AAA TripleMania XXVI (25/8/18) Review

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LA Park takes a mask. Credit: AAA

Hello friends and welcome to a review of TripleMania written by someone who is clueless about Lucha Libre. If you’re looking to understand what is going on, look elsewhere. I’ll even tell you where to look. Check out Luchablog. Every part of this review that sounds like I know what I’m talking about is because I read his preview and followed along with his Twitter while watching. Anyway, I love these shows because they make me laugh, so let’s have some fun.

Dragon Bane, Astrolux and Freelance defeated Draztick Boy, Latigo and Aramis in a Llave a La Gloria

I was worried that knowing fuck all about Lucha would be a problem. Thankfully, it quickly became clear that Matt Striker and Vampiro (who are on the English commentary desk) are equally clueless, and they’re being paid to watch it. The Josh Barnett and Jim Ross team suddenly look like professionals.

Llave a La Gloria translates to Key to The Glory. It’s a tournament which serves as a proving ground for freelance or rookie wrestlers, and you can see that they are going all out in an attempt to impress. I was going to try and keep track of all the mental shit they did, but it was impossible. There was a Spanish Fly to the floor that wasn’t even that pivotal in the finish. It’s action like this that makes me want to get into Lucha as the athleticism on display is genuinely breathtaking.

While Freelance got the win with a Super Reverse Hurricanrana, he was probably the one I was least impressed with. The likes of Astrolux and Dragon’s Bane are astounding and made this a hell of a lot of fun.

Verdict: Four Stars

Sammy Guevera defeated ACH, Shane Strickland and Australian Suicide to win the AAA Cruiserweight Title

Matt Striker has spent more time talking about people hating him than he has wrestling. Someone appears to have a chip on their shoulder. I don’t hate you, Matt. It would just be nice if you did some research. Vampiro, meanwhile, is talking to people that aren’t involved in the broadcast (and bitching at people Tweeting him to complain about that).

Unsurprisingly, things weren’t slowing down after the opener. Australian Suicide was a fresh face for me, and I think the name gives you an insight into what he’s like. He hit a Shooting Star Stomp even as he lost his title. Sadly, he didn’t get to do much else. It felt like they were starting to hit full speed when Sammy Guevera hit a 630 Splash for the win.

I’m not going to pretend this wasn’t fun. However, there is zero doubt in my mind that these four men could do something a hell of a lot better than fun. I suspect not everyone involved was that bothered about being flown in for the TripleMania pre-show.

Post-match Killer Kross came out and murdered Strickland, ACH and Guevera. Not literally, that would have been a problem. He then offered Suicide a place in MAD. I don’t know what that is because Vampiro and Striker presumably figured it wasn’t important.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Nino Hamburgesa & Big Mami defeated Dinasita & Lady Maravilla, La Hiedra & Angelika and Vanilla Vargas & Hijo del Vikingo to retain the Mixed Tag Team Titles

Vanilla continued the murder theme by stacking it on a tope within the first thirty seconds. Vampiro called for a doctor over the commentary, so that was worrying. Thankfully, she recovered and got back into the ring.

Once again, there was no point in trying to keep up with what was happening. We ditched Lucha rules for a Tornado Tag setup, so bodies were flying all over the place as Maravilla and La Hiedra took to the air early on. Even when some of the work was a bit sloppy it didn’t matter because there was already someone else taking flight.

The most impressive of which was the sight of Big Mami leaping from the second rope to the floor followed by Hamburgesa diving through the ropes onto everyone. Screw all the 450s and Shooting Star Presses, that was a sight to behold. If you’re wondering why give them a Google.

Jokes aside, this was another insanely entertaining Lucha-fest with everyone bouncing around the ring. Dinasita, Angelika and Hijo del Vikingo had an awesome sequence with Vikingo being one to watch. He was pinned after a Hamburgesa Splash, but you can easily imagine stepping into a similar role to the likes of Bandido and Flamita in the rest of the world.

After the bell, Vanilla went after someone. No idea who, there were lots of people in the way, and she was quickly dragged off them. Once again, Striker and Vampiro decided it wasn’t important, so if there is a story there, I don’t know it.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Flamita and Bandido defeated Drago and Aerostar, Laredo Kid and Golden Magic and Andrew Everett and DJZ to become the Number One Contenders to the AAA World Tag Team Titles

The high flying is not stopping. Whether intentional or not, this is a smart way for AAA to kick off this show. Introducing international viewers to the chaotic tumbling of Lucha is an excellent way to get them interested.

I usually try and narrate the story of a match when writing my review. There isn’t any story to this shit. We’re focusing on folk doing mental things. Some people will have issues with that. I fucking love it. Give me Andrew Everett hitting Super ‘Ranas off ladders to the floor (thankfully, on to a group of people) over ten minutes of headlocks every day.

There is one criticism of this style which is that it forces these guys to keep raising the bar. Aerostar ran along a ladder that had been propped between another ladder and the ropes to dive to the outside, and I barely blinked. We’re only on the second bout of the main card, yet things are already starting to lose their impact.

