Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CMLL PPV 9/29/06 @ Arena Mexico:

Well well well... finally CMLL returns to pay-per-view after a 4 year hiatus. One will immediatly question whether they wanted to return to PPV as the announcement went up on the website about 3 hours before the actual show began.

That was the least of the problems on this night though. As has been discussed to death in various places, CMLL alienated their core audience and more importantly Mistico's loyal fanbase by overcharging for tickets. They also alienated all the press by saying no photographers would be allowed at ringside aside from Alexis Salazar, Litok Vera and some other guy that I have yet to identify.

With all that said, to me what matters most as a fan sitting at home watching the show is how it comes across on TV and in the ring. So let's get started...

All matches had seperate entrances for each wrestler. New graphics were used as well. They had the referee cam but I have a feeling Sky was doing their own editing of the show and they refused to use that camera even once!!! IT WAS FANTASTIC! I can support my theory as in the main event they were in the middle of a replay as another dive was taking place and they cut right to the live shot which is something Televisa would never do b/c the people that post-produce CMLL shows are untrained monkeys.

Dark Angel/Lady Apache/Marcela vs Hiroka/La Amapola/Princesa Sujei: This really felt like just before the ladies were ready to make their entrances, someone came up to them and cut the match from 10 to 5 minutes. Dark Angel and Sujei had a quick exchange to start off. I was digging Angel's blue and white outfit. Very Maple Leafs-ish. GO LEAFS GO!:D I had to get that out of the way. Next in were Apache and Hiroka but Hiroka ran off so Marcela/Amapola took over and had a very awkward exchange. Those two are the best workers in the division so I don't know what went wrong. Apache finally got Hiroka in the ring and they had a quick exchange as well. Instead of the match continuing at a nice pace or the rudos taking over, they just seemed to go straight to the finish with dual planchas by Marcela and Angel, followed by Apache putting Hiroka up top and using a top-rope Victory Roll for the win. Never reached the 6 minute mark. ** 1/4

Good for what it was... but it was really just a waste of time. This match shouldn't have been booked, plain and simple. Combining the match with the introductions and replays - you free up 17 minutes of PPV time. Imagine each of the following matches getting an extra 3/4 minutes? Bad planning by the infamous "department of programming".

Felino/Sagrado/Ultimo Dragon vs Alex Koslov/El Averno/El Mephisto: Sagrado was sporting a fancy Mexican flag style mask ala Mistico from two weeks before. I'll give it to Cubs here - he called this one as being match of the night and he was correct. This is an example of what I've been preaching on various message boards - the fact that a 2/3 fall match given a short amount of time can be done right. These guys knew what they wanted to do and they did it. First fall started with Ultimo and Mephisto. Rather than do exchanges in pairs, guys would tag in and out which helped the flow of the match considerably. Sagrado ended up in the ring with Averno and used a nice handspring moonsault over the rudo, then a headscissors to send him outside. He followed with a *SPECTACULAR* moonsault plancha! Felino used a Spalsh Mountain and moonsault on Koslov while Dragon used the Asai DDT on Mephisto. Second fall started with a nice pace again and both Dragon + Felino got to show their offense. Sagrado was the victim of the cut-off spot and the rudos quickly turned the tables by launching him outside where he was victim of an assisted springboard somersault plancha from Mephisto! Felino then missed a corner charge and took a great bump to the floor where he was victim of a gorgeous running somersault plancha from Averno! Koslov quickly made Ultimo submit to end the fall. Rudos stayed in control in the third fall and Koslov got to do his little dance + kicks on Felino. The tecnico comeback came soon afterwards. Ultimo took out Koslov with an asai moonsault. The tecnicos reversed whips causing Averno/Mephisto to collide but the rudos recovered to take control again. Averno pinned Felino with the Averno Driver and Mephisto used a new move to pin Sagrado - he nailed him with an Implant DDT out of Rosa Driver position! *** 3/4

Better than I expected going in, largely due to a creative first fall and good start to the second fall. The third fall could have used a little more but that'd be nitpicking. Sagrado, Averno and Mephisto clearly came out as the stars when this was done.

