CONSEJO MUNDIAL DE LUCHA LIBRE
JUICIO FINAL 2019
MAY 31, 2019
ARENA MÉXICO – MÉXICO CITY, MÉXICO
CMLL said that they would deliver PPV-style shows every month and Juicio Final 2019 is the first of them. Three apuestas matches, one title on the line and not the best build for any rivalry is what we had… but the Arena Mexico crowd once again delivered the goods. You can read thecubsfan’s great preview of this show here.
BLUE PANTHER JR., BLACK PANTHER & REY COMETA DEF. KAWATO SAN, MISTERIOSO & DISTURBIO
A fast-paced opener highlighted by some dives off the stage and a good performance from Rey Cometa, who looked way better than everyone else on this match.
The técnicos won in two straight falls, the first of which came after a pale imitation of Ace Romero as Blue Panther Jr. weakly pounced Kawato out of the ring; this was followed by Panther Jr. giving Misterioso a backbreaker and Rey Cometa using a 450° to get the pin. The second fall ended just as it was getting hot. Kawato wowed the crowd with a nice dive near the post, but didn’t look very good for the rest of the match. However, the young lion did show some fire as he tore Black Panther’s mask off, causing the immediate disqualification for his team. The announcers were quick to point out that this is the first time they have ever seen this fury from Kawato, who stomped Panther’s mask before leaving. This would point to a possible Kawato push as a rudo or even an Apuestas match in the next CMLL ‘big monthly’ show… but we cannot trust CMLL and at this point, I don’t even trust Kawato to deliver. **¾
SOBERANO JR., ÁNGEL DE ORO & NIEBLA ROJA DEF. MEPHISTO, EPHESTO & LUCIFERNO
Not much to say about this one. It was fun at times, but it had too many communication miscues, zero creativity and a bad Niebla Roja performance. Despite the match being all over the place, Soberano got the usual big pop after a tornillo and the finale was nice: in a matter of seconds, Niebla took Ephesto out with a Tope con Giro, Soberano used a Fosbury Flop to wipe out Luciferno and Ángel de Oro pinned Mephisto after a Superkick and a Moonsault. **¼
CAREER VS. CAREER
VIRUS DEF. EL METÁLICO
One fall match that surpassed all expectations and gave us exactly what a Career vs. Career match should be. I love Metálico and his Pedro Infante inspired gimmick but I admit that he’s never blown my mind with his in-ring product… but tonight, he brought it. He absolutely brought it.
As soon as the match started you could feel the electricity in the air. The crowd was hot and so was the action: loud Virus chants erupted as both men started beating each other hard. Virus was on top for the first few minutes, but Metálico went bonkers and started chopping and punching his way to controlling the match. Every move had the intensity required to keep pushing this match and the crowd was going nuts because of it. We got some dives from Metálico, a stiff brawl on the floor and very good nearfalls in the ring. Metálico started using submission moves, nasty, ugly holds that were not expertly applied but had emotion and the purpose of hurting. But Virus is one of the best technical luchadores and you knew he wouldn’t be in trouble for too long. Soon enough, Virus countered a Sharpshooter into a STF with such beauty that I stood up from my chair.
— Roy (@narukiroy) June 1, 2019
After more submission wrestling, Metálico and Virus exchanged punches to the face and that’s when you realized these men were willing to do it all in order to keep their careers. It looked like the match reached its peak after tremendous nearfalls but then the match slowed its pace. The competitors were exhausted: this wasn’t only a physical match… the wave of emotion was taking a toll on both Virus and Metálico as they roughed each other with more guts than technique. It was a desperate struggle to keep their careers. You could sense this would end any minute now and the crowd was ready to roar for it. Some dramatic nearfalls prepared the finale: Virus unleashed move after move on Metálico, who was able to kick out of a top rope cazadora drop and a Vertebreaker. But it was clear Metálico was done. He had wrestled the best match in his career, he had poured his heart into this battle… but he was not the better man this night. It was time to end it. Virus applied a Motocicleta Stretch and Metálico immediately gave up, saying goodbye to his 27-year long career.