Even with that issue, I had a lovely time. It was carnage from start to finish as these men went out with the intent of causing serious harm. The only thing that ended up in a worse state than their bodies were some of the ladders. It was beautiful and violent chaos. Watch it.

Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars

Vampiro and Konnan shenanigans

Afterwards, MAD turned up. Konnan led them out, and I spotted Jeff Jarrett, Juventud Guerrera, Australian Suicide, Killer Kross and Teddy Hart. It’s quite a ragtag group. A small part of me thought we might get an explanation of who they are, but I hoped for too much. Thank God for Lucha Blog. It’s a classic foreign heel (or rudo in this case) invasion angle.

This was a colossal clusterfuck of hilarity. Konnan was there to call out Vampiro. However, Vampiro refused to get into the ring until they played his music. For some reason, Murder Clown and Pagano then came out, had a chat with Killer Kross before deciding to leave again? Fuck knows why. Meanwhile, Vampiro was still calling for his music OVER THE COMMENTARY! Thankfully, they eventually played it, and he got into the ring.

It all built to Vampiro and Konnan agreeing to a Loser Leaves Mexico match. The idea that a company is running Vampiro vs Konnan in 2018 is hilarious. God, I love this shit.

Verdict: God bless TripleMania

Poder del Norte (Carta Brava Jr., Mocho Cota Jr. and Tito Santana) defeated Mamba, Maximo and Pimpinela Escarlata and Black Tauro, El Hijo de LA Park and Puma King

It’s not that Tito Santana.

This is AAA’s Andre the Giant Battle Royale as it’s about getting everyone onto the card. There are exoticos, a bull and a puma. It’s certainly colourful. Sadly, it was also a drop in quality. It wasn’t awful, and there were a few enjoyable spots alongside the comedy, but after everything we’d seen so far, it did feel like we were going at half speed.

I should praise the exoticos. They ate some rough looking bumps out there and Mamba, in particular, took a vicious looking assisted Powerbomb which seemed to lead to a broken nose. Their pain would prove unnecessary as Nuevo Poder del Norte worked together to pin El Hijo de LA Park much to the joy of some very screamy people in the crowd.

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

Los OGTs (Averno, Chessman and Super Fly) defeated MAD (Juventud Guerrera, Jack Evans and Teddy Hart)

We’re getting some more MAD as Teddy Hart and Jack Evans are teaming together. The first time I saw YouTube clips of those two I thought they were the most incredible thing I had ever seen. Some people are better suited to YouTube.

The OGTs are defending their promotion against the evil outsiders, despite apparently being arseholes. The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, are armed with straps to whip people with, so this shit is getting kinky.

On their third appearance of the night, Vampiro finally explained what this MAD lot are up to. That was nice of him. He also compared Teddy Hart to Misawa which distracted me for a good ten minutes while I laughed.

You’d have thought this might have been the first time they introduced some storytelling to proceedings. Nah. There were lots of cool moves. They just weren’t as cool as all the moves we’d seen before. Teddy Hart was spectacularly uninterested. While on the outside, Andrew Everett was having the time of his life with that strap.

Any goodwill towards this ended with the finish. Poder del Norte came back out to attack OGT. OGT then dumped them out of the ring at which point MAD and OGT stared at each other for a few seconds before Averno pinned Teddy Hart. Time to ring that clusterfuck alarm.

After the bell, OGT and Poder del Norte faced off again. Why did they come down and not get involved in the finish? Did they mistime it? Or am I trying to find logic where there is none? This was bad.

Verdict: Two Stars

Los Mercenarios (El Texano Jr., La Mascara and Rey Escorpion) defeated Joe Lider, Murder Clown and Pagano

Time to get violent. Joe Lider took all of five seconds to get busted open in this one as they made the earlier attempts at murder look like a friendly hug. In a commentary update, Vampiro is giving even less of a fuck. He keeps wandering off which is preferable to when he’s there because that’s 90% swear words. The other 10% is him telling everyone how politically incorrect he is.

It was light tubes galore early on while Pagano had some skewers hammered into his head. They stayed in there for an impressively long time.

That was only the first ten minutes. As time went on, the violence escalated. Pagano is particularly inventive in the destruction of his body. He got Powerbombed into a trolley at one point. That might have been preferable to taking a bump into the ring which was coated in glass and thumbtacks.

He followed that up (unsurprisingly, he didn’t spend much time selling), by setting a table on fire and hitting a Spanish Fly to Rey Escorpino through it. Texano Jr then set a whip ablaze and brought it down on Joe Lider to end the violence.

Honestly? I fucking loved that. It was batshit crazy and is only for people who enjoy a bit of Deathmatch action, but I had a lovely old time. These guys are incredibly inventive when it comes to killing each other and fingers crossed they all came out of it in as close to one piece as is possible.

Verdict: Four Stars

Lady Shani defeated Faby Apache in a Mask vs Hair match

According to our good friend Lucha Blog, this being so high on the card was AAA’s attempt to join the feminist wrestling movement. They did that by building the match around all the blokes who got involved.

