As the cavernous Royal Albert Hall began to fill up, the compère for Lucha Future starting things off with a history lesson on the building’s creation, the events that were transpiring in Mexico in that time and the beginnings of lucha libre. He introduced a special guest, a figure very familiar to wrestling in this historic building, none other than the mysterious masked man Kendo Nagasaki! After explaining the differences between Rudo and Technico, the show got under way. First up, the Mini-Estrellas.
1. Blue Demoncito Jr. & Octagoncito vs Abismo Negro & Mini Histeria
This was a really fun opening match. There was a great spot built around Blue Demoncito Jr. trapping Abismo Negro in an armbar and for a good few minutes Demoncito struggled to remove him, walking about the ring with the smallest competitor in the match still clinging to his stricken limb. It would be Demoncito who eventually got the win, smartly using the turnbuckles to roll Abismo back into the armbar, forcing him to tap. The crowd, a fairly mixed bunch and with more than a few unfamiliar with lucha, were loud and appreciative for all four guys.
2. Fenix vs Pentagon Jr.
Great reaction for both luchadors, a good few Lucha Underground fans seemed to be in attendance. The referee for this one was El Piero, a rudo ref, and that would come decidedly into play as the match wore on. They started out with a nice back-and-forth exchange on the mat before the action inevitably spilled out to the floor. Pentagon was in control for the majority, but it was Fenix who made the most of his opportunities. First, he scored with a beautiful corkscrew tornillo to the floor then, back in the ring, when Pentagon popped him up into the air he came back down into a hurricanrana! El Piero made his presence known when Fenix took issue with his slow counting, Pentagon attacked from behind and the referee joined in. He attempted to make a fast count, but Fenix kicked out. The Royal Albert Hall was ringing out with boos, distracting Piero. Pentagon got Fenix in an electric chair position, but Fenix swivelled round and hit a huge reverse hurricanrana! El Piero turned round and made the fast 3-count, only to realise that it had been Fenix who hit the move, not Pentagon. This was a tidy little match, definitely left me wanting more and the finish was noticeably a source of puzzlement for those not entirely familiar with lucha.
3. Drago & Sexy Star vs Bengala & Faby Apache
After a brief intermission the show returned with a mixed Luchador y Luchadora tag match. The compère got the rudos & technicos mixed up, but it soon became clear who the rule breakers were as Faby & Bengala took short cuts on a number of occasions. There were some good exchanges between Drago & Bengala, but also some pretty sloppy ones that didn’t work quite as expected. The high point of the match came as Sexy Star leapt off the top-rope with a plancha on Faby, while Drago hit a beautiful tope con hilo on Bengala. It wasn’t enough to put the match to bed, however, as Bengala & Faby ganged up on Sexy Star. After much struggling, Sexy made the hot tag to Drago who wrapped up Bengala with the crazy Dragon’s Tail pinning manoeuvre to score the three count. This was an exciting tag match at times, but lulled in others. The crowd enjoyed it well enough, a huge Mexican wave breaking out at one point in the match.
4. Blue Demon Jr, La Parka & Psycho Clown vs El Hijo del Fantasma, El Texano Jr & Villano IV
Blue Demon got a crazy entrance, appearing from the grand doors at the back of the hall wearing an Aztec tribal headdress. Lots of kids in the crowd were going crazy for the technicos, rushing the aisle to greet them as they made their way to the ring. The match eventually got under way and was a mixed affair. Much of it was dominated by the antics of La Parka & Psycho Clown. La Parka wouldn’t stop pinching Fantasma’s rear end and stoutly refused to sell anyone’s chops, much to the rudos irritation. Psycho Clown, meanwhile, produced a strip of leather and began whipping everyone with it, his own team-mates included. This only subsided when Blue Demon Jr. restored order by giving Psycho clown a slap. The match continued in this somewhat farcical fashion throughout. The rudos got in on the action when Texano’s bull rope came into play, but it was soon turned against them and Fantasma bore the brunt of the punishment. The finish eventually came when Blue Demon Jr. locked in his El Pulpo submission on Texano for the win. This was a fun, if somewhat confused match. There wasn’t any semblance of structure and seemed more of a showcase for the technicos. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to see Fantasma’s awesome tope suicida, but everyone performed well here nonetheless.
Overall Lucha Future was a fun slice of lucha libre action in a fantastic venue with a loud and excitable crowd. The crowd were enjoying themselves throughout, especially the kids in attendance, and the action provided a good evening’s worth of entertainment. Some of the peculiarities of lucha libre’s logic were lost on a few of the audience members, but for the most part everything went over well. The show closed with all the luchadores & luchadoras gathering in the ring to say goodbye to the London crowd, including the strange sight of Pentagon Jr. playing a sousaphone. This wasn’t a show of classic match-ups, but it was a great experience all the same and one I’d hope to see again if Lucha Future and AAA ever decide on a return to UK shores.