New Japan "FANTASTICA MANIA 2014" on 1/17/14
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: January 17th, 2014
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING
Announced Attendance: 300 (Super No Vacancy Full House)

This was the smallest event on the joint New Japan/CMLL show, and it shows since the top New Japan wrestlers did not participate. Here is the full card:

- Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa vs. TAKA Michinoku, OKUMURA, and Taichi
- Máscara Dorada and Titan vs. Mephisto and Vangelis
- CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship: Rey Escorpión vs. Maximo
- Mistico and Rush vs. Ultimo Guerrero and Niebla Roja
- La Sombra vs. Volador Jr.

Let's get straight to it.

Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa vs. TAKA Michinoku, OKUMURA, and Taichi
OKUMURA pushes Cometa out of the ring before the match even starts, and he gets back in angry.  Stuka Jr. and Michinoku stay in the ring as the legal men, tie-up, Stuka Jr. pushes Michinoku into the ropes and he gives a clean break.  Tie-up, Michinoku pushes Stuka Jr. into the ropes this time and he also gives a clean break.  Waistlock by Stuka Jr. and he trips Michinoku, wristlock by Michinoku but Stuka Jr. rolls out of it and hits an armdrag.  Tie-up, waistlock by Michinoku but Stuka Jr. applies an armbar.  Hammerlock by Michinoku, Stuka Jr. applies a side headlock but Michinoku knees out of it.  Stuka Jr. forearms Michinoku in the chest but Michinoku returns fire.  Michinoku gives Stuka Jr. an eye poke and dropkicks him out of the ring, he goes to do a dive but Stuka Jr. has moved so he doesn’t.  Stuka Jr. gets back into the ring, tie-up, Irish whip by Stuka Jr. but Michinoku shoulderblocks him down.  Armdrag by Stuka Jr. and he hits a dropkick, sending Michinoku out of the ring.  Stuka Jr. tags in Fuego as OKUMURA gets into the ring.  Fuego then tags in Cometa so he can face off with OKUMURA.  Cometa goes off the ropes but OKUMURA knocks him down with a back elbow.  OKUMURA picks up Cometa, Irish whip, reversed, and Cometa hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  Taichi distracts Cometa from the apron but Cometa goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana, sending OKUMURA out of the ring.  Cometa bounces off the ropes but Taichi trips him from the floor and drags him out of the ring. 

Soon all six men are outside the ring brawling, with Michinoku harassing Fuego.  Fuego and OKUMURA gets into the ring, OKUMURA puts Fuego onto the top turnbuckle and starts taking off his mask.  OKUMURA gets Fuego back into the ring and tags in Taichi.  Kick to the ribs by Taichi to Fuego and he hits him with the ring mallet.  Stuka Jr. tags in Fuego, Michinoku comes in the ring, Taichi and Michinoku throw Stuka Jr. into the corner and both Taichi and Michinoku hit running strikes.  OKUMURA follows up with a lariat, and Taichi knees Stuka Jr. low.  Stuka Jr. rolls out of the ring, Cometa comes in the ring in his place, Irish whip by Cometa to OKUMURA, reversed, and OKUMURA hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Taichi gets in the ring, double Irish whip to Cometa and they kick Cometa out of the ring.  Fuego comes in the ring in his place, he is thrown into the corner and triple teamed as well.  Fuego fights back and hits a hurricanrana on Michinoku, sending him out of the ring.  Cometa comes off the top turnbuckle with a hurricanrana onto OKUMURA, which sends him out of the ring as well.  Superkick by Taichi to Cometa, Stuka Jr. comes in the ring and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker onto Taichi.  He falls out of the ring and Fuego sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  Out on the apron, Cometa monkey flips Stuka Jr. onto Michinoku.  Cometa and OKUMURA get into the ring, Cometa back bodydrops OKUMURA onto the apron but OKUMURA kicks him back.  OKUMURA gets up on the top turnbuckle but Cometa joins him up there and nails the Spanish Fly.  Cover, and he picks up the three count.  Your winners:  Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa

Match Thoughts:  Pretty solid opener.  It had a lot less dives than I am used to, maybe wrestling in front of only 300 people will tone them down a bit.  The match was pretty simple but it is hard to really tell a story in a six man match that only goes eight minutes.  Still, nothing offensive here, and all the wrestlers got a chance to at least do something.  Score:  5.5

