Fantasticamania hits Korakuen Hall as the 2020 Family Tag Tournament got underway!
We’ve four shows in five days from Korakuen to wrap up a tour that’s largely gone under the radar. Still, at least it’s not chock-full of pointless tournament tag matches… Mavs Gillis is back, alongside Chris Charlton!
Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Namajague & DOUKI
Fuego’s found himself a new companion… while I swear Namajague and DOUKI have tagged before…
Taguchi’s already begging for a time-out before the bell, but it’s Fuego and Namajague who start us off, with Fuego Matrix’ing away from a clothesline before he landed a springboard armdrag. DOUKI’s in under lucha rules, as was Taguchi, as back elbows and elbow drops had DOUKI in a spot of bother. Fuego has no idea what Taguchi’s calling, and it led to confusion as Fuego’s whipped into Taguchi’s arse. Meanwhile, Taguchi celebrated as his partner was getting a beating on the floor. Oh Taguchi…
Elbow drops wait for Taguchi back in the ring as the sorta-Suzuki-gun team were having their way, leading to Namajague trying to unmask Fuego. DOUKI loosens the laces some more, before Taguchi returned to throw some chops, then a dropkick for a near-fall. Taguchi trikes to fake out a la Fuego, but the crossbody misses as Namajague just sidesteps and watches Taguchi crash and burn. A back body drop sent Namajague to the outside for a pescado, as Fuego flies into DOUKI back inside… a clothesline from DOUKI nearly unmasks Fuego on the way to a near-fall, before a Suplex de la Luna’s countered out of, with Fuego instead scoring with a wheelbarrow roll-up for the win. **½
Post-match, Taguchi tries to sodomize Namajague with DOUKI’s pipe. Standard.
Luciferno & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Audaz & Guerrero Maya Jr.
Maya and Kanemaru start – and for some reason, Guerrero’s looking for a handshake. He doesn’t get it, so he goes in with a side headlock… which Kanemaru escapes as he had to contend with a lot of holds.
A toe hold from Kanemaru has Maya on the mat, before Maya was taken into the corner as Luciferno grabbed hold of his mask before tagging in. He tags straight back out though, which raises a chuckle, as Audaz and Kanemaru exchanged more holds before a stand-off. Now we get the tag, with Audaz also coming in as he’s rolled into an armbar, then a crucifix roll-up as the pair traded some pins.
Luciferno goes for the leg, but there’s another stand-off before tags bring us back to square one. Guerrero Maya trips Kanemaru, but gets lifted outside… he’s back with a springboard attack into Kanemaru, before Luciferno came in to get chopped. A springboard armdrag takes Luciferno outside, but there’s no dive as Audaz comes in to flip around. There’s a ‘rana to take Kanemaru outside, as an apron PK followed while Luciferno and Guerrero Maya Jr. returned to the ring.
Of course, Luciferno goes for the mask, and almost reveals Guerrero Maya’s face, before the rudos began to double-team Audaz with kicks and stomps. Maya’s back with tiltawhirl backbreakers, landing a quartet of them before lifting up Audaz for a double dropkick. Audaz kicks away Luciferno then hits a springboard corkscrew plancha for a near-fall, only for Luciferno to reply with a shoulder breaker.
Audaz goes for a ‘rana, but it’s caught and turned into a Luciferno Crash with Guerrero Maya Jr. grabbing the referee before he broke up the pun. Huh. Maya’s in with a spinebuster and a roll-up for a near-fall, then took out Kanemaru with a tope while Audaz came back for a gamengiri and a moonsault onto Luciferno for the three-count… even though Audaz popped up before the three-count was made. HUH. This felt way too fragmented and disjointed at times… sadly, these tours are prone to that. **¼
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs. Flyer, Dulce Gardenia & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Shingo’s back from England, so the new NEVER trios champions are reunited!
Tanahashi’s still rocking the face paint, which makes him look a lot like Renegade for those of you with memories of mid 90s WCW. We start with Dulce Gardenia slapping the ref’s arse, before he took a prat-fall over BUSHI. Gardenia Fuegos his way into an armdrag, sending BUSHI outside as he faked out a dive into something kawaii…
Shingo and Flyer are in next, with a snap armdrag taking down the Dragon… then a ‘rana as Flyer tried to live up to his name, only to get tripped up. Gardenia’s back to take a beating as LIJ triple-teamed him… while BUSHI dragged him into the ring post. A superkick from Flyer gets a two-count as he proceeded to tag out to Tanahashi who cleared house… only to have to overcome double-teaming as he used headscissors and a headlock to take out BUSHI and Shingo.
