CaraLucha is one of many indie promotions that have recently (i.e., in last few years) sprung up in the greater Mexico City area, and their second anniversary show took place on Saturday, May 21, in Arena San Juan Pantitlán, Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, just east of Mexico City. I made a weekend trip to see that show, and this write-up will be based on my live experience of the show. Aside from one match, I haven’t watched any videos of the show yet. [Note: Matches are available from Black Terry Jr. (@BLACKTERRY on Twitter). Full disclosure: I handle Black Terry Jr.’s PayPal these days for logistical reasons.]
Limbo was originally listed as a surprise luchador. I had never heard of him before, so hearing him announced didn’t help to inform my expectations of this match at all. On top of that, I’d seen Fiero only sparingly, so I didn’t know how this match would turn out. It ended up more than filling its role as an opener: it was generally fast-paced and had its share of wacky spots. It did start to fall apart near the end of the third fall, but that didn’t detract too much overall. The match was easily the best match of the first half of the show and is worth watching.
Both CMLL guys were a surprise, and I don’t think this choice was entirely up to CaraLucha, who tends to know who the talented guys in CMLL are. Mala Hierba (Centvrión and Fly Warrior) deserved better opponents and couldn’t really do a whole lot with Oro and Espanto. Perhaps the only neat thing that the CMLL guys did was Espanto Jr.’s reverse rana. I don’t recall anything going horribly wrong, but Oro and Espanto are generally bland luchadors.
Sky Man, Rayo Star, and Magnífico II have taken to calling themselves Los Magníficos Sky Stars recently and figure to be a pretty formidable team if they continue. Astral can be spectacular at times, but is so, um, shall we say, focused on bodybuilding that he looks more and more like a ridiculous caricature every day. I wish he’d focus on one thing or the other; he was sloppy here. Rayo Star looked the best out of anyone in the match. The third fall was more of an angle in which Tiago (the former Mini Charly Manson in AAA) had issues with Astral and Eléctrico. Post-match, the Magníficos Sky Stars asked Tiago to join them, but Tiago ultimately refused to join either team.
This had the potential to be better, but going in, I knew that this match would be a crapshoot due to the guys involved. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a particularly good roll.
This was a very good match that ended up more of a brawl than I was expecting, but it was enjoyable brawling. Cavernario was busted open at one point. It’s a little surprising that they set up Black Terry vs. Cavernario instead of Black Terry vs. Hechicero, but that should work out more than okay. It also shows Black Terry’s commitment to working with young talent: He’s old enough to be Cavernario’s grandfather. More veterans in the Mexico indies need to be like Black Terry instead of working only against guys from their own generation.
One smart bit of move psychology that I enjoyed was that, after Black Terry beat Cavernario by countering his imploding splash in the first fall, Hechicero held down Black Terry’s feet in the second fall so that Cavernario could land his splash that time.
This was originally promoted as the main event, but was moved to the semi-main, probably because the mask match figured to be a bloody mess (and it was). For some background, when Flamita’s around, he’s treated as the top guy in CaraLucha. Mexico indies aren’t generally big on storylines outside of wanting rematches and apuestas, but based on how he’s booked and promoted, the running implicit storyline with Flamita in CaraLucha is that he’s a prodigal son from Neza who grew up training in Arena San Juan Pantitlán and is now trying to prove that he can go with anyone in the world — all of which is in fact true in real life. In his last CaraLucha singles match against a CMLL guy, in June of last year, he surprisingly beat Volador Jr. clean. This was his homecoming match, his first in Arena San Juan, since leaving AAA last month.
Somewhat disappointingly, this match ended up only slightly longer than a lightning match, but both guys executed well, and it wasn’t just trading big moves until someone hit their finisher. The Dorada Driver attempt and counter made me pop live. The rematch that they set up will definitely be more of a spectacle than this one was, but there was enough here for me to call this great. I’m probably more emotionally invested in this match than most people, though: I could have seen nothing else from the show and this match would have made the trip worth it for me. There is something particularly mind-warping for me about seeing big-name técnico flyers actually having to take flying moves, and that goes double for live viewing. Even knowing now that they set up a rematch, I would have kicked myself for missing this one live.
As a little anecdote, I had a Flamita mask on during the match. Before the match started, when Máscara Dorada was standing in his corner right in front of me, turned around, saw me and did a double-take, as if to say, “Wait; what? I thought you liked me.” (We’ve met before.) It was in good fun, and is an example of the sort of interactions that you get to see in smaller shows.
This was the culmination of a feud between teacher (Toro Negro Jr.) and student (Látigo). [Side note: Toro Negro Jr. is Flamita’s uncle.] As these teacher–student apuestas tend to be a sort of final test for the student, it would have been surprising for the student to lose. The other members of Mala Hierba (Centvrión and Fly Warrior) seconded Látigo, while Toro Negro (Sr.) and Hijo del Toro Negro seconded Toro Negro Jr. Hijo del Toro Negro looked very young, on the early side of his teenage years. I’m not sure of the exact relationship to Toro Negro Jr.; given the size of the family and their heavy involvement in lucha, he could have been anything from son to much younger brother to nephew, cousin, etc. Regardless of the exact relationship, he looked extremely unsettled the entire time and was probably too immature to be a second.
The match started with matwork but ended up transitioning into a brawl fairly quickly as expected. The problem is that at some point, fans (almost definitely under the influence of alcohol) involved themselves and began to riot. This was extremely confusing live because all we saw was a mass of bodies, some of which were the seconds, working its way around the arena. Police apparently had to break things up, and there was still a lot of commotion ongoing when the actual billed combatants returned the ring for the finish. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who failed to notice that there was a finish actually happening in the aftermath of the riot.
No rating because of the rioting nonsense, but this was on its way to being eh/okay until then. It’s unfortunate that this match will be remembered for the riots and that the show ended this way.
OVERALL: All things considered, this was disappointing for a big show, especially compared to the first CaraLucha anniversary, which I also saw live and thought was much more well-rounded from top to bottom. That’s not to say that this was anywhere close to being an objectively bad show; the opener, fourth match, and semi-main are worth your time, as is the mask match if you’re curious about the insanely surreal Charlie Foxtrot that erupted. Moreover, I do think that Flamita vs. Máscara Dorada was the best match of either anniversary, although you could make a case for last year’s Volador/Titán vs. Flamita/Bestia main event being better.