Bodymaker Coliseum (Osaka, Japan)
For the fourth straight January, New Japan and CMLL team up to promote the FantasticaMania tour in Japan. These are co-promoted CMLL and NJPW shows and provide a chance of pace for NJPW following the big Tokyo Dome show. The tour is cool for wrestling fans because we get inter-promotional teams, inter-promotional matches, and a chance to see some luchadores outside of a Lucha environment. One of the reasons that 1990’s WCW still holds a fond place on my memory is because how that promotion gave you a chance to see wrestlers and styles from all over the world colliding with one another. Given how insular WWE is and how isolationist some Japanese promotions can get from time to time, it is always a treat to get multi-promotion events like these.
We get a taste of that in this match as Nakamura teams with Ultimo Guerrero to battle the all-CMLL tecnico team of Rush and La Sombra. With increased interaction between NJPW and CMLL on a year-round basis, we are starting to get inter-promotional rivalries that pop whenever the two promotions share a card. La Sombra and Nakamura had a three-match series in 2013 where Nakamura successfully defended his IWGP Intercontinental championship against Sombra during the FantasticaMania tour last January. Sombra than defeated Nakamura for that title at the end of May in Mexico on a CMLL show before quickly dropping it back to him in Japan that June. Nakamura also had a good match versus Rush in CMLL last year, so the two sides have some history.
This was the best match on the card up to this point and brought a little bit of everything. Rush and Nakamura – as usual – work nice and snug. La Sombra flashes his impressive high-flying skills and Ultimo Guerrero plays utility man by doing everything just right. The finish surprised me some with Guerrero going over La Sombra clean with the Guerrero Special. Rush and Nakamura face off in singles competition on the 18th so perhaps it should have been obvious that they might be kept out of the finish, but Guerrero over Sombra still was not exactly the obvious outcome.
Lucha Tag | Watchable | Quality