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NJPW ‘CMLL Fantastica Mania 2019’ (1.11.19) Results & Review

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The annual NJPW/CMLL joint tour is officially underway. Fantastica Maia kicks off in Osaka, headlined by Los Ingobernables de Japon. Let’s get started!

Templarino, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo def. Audaz, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask IV @ 7:45 via Templarino Sitout Powerbomb on Audaz – **1/4
The CMLL stars highlighted the match with big dives over the top and smooth transitions in and out of pins. Taguchi, never wanting to be left out of the fun, made an appearance as his Pharaoh character. Ishimori put an end to the fun by unmasking the Pharaoh which enraged Taguchi, hitting Ishimori with a Hurricanrana, Three Amigos and a springboard Plancha. The finish came when Templarino put the breaks on a Hurricanrana from Audaz and turned it into a Liger Bomb for the win. Short and sweet. Nice pace for an opening match.

Forastero, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. Titan, Flyer & Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger @ 7:32 via Forastero Triangle Choke on Titan – **1/2
Another match highlighted by the CMLL stars, this match featuring a big Asai Moonsault. Fiery Liger dished out some Shoteis to put an end to a Suzuki-Gun brawl and hit the Senton off the apron They played off the previous match’s finish, this time cutting off the Hurricanrana on the second rope, transitioning into position for a Powerbomb but winding back up into the Hurricanrana. Titan looked to have the match in control but Forastero found an opening and transitioned to the Triangle for the win. The ante was upped from the last match. This went the same length as the opener but featured bigger moves and was a little more exciting.

Sanson & OKUMURA def. Atlantis & Atlantis Jr. @ 10:16 via OKUMURA spinning DDT on Atlantis Jr. – **1/2
The debut of Atlantis Jr. saw him go hold for hold with Sanson early. They had a fun back and forth grappling exchange that was put to an end once Jr. proved he could hang. Atlantis Sr. had the highspot of the match, hitting a Crossbody off the top, to the floor. OKUMURA landed a big Bulldog and spinning DDT on Jr. to pick up the win. Post-match, the losers are unmasked and are helped to the back by the young lions who shield the luchadors’ identities. Fun moments between Sanson and Jr. early on started the match on the right foot, overall a nice match.

Cuatrero, Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero def. Mistico, Dragon Lee & Angel de Oro @ 12:14 via Cuatrero Bomb on Oro – ***1/2
Even as someone who doesn’t follow CMLL, you know to get excited for these guys. The ante was once again upped as the card increases in skill level. The faces were on fire early, teasing dives but holding back. This lead to them finally paying off the teases with Mistico and Lee both launching over the top with different variations of Hurricanranas to the floor, both following up with a pair of synchronized Tope con Hilos. Oro has been unmasked since the last time we’ve seen him. He and Cuatrero have a back in forth that leads to a Cuatrero Bomb for the win. This was a great match, the clear highlight of the show. The Guerrero’s are always a treat and they had a nice trio team showcase. All six guys really brought it. This is the match to watch.

Caristico, Barbaro Cavernario & Namajague def. Volador Jr., Soberano Jr. & KUSHIDA @ 8:37 via Caristico La Mistica on Volador – **1/2
El Desperado came out as his old CMLL character, Namajague. His interactions with KUSHIDA slowed down what was otherwise a fun match. This was a better showcase of Soberano than what we saw on the Super Jr. Tag League. He understandably meshed better with people he has a history wrestling, Cavenario in particular. Speaking of, it was nice to see Cavenario, he’s always treat. The match came to an end out of nowhere when Carisico trapped Vlador in an armbar to pick up the win. I believe the two are in a feud in CMLL so the finish made sense after the initial shock. Thumbs up for the CMLL guys but the NJPW pair left a lot to be desired.

Terrible, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI def. Raijin, Fujin, Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare @ 14:14 via BUSHI Roll on Fujin – **
YOH and SHO reprised their CMLL characters, Raijin and Fujin. This was an overall low note to end the show. The majority of the match was spent getting the heat on Henare which doesn’t work when you’re LIJ. He ended up firing up against Shingo in a fun overhand chop battle but other than that, nothing stood out. There was a short flurry in the finishing sequence, ending with a BUSHI roll to close out the show. Naito gives a little speech and we’re off.

The show peaked at the halfway point. They built the show up great to that point but ended it with two matches that missed their mark. Definitely check out the Guerrero match. The matches previous to that were short enough that if you care about any of the wrestlers involved in those, you’ll have a good time. Maybe if you enjoy Cavenario you can check that out but definitely avoid the main event.

Recommended Match
Guerreros & Cuatrero vs Mistico, Lee & Oro

Along with being FightBoothPW's editor for NJPW, Robert McCauley also covers show reviews for the key promotions across Japan.

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