Máscara Dorada and Titan vs. Mephisto and Vangelis
Dorada and Mephisto start things off.  Tie-up, Mephisto tosses Dorada to the mat but Dorada hits an armdrag.  Back up, Mephisto comes at Dorada but Dorada hits another armdrag.  Single leg takedown by Dorada but Mephisto flips back up and hits a third armdrag, he then hits a spinning headscissors and the pair trade quick pin attempts before returning to their feet.  Titan and Vangelis get in the ring to take their turn, Titan avoids Vangelis’s attack attempts until Vangelis hits a jumping heel kick.  Vangelis picks up Titan and punches him back down to the mat.  Back up again, Irish whip by Vangelis but Titan dives out onto the apron.  Titan comes back in the ring with an armdrag, and Titan walks on his hands to avoid Vangelis before hitting a backflip into a spinning headscissors.  Vangelis falls out of the ring, Titan goes for an Asai Moonsault but Vangelis pulls him down.  Mephisto and Dorada gets into the ring but Vangelis comes back in and helps double team Dorada.  Titan then comes in the ring but both Vangelis and Mephisto slam him to the mat.  Cover  by Vangelis but it gets two.  Titan tags in Dorada, and he is greeted by kicks.  Double Irish whip to Dorada to the corner but Mephisto misses the lariat.  Dorada kicks back Vangelis and ducks a double team attempt before using Mephisto’s arm to hit a rebound dropkick out of the corner onto Vangelis.  Dorada charges Mephisto but Mephisto drops him out onto the ramp.  Dorada kicks back Mephisto, he gets a running start on the ramp and hits a diving hurricanrana over the top rope onto Mephisto in the ring.  Titan gets in the ring, both he and Dorada go off the ropes and hit stereo tope suicidas on their opponents.  Mephisto and Dorada return to the ring, Dorada does a springboard move but Mephisto dropkicks him in the back.  Cover by Mephisto but Titan breaks it up.  Titan stays in the ring, Irish whip, reversed, but Titan avoids the Mephisto attack. 

Titan puts Mephisto up on the top turnbuckle and kicks him in the head, he gets a running start and joins Mephisto but Mephisto pushes him off.  Mephisto jumps off the top turnbuckle but Titan catches him with a powerbomb for a two count when Vangelis breaks it up.  Irish whip by Vangelis to Titan, snapmare by Vangelis and he kicks Titan in the back.  Irish whip by Vangelis and he hits a German suplex hold.  Cover, but Dorada breaks it up.  Mephisto comes in the ring, and Mephisto drops Dorada out onto the apron.  Dorada hits a swandive somersault into a hurricanrana, but Vangelis breaks it up.  Vangelis and Mephisto Irish whip Dorada and they throw him in the air before hitting double dropkicks.  Cover, but Titan breaks it up.  Mephisto slaps Titan in the chest, he picks him up, double Irish whip and Mephisto hits a back elbow.  Titan quickly rolls up Vangelis, but Mephisto is there to break it up.  Dorada gets in the ring as Titan is pushed out of the ring, and both wrestlers kick Dorada.  Vangelis picks up Dorada and hits a fallaway slam, both wrestlers get different turnbuckles but Dorada rolls out of the way of the double diving headbutt.  Titan rolls up Mephisto but it gets a two count.  Vangelis kicks Dorada in the corner and gets on the top turnbuckle, but Titan joins him up top.  Mephisto then comes over and hits a powerbomb onto Titan, who suplexes Vangelis at the same time.  Dorada then hits a swandive splash onto Vangelis, but he only gets a two count. Dorada charges Mephisto but Mephisto moves out of the way, Mephisto charges Titan in the corner but Titan puts him onto the top turnbuckle.  Titan joins him up top as Vangelis hits a tope suicida onto Dorada onto the ramp.  Still on the top turnbuckle, Mephisto hits the Avalanche-style Devil Wing onto Titan and he picks up the three count!  Your winners:  Mephisto and Vangelis

Match Thoughts:  For a match that wasn’t too long, the heel beatdown segments still seemed to take up too much time.  Dorada was “off” in this match as he had two different moves that he did not hit very smoothly at all, maybe he got a little hurt at some point and that affected him the rest of the match.  Also seemed odd that kind of out of nowhere Mephisto hit the ‘super’ version of his finishing move, the same move he used to win the main event of the next much more attended event.  Not their best outings, I have seen all four do better on other matches during the tour.  Score:  3.5