Blue Panther/Dos Caras Jr./Rey Bucanero vs Kenzo Suzuki/Marco Corleone/Olimpico: This turned out to be the sleeper match of the night. Don't think anyone had this pegged as being good going into the show but I was pretty impressed by how hard everyone was working. Panther and Olimpico opened up and as usual Panther made Olimpico look like a million bucks. Their exchange got a nice ovation from the ever-growing crowd. Dos Jr. wanted to take on Jindrak but Bucanero got in the middle which was a funny spot. Perrito debuted that spot the week before at Arena Mexico and it was much funnier. The rudos eventually took over and Jindrak used a cool one motion leaping top rope frankensteiner to pin Caras while Olimpico rolled up Panther. Second fall had the rudos largely in control and Suzuki staying out of the way. Jindrak missed a beautiful running plancha off the ramp and took out his own partners. This cued the comeback although something got messed up on Suzuki and Bucanero's part which led to at least 30 seconds of everyone stumbling around wondering what to do next. Caras took out Jindrak with an amazing running springboard plancha! Bucanero used the Buca Storm on Olimpico while Panther made Suzuki submit. Third fall was tons of fun, mostly thanks to Dos Jr., Jindark and Bucanero. Suzuki held his own and took a few nice bumps including a top rope enzuigiri from Caras. Jindrak teased a dive but got cut-off. This led to Suzuki being dumped outside, followed by Olimpico who tried to skin-the-cat but got dropkicked in the face by Bucanero. Panther used a tope suicida and then Bucanero dove off the apron onto both rudos landing them all in the front row. I'll have to get a screen cap of Suzuki's facial. *L* Jindrak got a nearfall on Caras and while he was complaining to the ref, Caras used a snap german suplex for the win! *** 1/4

Perfect mid-card match. Just needed to be entertaining so the crowd wouldn't turn on the show so they accomplished their goal. Didn't need any extra huge highspots to take away from the later matches so that definitely accomplished their goal there.:) You still gotta feel for Bucanero though as the Caras/Jindrak feud was pushed here, followed by Panther/Olimpico. If there had been any other mid-card feud going on, you'd have to think Bucanero would have been relegated to Ultimo Dragon's spot in the previous match. That's pretty bad for a guy who two months ago was the top Arena Mexico main event guy.

Dr. Wagner Jr./Gronda XXX/Negro Casas vs Damian 666/Halloween/Mr. Aguila: Oh boy. Gronda looks as big as he's ever been. If you're wondering "did Gronda blow any spots?"... let me answer by saying: Gronda almost tripped over the ropes trying to enter the ring.:) Halloween had the same fate although that was a hilarious comedy spot he and Wagner did during the rudos' intros. This was quite boring early on with Negro/Damian doing pretty much nothing and then Wagner/Aguila having an awkward exchange. Then Wagner gave Damian a shining wizard as his pose was being mocked. I was honestly just waiting for Gronda to tag in to see how awful he would be and thankfully the moment finally came! He used a choke slam on Aguila that looked scary as hell. Then he tried a double spear on the remaining rudos but somehow made it look weaker than a 10 year old trying the same thing. Halloween looked a little pissed off and then got elbowed pretty hard in the face before being slid to the floor belly-first. The fall ended soon afterwards with Negro doing a silla off the apron and Wagner doing a running somersault plancha off the ramp. Gronda pinned Aguila with... uhm... well... he just picked him up and dropped him down. We'll call it a power bomb variation for his sake. Crowd was boo'ing Gronda big time so I expect him to get booked more. Did you know the "department of programming" for CMLL don't even watch their own booked shows? It's true! Second fall had a prime example of what is wrong with Gronda. Besides the obvious of course.:P He comes in the ring looking all scary and projects a "don't mess with me" vibe. He throws all the rudos around one-by-one. Then Damian comes up and punches Gronda three times, weakly kicks him two times... and Gronda sells it like death! He collapses to the mat as if he was just hit by a top-rope piledriver. Remember The Undertaker's debut at Survivor Series '91? You think he'd have been as over if the first thing he did was bump all over the place for a few weak elbows from Dusty? The rudos kept beating on the tecnicos. They messed up their giant swing dropkick spot. Mercifully the comeback came fast and Gronda was nowhere to be found. Negro and Damian disapeared somehow. Aguila took out Wagner with his patened Aguila dive! Gronda then got Halloween all alone in the ring and was ready to do... something. Damian jumped inside with his cane and nailed Gronda in the knee. Rudos got DQ'ed and continued to beat on the giant red demon. *

Horrible booking. Horrible match. Horrible finish. If you are bringing Gronda in, at least either use him to elevate someone or put him over clean to build to someone eventually being elevated. What does CMLL do instead? They bury their own top stable by having them lose in two straight falls and look awful in the process. This is something even the RAW writers would have been able to book properly.

