¡HOLA, SEÑORES Y SEÑORAS! Welcome to the big show recap, LUCHA ESPECIAL 4: Dia de los Muertos, from the mecca of lucha libre, Arena Mexico, in the heart of Tenochtitlan! Only five matches, but one is a battle royale and the other a torneo cibernetico, so there’s no lack for the action. Let’s kick it off!
Match 1: Day of the Dead Battle Royale!
Referees: All Hands On Deck
As was the lucha custom, the show started about ten minutes after the hour when it was supposed to. With great fanfare, the wrestlers started pouring out from the back, first the referees, all of them except Minos, El Juego Infernal, who was already at ringside hitting on El Dragon’s wife, who once again scored front row seats. That old lech. Doesn’t he know the Patriarch of Los Dragones hasn’t yet retired and could probably wail on his ass outside the arena if he wanted to?
Then, 19 of the 20 competitors came out in a line, starting with Punished Kraven, then Madame Brilliantina, Organ Donor, Crash Jackson, Amor, Zen, Olvir Arsvinnar, Tio Mas Macho, El Hobo Aposteso, El Gran Azul, Agent G. Rilla, El Hijo del Dr. Raptor, Jr., El Lobo Rojo, Sfogliatelle DeCecco, La Saltamontes, The Fabulous Gold Mask, El Arana Voldara, the mysterious La Rosa Gris, and then pulling up the rear was Rodrigo Raton, a vaguely familiar man in an obnoxious yellow mask with a black moustache on the front, which all but gave the game away. If you didn’t know who he was after he gleefully stole rings off the fingers of women who reached out for high fives, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Notorious from his absence in the line was La Momia de Hunter S. Thompson, but notorious is not the same as surprising.
There were five pinatas hanging around each side of the ring and various heavy-gauge sticks resting on the guard barriers. It was possible that each wrestler could have pinata to themselves, but 19 of them were filled with booby prizes to say the least. What horrors lay inside of each of them, well, we would only find out a fraction of them. Eighteen of the 19 wrestlers in the ring started brawling the way that wrestler in a battle royale do. The other, Raton, of course, bailed out of the ring and grabbed a stick. Instead of going for the pinatas, however, he hopped in the ring with a stick and started swinging. Did he go for any of the sensors on the competitors’ chests? Oh no.
I refuse to break kayfabe by revealing the identity of the man under the mask for people who don’t already know, but I mean, again, if you didn’t figure it out after he wound up and hit the first wrestler in the nuts, which was El Lobo Rojo for those keeping score at home, again, I don’t know what to tell you. He then cracked El Hobo Aposteso in the groin. Then Sfogliatelle DeCecco. THEN he cracked Olvir Arsvinnar right in his prodigious love pump, which sent the massive Viking adult film star to his side grimacing exaggeratedly in pain.
Rodrigo had another target lined up, but he was one absolutely no one wanted to see get hit violently. Organ Donor wandered around the ring mostly minding his own business, a prime target for a Rodrigo Raton home run shot to the nuts. El Hjo del Dr. Raptor, Jr., Donor’s Jurassic Hospital stablemate, however, wasn’t about to let him take any big shot, partially out of fealty, but mostly because his credo of “do no harm” extended to the fans in the arena. Yeah, they had ponchos on, but was that really going to protect them from a sanguinary Oppenheimer? With a loud, carrying “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” the good clever boy doctor leapt in front of the Raton shot, even though it meant catching his chest sensor with the stick swing. No good deed goes unpunished.
El Hijo del Dr. Raptor, Jr. has been eliminated. (3:21)
Several wrestlers tackled Rodrigo before he was able to try smashing Organ Donor again. And they say it’s every man for himself in a battle royale.
Around this time, the 20th competitor, La Momia de Hunter S. Thompson, decided he’d make his way to the ring, albeit it was through the crowd. He was disheveled, staggering, and unable to keep balanced, which meant he was normal for the occasion. Several fans after the show would remark that he smelled like Dewars or that he asked them if they were holding. Again, all normal things. Anyway, by the time he finally got to the ringside area, he spotted the pinatas. A lightbulb seemingly went off over his head as he grabbed one of the sticks and swung at the pinata closest to his berth from the crowd. After three misses, he finally struck it. It only took one smash to open, and out from above fell… pins? Upon closer inspection, they were all campaign pins from prior presidential runs. Much to the mummy’s chagrin, the one that landed on him and stuck to his bandages read “We Like Dick.” He was furious, not for the entendre, but for the insinuation that he’d even accidentally support Richard Nixon.
La Momia de Hunter S. Thompson has been eliminated. (4:44)
Anyway, the one competitor that drew the attention of a few wrestlers in the match was La Rosa Gris. She had an air of familiarity about her, and even though she seemed unsteady at times, she still fended for herself pretty well, as El Lobo Rojo found out when he stepped to her. They jousted for a little bit, but the Red Wolf’s bravado got the better of him as he decided to howl and expose his chest after chopping her extra hard upon her clavicle. Bad move. She had an open shot at his sensor, which she didn’t hit with a stick but with her foot. The sheer force of her roundhouse kick to his chest activated his sensor, and the poor Lobo was put down a little less humanely than the ASPCA would have liked.
El Lobo Rojo has been eliminated. (5:21)
In the meantime, Rodrigo Raton spent as much capital as he could hitting people in their groins. It was the kind of activity someone would engage in if they were sure they wouldn’t get their comeuppance later on. It was also really uncomfortable to see him wail on dudes’ huevos the way he did. I mean, I think he got poor Olvir three more times after the initial shot, although thankfully, those shots were all with his fist and not the heavy pinata stick.
Speaking of the pinata stick, Sfogliatelle DeCecco, the extremely Italian luchador, not to be confused with The Anglo Luchador who is Italian-American and extremely a luchador, found an opening to try and win the match in the early going. He escaped a second nutshot from Rodrigo and slid out of the ring behind him. He saw a stick and a pinata and his instincts just kicked in. He swung and hit his target twice before it broke open, showering him with a whole bunch of huitlacoche. Now, Bobby Flay or Rick Bayless might have thought they’d have won the match with that bounty of corn smut showering on them, but you have to understand most wrestlers’ palates are not equipped for such a pungent ingredient. And besides, the winning pinata had Spanish gold in it. I think I probably should have led with that.