(c) Rey Escorpión vs. Maximo
This match is for the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship.   They circle each other to start but Maximo avoids Escorpión’s early attack attempts.  Tie-up, waistlock by Maximo but Escorpión gets out of it.  They lock knuckles, Escorpión pushes Maximo to the mat but Maximo hits an armdrag.  Shoulderblock by Escorpión but Maximo hits another armdrag and both men return to their feet.  Escorpión goes off the ropes and levels Maximo with a lariat.  Escorpión puts Maximo on the top turnbuckle, he joins him up top and puts Maximo in the tree of woe.  Running knee by Escorpión, he picks up Maximo and covers him for a two count.  Escorpión picks up Maximo and yanks on his arm, snapmare by Escorpión and he applies a stretch hold on the mat.  Escorpión picks up Maximo, Irish whip from the corner, reversed, but Escorpión drops Maximo onto the apron when he charges in.  Maximo punches Escorpión back, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving hurricanrana, sending Escorpión out of the ring.  Maximo then gets a running start in the ring and sails out onto Escorpión with a tope suicida.  They both get back in the ring, Maximo rolls up Escorpión but it gets a two count.  Inside cradle by Maximo but that gets a two count as well.  Maximo goes off the ropes and hits a Frankensteiner but Escorpión rolls through it for a two count cover. 

Escorpión is up first, he goes off the ropes and delivers a dropkick.  Maximo falls out of the ring, and Escorpión jumps out onto him with a tope con giro.  Escorpión gets in the ring as Maximo gets on the apron, but Maximo hits Escorpión back as he approaches him.  Maximo goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody, he goes for a hurricanrana but Escorpión reverses it into a powerbomb for a two count.  Escorpión picks up Maximo and slams him in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving leg drop.  Cover, but Maximo kicks out.  Both wrestlers slowly get up, Escorpión kicks Maximo into the corner but Maximo drops him onto the apron.  Escorpión punches Maximo back and goes up to the turnbuckle, but Maximo springs up to the top rope and hits an armdrag.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Maximo picks up Escorpión and slams him in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the Swanton Bomb.  Cover, but again it gets two.  Crucifix pin attempt by Escorpión but Maximo kicks out.  Maximo and Escorpión both get up, Maximo goes for a kiss but Escorpión pushes him off.  Maximo goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana, he rolls up Escorpión but it gets a two count.  Maximo goes off the ropes but Escorpión ducks the lariat and drops Maximo with the Aguijón Mortal.  Cover, and he picks up the three count.  Your winner and still champion: Rey Escorpión

Match Thoughts:   I guess I shouldn’t complain too much since Maximo did 99% of this match without his usual shtick, and in general he held his own against Escorpión.  I can’t say I really enjoy the fact that the selling of moves is so suspect, it really doesn’t matter who hits the move sometimes as it isn’t uncommon for the victim of the move to still be the first one back up.  I don’t expect them to sell moves like death but at least let the attacking wrestler get up first from the mat.  Besides that small annoyance the match was pretty good, and Maximo got a number of legitimate close near-falls so it wasn’t too one-sided at all.  I am assuming this title is pretty low on the important scale to be on the mid-card on the smallest show on the tour, but overall it wasn’t a bad display.   Score:  6.0

Mistico and Rush vs. Ultimo Guerrero and Niebla Roja
Rush and Roja start things off.  They circle each other to start, waistlock by Rush but Roja reverses it Rush reverses it back and takes  Roja to the mat, but Roja gets out of it and gets Rush around the waist.  Rush pushes him off, roll-up but Rush but it gets a two count as both wrestlers return to their feet.  Tie-up, roll-up by Rush and he applies a front facelock but Roja gets out of it.  Fireman’s carry takedown by Rush but Roja avoids the senton.  Rush dropkicks Roja out of the ring and goes out after him, so Mistico and Guerrero get into the ring.  After playing to the crowd for a minute they tie-up, waistlock by Guerrero but Mistico gets out of it.  Spinning headscissors by Mistico, they tie-up, Mistico flips away from Guerrero and applies a headscissors, and he spins Guerrero to the mat with it.  Guerrero gets back to his feet and pushes Mistico off, but Mistico hits an armdrag.  Guerrero shoulderblocks Mistico out of the ring, but Mistico returns with a swandive crossbody.  Spinning headscissors by Mistico and Guerrero falls out of the ring, Mistico then hits him with a slingshot hurricanrana to the floor.  Rush punches Roja out of the ring, then both he and Mistico sail out onto their opponents with stereo tope con giros.  Rush and Roja get back into the ring and they trade shots to the chest, a battle that Rush wins.  Rush stomps on Roja while he is on the mat, he picks him up and chops him in the chest some more.  Irish whip by Rush, reversed, and Rush hits a lariat.  Rush grabs Roja in the corner, Irish whip, and Rush hits a running splash.  Roja falls down to a seated position, and Rush hits his hard running dropkick in the corner.   

