Last summer, myself and 205 Live Star Lince Dorado were having the same conversation about Flamita.
we've had many cruiserweight tournaments this year and Flamita hasn't been in any of them, a shame.
— luchablog (@luchablog) August 14, 2016
@luchablog I was talking to him about this actually!
— Lince Dorado (@LuchadorLD) August 14, 2016
Flamita never did get in a tournament in 2016. US high end indies all seem to have their own annual single elimination tournament and Japanese promotions usually have a league style tournament at least. The concept’s never really caught on much in Mexico: CMLL’s the only promotion running enough shows to run a round robin, and Elite’s attempts to do so only have met with abject failure. There are plenty of one night tournaments, but they’re usually not any good, and it’d take someone with some real money to burn to run something that’d last over multiple shows.
If you could make it work on the business end, there’s no shortage of talent to use. Mexico indies are over stocked with exciting and interesting talent, much of which only gets to work in tags or multimen matches even in the progressive indie promotions. CMLL’s En Busca de un Idolo tournament showed how good a lucha libre league style tournament of single short matches could work. A carefully chosen indie Mexico Best of the Super Juniors-like tournament could be even better.
Who would you pick for something like that? I put the question to myself and three lucha libre fanatics: RobViper, my partner on the Como Estaz podcast and the person behind the @luchagifs Twitter account, TKD from Wrestling With Words, and DoradaFan, who finds the most obscure lucha libre prospects despite living all the way in Sweden and runs his own YouTube channel. We held a snake style draft, so everyone came up with their own eight luchadors for their own mythical tournament.
The picks were limited to people we could theoretically tour around Mexico for three weeks without anyone they work for getting too annoyed or having a problem with them working with other people. That meant no AAA luchadors, since there’d be some sort of conflict. Also, not Penta or Fenix, since they don’t seem to have three consecutive days free, much less three weeks. We did allow scheduling around foreign tours, and lower card CMLL were allowable – but none were really picked, so it didn’t matter. (Likewise, women could’ve been chosen, but no one bit at picking Keira.)
We conducted the draft on the official social media platform for strange lucha libre discussions, Whatsapp. It ran from April 6th to the 11th.
Round 1: Pick 1 – RobViper picks BLACK TAURUS
Seen Often In: Elite, The Crash
Recommended Match: w/Bestia 666 & ACH vs Willie Mack, Jack Evans & Mascarita Dorada in The Crash
RobViper: Misused in CMLL & AAA, I won’t let it happen again! Great gimmick. Super base which is what’s needed for flyers I’ll draft later on.
Doradafan: Great pick! Super base as you said but also has some great offense and a fun gimmick. I approve!
TKD: Black Taurus is not a guy naturally thought of as a #1 pick but once you see it it’s a “oh, duh, that makes sense” moment.
Round 1: Pick 2 – TKD picks FLAMITA
Seen Often In: Dragon Gate, The Crash, Elite
Recommended Match: vs AR Fox in The Crash
TKD: Raise your hand if you DIDN’T see this one coming. A little bit of bias involved, but rationally speaking, he’s shown he can have a ****+ match with practically anyone worth a damn, and probably hasn’t stopped getting better. I’ll gladly take 6-8 months of that a year.
RobViper: I called Flamita! And when DoradaFan goes I’m pretty sure I called his pick too! LOL
Round 1: Pick 3 – thecubsfan picks CAIFAN
Seen Often In: Monterrey, formerly in Lucha Memes
Recommended Match: vs Hechicero in Tijuana
thecubsfan: Caifan hasn’t been around the indies that make YouTube as much this year, but he came off as the best all around guy on the indies since Ricky Marvin’s run, a top star presence with wrestling to match. He’s not going to have Ultimo Guerrero & Atlantis to fight in my group, but I think he’d do well with the flippy young guys I plan to fill this out with.
Round 1: Pick 4 – DoradaFan picks REY ESCORPION
Seen Often In: ELITE
Recommended Match: versus Mascara Dorada in Elite
Doradafan: Rey Escorpion has to count as an indie guy now right? Great base, great character! He will be matched against some great flyers in my group, taking their dragonranas, or powerbombing them into the crowd!
RobViper: You can’t take him
RobViper: Because I wanted him
(last person in the round picks first in the next round so…)
Round 2: Pick 1 – DoradaFan picks ARAMIS
Seen Often In: Lucha Memes, IWRG
Recommended match: Five Match Fighters in IWRG
Doradafan: OK, this might be an underdog to be picked early but I figured someone might steal him until I’m up again! One of the best young flyers currently but can work different styles. Super talented, the best of the Kamikazes (which says a lot because Iron Kid & Alas de Acero are way above average)
TKD: Did not see Aramis going that quickly, but not going to argue.
Doradafan: LOL Rob that wasn’t what you predicted?
TKD: Hopefully Cubs stalls for a bit because I have not had time to think about what I want to do and won’t until tomorrow night. 🙂
RobViper: I had you pegged all wrong
Doradafan: I got 10 minutes to think and I ended up with a list of 32 people
RobViper: I’m gonna take 8 and be very mad Mosco Jr didn’t make the list
TKD: Oh I can list people. Ranking them is the hard part.
