I took the trip down to San Diego from Los Angeles on Saturday to check out Viva La Lucha’s August 13th, 2016 event featuring Rey Mysterio Jr., John Morrison/Johnny Mundo/Johnny Nitro, and more.
As I arrived at the venue, people who had purchased V.I.P. tickets that included a pre-show meet & greet session are let into the venue. Kevin Kleinrock of Masked Republic, who helped put on the show in ways I don’t exactly know how so I can’t say exactly how, was letting fans know that some wrestlers hadn’t arrived at the building yet because of traffic issues and that they would be allowed to stay after the show to get autographs and photos.
After the meet and greet, all of us commoners with General Admission tickets were allowed into the venue to the smell of carne asada coming from the grill of a taco vendor who was selling food at the event. I can’t really smell shit these days unless it’s weed smoke, but the smell of that carne asada was strong as fuck. I gave the smell *****. It was very pleasant and had great psychology.
Before the show, I met Chris Duncan, a regular at SoCal shows who has a great Youtube channel that features highlights from tons of San Diego shows. Give him a visit and subscribe to his channel, as he’s doing his part to get the word of SoCal out there.
The show opened up with one of the event’s sponsors so a segment where they threw out shirts to the crowd and presented a special “bonus” pre-show match.
Black Boy vs. Stigma vs. Inframundo
It was sorta hard to hear the ring announcer on the mic, as the sound in the gym seemed to echo too much and I had a hard time hearing the names of the workers in the match. Not only that, but the introductions were sorta confusing as the ring announcer intro cued Stigma and Inframuno as tag team partners, but Black Boy didn’t have a partner announced. So this became a triple threat match. These guys put on a solid opener with various Triple Threat spots, including the Tower Of Doom. Black Boy hit a ridiculous top rope splash to the outside on someone while they were laying on the floor of the gymnasium. Pretty crazy spot that the crowd really dug.
After the match, some time goes by before the show officially started. The ring announcer brought Konnan who cut a promo talking about making Viva La Lucha a regular thing with bigger names on future shows. After this segment, we moved onto the next match.
Willie Mack & Famous B vs. Ryan Kidd & Donnie Suarez
This was a pretty fun match. Kidd and Suarez were the heels in this who would get one-upped by Mack and Famous B. They did a spot where Kidd tried to do some chops on Willie Mack, but they were ineffective because of his size that got over with the crowd and was pretty amusing. The fans really dug Willie Mack and Famous B’s offense. Willie and Famous B got the win after Famous B hit a Senton Bomb, and Willie followed up with a Frog Splash on Ryan Kidd. This was some fun shit.
Eli Everfly & Zokre vs. Vermin (Johnny Yuma & Kevin Martenson)
When the ring announcer brought this match out, the first thing I honesty thought there was gonna be an issue here based on stories I’ve heard of heat between Eli Everfly and Johnny Yuma having heat in the past. They ended up working well and conducted themselves like professionals. I heard many comments from people talking about how they were expecting some shit to go down. Part of me was sorta disappointed nothing happened.
The match itself was a good sprint. Lots of double team moves from Vermin, and Eli hit some really nice spots, including a really nice moonsault dive to the outside on Vermin after Zokre did his fake-out dive spot. He also had some god sequences and exchanges with Kevin Martenson, including busting out that corner double jumping springboard hurrincurana spot he does. I can’t describe it, but it’s fucking cool.. Zokre hit a nice It was weird seeing him without Phoenix Star. Eli and Zokre got the win in this one and the fans really dug it.
El Snowflake (Human Tornado) & Ultimo Panda vs, TJ Boy & Star Boy
This was mostly a comedy match. This was my first time seeing Ultimo Panda, and I gotta say my mind was sorta fucked. Seeing him dancing up on some random chick during his entrance and tried to hit on her in front of what looked to be her boyfriend. That pimp shit right there. El Snowflake, which was the Human Tornado’s character in Nacho Libre, was also pretty over with the kids in the crowd.
Snowflake and Panda both did good, but TJ Boy and Star Boy were both off and screwed up several spots. Some of the people I watched the match with were commenting about not being surprised that TJ Boy and Star Boy were having an awkward performance in this one. There was a spot in this where Ultimo Panda got TJ Boy and Star Boy up for a double Death Valley Driver, and when he delivered it, TJ Boy looked as if he landed directly on his head during the move, which looked pretty sick, but he seemed fine after the match. Overall this was sloppy, but the crowd was entertained by the antics of Snowflake and Panda. They need to become be a regular team.