Sfogliatelle DeCecco has been eliminated. (10:43)
One could argue that Sfogliatelle had a refined palate, of course, but he’s bona fide, 100 percent Italian. He predictably recoiled at the blue corn fungi touching him, and furthermore, he’d probably not have enjoyed anything that wasn’t found in his beloved Italian cuisine, ah madone.
One of the subplots of the first third of the match was that Kraven El Cazador, the Punished Minion of Disney Legal, had a singular focus, the aptly costumed El Arana Voldara. Kraven didn’t chase him because Kraven the Hunter always goes after Spider-Man for narrative reasons. No, he had but one mission and that was to prevent the brand dilution for all copyrights and trademarks held by The Mouse. One could argue that poor Arana differentiated himself enough from Spidey to escape the trademark terminator, but not in Kraven’s mind. It was a frantic chase around the ringside area and in the ring, but once Kraven got a hold of one of the sticks? Oh man, Arana didn’t want to stick around to find out how that felt. He bolted up the ramp, and Kraven pursued him. The refs conferred after they both went through the curtain, and they decided to eliminate them both. Besides, it wasn’t like a normal battle royale. You had to break open a specific pinata to win. Can’t do that if you’re not at ringside!
Punished Kraven and El Arana Voldara have both been eliminated. (14:11)
Once again, I should remind people that the only thing Rodrigo Raton has been trying to do this match has been hitting people in the groin, even going so far as getting annoyed at the women for not having anything to punch down there. To be fair, if you punched a woman below the belt, it would still hurt. It’s a sensitive area whether or not you have low hangers. But friends, Rodrigo is, how should I put this, a moron.
Although being a stubborn moron did work out for him in one case, namely in eliminating poor Hobo Aposteso. The train-ridingest person in this match decided after exchanging fisticuffs with random people to take a nap in the corner. Curious decision, but honestly, what goes through the mind of a man who willingly rides the rails and carries his life in a bindle? Rodrigo really, and I mean really wanted to punch him in the nuts, but he wouldn’t roll over. He shook the poor guy to roll him over, but when a man wants to sleep, he will sleep. Frustrated, Rodrigo stomped his feet, but it was right when Hobo rolled over, putting his chest sensor right in the path of Raton’s foot. He wasn’t trying to eliminate the poor sleepy guy, but I guess that was a silver lining.
El Hobo Aposteso has been eliminated. (17:21)
I hate that this match so far has been Rodrigo Raton wailing on people’s nuts, but, I mean, he went hog wild here, pun intended. Of course, he had to go and piss off the only tag team in the match, Amor and Zen, punching both of them in the nuts in short order. Both men wanted revenge on the cheap trickster, so they rolled out of the ring and got themselves each one of those big sticks. They plotted and waited for Rodrigo to line up his next dickpunch and then sandwiched him with enough room to swing their sticks. One problem with this strategy was that Rodrigo noticed them and ducked. The two hit each other, and as luck would have it, they smashed each other’s chest sensors too.
Amor and Zen have both been eliminated. (22:19)
Of course, the match had other things going on, like wrestlers branching off and fighting with each other or going for pinatas and the like. It can be hard to report on all the goings on in a battle royale because it’s so chaotic, but at least the eliminations were good and interesting, like the tilt between Tio Mas Macho and The Fabulous Gold Mask, who both saw a pinata that caught their eyes and did battle over it. In fact, they recreated a lightsaber battle from one of the Star Wars movies with their sticks, although I couldn’t tell you which one. I’m not one to critique movie choreography the same way I do lucha libre. But I digress. It’s a good thing Kraven left or else he might have been all over squelching this one.
Anyway, TMM resorted to some dirty pool, stomping on Gold Mask’s foot and batting his big stick away, leaving the alluring pinata all for himself. Unfortunately, the pinata did not contain the cache of gold doubloons. In fact, it contained only one item, a miniature stone statue of the Aztec guardian of the dead and their pantheon’s “weird lil’ guy” Mictlantehcutli. The statuette bonked TMM right in the head, and he took a nap, albeit an involuntary one unlike Hobo Aposteso, on the ringside floor for a little bit.
Tio Mas Macho has been eliminated. (24:59)
Olvir Arsvinnar was still in the match, and he was looking for a fight. The Viking spirits of old had found him, and he was charging around the ring, looking for butts to dominate in a figurative sense. He came across the anthropomorphic grasshopper wrestler, La Saltamontes. Like any good Viking, Olvir lifted the stick he was carrying and swung it mightily like an axe or a longsword, but Saltamontes jumped and dodged it. The process repeated itself five or six times with Saltamontes giggling like a little imp each time she outsmarted the Norse nut-slinger.
Finally, Olvir wised up, if only a little bit. He acted like he was going to swing low but then did some sweet uppercut action on the stick so that it struck Saltamontes while she was in the air. Her sensor alarm went off, and she herself went flying out of the ring. Even after years of living the quiet accountant life, Olvir still has enough thrust to row a longboat from Svalbard to Prince Edward Island.
La Saltamontes has been eliminated. (26:23)
Of course, La Rosa Gris didn’t stop trying to make an impact on this match either. Funny, she seemed like the kind of wrestler who was on a mission in this match, one to prove something. She was definitely on a warpath. Anyway, she did the old prison tactic of going up to the biggest guy left and slapping the taste out of his mouth, who in this case was El Gran Azul, the affable but fearsome big ol’ blue-chador. At the first slap, he just looked at Rosa and shrugged before going back to what he was doing, which was trying to avoid getting hit in the nuts. Seriously, how could anyone have that much of a fervor for punching people in the dick? Rodrigo, seek help.
She slapped him again, but again, there was no more a reaction than a cursory shove and a groan. Rosa had it. She marched up to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and then punched him in the face. He rubbed his jaw, and then you could see the steam figuratively shooting out of his ears. He bear-clawed Rosa right in the face and then lifted her up to hit her with a press powerslam. A sensor alarm went off.
