As I make clear at the start of my TripleMania review every year, I know fuck all about lucha libre. Beyond the obvious stars, Fantastica Mania and this show, I only catch hyped matches, and the culture around it is as alien to me as it is fascinating. I adore how Mexico views wrestling, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I also find some of their, em, eccentricities rather amusing. If history is any indicator, this show could veer wildly from genius to hilarious, and I am down for that.
If you want someone who does understand lucha, click here.
Pre Show: Dragon Bane, Astrolux and Arkangel Divino defeated Aramis, Arez and Toxin
Who doesn’t love a bunch of cool-looking masked dudes flipping around the ring? That’s exactly what this match was, although (in the interests of transparency) two of them didn’t have masks, but one of those did have facepaint on so it was swings and roundabouts. It will tell you everything you need to know about this review that I don’t know which of the people involved those two were.
The action was all dives, backflips and fancy Tijeras. Was it all beautifully executed? No, there were some very sloppy moments, and not everyone was on the same page, but it never actually mattered. By the time you realised something hadn’t gone to plan, someone was hitting a fucking Spanish Fly from the top onto a load of people on the floor and you’d forgotten your complaint.
There aren’t many better ways to open a show than sending six talented lads out to do cool shit. That’s all this was, and I had a lovely time. If The Bucks were paying attention backstage expect to see some of the names in this match pop-up in AEW in the future.
Verdict: Four Stars
We got a ridiculous promo package that seemed to be about the Universal Monsters coming to life and attacking a city… the English feed hadn’t started at this point, so my knowledge of exactly what the hell was going on is slim, but from what I gather it was an advert for Unefon which is a cell phone company. When the show finally started, they did the traditional ceremony with the flags and the urns which, I believe, represent the founders of AAA.
Lady Maravilla and Villano III Jr defeated Big Mami and Nino Hamburguesa, Sammy Guevera and Scarlett Bordeaux and Australian Suicide and Vanilla to win the AAA Mixed Tag Titles in a Four Way Tag Match
Big Mami and Nino Hamburguesa are always ridiculously over, and this match was cleverly built around them. Early on they provided the comedy with Mami Stinkfacing Scarlett before graduating to doing some insane dives for people their size. They even got some storyline progression in the finish with Lady Maravilla low blowing Hamburguesa for the roll-up after he tried to help her (he’s got a bit of a crush) with her injured leg. Poor Hamburger man.
Outside of that, this was the usual lucha chaos. Australian Suicide was living up to his name while Vanilla matched him dive for dive. Sammy wasn’t far behind them although he seemed to vanish towards the end of the match while Scarlett Bordeaux does what she does brilliantly. It was fun, and while it fell short of the pre-show, it had enough cool moments to keep me entertained.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
After the match Big Mami challenged Maravilla which I will probably never see. Let me know if it’s good.
Konnan made his way out to cut a promo. I’m going off translations, but even I understood ‘Donald Trump’, and it had an anti-Mexico theme that he seemed to deliver with quite some aplomb to good heat before returning to the back. I’m not quite sure what the point of that was.
We then got tribute videos to people who had passed away foremost of whom were Perro Aguayo and Silver King. They were brilliantly produced, and are well worth seeking out. Afterwards, Silver King was inducted into the AAA Hall of Fame.
Los Jinetes del Aire (Hijo del Vikingo, Myzteziz and Golden Magic) defeated Las Freses Salvajes (Mamba, Pimpinela Escarlata and Maximo) and Poder del Notre (Tito Santana (not that one), Mocho Cota Jr and Carta Bravo Jr) to retain the AAA Trios Titles in a Three-Way Trios match
I switched to the English feed for this match because as awful as Matt Striker is, it’s nice to not have to remember everyone’s names.
There is no point me trying to capture the shit that went on in this. It was another wild lucha spotfest and was all the fucking fun. As someone who watches as much wrestling as I do, I’m always impressed when someone does something I’ve never seen before, and that happened roughly ten times in this match.
