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Aerostar.

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from El Rayo, Vida de Lucha

A VIDEO

Cachorro vs Hechicero, En Busca de un Idolo final

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and here’s how it ended. Video later.

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BETTER KNOW A LUCHADOR: HECHICERO

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Who’s this guy?

Hechicero, a rudo (bad guy) in CMLL. He’s originally from Monterrey, and believed to be in his early 30s. Hechicero is one of the finalists in the En Busca de un Idolo tournament I won’t shut up about.

This guy seems a lot older than the rest of the guys you’ve talked about this week.

That’s not a question.

Whatever - “this guy seems a lot older than the rest of the guys you’ve talked about this week???”

Yep - he’s really the adult in with a lot of kids. Hechicero has been wrestling since 2001, mostly around Monterrey. Hechicero was considered one of the best indy luchadors in the country, known for his techinical style, before finally joining CMLL earlier this year.

Wait. He’s a great technical indy wrestler who’s now on a strange reality show with a bunch of rookies - is Hechicero really Daniel Bryan?

Yes! That’s exactly where Hechicero is right now at his stage of his CMLL career too, even with the same internet fan support. The big difference is CMLL actually seems to like Hechicero. The storyline is Hechicero got a shot to be in this tournament based on being one of this year’s group of new luchadors, but the reality is Hechicero was included either to be a ringer who could carry the younger wrestlers to impressive matches or (more hopefully) a way to quickly make Hechicero a top player.

(It was also fairly obvious that Hechicero’s internet fan support would carry him to the final, same as would’ve happened with Daniel Bryan if NXT had the same rules.)

On the other side, Hechicero is just in the NXT moment right now, and we’re just guessing and hoping we’re he might be once he gets mixed back in with the general population. There’s unlikely to be a Nexus coming (or a firing - though he should not attack any announcers just to be safe.)

So if Hechicero is Bryan Danielson, did he have a bunch of cool matches in the Mexican equivalent in of Ring of Honor? Is there a Mexican equivalent of Ring of Honor?

Sadly no. Wrestling in Mexico hasn’t developed any full time super indy promotions like the US. Groups have tried to do a more PWG approach of bringing in a bunch of names for dream matches once a year, but those tend to last only a few years and then quietly run out of money. (The one exception is DTU, a hardcore promotion that runs 15-20 shows a year.) Most indy guys, even the best ones, are limited to working around their home area. For Hechicero, this meant everyone around Monterrey and people who follow lucha libre super closely knew he was really good, but he wasn’t seen much elsewhere.

Monterrey is a bit of an exception, though. One of the local TV stations came to own a medium sized arena in the area, rents it out to whichever local wrestling promoter wants it that day and then puts whatever happens on TV. It’s a weird situation, but it means Hechicero would turn up on TV a few times in a year and have outstanding matches. His match against Charles Lucero last year was one of the memorable of the year, and he’s even fought the late Hector Garza for the CMLL Heavyweight Championship and held him to a draw.

You said he just got into CMLL - how did he already have a match for the heavyweight title?

Wrestling in Mexico, as a job, works a lot different than the elsewhere. It’s a long explanation and this is already too long, so the short version is an indy promoter can pretty much buy a title shot - but only if people in CMLL like you to begin with.

Yea, this is already way too much about the procedure of wrestling in Mexico and not much about Hechicero - can you explain his style without using the word technical?

Innovative is another good word. Hechicero has strange and new holds that we’ve never seen before. Some of it may just be bringing back old forgetton moves with a new twist, but he’s also just inventing stuff no one’s heard of and have to figure out names just to be able to describe him. (He’s got a Top 10 Moves video, another good place to start.) When you start seeing crazy new spots in CHIKARA in the next few months, they’ll probably be stuff directly taken from Hechicero matches.

You’re actually going to two CHIKARA shows this weekend and yet still taking shots? How does it feel to be so disagreeable?

I like CHIKARA! I hope they do the spots, I just got to stick up for Hechicero. (It does get a little old to see stuff taken from lucha and treated as created by a US indy guy.)

Besides being a move guy, what else can Hechicero do?

Hechicero is a good brawler, and dives well for his size, but he’s great at the little things too - Hechicero works hard at making sure the match makes sense, something lucha libre doesn’t always have the reputation for.

A guy with a lot of moves - does he kind of wrestle like Dean Malenko?

That works too - he’s kind of using a Man of 1000 gimmick. (“Hechicero” loosely means wizard, kinda a reference to his magical ability to invent holds.) He’s also works great against high flyers, turning them all into Rey Misterio.