Atlantis/Tarzan Boy/Ultimo Guerrero vs Hector Garza/Perro Aguayo Jr./Shocker - CMLL Trios Titles Bout: Both teams had great entrances as you'd expect for a huge show. Unfortunately the match itself was big time disapointing in my eyes. See, I picked this as possible match of the night b/c I expected them to go all out in a title match as the semi-main event on the Anniversary show. What did I get instead? Just your typical lucha-by-numbers match that can be seen on any weekly CMLL TV show. Guerrero/Shocker started off but before you could get into their exchange, Los Perros took over. The beatdown was skipped and they went home right away with Garza nailing a tornillo splash on Tarzan and a triple team double stomp soon followed on Atlantis. Second fall was just as fast as the Guerreros fought back immediatly. Tarzan got assisted into a plancha on Garza and Shocker. Ultimo followed with an overshot tope suicida taking everyone one but mostly himself. Perrito clotheslined Atlantis and then went for another but the Atlantida ended things. The 5 minute women's opener was longer than both these falls combined. I expected them to do it main event style and just use the third fall as their "epic" with tons of dives, nearfalls and momentum swings. No such thing occured though. Tarza/Garza had an alright exchange. Then Shocker/Guerrero had an alright exchange as well with Shocker getting boo'ed big time. Guerrero took his usual bump to the outside and was nailed by a running somersault plancha. Tarzan followed with a plancha off the top rope. Garza followed with his corkscrew plancha. I figured Atlantis and Perrito were left to settle things but was wrong. Perrito stalled a lot and eventually Garza pulled Atlantis outside so Perrito could nail a silla from the top rope. I actually remember the only other time he did that move was on the last AAA TV episode to air on Telelatino in 1997! Garza/Shocker managed to knock Tarzan Boy out of the picture and they used a double slingshot suplex to plant Ultimo. They both went up top but Ultimo crotched Shocker. He went to do the same to Garza but Garza did a 360 flip over him and then got clotheslined. Ultimo tried to hit the ropes but Shocker grabbed him. Garza went to kick Ultimo but got Shocker instead! As Ultimo held Garza, Tarzan power bombed Shocker to eliminate him. Shocker got up angry, tore off his Perros Del Maaal shirt and threw it in Garza's face which I guess is the new big finisher in CMLL b/c Garza was so devastated that he was put up top by Tarzan and nailed with the Ultimo Guerrero Special. Guerreros win! **

Horribly underwhelming. There is nothing memorable from this match at all and they didn't even play up the turn as Shocker just walked off and was gone even before Guerrero nailed his finisher! You KNOW these teams are capable of more. I'm going out on a limb to defend these guys by assuming the following... there was a little over an hour left for the top two matches and just to make sure the main event would have all the time it needed *and more* - the geniuses in charge of the show told these guys to hurry up and cut their match by a few minutes. If this is honestly the best these supposed great workers could come up with on the biggest show of the year, we may have to find outselves some new great workers.

Before the main event, some of the edecanes tried to dance. Personally, I'd rather see them do what they do AFTER they finish dancing at their real jobs but that's just me.

Also before the main event there was a music video to hype Mistico vs Warrior. Whoever put it together did a total half-assed job by just taking clips from ONE MATCH and adding in a fancy graphic or two.

