Saturday, November 13, 2010

CMLL vs Invasores - What Went Wrong?

The entire storyline of Invasores vs CMLL wasn't a total failure. It actually begun really strong even though it looks to be ending in failure as we approach the year-end show in December or late November. The storyline in itself was quite the leap for CMLL, a company that is typically VERY anti-outsider angles or doing anything outside of their status quo. So while I commend CMLL for taking a risk and doing something out of the ordinary to increase interest in their product, the booking of the angle clearly shows the men currently in charge of booking CMLL are quite out of their league when it comes to booking contemporary angles... or any angles beyond what worked in 1985.

The actual invasion that took place on April 12th in Puebla was good. Nobody knew it was coming. In fact when I read about it after the show in results I thought for sure someone was trying to pull one over b/c the mere thought of CMLL allowing Cuije to attack QueMonito seemed way too AAA. But the following day it was confirmed as being true and the rumors already begun swirling that new members would be showing up for this invasion. The follow-up to this was another run-in at a Puebla show and two weeks later a CMLL vs Invasores match. Everything was actually going fine here. You had the Invasores being put over (they won the match), buzz being built in DF which had yet to see them but had certainly heard about what was going on and finally... the group was established. Histeria, Psicosis, Maniaco, Alebrije and Cuije. When you said "Invasores" you knew who you were talking about. A week after their second Puebla match they had their first match at Arena Mexico on a Sunday show (a week before they had finally appeared with new members Monster & Chucky). They lost... but it was via DQ and they still looked strong. Not to mention the matches with the CMLL team vs the Invasores had been GOOD! This was key to note because had the Invasores shown up and proven they couldn't keep up with the CMLL wrestlers - this angle would have been dead from the start. So you have to give the original Invasores lots of credit for stepping up their game and in some cases (Alebrije/Psicosis) showing they were better than the CMLL crew.

Sadly this is where the positivity ends. In the following weeks and months CMLL completely blew this storyline and it wasn't due to one mistake or two mistakes... there were MULTIPLE mistakes that just kept burying the Invasores more and more. Let's take a look at them:

1. Too many members and too soon. The group became as bloated as the nWo ended up being except the nWo was at least given a few months before they began expanding. This group was given barely a month before suddenly they had multiple new members. Not to mention the quality of the members that got added... The Monster, Maniaco and Olimpico. Really? The first two were pretty much nobodies and Olimpico had completely fallen off the face of the earth since leaving CMLL.

2. Hector Garza. Garza ended up helping the Invasores and proclaiming himself to be their leader. This made no sense at all because while this was going on Garza continued to team with CMLL wrestlers like Terrible, Texano, Rey Bucanero, Felino, etc. One Sunday he'd be anti-CMLL and come Friday he'd be teaming with Polvora to win the Gran Alternativa and explain why winning a CMLL tournament was so important to him because that is how he got his start. How could the fans believe in the Invasores if their leader was clearly a top guy in CMLL?

3. Latin Lover. This may not have been CMLL's decision as Latin Lover was in Arena Mexico only to promote a TV show of his but it was certainly CMLL's decision on whether to include him in an angle or not. So they chose yes... and we had Garza/Latin Lover going at it. What came of this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Latin Lover either wanted too much money to wrestle or CMLL didn't want him wrestling just one show and leaving which would make them look bad. So why include him in the angle at all? In the end CMLL did look bad because the crowd was red hot for the Garza vs Lover angle and instead they got no follow-up and continued to see CMLL parade out 'C' level Invasores week after week.

4. Who were the Invasores alligned with? It was hinted the Japanese wrestlers were on their side which is why they weren't attacked during the original Puebla invasion. But at no point did CMLL ever make this clear. It was also hinted that Gigante Bernard was one of the Invasores but once again CMLL never made that clear and he still teamed with CMLL guys regularly. In the very first CMLL vs Invasores match on CMLL TV (taped 6/1 for Cadena Tres) both Olimpico and Alebrije were teaming with Ray Mendoza Jr.? Why? Mendoza had been a regular CMLL wrestler for years. Jushin Lyger was even teamed with the Invasores which lead one to think that all the foreigners in CMLL were part of the Invasores. Once again... you would have to actually THINK THIS because CMLL never bothered to actually explain it. And yet we still had foriegners like Dark Angel, Strongman, Zeuxis, Durango Kid and La Comandante around who were acting like nothing had changed with them.

5. Parejas Incriebles Matches. Otherwise known as the staple of lazy booking. Just throw people who are feuding into a match and put them on the same team to cause chaos. CMLL did this multiple times with the Invasores (6/6, 6/13 & 8/20) and each time it made no sense at all because the CMLL wrestlers NEVER had ANY issues with the Invasores they were teaming with. In fact they actually teamed up during those matches to work well together and there were no post-match incidents where the team broke apart since you know... they're enemies!

6. Rayo De Jalisco Jr.. This was a huge mistake early in the storyline. You had non-stop attacks by the Invasores against CMLL tecnicos. Eventually both Mascara Ano 2000 and Universo 2000 showed up to attack La Sombra and who should come out after them? Rayo De Jalisco Jr.! Except what does he do? He breaks a guitar over Universo 2000's head! So now not only do we have 10+ Invasores, we also have one lonely Invasor who was obviously not informed the plan was to destroy CMLL and he's actually here to defend CMLL and the tecnico side! This type of confusion was beyond needless at this point in the storyline.

