After a couple of house shows, the Fantasticamania tour returned to the internet as the CMLL Family Tag Tournament got underway.
Today’s card comes from Makuhari Messe in Chiba, again with just Japanese commentary – the English team’ll be back in Korakuen from Friday onwards! For reasons, we’ve only got the CMLL ring announcer doing introductions, rather than the dualling Japanese/Spanish intros we had at the start of the tour.
Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA & Titan) vs. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & Gedo) & Forastero
All the horns greet us in the arena for the opening match, as KUSHIDA again had to figure out how to get into the ring with the massive watch head he was wearing.
The match finally gets going with Gedo raking the eyes of KUSHIDA, who responded by working the wrist and stomping on Gedo’s arm, prompting him to turn the air blue. Taguchi comes in and keeps working Gedo’s arm, as it’s clear what the ploy is… Forastrero’s arm’s handed to Taguchi on the apron, but it quickly backfires as Taguchi hits an armbreaker to KUSHIDA, unaware that Ishimori had switched places. D’oh!
Nevermind, KUSHIDA hits a cartwheel dropkick to Ishimori moments later, before our luchadors hit the ring for dives, with Titan hitting a tope con giro into the front row. KUSHIDA tries to follow with a plancha to Gedo, but he lands heavily on his knee as Ishimori and Taguchi brawled elsewhere in the arena.
Back in the ring, Forastero tries to unmask Titan, almost getting the hood off before pulling Titan into a Tree of Woe. KUSHIDA’s back in, but Ishimori and Forastero hold him for a thrust kick from Gedo for a near-fall, before Taguchi broke free with hip attacks for all, eventually sending Gedo to the outside before suckering Ishimori in to miss a low dropkick. An ankle lock’s next, but it’s broken up as the good guys kept the upper hand, as seen when kUSHIDA finally landed his plancha to Gedo.
Titan keeps that going with a springboard crossbody then a Code Red to Forastero for a near-fall, only for Forastero to hit back with a spin-out side slam and then force a submission with a triangle armbar/headscissor combo. This was fun, but felt way too short – although someone ought to have told that to Gedo, as he wrenched on KUSHIDA’s knee well after the final bell. ***
Fujin & Raijin vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & BUSHI)
I swear we’ve had this match before… in another universe…
We get going with Shingo and Raijin exchanging shoulder tackles, with the latter erm SHO-ving his way through him. BUSHI tries to sneak in, but eats a double-team as Fujin and Raijin cleared the ring with dropkicks. Shingo fights back, sidestepping a charge from Fujin before landing a shoulder tackle to take him down, as the junior tag champions had the upper hand.
On the outside, Shingo wrings the arm of Fujin before whipping him into the post. A knee drop back in the ring keeps Fujin down as BUSHI tagged in to try and remove his mask… almost succeeding as we saw a flash of a familiar face underneath before Raijin broke it up. The beating of Fujin continued, as LIJ blatantly distracted the referee to obscure more double-teaming, at least until Fujin found a way out with a Dragon screw before he tagged in Raijin.
Raijin turns up the tempo with a spear to Shingo, then a dropkick to BUSHI before he won a battle of clotheslines with Shingo for a near-fall. He pulls up Shingo for a deadlift German suplex, but he has to delay it as he gets met with an uppercut before a Pumping Bomber provided an instant response to the eventual German.
Fujin’s back with a flying forearm to BUSHI, before a uranage backbreaker and a flatliner drew a near-fall on the junior tag champion. BUSHI tries to go back to the mask of Fujin, but gets cut off with a pair of leaping knees before BUSHI fought away from the 3K and hit a double ‘rana instead. Why would Fujin and Raijin try for the Roppongi 3K finisher…
Anyway, Fujin gets met with an avalanche clothesline, then a spinebuster/back cracker combo for a near-fall, before Raijin makes another save… only for double Pumping Bombers to leave the masked duo down. BUSHI tries to capitalise, but his swinging neckbreaker’s blocked as Fujin snatches the win with a La Magistral! That was a heck of a lot of fun, and I have a feeling this may play into a title shot for a team whom Fujin and Raijin vaguely resemble… ***½
Barbaro Cavernario, OKUMURA & Namajague vs. Angel de Oro, Soberano Jr. & Audaz
OKUMURA and Angel de Oro get us going for this latest trios match, which started with back-and-forth armdrags that prompted Oro to remove his mask.
Once the hood was off, Okumura went after Oro’s leg on the mat, but was rolled up for an early two-count, before responding with an attempt at a surfboard stretch… which he then had to switch into a modified armbar anda pinning attempt. Oro hit back with a rolling dropkick, before a hands-free handspring off the rope helped him fake out a dive as Audaz and Namajague came into play.
Namajague tried for a hip attack it seemed, before catching a leg lariat as the pair ended up outside for a flying ‘rana. The lucha tag rules meant we got Barbaro and Soberano in the ring next, trading armdrags before a series of flips led to a stalemate. Soberano ends up getting triple-teamed and stomped for a while, with Barbarbo hitting a Vader Bomb-like splash.
