New Japan Presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2015 on 1/18/15 Review

New Japan Presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2015
A Casual Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  January 18th, 2015
Location:  Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,950

Last year the CMLL Fantastica events were great fun, so they decided to do it again this year.  This one has some big singles matches and should be different than the usual events with just lots of multi-man matches. It is actually more of a CMLL event than a New Japan event since the big singles matches are CMLL vs. CMLL with no New Japan wrestler involvement. Here is the full card:

- Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, and Ángel de Oro vs. Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, and Gedo
- OKUMURA, Mr. Niebla, and El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Rey Cometa, Tritón, and KUSHIDA
- Máscara Don, Máscara Dorada, and Captain New Japan vs. Tetsuya Naito, Ryusuke Taguchi, and La Sombra
NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship: Volador Jr. vs. Gran Guerrero
National Light Heavyweight Championship: Mephisto vs. Stuka Jr.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico II, and Stigma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, and Polvora
- Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero

Like I mentioned, lots of CMLL stuff on this one, with a few matches also having New Japan wrestlers as well.

Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, and Ángel de Oro vs. Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, and Gedo
Liger and Gedo start things off, Liger gets Gedo to the mat but Gedo gets out of it.  Gedo offers Liger his hand, Liger doesn’t take it, so Gedo gives the referee a hug to show how nice he is.  Liger agrees to the handshake but Gedo pokes him in the eyes, naturally.  Even Sting saw that one coming.  Double chops by Liger and he leaves the ring with Gedo, hitting a backbreaker.  Tiger Mask is up next with Oro.  Tiger Mask has some weird Tiger Mask/Liger mask hybrid.  Ishii chops and headbutts Tiger Mask but Tiger Mask kicks him into the corner.  Tiger Mask kicks Ishii out of the ring, so Oro comes in to face off with YOSHI-HASHI.  Hurricanrana by Oro, YOSHI-HASHI drops him on the apron and Gedo pulls him out of the ring.  All the wrestlers brawl on the floor until Gedo and YOSHI-HASHI return to the ring, Liger rolls out so Tiger Mask comes in, Tiger Mask being dressed like Liger is throwing me off but I like when wrestlers wear weird masks.  Ishii is tagged in and he goes for Tiger Mask’s mask since he is the heel in the match and that is what heels do.  Ishii chops Oro in the corner as he came in the ring, and YOSHI-HASHI throws Oro back out of it.  Liger comes in with YOSHI-HASHI but Liger gets away.  YOSHI-HASHI knocks Liger out of the ring but Oro comes in with a crossbody.   Quebrada by Oro, Irish whip and Oro hits a dropkick.  YOSHI-HASHI falls out of the ring, Oro does a no hands rebound and then hits a pescado.  Tiger Mask comes back in and kicks Gedo in the corner before hitting a Tiger Driver.  Tiger Mask goes up top but Gedo avoids a diving headbutt.  Submission by Tiger Mask but it is immediately broken up.  Oro goes off the ropes and hits the Sasuke Special while in the ring Gedo kicks Tiger Mask.  Gedo goes for the Gedo Clutch by Tiger Mask blocks it, crucifix pin by Tiger Mask and he gets the three count.  This was fine, nothing offensive.  Oro flies around well and Tiger Mask seemed motivated, but nothing memorable.  Score:  5.5

OKUMURA and El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Tritón and KUSHIDA
OKUMURA and Tritón start off and they trade holds, trips, and snapmares.  Tritón kicks OKUMURA out of the ring, so KUSHIDA and Cavernario come in the ring next.  KUSHIDA messes with Cavernario, Cavernario throws him down and returns the favor.  Armdrags by KUSHIDA to Cavernario and OKUMURA.  KUSHIDA hits a seated senton onto OKUMURA from the apron, Tritón comes in and hurricanranas Cavernario out of the ring.  Step-up Asai Moonsault by Tritón to the floor, as KUSHIDA and OKUMURA come in the ring.  Cavernario dropkicks KUSHIDA as Tritón gets back in, spinebuster by Cavernario to Tritón and he hits a reverse splash.  OKUMURA and Cavernario hit lariats in the corner and Cavernario hits a bulldog.  Tritón comes in, he hits a hurricanrana on Cavernario and KUSHIDA runs in to hit elbows.  Standing moonsault by KUSHIDA to OKUMURA and Cavernario, then Tritón goes off the ropes and KUSHIDA catapults him into Cavernario.  Swandive hurricanrana by Tritón to OKUMURA but Cavernario kicks Tritón out of the ring.  Handspring elbow by KUSHIDA and he throws Cavernario out of the ring.  OKUMURA pulls KUSHIDA out to the floor, Cavernario goes up top and hits a plancha down onto KUSHIDA.  In the ring Tritón hits a hurricanrana on OKUMURA for a two count.  OKUMURA applies a crab hold and he picks up the submission victory.  Not much to this match, some nice high flying towards the end but it was just a little too short to really get a flow going.  Score:  4.0

