Current Watch List:
- Sho Tanaka vs. Jay White (NJPW)
- Tiger Mask IV & Yohei Komatsu vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish (NJPW)
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Tomoaki Honma & Mascara Dorada (NJPW)
- Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata, KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Matt & Nick Jackson (NJPW)
- Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga (NJPW)
- Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe, Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI (NJPW)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Kenny Omega (NJPW)
- Slim J vs. Fred Yehi (Anarchy)
- Negro Casas vs. Fuerza Guerrera (ALL ELITE)
- Dr. Wagner Jr. & La Sombra vs. L.A. Park & Volador Jr. (ALL ELITE)
- Dragon Celestial & Los Terribles Cerebros (Black Terry, Cerebro Negro & Dr. Cerebro) vs. Leo , Mike, Seiya & Teelo
- Corey Hollis vs. Cedric Alexander (Wrestle Force)
- Harlem & Lancelot Bravado vs. Lodi & Sick Boy (Wrestle Force)
- Delta, Dragon Lee, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kamaitachi, Puma, Virus (CMLL/ALL ELITE)
- Blaster McMassive vs. “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti (Chikara)
- “Smooth Sailin” Ashley Remington vs. Drew Gulak (Chikara)
Sho Tanaka vs. Jay White
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Very solid. I want to check out some pre-New Japan Jay White just to see his style when not under the strict young lion guidelines. It would be interesting to see if he looks as solid as he does now because he is being constrained somewhat (in a good way) or if he’s just always wrestled a solid, fundamental style. I am betting on the former.
In any event, this was a very fun opener and a good showing for both. Big fan of short, basic, well executed matches which this was. Also a fan of the suplex, roll up reversal spot and they pulled it off well. Half crab for the win of course.
Tiger Mask IV & Yohei Komatsu vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Fun listening to O’Reilly and Fish attempt to work the crowd. reDRagon could be a good, old school heel team in a different era and different environment has they show signs of it on occasion. Tiger Mask has looked good this year and that continued in this match. Good hot tag, nice drop kick, and nice dive. Komatsu was his usual intense self. Easy to watch, but probably a step below the opener.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Tomoaki Honma & Mascara Dorada
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Your standard modern Day mid-card New Japan six-man, except with the added benefit of Honma adding a lot to the crowd reaction. Honma needs some sort of push this year; strike while the iron is hot. Dorada had another good showing but otherwise it was the Honma show. Exactly what you’d expect from this six which is in no way a bad thing.
Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata, KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Matt & Nick Jackson
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Thought the prior match was a tad better, though this was also fine. Thought Gallows looked strong again. He’s come into his own in New Japan over the past couple of months. Good punches in this match and his timing was spot on. Nothing memorable but not bad.
Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Not much here. Given that Okada and Fale have already met in several tags this year and have a trios & tag date this week on the big shows, you wouldn’t expect this match to give away much. Gedo worked hard as always but nothing to much else to see.
Slim J vs. Fred Yehi
Slim J has turned into a solid worker and showed it here. Very smooth lucha arm drag and some pretty ranas to go with it. His offense wasn’t perfect, but it was very good. He’s definitely deserving of a higher profile. The first few minutes were heading down a nice path with the previously mentioned moves (among others). The rest of the match was okay, but couldn’t match the start. The pace sort of halted, as they went back and forth working with each guy grabbing a hold or two before getting to the finish. It wasn’t that the middle portion was bad. It was definitely preferable to to going insane in the middle with big move overkill. Fun TV match, somewhere in the solid slightly above average range.
Negro Casas vs. Fuerza Guerrera
First two falls were good, but the third fall was very good. Casas worked in a lot of Octagon spots against Fuerza which was a nice touch. Fuerza surprised but not only catching Casas on his normal plancha off the apron, but also hitting a dive of his own. Great heat for the third fall, particularly right before the finish. Casas actually got booed in Arena Mexico which shows just how much people wanted to see Fuerza. Smooth submissions and transitions throughout. There were less fouls and teased fouls here than expected, but still some. The really tight and well executed match you would expect, with great heat to boot. I think I have this below the top lucha matches from 2015 so far (the two Cara Lucha trios, Maximo/Casas), but just below.
Dragon Celestial & Los Terribles Cerebros (Black Terry, Cerebro Negro & Dr. Cerebro) vs. Leo , Mike, Seiya & Teelo
My favorite Turtles match so far. The Leo & Black Terry mat work at the start was great stuff. The fact that I can write that sentence is great stuff. Second fall had several big spots including a well hit moonsault to the outside by one of the Turtles. Like many an IWRG match, this one stumbled towards the finish line with an uneven third fall, but the final fall still had its moments. Mike rolling around on the mat was funny and the double team money flip/roll up was great. Nice stero topes by Seiya and Teelo has well. It is a turtles match so it is a given that it was fun, but there was also some legitimately hight quality to work to be found as well.