EVIL tries his luck, raking the eyes before handing off a Tanahashi kick to the ref. A Dragon screw from Tanahashi to Shingo gets him back in, before Gardenia returned to… get pulled down as Shingo looked so non-plussed at Gardenia’s salsa. So we get a rope-walk lucha armdrag as Gardenia fought on, before he tried to get a little amorous on LIJ. Dives follow as Flyer and Gardenia hit topes con giro, although Dulce looked to tweak his ankle on the landing, and it’s not helped when Shingo slides in with a lariat back inside for a near-fall. Dulce keeps going for a kiss, and just gets planted with a death valley driver from Shingo for a near-fall, before a Pumping Bomber put him away. It was fine while it lasted, but the NEVER trios champions were always going to get the W… **¾
Forastero & OKUMURA vs. Titan & Stuka Jr.
We’ve a jump start as Forastero and OKUMURA attack their opponents before the bell. Heck, Stuka hadn’t even taken his robe off!
Not to worry, the technicos take their opponents outside before hitting topes, and they’re NOT the “flying hug” variety either. Back in the ring, Stuka and OKUMURA trade chops before Stuka hit a rebound double-armdrag, taking the rudos outside as he proceeds to baseball slide to the floor… and escapes a hold from Mima Shimoda, who took her usual bump of the tour as OKUMURA accidentally chopped her.
The referee launches into a FAST count-out as he’s pissed with OKUMURA, and we’re back with the dives as Titan takes Forastero outside for some headscissors. All four men brawl on the outside briefly, returning only for a low dropkick to take Titan outside. Stuka’s back and into double-teaming as OKUMURA hit a cutter off the top. We’ve more unmasking teases as Forastero tries to pull off Titan’s hood, before he instead opted for chops. Not to worry, Titan’s back with a springboard crossbody to OKUMURA, while Stuka hit a Fireman’s carry slam to Forastero, then headed up top… to hit a misdirection splash onto OKUMURA on the floor, while Titan’s springboard stomp caught out Forastero for a near-fall.
Titan’s Pele kick catches out Forastero on the top rope ahead of a ‘rana attempt that’s caught and turned into a powerbomb. It’s not enough though, so Forastero locks in a triangle hold – grounded headscissors with a trapped arm – and that’s enough for Titan to tap. Decent, but if you’re unfamiliar with lucha, you may not be into it as much. Story of this tour, to be fair… ***
Post-match, a freshly-shaved Gabriel Kidd’s got to strip off as Titan’s unmasked. Stuka loses his mask too, but Gabe’s only got one shirt, so he has to wait for Yuya Uemura to help…
Ultimo Guerrero & Barbaro Cavernario vs. Satoshi Kojima & Caristico
These CMLL overdubs are getting a little loose – especially as we get to hear Queen as plain as day underneath the dubs.
Ultimo Guerrero heads outside at the bell, as he’s got to remove his mask first… he locks up with Kojima, trading hammerlocks before he took Kojima down and into the ropes. Kojima replies by chopping Guerrero in the ropes, earning him some chops and a flying elbow as tags brought in Cavernario and Caristico.
They pose a lot for the crowd, before Cavernario dribbled on the mat… then licked it up. Well, there’s my lunch again. Caristico responds with a series of armdrags, only to get a receipt as they trade headscissors and dropkicks en route to a stand-off. Kojima’s back to charge through Guerrero, but it’s Caristico who’s on the defensive as he’s taken onto the apron and met with a baseball slide to knock him to the floor.
Kojima’s back out to get chopped by Guerrero on the floor, before Barbaro spat in his face as Kojima fought back with a forearm. Caristico’s flying ‘rana takes out the Caveman ahead of a pop-up dropkick as Kojima fakes out a dive. What he doesn’t fake out is machine gun chops, but the top rope elbow’s cut off by a clothesline from Guerrero, who followed that with a senton de la muerte… only to get caught with a DDT out of the corner. Cavernario comes in to try and finish things, with a hammerlock DDT on Caristico for a near-fall, before returning with pop-up headscissors and a ‘rana. A gamengiri makes Cavernario do the worm, but the caveman’s taken outside for a tope before Kojima sidestepped… sending Guerrero outside as he finally flew in with a pescado!
