Joe Dinan keeps you up-to-date on the world of Lucha Libre in this week’s Lucha Libre News & Analysis!
Just a correction from last week. I said LA Park was going to be at Dos Leyenda, that was clearly false as he worked an indie show that date. I got confused with him showing up at Puebla on Monday where they did a smaller version of Dos Leyenda and honored two other legends. Just as they like to put on a variant of the Day of the Dead show for each
The story for this show which was very close to a sell out, which surprised some experts. Niebla Roja and Angel de Oro defeated Terrible and bestia in a hair vs hair match. It went two out of three falls as you’d suspect. During the last fall where it came down to Angel and Terrible, Terrible legitimately hurt his shoulder and dislocated it. Terrible went through anyway to the finish which was soon after. The crowd was into it towards the end. Los Guerrero’s retained their tag team titles by defeating Caristico, Volador, and Dragon Lee. Negro Casas made his in ring return also on this show. It had a lot of star power on the show but it just felt like a spiced up normal Friday show. In Mexico CMLL lost big to AAA in the Television ratings. Not sure how much that matters in Mexico.
Arena Puebla/Arena Mexico Tuesday
Well naturally the big news on this show was the return of LA Park. I do not believe he’s been around since a little after the Day of the Dead show. I know his son showed up once a few weeks ago, however. So Park teamed up with Volador and Hijo Del LA Park vs Los Guerrero’s. It was branded as Family vs Family and they were given a lot of time. Park looked super impressive for a man of his age or just in general. If you hadn’t heard in the Observer Awards he won 4th place in the best wrestler in the world, coming behind Tanahashi, Okada, and Kenny Omega. Maybe some match making for AEW. So Park fooled the ref by taking his own mask off and throws it to Ultimo Guerrero to trick him for the DQ. This worked because a few moments ago the ref got distracted and Gran Guerrero and Euforia punted Hijo and Volador in the groin to try to get the win. They’re going to run the match back next week. On the Tuesday show, Dragon Lee faced off against Mephisto for the welterweight championship and after a 1000 day plus reign Mephisto lost his title to Dragon Lee. I don’t know what it means because titles mean less in Mexico than anywhere else, proven by the fact that Fenix is never gonna defend his Mega Championship in AAA.
There will be a Parejas Increibles tournament in April and Angel de Oro and Niebla Roja are the first team announced for that. The main event of this Friday show is Caristico, Volador, and Diamante Azul facing Los Guerrero’s. Angel de Oro and Niebla Roja will square off with Terrible and Bestia again in a post hair match show down but Titan with be added to the former and Mr. Niebla to the latter. There is a lightning match with Cavernario and Forastero so that should be good.
As we all know by now the big news coming out of Rey de Reyes that made it to America is the Young Bucks winning the AAA tag team championships. So here’s how it all went down. Cody showed up early in the show to announce the working relationship with AEW and AAA. Then Konnan came out and said anything you do here has to go past him. It almost felt like they were positioning AEW as the babyfaces and AAA as the heels in their own promotion. Maybe it’ll just be Cody being babyface because towards the end of the show, the Lucha Bros beat Texano and Rey Escorpion and afterwards Konnan came out jawing with them. The lights went out and the Young Bucks were in the ring to almost no reaction. It seemed like Konnan was in the Bucks corner. So I don’t know what they’re trying. So the Bucks beat a tired Lucha Bros. The crowd didn’t react for a few reasons. It was a long show, the Bucks weren’t announced, and the fact is the Bucks do not have that level of popularity in Mexico. If AAA would have promoted them somehow as the best tag team in the world it might be different. But it also might have hurt the surprise. It all depends on the follow up. I presume they’ll face each other at Double or Nothing for the AAA world tag team titles.
