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LuchaPalooza! CMLL Puebla (Momentum Intensifies)
After watching tonight’s CMLL Puebla show I can only come to one conclusion; whoever booked the Anniversary Show was also allowed to boo tonight’s show and goodness gracious me CMLL needs to keep going back to him or her! Not that tonight’s show was on par with the Anniversary Show (a show that was one of the best I’ve ever seen and definitely one of the best shows of the year) but it was a pretty great two plus hours. There were no truly terrible matches (though there were some terrible sequences), there was never a dull moment and best of all we have a potential big time match set up for sometime in the next few weeks if CMLL chooses to go that route. Overall the only other thing you can ask for is that CMLL keep this shit up! But we’ll get to that tomorrow (hopefully); for now let’s talk about the goodness that was tonight. Moses, Moses, Moses; make like a tree and meme.
Espíritu Maligno & Mini Joker defeated Arkalis & Astro two falls to one
Once more I jinxed the opening match for the better. This was quite a good match that started to get exciting towards the end of the first fall and just picked up from there. Oddly enough this match went as far as Mini Joker went; the first fall was most notably his worst fall, where he botched several moves towards the end and just looked a second off Arkalis’ pace. By the second fall he had figured it out and suddenly was back on track, a good thing because the aforementioned Arkalis, Maligno and Astro were ready to go from the start. The latter two in particular were great, with Maligno even delivering one of the best spots of the night when he nailed a top rope senton onto Astro while he lay prone on the stage. Maybe you take a few points off for Joker being off in fall one but overall this was a really good match given the restrictions and would’ve been better if Joker had started out in synch. It also made me want to see a lot more Astro; he looked spectacular at times with his pace and movement and should be someone CMLL gives a good look to going forward.
Ares & Policeman defeated Asturiano & Rey Samuray two falls to one
This wasn’t quite as good as the opener and there’s really only one luchador to blame for that; Ares. I actually thought this was some of his best work tonight and he once again seemed to be having a good time. He just…he doesn’t have the extra gear to hang in these matches though, which is why CMLL booking him week after week remains a mystery. Still aside from him this match worked out fine and was by no means the low point of the show. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Asturiano, but he was good for what he was given while Samuray and Policeman were terrific. This was a far better performance from Policeman compared to last week and it seemed he clicked with Samuray really well. They were the best part of the match here and delivered a great ending when Samuray went for a moonsault, only to have his back crushed by Policeman’s knees when he blocked it. That have been the best finish on most of CMLL’s shows and yet it wasn’t even the best finish of the first three matches. I told you this show was something!
Ángel de Oro, Stigma, Stuka Jr. defeated Dragón Rojo Jr., Puma, Tiger two falls to one
Man if only this match had a better referee. That’s right folks; the curse of the old CMLL refs struck again with this ref nearly killing the match in the third fall after he missed counting a pinfall. It looked like he had found himself in some sort of diabolical trance and couldn’t get out. All the more reason why CMLL just needs to fire all these guys and just let Edgar referee every match. And yes that’s the best option, unless you actually believe Paco Alonso would go out and higher new referees. There’s a better chance Tottenham Hotspur finishes above Arsenal this year, and that’s not happening at all!
Take that stretch of bad officiating out of the way though and this match was what we all expected given the talent; pretty damn good. There wasn’t anything set up for the future here (the semi-main event had that covered) but there was plenty of great action, with Stuka once again impressing and Stigma, despite a few sloppy moments, overall looking pretty good. The big stars were all three rudos and Oro however. The former had great chemistry from a teamwork standpoint and delivered a rudo beat down that was actually exciting, full of more high impact moves and even a few dives. And Oro, despite not having a ton of time here, was tremendous with his minutes and along with Puma somehow topped the finish of the last match with a great sequence that saw Oro get out of Puma’s submission (a variation of the Billy Goat’s Curse) and put it on Puma himself, forcing him to tap. Keep in mind that was all after the two traded reversals, shots and athletic dodges just a few seconds before. Even if this match wasn’t the best of the evening (and it wasn’t) that finish certainly was and is the kind of creativity you’d like to see from more guys.
Mexican National Trios Championships Match
Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto (c) defeated Kráneo, Olímpico, Ripper two falls to one
I’ll say this much; this match was a hundred times more fascinating than I expected and was better than I expected. Not a whole lot better but still better. You can thank Ephesto, Luciferno and Mephisto for that because their effort was off the charts. Ephesto and Mephisto carried their Anniversary Show performances over to this show and did everything they could to get the crowd going; at one point Ephesto nearly lost his head in a sequence with Olímpico just because he was trying to pull off shit he hasn’t done in years. Luciferno meanwhile continued his streak of impressive performances by hitting some dives of his own, including a pretty nice frog splash in the first fall. Those guys gave everything they could to this match and for a moment it looked like this match might actually be good. Then we were reminded that their opponents were Olímpico, Kráneo and Ripper, three men with less life than Tommy Wisseau.
