Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year In Review/Preview

10 Best Wrestlers of 2013:

1. Rush

The future of CMLL. Became a one man show in 2013 who could go into the ring with almost anyone and make it interesting all by himself. Feud with Negro Casas was must-watch TV and is clearly going to be the money match for CMLL in the coming year.

2. Negro Casas

The constant pro. Worked maestros matches giving us great 80's flashbacks, worked with young high flyers showing age doesn't matter & was willing to sacrifice his life to make Rush look like a killing machine. The ultimate compliment is finishing #2 to the guy who is the future of CMLL. Possibly the best wrestler in the world at this very moment.

3. Mascara Dorada

Rebounded after a very disapointing 2012 to make 2013 his best year yet. Never took a night off and had a few nights where he delivered possibly the best single performances of the year (3/29, 5/10 & 8/6 come to mind). Easily the most complete high flyer in the world.

4. Rey Escorpion

The only man who can even challenge Negro Casas when discussing the best rudos in Mexico. Carried the most lazy of opponents to the best matches possible, was a one man show in various trios matches to make limited tecnicos look like a million bucks and was involved in the best match of the year. Truly unbelievable to think only a couple years ago AAA decided they had no use for him and CMLL was putting him in opening matches with Molotov.

5. La Sombra

One could argue he certainly had the biggest/most important year for any wrestler in Mexico with his unmasking of Volador Jr. & winning the IWGP Intercontinental Title from Shinsuke Nakamura. His feud with Volador Jr. carried CMLL for much of the year when Atlantis/Ultimo Guerrero were on break & he was positioned as the top future tecnico in CMLL.

6. Titan

Started off the year rough as he had to deal with a pesky injury than took away all the mometum he had coming in from 2012. Thankfully he kicked it into gear in the second half of the year to re-establish himself as right there with Sombra & Mascara Dorada as the 3 tecnico building blocks CMLL needs to focus on. SHOCKINGLY well booked by CMLL tecnico standards and one still has to wonder if that is intentional or not. Any singles match of his post-June is well worth checking out.

7. Rey Cometa

Much like Rey Escorpion, Cometa is another example of a guy who AAA completely wasted & CMLL had stuck in generic trios matches until he got his big break at last year's Anniversary Show and carried the momentum into 2013. Feud with Okumura/Namajague was shockingly great and provided one of the best matches of the year at Dos Leyendas. Work ethic pretty much unmatched as he'd bring his A game to even pointless Sunday shows. Will hopefully return from injury in 2014 and get the chance to stick in semi-main events.

8. Jack Evans

An AAA wrestler! Can be classified exactly as Rey Cometa - a guy who always delivers no matter if it's a TV show or not or no matter who his opponents are. Would be higher if AAA had given him anything to do this year. His tag team with Angelico (later trio with Australian Suicide) consistently provided great matches throughout the year. One can only hope he will be more focused on in 2014 and perhaps get the big singles feud we are all waiting to see.

9. Volador Jr.

Rinse/repeat what was said about Sombra. Only thing knocking Volador down on the list is his post-unmasking run was very disappointing as he headlined some very weak Tuesday shows and is currently involved in a poorly done tecnico turn. But even that can't dismiss being involved in the best match of the year with Rey Escorpion and the feud with Volador Jr. that led to no less than 5 MOTYC's.

10. Pentagon Jr.

IF ONLY. The sky is the limit with this guy IF ONLY AAA would focus on him. Was probably due to do more this year if not for his rival Octagon Jr. leaving for WWE. Had limited appearences on TV but whenever he showed up he demonstrated he had main event talent and charisma. One of the best future prospects AAA has although one wonders if the promotion realizes it.

Just missed:

- Guerrero Maya Jr.: Consistent performer but stuck in too many meaningless trios matches.
- Virus: Same as above. Had a couple excellent singles matches though.
- Texano Jr.: Big matches just didn't deliver this year, mainly due to overbooking.
- Terrible: Underrated big man always bring his A game but focus wasn't on him this year.
- Steve Pain: Showed up out of nowhere and had a great 6 months. Sure to crack the list in 2014.

