With some departures, injuries and class upgrades in New Japan Pro Wrestling, there seem to be more slots available for this year’s Best of the Super Junior tournament. While we can speculate on some names like Robbie Eagles or Bandido that might help fill the roster, let’s try to predict if any CMLL star can make it to the prestigious tournament based on their recent Fantastica Mania tour performance. And while we’re at it let’s take a look at each individual performance, taking into account everyone’s record throughout the tour as well as status with the company. It’s worth noting that there were eight Fantastica Mania shows, with only five making tape, but thanks to njpw1972.com we can see some details in the results.
Note: The format for these records are: ‘Wins (Falls scored) – Loses (Pinned/Submitted)’.
Ángel de Oro
Record: 4 (2) – 4 (3)
Angel de Oro had a great Fantastica Mania performance, looking confident and constantly getting ‘Angel’ chants from the crowd. However, I must say that his best matches had his longtime rival Cuatrero involved in some form so I wouldn’t be sure if Angel would be able to maintain his quality against new, fresh, foreign opponents in a BOSJ. He looks a bit too big for the tournament, but I guess he could make the cut and I would love to see him get another shot (he participated in 2012’s BOSJ). Having said that, I’m not sure he did enough to impress New Japan officials and while he’ll probably be back for next year’s Fantastica Mania, I think he’s not close to getting a BOSJ slot. Probability of BOSJ call: 40%
Record: 2 (1) – 6 (0)
Atlantis’ objective this tour was to help his son wet his feet in Japanese waters. He worked hard but age is finally catching up with him and he seemed to be in pain during most of the matches. Atlantis is, of course, not going to BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 0%
Fantastica Mania debut / Record: 3 (1) – 5 (5)
The Fantastica Mania tour was billed as Atlantis Jr.’s debut, but in reality, he’s been secretly wrestling under the name Tiburón so this was only his gimmick and international debut, and if we take that into account, he looked quite good. Definitely, he has potential and I hope he gets a proper chance to grow in CMLL, but there’s still too much work to be done with him, as showcased in his last performance, a one-on-one match with Okumura where he failed to lock the Atlantida two times, making a mess of the match finale. Naturally, Atlantis Jr. took all the fall in every match he lost and, unless Atlantis pulls some serious strings, there’s not a chance he’ll be at BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 1%
Fantastica Mania debut / Record: 4 (3) – 4 (3)
Audaz was far and away the best of the debutant luchadores of the tour and, actually, he was one of the best overall. The young Oaxacan shined in every one of his Korakuen matches, showing his spectacular agility and using beautiful dives to pop the crowd: even in tough situations, he managed to compose himself while also showing tremendous creativity (see his match from Jan. 20). He managed to get himself over in Japan and his performances were so good that, in my book, he earned a spot at BOSJ. It’s worth noting that only 5 luchadores managed to get 3 or more falls to their name, and Audaz was one of them.
Unfortunately, this was his first tour and I’m not even sure he’ll return for the next one; with so little experience, it would be a risk to bring him for such an important tournament. Audaz in BOSJ would be awesome and – after those confident performances – I want to think that a surprise call is slightly possible. Probability of BOSJ call: 45%
Record: 5 (2) – 3 (1)
Bárbaro was barely an entity for the first half of the tour, finally waking up for the Korakuen dates to give us three impressive performances, including what might’ve been the best match in the entire tour (vs. Soberano Jr. on Jan. 18).
