So, the avid readers of PWPonderings will remember me for coming in and posting several pieces covering promotions such as CMLL and CHIKARA. Following the recent incident, I had my own set backs. I am back, and looking forward to returning to my antics. So, where to start? Well, since the old columns are things of the past, why not rehash a slight bit. I do this not out of laziness, but more out of passion. My Exploring Mexico series especially was something I enjoyed writing about due to the idea of helping newcomers understand and enjoy lucha libre. This time around, let’s do it a tad different, though. That said, enough of the pleasantries. Welcome, to the first installment of Red’s Wrestling World Tour. In the very first part of this series, we’ll look at the world’s oldest promotion, CMLL. These articles are meant to help newcomers start watching and I hope you find this useful.
As I just mentioned, CMLL is indeed the oldest living wrestling promotion in the entire world.
Masks are one of the most important aspects of lucha libre. In fact, apuesta matches with masks and hair being on the line are typically seen as far more important than any championship contest. Be aware of that ahead of time, knowing that a majority of the workers will be wearing masks. While obvious to most, this can still be new info to some and I try not to judge here.
Speaking of championships, while they may not mean nearly as much in the grand scheme, the belts still are worth mentioning even if some fans consider them to be mere paperweights. CMLL runs things off of a boxing style system of weight classes. This means there are actually 10 main single’s belts in the company. There are also belts for tag teams, trios, minis, and women, plus secondary, regional titles that aren’t really that important either way.
Outside of the championship honors, there are several annual tournaments of note that CMLL puts on. The biggest is the Leyenda de Plata tournament in honor of El Santo. The Leyenda de Azul in honor of Blue Demon is also noteworthy. One of my favorite tournaments takes place each fall, crowning a Universal Champion. Every title holder faces off for this honor, and it tends to be pretty fun. There are also tournaments to crown the best flyers, ones showcasing newer talents, and some with teams being made up of rudos/heels and tecnicos/faces taking each other on.
Match rules are important to mention, since this tends to be the hardest thing about introducing newcomers. Nearly every contest in CMLL is 2/3 falls rules. An exception, on of the few, would be lightning matches which are one fall matches with ten minute time limits.
No promotion can exist without talent, and luckily they have an abundance there. Their roster is one of the best in the world, truly. Older names top the cards including Atlantis, Blue Panther, Negro Casas, and Ultimo Guerrero. They are easily the best older name members of the roster, and pillars of the promotion. Also, Caristico is a freelancer that works often and should be familiar with most newcomers. He is the original Mistico, though there is a younger worker using that gimmick now, and was the first Sin Cara in WWE. He also worked as Myzteziz in AAA for a while for what it’s worth.
If you watch ROH or New Japan, there are others here you may already know. Volador Jr and Dragon Lee are elite talents, for example, that make every match better just by being involved. Rush and Barbaro Cavernario are another couple that tend to be great, more often than not, with Rush being an elite heel when motivated. If you want technicians, Virus and Hechicero are kings. The best women is, without a doubt, Zeuxis, who is a true queen.
Dragon Rojo Jr, Drone, Mephisto, Mistico, Rey Bucanero, and Rey Cometa are a few others to look out for. I know I’ve dropped several names so far, even leaving out some very good workers, but that’s a true testament to the talent that CMLL houses.
Before we drop this topic, I want to quickly mention teams and factions. Since most shows in CMLL are mainly made up of multiman contests, this is important. If you have heard of Naito’s Los Ingobernables de Japon, the faction actually originates from Mexico. Los Ingobernables is made up of Rush and Pierroth right now. They are a heel unit, and the name means “The Ungovernables”. They envoke chaos, and can be fun depending on who they are matched up against. The Sky Team is another great one to mention, consisting of Volador Jr, Mistico, and Valiente. As the name suggests, they are elite flyers and can work well with nearly everyone. I could go on for a long time about several others, but let’s just use those two to break you in for now.
Maximo and La Mascara were recently major roster members in CMLL, holding the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight belts respectively and both being top card names, but both have been fired due to video leaking of them sending a message to Ultimo by trashing his car. There’s a lot more to this story, but I don’t think this is the time to talk about it. I only mention it at all because there are some shakeups that can still happen as a result, and I’ll cover this more in depth a little latter.
So, now that we’ve loosely covered some of the big topics, you may be wondering how the hell to watch the promotion. CMLL airs several times a week, with the main weekly show being on Fridays. They also air lesser shows on Monday and Tuesdays. The Monday and Tuesday shows air on their official YouTube channel. If you get Claro, you can watch the Friday show on TV, but you can also find it on YouTube pretty soon after it airs if you look. Liga Elite and thecubsfan are good about posting them on their channels.
Big shows run on Sundays and Fridays, and they’ve been putting them on YouTube more lately. They charge, but they are usually under five bucks. Homenaje Dos Leyendas and Sin Piedad are some of my favorites, and their big show is the Anniversary event. This year will be their 84th anniversary.
There is a reason that Daniel Bryan has been saying that he is considering coming to CMLL once his WWE contract ends, something I’d kill for to see, and I hope this helps get at least a few people to start watching the promotion. Next time we’ll look at another promotion, and I look forward to hearing your feedback. If you want more info, my contact info is located below. Also, please go check out thecubsfan.com/cmll and luchaworld.com. They are amazing sources, and must read sites for lucha fans. Also, in a cheap plug style moment, make sure to check out my Facebook page below. I work with promotions, organizing episodes for them.
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