And much like Dean Malenko, a big knock against Hechicero was his personality. Evil guys are meant to be cheating brawlers in lucha libre, and Hechicero considered too skilled and too cold (iceman!) by the judges and some fans. He’s worked at being more of a rudo thru the tournament and is being more demonstrative. His last match against Dragon Lee had him hang Lee out of the ring by a choke, then sneak in an eye poke to set up his fancy finishing maneuver.

Also like Dean Malenko, Hechicero probably doesn’t translate to a mainstream US promotion unless they decide to launch a separate cruiserweight division, but he’s great for Mexico. And probably not a bad addition as a guest appearance for those US indy groups - he’ll get himself over even if they can’t.

You said Hechicero is in the final of this tournament. Do we know who he’s facing?

We do! CMLL announced the final standings last night, and he’ll be facing Cavernario. That’s the caveman we talked about back on Tuesday. Hechicero beat Cavernario in the first round, Cavernario beat Hechicero in the rematch, so this also will be tie breaker.

What does the winner get?

A nice trophy? CMLL’s never been clear about this part, but the winners in past years have gotten a world championship match for their weight divisions. (There are weight divisions in CMLL, but don’t worry about it - the important part here is we don’t know exactly who the winner gets to fight, but CMLL gets to decide.)

The winner has also gotten to be on that year’s CMLL Anniversary Show, their biggest show of the year. It’s usually not in an important role, but there are few spots open on the card and it’s a nice pay day. Cavernario would be among the youngest to ever wrestle on that show. Hechicero would have a remarkable one year story if he made it.

"Remarkable" is a tease. Can you explain that?

Okay, I’m not totally sure if I’m supposed to be telling this part, but I can see the follower count and it’s almost like I’m not telling anyone so here goes. Hechicero wanted to go to last year’s Anniversary show. I went, and one of Hechicero’s friends also made the trip, telling us that Hechicero wanted to be there but couldn’t find a way to get out of work (or at least work out of Mexico City for a few days) and was stuck in Monterrey instead. A few months later, Hechicero quit his job - a good job - and moved to Mexico City just for a chance to make it CMLL. Lucha libre, even when you’re working for a big promotion, doesn’t pay a lot if you’re not one of the upper level guys, and Hechicero could have no assurances he would’ve ever get to be upper level guy, but Hechiceor sacrificied for a shot at his dream. Hechicero is one win away from acheiving a big part of it, going from guy who couldn’t even find a way to sit in a crowd to the guy standing in the middle of the ring in a year’s time. Even if Hechicero wasn’t already awesome - and he is! - that’s enough reason to root for him.

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BETTER KNOW A LUCHADOR: DRAGON LEE

Who’s this guy?

Dragon Lee, another tecnico (good guy) in CMLL-

ANOTHER CMLL guy? I bet he’s in this En Busca tournament thing too. Why can’t we get an AAA lucahdor?

a) you’re a casual fan, you’re not supposed to know about AAA
b) I’m trying to do these somewhat connected to a news event, so you have something to go watch. I could probably do five paragraphs on Decnnis (a random wrestler who really spells his name like that) but I figure it’s more useful if it’s somewhat relevant. AAA will announce some big matches soon and then I can talk all about those guys.

You realize people on Twitter are going to demand those five Decnnis paragraphs now, right?

Shhhhh. Let’s get back on track.

Okay - I’ve heard the name Dragon Lee. Isn’t he the Mistico now?

Nah, but it is confusing. This Dragon Lee is the younger brother of Mistico (and Rush), and his older brother handed down his character to the current Dragon Lee when he got his own new one. Everyone knows that story - there’s no attempt to pass one off as another. Occasionally, you’ll see his name listed as “Dragon Lee II” in results just to make it clear.

This guy uses English words for his name - and I still don’t know what it means. What’s a Dragon Lee?

Dragon Lee is your standard issue martial arts gimmick (Dragon/Bruce Lee), a character that’s been popular in Mexico since the 70s. Dragon Lee’s brother did mroe faux martial arts spots, but this Dragon Lee is mostly just a high flyer with ying-yang symbols…

So like Rob Van Dam?

Sure, if that helps. Dragon Lee is a very young, having just turned 19 last month. Dragon Lee wrestles exactly like a crazy 19 year old who believes he can do anything.

Maybe Dragon Lee’s biggest positive is his rate of improvement. Like Cachorro, Dragon Lee only started with CMLL at the start of the year, but has already grown as a wrestler. Dragon has been assigned Negro Casas as a mentor for this tournament mostly as a storyline device, but he’s even started to emulate his trainer’s spots in the ring, and that’s a good person to borrow from. Dragon Lee also appears to be an avid YouTube-r, having picked up spots from Kota Ibushi among others, and is actually pulling them off.

Crazy high flyer who’s very young - that means he’s definitely going to the top of CMLL, right?

