My articles for this site are usually explaining some lucha libre event. This is not really going to be one of those. See, I’d like to tell you about the last two years of Kamaitachi in CMLL by just posting the gif of Kamaitachi taking a headscissors by falling down stairs
and then reposting it about twenty more times before then calling it a day. I’d like to do that, but I’m reasonably sure I’d be asked to leave and never return. Still might be worth it – he’s falling down stairs like a lunatic! – but perhaps I could find a better solution. Maybe we can imagine a different world, a world where I posses both a Batman like ability to forgo sleep and to format electronic publications. (Batman has a fabulous crime novel zine, you really should track down the old copies.) In that imaginary world, there’d be a 2015 Lucha Libre eBook, and maybe a profile like this:
- Singles: 4W 10L (29%)
- Tags: 29W 39L (42%) + more than 16 matches with no known result
- Highlight: Winning the CMLL Super Lightweight Championship for about two minutes
2015 Recap: Back in February of last year, the newest NJPW trainee turned up in Mexico. This one had a strange green and brown outfit and declared he wanted to be remembered as the best Japanese wrestler in the history of Mexico. That’s a little difficult — Hamada, Sayama, Asai, Misawa, Liger all come to mind — and we all liked the Namajague’s big 2013 so much, it was going to be hard for someone else to top him. This new guy must definitely be crazy to be setting the bar that high.
Two years later, we were right: Kamaitachi is crazy. Lunatic crazy and also kind of crazy good. Kamatiachi grew from a wrestler out of tune with everyone else to a one of the best luchadors on the roster, and definitely one of the ones who grew the most in 2015. Kamaitachi was one half of the best feud of the year, and a guy who could’ve (and maybe should’ve) been main eventing shows by the time he left Mexico. He did it all while losing almost all of his key matches — he only one singles match after February — because he was such a good performer in the ring that he transcended the results.
Dragon Lee looks like he’s going to be CMLL’s next big star, and a lot of has to do with Kamaitachi being the perfect opponent for him. Dragon Lee had a lot of good matches this year (as we’ll get in to on his profile), and Lee winning anyone’s mask would’ve been a help, but the level of excitement around his matches with Kamaitachi made him stand out. CMLL was smart enough to keep putting them together, but CMLL’s previous smartness lead Dragon Lee to be third in a tournament he was maybe supposed to win last year. This year, Kamaitachi & Dragon Lee stole the show at the Dos Leyendas to the extent where the actual main event feels like a trivia answer and built the hottest feud in the country around a championship CMLL forgot existed for years at a time.
Both guys gave up their bodies for this feud. Kamaitachi started off using a Meteora as a finish, and then apparently decided a top rope double knee drop wasn’t hard enough. He challenged himself to a running over the ropes dropkick ever match, and then getting that dropkick countered by a kick to the face, and then taking a headscissors off the apron about every time from Dragon Lee, and piled on and on. The fury and the danger of the matches made them feel like events, and made it feel like Dragon Lee was actually accomplishing something by defeating this guy that none of the fans even knew existed prior to last year, and that no one really took seriously until this year.
The Dragon Lee feud is how Kamaitachi will ultimately be remembered, but he wasn’t just a product of one match up. He shined whenever CMLL would throw him in a lightning match and we got to see it. (Maybe someday CMLL will remember to upload the match he had with Titan.) He became on demand as indie name, mostly netting him paid trips to Acapulco, but also leading to a superb match with Rey Horuz in Coacalco. The edited version on YouTube almost does justice to Kamaitachi wrestling as hard under a tent in a ring sent up in the mud against a guy he’s never faced before (and probably never will meet again) as he did in front of 10000 fans. His personality grew right along with his wrestling, with his post mask loss of a cool coat, red tipped hair, and a supremely confident expression making Kamaitachi look like a total star. Kamaitachi is actually a pretty reasonable Mexico Luchador of the Year candidate, except he has no chance because he lost the big matches (and he’s not Mexican.) The only thing wrong with Kamaitachi was that he was leaving at the end of the year.
It’s really hard to determine what the NJPW’s trainees quality of matches while in CMLL, or even just plain effort level, mean back to their home office. Namajague/Desperado had fun matches, Taichi & YOSHI-HASHI did not, and they’re all just about the same level back in Japan.
Kamaitachi could probably have gotten away with doing not much, even just doing OK. He was actually sincere about wanting to be the best, and it showed in every match he had. That may serve him very well in his career, and it definitely served Dragon Lee to have someone who was willing to push it as far as he would.
It served CMLL well too. CMLL probably doesn’t get all it needs to get out of this deal with NJPW. FantasticaMania is nice, but that helps NJPW as much or more than CMLL or they wouldn’t be running it. There’s something off about this arrangement when the 12th best guy in ROH (or the 4th best guy in the NWA) get NJPW tours and the CMLL guys are lucky to make a tag league cameo or work opening matches in perpetuity. The one big thing CMLL gets is access to guys like Kamaitachi, young guys who want to work hard and have no problem losing big matches. It’s a big problem for CMLL that they probably couldn’t do what they did with Kamaitachi with anyone full time on the roster – not just quality, but results too – and they’re fortunate they had him. The reviews are strong on the next guys to come thru, but they’ll have some big shoes to fill.
2016 Preview: A haircut for sure. Cross your fingers for one more Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi match in Korakuen Hall. Maybe matches against whichever CMLL guys gets sent over there? I don’t want to think about it.
Kamaitachi finishes up in Mexico on a special New Year’s Day show. (This is nominally a preview of that show: Maximo will take Kamaitachi’s hair and it will be good, Negro Casas will take Super Parka’s hair and it will be sad, and the iPPV might be a disaster, maybe wait until the first match is actually airing before giving them money.) He might have a quick restart with NJPW and be back in the ring by FantasticaMania, which would be a nice bonus. Either way, he’ll be gone from my lucha libre world soon but won’t be forgotten. Kamaitachi came a lot closer to his goal of being the best Japanese wrestler ever in Mexico than anyone would’ve guessed.
Also, he fell down some stairs