However, it didn’t belong to Rosa.
With a deft hand, she grabbed one of the sticks laying in the ring right before Azul picked her up and held it against his chest while maintaining a minuscule clearance between the stick and hers. The impact triggered the alarm on Azul. It was a brilliant ploy. For what this Rosa lacks in polish, she more than makes up for in guile and brains.
El Gran Azul has been eliminated. (27:05)
Olvir, looking around the ring and looking at the carnage and the dwindling number of people left, decided it was time for him to take a Viking booty. He took his stick and started swinging it indiscriminately so people wouldn’t go near him, hopping outside the ring and taking aim at a pinata that caught his fancy. He wound up, smashed it, and, well, instantly regretted his decision. The pinata was full of rotten eggs. Olvir could be heard saying “BY LOKI’S TREACHEROUS HAND!” I think at least three people in the front row threw up. It was… messy.
Olvir Arsvinnar has been eliminated. (28:19)
Going back to the nexus of infamy of this match, Rodrigo had spent the last near half-hour fucking around, and he was about to find out from the other members of the match left. I’m pretty sure he low-blew five of the six of them, and thank God he didn’t lay hands on Organ Donor. Again, if you think a low blow on a woman doesn’t hurt, you try punching one in the area between their legs. It’s a sensitive area no matter what genitals happen to reside there. Rodrigo tried punching one sack too many, namely Crash Jackson’s. At that point, everyone collectively decided they were sick of his shit, so they piled on him and just started wailing. I mean, it almost looked like it was something out of a cartoon.
However, Rodrigo showed he probably was at the center of such a fracas more than once in his sleazeball life, so to the surprise of literally no one except the six people wailing on him, he slipped out between someone’s legs, shot up to his feet, and pointed to his head. He grabbed a stick and went over to one of the pinatas, taking a mighty swing. He made contact, bursting it open, and, well, the screams of the audience, especially closeby, could be heard all the way in Cuba.
He hit that pinata.
No, not the winner.
The one full of giant hairy scorpions.
I had heard that El Temblor provided at least one pinata for the affair, and he was very excited to share it. He said his insect guy had the perfect creature to put inside of it, one that hurt like hell if it stung you but one that wouldn’t kill you, mainly because even in Mexico, they take criminal negligence seriously. You could see the bumps rising on Rodrigo’s exposed torso, shoulders, and chest as he ran away, shrieking Tom from Tom and Jerry after being maimed in comedic fashion.
Rodrigo Raton has been eliminated. (29:50)
Everyone was surprised that Organ Donor participated in the beatdown because, well, he was risking getting hit with friendly fire and exploding in a fountain of comedic bloodshed. I still don’t know why his resembles the bleeding from the Mortal Kombat series, but I just know it makes him the most feared wrestler in the match. In fact, I heard that Ivan Stanislav’s secret Russian formula dry cleaner couldn’t get all the bloodstains out of his favorite shirt, pants, and suspenders combo from the deluge Organ Donor sprayed on him at The Madhouse.
Still, there was the matter of his presence in the match that made people uneasy. Winning was good, but winning while getting sprayed with beaucoup blood made the prospect a little less tenable. Crash Jackson had an idea though. He bailed on the ring, rolled under the skirt, and emerged a few seconds later with a big tarp. Those who saw him, including senior referee Timo Bolamba, looked skeptical, but modern problems require modern solutions.
The young PRIME thrillseeker whistled at Organ Donor after the fracas broke up and Rodrigo ran screaming to the back and tossed the tarp over him. He signaled to Agent G. Rilla and Madame Brilliantina to hold it down while Crash took aim.
The superkick found its mark. For one, the sensor alarm went off. Two, a rush of blood spurted downward onto the mat. The tarp did its job and kept blood from spraying everywhere, but the cleanup crew had its work cut out for it after the match was over. It’s a good thing The Anglo Luchador bought several replacement canvases for such an occasion.
Organ Donor has been eliminated. (31:13)
And of course, Organ Donor walked off like nothing happened, grabbing his mysterious cooler and heading to the back. One of these days, we’ll all find out what’s in there.
The five remaining wrestlers decided they’d avoid the spot in the ring covered in the tarp that was excessively dripping with blood. At least none of the fans got any spatter on them. Maybe we should get a tarp endorsement for the next show. Either way, with one mini, one exotico, two masks, and a Crash remaining, they decided that it would be time to make a mad dash for the rest of the pinatas, most of which had surprisingly not been broken open yet. A shame too. I was hoping to see what was in most of those booby-trapped ones. I have to say, the El Temblor one was pretty exciting, especially since Rodrigo was the one who broke it open.
Madame Brilliantina was the first to make a dash towards a pinata, but she was tailed mightily by the two masks. Knowing she was probably going to have to fight to get a shot at her chosen pinata, she decided to go on the offensive. She turned around on a dime and laid a crossbody onto The Fabulous Gold Mask. The only thing was the mysterious masked man caught her in midair. The only other thing was that before he could do anything, both he and his exotico cargo took a dropkick from La Rosa Gris, who popped up and appealed to a crowd of mostly cheers for her cunning. Her hubris cost her though.
Simultaneously, Agent G. Rilla had sussed out a pinata he thought was going to win him the match. The big problem for him was that he wasn’t big enough to reach it, not even with the pole. Crash sneaked over, yanked the stick out of his hand, and…
Gold doubloons flew everywhere. He’d done it. He found the winning pinata, or at least he scavenged it from the poor, tiny simian secret agent.
Winner: Crash Jackson (34:21)
He scooped up as many of the gold coins as he could and jumped for joy. He could be heard shouting “VIOLENT PURPLE, I WISH YOU COULD BE HERE!” I wonder if she’s the kind of woman who could be bought off with the riches you get from old Spanish gold. Either way, a quick, jaunty opening battle royale with a few too many nutshots for my liking. Unfortunately, I don’t think Rodrigo Raton is going anywhere. He looked like he was having too much fun out there.
