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NJPW/CMLL Fantastica Mania results: Three title matches


Two fantastic matches and a title change highlighted the Fantastica Mania show in Korakuen Hall on Friday.

The annual tour features luchadores from CMLL in an NJPW ring. The combination of lucha libre and puroresu excites audiences as the cards usually deliver with action. There was plenty of that on this show.  Not only was there novelty in seeing luchadores in Japan, the setting also provided a different pacing and layout than typically seen on CMLL cards.

Rather than a show built around trios matches, the structure was typical of a New Japan event. The undercard was mostly tag matches, while the top of the card had three singles title matches. Unlike in Mexico where CMLL matches are two-out-of-three falls, the matches at Fantastica Mania are all one fall. Despite the different rules, the shows still feature plenty of authentic lucha libre.

Okumura defeated Fuego

Though he was in his native country, Okumura set himself up as the antagonist by heeling on his valet, Mima. Okumura slapped her at ringside. That was uncomfortable to watch.

Fuego did some flying with an Asai moonsault and a Fosbury Flop. They traded near falls.

Okumura hit a draping DDT, but Fuego got his foot on the ropes to break the count. Okumura then snuffed off Fuego with a Slop Drop to score the pinfall.

Tetsuya Naito, Rush, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi defeated Dragon Lee, Hirai Kawato, Satoshi Kojima & Star Jr.

BUSHI submitted Kawato for Los Ingobernables to win this eight-man tag match.

Looking like a Gordon Solie Pier-Sixer, Los Ingobernables started brawling at the outset. At ringside, Naito attacked Milano Collection AT, who was doing commentary. Milano briefly looked as if he was going to retaliate, only for Naito to administer a further beatdown.

Star Jr. shined with a springboard into a wild corkscrew moonsault. Back in the ring, Rush ripped and tore at Star’s mask, exposing most of his face for the rest of the match. Rush also roughed up referee Marty Asami.

Los Ingobernables began working over Star as they cut the ring in half. They ganged up on Star, stopping briefly to play soccer with an imaginary ball. The young lion, Kawato, sacrificed himself so that Star could get a breather. That allowed Dragon Lee to tag in and face off with Takahashi. Their chemistry in the ring was unbelievably amazing -- as usual.

Kojima and Rush chopped each other repeatedly. Rush did a tranquilo spot, and Naito rushed into the ring to join in on a double pose down.

Kawato cleaned house at one point. He showed a lot a fire and fighting spirit before BUSHI submitted him with the Boston crab.

After the bell, Los Ingobernables jumped Kojima and hit him in the knee with a chair. In a callback to an ongoing issue, Rush and Naito then both attacked Milano. Poor Milano.

On his way back to the locker room, Rush kissed a woman on the cheek as she held a child who was wearing a Rush mask. Family, I presume.

Atlantis, Mistico, Volador Jr. & Drone defeated Ultimo Guerrero, Barbaro Cavernario, Disturbio & Puma

Atlantis submitted Puma to win the match for his team.

Whereas the preceding eight-man match was based more on tag team psychology and brawling, this match showcased more of an authentic lucha libre style. This was more of what is seen on an Arena Mexico card -- minus the two-out-of-three falls rules, then add a partner on each side.

Volador wore his mask at first before removing it to square off with Cavernario. Volador does this sometimes in his matches, especially outside Mexico. The spot meant more here, as it builds to their title match on Sunday. Also, the fans got a look at Volador’s mask, which was probably available at the merch booth.

Everybody got to shine at one point or another. A parade of high spots and dives led to Atlantis applying La Atlantida to submit Puma. Still recovering from being injured, Atlantis did very little except for the finish.

Cavernario afterwards cut a promo on Volador talking about their match on Sunday. Volador responded with a promo of his own. Volador concluded by bowing to the audience and thanking them.

After an intermission, the card shifted to singles title matches.

Cuatrero defeated Angel de Oro to win the CMLL World Middleweight Championship

Cuatrero pinned Oro with a crucifix bomb to win the title. Ultimo Guerrero was in Cuatrero’s corner as his second.

