Images: CMLL. Photography by Alexis Salazar.
The farewell tour of a legend came to the “Cathedral of Lucha Libre” on Friday night for a tribute hosted by the oldest wrestling promotion in the world. CMLL honored Jushin Thunder Liger at Arena Mexico with him headlining a loaded show.
Liger won a four-way match in the main event on a card that also featured a family rivalry in the semi-main. LA Park and his sons battled Rush and his family in a heated trios bout that was arguably the best match of the night. The focus nonetheless was on honoring the career of Liger.
Marcela defended her CMLL Women’s Championship on the undercard against challenger Amapola. Also on the undercard, an atomicos match mixed rudos and tecnicos as teammates for an eight-man tag bout. The show opened with a two-on-two tag team match.
Cancerbero & Raziel defeated Super Astro Jr. & Sonic
The rudos won the first fall when they submitted the tecnicos. The tecnicos evened the score in the second fall with Astro hitting a trust fall into a headbutt for an elimination, then Sonic cradled Cancerbero on a sunset flip for a pinfall.
The third fall saw the rudos extract their revenge. The tecnicos tried to cut them off, but it was to no avail. Raziel used an avalanche Falcon Arrow on Astro to eliminate him via pinfall. Cancerbero then submitted Sonic with a modified scorpion.
Esfinge, Angel de Oro & captain Niebla Roja (w/ KeMonito) defeated Hechicero, Luciferno & captain Ephesto (w/ Mije)
Esfinge wore a Liger mask as a tribute during his entrance. The tecnicos won in two straight falls, but the finish was odd. Hechicero got his team disqualified for a foul, but it took a moment before the referee called for the DQ while the wrestlers kept going.
The tecnicos won the first fall with a submission elimination and a pinfall. Oro first submitted Hechicero with La Mecedora, and then Esfinge springboarded into a flying body press on Luciferno for a pinfall.
The rudos in the second fall were triple-teaming each tecnico one-by-one. They ran roughshod until a tecnico comeback led to a series of high spots. Hechicero then fouled Oro by kicking the middle rope to crotch him. The match seemingly kept going for a few seconds as Hechicero rolled up Oro with a cradle, but the referee waved it off and gave the match to the tecnicos.
CMLL Women’s Champion Marcela defeated Amapola to retain the title
Marcela retained her title by winning the second and third falls. For her second, Skadi was in her corner. Ephesto (who also wrestled in the previous match) was in Amapola’s corner as her second.
They started with grappling on the mat, and they soon were trading leg locks and takedowns. Amapola briefly applied an inverted figure four. They went back and forth for a few moments, and Marcela got a near fall with a backbreaker. Amapola caught Marcela in a wristlock hold to take the first fall.
Marcela rallied quickly in the second fall to make a comeback. She pinned Amapola after a double knee drop off the top.
In the third fall, they traded near falls. Marcela kicked out after taking a pop-up powerbomb, and she countered with a victory roll on Amapola for a two count. The near falls continued. Amapola jumped through the middle ropes into a senton on the floor. A moment later, she gave Marcela a super Northern Lights suplex off the top.
The crowd started getting into the false finishes when Marcela turned a butterfly suplex into a backbreaker. She then did a somersault senton off the apron to the floor on Amapola. This led into the best false finish of the match.
Marcela leapt off the top rope with a splash, but Amapola got her knees up to block it. She then hit Marcela with a spear and a cover for a two-and-a-half count. They then went home as Marcela delivered a Michinoku Driver for the pinfall.
Forastero, Sanson, Cuatrero & captain Volador Jr. defeated Soberano Jr., Templario, Euforia & captain Gran Guerrero
The team of Volador and Nueva Generacion Dinamita rallied to win the second and third falls after dropping the first in this atomicos match. During their entrance, the Dinamitas were dressed as bull riders with chaps and protective vests — which seems to be their latest fashion trend as they have been wearing those costumes a lot lately.