Doradafan: Picking Mosco Jr. next time I’m up
RobViper: I’m up first and I’ll steal Komander. Then we’ll trade. It’s called insurance. LOL
Doradafan: Lmao lets do it LOL
thecubsfan: I would’ve totally taken Aramis soon and I hope there’s not a run on Kamikazes before it gets back to me.
Round 2: Pick 2 – thecubsfan picks JACK EVANS
Seen Often In: Lucha Underground, The Crash
Recommended Match: w/Angelico vs Fenix & Hijo del Fantasma in AAA
thecubsfan: As long as we’re doing “he counts as an indie guy now”, I’m taking Mexico’s own Jack Evans. He does flips. He slays dragons. He’s the best wrestler in the world when he has two working legs and everyone’s going to want to see Jack Evans versus whoever I book. Plus, I think he seems to have liked the indie matches he’s done since leaving AAA so he’ll like any weirdo I pick later.
Doradafan: Damn I thought I might have a chance to steal him later! Oh well, great pick! Really can’t see Jack Evans having a bad match with anyone that anyone of us would pick
TKD: Was contemplating taking Jack. Good pick.
Round 2: Pick 3 – TKD picks REY HORUZ
Seen Often In: Lucha Underground, The Crash
Recommended Match: w/Ricochet vs Rey Fenix & Daga
TKD: I’ll take Rey Horus. Not only because I want that rematch against Flamita but he can hold his own and Pizza DDTs all around will be good fun.
Doradafan: Great pick! Was a choice between him and Aramis for me.
Round 2: Pick 4 – RobViper picks BANDIDO
Seen Often In: Elite, CaraLucha
Recommended Match: w/Volador vs Flamita & Fly Warrior in CaraLucha
RobViper: I took Bandido because he’s the golden goose. He has main event potential so I’m actually happy he isn’t taking the Magia Blanca route because it’d be a waste and he’d regress. I’m more than happy to have him in my block working with other good workers and getting some singles match experience. Plus it’ll give me matches of his to link to that don’t involve Argos who I won’t be drafting.
thecubsfan: Noooooooooooooooo, wanted him next.
RobViper: [evil smile emojis]
RobViper: He was my #4 but I just realized he wouldn’t last and my #2 & #3 should be around
TKD: Bandido was probably at the top of my list for round 3; d’oh!
Round 3: Pick 1 – RobViper picks ALAN XTREME/TORTUGA RAFY/BAKU
Seen Often In: IWRG, CaraLucha, any indie running in Gimnasio Hercules?
Recommended Match: vs Leo, Mike and Teelo in IAP
RobViper: Alan Xtreme is a super talent who just needs a solid gimmick. He can work tecnico or rudo so I can even out my sides later if need be.
Round 3: Pick 2 – TKD picks GOLDEN MAGIC
Seen Often In: IWRG, Elite
Recommended Match: w/Bandido & Zumbi vs Hijo de Dos Caras, Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. & Karonte Jr.
TKD: I’m going to go ahead and take Golden Magic. Another flippy guy, but not one I’m particularly concerned about in terms of fitting in, since I’m not going anywhere near Golpeador. 🙂 Of the people I’m considering, he’s the one I think I’m most worried about not being available next round (perhaps not a substantiated fear, but oh well). Working a lot with Flamita fairly recently is a bonus.
RobViper: Golden Magic is a solid pick in the Bandido style. He may be better than Bandido overall right now.
thecubsfan: Golden Magic was another name I hoped would drop to me, I wanted a young-ish action guy for this spot. There’s a lot of others, all about the same level and it’s tough for me to decide between them. So I think I’m going to hope DoradaFan helps clears some of them off after me and makes my decision simpler.
Round 3: Pick 3 – thecubsfan picks LAREDO KID
Seen Often In: The Crash, Monterrey, AIW, Impact Wrestling
Recommended Match: vs Brian Cage in Martinez Entertainment
thecubsfan: For this pick, I’m going with Laredo Kid. He’s not as singular a high flyer as he was in his early days, no he’s a more of all around talented guy. He’s still an aerial dude and looks it when he’s in US promotions, but he’s added more power to his style and just put it all together over the last couple of years. We’d probably rate him higher if he was wrestling in some place that got regular free TV. I hope Impact figured out what they have in him, and I’ll gladly fit our schedule in around those taping dates.
thecubsfan: I think I have the one that’s most likely to get US people to sign up to my brand new streaming service, but also the one that’s going to cost me the most. Might have to go DTU Kids the rest of the way and just pay in candy.
TKD: Laredo Kid is a real solid pick. I hear being a money mark is fashionable these days so not sure why you’re worried about such details.
Round 3: Pick 4 – DoradaFan picks ETERNO
Seen Often In: IWRG, Lucha Libre Boom
Recommended Match: vs Emperador Azteca, in IWRG
Doradafan: I’ll get Eterno. Throw him some facepaint and some motivation and he’ll be the one of the top rudos. I’ll take him under my wing and instead of Lucha Extremas I’ll pay him the same money catch every crazy dive coming towards him!