Mistico vs Black Warrior - Mask vs Mask: As if you needed more proof this show was horribly planned, Mistico was supposed to leap off the stairs onto Warrior to start the match but part of Mistico's entrance included this huge amount of steam by shot into the air EXACTLY where Warrior was supposed to be to catch Mistico. Ingenius! So after what seemed like ages, Warrior finally took the plunge and walked through the steam to catch Mistico's plancha and they got away from there as quick as possible. I don't even know what to classify the first two falls as. Unimportant? Total wastes? Warrior nailed a flying legdrop and then made Mistico submit. He ripped Mistico's mask and I think Mistico had pre-bladed. Second fall had a comeback by Mistico in the first 10 seconds. He used a couple of flying moves and then a small package to tie things up. Honestly, NOBODY expected him to not tie it up so it made sense to do it as fast as possible but if that's the case - why wasn't this 1 fall? Mistico tore Warrior's mask but next time the producer needs to know a spot like that ahead of time b/c they were on an extreme close-up and it was sooooooooooo obvious that Warrior was ripping his own mask in the right place to make sure his entire face wasn't exposed. That looked BAD. Third fall started like any other Mistico exchange... handspring moonsault, an armdrag, a headscissors and then a running tornillo plancha. From then on it was just an exchange of dives for a while. Warrior with a running somersault plancha. Mistico with a springboard corkscrew plancha. Mistico got two feel to the face off an attempted asai moonsault. Warrior with a bullet tope suicida. Then it was time for a bunch of nearfalls and near submissions. The drama was there... don't get me wrong... it's just it could have been so much more dramatic with more of Mistico's fans in attendance. He wasn't getting boo'ed which was one of my concerns. But what I overlooked is you need the little kids and families there to add to the drama by screaming and reacting to the nearfalls. Every time Warrior would get a nearfalls, you'd hear a slight gasp but nothing major like you'd expect for such a big match. Obviously, 90% of the crowd knew Mistico was winning. The other 10% were seated all the way up top and barely audible. That entire section should have been Mistico's fans. Oh well. The usual cavernaria spot they do in all these big matches got a huge reaction and Mistico worked hard to make it look believeable. Warrior didn't really bust out any new moves and seemed to be half-assing it a lot of the time. They did the spot we've seen Mistico do ever since his 1/1/05 match against Averno where he goes for a moonsault and his opponent moves, then he tries a Casita but his opponent reverses for a two count. Warrior argued with the referee and immediatly afterwards got nailed with La Mistica! He gave up immediatly and the crowd went nuts. ***

Post-match activites went FAST. Warrior tore his mask off and gave it to Mistico, then stormed to the back before 3/4th of the audience could see his face. Ummm... okay then. Mistico celebrated with the mask and after multiple replays, they showed a slo-mo of Warrior yanking his mask off while the ring announcer said who he was, how old he was and where he was from. Why didn't Warrior do that as is the norm? Security wouldn't let ANYONE get near the ring which made the post-match celebration come off really flat. Fray Tormenta was out there by the way. Finally security gave in and Mistico celebrated with a ton of fans. They carried him around ringside on their shoulders as security watched from the ring and kept begging Mistico to get back in the ring but he ignored them... rightfully so.

The match itself was a letdown. The work was fine but whoever planned the match out for them really used the most simplistic layout. Finish, finish, lots of dives, usual nearfalls and near submissions, then the finish. For the BIGGEST MATCH OF THE YEAR on the BIGGEST SHOW OF THE YEAR, perhaps more than 2 minutes of planning could have been done? Mistico and Warrior did a good job at the end with the nearfalls and the drama built up a bit but with a bigger pro-Mistico crowd, the drama could have multiplied x10.

The bottom line is any regular follower of CMLL has seen these guys wrestle in 3 singles matches at Arena Mexico this year. All those matches were generally classified as pedestrian efforts in order to build to the future epic match. They got their chance to do that tonight and turned in another average performance. I'd even go as far as to say their first singles match on 3/31 was better than this match by a bit. If you are a new viewer who doesn't watch the weekly TV, this match will probably come off a little better than how I describe it b/c all the spots will be new to you and the atmosphere is still unmatched in the world of wrestling. Any hardcore CMLL fan has to be disapointed by the match though and from what I've been reading, they sure are.

Overall, I thought this was a mixed show. Could have done without the opener and an added few minutes to each match thereafter. Those expecting a repeat of the 3/17/00 PPV with a great undercard and a blowaway main event are going to come out majorly dispointed. The entire show was all about the "new" version of Lucha Libre in the eyes of the people who run CMLL. Whether it's good or bad is up to you.


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