Volador and Soberano set a quick pace as they started the match. The first fall ended with wacky multi-person submission holds on the Dinamitas. Before the submissions, Soberano took out Volador with a dive to the outside. Euforia then applied leg locks to both Forastero and Cuatrero while also holding Sanson in a Gory Special. With the leg locks still applied, Templario and Gran Guerrero applied Camel Clutches. With all of them trapped, the Dinamitas submitted.
Templario did a Tiger Drop into the ring from the ramp. A bunch more high spots soon followed. The Dinamitas evened the score as Cuatrero pinned Templario after springboarding into a flying elbow drop, and then Sanson blocked a flying headscissors to execute a powerbomb backbreaker for a pinfall on Soberano.
The Dinamitas dominated as the third fall began. Volador joined in as they all cleaned house. Volador himself particularly got to shine with his aerial arsenal. He also seemed at home flirting with his rudo side while teaming up with heels. A parade of dives saw springboard planchas, Fosbury Flops, Tiger Drops, and so much more.
Guerrero executed a super Samoan Driver off the ropes on Cuatrero. Forastero delivered a receipt for the family as he cut off Guerrero to give him a Samoan Driver. Templario made a save to give Forastero a super powerbomb off the top rope. Soberano hit Volador with a torneo splash. Volador took out Soberano with an Asai moonsault moments later.
With Soberano incapacitated on the floor, the Dinamitas piled up the rest of his teammates in a corner. They did their spot where they monkey flip into a cannonball, and all three Dinamitas then covered their opponents for a triple pinfall to win the match.
LA Park Jr., El Hijo de LA Park & captain LA Park defeated Mistico, Bestia del Ring & captain Rush
Park and sons won the first and third falls to take the match, but the finishes were far from decisive. The only clean win was Rush pinning Park in the second fall. A countout and a DQ gave Park and sons their two falls.
This match pitted the Park family against the Munoz family in a trios match. A brawl erupted during introductions before the match could officially start. The focus of the brawl was LA Park squaring off with Rush. Everybody soon had their turn at running through spots in the ring, but the focus would soon shift back to Rush against the patriarchal Park.
With Rush on the apron, Park speared him through the ropes much like Big E does in WWE. Park was arguably smarter in that he had his sons and Mistico to catch him and Rush instead of them crashing to the floor like when Big E does the spot. The Munoz family was then counted out as the Parks were able to beat the count and win the first fall.
The second fall went very quickly when Rush fired up on the Parks. Rush delivered a shotgun dropkick and pinned Park to even the falls. The third fall would last much longer, and the crowd was probably hotter for this fall more so than any other on the show.
Rush and LA Park would heat things up in the third fall. Rush whipped Park with his own belt, and then Rush ripped Park’s mask. Park sold big as his torn mask exposed almost half his face. Mistico also tried unmasking Hijo de LA Park. Mistico could easily be a rudo on a regular basis if they ever wanted to turn him (which seems highly unlikely to happen anytime soon).
Rush and Park brawled into the crowd — where they were literally tearing the place apart. Rush picked up a section of seats and threw it at Park. Back in the corral area, Rush whipped Park with an electric cable.
The fight continued in the ring as the Munoz family ganged up on Park. He fired up on them and his sons jumped in to make a save. The three Parks followed by diving into a trifecta of tope suicidas. The fight would continue around ringside.
Hijo de LA Park did a huge dive off the stage onto Mistico. The crowd was very hot at this point. They booed Rush when he begged off from Park. They eventually got face-to-face. Rush grabbed Park’s mask, and Park grabbed Rush’s hair to tease the apuesta match they keep building toward. Hopefully someday we will finally see that hair vs. mask match.
Park and Rush exchanged strikes, and they traded Stinger splashes. Park did his dance, and the crowd erupted. A winded Park threw a lariat for a two count on Rush. Park then kicked out after Rush snapped him overhead with a release belly-to-belly suplex. Park also caught Rush with a powerslam for a near fall.
