More Fantastica Mania feedback of the first Korakuen Hall show

Fantastica Mania 1/18

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Best match: Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi & La Sombra vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Ultimo Guerrero & Kazuchika Okada

Worst match: Maximo vs. Jado vs. Taichi

This was better than the show in Osaka and felt a lot more meaningful. In the end, an entertaining show, but nothing out of this world.

Maximo vs. Jado vs. Taichi: I'm happy these matches aren't regular occurrences. Sure, there's comedy in New Japan, but none this wacky. I found it funny and incredibly silly that Maximo's kiss is the most devastating move in all of wrestling, to the point that anyone on its receiving end sells it so much they have to be carried out of the arena. Nevertheless, it was fun for what it was and I enjoyed Jado and Maximo briefly teaming up only for Jado to turn against him.

Rey Cometa & Stuka Jr. Vs. Okumura & Yujiro Takahashi: Being unfamiliar with CMLL, this is the second time I've seen Cometa. He impressed me at the start with his athletic chain wrestling and then as the match progressed with his high spots; the best being the corkscrew plancha. However, his and Yujiro's work on the outside didn't look good, particularly the gut wrench suplex. Also, Cometa superkicking Mima Shimoda off the apron seemed like a heel thing to do and came out of nowhere. Other than that, the match was in between average and good.

KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask, Fuego & Titan vs. Niebla Roja, YOSHI-HASHI, Rey Escorpian & Vangellys: After the Osaka show I neglected to mention a few things that caught my eye, like Fuego's dancing. His moves are some of the oddest amongst the plethora of dancing wrestlers we see nowadays. And what is Vangellys supposed to be? Some sort of extra camp supernatural Nazi? It's a peculiar gimmick to say the least. Moving on, the bout was fought at a fast tempo with very little downtime. The best moment being Titan's Asai moonsault. It may of been the third high spot of the show and the second of the match that used misdirection, but it was certainly the best.

BUSHIROAD & Volador Jr. vs. Mascara Dorada & El Desperado: I really liked this one. Volador and Dorada looked great together and Dorada stood out strongly with some excellently executed spots. I'll definitely be looking out for him in the future. As for Desperado, the super Frankensteiner he took looked like it rattled him about a bit and his finish looks brutal.

Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: I thought Shinsuke's body paint seemed strange, considering Devitt did a similar job just a few weeks ago. If it was the tenuous seeds to a feud, then I'll give it a pass. Nakumura-Devitt is a fresh, juicy pairing that's got to happen sooner or later. Anyway, the match wasn't as good as I imagined it would be, still pretty good though. The work wasn't bad at all, although it could of done with some near falls and been a lot longer.

Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi & La Sombra vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Ultimo Guerrero & Kazuchika Okada: A superbly booked six-man. I came out of it wanting to see any number of singles matches. The two main ones being Okada-Sombra and Naito-Ishii. Other than that, the layout was fantastic, starting before the bell with Sombra and Guerrero squaring up to one another and having them take it home. After the match, Naito and Ishii's altercation, butting heads like two rams looked extremely vicious.

Mistico vs. Mephisto: I don't know these two guys very well, so this left me a little cold. Not that there was anything wrong with it. It built to a good finish and was a fine main event. I've only seen Mistico a handful of times and I'm very impressed. The standout out moment being the springboard shooting star press to ringside. And on some of his aerial moves, it almost looked like he froze in mid-air, which kind of blew me away. All in all, it capped off a satisfying show.

Jonny Clare

Hey Dave,
Thumbs Up!
Best match: Maximo vs. Jado vs. Taichi
Worst Match: None
It was a really fun show overall. No bad matches, no overly long matches. Lots of fast paced action and plenty of great high flying spots. Nothing really bad to say. The Nakamura/Rush match wasn't as great as I was hoping. They were fine, but not much heat from the crowd. Nakamura has joined the Prince Devitt Body Paint Party for some reason. 
I seriously loved the opening match. The comedy of all three guys was great. Maximo and Jado should take their show on the road. The selling of Maximo's devastating kiss, which he landed on pretty much everybody, was the highlight for me. 
The semi main event trios match was excellent. Okada and La Sombra had really cool exchange, mimicking each other's styles and trying to one up each other. Great Stuff. 
The main event was also pretty good. Mistico hit a lot of super athletic moves, including a springboard shooting star press to the outside that looked terrifying. Mistico has really good athleticism and timing, but it does feel he's missing something. Charisma I guess. He's still really fun to watch. 
Great show! Well worth the 15 bucks. 
Zach Dominello
Ichinomiya, Japan

Thumbs Up

Best Match: Rush vs Shinsuke Nakamura

Worst Match: Maximo vs Jado vs Taichi

Opener was the usual comedy. Wasn't a bad match, just very predictable.

Cometa/Stuka vs Okumura/Yujiro was decent. Yujiro was terrible working with the Mexicans including almost dropping Cometa on his head while doing a spot on the floor. Cometa used his Brillo Cometa which is one of the most insane dives you'll ever see. He almost superkicked Mima Shimoda and got boo'ed! Didn't seem to expect that. Hopefully next year Cometa gets put in some higher profile matches because he's over.

8 man tag was a good match. Could have used a bit more time as Titan was SUPER OVER with the crowd but only got in the ring twice. Escorpion kept things together for his team and aside from a little miscommunication near the finish things went smoothly. Ex-Dragon Gate superstar Vangelis got the win.

Dorada/Desperador vs Volador Jr./BUSHI was another good match but shorter than expected. Dorada is just incredible. Easily the best flyer in the world right now. The match did a good job setting up Dorada/Volador for later today & Desperado continued his winning ways. During the match Volador/BUSHI did stereo dives off a small-ish balcony. No doubt tomorrow Volador is doing one off the huge balcony at Korakuen Hall.

Rush vs Nakamura was AWESOME! The entrance gear alone stole the show with Nakamura painting his body and Rush wearing a giant Vader style bull mask. Nice change of pace from the rest of the show as these guys just beat the crap out of each other including Rush murdering Nakamura with his corner dropkick. Little disappointed Rush lost but it was inevitable since he beat Nakamura in Mexico. Best match of the night.

6 man tag was great. Sombra/Ultimo Guerrero got the main event entrances and were the focus to build their match tomorrow. Naito/Ishii also feuded throughout. The highlight early on was Sombra/Okada having a great exchange which got a huge reaction. That's a singles match that NEEDS to happen! Once again Ultimo Guerrero brought his working boots even though he did start doing the Ultimo Guerrero move checklist near the end. He's been going over all tour long so one would expect Sombra to win the finale.

Mistico vs Mephisto seemed like it would be trouble since Mistico is so green but Mephisto worked hard to keep him in check and Mistico had no obvious screwups so I'd consider it a success. Mistico did all his moves including the shooting star press to the floor. Match seemed to be building to La Mistica but instead Mephisto used his Super Devil Wings to get the clean win. A bit of a deflating finish for the live crowd and shocking result to those of us following the booking closely.

Overall a great show. Easily worth the $15. Happy to see a lot of non-regular CMLL fans are enjoying the shows.

Rob Bihari
Toronto, Ontario

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