This Thursday night Mexican indie group DTU attempts its first ever iPPV, DTU NUEV9. The show will air live from Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico at or around 8:30pm Central Time and costs $6USD via their website.
DTU NUEV9 is DTU’s 9th Anniversary show, and first attempt at reaching an outside market. Thursday is normally a great open day for a non-traditional wrestling show, but there’s another very non-traditional wrestling show airing that day. No one outside of people who follow lucha libre know this is DTU iPPV is happening, as the hype has been non existent outside hardcore lucha circles. It’s still a show worth checking out, not only for the show itself, but for what it could mean for Mexico indie wrestling.
If you’re somewhat familiar with Mexican wrestling, you’ve probably heard of DTU. They made their name as a hardcore promotion, not so dissimilar from CZW in the US, with the sort of blood and weapon spots not normally seen in the major promotions. The barbed wire and chairs matches were the draw, but the group was also really good at discovering talented young luchadors and bringing them on board. Guys like Flamita, Ronnie Mendoza, and AAA’s Ludxor and even Nino Hamburguesa were brought aboard by DTU and eventually springboard to bigger promotions. DTU has tried to be more diverse in recent years, moving more towards those young wrestlers along with big indie dream matches, and reducing the amount of extreme wrestling (though it’s still a significant part of what they do). The promotions office is in Mexico City, but they’re a rare indie promotion that tours the entire country instead of just hanging one metro area. This show will take place at Arena Aficion, in the neighboring state of Hidalgo, which is their recent home for the big shows.
This will not be the first iPPV in Mexico. Long forgotten promotion IWL actually brought in GoFightLive for some iPPVs back in 2011 (you can still buy them; they were basically “Daga has a good match and very indie Mexico City wrestling takes place”). Those shows didn’t seem to do great, no one else on an indie level has tried iPPVs since, with the digital growth of Mexico indie promotions being non-existent. Official DVD and MP4’s don’t exist due to a stated fear of piracy (but also a likely no one willing to take the risk to see if it’d work). Promotions live or die on live attendance only, and fans are left hoping a third party (Black Terry Jr., Carxyus, soon Powerbomb.tv) fills the gap.
Indie promotions in Mexico, like everywhere else, tend to copy what other people do. The dream is if this DTU show goes well, other promotions will try the same, and a lot more indie lucha becomes available to watch in 2017. DTU’s partnered with the right people; +Lucha has the best looking lucha footage available, will have the best commentating, and probably could run a killer VOD service with all the footage that they cut into highlights. But, it’s an iPPV, and the one thing wrestling fans have learned is there’s no guarantee of quality output on any iPPV. Even just in Mexico, AAA’s had memorable problems with iPPVs, and CMLL improbably had a taped VOD blow up in their faces this year. Arena Aficion was built in the 50s, it’s not a modern environment, and neither DTU or MasLucha have tried a live broadcast like this before. There’s some suggestion the three pre-show matches (starting at 7pm) will air in order to test the feed, but this is uncharted and risky territory. It could be a disaster that puts people off from trying this for another five years, or it could be a great success and the first of a dozen we’ll see from Mexico in 2017, and there’s no way of knowing which way it’ll end up until the show plays out.
The promotion for the iPPV has been minimal, as if even the people involved are somewhat tentative about this going badly. (In that light, I’d suggest waiting until you heard the stream is running before buying the show, if losing $6 is going to bug you). It’s almost as if the iPPV is special gimmick for the live audience, as a selling point about the show being super important. I’m hoping it works even if only for the doors it opens it up, and because the card itself is pretty good. There are six matches on the iPPV, plus a three more for the live crowd which may air as the pre-show. Starting from the main event:
Negro Casas vs Flamita vs Ronnie Mendoza
CMLL’s Negro Casas made guest appearances on DTU’s November/early December tour of shows, outsmarting the Dragon Gate luchador Flamita in his usual veteran rudo ways. Casas can’t totally keep up with Flamita, almost no one can, but it’s a fun match with one of the great young stars of Mexico and a lighter weight legend who can still go. The singles plan changed along the way, with Ronnie Mendoza being added into the mix when Flamita turned down the chance to join Mendoza’s Golden Generation group. All three possible singles matches seem a little bit more enticing than a complicated three way match, but there’s plenty of talent and this can’t help but be good. Flamita’s remained exciting through a tumultuous 2016. Ronnie’s CWC standout performance was no exception. He’s been good for a while, but has really improved this year. Casas is still as good as anyone in shorter bursts, and he’ll be picking his spots in this match.
This is the biggest match listed on the card, but you’ll probably need to turn in before the main event to see it. DTU usually has the good sense to bunch their hardcore matches at the end of the show.
Cíclope & Crazy King vs Paranoiko & Tóxico in a Rancho de Texas Match
Rancho de Texas (Texas ranch) is a lucha libre speak for a barbed wire match. Ciclope is a former DTU champion and leader of Los Mazisos, and Crazy King is technically another member of the group but usually only joins the DTU shows in the distant state of in Jalisco. Paranoiko had teamed with Ciclope a few times of late, but they were having issues, and Paranoiko’s old partner Toxico returned to DTU to get the team back together at exact the right time. Mostly, this just seems like a way to include a barbed wire match on the iPPV. I’m not a hardcore fan by any means, but Ciclope has been impressive in what he’s willing to do in these matches in the past. This is his home building, where he’s had some big wins and also lost his mask to his brother Drastick Boy.