Máscara Don, Máscara Dorada, and Captain New Japan vs. Naito, Taguchi, and La Sombra
Dorada and La Sombra  start things off.  Dorada goes for a flip but he slips and La Sombra  lariats him.  Hurricanrana by both men and they miss dropkicks.  Naito and Taguchi come in next, and Taguchi hits a hip attack.  Double chop by Naito and Taguchi falls out of the ring.  Captain New Japan and Naito get in the ring, Naito knocks Captain New Japan in the corner and tags in Taguchi.  Dropkick by Naito and he tags in La Sombra .  La Sombra  chops Captain New Japan and tags in Taguchi.  Don comes in to help clear out Captain New Japan’s teammates.  Everyone attacks Captain New Japan in the corner and Naito finishes with a catapult dropkick.  Punches by Captain New Japan and he hits a double shoulderblock, giving him time to tag in Naito.  Don lariats everyone (Don is Nakanishi, just in case you weren’t aware), and he hits a double vertical suplex.  Double lariat by Don and he tags in Dorada.  Dorada dropkicks Taguchi and Naito, he drops Taguchi on the apron and then dropkicks Naito in the knee.  La Sombra powerslams Dorada but it gets a two count.  Elbows by La Sombra but Dorada catches him with a slam and tags in Captain New Japan.  Shoulderblock by Captain New Japan, he goes up top but La Sombra avoids the diving headbutt.  Double flip moonsault by La Sombra but it gets broken up.  Hirai End by Captain New Japan, but La Sombra kicks out.  Naito and Taguchi run in, enzigieri by Taguchi and Naito hits a uranage.  Don hits a pescado of sorts onto Naito and Taguchi, Dorada comes in the ring and hits a tope con hilo.  Captain New Japan goes off the ropes but La Sombra hits a dropkick.  La Sombra hits the Hollywood Star Press and gets the three count.   I really like Sombra, but otherwise just a pretty normal six man tag match.  Some nice spots though.  Score:  5.0

(c) Volador Jr. vs. Gran Guerrero
This match is for the NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship.  They go back and forth to start, Volador Jr. flings Guerrero out of the ring and sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  They didn’t waste any time getting to the high flying. Back in the room, lariat by Guerrero and he drops Volador Jr. on the apron before kicking him to the floor.  Tope con hilo by Guerrero and they return to the ring.  Headscissors by Volador Jr. and he hits a slingshot hurricanrana down to the floor.  Back in, Volador Jr. kicks Guerrero back and goes for a swandive move, but Guerrero catches him and hits a powerbomb.  Wrist clutch cutter by Guerrero but it gets a two.  Thrust kick by Volador Jr. and he hits the Backstabber.  Chops by Guerrero but Volador Jr. hits another thrust kick.  Guerrero goes up top but Volador Jr. knocks him off.  Kick to the face by Volador Jr. and he gets a two count.  Volador Jr. charges Guerrero but Guerrero dumps him out to the floor.  Swandive missile dropkick by Volador Jr. and he hits an Asai Moonsault.  Ok so that is the third time in this match the person did that the move, recovered after the guy that was hit with the move.  Kinda beats the point.  Back in the ring they trade La Magistral attempt, Guerrero catches Volador Jr. and goes for a suplex but Volador Jr. lands on his feet.  Swinging side slam by Guerrero but Volador Jr. snaps off a hurricanrana for a two count.  Volador Jr. puts Guerrero on the top turnbuckle but Guerrero slams him to the mat.  Guerrero goes back up tope but Volador Jr. recovers, kick by Volador Jr. and he hits a top rope hurricanrana for two.  Guerrero gets Volador Jr. on the back and hits a chokeslam for a two count.  Guerrero goes up top but Volador Jr. joins him up there and hits the Spanish Fly for the three count, Volador Jr. is still your champion.  Ok I am all for high spots but can we at least pretend to sell moves correctly?  I lost count of how many times the wrestler that had the move done on them, did the next move in the match.  The moves had literally no impact whatsoever because the wrestlers were just going to the next spot.  I enjoyed the high spots, flying around is fun, but it was just an exhibition match.  Score:  6.0