Tauros was seconding Faby and early-on he started hammering away on Shani’s head, leaving her a bloody mess. He then took out her second, Nino Hamburguesa, with a big spear and a series of punches. That brought out LA Parka (that’s AAA’s replacement for LA Park and a big star in the promotion) to become her new second. We’ve gone from no storyline to all the storyline.

Whatever the reasoning, it fired Shani up, and she was able to battle back into things. Faby joined her in being busted open as they just went at each other. If you’re even more new to Lucha than me, you should know that mask/hair matches tend to get violent.

Sadly, it was still shenanigan central. We had a ref who was favouring the rudo (Faby) and counting fast for her and slow for Shani. He ended up taking a bump, at which point Tauros walloped Shani across the head with a chair while Parka was remarkably slow to respond. Ten seconds later, we had two refs wrestling each other which proved enough of a distraction for Shani to get the win with a Lungblower.

AAA keep hitting that clusterfuck bar and then raising it just a little bit higher. When this was a straight-up bout between the two women with Faby playing the despicable rudo and Shani fighting from underneath, it was damn good. The problem was that AAA booked it so that it wasn’t about that. LA Parka, Tauros and the refs were more important than the women in the ring. I’d like to see a straight-up war between those two. I somehow doubt I’ll ever get my wish.

Verdict: Three Stars

Rey Fenix defeated Jeff Jarrett, Brian Cage and Rich Swann to win the AAA World Heavyweight Title

I don’t feel comfortable reviewing a Rich Swann match. The whole situation involving Su Yung and him is messy and horrible. Yung has made her opinion clear and that’s her choice. I still want nothing to do with the guy.

I want to give a shoutout to Jeff Jarrett, though. He turned up at the last TripleMania hammered and proceeded to throw tacos at the Mexican crowd. This year, he walked in as AAA’s World Champion. Double J always lands on his feet.

Jokes aside, I’m happy that Jeff seems to have sorted himself out because alcoholism sucks. However, that man has no place in a prominent spot in 2018. I’ve no idea how he convinces AAA to put him in them, but I almost respect him for it. Fair play to The King Of The Mountain.

Verdict: NA

LA Park defeated Hijo del Fantasma, Pentagon Jr and Psycho Clown in a Mask vs Mask Cage Match where Fantasma lost his mask

Hijo Del Fantasma scaled the cage within the opening seconds of this match Rather than leave he dived back onto his opponents and I’m betting he regrets that now.

Early on, AAA was nice enough to give us a split screen with two separate views of LA Park and Psycho Clown climbing the cage while we heard Pentagon Package Piledrive Fantasma through some chairs. Great production. That was all for him as he introduced Psycho Clown to a fireball on top of the cage and headed to the floor. Probably one of his easier paydays.

Psycho Clown is clearly the AAA favourite, and he was given all the hype here. Which made it a bit weird that he followed Pentagon Jr out of the ring not long after having done very little. That led to the cage being lifted as we transitioned into a started match between Fantasma and LA Park. They were going to have to do something special because that cage section was thoroughly underwhelming.

It didn’t start well as Fantasma seemed to accidentally pull Park’s mask off. That would usually be a DQ under Lucha rules. Instead, it led to an awkward moment where Fantasma played to the crowd as Park sorted himself out.

He might as well have kept the mask off because it was ripped open enough that we could see everything. Including the rather gruesome cut on his head. I know people love LA Park. Based off of this? I ain’t seeing it. Fantasma is this ridiculously exciting wrestler who was being shackled by having to work to the pace and style of Park.

We were also treated to more referee involvement as the same rudo ref who was involved as in the hair vs mask match was in control here. He took a couple of bumps and was making slow counts for Park. Then, both men pulled an Eddie as they took off their masks and writhed around on the ground looking for a DQ. He decided to continue the action before getting into a fight with LA Park as you could feel the enthusiasm draining out of the arena. Everyone is knackered, and thankfully, it wasn’t long later that LA Park got the win.

This bored me. I don’t know if it’s because we were however many matches into a show that went over five hours or if it’s just because it wasn’t good. I suspect it’s the later, though. After hours of thrilling wrestling, it was hard to get invested in the slow and plodding action after an irrelevant cage section. If you were emotionally invested, it might have meant more to you, but it did fuck all for me apart from being a mildly entertaining brawl.

Verdict: Three Stars

After the bell, we had the usual mask removal (although it was a bit unnecessary, his mask was so ripped that we could quite clearly see his face). LA Park also took the opportunity to call Fantasma’s dad a motherfucker for not letting him use the LA Parka name.

Amazingly, we weren’t done there. Dr Wagner was down to challenge LA Park to a hair vs mask match at next year’s TripleMania. In a moment that summed up the night, LA Park didn’t seem too enthusiastic about that announcement. Did they spring it on him? Please tell me they did. It would be perfect. He did eventually agree, so that’s something. Right, let’s see this bad boy off.

Overall Show

In many ways, this was exactly what I wanted TripleMania to be. It had some incredible wrestling, a whole load of fuck-ups and a barrel or two of blood. However, it was let down by the main event which plodded rather than sparkled. It made the end of the show feel tired when it should have been hitting a lovingly violent crescendo. Still, I can’t imagine watching this and not having fun. I suggest you avoid the English commentary, though.

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