The rest of the show went like this, Aerostar won the Rey de Reyes tournament. The team of Psycho Clown, Maximo, and Mamba defeated Jeff Jarrett, Killer Kross, and La Mascara in a cage match with Super Porky at ringside. Averno, Chessman, and Super Fly defeated Pagano, Drago, and Puma King in a spotty hardcore match. Super Fly got power bombed by Puma King and smashed his head on the side of the table. He had to be taken out but he ended up being okay. The match before saw Poder de Norte taking on Perros del Mal, Taya, Joe Lider, and Daga. Daga turned on them in this match leading to the victory of Poder de Norte. There was a growing alliance with Taya and Faby on this show. They both ran in to protect each other during a beat down. Which leads to the Reina de Reinas match where Shani retained over Keyra, Hiedra, and Chica Tormenta. At the end of the match Faby confronted the heel ref but then got beat on by Chica and Keyra. Taya made the save. After Daga turned on Perros del Mal, Taya was getting beat on and Faby made the save. So I smell some kind of tag match in the future. And finally, Big Mami and Nino Hamburguesa retained the Mixed tag team titles over Villano III Jr and Lady Maravilla. The story here was Nino didn’t want Big Mami to keep hurting Maravilla and at the end of the match he carried her out.
AAA has put out the billboard for I think their next show on April 5th and the top of the card looks like this, Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner Jr vs Blue Demon and Rey Escorpion. Pagano and Joe Lider vs Texano and La Mascara. Maximo, Mamba, and Pimpinela Escarlata vs Poder de Norte. Lady Shani, La Hiedra, and Nino Hamburguesa vs Lady Maravilla, Keyra, and Villano III Jr. We also have a 5 way match for the Latin American championship seeing Drago face Hijo Del Vikingo, Myzteziz Jr, Aerostar, and Argenis. Drago is the champ going in.
Here & There
Garza Jr has signed with WWE and he will start NXT in April. Of course there has been word he was going to WWE for a while now but there was something that wasn’t disclosed that prevented it. But now that he’ll be going there I imagine he’ll work NXT and 205 Live just like Ultimo Ninja is doing. I suspect Garza might keep his name because of the connection they can make with Hector Garza. Though that might be giving WWE too much credit.
So in addition to knowing that Bandido will face Dragon Lee and Ishimori for the Jr Heavyweight Championship at MSG, we also know that Rush is going to face Dalton Castle at MSG. Rush defeated Bandido at the Ring of Honor anniversary PPV, but what I’ve heard Rush took most of the match and won.
I believe this Saturday on MLW TV it will be LA Park vs Mance Warner. Park and his son will also be in the Battle Riot amount others. It’s going to be a busy WrestleMania weekend, Bandido faces Will Ospreay at Wrestle Con on Thursday. I’ll likely go to that. For me there will be an extra show since I’ll need to fit AAA in, but on Friday I’m going to Stardom and then MLW Battle Riot, and of course I’ll be at the New Japan G1 Super Show on Saturday. I will not be at NXT or WrestleMania. NXT’s secondary market is very high and WrestleMania looks to be a very average show and since it’s at Giants Stadium, it’s overly expensive.
Stone Cold Fever: Is Kevin Owens the Next Big Thing in WWE?
Is this rendition of KO Mania real?
Kevin Owens is quickly becoming the hottest Superstar in WWE. The former Universal champion is embarking on a war with Shane McMahon and while that war is only just beginning, KO is already reaping the benefits.
Owens is getting over and there’s no denying that. Many fans believe that this is just the beginning of something epic for KO and it’s hard to argue that point. But as with everything in WWE, Owens’ future depends on his booking and how much the company truly wants to invest in him. So will Kevin Owens be the next big thing in WWE?
It’s as if WWE suddenly flipped a switch and activated this new KO. The man that so many felt was on his way to superstardom in the company has always been just on the verge of greatness, but he always seemed to fall just short. It’s been through no fault of his own however as Owens has consistently always delivered, both in the ring and on the mic.
But despite how much he’s accomplished, there always seems to be an asterisk by his name. The same is true of other potential main event stars as well, like Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman. All three men have excelled on the worldwide stage but for whatever reason, none of the three have truly achieved legendary status in WWE.
While the men involved may not be too concerned with such positioning, the fans have been all too consumed with it. In their minds, the time for these talents and many more, is now. Why wait, when the business is experiencing such a resurgence in popularity? The time to strike seems to be now, so why not move ahead and make a massive impact with guys that can handle the pressure?