Top 10 Matches of 2013:

1. Volador Jr. vs Rey Escorpion (CMLL Light Heavyweight Title) - 1/29/13
2. Mascara Dorada vs Negro Casas (NWA Welterweight Title) - 6/2/13
3. Rey Cometa & Stuka Jr. vs Namajague & Okumura (Hair/Mask vs Mask/Hair) - 3/15/13
4. La Sombra vs Volador Jr. (Mask vs Mask) - 9/13/13
5. Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Virus (CMLL Super Lightweight Title) - 10/6/13
6. Titan vs Averno (Mexican National Welterweight Title) - 12/1/13
7. La Sombra vs Volador Jr. (IWGP Intercontinental Title) - 6/28/13
8. Shocker/Negro Casas/Terrible vs Rush/Maximo/Rey Escorpion - 6/28/13
9. Titan vs Polvora (Mexican National Welterweight Title) - 1/1/13
10. Rush vs Shinsuke Nakamura - 6/9/13

Note: Weird year as if I was making a list of personl 3 *FAVORITE* matches the top 3 would be Dorada/Casas & 2 matches that didn't even make the list - those being the trios titles match from the CMLL Anniversary Show & the 8/16 Aero Star/Angelico/Jack Evans vs Pentagon Jr./Machine Rocker/Soul Rocker match from Queretaro. Lots of matches left off this list such as AR Fox/Flamita, Ricky Marvin/Belial, Panther/Averno & Sombra/Nakamura just goes to show what a strong year it was for high end match quality.

Top 5 AAA Shows of 2013:

1. 11/3 Tonala

AAA needs to use this show as the blueprint for how they can be great. A big singles match with a talented foreigner, stable warfare, the debut of two new stables in excellent matches, Relevos AAA opener & the biggest shock of all - A FRESH MAIN EVENT INVOLVING NEW BLOOD!

2. 8/16 Queretaro

AAA shows are always extra great when you get to see the full package. This show had it. Mini's, a hardcore match & the best AAA match of the year. All that before even hitting the semi-main event.

3. 4/15 Leon

Much the same as above. Mini's, women, great high flying midcard match & the debut of a new trio that got over big and was then ignored the rest of the year. Perros/Secta was a sleeper great brawl.

4. 8/2 Mexico City

Best opening match of the year in Mexico set the tone for an excellent show that ended with the best angle of the year (even if the follow-up sucked). The Ciber/Perrito match was everything their Triplemania match wasn't. Show may have been even higher on the list if not for a very short and disappointing semi-main likely due to timing issues.

5. 7/7 Ecatepec

Action packed showed with the debut of a new stable, elevation of undercard acts & unforgettable midcard spotfest. A great sign of how fun a combo Galavision/Fusion TV taping could be.

Top 10 CMLL Shows of 2013:

1. 9/13 (Anniversary Show)

Not much else to say other than the best show of the year in Mexico. Nothing else was even remotely close.

2. 3/15 (Homenaje Dos Leyendas)

Strangely an amazingly put together show with... count 'em... *4* big matches! Match order was even jumbled the day of the show which turned out to be for the best and provided 4 distinct top matches including a main event that won't be soon forgotten. Two unaired undercard matches even popped up on youtube and were excellent. In any other year this is an easy best show of the year.

3. 6/28

CMLL finished off a strong month with a show that set the stage of what was to come later in the year. Great title match with Sombra/Volador, a Relevos Incriebles match that was really CMLL at it's finest if they had any focus in the programming department & the true start of the Panther/Averno feud. Relevos Incriebles match also had the Rush/Negro feud get thrust into the spotlight.

4. 4/26

Another shockingly well booked show. Wasn't even considered a major show by CMLL standards but had 3 big matches that all delivered. Gran Alternativa finals, Rey Cometa/Namajague hair match & Mistico II/Averno title match.

5. 8/16

Blue Panther tribute show complete with maestros match, the complete opposite in an Estetas Del Aire vs Hijos Del Averno match & another great Sombra/Volador Jr. singles match where the bomb was dropped as to the Anniversary main event.

6. 6/16

A Sunday show! A very good Sunday show! Finals of the tournament to crown new CMLL Trios champions & a semi-main event where Rush turned in an incredible performance. Women's Torneo Cibernetico wasn't half bad either.

7. 9/20

Post-Anniversary show was an excellent overall card with a fantastic midcard trios match involving Rey Cometa/Fantasma/Triton vs Ishii/Puma/Tiger. Excellent wrestling combined with setting the stage for the feuds to carry the last part of the year (Porky/Escorpion & Marcela/Dalys).

8. 6/9

A show with a tournament! Very generic description by CMLL standards but in this case it was an 8 team tournament to crown finalists for the CMLL Trios Titles that ended up being 6 very wild matches. Combine that with a MOTYC main event where Mexico hero for the night Rush absolutely obliterated hated foreigner Shinsuke Nakamura and this was a very enjoyable 2 and a half hours of free internet TV.

