Join me in watching CMLL for the first time. Mexico has two major lucha libre promotions, CMLL and AAA. I’ve been following along with AAA for a few months and it is now time to give CMLL a try.
My experience with CMLL is seeing Marco Corleone be a superstar on Mexican morning TV shows and seeing names in article headlines here on Cageside Seats. I get the impression that a suitable style comparison would be 1980s wrestling with CMLL as WCW and AAA more as WWF sports entertainment.
CMLL does have a super awesome Twitter banner though. I could stare at this mural for days.
Let’s jam with Viernes Espectacular (September 21, 2018) headlined by Atlantis, King Phoenix, and Diamante Azul against Rush, Cavernario, and El Terrible. I’m eager for my initial viewing of Rush in the ring. I believe he is supposed to be a super duper star. Fenix is also wrestling, which is never boring.
You can watch for yourself on YouTube here.
Viernes Espectacular (September 21, 2018)
Hey, there. They have dancing ladies doing synchronized grooves. I think I could do that move. Hip to the side, finger snap. They did different little dances for each entrance.
Roshfrans is a ring sponsor. They’re two-timing AAA.
Magnus & Star Jr. vs Espanto Jr. & Akuma
Magnus is dressed in all pink. I haven’t seen that yet from a non-exotico luchador. He also brought out a baby girl. Another first in my lucha libre experiences.
Espanto and Akuma entered riding on cholo bicycles.
The referee looks well-aged. No bumps for him or he might break a hip.
The best-of-three falls tag team action (at 4:00 into the show) started with a slow feeling out process, as opposed to the high-energy starts in AAA. The partners were stretching on the outside of the ring. No time to prepare before the match?
Whoa! A tag. I don’t think I’ve seen one tag in the couple of months I started covering AAA. The other team didn’t tag, so maybe it was just a high five.
Not much happened until a nifty reverse hurricanrana from the ropes and a flying splash. Pin one to the the bad guys. Pin two followed right after. A Mexican Destroyer and another flying splash for the bad guys.
Match over? Uh, wait. Both pins counted as one fall? I purposely did not read about the rules, so I would be surprised for this article. Perhaps that was not such a good idea. It looks like each partner must be defeated for one official fall.
Those dirty rudos pulled off Magnus’ mask. At least they didn’t rip it like in AAA. Oooh. Nice move of a giant swing and a dropkick into the swingee by the bad guys.
Fall two was pretty sweet. Magnus slammed a running double knee into a downed opponent in the corner for one pin. While the ref was counting, Star Jr. ran the ropes to leapfrog and stand on the back of his hunched over opponent. Star Jr. then jumped off for a leg drop driving the bad guy down to the canvas.
There is about a 90 second rest period between falls.
For the final fall, I think there was a submission in favor of Star Jr, but I’m not sure. The ref didn’t make a clear signal, however, Star Jr. showed excitement. An after the match replay showed the pin actually occurred earlier, but the referee did not communicate so. Magnus finished the match with a top rope Spanish Fly.
Magnus & Star Jr. defeated Espanto Jr. & Akuma, 2-1.
There are commercials in this broadcast.
The dancing girls are now wearing cowboy hats. Giddy up.
Blue Panther Jr., Fuego, & Black Panther vs Virus, Okumura, & Kawato San
Fuego has a Macho Man-style tassel jacket. A mini accompanied the rudos.
This match (at 24:30) had nothing spectacular, so let’s get to the falls. Fall one was teamwork by the goods guys. Blue Panther Jr. hit a backbreaker, Fuego flapjack slammed, and Black Panther frog splashed with all three moves onto Okumura. Pinning the captain counts as one fall all in of itself.
In a funny moment, Fuego handshake ole’d Kawato San like a bullfighter.
Fall two was very neat. Virus hooked captain Blue Panther Jr. into an impressive package, as the announcer called it. The picture is better than I could describe it.
In another humorous moment, the mini splashed onto Fuego’s balls.
Fall three was Fuego cradling Virus for a pin and Blue Panther Jr. kneeing Kawato San for another pin. Blue Panther Jr. had his opponent in a fireman’s carry position, pressed him forward, then cracked him with a knee to the face.
Blue Panther Jr., Fuego, & Black Panther defeated Virus, Okumura, & Kawato San, 2-1.
The dancing girls wore gold frilly dresses this time around.