Perhaps that is exactly what the WWE faithful are seeing right now with Kevin Owens. Owens is capable of rising to the occasion and he’s done it many times before. Maybe there’s no better time for him to prove what he can do and maybe the company finally recognizes that.
But nearly every time fans depend on “maybe,” they wind up disappointed. WWE has not always been the most reliable company when it comes to doing right by hardworking talents, especially those who deserve a shot at the next level. Owens has been counted among those talents for far too long and now he’s getting a chance to finally step up.
The good news is that so far, it’s working. The live crowds are loving what he’s doing and no one can do it quite like he can. The comparisons to Stone Cold Steve Austin are coming like never before and KO, as well as WWE, obviously see that. The fact that Owens uses the Stunner as much as he does is proof that the entire angle is a tip of the cap to The Texas Rattlesnake.
It’s not that Owens needs to use anyone else’s finisher, just as he doesn’t need to mimic anyone else’s gimmick. KO can succeed based on his own merit and everyone knows that. But he’s saluting Austin and in doing so, reminding a legion of fans why they fell in love with WWE in the first place. There is no way to really revive The Attitude Era, but that’s not the point.
Kevin Owens is bringing back a taste of the past and making it relevant to his cause, as well as to the company’s current climate. The Stunner is as much of an anti-authority move as the middle finger, both of which keep Stone Cold on the minds of fans who love him for what he did in the business.
So is WWE truly headed for a new era of relevancy in the industry? Vince McMahon’s company has always been at the forefront of the business and for many fans, they’ve been the only game in town for a very long time. But with the rise of New Japan, Ring of Honor, as well as various promotions around the world, the wrestling world is becoming a much bigger place.
Of course much of the focus on the business right now is due to the birth and evolution of AEW. Cody Rhodes’ fledgling company is making waves and turning heads, just as everyone knew it would. But AEW has also captured WWE’s attention, despite any belief to the contrary. If Owens’ new run is a result of WWE going against the grain and trying something familiar, yet new, then that’s definitely a good thing.
But the bad news is that this is still WWE, which can change plans at a moment’s notice. Things can fluctuate at any time and when they do, an entire storyline can either twist in a different direction, or end altogether. Could this happen with KO versus Shane McMahon?
Much of what happens from here depends on just how long WWE can keep the fans invested in this angle. The live crowds are connected and the same is true of the audience at home. Everyone seems truly intent on following this story and they’re all rooting for Kevin Owens to keep rising higher on the card. If KO continues to get hot and if the company really gets behind him, then the entire landscape of WWE could change.
Kevin Owens is not the next Stone Cold Steve Austin and he surely does not want to be. KO has fought his entire career to be the best he can be and this new storyline is just the latest avenue for him to rise up. Maybe it will only go up from here and maybe Kevin Owens will finally realize his potential in the company that desperately needs the next big thing.
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 7 A Block
KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?
KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?
Aside from the big names being stuck in the middle of the pack, we’ve got poor little Zack Sabre at zero points. Can he twist Fale into a pretzel and figure it out?
Then we have Okada facing a banged up Ospreay, while KENTA takes on a rising EVIL.
Do we still have any undefeated participants in A Block after today?
- Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Shooter wins via Boston Crab @3:55 – ** 1/4
- Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Yuya Uemura: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:50 – ***
- Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs Jeff Cobb, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:50 – ** 1/2
- Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI, Ren Narita & Tomohiro Ishii: BUSHI wins via MX @7:35 – **
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale: Sabre wins via Countout @6:30 – ** 1/4
- A Block: Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Victory Roll @12:00 – ** 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs EVIL: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @15:05 – *** 1/2
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @19:15 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:55 – **** 1/2
Still a lot of heat from their NXT past and Moxley’s debut match in NJPW. Juice and Mox don’t face each other until the end of their block schedule, but if this needed more heat…well this was gasoline. Juice and Mox stay on each other, brawl to the back while the Young Lions fight, but Mox apparently gets the best of the brawl. He returns to the ring to help Shooter, hit their Hart Attack tandem move and Shooter sinks in the Boston Crab.
