Olímpico, Ripper defeated Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto two falls to one
In the span of five minutes we went from the penthouse to the foulest outhouse in recorded history. Once again I have to ask CMLL; why on earth did you have to do this match again? Last week’s contest between these same guys (minus Olímpico) was a tour de force of suck and this week only one upped it by being slower and even more lifeless than before. The only guys who were close to active were Kráneo and Olímpico; you know, the comedy guy and a dude whose only notable thing these days is a bald head that is so shiny it could blind you three times over. I just don’t understand what CMLL is thinking here and it looks like that’ll continue to be the case because we’re doing this again next week, only with the NWA Trios Championships on the line. Hey, when you have the chance to feature Ripper doing his best Weekend at Bernie’s impression even though no one wants it, you gotta do it. It’s a rule; a rule that Paco Alonso must’ve made up while feeding his moat alligators the remains of some poor soul. Wow where did that come from?
Pierroth, Rey Escorpión, Rush defeated Rey Bucanero, Shocker, Terrible two falls to one
In the words of Chris Rock, this match made things go from wrong to wronger! And that’s not even a word. You know how everyone thought Pierroth was brutal this past Friday? Yeah he was even worse tonight; he was so bad that I couldn’t even watch Rush and Escorpión work during this match out of fear that he’d get in the ring and mess up whatever it was they were doing. He was so bad in this match that he made Shocker look good. That’s right I said it; Pierroth made Shocker look good! Shocker, a man with the wrestling ability of a flailing turtle on its back, somehow ended up looking like Bret “Hitman” Hart in this match because of how truly transcendently bad Pierroth was. I can’t even.
Despite all of that this match, which looked to be one of the worst matches ever during the first two falls, somehow got salvaged to being just mediocre in the third fall. You can thank Terrible for that. Kept on the fringe during the first two falls, the former CMLL World Heavyweight Champion got some time in the third fall and singlehandedly tried to save this match all by himself. It was an admirable effort and a great performance, especially considering Rush and Escorpión were so hamstrung by Pierroth that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) try for anything outside of their routine stuff. I really don’t have anything more to say beyond that. Thank you Terrible for making me keep this show on long enough to see the main event. Also thank you Rey Bucanero for actually trying and showing more signs of life than you did Friday. My faith in that Súper Crazy-Bucanero match is now somewhat restored; not fully but somewhat.
Dragón Lee & Volador Jr. defeated La Máscara & Máscara Dorada two falls to one
After several weeks of not quite getting Dragón Lee-La Máscara multi-man matches to both be great while building to the Anniversary Show, CMLL finally got it right tonight. I’d argue they also got it right this past Friday but this was even better than that and with a few more minutes could’ve been a challenger to Demus-Astral for Match of the Evening (as such it’s second tonight and fifth overall in the LuchaPalooza power rankings). A large thanks has to go to Dorada and Volador for helping elevate this. They were absolutely superb and unlike some of the other matches actually interacted with Lee and Máscara; I thought the best parts of the match were when Dorada got to go against Lee and showed off a stiff mean streak that you normally don’t see from the Cruiserweight Classic competitor. Combine that with their great work against each other and another strong performance from both Lee and Máscara and this was absolutely worth your time. I would’ve liked to have seen CMLL go with a different ending than Máscara fouling Lee and pulling the mask off, but I get that they’re trying to protect both men before the big match and thus can’t be too bothered. If nothing else the result tonight should definitely put to rest any thoughts of Lee losing the mask. He may have several victories over Máscara in a row but all were by DQ, all saw Lee getting his mask torn off and all finished with Máscara standing tall. Lee is in good shape; the only question now is how believable can CMLL make it that Máscara may pull off the upset of the year.
There you have it folks! Be sure to stop back tomorrow for a review of the CMLL Tuesday Show and a preview of Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament with my good pal Leaf. And yes that too will be part of LuchaPalooza, if only because Fenix and Pentagon Jr. are involved! Till then, observe Spider-Man realizing his dreams are dead.