Roja rolls out of the ring so Guerrero comes in, and Guerrero knocks Rush out of the ring as well.  Mistico comes off the top turnbuckle with a diving hurricanrana to Guerrero, Mistico throws Guerrero into the corner but Guerrero hops up onto it.  Mistico joins Guerrero up top and goes for a Frankensteiner, but Guerrero blocks it and hits an avalanche powerbomb.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Guerrero pushes Mistico down in the corner, Irish whip, reversed, Guerrero drops Mistico onto the apron and elbows him down.  Guerrero goes up to the second rope but Mistico hits him with a swandive hurricanrana down to the mat.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Guerrero pushes Mistico out to the ramp, Roja joins him so Rush comes over too.  Rush hiptosses Guerrero back into the ring, then Rush catapults back in the ring as well so that Mistico can hit Guerrero with a hurricanrana.  This sends Guerrero out of the ring, Mistico goes onto the second turnbuckle and hits a moonsault down onto Guerrero.  Roja and Rush are back in the ring now, Irish whip by Rush to Roja to the corner, and Rush hits a running splash.  He runs to the other corner to hit another move but  Roja has recovered and attacks Rush from behind.   Roja picks up Rush and slams him down to the mat, he goes out to the apron and hits a swandive splash followed by a quebrada.  Cover, but Rush gets a shoulder up.   Roja kicks Rush against the ropes, Irish whip, but Rush ducks the attack.  He goes for the Rush Driver but Roja blocks it.  Rush goes for a sunset flip instead, Roja rolls through it but Rush ducks the kick attempt.  Roll-up by Rush but Roja rolls through it, kick by Roja and he goes off the ropes, but Rush catches him with a superkick.  Rush Driver by Rush, and he picks up the three count.  Your winners: Mistico and Rush

Match Thoughts:  If wrestlers would stop clearly setting themselves up for their opponent’s moves I’d enjoy this better.  It is one thing to be in the right spot, but when a wrestler jumps up on the top rope and waits five seconds while their opponent sets up a move to do, it begins crossing that line from simulated combat to choreographed dancing.  Beyond that the match wasn’t bad, but with limited time I wish they’d cut out the first five minutes of the “feeling out” process as then there really isn’t time to get a full match in before the bell rings.  Individually these wrestlers are all solid, it is more the match structure/time constraints that is holding them back.  Score:  5.5

La Sombra vs. Volador Jr.
They circle each other to start and jockey for position on the mat, but neither can get the upper hand.  They square off again, both wrestlers go off the ropes and eventually Volador Jr. is able to hit a hurricanrana.  La Sombra comes back with a hurricanrana of his own, and both men are back on their feet.  We jump ahead in the match, as Volador Jr. hits a Volador Special.  Before he can make the cover, the bell rings and the time has expired.  The match id declared a draw.

Post match:  Volador Jr. charges La Sombra but La Sombra dumps him out of the ring and sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  They battle around the crowd as Volador Jr. regains the advantage, Volador Jr. climbs up onto the stage where the advertisements hang and jumps down onto La Sombra with a plancha.  They get back into the ring but are separated.

Match Thoughts:  I found two different versions of this match and both versions miss the vast majority of the match.  I don’t think it was designed to be that way, the video freezes.  Since this is the only version I can find I can’t do much about it, but the dive after the match was cool anyway.  If I ever find a real version of the show that does not have most of this match missing I will update the review.  Score: N/A

Final Thoughts:

Best Match:   Rey Escorpión vs. Maximo.  This really isn’t saying much since there were no stand-out matches on the card.  But it was still an entertaining match, Maximo played it straight (no pun intended) during most of it and it was a close back and forth battle throughout.

MVP:   Rush.  Rush continues to impress me.   No matter what match he is in, he always manages to make himself stand out.  I can’t remember a lot of details about the card even after just watching it, but I can still remember him.  So I don’t know if it is charisma or his fighting style but something about the guy is just really memorable to me.

Overall:   I feel bad reviewing an event where most of the main event wasn’t shown, but let’s not pretend that it was going to save this show.  This was clearly designed as a card to be shown for free on TV in front of a small crowd, as the matches were short (around 50 minutes of actual in-ring time on the card) and aside from Volador Jr.’s dive at the end it didn’t have a lot of memorable spots.  I don’t want to say they were going through the motions, the effort was just average.  Even if the main event was great, it still would have been a below average card overall.

Grade:  D

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review completed on 2/7/14