Match 2: Los Rebeldes Bien (Pedro Gonzalez and Persona Non Grata w/ Mestizo) vs. Psycho Peahen and Sin Cordura
Referee: Guillermo Reyes, the Refereeing Intern
After the insanity that was a battle royale that featured pinatas and whacking people in the chest with sticks, one would think the show would have settled down. No sir! Psycho Peahen and Sin Cordura, riding a win streak in their home HLL Uno promotion and coming off a win at LUCHA ESPECIAL 3: Lawless Lands, looked to continue their high-flying Bonnie and Clyde act against one of the teams they beat, Los Rebeldes Bien.
The match started off as one might expect, with all kinds of high-flying feeling out. There were no collar-and-elbow tie-ups or headlocks, but lots of arm drags, flip-throughs on rana attempts, and even a Code Red attempt that Persona Non Grata somehow flipped out of landing on his feet. It was the kind of match that you would show people who weren’t already fans of wrestling to try and get them into it, and yes, I am including the antics of Mestizo on the outside, gnawing on the apron, snapping at anyone who came near… them? I am not sure what pronouns to use there, and I am scared to ask.
For those who watched the Flynn Cup, they noticed that Rebeldes tried to do the same spot with the Paradise Lock and a mock futbol match with Sin Cordura, but this only drew the ire of Peahen, who came in and took Pedro Gonzalez’ head off with the meanest lariat this side of the Rio Grande. This caused the match to break down, and it was a miracle to me at least that Mestizo didn’t end up clamped onto someone’s ass with their teeth.
The match predictably went back and forth, as these two teams were not evenly matched, but for whatever LRB lacked in pure skill, they made up for in guile. I wouldn’t call them brains as much as it was just them letting Peahen and Cordura go 0-60 and then just moving at the last second. It was hard to keep up with the action, especially for the poor refereeing intern. The loudest roar in Arena Mexico was for Mestizo finally unleashing and getting to chomp on someone’s ass. Unfortunately, it was the referee’s. In the confusion and the literal game of self-grab-ass, Reyes missed who the legal competitors were, which wouldn’t be a problem normally. It’s lucha libre! The rules are made up and the points barely matter.
However, it mattered here because, well, there were two pins he had to count. One had Sin Cordura pinning Persona Non Grata after hitting El Verdugo. The other had Gonzalez wrapping up Peahen in a rolling prawn hold. He did what any refereeing intern would do, which is why they’re interns and not full referees.
He counted three for both.
Winners: None, Double Pin (12:44)
Both Gonzalez and Cordura sprung to their feet, thinking they won the match for their teams. Reyes threw their hands down as they tried to raise them, and then there were heated arguments among all four competitors that boiled over into a shoving match that boiled further over when Mestizo chomped on Sin Cordura’s thigh. Two of the other referees piled out of the back, but not Minos, because Minos doesn’t care about the piddling disputes among wrestlers after the bell.
Match 3: PIRATE RUMBLE! Goldbeard, Bosun, “Salty” Pete Yardley, and “Cap’n” Brianna Kincaid vs. Blackbeard Gutierrez, El Mozo de Camarote, First Mate Chuck Tickles, and Murder Madam
Referee: Minos, El Juego Infernal
Minos, like in the battle royale, spent his entire time hitting on El Dragon’s wife in the front row, this time with the patriarch of Los Dragones not there to argue with him. It was clear she liked the attention, which is fine. I don’t judge what a woman does in her spare time. But the evil lucha ref? Girl, if you’re going to cheat on your rudo husband, you can do much better. Like maybe with a humble lucha libre reporter? But I digress.
This match was a quick jaunt albeit packed full of action, even if it was a little one-sided. The Cap’n curried favor with her team’s actual captain by starting off with a leaping senton atomico onto Chuck Tickles. The self-appointed first mate rolled out of the ring and brought in Mozo de Camarote who rolled up the Cap’n unsuccessfully. She tagged out to her partner who nailed the Cabin Boy with a salty dropkick, only to turn around and eat a codebreaker from Blackbeard. The big man Bosun was next in the ring and BOOM, big body attack on the other team’s captain. This would’ve been the point in the affair that Murder Madam hopped in to do her thing, but she wasn’t on the apron. In fact, when Bosun looked around for her attack, it cued one of the production guys to throw a spotlight on her as she sneaked out the entryway. Rather than run back, she escaped, much to the chagrin of the crowd that wanted to see if tonight was the night she actually stabbed someone in the ring.
Blackbeard took most of the abuse from the other team. While neither of the pirate squads SCREAMED nobility, it was the underdog spirit that got the crowd behind Blackbeard’s shorthanded crew. He took several double-team moves from Yardley and Kincaid, a big chokeslam from Bosun, and he even survived the Anchor Lock, an elevated Texas cloverleaf, from Goldbeard. Finally though, he was able to hit Yardley’s salty head with a step-up enzugiri and make a hot tag. He reached for Mozo de Camarote…
…who hopped off the apron. Business decision or another betrayal? Either way, before Goldbeard rushed over, Blackbeard tagged in Tickles, whose offense was a little less than effective. Goldbeard easily countered his punch into a kick. He then hit the Keel Haul and rolled up for an easy pin, which Bosun had to count. Again, it was a good thing there weren’t a whole lot of near falls in this match because Minos really didn’t care about anything but trying to get into some dragon underwear. He told the wrestlers they could count themselves. This marked a new low in rudo officiating in lucha libre.
Winners: Team Goldbeard (Goldbeard pinning Chuck Tickles after the Keel Haul, an exaggerated oostagari/Ranhei/SOS into a pin, 9:10)
After the match, Mozo de Camarote jumped into the ring, arms outstretched, trying to rejoin the Goldbeard crew. Bosun and Goldbeard looked at each other and shook their heads. A dejected Cabin Boy pleaded and pleaded, but his former crew wouldn’t have it. Instead, Bosun pointed behind Mozo, only to see Gutierrez with fire in his eyes at the betrayal. Blackbeard took the Cabin Boy’s head off with the Corsair’s Rapier, a gigantic clothesline.