Bárbaro was one of the seven luchadores that got the 5-3 record, which is the highest of the tour (except for Terrible, but I’ll get to that later), always looked comfortable and, as mentioned above, had one of the top performances. In my book, Bárbaro is the best CMLL wrestler and bringing him back would be a wise choice: he’s experienced, has showed confidence in recent Fantastica Mania tour and can mesh well with other wrestling styles. He participated in 2015’s Best of the Super Juniors but – despite great showings at recent Fantastica Manias – for some reason, he hasn’t returned, and that’s why I’m not confident on him getting booked again. I hope I’m wrong and Bárbaro gets another shot at the prestigious tournament in 2019. Probability of BOSJ call: 75%
Record: 5 (4) – 3 (1)
Carístico scored more falls than any other luchador in the tour, however those victories had the objective of getting La Mística over in preparation for the last match of the tour (Carístico vs. Volador Jr. on Jan 21) and I don’t think they were any indication that New Japan wanted to get this man over in order for a BOSJ debut. And, to be honest, Carístico didn’t lit the tour on fire, sometimes even looking more interested in satisfying his ego with the crowd’s support than having great matches. I don’t think he’s near a BOSJ spot and my guts tells me the man wouldn’t be interested in working such a long tour. Probability of BOSJ call: 35%
Record: 5 (3) – 3 (2)
Cuatrero was solid throughout the tour, giving some memorable performances along his Dinamita relatives and engaging in awesome exchanges with Ángel de Oro. He had a great record and scored three falls, which positions him as one of the top luchadores of the tour. Cuatrero would be an interesting addition to the BOSJ field but I don’t think he did nearly enough to get a spot, heck I think it’s more probable to see him get into the Super Junior Tag Tournament later in the year than the BOSJ. I must say this, if one of he Dinamitas make it to BOSJ, Cuatrero would definitely be the top pick. Probability of BOSJ call: 40%
Record: 5-3 (3 Fall, 1 Pinned)
Good performances all around from this man that won the Family Tag Tournament (with his brother Místico) and only got pinned once throughout the tour. This man looks so comfortable in New Japan. He was in the last two Best of the Super Juniors and is a shoo-in to get a spot in this year’s field, especially because of his almost blood-like pact with Hiromu and the fact that he’s been talking about waiting for his return.
The disruptive thing about this, is Ring of Honor. After signing Rush (Lee’s brother) to a contract, it’s highly possible they will try to sign Dragon Lee too and that might pose some problems for Dragon’s return to BOSJ, but that’s highly unlikely given the good working relationship between companies and the fact that New Japan will probably end up relying on ROH to fill their BOSJ roster again. Probability of BOSJ call: 90%
Fantastica Mania debut / Record: 2 (1) – 6 (3)
Flyer’s Japan debut was not good. At all. Flyer started okay but soon Fantastica Mania turned into a nightmare for him as nervousness took over, causing disastrous performances which led to him getting bumped down to the opening matches of the last shows of the tour. Unfortunately, Flyer showed he doesn’t belong with CMLL’s top dogs and it’s obvious that years of having to work in nothing matches with bad luchadores has damaged his confidence. Flyer might return to Fanastica Mania – he’s Volador’s nephew after all – but there’s no chance he’ll work BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 0%
Fantastica Mania debut / Record: 4-4 (2 Fall, 3 Pinned)
Forastero had a nice Fantastica Mania debut, getting two wins via submission and having one of the best matches of the tour alongside Sansón and Cuatrero (vs. Atlantis/Soberano/Titán on Jan 21). What I liked the most about Forastero is that he looked comfortable alongside any combination of wrestlers, which is something I cannot say about guys like Templario or Flyer. Forastero worked well tagging with fellow heels Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, Taichi, Kanemaru and Okumura, showing adaptation skills and solid tag work.
Forastero looked promising and a return to Fantastica Mania must certainly be in the books, but he didn’t blow anyone’s mind and a BOSJ call is almost impossible. Probability of BOSJ call: 10%
Record: 4 (2) – 4 (2)
Guerrero’s record was totally even and was involved in two of the best matches, but to be honest he had a very quiet tournament, barely featuring in matches but being a solid hand throughout the tour. With Último Guerrero by his side, it’s very probably he’ll return to next year’s Fantastica Mania but evidently, he’s too big for a BOSJ tour and he hasn’t showed any qualities that would deem him worthy of getting called. Probability of BOSJ call: 1%
Record: 5 (3) – 3 (1)
One of this year’s Fantastica Mania top performers, Místico soared through the airs, impressing japanese crowds and even outperforming his brother Dragon Lee in their match against the Guerreros. He won the Family Tag Tournament, got the high 5-3 record and scored 3 falls.