Now I don’t want to be too hard on those guys (even though I just was) because overall their effort was very good too. And frankly for the first two and a quarter falls they did quite well, with Olímpico doing a few dives (not well, but at least he was trying), Ripper showing some signs of blood pumping through his veins and Kráneo…well he mostly just did Kráneo stuff but that was fine. And then came the latter half of the third fall when this match died a slow painful death. Some of that is on the Trios Champions as Ephesto and Luciferno hit one of the oddest and least effective double team moves ever (I’m not even sure how to describe it because it was that bizarre), but it was made worse by the rudos falling completely out of synch. Their double team submission looked awful, Olímpico attempted two hurricanranas that looked like a cry for help; it wasn’t pretty. They recovered somewhat at the end to give this match the distinction of going from okay to good to HOLY CTHULHU TAKE IT AWAY to okay in the span of three minutes, but even still that was not a good few minutes for the rudos and them losing is most definitely for the best. Now Los Infiernos can move back to the right role and to having pretty damn good Trios Title matches. If their effort tonight is any indication on how those go we should be in for a treat down the road.
Carístico, Máscara Dorada, Mistico defeated Cavernario, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas two falls to one
This match actually took on a bigger meaning than expected when the WWE announced a few hours before that Máscara Dorada (as Gran Metalik) would be joining the WWE Cruiserweight Division, potentially as soon as next week’s show. Dorada is booked for many shows in Mexico for the next month but as WWE is known to pull guys from shows after reaching deals this very well could’ve been Dorada’s last night in CMLL. If it was, between this and the Anniversary Show he went out in style and without holding anything back, at times looking like he had Volador esq speed. It wasn’t a showcase performance of sorts and it isn’t what you’d have hoped for if this is indeed Dorada’s CMLL swan song, but it was a good performance with great effort. If this is the end, I’m happy Dorada at least gave us that sort of effort one last time.
Of course Dorada wasn’t the only guy involved here and thank goodness because everyone aside from Mr. Niebla and Cavernario was superb. And that’s nothing against either of those two; it’s just a reflection on them having the least to do here besides their usual routines. Carístico looks to be healthy and exuded charisma throughout the bout; if he’s indeed sticking with CMLL over Elite then he looks to be in for a great comeback year. But the story of this match was Mistico and Negro Casas just laying into each other. Casas started it by attacking Mistico to open the match (preceded by Casas dancing with the ring girls because he’s Negro Casas and he can do whatever he wants) and they just never let up, fighting in the ring, the crowd; only the Arena Puebla restrooms didn’t feature Mistico and Casas throwing down. And it doesn’t look to be the last time as Casas ended this match by low blowing Mistico, usually a clear cut sign that things aren’t over. And thank goodness because judging from tonight a Mistico-Casas match would be a great feud in Puebla over the next few weeks. This was a great start to it and just a notch below the main event for Match of the Evening status.
Dragón Lee defeated La Máscara two falls to one
As expected this wasn’t on the level of their Anniversary Show main event from a few days ago; as also expected it was still an excellent match and the best of the evening by a slight margin. And that’s without them touching upon any of the post match developments from this past Friday, with the only thing of note being Máscara keeping his old theme music (though they may be breaking that out Friday). Once more I was highly impressed with La Máscara; in fact I think I might’ve been more impressed with him tonight than I was Friday when I thought he was the star of the match these two had. He looks incredibly comfortable without the mask and continued to his vicious streak that hopefully is here to stay. I was also more impressed with Dragón Lee than I was Friday; whereas for that match he relied on what brought him to the dance, this time he was much more ambitious and broke out a few different tricks, including an armbar submission that ultimately gave him the match. I think he probably would’ve been better off combining these two performances into one, but overall you can’t really complain about either in the grand scheme of things. In the end this match may not have had the emotion or the atmosphere that Friday night had but it was wonderfully worked and should serve as a great closing chapter for this rivalry (this upcoming Friday not withstanding). The only thing I would’ve done differently is given Máscara the win. It’s not a huge deal, but he did lose the mask Friday and even if it had been cheap this would’ve been a nice message to send to a guy who made a big risk losing his mask (a risk even bigger when you realize La Máscara’s gimmick is that he’s a masked wrestler). Alas it wasn’t to be, like Megalopolis, Salsa Doritos or myself and Faby Apache. Did I say Faby Apache? I meant…shit, Moses play me off!
That’ll do sports fans. You’ll see me again tomorrow with at least a review for the CMLL Tuesday show and probably more than that. Only one day left till Lucha Underground returns after all and that deserves a column in its own right. Till then, Batman dethrones Spider-Man to take the closing meme spot!