Sharlie Rockstar (c) vs Halloween vs Ovett for the DTU Consgrado Championship
The DTU Consgrado championship is a secondary belt, generally fought for by older luchadors in hardcore-leaning matches. (The main DTU world championship won’t be defended on this show. It’s currently in Japan’s FREEDOM promotion, with DTU luchadors Violento Jack & Miedo Extremo attempting to win it back). Sharlie Rockstar, the post-AAA name for Charly Manson, won this title as part of his busy post-jail run of bookings. He hasn’t been around DTU as much this fall, but long time rotund indie vet (and former champion) Ovett pinned him in a multiman match. I can’t figure out why Halloween is included, especially since he’d previously announced he was retired from DTU hardcore matches forever, but he’s Halloween so he always finds a way. The Rancho de Texas match is more luchadors using hardcore to supplement what they can do, while the hardcore spots in this match will be more to replace and distract from what they can no longer do. Sharlie’s been better received in DTU than elsewhere, but this match seems the weakest on the card.
Mr. Cóndor vs Gallego vs Kevin vs Jimmy, in a four way Hair Match
Cóndor & Gallego are familiar names to long time AAA fans. Los Diabolicos worked there for decades, sometimes under other gimmicks, as opening card rudos fighting (and in-ring training) young tecnicos on the way up the ladder. They’ve been at it long enough to work with a young Rey Mysterio. They left AAA a few years ago, and have been mostly restricted to legend shows featuring other ex-AAA workers. DTU’s brought them in this year to go back to their classic role, and this is the end point of the feud against Kevin & Jimmy. Los Nerds are probably DTU’s best creation in their nine years: they read books while waiting for their matches, they do flips in their glasses and suspenders, and occasionally the bullies make them bleed. They’re totally sympathetic, and this match seems set up to showcase them.
No one’s quite sure what the stipulation is meant to be here. The poster proclaims “there will be only one winner”, which implies three people are losing their hair. The DTU card for the next day in Tulancingo has a rematch of these four, advertising “come see which one person of these four are bald.”. Set your expectation for one person.
Dragón Rojo Jr. & Pólvora © vs El Junior & Gio for the DTU NEXO Championship
“Nexo” is DTU for tag team division. DTU appeared to be setting up the Gold Generacion due of Mendoza & Drastick Boy for this title shot at the last Arena Aficion show. However, Mendoza missed the show, Drastick fought the CMLL Revolucionarios on their own, and the Malkriado duo of Gio & Junior helped him even the odds. They’ll be getting the next title shot instead.
Los Malkriados were introduced in DTU as the opposites to Los Nerds, the kids always sent to detention. The two teams feuded for a year and did well with it, but Los Malkriados haven’t had much of a specific role since it concluded. This is a big chance to prove themselves against name opponents. Quality opponents too: both Dragón Rojo Jr. & Pólvora have been on the upswing this year in their home promotion this year with quality singles matches. CMLL participation in DTU has been fragile – the last set of CMLL champions lost their titles when one of them didn’t show up – but this match should be good if everyone is there.
Black Fire © vs Hormiga for DTU’s Alto Impacto Championship
The Alto Impacto championship is DTU’s other secondary championship. It’s traditionally been a more high flyer cruiserweight belt, but these are two bigger, more suplex-y guys. Black Fire’s 2016 is a good example of the struggles of following indie lucha. Fire spent a few months in Europe, including WXW, earlier this year. Everyone eager to see how much a luchador has progressed after that sort of excursion, but the only time the DTU luchador has made video since his trip is a few minute highlight video in July. Black Fire doesn’t wrestle outside of DTU much, and DTU goes to a lot of places where there aren’t fans doing their own filming. Only one match being filmed is a low number, but not all that unexpected, and Hormiga’s not much more visible than that. These two have been feuding since October, and we’ve seen none of it. DTU’s always seemed high on Black Fire, who’s an amateur wrestling coach in his other life. He wrestles a style unique from their flyers and hardcore wrestlers, but he’s lacked a standout performance. This could be it, but it’s hard to tell with so little of either guy lately.
Aero Boy, Ángel o Demonio, Drastik Boy, Pesadilla, and a partner TBA vs Corsario Negro Jr., Lokillo, Moria, Niño De Cobre, Tony Iron
Rounding out the iPPV is a ten man tag pitting DTU originals with some of their newest wrestlers to celebrate the anniversary. The veteran side is full of somewhat familiar names even for those who don’t follow lucha: Pesadilla was in NOAH before the Suzuki Gun invasion, Drastick Boy appeared in Dragon Gate, and Aero Boy appeared in CZW and other US indies. Angel o Demonio is Ovett’s usual partner in Los Porros. (There’s no hint at who the mystery man might be, but plenty of people from DTU’s early years could come back for a cameo.) The younger side is outgunned but with some potential. Tony Iron was the third member of Los Nerds before a breakup, and Niño De Cobre is the rookie who seems to be winning the most these days. This match is very much the usual bit of jamming a few extra people on the card, but there’s enough talent to make it a good showcase.
There’s three other matches, billed as only for the live crowd as of right now. One is a four way tag team match, another showcases recent standouts at a DTU weekend long training seminar, and the opener is a match with literal children. (The “DTU Kids” match will probably be one of the more entertaining matches of the night, because Mexico kids can be amazing). The six matches on the show are worth the $6 they’re charging, but it’d be nice to get these as well.
This is a solid lineup for a first attempt, with the Casas/Flamita/Mendoza main event being a standout match which might get people who don’t follow DTU to give it a try, and the rest of the matches a good mix of what DTU offers. The hair match should be an emotional match, and a lot of the other wrestlers should be fired up to have this chance on a big show. This DTU show has a good chance of being a bright moment in a dismal stretch of lucha, and a memorable show on it’s own as well.