Goldbeard then got on the mic and said to Gutierrez that even though he was a salty dog for challenging him, he liked his style. Since his crew did him wrong, he offered a spot on his ship as the first mate. Blackbeard looked around at the destruction of his team and nodded, and they shook hands. Then Goldbeard said he heard there would be a trios tournament in 2024. He threw his crew’s collective hat in the mix. Goldbeard, Bosun, and Blackbeard Gutierrez, the first team entered in the Nosotros Tres Reyes tournament.
Match 4: MAGNUS Destructo vs. El Monolito
Referee: Miguel Zocopico
In retrospect, The Anglo Luchador probably should have given this assignment to the intern and given Zocopico the tag match. Live and learn.
Basically, the match started and consisted mostly of these two slabs of granite made men hitting each other in the chest with overhand chops. MAGNUS struck first, and then Monolito. Then MAGNUS. Then Monolito. They traded shots with each shot sounding like thunderclaps inside the most famous arena in all Mexico. This continued for at least a solid minute, and for two big guys, they laid in a LOT of chops in that time. Finally, Monolito got smart, faked out MAGNUS by going high with his left hand only to goozle him with his right. By this time, both men’s chests were bright red, and it looked like MAGNUS would be easy pickings for the AVALANCHA~!
However, MAGNUS was presumably on some of those good black metal drugs. I can’t say for certain because one of the concessions The Anglo Luchador procured for licensing was that there would be no drug testing. One of the many joys of running wrestling shows in Mexico. MAGNUS’ eyes flared wide as he grabbed Monolito’s wrist. Monolito tried prying the hand from off his hand, but MAGNUS, through bleary eyes and a chest that could be described as “radioactive” remembered he had other limbs he could use, namely, his legs. A big boot to the gut and a Destructo Bomb later, and the clash of the titans had ended.
Winner: MAGNUS Destructo (Destructo Bomb and pin, 2:33)
MAIN EVENT: Torneo Cibernetico – Rudo King, Venganza, El Volcan, “Lunch Lawyer” Gavin Yum Esq., Quinn Fleetwood, Darin Zion, El Dragon II, El Dragon Jr., and El Dragon III vs. Justicio IV, Dela Relampago, El Ciclon Morado, Miranda DC, Kazuhiro Troy, Gabriel “Baconator” Martinez, El Cocodrilo, Rey Cangrejo, and Cangrejo Asombroso
Referees: Inside, Timo Bolamba, Outside, Miguel Zocopico
The entrances alone stoked a fervor in the crowd that put them at fever pitch. The fire in Justicio’s eyes as his team was introduced was inextinguishable, while Rudo King couldn’t have seemed any more apathetic. I think he thought this was all beneath him, even though he was the one who laid down the challenge for cibernetico. Rudos, what strange creatures they are.
The “batting orders” for both teams were in the reverse of their billing, so Cangrejo Asombroso and El Dragon III started things out. Three, despite being the most cocksure of the Dragon family, wrestled quite sportingly to start out, so he and the younger Crab kicked the match off in a relatively sedate fashion, despite Rudo King barking orders to his young charge to spray Cangrejo’s eyes with the dragon fire. While Timo Bolamba was instructed beforehand to be lenient, I’m not sure an immediate fire of the family’s trademark poison mist would’ve been smart.
They both tagged out almost simultaneously, and as the older Rey Cangrejo and El Dragon, Jr. entered the match, their inherent grumpiness amped up the tension considerably. In fact, Rey Cangrejo, a tecnico by association only, may have pinched Junior in the huevos, but who’s to say? I’m not a narc, and Timo didn’t see it. The first run through the “batting orders” saw tags happen almost synchronously on both sides, Cocodrilo with Dragon II, Baconator with Zion. The Kaz Troy/Quinn Fleetwood encounter was, for my money, the best one of the first eight pair-offs, mainly because of the faces Fleetwood made when Kaz, despite entering the match showing signs of the brutal assault on his person at PRIME ReVival 37, turned him into a human pretzel. I’m not much familiar with the goings on at Grays Academy, but you really don’t need to be to know that anytime Quinn Fleetwood feels pain, it’s joyous.
Next, Gavin Yum, showing no signs of jet lag or the beatings taken at the hands of Vae Victis in Bang!, thought he had Miranda DC in his grasps as she fell for his handshake gambit. What he didn’t figure on was the young luchadora and SHOOT Sin City Champion countering his fancy British armwork with an arm drag of her own.
Once the cores of the teams started getting into the match, the anger and hate reached eruptive levels. Volcan and Ciclon may have executed two actual wrestling holds between them, and both were attempts at ranas by the Purple Tornado. Venganza and Dela Relampago might as well have been Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama. See, I can make MMA references too.
Then, Justicio and Rudo King tagged in, and, well, that’s when the match went pear-shaped for everyone involved. Mainly, because they made Venganza and the Lightning Lady look like they were holding hands and snuggling. The fists flew in ways that would make the gods recoil in disappointment. No one tried anything resembling a wrestling hold outside of a side headlock, which was only used as a means to keep heads in place for punches. Timo exhausted every five count, but he wasn’t going to disqualify them for letting their rage out, no matter how against the formal rules their actions were.
But then they started using weapons.
Rudo King pulled out a pair of knux from his tights and swung them at Justicio, but thankfully for his health and well-being, he ducked, dropped out of the ring, and reemerged with a chair, swinging it at Rudo King who blocked with his aforementioned brass knuckles. The force caused both to recoil back. The situation became untenable. Timo Bolamba had no choice for their own safety.
Eliminations 1 and 2: Rudo King and Justicio IV, double disqualification (10:59).
Both men were OUTRAGED! Their teams yelled from the outside, but in my opinion, Timo made the right call. Security and the rest of the locker room came out from the back to restrain and escort them back to the locker room, separate from each other. Rudo King was more hesitant, but one staredown from Monolito, and even he knew to acquiesce. There’s no challenging a seven-foot anthropomorphic piece of granite still sore, literally and figuratively, from being defeated in a clash of the titans.