It was raining money and Metálico started crying. It was all over for him. While the legendary voice of Pedro Infante (one of Mexico’s most legendary actors) blasted all over the arena, many fans gathered around the ring to hand money to Metálico, recognizing his efforts and celebrating his career.
This was a lucha spectacle that will not be soon forgotten thanks to its raw emotion and perfect execution. Virus lives another day, and Metalico, despite his best efforts, sang his final tune. ****½
Metálico cut a tremendous promo after the match, here’s the translation:
“I’ve always said ‘Live to fight and fight until death’. A coin has two sides: victory and defeat. In this occasion I lost to a great one. He defeated me and I am man enough to recognize it. I’m a man of my word and with all the pain in my heart, soul and body I’m retiring from wrestling. I say goodbye to my career, to the blessed lucha libre that gave me everything. There are many stages. Today it’s the end of one stage, just as one started when I lost my mask: today another stage of my life is over. Thank you lucha libre, you gave me everything. I thank life for letting me achieve my dream of being a wrestler. Wrestling is my life and I’m not ashamed of crying in front of the cameras: people can call me crybaby but I’m not crying just to follow a script. There are no scripts in lucha libre. I felt my arm crack and instinctively I had to stop the pain, but I really wanted to keep going. I lost to a lucha libre great but I’ve always said: victory is for everyone that follows his dream and I achieved that dream, therefore I am a winner. I got a victory because I got the crowd’s recognition. Thank you to my boss Paco Alonso, thank you to the booking department for trusting in me. Thank you Virus. The student couldn’t overcome the master and that’s why you are one of the greats and you are a coach here. I would like to follow your steps. Life goes on and we have to keep fighting; a true wrestler is the one that keeps on fighting despite the punches that life throws at him. I once said that I would retire whenever I felt that my abilities were failing me, but I right now I’m physically and mentally strong. Words come out of the mouth and they are supported by the moustache. I shall keep fighting. I will keep forward to support my family. I hope that every person that watched this didn’t feel disappointed… please believe me, I left my soul in the ring. While old, I’m still a tiger’.”
Before the Amapola vs. Kobayashi match started, CMLL played a brief (and very rough) video explaining the rivalry. This is not something CMLL often does and I love it. First, they tease a feud involving Kawato, then a great apuestas match and now some actual attempt at explaining a match… maybe CMLL is really trying to build monthly special shows. Let’s see.
HAIR VS. HAIR
AMAPOLA DEF. KAHO KOBAYASHI
Another intense match pushed by pride and the hard work of both wrestlers. The first two falls flew by and both had some good quality in them, but as usual, everything happened in the third fall.
You would think the crowd would be dead after the outstanding Virus/Metálico match but fortunately, they kept their loud volume for this battle. Kaho’s selling was superb and I think it was a big factor on the crowd’s investment in the match: despite the fact that CMLL has everybody’s brains trained to think that all foreigners are evil, Kaho’s babyface fire was too strong to ignore and she ended winning many hearts tonight. Amapola worked very hard too: she brought the intensity required for this important stipulation and delivered some needed hard hitting moves to push the match. Her powerful performance perfectly complemented Kaho’s spectacular style and selling. After receiving a savage superplex, Kaho had a little comeback that included a top rope frankensteiner, missile dropkick and a standing moonsault. Amapola survived Kaho’s best attempts, and after excellent counters and some finisher teases, Amapola managed to hit Angel Wings for the three count. This was CMLL’s best women’s wrestling match since 2017’s Aniversario show. ***¾
— Roy (@narukiroy) June 1, 2019
With a fixed gaze, Kaho sat in the middle of the ring and let Poncho Peñaloza (CMLL’s barber) cut her hair. It doesn’t sound impressive but this little moment rocked and it made the Hair stipulation feel even more important. The crowd was so invested in Kaho that they started chanting an insult to the barber.
