CMLL Super Viernes review (1.6.18)

CMLL Super Viernes review (1.6.18)

CMLL Super Viernes

 

January 6 2018

 

We’re in Mexico City at Arena Mexico for the first big CMLL show of 2018. I am not a lucha fan. At all. It’s something I really struggle with so part of my aim for 2018 was to give lucha a try. Properly. Whole shows. So here’s my first dip into 2018 lucha. Wish me luck.

 

CMLLwhat

 

Fiero, Flyer & Magia Blanca vs. El Coyote, Templario & Yago

There’s a lot of odd stuff happening. Dancing girls on the entranceway, midgets dressed up as elves, madness invading the senses at every turn.

CMLLargh

This is Yago, he’s got a machete. I am terrified someone is about to shoot on someone and deaths may occur. I’m really not certain who is who because they’re all masked and I was too freaked out by the assault on my senses to make notes on who has what mask on. They do a lot of lucha stuff, as you’d expect. Some of it is fine, some of it is offensively bad. But there are flippydos! Diving ranas, diving dives, topes, planchas etc. It’s a sloppy mess for the most part but by tuning out the stuff I hate I get a lot more out of the flips and whatnot. Naturally both teams score quick pins to get to the decisive third fall. My god, there’s a lot of flips though. Woo!

The third fall is the sloppiest with some downright ugly spots. You take the rough with the smooth I guess! I always find it weird looking up luchadores on Cagematch because they all have relatives in the business. As if it’s a closed circle and only family members can become wrestlers. The pinfalls confuse the shit out of me. It’s two out of three falls but I count four pinfalls and the match continues. Apparently in trios matches you have to eliminate the other members before getting a win or beat the captain. It’s all very confusing. A totally alien approach to pro-wrestling. I need to see more. Fiero gets the win with an armbar and gets a shiny new mask as a reward.

Final Rating: Um, not yet. I’m not ready for ratings yet.

 

Titan & Pegasso vs. Virus & Raziel

CMLLgirls

Titan, I know, because he’s wrestled in Japan. The rest I’m not familiar with but they’re all well into their 40s. Virus is the only unmasked wrestler. This is technically far better than the spotty opener and they hit the mat for the bulk of the contest. When they do flips they’re nowhere near as exciting and Titan almost lands on his face attempting a tope. First fall goes to Titan & Pegasso. Titan getting a submission to do so. The way he dives into a leg hold is downright dangerous. The little I’ve seen of Titan suggests he’s an exciting wrestler but here he’s all over the place. The cool stuff he’s popped into NJPW matches is here, like walking on his hands, but some of his basics are horrible. The Rudos level the falls by coming off the top rope in (not very) spectacular fashion. We’re heading to the third fall and Raziel tries to pull Titan’s mask off but that would be a DQ, no? Why do it? Titan and Pegasso save the big flips for fall three but fail to coordinate on them. Pegasso basically gets a head start because he’s worried about Titan being that much faster.

CMLLtitan

Sadly when Titan attempts a big old flip from this swanky camera angle he gets his face kicked off. Titan then tries the ZSJ cocky arms-folded roll up and Virus gets pissed off and punts him in the ribs. We’re reaching the matches peak! They give up on tags and the ref starts counting two falls at the same time. Rules? What rules? Titan somehow survives a Falcon Arrow off the top. But he Did The Deal! Titan gets a fluke pin on Raziel but Virus taps him out and leaves it as Virus vs. Pegasso. It’s Pegasso who gets the win by hitting a victory roll. I really got into this, once I understood the rules of tag wrestling in Mexico (both members of the team need to be eliminated in each fall).

Final Rating: ***

CMLLboing

BOING!

 

Rey Cometa vs. El Soberano Jr

A nice unconfusing singles match! Hooray. Cometa is unmasked and I know Soberano Jr so I’m off to a flier in terms of recognition, in the only singles bout so far.

Shortly after this act of violence Rey hits a goddamn Canadian Destroyer for the opening fall. I guess piledrivers aren’t banned in CMLL but they do equal death. Death! The second fall kicks off with Soberano returning the tope favour, only without trying to drive his skull into his opponents chest. Soberano equals the falls with a tornillo. They’re trying to get a 20 minute match into 6 minutes here and I appreciate the hustle. The third fall is loaded with dives. Most of it is blatantly just showing off but the tornillo from Cometa is particularly dumb seeing as they just did a pin with that move and Soberano completely no sells it. Soberano Jr picks up the win as the camera decides to linger on a front row patron who’s decided to wear a fur coat to this thing. I bet she’s fucking cold too. Weirdos.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Guerrero Maya Jr, Esfinge & Drone vs. La Sangre Dinamita (Sanson, Forastero & El Cuatero)

CMLLEsfinge

Esfinge has a hell of a look.

