CMLL Gran Prix
Watch: (Later on Azteca, presumably. This was broadcast as an iPPV but without VOD)
Arena México, Mexico City, Mexico
July 1, 2016
CMLL ran a big show that, somewhat unusually for them, had only four matches and was headlined by a large Mexico vs. Rest of the World Gran Prix match, the first such match that they’ve done since 2008.
Blue Panther, The Panther, Blue Panther Jr. vs. Felino, Puma, Tigergood
Blue Panther and Felino bring their kids to have a trios match, and it turns out pretty well. We get cool matwork to start, cool submissions later on, fun teamwork, and The Panther topes, but it felt like there could have been more to the match. Perhaps time considerations and position on the card had something to do with it, but it didn’t seem as if this had as many hallmarks of a Blue Panther match as I was expecting. Usually he likes to do something oddball with the finish, and there wasn’t any of that this time. I was legitimately surprised that the match ended with The Panther’s springboard dropkick, which is usually more of a lead-in to something else.
This was a solid match in any event, but it feels like it’s lacking that extra something to push into my recommendation list. It’s not that far off though.
After the match, CMLL pauses for a minute of applause for Thunder, who recently (and surprisingly, to those of us in the general public who weren’t close to him) succumbed to stomach cancer. I haven’t said much about this yet, so perhaps it’s the time to do so now. Whatever we thought of him as a performer, this is a reminder that there is an actual person behind the gimmick, and a disturbing reminder that life can take a drastic turn for the worse really quickly, out of our control. It’s horrible that he and those who knew him had to go through this. I hope that those who survive him can find some peace.
Back to the show…
Místico, Atlantis, Stuka Jr. vs. Ephesto, Euforia, Terriblevery good
This is a very fun match, borderline great, that Místico elevates almost by himself, with a plethora of great highspots: Diving headscissors to the outside, Operación Dragón, a stage dive, and several others. Stuka Jr. is solid, too, getting in his two big signature missile planchas (inside and outside the ring). The rudos also have a great coordinated pin at the end of the second fall. The match definitely exceeds expectations and is one of the better CMLL trios matches of the year that doesn’t involve Volador Jr., Dragon Lee, or Máscara Dorada.
Of note is that Ephesto replaces Mr. Niebla, who is said to have not had an exactly, shall we say, lucid night in Guadalajara earlier in the week.
Hair vs. hair: Rey Cometa vs. Cavernarioexcellent
Easily the best match of the night, this apuesta sets the tone immediately with brawling on the entrance ramp, followed by a stage dive by Rey Cometa. Throughout, the match is full of crazy spots by both guys, including some new variants – for example, Cavernario giving Rey Cometa a tope suicida whie the latter is seated on top of the barricade. I also don’t recall Rey Cometa doing a Lo Mein Pain before this match, nor Cavernario navigating the ropes so quickly for a springboard plancha to the outside. But in addition to the new stuff, we get the old standbys, not the least of which is Rey Cometa’s own Brillo Cometa.
Cavernario wins with La Cavernaria, but not without a struggle to actually apply it, and not before having to fight his way out of the hold himself. Although Rey Cometa went a bit heavy on Canadian Destroyers, this is easily a MOTYC and quite possibly the best 2016 CMLL match not involving Dragon Lee and Kamaitachi. Go out of your way to see this.
Gran Prix 2016very good
This is structured as an 8-vs-8 torneo cibernético with Mexico vs. the rest of the world: Máximo, Volador Jr., La Máscara, Rey Escorpión, Último Guerrero, Shocker, Rush, and Diamante Azul vs. Kushida, Okumura, Michael Elgin, Johnny Idol, Tangs Roa, Tama Tongs, Sam Adonis, and Marco Corleone. Before the match proper starts, Mexican armed forces come out, and the Mexican national hymn is played.
Brawling ensues immediately after the armed forces leave, and recurs intermittently to interrupt the flow of the match, which I view as a detriment; this match goes 50 minutes, and there’s no real need to pad it out. Some of the more interesting aspects of this long match:
- Michael Elgin giving and taking huge spots (including a Volador Jr. reverse rana [!]);
- Marco and Máximo doing comedy near the start of the match;
- Diamante Azul catching Marco’s dive and suplexing him (probably the most interesting spot that he’s done in years);
- Rush being a jerk to La Máscara over and over;
- the final stretch with Volador Jr. and Tama Tonga.
There are enough interesting things here to recommend the match, even though it runs long and has the aforementioned stop–start feel that made it somewhat difficult for me to stay engaged at times. It might be on the weaker edge of the “recommend” side, but it’s definitely over that line for me.
OVERALL: This is a fun show. The hair match is the main match that you absolutely have to see, but every match was at least solid.