(c) Mephisto vs. Stuka Jr.
This match is for the National Light Heavyweight Championship.  I’m one of eight people in the world that likes Mephisto, I think.  I like his mask.  Mephisto tosses tons of fun to the mat but they return to their feet.  Armdrags by Stuka Jr. and he hurricanranas Mephisto out of the ring.  Stuka Jr. then goes off the ropes and barely makes it out with a tope suicida.  Back in the ring Stuka Jr. hits a hurricanrana for a two count.  Mephisto drops Stuka Jr. on the apron and slides out of the ring, and Stuka Jr. hits an Asai Moonsault.  They get back in the ring and Mephisto applies a stretch hold (again, move done to the wrestler, that wrestler makes the first offensive move).  Sunset flip powerbomb by Stuka Jr. but it gets two.  Devil’s Wings by Mephisto but it gets a two count.  Mephisto gets out of the ring, Stuka Jr. goes out after him and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  Back in the ring Stuka Jr. hits a monkey flip.  Double underhook facebuster by Stuka Jr. and he covers Mephisto for two.  Stuka Jr. goes up top but Mephisto gets his feet up when he goes for a moonsault.  Mephisto picks up Stuka Jr., scoop slam, he goes up top but Stuka Jr. recovers and joins him.  Superplex by Stuka Jr., he slams Mephisto in front of the corner and hits the torpedo splash.  He hits a second one, cover, but Mephisto gets a shoulder up.  Stuka Jr. puts Mephisto on the top turnbuckle and he hits an Avalanche Devil’s Wings.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Mephisto throws Stuka Jr. into the corner, reversed, and Mephisto jumps up on the top turnbuckle.  Stuka Jr. joins him, punches by Stuka Jr. but Mephisto hits another Avalanche Devil’s Wings for the three count.  That is my least favorite ending to a match ever, Lucha already can look overly contrived but that took things to a new level.  Definitely a step down from the last match, a few fun spots but otherwise disappointing.  Score:  4.0

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico II, and Stigma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, and Polvora
Mistico and Okada start things off.  Headscissors by Mistico and Mistico tags in Tanahashi.  Polvora comes in too, armdrag by Tanahashi but Polvora returns the favor.  Shoulderblock by Tanahashi but Polvora dropkicks him.  Rounding crossbody by Tanahashi and he hits an elbow.  Tanahashi tags in Stigma as Nakamura also gets in the ring.  Headlock by Nakamura but Stigma quickly gets out of it.  Knee by Nakamura but Stigma hits a knee to the head.  Armdrags by Stigma and he hits a headscissors.  Nakamura puts Stigma up in the corner and knees Stigma in the stomach.  After a bit of brawling, Polvora puts Mistico up on the top turnbuckle and goes for his mask.  Okada dropkicks Stigma, Tanahashi gets isolated and clobbered.  Okada and Nakamura hit a double atomic drop on Tanahashi.  Stigma is next to get his ass kicked by everyone, but Stigma gets away and hits a swandive missile dropkick on Nakamura.  Big spots from everyone, and team Tanahashi stands tall in the ring.  Mistico and Polvora pair off and Polvora hits a Liger Bomb.  Mistico sets up Polvora on the ropes, he then goes to the apron and hits a swandive hurricanrana.  Okada comes in and elbows Mistico, Stigma enters the ring and knocks Okada to the mat.  Flapjack by Okada and he goes for a tombstone, but Stigma gets out of it.  Inverted powerslam by Nakamura to Tanahashi.  Stigma does something sloppy and poorly thought out to Nakamura, and Tanahashi hits a cannonball onto Okada.  Mistico and Polvora get back in the ring, Mistico hits La Mistica and he picks up the three count.  Well this was a nothing match.  It didn’t even have many high spots, just the usual ‘everyone gangs up on the faces, faces make a comeback, faces win’ match.  Without tagging it kills the suspense of a wrestler trying to get to his corner, and some of the moves weren’t crisp (putting it lightly).  Not a good display here.  Score:  3.5

Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero
They jockey around to start and trade submissions on the mat.  Big boot by Ultimo Guerrero and he slams Atlantis into the corner.  Ultimo Guerrero lays Atlantis down on the apron and baseball slides him out to the floor.  Atlantis goes to the other side of the railing but Ultimo Guerrero jumps over it and attacks Atlantis.  Back in the ring Ultimo Guerrero goes for Atlantis’s mask but stops after a moment and chops Atlantis in the corner.  Ultimo Guerrero jumps down on Atlantis in the corner but Atlantis moves on the second attempt and dumps Ultimo Guerrero out of the ring.  Atlantis goes out after him but Ultimo Guerrero regains the advantage.  They return to the ring and Ultimo Guerrero hits a lariat.  Ultimo Guerrero goes for Atlantis’s mask but Atlantis hits a backbreaker.  Atlantis flips Ultimo Guerrero out of the ring and then sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  Ultimo Guerrero pushes Atlantis in the corner and chops him, but Atlantis chops him back.  Lariat by Atlantis, cover, but it gets a two count.  Lariat by Ultimo Guerrero, cover, but it still gets two.  Hurricanrana by Atlantis but he also gets only a two count.  Ultimo Guerrero falls out of the ring, Atlantis goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a plancha suicida from the top turnbuckle to the floor.  Back in the ring, Ultimo Guerrero gets Atlantis on his back but Atlantis hits a victory roll and they trade pin attempts. 

Ultimo Guerrero gets on Atlantis’s shoulders and they do the roll-up routine again, still with no result.  Atlantis throws Ultimo Guerrero into the corner, he shoulderblocks Ultimo Guerrero back and jumps off the top, but Ultimo Guerrero dropkicks him as he does so.  Irish whip by Ultimo Guerrero, reversed, they end up on the top turnbuckle and Ultimo Guerrero hits an avalanche front suplex for a two count cover.  Ultimo Guerrero goes up top again but Atlantis joins him and armdrags him to the mat.  Atlantis puts Ultimo Guerrero on the top turnbuckle and goes for a Frankensteiner, but Ultimo Guerrero catches him and hits a powerbomb.  Ultimo Guerrero charges Atlantis, Atlantis gets him on his back but Ultimo Guerrero squirts away, getting a two count roll-up.  Backbreaker by Atlantis and he hits a second one.  Scoop slam by Atlantis and he goes up top, but Ultimo Guerrero recovers and joins him.  Ultimo Guerrero nails the Guerrero Special, and he picks up the three count.  I gotta say this match was really good.  These guys aren’t young, Atlantis is 52 years old believe it or not, but they still are flying outside the ring and doing top rope powerbombs like they are in their 20s.  Even more importantly they actually know how to structure a match, as there were only a few small transition issues.  It was paced really well and felt like a back and forth battle, not a high spot exhibition.  I also appreciate they didn't hold back, even though this was a match in a different country that many of their fans in CMLL may never see. Really fun match between the veterans and they did their best to save this event.  Score:  8.0

Final Thoughts:

The old guys showed the young guys something on this show.  While most of the card just screamed “half-ass exhibition”, the main event was really quality wrestling.  The high spots were spaced out so they meant something, and then actually sold (imagine that).  They still had the big power moves when needed but didn’t rush anything, and it felt like the match ended exactly when it should have.  The rest of the card was completely skippable in every way, making this essentially a one match card.  I still can’t recommend it overall, but it wasn’t a completely throwaway event at least.

Grade:  D+

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review completed on 1/30/15