CMLL 88TH ANNIVERSARY REPORT
CMLL’s annual birthday celebrated featured five title matches. The promotion picked five championships and gave their fans a selection of challengers to vote for, similar to WWE’s Taboo Tuesday pay-per-views. It has been a rough process to get to these matches, with the original plans changing for a couple of them.
CMLL aired this show on TicketMaster Live, as they have for almost live shows since the pandemic. However, CMLL and Ticketmaster did announce the stream would only be available in Mexico and ignored repeated requests before the show for clarification. Those who found a way to purchase the show only received a black screen and no stream, with no further information. (Users with a VPN were able to watch.) All previous CMLL TicketmasterLive shows were available worldwide, and there was no apparent reason to expect this show would be different.
If you could get the show, it was an easy two hours if not an extraordinary watch. The heavyweight championship match between Ultimo Guerrero & Hechicero was the best match of the show and the only one worth tracking down individually.
All matches were one fall, which CMLL did not announce until the show started. This show may have been the first Aniversario with no three-fall match.
Mexican National Middleweight Championship: Templario vs. Dragón Rojo Jr.
This middleweight championship returned for the first time since 2008, and it was the first time it was on the line in Arena Mexico since Octagon jumped to AAA while champion in 1992. The Mexico City Lucha Libre commission manages the “National” championships, and wrestlers historically have taken them from promotion to promotion. AAA stopped using the title a decade ago, and the commission gave CMLL permission to bring it back. Templario (30% of the vote), Dragon Rojo Jr. (15%), Enfermero Jr. (15%), and El Coyote (11%) finished as the top four of the nine wrestlers involved. Coyote and Enfermero were eliminated in a four-way match on September 10th, leaving the two with the most votes in the final.
Both Templario & Dragon Rojo are rudos in CMLL. Templario effectively wrestled as a tecnico for this match. Dragon Rojo would land power moves, slow the match down, and Templario would rally time after time with flying attacks. Templario typically is acrobatic for a rudo and leaned into it more here. Templario connected three dives during the match to the outside, and many more flying and springboard moves inside the ring. Dragon Rojo landed a dive and most of his signature offense. The flow transitioned back and forth between the two wrestlers without much reason at times. As typical in CMLL big show matches, both men kicked out of each other’s main finish – Templario’s gutwrench superplex, Dragon Rojo’s slingshot powerbomb. Templario finally used the ramp for a Space Tiger Flying Drop to splash into the ring, then a new leglock for the submission victory.
Winner: Templario (15:41)
Dragon Rojo presented the title belt to Templario, either new or very cleaned up, to Templario. Templario thanks his family and friends for supporting him and was proud to bring the championship home to Tlaxcala, a Mexican state without many previous historical Lucha libre stars.
CMLL World Tag Team Championship: Titán & Volador Jr. vs Gemelo Diablo I & Gemelo Diablo II
Místico II & Caristico were the reigning world tag team champions and scheduled to defend their titles here. Místico II instead quit CMLL before the match could take place, and CMLL changed this to the top two poll finishers wrestling for the championships. Titan & Volador recieved 61% of the votes, Los Gemelos Diablos 29%, and Los Guerreros 10%.
Volador leads new group Los Depredarores, who dress similar to the Jabberwocky dance troupe, and they accompanied him to the ring for this match. Titan was gone from CMLL for over a month, and it never previously was made clear if Titan was meant to be part of Los Depredarodes as well. It still wasn’t apparent after the match. CMLL mascot KeMonito seconded the tecnicos, Volador & Titan.
The match progressed as many Volador matches do, early exchanges leading to a dive, and a second-half with a single move, two count, and repeat sequences. Los Gemelos Diablos are inexperienced wrestlers at this level and looked it at times, including getting a strongly negative reaction when blew a double-team spot halfway through the match. The fans also seemed to grow tired of either Volador or the near-fall structure, whistling (booing in Mexican wrestling) during a late section of a match. Despite the athletic ability required, there wasn’t much of a reaction to the big false finishes. Volador integrated KeMonito in a few big moments; spots involving CMLL’s blue monkey got the loudest reaction of the match. Titan looked the most spectacular of the four, with a springboard spinning DDT halfway through and a top rope double stomp onto the apron to start the final sequence. One of the two Gemelo Diablo survived Volador’s usual finishing superkick/back cracker combo. Titan & Volador won with front cracker/springboard stomp on one Diablo and a Destroyer on the other Diablo for stereo winning pins. The result got a loud cheering; the fans seemed relieved the Diablo didn’t win.
Winners: Titán & Volador Jr. (17:13)
Volador & Titan got a positive reaction as they thanked the fans after the match. CMLL honored members of the Mexico Paralympic Games Team between these matches; CMLL had promoted the team before the games.
CMLL World Heavyweight Championship: Hechicero vs Último Guerrero ©
CMLL’s original plan for this match was for the vacant Mexican National Heavyweight Championship, similar to the middleweight title. However, the most recent champion DMT Azul has threatened both CMLL and the commission for stripping him of this title. CMLL put that situation aside for the time being, replacing it with an Ultimo Guerrero world title defense. Hechicero won the fan poll with 57% of the votes among the seven wrestlers on the ballot.
Gran Guerrero seconded his brother Ultimo Guerrero. Hechicero had no second and unusually took the microphone to note he doesn’t have one as a rule. He explained he was breaking that rule tonight for a very special second: Satanico, Ultimo Guerrero’s old mentor turned rival. Satanico is a trainer in Guadalajara and rarely seen in Arena Mexico, so this was an unexpected and welcome surprise for the Arena Mexico fans. Guerrero argued with Satanico as he arrived at the ring.