Maybe, but maybe not. CMLL’s overpopulated with high flyers - it’s one of the legacies of the original Mistico - and even a very good one like Dragon Lee has to find ways to seperate from the others.

Dragon Lee does stick out a bit, but it ways that may not endear himself to the fans. His brother Rush & the new Mistico are unpopular tecnicos - Rush was booed so much that they eventually changed his gimmick to “good guy everyone hates” - and so the knives were out for the new Dragon Lee when he debuted. Lee’s been seperated a little bit from his brothers and his hard work in this tournament has started to win people over.

Dragon Lee’s also the most one dimensional of the finalsts. His high impact moves are great, but everyone else can do a few different things well.

Dragon Lee’s high risk leaves him open for injury problems. (It’s kind of amazing CMLL’s going to make it thru this tournament with no missed matches due to injuries.) His family has a history of injury issues taking them out of the ring. They’re a family of workout fanatics, and some of the injuries may been set up by over training. Dragon Lee’s another one who’s been great in this tournament, but can’t exactly be doing the same kind of matches all 365 days of the year.

What are those matches (that he shouldn’t be doing again?)

again, the best matches are in this tournament

Is Dragon Lee going to be in the En Busca de Un Idolo final?

Not sure. It’s looking doubtful - he may have been passed up in the voting - but CMLL does math strangely so anything is possible. Dragon Lee should still have good opportunity for other matches down the line.

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BETTER KNOW A LUCHADOR: CAVERNARIO

Who’s this guy?

Cavernario, a rudo (bad guy) in CMLL. (He’s the leopard print fellow who looks like a caveman there.) He’s a newer part of the Peste Negra group and has been professional wrestling. He has a couple of brothers who also wrestling, but he’s the first of his family to crack the main roster.

Caveman? Like Fred Flinstone caveman?

More like “The Croods” caveman. Giant club, bone in his hair, furry boots, confused by airplanes, that sort of caveman.

Wait - have I heard about him in a Mexican song? The one about Santo, Demon, and Cavernario?

You’re thinking of "Los Luchadors" by Conjunto Africa. The Cavernario they’re singing about there is Cavernario Galindo, an early star of lucha libre (and later, a movie star.) Galindo had a remarkable career and belongs in any Hall of Fame which includes luchadors.

Many people have used the wild caveman character after him. It’s a reckless brawler gimmick, not far off from how US promotions have portrayed Pacific Islanders over the years. CMLL’s Cavernario is the most successful caveman in many years.

What is Cavernario successful?

Cavernario is another incredibly talented young wrestler for CMLL. He’s a good brawler and a better wildman. Cavernario’s crazy enough to use a top rope splash to the floor as a regular finishing move.

Cavernario’s greatest strength is his dedication to his character. He’s 100 in on being a caveman, from looking dirty on the way to the ring to being bewildered by this modern world on the way out if it. He shows it the matches with caveman stomping dancing freak outs and barbaric violence. Cavernario’s even better outside of matches, but you’ll probably want to take my word and not watch this long press conference where he stays in character for an hour and steals the show.

So he’s a wacky character - is being wacky character really enough?

It is here. Many luchador’s gimmick are a generic name and a cool mask. Cavernario (or the people working with him) have actually created a persona, and it sticks out in a hugely positive way. Cavernarios’s very charismatic in how he pulls it off.

Cavernario’s gimmick has gotten over quickly. Cavernario’s on the evil side, but he’s grouped in with a bunch of other evil wrestlers who are 100% in their characters, and who get cheered by a good portion of the audience. If Cavernario is facing another rudo - which he would be if he makes the final - he’ll be the overwhelming crowd favorite.

Okay, what’s his problems? Or why isn’t he being stolen by a promotion I actually watch?

Cavernario is on the small side for a luchador, which limits his use elsewhere and may eventually limit his ascension in CMLL. He’s incredibly young - he won’t turn 21 until November - and he’s got the level of recklessness that might end up hurting him. (We’re hoping Cavernario tones it down a little bit when he’s not having the biggest matches of his life.) And while lucha libre fans are used to the caveman character, it might not translate as well elsewhere.

Are there some matches of his I should check out?

Cavernario’s matches in this tournament have been his best.

I see his name is listed as Barbaro Cavernario in some places - what’s the deal with that?

Cavernario started out as “El Barbaro”, then progressed thru “Barbaro Cavernario” to the current Cavernario name. CMLL being CMLL, they’re not really consistent about calling him by his new name - his enterance video still has the old one. Cavernario says his name is Cavernario and “Barbaro” is the name of his pet (stuffed) monkey, and I’m not going to argue with a man with a stick.

You really have to learn to accept the inconsistencies and sloppyness in details like that in CMLL (and in lucha libre in general), or it’ll drive you completely nuts.