7. The first CMLL vs Invasores show. It took place 6/6 at Arena Mexico and the hype was the show was built entirely around CMLL vs Invasores... naturally. Except two problems... first - the opening match was a mini's tag involving only CMLL wrestlers. They couldn't spring a little extra cash or forget their own hard feelings to bring in Pequeno Halloween and Mr. Aguilita. Of course the opening match is rarely a big deal so I'll let this one slide. However... the main event was Maximo vs Taichi in a hair match. Taichi was not an Invasor. He was around for at least a month before the Invasores had even shown up and had never teamed with them leading into this show. This was a CMLL feud headlining the first CMLL vs Invasores show. THE INVASORES COULDN'T EVEN HEADLINE THEIR OWN FIRST MAJOR SHOW! That's the definition of a storyline mistake right there. The actual CMLL vs Invasores matches did no help to the feud as in the first one you had a bad match where Rush and Maniaco didn't get co-operate. The second was the best of the night but ended with a Garza run-in so the Invasores weren't even allowed to win a match. The third was a Parejas Incriebles match where the CMLL wrestlers and Invasores got along like they'd been buddies for years and to make matters even worse - ONLY ONE TEAM HAD AN INVASOR! How does that make sense? Mr. Aguila was the Invasor and he showed up in awful shape and blew many spots. The final CMLL vs Invasores match was just atrocious and featured Rayo De Jalisco Jr. on the CMLL side which also made zero sense. The entire show set the CMLL vs Invasores storyline back big time.

And finally...

8. Tirantes. I honestly don't even know where to begin here so I should be named an honorary CMLL booker because they obviously didn't either. Tirantes first showed up (masked as a panda) at the CMLL vs Invasores press conference. It was announced that Hector Garza had asked him to the special referee for the matches involving the Invasores to make sure everything was called down the middle. Nothing wrong with this at all. A clear tease that Tirantes was going to screw the CMLL guys. Except what happened on 6/6? In his first match Tirantes had no problem counting down the shoulders of Maniaco, Histeria and The Monster during their loss. In the second match he actually DISQUALIFIED THE INVASORES for Hector Garza's run-in! And in the fourth match he once again was involved in calling a DQ during Mistico and Volador Jr.'s finishing spot. The idea was seemingly to show even though the Invasores brought in Tirantes - he was going to try and call it straight... obviously leading to a major time when he would show his true colors and help them. Except there was no build. The following week Tirantes was back and just begun helping the Invasores out as if the previous week had never even happened. In the weeks after that it made even less sense as Tirantes was refereeing matches that didn't even involve the Invasores. He turned into a regular CMLL referee! Did the commision approve this? Why would CMLL wrestlers be okay with having a match refereed by a man who was originally brought in by the arch enemies - the Invasores?

In addition to the obvious non-sensical refereeing there was also another issue this was causing - Tirantes' mere presence was burying the Invasores. At the begining they were winning matches and when they weren't winning they were at least looking good in defeat and losing because they would cross the line (ripping off a mask or low blow). When Tirantes started refereeing all their matches he would not only help them out by holding back the tecnicos, he would also not call submissions, do slow counts and/or refuse to count at times. This was fantastic to make Tirantes hated but it also destroyed any and all credibility the Invasores had left. Why should the fans take these guys seriously when they can't win any matches on their own? And what was the ultimate payoff here? Tirantes losing his hair? CMLL had yet to even hint that it is a possibility. Tirantes is the top Invasor still around and there is no way CMLL will get a payoff from it. (As an added negative to all this: The hardcore CMLL fans have clearly gotten sick of Tirantes' shtick as the rudo referee deal has never worked in Arena Mexico so attendance has been down as the hardcore fans know what to expect when he's refereeing the main event and they have no interest in paying to see it.)

Conclusion: If it was up to me I'd wrap this storyline up in December. Get Charly Manson or Mr. Aguila's hair as quick as you can and make sure to give it to someone who needs a win like Rey Bucanero or Felino (to set them both up for hair losses in 2011). At this point there is no to pretend CMLL is a 'la seria y estable' any more and just add on an extra stipulation that if Team CMLL wins - Tirantes gets his head shaved as well. It's very AAA-ish but the idea here should be to cut ties with Tirantes. Then CMLL has to make a decision on which Invasores they want to keep around. I would presume Olimpico and Mr. Aguila would retain their jobs as well as the ladies who recently got involved. I would also keep Psicosis around since his mask is still a little valuable and his mere presence in any feud leading up to the March show would be a good distracting if they were planning on someone else losing their mask/hair in a surprise. I would get rid of Alebrije, Manson and Histeria - not because they aren't good but merely because their presence alone would be a reminder of the Invasores angle and there isn't much else you can do with them unless they have their gimmicks changed. They could always still work with the CMLL guys on non-DF shows and in fact if Histeria still wanted to cash in he could lose his mask at any time... just not in DF.

What will really happen? I guess we'll find out in a few weeks. I have a strange feeling Tirantes isn't going anywhere though b/c the men in charge of CMLL are very old school and still think the Gran Davis rudo referee bit is what the fans want to see. I also think the CMLL vs Invasores feud won't die and we'll get the odd match or two per month 2011 where the CMLL wrestlers face the Invasores on Sunday shows. It'll be kept in a background role and just relied upon if a major show is coming up and the bookers have no angle planned so they'll just quickly take the mask or hair of an Invasor.

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