CMLL WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
GRAN GUERRERO & EUFORIA DEF. VALIENTE & DIAMANTE AZUL (C)
A forgettable match where three wrestlers worked hard and the other one looked annoyed to be there. Here’s a clue: the annoyed one loves France.
Despite Valiente’s best efforts and impressive dives, Diamante didn’t put too much energy and dragged the match quite a few times. The Guerreros had some cool tag team offense but were unable to shine. The end came after the Guerreros lawn darted Valiente from the top rope to the body of Diamante and immediately after that, they locked submission moves to win the titles. I hope Euforia and Guerrero get many chances to defend those titles, because I’m sure they can deliver better matches. I’m going to be super naive here and hope that CMLL will be more consistent in booking title matches to fill their monthly special shows. **
VOLADOR JR., CARÍSTICO & MÍSTICO DEF. NEGRO CASAS, BÁRBARO CAVERNARIO & MR. NIEBLA
Quick and fun match with lots of high flying action that also felt a bit rushed, which might sound bad but in this case I think it helped to keep the show at a frantic pace. Mr. Niebla was heavily featured which exposed his age and lack of mobility. Volador Jr., who’s still injured, had a good showing and Bárbaro was as fantastic as always. Match ended with Volador giving Bárbaro a Canadian Destroyer and Carístico pinning Negro with La Casita. ***¼
— Roy (@narukiroy) June 1, 2019
HAIR VS. HAIR
ÚLTIMO GUERRERO DEF. MÁSCARA AÑO 2000
A raging start of the match led to two quick fall decisions where it was clear that Disturbio – Máscara’s second – would be an important piece of the action. Máscara won the first fall via disqualification after faking a foul kick that was bought by the referee. And low blows would be the main theme of this match. After Último quickly got a pinfall to win the second fall, the match turned into a fun brawl that soon introduced many distractors to hide Máscara Año 2000’s weaknesses and age. Disturbio kept interfering and distracting the referee, which allowed Máscara to give a foul kick to Último. This enraged Gran Guerrero (Último’s second) who immediately started brawling with Disturbio until both of them were expelled from ringside. Then, after Último had scored a couple of nearfalls, Nueva Generación Dinamita showed up trying to distract Último, however, the plan backfired: while the referee was trying to keep NGD out of the ring, Máscara tried another low blow but this time Último Guerrero blocked and rolled him for a quick 3 count and the win.
NGD stormed the ring to create chaos and security had to intervene to stop them: later on, JCR on commentary said that this was only starting and it would soon turn ‘into something very violent’. Again, we can’t trust CMLL but they might actually be on to something here. As for the match, I think it was quick, fun and cleverly worked to not expose Máscara and keep things moving. ***¼
This is a show that I wish I had been able to attend. As I say in most of my CMLL reviews: CMLL doesn’t mic the crowd well and what you hear in the video is not even 25% of the craziness and electricity you feel inside that Arena; it was clear that for this show, the fans were going bunkers and that the incredible Metálico vs. Disturbio match would’ve been a joy to watch live.
CMLL sold more than 10K tickets for this show and if some numbers I saw online are correct, there were nearly 13K people watching on CMLL’s official stream, which means this was a tremendous success. The idea of having a monthly PPV style show sounds fantastic – especially after how much much Juicio Final was – and while I wouldn’t expect CMLL to keep their word, they actually planted some seeds tonight and gave us some bits and pieces to keep the hope alive: Kawato might be heading to a feud with Black Panther, the production team put in the effort and showed some video packages to explain the Hair vs. Hair rivalries, the announcers teased a big feud involving the Dinamitas and Guerreros, and I even felt they were praising the importance of the Tag Team Championship more than they usually do. In an ideal world, we would have a follow up to all the things I just mentioned, plus the Copa Dinastía final at the next big show… but this is CMLL and we have to keep expectations low.