Poor Cangrejo Asombroso felt the wrath of the rudo team afterwards. A poke to the eye from the youngest Dragon set off a chain of events that led to the rudos taking turns trying to deshell him and turn him into a crabcake. Asombroso couldn’t get to the corner, and Darin Zion, the envoy from the Love Convoy, decided to end playing with his food with some Tough Love.
Elimination 3: Cangrejo Asombroso (by Darin Zion, Tough Love Headlock Driver and pin, 14:23)
The action from there got quickly paced, and the tags got more and more asymmetrical, much to the delight of two members who started their journeys at Grays Academy. Of course, El Cocodrilo is no longer at Grays, and is in fact training with the world-renowned Pedro “El Mofongo” Santamaria in Philly. Quinn Fleetwood accused him of running from the grind. Personally, I think training with a guy who is so respected in lucha circles that they don’t care he’s from Puerto Rico is far from the grind, but then again, if I had to go to school every day and stare down a rabid paralyzer of young’uns every day, I might mistake it for hustle too. But I digress.
Cocodrilo continually got the better of Fleetwood, which wasn’t surprising given how much the lawyer’s kid concentrated more on talking caca than wrestling. Sometimes, I think The Luchador only books Fleetwood to see him get pantsed in person. Can’t say I blame him. However, one thing I will give to young Quinn is how good he is at being a slimy little weasel. He taunted the next man up for the tecnicos, Baconator Martinez, to the point where Timo Bolamba was busy with him. Meanwhile, Los Dragones all pretended to defend the honor of their madre/abuela from Minos, who was STILL at ringside hitting on El Dragon’s wife and had Miguel Zocopico distracted. With no one in a position to stop him.
Right in the huevos. Poor Cocodrilo didn’t know what hit him, and a well-timed shout got Bolamba’s attention enough away from the Baconator to count the pin.
Elimination 4: El Cocodrilo (by Quinn Fleetwood, low blow and rollup, 19:31)
Quinn definitely won the battle with Cocodrilo, but I’m not sure the war is over just yet. It’s not like the crowd had to wait for the sniveling little imp to get his comeuppance, and I use those terms editorially because nine out of ten wrestling fans would describe Quinn with those words. The tenth one who disagrees? Chet Fleetwood. Baconator did not forget easily the taunting, nor did he appreciate his teammate getting an uppercut south of the border. He came in like a house on fire, smashing against Quinn in the corner, throwing him around the ring, slamming him, and finally bouncing off the ropes and dropping a thicc leg across his face. It was academic afterwards.
Elimination 5: Quinn Fleetwood (by Gabriel Martinez, leg drop and pin, 21:01)
Cocodrilo was still hobbling up the ramp holding his nether regions, which were closer to being “flat fucks” than before his former classmate’s fist smashed them. He jawed at Fleetwood, who caught up with him trying to get out of dodge. They exchanged words, but security and the other wrestlers separated them before they could come to blows, which was easy since they were still both sore in their own ways. Again, the war is not over
Back in the ring, the action remained hot and heavy, especially when Venganza or Volcan were in there with Dela Relampago or Ciclon. A lot of hate bubbling over betwixt those sides even with their leaders being the first ones out simultaneously even. No matter how badly they were able to lay into each other, none of them were able to get much of an advantage to get an elimination. Hate really does keep your motor running, it seems.
However, being a crab was not a formula for success in this match, as Rey Cangrejo found out. After seeing his partner and protege get roughed up by the Dragons on the whole, he was in a foul mood, to which one could say “What else was new?” But this time, at least he had reason. He was able to work over the youngest Dragon, Numero Tres, enough to get him battered in the corner, but his hubris got the better of him. He appealed to the crowd, which he never used to do before the young crab got his ear, and then he tried to make sure that El Dragon and his wife whom Minos El Juego Infernal couldn’t stop hitting on wouldn’t have any great-grandkids. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the line of the Dragon, he hadn’t softened up III enough yet. He leaped to the top rope, causing King Crab to pincer the second turnbuckle, and then that gave him enough time to hit his Dragon Rana for the pin and the elimination.
Elimination 6: Rey Cangrejo (by El Dragon III, Dragon Rana and hold, 28:11)
As an aside, a lot of low blows and attempted low blows for a wrestling show, although most of them did come from one guy in the opening battle royale. Anyway, the Dragons were not done just yet, although one could argue that their performance within the next couple of eliminations would leave a lot to be desired from the prestige of the family name. El Dragon, Jr., the younger of the patriarch’s two sons, found himself in the ring with Miranda DC, who was running circles around him to start. Obviously, given the age gap, it was to be expected at first. Junior needed an opening, and he found it doing the old nonchalant walk-away from a springboard crossbody attempt. Miranda’s a prodigy, but it’s clear she hasn’t been around the block too many times if she fell for that. Anyway, this was the opening he needed, but Junior recognized that she was a champion in a PWA sister promotion for a reason. He didn’t use the family mist, but his big brother, oh yeah, he did. He grabbed Miranda in a rear waistlock and pushed her over to his brother. Numero Dos blew the black chemical burn right at her face, but there was just one problem.
Yeah, Junior had a mask on, but the eyeholes had no protection. Ouch. In the confusion, Miranda rolled him up, and one Dragon was gone.
Elimination 7: El Dragon, Jr. (by Miranda DC, rollup after taking friendly fire Dragon Fire from his brother, 34:43)
Seconds later, Numero Dos came in, mouth dripping with the proprietary irritant still dropping from his mouthhole. Of course, he didn’t really stand much of a chance either after inadvertently eliminating his brother. In his flustered state, he fell victim to the dreaded alligator clutch. I swore I was able to hear a small section of fans sing the “Flat Fuck Friday” song.
Elimination 8: El Dragon II (by Miranda DC, alligator clutch, 35:08)
Again, the main factions in this match, the Rudo King, uh, rudos and the Justicio tecnicos still were in wild pull-apart mode when they got in the ring with each other. Dela Relampago is known as one of the smarter luchadoras in the land, so she figured if the evil guys were going to come at her, she should probably start wrestling them, right? Right?