There’s history between Taichi and Goto centering around the NEVER Openweight Title, Yano and Suzuki have fun history and it looks like Uemura is stepping up to Suzuki. So there’s a lot of fun moments, Uemura has a death wish trying to fight Suzuki, but it’s still fun. A lot of moving pieces in this one that kept it very entertaining.
Honma got put through the paces, Jay White got tossed around a little bit by Jeff Cobb, but the Bullet Club tag partners proved to be more useful than Cobb’s. Chase has picked up a few wins in the tag matches, so he might get some kind of push coming soon.
BUSHI continues to pick up pinfalls in these tag matches, and this sort of builds for Ishii and Naito, but not a ton happens. YOSHI-HASHI is there, Shingo looks like a million bucks and BUSHI wins the match, LOL. This was very paint by numbers.
Sabre jumps all over Fale at the start and tries a plethora of submissions to no avail. A kendo stick shot from Jado pushes the action to the outside. Fale and Bullet Club look to have an advantage, but Sabre dodges some double team tactics, grounds Fale with a Triangle Arm Bar, and then races to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale couldn’t make it back fast enough, so Sabre gets the first Countout win of this year’s tournament.
Tanahashi is really showing the age and injuries this year, so all of these flukey wins just come off as forced. The match was slow, had moments of being interesting, but Tanahashi not even being 50% of what he used to be makes these hard to watch at times. Archer is getting over well, but Tanahashi winning at this point does hurt the credibility a little. I get the story they’re telling, but unlike last year where Tanahashi could push through injuries, this year, they are much more obvious, and he’s much more hampered.
EVIL took the fight to KENTA and then they went to the outside. Through the back and then into the crowd area next to the ramp. EVIL went for Darkness Falls on a bunch of a chairs, but KENTA stopped him and suplexed him onto said chairs. When it got back in the ring, EVIL tried to weaken the legs and KENTA went after EVIL’s upper body to mitigate the power advantage. Heavily booed, KENTA played up heel nicely (I guess WWE did help for something), and eventually he gets the best of EVIL and lets him take a nap. KENTA moves to 4-0.
We get a solid match between two guys who are right on the precipice of the Main Event scene. Kota outsmarts SANADA early by not going for the stupid dueling Dropkick spot, and from then on it was an interesting struggle. Between fan support and the general “anything you can do, I can do better” pacing, this was entertaining, yet slow and felt too long in some spots. Both looked pretty good, but this could’ve been told faster and SANADA’s perpetual struggles are a little frustrating for anyone who is a fan of his.
Okada and Ospreay were expected to blow the roof off, and well I’d say this was a damn good shot. Ospreay is obviously dinged up, but he fought through the pain and pulled off numerous flipping counters and found a few different ways to hit the Os-Cutter. They both let their personalities fly and this was a lot of fun to watch. Okada always has this older brother aura since he’s the one that brought Ospreay to New Japan and Chaos, so whenever they get together, it’s very much like two siblings trying to outdo the other. Ospreay had a great flurry at the end, flipping through a Rainmaker attempt, to try his Stormbreaker, but Okada flipped through that and hit a short arm lariat. Rolling Rainmaker and a normal Rainmaker later, Okada edges out the little brother. Great match.
Overall Score: 7/10
Well this night struggled cause the first two Block matches were really weak. The next two amped-up the intensity a little, but fell short of a memorable match. The main event was fantastic, but generally speaking this felt like it was slow, plateau’d for a while and only picked up at the end. Nothing out right awful, but a lot of matches that could’ve been a little better.
Still a solid enough night if you’re following it all, but only the main event is worthy of seeking out individually. It is nice to see that everyone is on the board with some points. So if Okada and KENTA stumble a little, the rest of the block could plausibly catch up.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 4-0 (8 Points)
- KENTA: 4-0 (8 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-2 (4 Points)
- EVIL: 2-2 (4 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 2-2 (4 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2-2 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 1-3 (2 Points)