9. 2/22

A show kicking the year into high gear with all the Dos Leyendas feuds taking center stage. Two excellent mid-card matches & a shockingly good La Mascara/Averno lightning match.

10. 10/18

What should have been the last CMLL major show of the year ended up being just a regular show but still delivered. Porky/Escorpion was a wacky sight, Estetas Del Aire delivered as usual & Marcela/Dalys topped all expectations. If only the main event had actually been a tag title match instead of a screwjob who knows how high this show could have finished.

5 Things I Want in 2014:

1) No more Canadian Destroyers. Or any Canadian Destroyer variations. EVERY wrestler seems to use it & it seems to happen in EVERY match. It's a horrible move that isn't even used in the U.S./Canada any more so please please please... Mexican wrestlers... stop using it. It looks dumb. Also, piledrivers are illegal - remember?

2) The growth of promotions like Chilanga Mask & DTU. Companies that put on good creative lineups & listen to what their fans want should be rewarded with more fans coming to the shows so they can start running bigger buildings and making more money. Mexico needs more companies like these instead of EAW returning or TxT existing.

3) CMLL continuing to work with Terra to show events online. Don't get me wrong - I hope they get a real TV deal because they deseperately need one for the sake of the future of the company - but watching shows live is always better than even waiting a day or a week when you already know the results. Other companies should take advantage of new technology to try and do the same. Even setting up a camera and hitting record on a wide shot for a live IWRG show would be neat. AAA tried ustream and failed miserably but I'm hoping they even give something else a shot in 2014.

4) Instead of En Busca De Un Idolo I'd like to see a similar tournament to the G-1 Climax that New Japan does or Champion Carnival in All Japan. You can't just create a "new idol" every year. That defeats the purpose of someone being an "idol". Instead use the 2 months to have your best wrestlers in a big tournament... and perhaps because you are doing this tournament you can cut down on the number of other tournaments during the year. Pretty please? #nomoretournaments

5) AAA focusing more on individual/tag/trios rivalries rather than the generic umbrella of (randomly named faction of 10+ rudos) threatening to destroy their own company. AAA had a fantastic roster and an unlimited tap of great potential feuds. Psycho Circus vs Consejo, La Parka vs Parka Negra, anyone vs Jeff Jarrett & Mexican Powers vs Psicosis/random partner are COMPLETELY OVERDONE and well past stale. It's time to move on. Moving on does not mean Joe Lider turns on Crazzy Boy, La Parka tries to go rudo again and Psycho Circus vs Secta. Moving on means some Daga singles matches, the trios titles being moved into a position where the great trios teams can compete for them & Jack Evans/Angelico feuding with Texano/Hijo Del Fantasma either in tag matches or for singles titles. Like I said, the talent is all there... the creativity & dedication to changing things is not. 2014 is a new year - it's time for a (long overdue) change.

10 Legitimate Predicitions for 2014:

1) Mistico/Sin Cara shows up in AAA. All goes well until Triplemania before things fall off a cliff due to his ego combined with unprofessionalism from various AAA wrestlers who don't like him. By the end of the year he's working indies with LA Park & Dr. Wagner doing comedy hardcore matches ending in DQ.

2) Rush/Negro Casas have a hair match at Homenaje Dos Leyendas & Atlantis/Ultimo Guerrero finally have their mask match at the September Anniversary Show.

3) El Hijo Del Santo returns to the ring, finds a moneymark to sponsor one big show over the summer & on that show unmasks El Hijo Del Solitario.

4) The Volador Jr. as a tecnico experiment is done by the summer... if it takes even that long.

5) Titan wins his first mask in Arena Mexico... possibly Efesto, Reapper or Morphosis.

6) Kazuchika Okada makes his CMLL debut, has a quick feud with Rush. (Unfortunately likely beats him)

7) DTU has more of an influence on AAA undercards by providing new talent and thus the phasing out of a lot of AAA regulars who have no affiliation to Crazzy Boy.

8) More maestros matches on special CMLL shows including an apuesta match involving Black Terry.

9) Some sort of supershow at a decent sized arena promoted by Chilanga Mask involving a couple of US indy promotions.

10) Breakout years internationally for Mascara Dorada & Bestia 666.

(I'm not touching the AAA in US deal!)

~HAPPY 2014!


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