Oro’s back in, but he takes a bunch of clotheslines before the rudos try and unmask Audaz, who had to fight back out of the rudo corner while OKUMURA seemingly called the shots. Eventually Barbaro and Namajague shoved down OKUMURA, but Audaz didn’t take advantage of that opening and instead stayed in the corner. He pays for it as Barbaro and Namajague hit a double-team elbow drop before Oro returned to take Audaz’s spot.
Barbaro feigns a knee injury to stop the referee from trying to clear the ring, but he’d needn’t have bothered as Soberano came in with a big flying ‘rana to start a long series of dives, including a Sasuke special from Oro and another tope con giro from Soberano. That was all way too quick to follow, as seen by the camera crew missing a shot or two…
Back in the ring, Barbaro boots Soberano, who responded with a satellite armdrag and a dropkick to set up for another dive… but this time Soberano fakes it out as we swap personnel again. OKUMURA dumps Oro with a tiltawhirl backbreaker, only for Oro to return with a hook kick from the apron and a double jump Asai moonsault for a near-fall. Audaz goes flippy too, dropkicking Namajague off the apron ahead of a hands-free Fosbury flop dive to the outside.
Oro and Barbaro take over again in the ring, with the caveman doing the worm and some headscissors, ahead of a tope con giro. Soberano’s got his tornillo dive and a Quebrada for OKUMURA, and just like that, it’s over! Fun while it lasted, and it seems that now they’re more settled into the tour, the CMLL folks are getting more dive-y now. ***
Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Terrible)
Well, Terrible’s over-dub certainly lived up to his name!
We’ve got Terrible vs. Kojima on Sunday, and those two start by lighting each other up with chops… and it’s Terrible who edges out ahead of a stand-off. Tags bring in Henare and Naito, with the latter a little hesitant to come in, with Henare surprisingly jumping Naito through the ropes anyway.
Henare lands a couple of arm drags to surprise Naito, before a standing moonsault picked up a two-count. An atomic drop from Naito stops that as Terrible runs in with a dropkick, and we’re quickly on the outside as Naito whips Henare into the crowd – and with few crowd barriers, he went DEEP into the crowd too.
Back in the ring, LIJ worked over Henare’s leg, with Terrible targeting the old ankle injury Henare had, before the Cabron Combinacion from Naito caught Henare for an easy near-fall. Henare stands up and tried to walk through Naito’s kicks, responding with some chops before eventually taking down Naito with a Samoan drop.
Kojima returns with machine gun chops and a forearm in the corner, before his top rope elbow drew a near-fall. A rolling elbow and a DDT keep Kojima ahead, only for Terrible to return and pin Kojima into the corner with some body blows. Terrible slams Kojima to the mat and heads up top for a big splash that almost ends the match.
A Koji Cutter stems the tide as Henare begged to be tagged back in – which he was – as he charged into Terrible with another Samoan drop before another chop battle was sparked. Terrible’s sucker punch is responded to with a headbutt from Henare, whose bid for a uranage ends when Naito hit the ring to help out… leading to LIJ sandwiching Henare with low dropkicks for a near-fall, before Terrible finished off Henare with a Styles Clash. Well, that was about the most “New Japan-y” match on the card, and while it was fine, I think everyone knew Henare was taking the L the second he came through the curtain. Kojima and Terrible should be a decent singles match this weekend, especially since Kojima has plenty of experience in CMLL – so it shouldn’t be a total clash of styles. ***
As Naito went to the back, he kicked Young Lion Yota Tsuji off the raised stage, sending him falling through the curtain to the back…
Gran Guerrero, Ultimo Guerrero & Templarino vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Caristico
Our final trios match of the show featured some pre-match smock beating from Ultimo Guerrero, who caught Caristico off guard.
When we finally got going, Gran Guerrero runs through Tiger Mask with a clothesline, before he took a dropkick in return… forcing him to run deep into the crowd to avoid any kind of dive from Tiger Mask. He eventually returns to the ring for a handshake, but Tiger Mask psyches him out before delivering a chop that just annoyed the Guerrero clan.
Tags bring in Ultimo Guerrero and Caristico, who both get drowned out with those airhorns before we trade monkey flips, trips and armdrags en route to a standoff. After the restart, Ultimo lifts up Caristico in a press slam, but Ultimo’s mask just gets ripped off, which isn’t a DQ since he shouldn’t have it anyway! Caristico turns up the pace with some headscissors, which prompted Templarino and Jushin Thunder Liger to enter the fray.
Templarino’s quickly sent outside as Liger faked out a dive… which prompts an attack from behind by Ultimo Guerrero, who heads outside to press slam Caristico through a goddamned chair. Nevertheless, Caristico heads back to the ring as the rudos began to triple-team everyone, thanks to referees Red Shoes not enforcing anything. Everyone takes pop-up splashes from the rudos, before they looked for a human pyramid… which is quickly broken up.
