CMLL has so many championships that it is easy to lose count. There are ten world titles, three historic titles, nine national titles, and the list goes on for regional belts. But, what to do when CMLL wants to determine the best of the best? The answer is the Universal Championship tournament. Only current titleholders need apply.
CMLL whittled down the field over the past month with a three-phase tournament leading to the finale. They grouped the talent into world, historic, and national qualifiers to determine participants for a three-way Universal Championship bout. This honor is ceremonial and not used as a standard title to defend. Past winners include Ultimo Guerrero (twice), Jushin Thunder Liger, La Sombra (aka Andrade), El Terrible (twice), Tanahashi, Atlantis, El Valiente, Volador Jr., and reigning winner Mistico.
Mistico was up in the first phase (April 7) with a chance to defend his crown against the other historic champions, Rocky Romero and Atlantis Jr. This particular format was three-way elimination. The physicality got rowdy on the outside with Romero suplexing Mistico off the barricade down to the floor and Atlantis Jr. using the ring steps for a flying crossbody. The finish was rapid-fire. Mistico trapped Romero in La Mistica armbar for a submission, then Atlantis Jr. pounced for La Atlantida torture rack to submit Mistico. Atlantis Jr. advanced to the finale.
This historic highlight package is action-packed and the best of the bunch.
The second phase (April 14) consisted of national champions Angel de Oro, Dulce Gardenia, Esfinge, Espiritu Negro, Fugaz, Magia Blanca, Panterita del Ring Jr., Rey Cometa, El Sagrado, and Templario. This format was a torneo cibernetico. The nitty gritty came down to Angel de Oro, Panterita del Ring Jr., and Templario. Templario pinned Angel de Oro off a super powerbomb, then Templario finished Panterita del Ring Jr. with a powerbomb to backcracker combo. Templario advanced to the finale.
Check out the national highlight package for all the eliminations.
The third phase (April 21) was full of world champions; Angel de Oro, Barbaro Cavernario, Dragon Rojo Jr., Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Hechicero, Mephisto, Niebla Roja, Stigma, and Titan. Dragon Rojo Jr. survived this torneo cibernetico by pinning Gran Guerrero on a flying senton as the last elimination. Dragon Rojo Jr. advanced to the finale.
Peak the world highlights for your consumption.
The Universal Championship finale (April 28) took place on the 67th Anniversary of Arena Mexico special event. Atlantis Jr., Dragon Rojo Jr., and Templario battled in a three-way elimination contest. Atlantis Jr. bit the dust first after a super powerbomb and jackknife pin from Templario. The aggression increased for the finish. Dragon Rojo Jr. bested Templario on a cranking shoulder submission. Insult was added to injury when the winner snatched the loser’s mask. Dragon Rojo Jr. was crowned the champion of champions for 2023.
¡Campeón Universal y con su Máximo rival a sus pies! Dragón Rojo Jr. ha derrotado a Templario y lo deja sin máscara en el centro de la Arena México, que de esta manera cierra el festejo de su 67 Aniversario. #ViernesEspectacularCMLL pic.twitter.com/ckJ7OQtczC— Lucha Libre CMLL (@CMLL_OFICIAL) April 29, 2023
Consume the universal highlights in all their glory.
Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!