Místico has never participated in Best of the Super Juniors and he would fit like a globe, also Dragon Lee’s probable involvement in the tournament would help to get him booked. He wouldn’t be my personal pick, but I can see New Japan using both Dragon Lee and Místico at this year’s BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 70%
Record: 3 (2) – 5 (3)
Okumura is a link between NJPW and CMLL and one his objectives in Fantastica Mania was to ‘guide’ young Atlantis Jr. in his first international matches. His performances were as unremarkable as always. Of course he isn’t going to BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 0%
Record: 5 (2) – 3 (2)
Solid showings by Sanson, who ended with a strong record and probably got more eyes on him after his tremendous tag and trios matches alongside the Dinamita. A BOSJ excursion would work wonders on this young man that has great upside and I’m sure he would perform well, but a call seems highly unlikely. As I said in Cuatrero’s analysis: at this point, it’s more probable that New Japan will call Nueva Generación Dinamita for a tag tournament than to get them individually for BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 30%
Record: 3 (2) – 5 (2)
After a disappointing Super Junior Tag League performance alongside Volador, Soberano managed to clean his name with strong performances in 2019’s Fantastica Mania. His stuff was always GIF-worthy, he got himself over with the Korakuen crowds and had arguably the best match of the tour (vs. Bárbaro on Jan. 18). I think he looked impressive and would be a nice fit for BOSJ but here’s the thing: Soberano might’ve been comfortable in this tour because he worked with people he’s familiar with and, at Tag League, he was very nervous working with new wrestlers. Was that a blip on his career? Has he overcome that experience? Would New Japan trust him for such an important tournament? Personally, I would pick him: I think he worked hard at Fantastica Mania, can do some spectacular dives and he has long, weird arms that would be fun to see squeezed by people like Kanemaru and Despy. Probability of BOSJ call: 65%
Fantastica Mania debut / Record: 3 (2) – 5 (4)
I expected so much more from this man but he was pretty much a non-entity the entire tour. He was okay, never looking bad or anything like that: he even featured in my second favorite match of the tour (Ángel/Titán vs. Templario/Cuatrero on Jan 20) but he was never in the forefront of a match, always being overshadowed by his partners or simply handing in forgettable performances. Even if we ignore that Templario is in the limit of the 100 kg to enter the tournament, there’s no way Templario gets a BOSJ spot. Hope he continues to grow in México and has a chance to return to Japan next year because I think he could become an important player in the CMLL. Probability of BOSJ call: 5%
Record: 6 (1) – 1 (1) – (1 No Contest)
Yes, Terrible had the best Fantastica Mania record but that was because he tagged every night with Naito and his Ingobernables de Japón. Well, not every night: he had a singles match with Kojima that I doubt anyone remembers. You could say that he had Terrible performances. If New Japan somehow books Terrible for BOSJ, that would mean they hate us all. Probability of BOSJ call: 0%
Record: 5 (2) – 3 (2)
Titán was quiet through the first nights of Fantastica Mani but closed strong with tremendous performances, being involved in the awesome Trios Championship match on Jan 21 and the sweet segunda tag match alongside Ángel de Oro against Cuatrero and Templario on Jan 20. He got the high 5-3 record but didn’t have any singles matches or nor did he was featured near the top of the card. Titán has proved himself in New Japan (2014 BOSJ and 2017 junior tag tournament) and even ROH (watch his beautiful 2017 match with KUSHIDA). He looks like a guy that you could trust to have great matches at a Best of the Super Junior tournament, but I don’t think he would be any kind of draw. There’s a chance he gets a spot at BOSJ, but he’s not high on the luchador totem pole and I wouldn’t bet on him getting the nod. Probability of BOSJ call: 60%
Record: 4 (2) – 4 (1)
A quiet Fantastica Mania for Último Guerrero, who was involved in a nice little tag match that headlined the January 20 show, but didn’t put too much effort in the rest of the tour. Obviously, he won’t be doing BOSJ. Probability of BOSJ call: 0%
Record: 3 (1) – 5 (2)
Volador ended with a negative record, but he scored the win in the main event of the final show of the tour, and I’m confident in saying that New Japan trusts him as a secure hand in case they need to fill a spot for any tournament. Volador has been underwhelming in his last New Japan appearances (including this Fantastica Mania) but I feel he’s a breath of fresh air and wouldn’t mind him returning to BOSJ, however, I’d rather see another, younger, hungrier competitor have the chance to dance with the great juniors of New Japan. Probability of BOSJ call: 70%