How many good wrestlers does it take to have a great tag team match?

That is the question CMLL puts forward on Friday, where the drama in the double hair match is about the outcome and the tug of war between one great wrestler and one terrible one.

CMLL’s July 14 show, a 40th-anniversary celebration of Atlantis’ career, takes place Friday at 8:30 pm local. CMLL is now streaming Friday night shows via Boletia for the same prices as before (5 USD plus fees); the new service also includes VOD for 48 hours after the show takes place. CMLL also recently added a confusing and not-at-all-logical subscription service, where this show will pop up in about nine days. If you’re committed to instead paying nothing, matches from this show should turn up on CMLL’s YouTube page on Sunday, July 30.

I’m unsure I’d write this preview without Rey Cometa putting his hair on the line. CMLL is running a second big show in three weeks is notable; that’s far more effort than they typically show this time of year. CMLL putting together another exciting card for this event is also notable, but CMLL having good cards isn’t typically enough to attract attention outside its bubble. It has to be something special, and Rey Cometa in an apuesta match tends to be remarkable. He’s had five of them in Arena Mexico – his mask loss to Puma King, mask and hair wins over Namajauge, and two hair match losses to Cavernario – and he’s delivered every time. Cometa’s obstacle for more matches of that caliber has been unmasked rudos to feud with, and he’s at least getting a couple of those here.

Rey Cometa has two of them here, of varying quality, and one more as a solid partner. Cometa and his brother Espiritu Negro have turned up on a fair bit of these big shows in the last couple of years, so you may already remember the story of Espiritu losing his mask, flipping sides to team with his brother, and having some success. Before all that happened, Espiritu Negra was part of the Ola Negra. This double hair match is Espiritu’s old team coming after him for leaving them behind – his old partner Akuma and his replacement Dark Magic.

Rey Cometa and Espiritu Negro should be fine as a team. Akuma’s taken some time to meet his potential, but he’s grown in the last year and looked impressive in chances earlier this year. Dark Magic does not; he’s been one of the worst wrestlers on the roster since coming abroad in 2018. He was a low-level US Midwest indie wrestler who allegedly did some resume inflation while talking his way into CMLL. He’s never caught onto the rhythm of Mexican wrestling and often is out of place or lost during matches. The Dark Magic name is a homage to Norman Smiley’s Black Magic gimmick from the 90s, but they’re far apart in wrestling ability. Dark Magic has a bodybuilder physique, stands out as the only black wrestler on the roster, and seems well-liked. Still, he’s been bad for so very well, and most other promotions would’ve said goodbye to him by now. I assume CMLL keeps him around because he’s easy to deal with, the promotion seems to like him, and he does stand out. It’s a still leap to put him into a big match like this one.

(The other member of Ola Negra is the masked Espanto Jr., and CMLL’s set on two hairs versus two hairs here. Espanto’s is better than Dark Magic, but no great shakes himself.)

CMLL wrestlers have a lot of time to strategize these sorts of matches ahead of time. They can plan something that minimizes Dark Magic’s exposure while keeping the rest of the match exciting. Remembering that plan is one of the trouble spots for Dark Magic, which is why this match will be a big challenge. I assume Cometa & Espiritu will go over in the end, but the big victory is if they can make this a watchable match for the right reasons.

The hair match is match four on an otherwise busy card. CMLL has booked two title matches on the card, which ought to happen more often given how many championships there are in CMLL. Angel de Oro & Niebla Roja continue their long-run and successful world tag team reign against random challengers Stuka Jr. & Gran Guerrero. That’ll be safely good. Reina Isis and Lluvia meet for the vacant Mexican National Women’s championship. (There’s some nonsense in why the title is vacant that’s best ignored.) Lluvia is already tag team champ, so Isis is probably getting this singles title back.

There’s plenty of news in the two major non-stipulation matches on this card too. Metalik – the original Mascara Dorada – returns to CMLL rings for the first time in seven years to team with Mascara Dorada 2.0 and Titan against Cavernario, Templario, and Virus in an outstanding trios match. Metalik seems happy to be back and OK with passing on his old characters, and the CMLL fans are unusually upbeat about another wrestler taking over an existing gimmick.

The main event trios will be far from the quality of the previous matches but may attract as much attention.

In celebrating Atlantis’s 40 years of wrestling, he teams with his son Atlantis Jr. and his old partner Octagon against old rivals Fuerza Guerrera, Ultimo Guerrero, and Averno. (This should not be confused with Satanico’s 50th Anniversary show last month; there are so many old wrestlers here.) CMLL is copying their strategy from last, teasing multiple matches as the big one on September’s Aniversario show. They may add one more possibility here. Fuerza Guerrera and Octagon being in the same ring means it’s once again time to pretend that it has a chance of resolving or that Atlantis himself might get involved with it. Any combination of those three would get the most attention for the Aniversario show, yet there’s no chance any of those three wrestlers will be willing to lose their masks at this stage.

There’s an unhealthy amount of wrestling this weekend. It makes it hard to argue for spending a couple more hours with a promotion you only occasionally dip in on. This CMLL show will be worthwhile if you have time left over. The Metalik trios, the tag title match, and even the hair match have chances to be great. CMLL continues to have hot crowds, partly because they keep delivering cards like this. They’ll probably do it again here, and their hot summer will continue whenever you’re ready to jump into it.

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