It worked for a little bit. She had Venganza on rollerskates with arm drags and ranas and all the fun stuff that makes lucha libre such a unique art. There was one problem though. Venganza was also studied in the arts of lucha libre, and, well, his defection to the Rudo King didn’t hurt so bad because he was a gigantic scrub. He had, and well, I guess still has skill, and he showed it reversing a cazadora victory roll attempt from the Lightning Lady into a pin of his own. The rudos struck a vein there.
Elimination 9: Dela Relampago (by Venganza, reversal of a cazadora victory roll, 41:12)
Ciclon didn’t fare too much better, although I’m sure he has taken solace that Venganza or Volcan didn’t eliminate him. Still, I’m not sure I would want to be anywhere close to Darin Zion given how much time he spends in Vickie Hall’s proximity. I am not making a cooties joke here. That would be sexist. It’s gender neutral to say Vickie Hall has extremely bad vibes that are probably contagious no matter how many KN95 masks you’re wearing at the time. Their game of cat and mouse looked like it would at least allow the Purple Cyclone to tag out and let someone else deal with the Love Convoy’s rancid aura, but alas, he got caught in the <3 Lock, and few people have ever escaped that without the refuge of a rope break.
Elimination 10: El Ciclon Morado (by Darin Zion, submission via The <3 Lock [Rings of Saturn] 44:44)
The tecnicos were outnumbered five-on-three at this point. Luckily for them, they had the SHOOT Sin City Champion, the BRAZEN Champion, and a big ol’ wrecking ball left in their corner. If anyone could pull the victory out, it would be one of them, and Miranda started off the offensive against El Dragon III, which for my money might have been the best overall wrestling of the show. I mean, two young guns with a lot to prove? Yeah, the match was already 45 minutes long, but when you’re young, you’ve got stamina. Meanwhile, I’m pushing 50, and I need a breather to go up the steps. That’s life.
Neither wrestler could string more than one move together, and the counters got tighter and tighter each time. Neither one wanted to tag out either. It had all the intensity of a lightning match, a prizefight, and a showdown at high noon combined. Numero Tres finally broke through, stringing together ranas and arm drags and even body presses and dropkicks. He whipped Miranda off the ropes in an attempt to hit a high-impact move off the rebound, but he didn’t count on her having one more counter in the tank.
Hot Girl Summer.
Instead of going for the armbar submission out of the hold, she grabbed the other arm and popped her hips for the 1-2-3.
Elimination 11: El Dragon III (by Miranda DC, Hot Girl Summer [La Mistica] and double arm-clutch pin, 50:00)
Miranda DC had eliminated all three Dragons. Disgusted, the matriarch of the family left her front row seat. Judging by the look on Minos’ face, she didn’t give him her digits. The honor of Los Dragones lives for another day.
In case you’re wondering if Kaz Troy was still in the match, yes, he was at this point. He laid in some pretty big kicks earlier on, but it’s hard to get press when you’re not involved in the eliminations, but the Prince proved that he was more of a closer in this match than an early bloomer. El Volcan found that out the hard way when he tried to sneak in a low blow while in a rear waistlock with a back-thrusting kick. He didn’t count on a man whose bread and butter was kicking having leg strength enough to squeeze the kick dead in its tracks before it hit the groin area.
If you thought Kaz was angry at Gavin Yum’s antics, imagine him having someone trying to take an illegal shot at him all while having the world’s most annoying headache thanks to a post-match attack a week prior, one that left him STILL with visible bruising. Yeah, Volcan’s ribs and then his chest and then his head were just target practice for Kaz’s educated feet. Leaving nothing to chance after ringing his bell, Kaz locked in a dragon sleeper, and it didn’t take long for Volcan to pass out.
Elimination 12: El Volcan (by Kazuhiro Troy, submission via Dragon sleeper, 53:23)
Kaz and Baconator had some synergy working together as a team, but it was Miranda who had the big target in her sights. She knew she could get leverage on Gavin Yum from their earlier exchange, so she thought she could put her side up three wrestlers to two and give them the inside track to fighting amongst themselves for the win. She had the Lunch Lawyer reeling with her lucha wizardry, but she didn’t account for the oldest trick in the book.
An eye poke.
Not enough to warrant a disqualification, Gavin ignored the admonishment from Timo and just went about his way, dropping Miranda in a textbook Fujiwara armbar. Yes, the Lord’s Lunchtime hit the clock late in Mexico City, and Miranda had no choice but to tap out.
Elimination 13: Miranda DC (by Gavin Yum, Esq., submission via Lord’s Lunchtime Fujiwara armbar, 59:21)
An hour into the match, and it was three rudos to two tecnicos. Furthermore, Kaz looked slightly annoyed to have Baconator as the last one standing next to him. Given their rocky history, one couldn’t blame him in the moment. But it would be Baconator who would even the score against the fearsome and monstrous Venganza, who tried to intimidate the mild-mannered rookie. However, Baconator would have none of the attempts to shrink him. He stood up to the traitor and traded chops with him. Venganza hit him with the fury of all the demons in Mictlan, but young Gabriel kept firing back until Venganza would not hit him any more. Machine-gun chops turned into a HARD Irish whip into the corner followed by a huge splash and a scoop slam. He felt it. The crowd felt it. He ascended to the second rope. BACON BOMB! Venganza had been eliminated, and the sides were even.
Elimination 14: Venganza (by Gabriel Martinez, Bacon [Vader] Bomb and pin, 1:08:23)
Two-on-two, and Kaz had his sights laser-locked on the Lunch Lawyer. To his credit, Gavin kept avoiding Kaz whenever he could, tagging out to Zion when Kaz tagged in, and blind-tagging to go after the less-experienced, less technically gifted, and far less bloodthirsty for him Baconator. Finally, it was young Gabriel who had enough. After Gavin blind-tagged himself in when Kaz had escaped an attempt at The <3 Lock from Zion, Baconator, instead of going after the Lawyer, ran hard into an off-guard Zion, knocking him off the apron. He rushed over to his corner, said “he’s all yours” to his partner, and tagged out.