Dr. Wagner Jr. & La Sombra vs. L.A. Park & Volador Jr.
I had the pleasure of watching Dr. Wagner Jr. and L.A. Park wrestle a singles match live last year in Philly. Going into the match, I wasn’t sure how much of a pleasure it was going to be beyond getting to see the always riveting Parka in the flesh. I got more than I paid for from the two veteran luchadores, as they ended up working very hard and producing a very fun singles match. Fast forward about a year and I once again found myself selling Wagner Jr. and Parka short for their scheduled tag team match at the February 8th ALL ELITE Arena Mexico show. I went back to assuming they would mail in their performance and while the match would have good heat, there wouldn’t be much to write about. Fooled again.
This was not a MOTYC-level output or anything. I imagine most will prefer The Casas/Fuerza match from the same card (I am still undecided). At the same time, it was a great effort by all four wrestlers with more big moves from the veterans than I expected, great heat, and a neat ringside camera shot that gave a unique perspective of Arena Mexico.
Parka still has a great tope (getting to see that live last April was a real highlight for me) and he hit TWO of them in this match. Wagner Jr. added an awesome cannonball dive off of the ramp as well. I expected Volador Jr. to fly all over the ring and do a stage dive (he obliged on both) but Wagner and Parka’s dives were unexpected treats. The crowd loathed Sombra who plays the disinterested/aloof heel role so well. The three falls were evenly spread out, as was the action. There was some brawling, some rope running, and some flying in all three falls which was a nice change of pace from many modern CMLL trios matches. The biggest difference was that the crowd treated all four wrestlers like difference makers. If CMLL can’t see the potential in bringing Parka, Wagner, and guys like them in regularly, then they are further gone than I previously thought.
Big stars, the well thought out structure, and good heat resulted in a match that was a lot of fun. I wish all Arena Mexico main events felt as big and worthwhile as this one did.
Corey Hollis vs. Cedric Alexander
I like both guys (Alexander more so than Hollis) but this match was not any good. Really mailed in and just nothing memorable about it. I noticed for the first time that Hollis looks a bit like the Orioles’ Chris Davis facially, so at least there was some takeaway from it.
Harlem & Lancelot Bravado vs. Lodi & Sick Boy
Also not every good, but more entertaining just for the novelty of watching Sick Boy and Lodi work as a team (the defending tag champions at that). Sick Boy through nice kicks to the midsection but that was about all he did. Lodi has had better efforts over the past year+. Bravados were in full on chickenshit heel mode which is their best mode, but once they got to the “Flock Rules” portion of the match (ie. poor weapon brawling) the match fell apart. I did enjoy the fans who constantly yelled “WCW!” throughout the match.
Delta, Dragon Lee, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kamaitachi, Puma, Virus
From the ALL ELITE show, this aired on CMLL’s show on Claro sports. About 14 minutes or so of actual wrestling and better than your average CMLL trios. Not exactly a surprise given who all was involved. Delta and Virus start off Virus-led mat work. Those two have only had one singles match – a lightning match that is more than two years old. More than overdue for a title match or at the very least, a new lightning match. Delta was probably the start of this between the mat work, the flip dive from the top to the floor, and moonsault from the rope turnbuckle to the floor.
The match was built around the Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi issue. As usual, those two went at it hard as they build to their now official mask match at Dos Leyandas. Kamaitachi’s signature running, over the tope rope dropkick from the ramp into the ring hit squarely, as did Dragon Lee’s double stomp from the tope rope. At the end everyone cleared out so those two could go front and center. Maya took the instructions to clear out a little too literally, diving into fans and ending up after six rows back. Really cool. Kamaitachi unmasked Dragon Lee for the DQ to give the tecnicos the victory. CMLL doesn’t get much right on the booking front, but putting Kamaitachi/Dragon Lee front and center on the well-attended ALL ELITE show was smart booking. Good match.
Blaster McMassive vs. “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti
I don’t recall how much these two actually worked against one another in the 2 out of 3 falls tag title match between Devastation Corporation and the Throwbacks from last December but given that I enjoyed that match a bunch, I thought this had a chance of being pretty good. It wasn’t bad but they never got going. McMassive has a higher ceiling than Smashmaster but is far more green, which showed itself here. He still is not in a position to carry a match offensively as a heel.
“Smooth Sailin” Ashley Remington vs. Drew Gulak
In a clash of personalities like this match was, it is probably better off to pick on direction or the other. Either a lighthearted but well wrestled Ashley Remington match or a more serious/intense Drew Gulak match would have worked, but they tried to blend instead and it never clicked. I was taken off guard when the announcers tried putting Remington over as a good power wrestler. I don’t think of him in that regard. He then pulled off a nice gut wrench suplex and a dead life German suplex that wouldn’t have looked out of place had someone like Cesaro performed them, so maybe that’s not a stretch. Some of the Gulak submission stuff was also fine, but it felt like they were wrestling two different matches.