NJPW/CMLL Fantastica Mania Day 1 Review

Show Date: 17/1/16

This is the first in the annual series of joint NJPW and CMLL joint shows. There’s lots of interesting things on these shows and for a lot of people is the only time they watch lucha which is always fun. This is the first of three smaller shows that were taped for TV and not on NJPW World.

KUSHIDA and Stuka Jr vs. Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu

KUSHIDA came out wearing a Stuka Jr match which is super cool. This was a very fun young boy match with KUSHIDA and Stuka stretching Tanaka and Komatsu, and a really great finishing stretch. This is the young boys’ last tour before going on their excursion and they looked really damn good. Stuka Jr pins Sho Tanaka with a top rope splash ** ¾

Bobby Z and Okumura vs. Guerrero Maya Jr. and Panther

Some really awesome grappling starts this match off, with the next two thirds being a really fun sprint with all sorts of dives and high flying. Guerrero Maya Jr worked most of the sprint portion of the match for his team and really impressed me, his speed and agility was great. Okumura and Bobby Z were really heeling it up big time and looked good. Bobby Z pins Guerrero Maya Jr with a sitout powerbomb *** ¼

Fuego and Titan vs. El Barbaro Cavernario and YOSHI-HASHI

Fun tag match that went a little too long for my liking. Cavernario and Fuego were the clear standouts here with some cool character work, with YOSHI-HASHI and Titan just kind of being along for the ride. It felt like YOSHI-HASHI worked almost none of the match, which is alright I guess as this was meant to be a showcase of the CMLL stars. Titan pins Barbaro Cavernario ***

Dragon Lee and Jay White vs. Hechicero and Virus

This was a great tag match with Hechicero and Virus just straight up bullying White and Lee, who sold everything well and had some incredible fiery comebacks. Virus and Lee had a lot of interactions and I believe there is a singles match between the two on this tour which will be great. Virus submits Jay White *** ½

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, and BUSHI) vs. Atlantis, Mascara Dorada, and Juice Robinson

Hot start to this with Los Ingobernables immediately going after the faces and destroying them for the first few minutes. The faces eventually make a comeback which included some great interactions between BUSHI and Dorada. Naito was great in this as well, constantly going after Atlantis’ mask and eventually unmasking him which led to the finish. Naito pins Juice Robinson *** ¼

After the match Los Ingobernables go after Dorada and unmask him as well. Really heated segment that has me very excited for BUSHI/Dorada later in the tour.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Mephisto vs. Rysukue Taguchi and Volador Jr

Taguchi and Nakamura both came out wearing masks, with Taguchi even working the match with his mask which was so damn great. Nakamura was seemingly working heel for parts of this match, which was a little odd, but it didn’t last very long. This was a pretty solid tag match, with the luchadors clearly working a million times harder than the natives and doing a great job. Volador Jr pins Mephisto with a top rope hurricanrana ***

CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Gedo) and Ultimo Guerrero vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Mistico (II)

There wasn’t much to this match besides the awesome interactions between Tanahashi and Okada less than two weeks after their incredible Tokyo Dome match. The luchadors worked well together and Liger and Gedo also had some very fun interactions, but this very much felt like an undercard six man tag, which I guess is fine since this is a smaller show anyway. Mistico submits Ultimo Guerrero with La Mistica ** ½

Overall: 5.5

For what was basically a glorified house show, this was pretty good. Nothing blow away great but several fun matches.


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