Issuing a receipt from earlier in the match, Hijo de LA Park ripped and tore Mistico’s mask. They had a fighting spirit exchange before trading German suplexes, and then they traded Canadian Destroyers. Park Jr. and Bestia each jumped in trying to steal pins on them, and soon Park Jr. and Bestia were squaring off in the ring.
Bestia ripped Park Jr.’s mask, then a melee erupted soon thereafter. Park Jr. did a springboard quebrada on Bestia and went for a cover. Mistico broke up the count. Park Jr. and Hijo de Park were cut off after teasing stereo dives.
LA Park and Rush once again faced off in the ring, and the crowd was loving it. Rush charged toward a corner when Park wiped him out with a spear. Meanwhile, the sons of Park suplexed Mistico onto Bestia and covered them both for a near fall.
Rush fouled Park while referee Edgar Noriega had his back turned. Mistico also fouled Hijo de LA Park. The crowd was livid, and Edgar heeded their cries as he refused to count a subsequent pinning attempt. Rush exploded with rage and shoved Edgar. That resulted in a DQ, so Park and sons won the match.
A disclaimer in both Spanish and Japanese forbid the crowd from throwing coins into the ring. Then it was time for a pre-match ceremony honoring Jushin Thunder Liger. CMLL President Sofia Alonso and other dignitaries came to the ring with a trophy. One of them was apparently the Japanese ambassador to Mexico. Next out was the guest of honor himself — Jushin Thunder Liger.
Liger stood in the middle of the ring to soak in the praise. He received a trophy and the announcer led a “Liger” chant. A musical interlude followed the award presentation. Las Diosas del Ring accompanied the music with a dance routine. They wore Liger costumes with masks.
Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Negro Casas, Caristico & Ultimo Guerrero in a four-way atomicos match
Liger pinned Casas with a Liger Bomb to win. Liger got a second entrance before the match. Caristico wore a mask similar to Liger as a tribute during his entrance.
Liger and Casas started the match. They grappled to a stalemate with neither gaining an advantage, then Liger struck with a palm strike. Just as he was firing up, Ultimo Guerrero jumped him from behind for a sneak attack. The crowd showered Guerrero with boos.
Guerrero tore at Liger’s mask. Fellow masked man and tecnico Caristico made the save with a flying crossbody when the two rudos tried to team up on Liger. Caristico then flew through the ropes with a tope suicida. Liger followed suit with a plancha off the top rope to the floor.
The two rudos in the match — Casas and Guerrero — faced off in the ring for a slugfest. Casas dropkicked Guerrero’s leg and applied an octopus stretch. Liger and Caristico broke it up so they could square off against each other. Liger sold for Caristico before taking a flying arm drag.
Guerrero and Caristico were next to square off — but not before they pumped up the crowd. Guerrero executed a deadlift superplex on Caristico for a two count, and he followed that with a super gourdbuster. Caristico still kicked out.
Guerrero then delivered a super powerbomb, and Caristico once again kicked out at two. Caristico countered an electric chair into a super Frankensteiner to turn the tide in his favor. However, Casas broke up the pinning attempt.
Casas and Guerrero teamed up on Caristico. Liger made a save, and Guerrero made him pay by again ripping at his mask. Everybody ganged up on Liger, but he fired up on all of them. Caristico dived on Guerrero with a plancha off the top to the floor — leaving Casas in the ring with Liger.
Heading toward the finish, Liger and Casas chopped each other. Casas missed a kick, then Liger countered with his own kick. Casas then took a Liger Bomb, and Liger covered him for the pinfall.
Pyro exploded in honor of Liger. He embraced his opponents, and they all raised each other’s hand. They picked Liger up on their shoulders and paraded him around the ring. Liger waved to the crowd, and he knelt down to kiss the mat. Gracias Liger. Thank you for everything.