Liger’s back with Shoteis for all as my feed drops out… a quick F5 later and Ultimo Guerrero’s on top with a front superplex for a near-fall on Tiger Mask. A Victory Roll from Tiger Mask’s good for a near-fall, before Ultimo sent himself to the outside with a missed lowpe, allowing Tiger to meet him outside with a crossbody. Back inside, Caristico catches Templario out with La Mistica, and that’s the out of nowhere win to end a match that I never got into. Can you tell lucha’s not my bag? **½
…and the feed dies again before the final two matches start. Yay.
CMLL Family Tag Tournament – Semi-Final: Sanson & Cuatrero vs. Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.
The first of the family tag semi-finals starts us off here, and we begin with Atlantis (Senior) against Sanson as the latter took Atlantis down with a waistlock.
Atlantis escapes with an arm wringer as the match stayed rather grounded, before tags bring in Cuatrero and Atlantis Jr. They switch full nelsons before they go to ground and scramble, with Jr. swinging and missing on a clothesline ahead of an enziguiri that got Cuatrero a near-fall. Jr. finds more success with springboard headscissors and a tope to the outside on Sanson, as he again seemed to land head-first on a chair, while Cuatrero began to put the boots to Atlantis Sr. in the ring.
Cuatrero and Sanson begin to focus on Jr. again, working a double-team press slam on him ahead of some low dropkicks for a near-fall. Sr.’s back in to take a step-up enziguiri in the corner as we’re switching places pretty quickly, before Junior lands a double leapfrog and a pair of armdrags as he single-handedly had to rescue the match for his family.
Atlantis Sr. goes up top for a crossbody onto Sanson, before he ducks a shot from Cuatretro, who kept hitting the wrong target. A pair of tiltawhirl backbreakers has Sr. ahead, and allows Atlantis Jr. to land a tope con giro on Cuatrero, before Sanson took a crossbody off the top. Back in the ring, Sanson saves Cuatrero from an Atlantida, before booting him to the outside as the focus returned to the rookie… who almost snatches a win with a sunset flip roll-up.
In the end, Sanson’s able to put away Jr. with the Sanson Special – a spinning rack bomb off the top rope. This was fine, but from the start I had my doubts over how far the Atlantis team would really be going. **½
CMLL Family Tag Tournament – Semi-Final: Volador Jr. & Flyer vs. Dragon Lee & Mistico
Winners face Sanson and Cuatrero in Korakuen Hall on Friday.
Dragon Lee and Flyer start us off avoiding each other’s attempts to go for the arm. They frustrate each other, so Volador Jr. and Mistico come into play, but we’re quickly outside as Volador and Flyer leap into dives with an Asai moonsault and tope respectively. Mistico’s back is all taped up, making a star on his spine (so I guess this has been a tough tour, huh?), so Flyer and Volador look to focus on Dragon Lee.
Clotheslines in the corner set-up Flyer for a step-up Shibata-ish dropkick on Dragon Lee for a near-fall, with Mistico breaking up the count and then getting thrown outside. A double-team hiptoss/powerbomb gets another two-count as Mistico breaks it up once more, before Flyer looked to unmask Dragon Lee while everyone else was busy arguing with the referee.
Mistico comes in with a springboard crossbody before he’s lifted into headscissors on Flyer. Volador takes some too before Dragon and Mistico land stereo topes con giro, as the pace remained quick, with Mistico hitting a low dropkick back inside as Flyer was held in a Muta lock. Kicks between Dragon Lee and Volador ended with a superkick sending the Dragon flying… and it’s Volador who remains on offence as he lifted Dragon Lee up top… only for a superplex to be blocked as Volador ends up eating a double stomp instead.
Flyer tries for a save, but he needs Volador to stop the offence with a Destroyer to Mistico. Some double-teaming to Mistico backfires as he instead takes down Volador with a tornado DDT, before a standing Spanish fly from Dragon Lee nearly put Volador away. Off comes Volador’s vest, but he just ends up being lifted up top by Dragon Lee before Flyer had to land a top rope armdrag takedown to save Volador from another stomp.
Another wild superkick sent Mistico folding in on himself, before a gamengiri from Mistico set up for a springboard ‘rana to Volador for a near-fall. Mistico raises the stakes with an Orihara moonsault to the floor, while Dragon Lee ends up taking superkicks and elbows from Flyer, who nearly wins it with a Code Red. Dragon Lee responds with a German suplex and a sit-out powerbomb to Flyer, again for a near-fall, before a Shining Wizard-like knee and the Desnucadora suplex/powerbomb got the win. This was fine, but it was very lucha-like in that things weren’t entirely crisp, with an unfortunate slip right in the middle of the finishing stretch. ***
Post-match, Sanson and Cuatrero come down and cut a promo on Dragon Lee and Flyer ahead of their final on Friday – with Dragon Lee issuing the retort to send the crowd home happy.
This was a solid show, but much like the rest of the Fantasticamania tour, your mileage will definitely vary depending on your affinity to lucha. It says something (for me at least), that the rebadged Roppongi 3K match was the best on the show, but at least these tours make for a palate cleanser to distract us all from the post-WrestleKingdom comedowns.