Kaos & Teddy Hart vs. Misterioso Jr. & Extreme Tiger
I just have to say this first and foremost: fucking Kaos man. Dude seriously looks like he’s in way better shape now than he did in his time in XPW and the years after. Not only did he look to be in the best shape of his career but the guy looks like he was in better shape and a really good performance in this. I know the guy has been in the game for about 21 or 22 years, but he looks like he could make a good run on the indy scene still. Now onto the match. This was a solid and fun match with tons of cool spots and moves that the crowd was into. Teddy Hart hit a bunch of cool moves, including an Electric Chair into a Lungblower on Extreme Tiger. Good stuff here.
Again, Kaos was really good in this. I hope that guy has a fire lit under his ass now and works more shows based on this performance. I think he could have some really solid matches with a lot of guys in SoCal.
Rey Mysterio Jr. & Fenix vs. John Morrison & Nicho El Millonario (Psicosis)
After the last match, there was about a 5-10 minute delay in start this match. The ring announcer kept stalling for time, and the crowd would begin to get more anxious as the minutes went by. Fenix was announced as Rey’s surprise partner for the match. The guy who sings Rey’s theme song performed during Rey’s entrance, but it was really hard to hear him. The fans were all over Morrison, chanting “Johnny Puto” at him.
The match itself felt like an entertaining WWE House Show type main event. Morrison and Psicosis were the Rudos in this. Psicosis did some sequences with Fenix, and Morrison did some cool stuff with Mysterio to start things off. They teased the 619 early in the match, but Morrison and Psicosis were able to regroup, only for Fenix and Mysterio to hit some dives on them, which got really good reactions from the fans. Eventually Rey hit a double 619 on Psicosis and Morrison, followed by Fenix doing his springboard 450 splash, and Rey Mysterio hitting a top rope splash for the win to send the crowd home happy. After the match, Rey and Fenix posted for the crowd before ending the show. Solid match to end the show.
This was a very fun event and I had a really good time. Kevin Kleinrock of Masked Republic was helping out at the event. He could be seen running around throughout the day. I’ve been to so many shows since like 2001, and I’ve never seen anyone work as hard like he does in being hands on in dealing with matters. There were several sponsors with booths setup at the show, a few mask vendors, the aforementioned taco people selling food, and Bart from AWS was on hand selling merchandise. After the main event had finished up, people who had purchasd VIP tickets began to line up to meet Rey Mysterio Jr. and John Morrison for a special post-show meet and greet. Viva La Lucha was helped out by local promotions Oddity Wrestling Alliance and Finest City Wrestling during the event. There was also someone filming the show with a drone, so it should be interesting on how that footage turns out.
Edit: I wanted to also give tons of credit to Viva La Lucha’s Ruben Zamora, who was handling backstage matters and was the promoter of the event. I met him briefly around 10 years ago when he ran events at Montgomery High School and he was a solid guy. I hope he continues to promote more big events like these not just in San Diego, but in the LA and OC areas.
The crowd seemed to be in the 700-800 range. With the late venue change, I expected there to be some issues with fans making the show. I imagine if the venue change either didn’t take place or happened earlier, the crowd would’ve been a lot bigger. The fans for the most part were very into the show and seemed to have a good time.
The show itself was fun from top-to-bottom. The opening Three-Way match was solid, and the net two tag matches were fun spotfests. El Snowflake and Ultimo Panda were very over with the fans, especially the kids. Kaos and Teddy Hart vs. Extreme Tiger and Misterioso Jr. was a really fun match, and possibly tied for MOTN with the main event, which was a fun spotfest. The only downsides to the show were the Tijuana guys coming off as not being on the same page as Ultimo Panda and Snowflake at times, but the antics of Snowflake and Panda made up for it with their comedy. The people chanting OWA during certain moments of the show also took away a bit from the event, but hearing them get drowned out by FCW chants was entertaining.
The experience overall was fun. Viva La Lucha possibly running regular events again in SoCal could change the landscape of the territory. Hopefully they begin running more shows. It’d be great to see more shows with star power mixed with good local talent on the undercards.