Stuka, Triton, & Esfinge vs Sanson, Cuatrero, & Rey Bucanero
Esfinge translates to Sphinx. Learn something new every day. I think it was Stuka who came out to Van Halen’s, “Jump.” I’ve heard of Rey Bucanero before, but I’m not sure why. This match also had KeMonito ringside. You may not know KeMonito by name, but you’ve surely seen this GIF.
KeMonito even got in on the action. Well, there is a photo of it, but I have no recollection of KeMonito taking to the air. I think it is time for a sleep intermission after this bout.
Fall one was a teamwork slam by the matching rudos then a Rey Bucanero back splash onto the tecnico captain’s back.
Fall three was a spinning sitdown slam by Sanson to Esfinge for one pin. Sanson then caught a flying crossbody by Trtion and turned it into a backbreaker. Cuatrero came in for a springboard elbow drop for pin two.
Sanson, Cuatrero, & Rey Bucanero defeated Stuka, Triton, & Esfinge, 2-1.
Ahhh, yes. I am refreshed after a night’s sleep. Bring on the second half.
The dancing ladies are now dressed as bikini gypsies.
Ultimo Guerrero, Eufroia, & Gran Guerrero vs Ciber The Main Man, The Chris, & Scharly Rock Star
Hmm, those are some silly names for the rudos. Based only on reading the monikers, I assume Ciber The Main Man is Cibernetico and Scharly Rock Star is Charly Manson. Scharly should add a second name starting with A so we can call him SARS for short. And The Chris? We all need to start referring to ourselves as The (First Name). Oh snap, is The Chris Zorro? I recall liking him when I watching AAA years ago. I vaguely remember the other two from back in the day. Let’s see what they got as CMLL stars.
There was no sound for the first part of the match (1:07.30). This one felt more like AAA in that it was all over the place.
Ciber came out alone with the Trios titles and the Guerreros attacked him on stage. I guess that was the master plan as Scharly and Chris ambushed from the sides. The fight went down to the ring and into the crowd.
Fall one was a disqualification against the rudos. One of the Guerreros grabbed Chris’ kendo stick from the ring post. He was going to whack, but the referee grabbed the kendo stick from behind. Chris then grabbed it from the ref and whacked one of the tecnicos. The ref took action.
This match felt much shorter than the rest. Fall two was sneaky. One of the Guerreros did a headstand on the top turnbuckle then transitioned into the dreaded crotch to face maneuver. After a ducked clothesline, the good guy rolled up Ciber for the pin. An after the match replay showed the good guy was holding the ropes.
Pfft. I don’t think these Guerreros are associated with the Guerrero wrestling family, but I guess the saying still stands. Never trust a Guerrero.
Ultimo Guerrero, Eufroia, & Gran Guerrero defeated Ciber The Main Man, The Chris, & Scharly Rock Star, 2-0.
After the match, one of the Guerreros cut a promo about getting a Trios title shot against the champs, who they just beat. Ciber said he would think about it, so the tecnicos led the crowd in an ever persuasive chant of, “Eh, puto!” Ciber then accepted the challenge. I didn’t realize, “Eh, puto,” was so convincing. I’ll have to try that next time I’m negotiating for something.
I don’t know the story of this feud, but I’ll be rooting for the Clan (Ciber’s crew) in the rematch. The Guerreros played off like they were the good guys, but they ambushed Ciber and cheated to win. Plus, Zorro is cool. Not as much though with a name of The Chris. I hope that stands for something and not just his first name.
The dancers were wearing puffy black short skirts for the next bout.
Lightning Match: Mistico vs Negro Casas
I don’t know what a lightning match is, but I assume a quick iron man style. This one had a ten minute time limit. (I was wrong. It is just a short one fall match, as opposed to best-of-three, I guess.) They put up a time graphic that covered the top portion of the screen.
It was not visually appealing. At times, the huge logo would block a luchador’s face.
This match (at 1:23) was the best of the bunch to this point. It had a nice flow, some dandy moves, heated moments, and felt important due to the time limit. If this was one step in a longer feud, I would watch them again.
The finish was a hoot. Earlier, Negro Casas was trying to untie the back of Mistico’s mask. That strategy paid off later as Negro Casas used the loose strings to tie the mask to the ring rope. Casas moved the referee out of the way, which caused the ref to momentarily lose all focus and stare off into the crowd.