Round 4: Pick 1 – DoradaFan picks ROCKY LOBO
Seen Often In: DTU, ELITE
Recommended Match: w/Drastik Boy vs Centviron & Latigo in WMC
Doradafan: Let me get Rocky Lobo too. He’s one of those people who’s been “promising” for way too long. I think he is ready for a tournament like this and I’d love to see him in some 1v1 action!
Doradafan: Not sure I cleared anyone away for you cubs, guessing you had people like Metaleon, Mr. Leo & Rayo Star in mind?
TKD: Eterno was someone I was hoping would fly under the radar and could pick up later.
TKD: Rocky Lobo is not bad, though I’m a little flabbergasted that you’re staying relatively mainstream so far and have not gotten into Torreon locals.
Doradafan: Well this draft is sort of competitive so I have to get those who could get stolen away first. What are the chances you’ll steal away my obscure locals who probably you’ve never heard about anyway
thecubsfan: There’s a good chance Rob just starts grabbing obscure locals just to mess with you. It’s coming, don’t trust him.
RobViper: I’m not a mean person, I just play one on twitter
Round 4: Pick 2 – thecubsfan picks BELIAL
Seen Often In: Lucha Memes, WMC
Recommended Match: vs Arez & Impulso in WMC
thecubsfan: I’m having trouble deciding between two people, but I’m going to pick Belial for this spot. He’s been a favorite of mine since the Ricky Marvin match, and he’s consistently entertaining. He’s fast, he’s smooth and has really strong matches with a variety of people. The Indys trios helped get all three guys get noticed and helped expand the idea of super indie groups, but I think Belial’s a level above his two partners now and just needs some more singles chances to shine. My tournament will be great for that! I think I might have been able to get him later but I’d be bummed if I didn’t get him.
RobViper: I’m surprised one guy hasn’t been taken. I’m not gonna take him. Not a great look for him having 4 experts passing on him this much.
thecubsfan: in our defense, this is going to be a top heavy draft, four other people could’ve picked almost 10 different people and it would’ve been totally reasonable.
thecubsfan: on the other hand, this is all designed to give people intentional openings to mock us.
Doradafan: I’m very surprised one guy hasn’t been picked so far. He wasn’t on my priority list but If you guys keep forgetting him I might pick him up
Doradafan: Yeah cubs, and also since this is sort of a fantasy draft, you have your ideas on what kind of “roster” you want. My 8 picks won’t necessarily be my Top 8 in the order i drafted them if that makes any sense
Doradafan: I know Belial is good but I haven’t seen much from him lately. He and his team aren’t booked as strong/much as they used to be?
TKD: Probably a product of more groups to give work to.
Round 4: Pick 3 – TKD picks DAGA
Seen Often In: The Crash
Recommended Match: w/Rey Fenix vs vs Rey Horuz & Ricochet
TKD: I’m going to take Daga. Good worker with a contrasting style and should be good with the fliers I’ve got. Was debating taking him or Eterno last round for a contrast but figured I could wait and one or both would still be available.
RobViper: That was the guy I was referencing earlier.
RobViper: I was underwhelmed by his showing in the Rey/Bucks match
thecubsfan: I knew Daga would pass you, I could wait.
RobViper: A singles format round robin may be right up his alley. I just feel like he hasn’t shown himself to be a top guy. Technically solid but missing any connection with fans unless it’s a small show with 100 hardcore fans chanting esto es lucha
RobViper: In Bucks match for example they were mocking him and doing subtle things to win fans over. He never responded and seemed more focused on memorizing spots.
thecubsfan: My thinking was I already have a guy (Caifan) who can offer a lot of what Daga does, and getting the deeper cuts is more fun. And I think had mentally filed him as not available like Penta & Fenix, but that’s wrong, he should be in this.
TKD: Knowing what I know now I could have pushed Daga further down but we’ll see if that comes to bite me LOL. Was thinking he’ll do well in the specific combinations I have.
Round 4: Pick 4 – RobViper picks FLY WARRIOR
Seen Often In: XMW, CaraLucha
Recommended Match: w/Flamita vs Bandido & Volador Jr. in CaraLucha
RobViper: With my #4 I’ll take Fly Warrior. I call him Fenix-Lite. He has on and off matches but when he’s on he really has all the tools. Rope tricks will impress U.S. fans and he can be my first breakout guy to get stolen by Orlando since we know he has U.S. papers!
Thru four rounds, here’s what the lucha libre indie draft looks like so far:
RobViper: Black Taurus, Bandido, Tortuga Rafy, and Fly Warrior
TKD: Flamita, Rey Horuz, Golden Magic, Daga
thecubsfan: Caifan, Jack Evans, Laredo Kid, Belial
Doradafan: Rey Escorpion, Aramis, Eterno, Rocky Lobo
Who will get picked next? Who will we totally forget to pick? Check out the second half of the draft in Part II.