In an interesting move, this weekend saw AAA air TripleMania for free on Twitch. As someone who has never watched any Lucha Libre before, never mind any AAA, it seemed as good an excuse as any to check it out. What I discovered was a show that, well, to be perfectly honest, was bloody mental. It made SummerSlam look consistent and yo-yo-ed wildly from fantastic to awful. From emotion to farce. It was one hell of an experience and I’m desperate to talk about it so let’s hand out some stars.
Ashley, Dragon Star, Pardux and Solaris defeated Bronco Gonzales Jr, Chicano, Fetiche and Hahastary
It became apparent mere minutes into the opening match that the English commentary team, Kevin Gill and Gabriel Ramirez, didn’t have a clue what was going on. They weren’t sure what the rules were or even who the wrestlers in the ring were. As a first time viewer, this wasn’t much use. Therefore, I don’t really know which name goes with which wrestler but it doesn’t matter because this was a mess. The opening two matches were the finals of the Llave a la Gloria tournament, which was essentially a televised try-out. Sadly, that pressure seemed to get to these wrestlers and this was sloppy as hell.
Verdict: One Star
Angelikal, Hijo del Vikingo and The Tigger defeated Angel Mortal Jr., Tiger Boy and Villano III Jr.
The second tournament match was a massive improvement. Hijo del Vikingo was the obvious standout and not just because he’s a Viking. He pulled off some truly spectacular stuff and this match saw everyone involved throw everything into it. Later in the show, it would be announced that Vikingo, Angelikal and Ashley had won the tournament but that all of the wrestlers were getting signed to become the first class in AAA’s new school.
Verdict: Three Stars
Hernandez, La Hiedra, Mamba and Mini Psycho Clown defeated Big Mami, Dinastía, Estrella Divina and Máscara de Bronce
A small amount of research tells me that this is a classic Lucha Libre concept. Each team was made up of a male wrestler, a female wrestler, an exotica and a Mini-Estrella. I never know how to feel about exotica wrestlers. Not knowing much about Mexican culture I can’t quite figure out if it is homophobic or not so I’m going to leave that for the moment and focus on the action, which was fun. This was very much a comedy match centred about Big Mami who came off the top rope to the outside and at one point pulled off a Matrix style move to avoid an attack. She also took the fall as a chair shot allowed La Hiedra to get the win.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Sexy Star (c) defeated Ayako Hamada, Lady Shani and Rosemary to retain the Reina de Reinas Championship
What a clusterfuck. Sexy Star should never wrestle in AAA again and yet from what I’ve heard it probably won’t make a difference. Not only did she deliberately try to break Rosemary’s arm in the finish (which is about as scummy as it gets), but she spent most of the match standing around at ringside not even bothering to sell. Sadly, the rest didn’t do much better as no-one seemed to know what the hell was going on. I don’t know if it was a breakdown in communication or entirely down to Sexy Star, but it was a mess and considering I know Rosemary can go and have heard good things about Hamada that’s a damn shame. This match left a bad taste in my mouth.
Verdict: No Stars
Monster Clown and Murder Clown defeated Dark Cuervo and Dark Scoria (c), Aero Star and Drago, and GFW Team (DJZ & Andrew Everett) to win the AAA Tag Team Titles
This was also a bit of a clusterfuck but in a fun way rather than a horrible one. Once again the commentary team didn’t have a clue what was going on which meant that the various run ins had little to no impact due to them not being able tell us who they were or why it was happening. I do know that Marty the Moth was one of them as he helped the creepy clown bastards (my own name for them) get the win. The action in the ring made up for that by being mental. Aero Star stole the show with a crazy series of dives which culminated in him climbing onto a lighting rig and having it raised as high as possible before leaping on to the crowd below. Monster Clown deserves a lot of credit as the rest fell away and he caught the falling nutjob. This was a nice palette cleanser after the shit show before it.
Verdict: Three Stars
La Parka defeated a shit load of people in Torneo TripleMania
Once again, this was a mess. In a recurring theme from this show, no one seemed to know what the fuck was going as the commentary begun announcing competitors before realising that they were actually a random selection of lumberjacks. They then didn’t know half the competitors in the match before the production team (not for the only time during this show) fucked up by playing La Parka’s music when he got a pin over Jeff Jarrett. Which would have been fine, if it had actually been the end of the match. We also had La Parka being the sole winner despite it being a trios match. At least Jeff Jarrett got to display some casual racism by chucking tortillas around and was made to look like a star, he always comes out on top does Double J. If you’re watching this show do yourself a favour and skip this. It’s a massive waste of time.
Verdict: No Stars
Pagano vs. El Mesías ended in a no contest
As we head into the final three matches we can breathe a sigh of relief as the number of competitors drops and the commentary team actually know everyone’s name. Oh wait, there was a run in at the end of this match that sent them scrambling again. This was one of those hardcore matches that despite barbed wire and everything else being used was dull as fuck. The two men traipsed around the place with all the urgency of a snail on holiday and by the time the finish came I was half asleep. Rey Escorpion was the man who interfered and thanks to Lucha Blog (look him up on Twitter if you want the opinion of someone who actually understands this shit) I know that it’s because he thinks he’s more hardcore than both of them. This was dull, but it was still far from the worst thing on this show so it has that going for it.
Verdict: Two Stars
Johnny Mundo (c) defeated El Hijo del Fantasma and Texano Jr in a TLC match to retain the AAA Mega Championship, AAA Latin American Championship and AAA World Cruiserweight Championship
This was more like it. This was a great TLC match which wasn’t even hurt by interference from Hernandez, Kevin Kross (both of whom were aiding Mundo) and Mascara De Bronce (who was evening the playing field). A big part of that was down to the performance from Fantasma who was fantastic as he put his body on the line at every chance he could get and – alongside Texano who the ref helped blade rather openly on camera – bled a ridiculous amount. It was high-flying and bodies were being dropped through tables quicker than the (already struggling) production team could keep up. After wading through a lot of shit this was the first match that actually made this show feel like it was worth watching and even Vampiro chokeslamming the champ at the end didn’t damage that shine.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Psycho Clown defeated Dr Wagner Jr. to unmask him
This match was special. Even as someone who had no context for it, the emotion shone through as the – apparently – legendary Dr Wagner Jr. was forced to unmask and reveal himself as 52-year-old Juan Manuel Gonzalez Barron. It was masterfully built to as well as he gave Psycho Clown everything he had (including practically removing his mask) and having his son help out as well. In the end, the younger man had too much for him and was able to pick up the win and bring this portion of Wagner’s career to an end. As someone with nothing more than the smallest knowledge of Lucha Libre even I know how important the masks are but this is the first time I’ve truly understood that. Wagner unmasking felt like a huge moment and there were people in the audience openly weeping when it happened. This wasn’t losing a title belt or even shaving your head, it was a man’s life changing and that was fascinating to watch. This is the match on this show that sold me on Lucha Libre as a genre after an event which at times turned me off.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
When this show shone, it shone bright as hell as the incredible athleticism of those involved allowed them to do things you couldn’t see in any other company while the main event did what every wrestling match should aspire to do and captured your emotions. It’s such a shame then that it was let down by all the other bullshit. Bullshit that happened in the ring and out of it as the commentators and production team both had an absolute nightmare of a night and seemed to be making it up as they went along. Sexy Star’s awful behaviour will be the main talking point coming out of this but it’s by no means alone and even as a first-time watcher it became very clear that AAA is a company with a shitload of problems. Still, those last two matches were great, weren’t they?