CMLLDinamita

To my horror the La Sangre Dinamita team all look alike, having the same gear. This is going to make it really hard to tell if Sanson, the Captain of his team, is the man pinned or not. By the time I’ve figured out the masks are all different I’m already lost. The Dinamita boys are assholes and this leads to lots of heated scuffles. Drone coming in with a bad arm ends badly for him and he’s submitted with an armbar before La Sangre Dinamita wrap up the fall by pinning Esfinge. Speaking of Esfinge, he’s involved in some of the most awkward looking spots in this match, where he doesn’t jump or he’s late on jumping. He’s either not very good or a sandbagging piece of crap. Sansom gets killed with a brainbuster over the knee of Maya Jr for the equalling fall.

Buoyed by his pinfall success Guerrero Maya Jr goes on a lucha rampage, popping off spots like his very life depended on it. The whole third fall is full of fucking crazy spots. The technicos do an excellent job of lining up their topes so they all hit at the same time. A massive improvement on Titan and Pegasso. It may take some time to adjust to lucha but during the course of this show I have grown fond of the eccentricities of the sport. The Dinamita lads win with a sick fucking tag move. Here’s a GIF!

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Niebla Roja vs. Gran Guerrero

CMLLheman

Roja is dressed as fucking He-Man. He-Man! Gran Guerrero is Ultimo Guerrero’s brother and he wrestles a bit like him. He’s a bit chunky in the torso from that upper body muscle, sculpted in Mexican gyms. He ties Roja up rapidly for a submission and the opening fall. Then he goes for a  walk in the crowd because some chaps have a banner for him. Gran Guerrero is quite excitable and easily distracted, like a magpie who sees something shiny when he’s in the middle of eating. Darting off to check it out and leaving his sandwich on the table. Roja gets a roll up to level the falls. Metaphorically eating that abandoned sandwich.

Guerrero’s distractedness reaches new levels when he decides to go and powerbomb Roja in the crowd somewhere, carrying him in position for twenty feet or so. The match is short on logic but high on fun and I have to you, I’m having a fucking blast watching this show. Some of the creativity that goes into this match is nothing short of magical. Roja punting Gran out of the air following a Farewell at one point. I’m giggling at how much fun this is. Roja steps it up by shredding Guerrero’s mask, which takes some of the mystique away from the poor guy. They let the match run a little too long, and probably insert one too many wacky dives to the floor in the process. It’s a pity because I was loving this but it peaked and kept going at a lower level. It doesn’t help that they can’t decide who’s playing rudo and they both cheat. I dig that Gran Guerrero tries to kick out of the finish but the ref is having none of it and counts him down in a controversial ending. Gran Guerrero is fuming but he’s also picking up the losers purse. So much of this match was wonderful but it was all over the fucking shop at the finish.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Volador Jr & El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Valiente

My new favourite thing in wrestling is the CMLL dancing girls going through the motions while Personal Jesus blares over the PA system, doing the same dance moves they’ve been doing all night because they only rehearsed three things. Valiente is one of those short chubby luchadores that make me laugh without doing anything. You hope he doesn’t take himself seriously but suspect he does. Volador tries to up the pace with a dive but Ultimo shuts that shit down, catches him and powerbombs him on the floor. This leads right into both Barbaro and Volador tapping out. 1-0 Los Guerreros. Barbaro has two things going for him. 1. He thinks he’s a caveman. 2. He’s willing to take ridiculous bumps off the apron. Volador and Barbaro both get roll ups after a slingshot missile dropkick spot comes off, just about. So we’re down to the final fall, making me wonder why Mexico still bothers with three falls as the opening two falls almost routinely amount to nothing. The third fall is a little disconnected. It feels like a series of big moves, with Barbaro doing disgusting things with his saliva in between. Guys just strolling in and doing shit at their leisure. Plus the ref is one of the slowest on the card and his counts suck. Ultimo and Valiente hitting moves at the same time to get the win pops the crowd huge. Ultimo might not be the greatest technician but he’s over as fuck.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

CMLLultimo

 

Summary:

This is probably the second Lucha show I’ve seen all the way through and the first one was a AAA show that took place in the US so, in terms of pure lucha it might even be a first. To say it was a strange experience would be an understatement. It took three matches for me to even understand the rules (thanks to @AqeelKhalid for explaining the captain’s fall business). But hey, this was my introduction to lucha proper and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to exploring a whole new avenue of pro-wrestling during 2018!

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