Casas ran the ropes only for Mistico to duck out and knee him in the lower stomach area. The problem was that Mistico’s mask came off since it was tied to the rope. Casas played it off like he was kneed in the man parts. The ref finally turned around and saw an unmasked Mistico and an in pain Casas. Unsure of what actually went down, the ref decided to give the victory to Mistico via mask removal naughtiness.
Mistico defeated Negro Casas.
After the bout, both the ref and Negro Casas failed in trying to free the mask from its knot. I got the feeling that they wanted to do something else but had to call it off since the mask was stuck.
The dancers shed their black skirts for skimpier bottoms. That must mean it is main event time. Quick, everybody lose their pants!
Atlantis, King Phoenix, & Diamante Azul vs Rush, Cavernario, & El Terrible
I’m excited to see Rush. I hope he does some neat stuff, so I can say, “What a rush.” CMLL is pretty sly by using King Phoenix instead of any of the other numerous monikers for Fenix. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to trademark all his names anyway. I wonder how El Terrible picked up his name. During his entrance, he flicked his tongue like Manny from Scarface.
Hey! Tirantes is the referee. I wonder if he is as crooked as his son over in AAA. During the match, Rush mimicked slipping money into Tirantes’ pocket. I guess that answers that.
The first fall was a doozy. Diamante Azul crushed Cavernario with a German suplex for one pin. During the suplex, Fenix flew over the top then hit Terrible with a cutter for the second pin.
In a moment of comedy, Cavernario was hit with a big boot so strong that it sent him into the worm dance.
Fall two was a little dastardly. Rush slammed a ringside door onto Atlantis’ head. Terrible and Cavernario cleared the ring. Rush rolled Atlantis in. Atlantis was still groggy. Two corner clotheslines and a double dropkick to the back was all it took for Terrible to pin the captain with only one hand.
The pace picked up for fall three. Diamante Azul ran down the ramp to fly into the ring, but he barely made it over the ropes. He’s no Marco Corleone. Diamante Azul then monkey flipped Cavernario for big air. Phoenix followed with a tremendous corkscrew to the outside. Diamante wanted to do more flying. He ran down the ramp again to jump off to the side, but Cavernario moved and Phoenix took the brunt. What a jabrone that Diamante is.
The third fall was a captain pin for the rudos. Atlantis had Terrible in a fancy pin, but Rush dropkicked him in the face. Terrible used that momentum to reverse the pin for the win.
Rush, Cavernario, & El Terrible defeated Atlantis, King Phoenix, & Diamante Azul, 2-1.
That’s a wrap on my first CMLL experience. Overall, the show was enjoyable. It didn’t wow me in any way, but it was entertaining enough to keep tuning in. I’m a little disappointed that no luchador stole the show. I was hoping to find new (to me) stars. Rush didn’t do much on that evening, so I’ll have to reserve judgement. On the plus side, I’m interested in the trios feud between the Clan and the Guerreros as well as more of Mistico against Negro Casas. As for match recommendations, I would suggest the final two bouts of the evening if you are in a time crunch.
So, how does CMLL stack up to AAA? The edge in excitement goes to AAA. It is tough to beat 20 moonsaults and 70 suicide dives per episode. AAA also gets the edge on the show’s introduction. I like the regalness of the ring girls honoring the fallen Peña family members. CMLL gets the edge in ring girl performance. Their coordinated outfits and dances make it feel like a sporting event and also one of those futuristic gladiator fights in cheesy movies. AAA dominates in the lower level matches. Their young ones are much more flashier. As for the main event, it is too soon to tell. I am under the assumption that CMLL is supposed to be quality in that aspect, so more time will be needed before forming an opinion.
What did you think of this week’s Viernes Espectacular? Are you more of a AAA fan or a CMLL fan? How do you compare the two promotions?
Note: Regular CMLL coverage will begin starting Monday. I’m going to ask for suggestions from CMLL aficionados. I noticed CMLL has at least three two hour shows per week on YouTube. Are all of those important? Or are they on a differing scale like WWE has Raw, Smackdown, 205 Live, and NXT? I’m not going to watch all of CMLL’s programming, so I would appreciate some tips on what to keep an eye on. For now, I figure Viernes Espectacular is the primo show to start with. Please let me know in the comments. Thanks.