All CMLL title matches are close by house style, but Hechicero had a definite advantage throughout the title match. He surpassed Guerrero in the early battle of holds and was quicker than him for the entire fight. Ultimo Guerrero’s control of the match came through trickery, but Hechicero would come rushing back take back over. Hechicero pulled out an amazing over-the-top-rope tope at one point, landed all his big spots without fail, and even negated Ultimo Guerrero’s signature top rope lure bit. Guerrero did survive Hechicero’s Conjuro spinning backbreaker finish (this time done as a side slam.) Guerrero landed his top rope reverse superplex Guerrero Special, a move which rarely fails, only for Hechicero to kick out. Hechicero soon after finished Guerrero with the Magia Negra double armbar entanglement submission to win. This Hechicero victory was as strong a victory anyone’s gotten over Ultimo Guerrero in a very long time, in a match that was both enjoyable and didn’t overstay its welcome. The Arena Mexicos fans appeared to see this as the night’s true main event.
Hechicero declared this win proved himself to be the best luchador in the promotion with this win, and the fans seemed to agree with him. Satanico told Hechicero he had one more surprise for him – the return of Los Infernales. Satanico introduced previous members Euforia and Mephisto and asked Hechicero to lead them to revive a unit that stretches back to 1983. Hechicero accepted happily.
Winner: Hechicero (14:06)
Mexican National Tag Team Championship: Espíritu Negro & Rey Cometa © vs Akuma & Espanto Jr.
Akuma & Espanto Jr. won this shot with 44% of the vote among the five eligible teams. CMLL has never pushed Akuma & Espanto Jr. and their win was a big surprise. Espíritu Negro & Rey Cometa are known as Los Atrapasuenos, “The Dreamcatchers.” Akuma & Espíritu Jr. tore up two dreamcatcher hoops on the way to the ring in a nice if an obvious bit of symbolism. Mascot Perico Zacarias seconded Akuma & Espanto Jr., despite having no previous relationship.
The voting didn’t transfer to in-arena interest; the Arena Mexico crowd was quiet for large portions of the match and didn’t seem to have a strong rooting interest. The Zacarias spots woke up a crowd that didn’t react much to that point. They didn’t react much after. You could hear the tag partners talk to each other during portions of the match. Champions Espíritu Negro & Rey Cometa controlled the match with the usual offense, not pushing themselves as far as possible. Espanto Jr. & Akuma had new gear and some new offense, including a nice slingshot spear spot, but never got a close near fall. Espanto Jr. seemed a beat behind the other three at times, and Akuma was relied on to take the trickiest Cometa head scissors spots. Espanto also pulled up Espíritu on a near fall, an utterly illogical decision in a title match, but one that also gave away the finish was coming soon. Not much happened to make a fan want to see Akuma & Espanto in a big match again. The challengers were not foolish-looking, but they didn’t show some hidden potential after finally getting a chance Cometa landed a 450 splash on Akuma to beat him, and Espíritu finished Espanto with a tapatia to end the match soon after.
Winner: Espíritu Negro & Rey Cometa (14:29)
CMLL aired Tsukushi, Tsukasa Fujinami, and Momo Kogho’s entrance videos to talk about them debuting on next Friday’s show. CMLL will hold their first Gran Prix Femenil (Mexico versus the World in an elimination match) on 10/08, which will feature the Japanese visitors.
Mexican National Women’s Championship: La Jarochita & Lluvia © vs Dark Silueta & Reyna Isis
This title poll was by far the closest competition. Challengers Dark Silueta & Reyna Isis got just 200 more votes than runner-up Dalys & Stephanie Vaquer out of the 45,000 votes cast. The two teams swapped the lead daily towards the end of balloting. In the last few days, there was so much activity that the women’s tag title ended having the most votes cast of all the championships and thus earned the main event spot. A women’s match never had before main evented a major CMLL’s show. Reyna Isis almost missed the match due to a recent positive COVID test; she tested negative for COVID two days before this show and never experienced any symptoms. These are recently revived championships, with Jarochita & Lluvia the first champions since the titles returned.
Again, the voting on the internet didn’t seem to reflect the interest from the ticket-buying public. The audience treated it as if it was a prelim match for the first several minutes, though they warmed up to this one more than the previous tag bout. The relatively slow speed and lack of big action compared to previous matches contributed to the lack of reactions. Isis & Silueta took over with a series of dives and double-teamed the Tecnica champions for a couple of minutes. Lluvia & Jarochita rallied, eventually diving off CMLL’s stage for big planchas onto the Rudas. CMLL wrestlers do the big dive off the stage often, though rarely the women. The crowd seemed into the match from there, and the pace of the match improved as they got into the final big moments. Jarochita & Lluvia showed much better teamwork, including a creative spot where Jarochita, trapped hanging upside down in the ropes, pulled herself up to help partner Lluvia on a superplex on Silueta. The two then finished off their champion with a combined double submission on both women, though it appeared one of the submissions was a misapplied pinfall.
Winners: La Jarochita & Lluvia (14:19)
Lluvia & Jarochita celebrated their win, with oddly Rudo language declaring themselves “number 1 whether you like it or not.” It was like they were getting booed, but no boos could be heard on the stream. The show ended on that strange note.