You should’ve seen the looks on both their faces. Gavin looked petrified as Zion was taking his time getting up off the floor. Kaz looked like an unsupervised kid at a candy buffet. Gavin could beg off all he wanted, even pleading on his knees, which was the most unforced error he could have made given Kaz’s two most lethal weapons were his right and left legs. He kicked one hand away, then another, then started landing his kickpads flush on Gavin’s chest once, twice, thrice, numbers higher than what the -ce suffix could handle in the English language. Gavin’s eyes bugged out of his head as he took the barrage, and the young Troy son took absolute pleasure in his barrage. I’m sure in a situation with less context, Timo Bolamba might have considered disqualifying Kaz for castigo de excesivo, but outside of Quinn Fleetwood and the not-so-mysterious Rodrigo Raton, there was no one more deserving of an excessive ass-kicking in Arena Mexico that night than The Lunch Lawyer.
After kicks gave way to stomps when Gavin couldn’t keep his upright position, Kaz decided he had to finish the poor barrister off. He slapped on the submission hold gifted to him by his mother, the Koji clutch, and Gavin tapped out almost immediately. One might not blame him if he decided to pursue becoming more of a serious lawyer after receiving that beating, but seeing as though he had a chance to learn copyright law and missed out on it after the whole thing with the Glue Man Group, maybe he should stick to lunch.
Elimination 15: Gavin Yum, Esq. (by Kazuhiro Troy, submission via the Heretic’s Fork Koji clutch, 1:13:21)
Three men remained. Zion was outnumbered, but he had an experience advantage over Kaz and Baconator combined by a large margin. He was battle-hardened in PRIME and HOW. And at that point in the match, not much convinced anyone that the two tecnicos could coexist as a team.
Something funny happened though. Maybe it was sheer force of Baconator’s will piercing Kaz’s steely veil. Maybe young Troy was impressed by Gabriel standing up to the fearsome Venganza and allowing him to gain his satisfaction on the Lunch Lawyer. Either way, after an early advantage where Zion looked like he’d notch his third elimination on force of attrition alone, the two started working as a team. Synergy. Timely tags. Double-team moves with uncanny timing, like they’d been teaming for more than the two matches in six months since LUCHA ESPECIAL 2.
Nearly 80 minutes to the match, and they had Zion on the ropes. Kaz lined him up for a kick, and planted it on the side of his head. Zion didn’t go down, but another well-placed kick, or maybe a Royal Treatment piledriver would finish the job. But Kaz didn’t look to do it on his own. Instead, he nodded at Baconator before tagging him in and then positioning himself behind Real Love. Baconator came charging off the ropes, flying at full force with a crossbody. As soon as his chest hit Zion’s, Kaz went low with the sweep. It was presumably the first time they ever tried the move, but it looked like they’d been practicing it for years. Gabriel stayed on him for the pin. Zion was eliminated.
Elimination 16: Darin Zion (by Gabriel Martinez, pinfall after combo crossbody by Martinez and leg sweep by Kazuhiro Troy. Think TOTAL ELIMINATION only with a crossbody instead of a roundhouse kick, 1:20:11)
Baconator shot up, arms raised. They’d won! They’d done it! They’d… won… ciber… neti… co…
Neither wrestler heard no bell. Kaz and Baconator both looked confused when Timo Bolamba asked them when they were going to finish the match. You see, a torneo cibernetico only ends with one winner. If more than one member of a team is left standing after the other team is fully eliminated? They have to fight.
Kazuhiro Troy, the Crown Prince of Kicks, and Gabriel Martinez, the young Baconator, had to wrestle.
After 80 minutes of grueling in-and-out of the ring, one would think Troy had a distinct advantage, but Baconator found a furious second wind. The two were evenly matched, and on at least two occasions, it looked like Gabriel would hit the Bacon Bomb and capture a win. One could even argue Kaz looked flustered at times, not expecting the young luchador to give him that much of a fight. He was right to give him his respect, sure, but he had hoped a potential showdown would be a little easier.
Kaz, gasping for air, stared down a hard-charging Gabriel, aiming to run him over. He did the one thing his instincts told him to do in that instant.
It caught young Gabriel right in the temple as he crashed to the mat in a heap. Kaz scurried over as fast as his tired limbs would allow him. Two underhooks and a piledriver. The Royal Treatment has put down many an opponent in the past, but somehow, Baconator didn’t stay down. He rose slowly to his knees, grabbing at Kaz’s tights and staring up.
“Finish me, Kaz,” he could be heard saying.
Kaz looked out of his mind, but Gabriel dropped his head and screamed again. Young Troy knew if he didn’t finish him there, Baconator would come back and finish him. He yanked Gabriel’s arms again into the butterfly. A second Royal Treatment. One. Two. Three.
Final Elimination: Gabriel “Baconator” Martinez (by Kazuhiro Troy, after two Royal Treatment butterfly piledrivers and pinfall, 1:30:25)
Winner: Kazuhiro Troy
Kaz Troy victorious! After a shade over 90 minutes of grueling action, the Crown Prince of Kicks was the last one standing. However, he did not leave the ring immediately. Instead, he waited for his partner and final conquest to rise to his feet, giving him a stern look. The Baconator appeared gassed after the longest match of his young career, but the crowd appreciated his effort. Holding the back of his head, he extended a hand to the Troy lad. Kaz, to everyone’s shock, batted it away. Before the crowd had time to boo the action out of shock though?
Tag partners gotta hug.
The crowd exploded as Kaz showed Baconator a sign of respect after the year they had in LUCHA ESPECIAL. They raised each other’s hands and walked out together. What an ending to the biggest show at the most prestigious arena for lucha libre!
And with that, an entire year of LUCHA ESPECIAL events is in the books! While the war between Rudo King and Justicio IV is nowhere near complete, we got to see some exciting new stars emerge, an unlikely friendship borne of respect between the Son of a Queen and a burger aficionado, and a man bleed explosively on three occasions. What will 2024 hold for LUCHA ESPECIAL? We will find out when LUCHA ESPECIAL 5: The Spirit of Cuauhtémoc, comes live from Arena San Francisco in Oaxaca, Oaxaca on January 27!