The match began very sportsmanlike until the rudo started to fight dirty. He targeted a knee. At first Cuatrero applied an STF, but he had to release for a rope break. So, he just started stomping on the knee instead. Moments later, Oro fired up and did a springboard moonsault to the floor. He immediately went back to selling the knee upon a picture perfect landing. A springboard missile dropkick back into the ring by Oro led to a near fall.

Oro kept doing dives, which included a Space Flying Tiger Drop. Likewise, a springboard quebrada led to a near fall. Suddenly, Cuatrero shifted the momentum to deliver a crucifix bomb for a two count.

Oro went to apply a submission, but his knee buckled. Cuatrero capitalized with a codebreaker, followed by another crucifix bomb. Cuatrero then covered Oro for a three count to capture the title.

Mexican National Welterweight Champion Soberano Jr. defeated Sanson to retain his title

Soberano retained by pinning Sanson in an exciting spectacle. Volador was in Soberano’s corner as his second, while Cavernario was in Sanson’s corner.

The match started off at a fast pace, and mostly stayed that way. Soberano did a lot of high flying as usual. Early on, he did a Fosbury Flop to the outside at one point. A quebrada in the ring soon led to a tornillo splash where Soberano leapt over the ropes to the floor. His body spun in several rotations on a breathtaking high spot.

The flying tactics eventually backfired when Soberano tried springboarding into a super Frankensteiner. Sanson countered with a super powerbomb for a near fall. A few seconds later, Sanson went to the air as he springboarded off the top rope into a flying crossbody on the floor.

Soberano would not be outdone in aerial assaults, so he did another tornillo splash off the top rope for a close near fall. Sanson retaliated with a guillotine kneedrop for a two count. Taking a twisting neckbreaker, Soberano managed to kick out again.

During the exciting closing moments, Soberano hit a sit-out tombstone to pin Sanson. Whew, what a great match.

CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion Niebla Roja defeated Gran Guerrero to retain his title

Of course Niebla Roja retained, since he came to the ring in costume as He-Man holding the Sword of Power. If he holds the key to Castle Grayskull, then that could certainly help with conquering Korakuen Hall.

Much like Masters of the Universe, this match had a mystical element of sorts. Their chemistry was magic as they had a fantastic match. This was way better than their main event apuesta match at the anniversary show last year.

In the corner of Niebla Roja, Mistico was his second. Ultimo Guerrero was the second for Gran Guerrero.

The action spilled to the outside only a few minutes into the match. Niebla Roja dove over the ropes out of the ring. Guerrero caught him and deadlifted Roja into a powerbomb on the floor. They returned to the ring -- only for Guerrero to send Roja out with a baseball slide. Guerrero followed with a flip dive over the ropes to the floor.

Almost on cue, the crowd began a “Roja” chant as the tecnico made a comeback. Niebla Roja then flew over the ropes with a flip dive that scattered the front row of ringside. They both reversed lateral presses after a springboard crossbody by Roja. Upon delivering a Code Red, Roja covered Guerrero for a two count. Roja also punted Guerrero with a kick for another near fall.

Roja did a springboard body press before attempting a lionsault. Guerrero got his knees up to counter for a two and a half count. Guerrero continued hitting big moves like a chokeslam and a pumphandle into a facebuster. Roja kept kicking out.

Roja fired up and springboarded off the top rope into a flying crossbody to the floor. Roja hit a series of roaring elbows, and a super Frankensteiner by Roja led to a close near fall. Guerrero countered with a super facebuster. Roja himself had a counter that set up a submission hold and rope break.

In probably the craziest spot on the show, Guerrero executed a super Michinoku Driver from the middle rope. They went back to the middle rope, where Roja hooked Guerrero for a double chickenwing facebuster to score the pinfall. That was a great match.

Niebla Roja cut a promo afterwards before he ran around high-fiving fans like a 1980s babyface. Afterwards, he also cut a promo backstage.