Have you accepted those inconsistencies?

No, no, I’m completely nuts.

A TEXT POST

BETTER KNOW A LUCHADOR: CACHORRO

Which one is this, then?

The man in black up there doing the crazy dive there. Cachorro is the son of legendary technical wrestler Blue Panther. He’s 25, and debuted earlier this year. His brother Black Panther has also started this year, but Cachorro has had the (much) better matches so far. He’s a tecnico (good guy)…

Wait, did you just explain what a tecnico means?

Yea, the concept here is to introduce luchadors to people who haven’t been following lucha libre, but would like to learn about a name in the news. (I thought explaining Blue Panther would’ve been the clue.) Anyway, please note there’s no ‘h’ in tecnico.

Why is Cachorro important right now?

Cachorro’s one of the final four wrestlers left in a CMLL competition called En Busca de un Idolo. It’s a little bit tournament, but more reality show type competition. Think Dancing with the Stars, where the judges and the people watching get a say in who stays and who stops dancing(/wrestling). This is the third year CMLL’s held this competition, and the first where we have no idea who will be in the final two. It’s very exciting! Also, the final match is probably going to be one of the best matches of the year.

"The best match of the year" is a pretty bold claim. Why do you think it’s so good? Should I be watching?

All the matches among the final four have been really good - ***+ if you think in star ratings - and they’re certain to go all out for the final. If you enjoy tournaments like the recent NJPW Best of the Super Juniors, you’d like En Busca de un Idolo - the matches are under 10 minutes, but action packed and have some variety to them. (They’re also one fall, so it’s more like what you’re using to seeing elsewhere.) You don’t even really need to understand or watch the judging portion of the tournament to enjoy it, though they make that easy to follow.

If Cachorro makes the final, he’s likely to be facing a fellow named Hechicero. They’ve already met in this tournament twice

match 1

match 2

Both of have been quite good. The final should be even better.

You can see the final for free over the internet at terra.com Friday around 9:10pm Central Time. The event itself starts at 8:30, and it’s the third match on card. I will be sharing the match later on DailyMotion and YouTube.

Isn’t sharing that match totally illegal?

Welcome to the Internet - is this your first day?

We’ve lost the point here - what makes Cachorro interesting?

Cachorro, following his father, is a capable technical wrestler. He can weave holds with anyone, working beyond the basic few moves to creative spots. Cachorro doesn’t just use showy lucha holds, but he’s also crafty when he uses them. He’s also completely fearless, throwing himself his dives and his bigger moves. His tope is already one of the best in Mexico. Cachorro’s even done well when wrestling as evil opposition against fellow good guy wrestlers in this tournament, like this match against Dragon Lee.

Cachorro is incredibly ring skilled for someone just six months into the career. It’s likely these guys are working out these matches in the days prior to the show, but even rehearsed matches can go off track and never recover. That just isn’t happening with him, another way he’s different from the high spot only young luchadors. Cachorro is the easy pick for rookie of the year under normal standards.

He can’t be perfect. What are Cachorro’s weaknesses?

Cachorro doesn’t have a character of his own. His entire gimmick is “Blue Panther’s Son (the smaller one)” - he uses his father’s original ring name, his father’s old ring music, and his father’s finishing hold. It’s a solid way to introduce him, but Cachorro’s got to create his own identity at some point. There’s plenty of lucha libre sons who wrestle as clones of their father, but the ones who succeed bring something of their own. Cachorro also doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence. That probably serves his well with the other wrestlers, but it doesn’t match his ring style.

Cachorro is also using a lot more high risk offense in this tournament than he has elsewhere. It’ll probably fall back to safer levels after it’s done, when he’s not forced to prove himself every time out.

Is Cachorro just a product of this wacky tournament?

Nah, he was good before it started. The Panther boys spent the first few months of the years feuding with members of the Casas family. Their trios matches were highlights of a strong couple months for CMLL. CMLL knew what they had in Cachorro when they put him in this tournament, and he continue to be a part of good action going forward.

I just looked up “Cachorro”, and I see that it translates to “Cub”

That’s correct.

So…in your first profile for this new feature, you - YOU! - are telling us why we should be fans of a Cub?

Yea, I guess so. But I’m just “luchablog” on here, don’t break kayfabe.

Still! Like anyone else is reading this. That’s a bit too on the nose.

Hey, at least this one has a good chance of winning a world championship in the next couple of years.

Are you going to explain how many world championships there are in CMLL?

Not today, for we’re all out of room.

A VIDEO

Scenes from 04/19 CMLL taping. Cavernario vs Super Halcon, Hechicero vs Guerrero Negro Jr., and la Sombra embracing the dark side.