Back inside, things didn’t last for much longer as Cavernario quickly pulled Caristico into a Cavernaria for the submission. Decent, but this didn’t land well with myself. Style! **¾
CMLL Family Tag Tournament 2020 – Semi-Final – La Sangre Dinamita (Sanson & Cuatrero) vs. Euforia & Soberano Jr.
We’ve brothers against a father-and-son team here, and we start with Soberano flipping Cuatrero to the mat as their opening exchanges were a little rough, with a wonky springboard shoulder tackle from Cuatrero perhaps being the highlight.
Chops follow as Soberano was held in the ropes, while Sanson flew in with a double sledge to the gut. A double dropkick follows on Soberano, before Euforia came in and took a double press slam as La Sangre Dinamita were looking good.
On the outside, Soberano’s taken into the crowd, as the house lights came up with all four men brawling on the seating decks. Euforia makes some headway with a tiltawhirl before Soberano flew off an entry way into his opponents. Back in the ring, Soberano lands a pop-up dropkick as La Sangre Dinamita seemed to be malfunctioning, with a nice pop-up ‘rana getting some hang time for oberano on the way to a faked-out dive.
Euforia’s in, but gets caught in the ropes by Sanson… but again, things go wrong between La Sangre Dinamita on the way to a headscissor takedown from Euforia. An overhead throw from Euforia took Sanson into the buckles before he was helped onto the top rope by Soberano for a splash that almost ended the match. Soberano follows that up with a Tornillo to Sanson on the floor, while Euforia kept the pace high with a crossbody to the floor too. La Sangre Dinamita turned it back around though, quickly getting the win with an inverted bear hug that got Cuatrero the submission on Soberano. Well… this followed the path of the rest of the night, with some good action, but a lot of it felt hit and miss. **½
CMLL Family Tag Tournament 2020 – Semi-Final – Negro Casas & Tiger vs. Angel de Oro & Niebla Roja
Ah, overdubs. We can still hear Rock DJ underneath, you know… while Mavs accidentally rips off Eva Marie’s gimmick. All red faces?
Tiger and Niebla Roja start us off, but it’s Roja who works the leg of Tiger, who nearly countered into a crucifix for a quick pinning attempt. Roja returns with a bow-and-arrow hold en route to a stand-off, before tags bring in Negro Casas and Oro, but the latter’s rolled down into headscissors, only to return as he trapped Casas in a tied-up hammerlock. The grappling continues as bodyscissors were leaned back on, then turned into a roll-up as Casas and Oro had their own stand-off.
Oro looks to pull off a Romero special, aided by Niebla Roja who handed off Casas’ arm before Tiger ran in to break it up. There’s a quick turn of pace as Casas hits a stalling dropkick to Oro in the corner, before a stalling suplex gets Tiger a near-fall. Niebla Roja made a save, but then got thrown into a Negro Casas thrust kick, before two headbutts left the red man down. Tiger works on Roja’s arm, trapping him ahead of an armbar before some chops in the ropes set up for Negro Casas to come in and throw some kicks. Oro’s knocked off the apron by Tiger, then became legal when Roja was knocked outside… but we quickly forget all that as Roja holds the ropes for a wild tope from Oro, before hitting a tope con giro of his own!
Back in the ring, Oro and Casas trade shots, leading to both men avoiding the other’s lariats as a thrust kick took Casas outside. Tiger’s quickly in but takes headscissors to the outside as Oro fakes out a dive. Things break down into a pose-down as Negro Casas flashes his arse, before decking Roja with a forearm. Tiger’s back in, but takes some dropkicks as Niebla Roja looked to go airborne once more… Casas and Oro return to batter each other with chops… Oro’s dropkick finds its mark, before Casas again was taken outside for Oro’s Golden Triangle moonsault. Niebla Roja’s sent out too so Tiger can hit a corkscrew plancha, but Negro Casas just pelts Roja in the ropes with kicks, before a superkick and a crossbody off the top looked to turn it back around.
We’re quickly back outside as Casas’ flying seated senton had Oro on the floor, while Tiger’s avalanche armdrag was caught and turned into… nothing, as Tiger’s pop-up spinebuster instead nearly won it. Some more kicks wear down Roja and Tiger, before Tiger was made to give up to an inverted pendulums wing. Decent fare for the main event, but the “lucha rules” tags made for a fair few awkward moments – but no more than the rest of the card. ***
These Fantasticamania shows are an okay palate cleanser after the intensity of WrestleKingdom week… but with a lot of so-so matches here, and only a few flashes of brilliance, you’d be forgiven for passing on this card.