The king of it was Hijo del Vikingo, who is insanely good. If you’ve somehow missed the hype, then you need to see this guy. They crafted this match around his incredible aerials abilities, allowing him to show off. The fact he isn’t booked all over the place baffles me, and I can only assume something is stopping him from being so.
He was far from the only one to impress here, with nearly everyone getting at least a chance to shine. Whether you’re watching for the high-flying, the exoticos’ comedy or Poder del Norte heeling it up, there was plenty for you to get your teeth into.
Verdict: Four Stars
Pagano won Copa Triplemania
Historically, Copa TripleMania is a fucking disaster. It’s a Royal Rumble style match which they’ve never defined the rules of. I’m pretty sure that it was once a trios match until La Parka won it by himself, so yea, I was going in expecting chaos.
Incredibly, we didn’t get it. Well, we did, but in a fun way not in a ‘what the fuck is going on’ way. Any match which features Aerostar making his entrance on a custom platform that lowered from the ceiling so he could leap off it is good in my books. Plus, he didn’t die, which is always a worry with that crazy fucker.
What they did was make this a straight-up Rumble match that was worked at a fast pace and had plenty of cool spots. We got a mask ripping brawl between Aerostar and Monster Clown, La Parka having a boogie (and then being awful in the ring), lots of cool lucha and the surprise of Konnan turning up. Thankfully, he wasn’t required to wrestle too much as he sat in the corner drinking a beer before someone hit Vampiro’s music (I made a reference) and he came out to eliminate him. As ridiculous as it is to highlight these two ageing luchadors who will have an awful match (if they ever even have it) together, it was a cool moment.
Sadly, there were a few too many dull moments and a bit too much dodgy wrestling for this to be great, but it was still a hell of a lot better than I expected it to be.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
After Pagano won he was presented with a slightly underwhelming trophy, before the lights went out. When they came back on, LA Park, Hijo de LA Park and LA Park Jr were in the ring. They beat the shit out of Pagano, destroyed the cup and LA Park challenged him to a mask vs hair match (I think, I’m using other people’s translations again).
This got over huge as Park walked out on AAA not long after TripleMania last year (he was originally booked to be in the main event of this show in a mask vs hair match with Dr Wagner Jr) and this was his return. Park isn’t to everyone’s taste, but he’s got charisma, and a wild brawl with Pagano is a great use of him.
Tessa Blanchard defeated Ayako Hamada, Chik Tormenta, Faby Apache, Lady Shani, La Hiedra and Taya Valkyrie to win the AAA Reina de Reinas Title in a TLC Match
The ‘Women’s Revolution’ hasn’t made its way to AAA as they crammed seven women into one match and gave them ten minutes. Beforehand, Keyra (who was unable to defend her title due to injury) came out in a wheelchair to apologise to the fans which enticed Tormenta up the ramp to attack her. That brought out Ayako Hamada to make the save which earned her the right to enter the match (don’t question it).
Look, if you throw seven people into the ring, give them a bunch of weapons and let them do crazy stuff for ten minutes it’s going to be entertaining. We got dives to the outside, Taya stapling her 8×10 to Tormenta and plenty of crazy bumps involving tables, ladders and, you guessed it, chairs (and one where Tormenta completely missed a ladder, crashing to the floor). They worked their arses off and took plenty of risks while doing so.
However, this wasn’t the wild sprint that the earlier chaotic matches were, as they worked a more WWE style, taking it in turns to be the centre of attention. That left it all feeling a bit too staged, and there was more than one sloppy/dangerous moment without the instant gratification to help you forget it. Earlier matches hid the chaos that having too many people involved can bring while this highlighted it.
Still, I will always respect people putting their bodies on the line, and this featured plenty of that.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Cain Velasquez, Psycho Clown and Cody defeated Killer Kross, Black Tauros and Texano Jr
Every time I look at this collection of men I laugh, it’s such an insanely random collection of luchadors (and one MMA fighter) that if you’d asked a million people to book a TripleMania card six months ago, not a single one would have put this on it.
The attention was always going to be on Cain Velasquez who wrestled in a mask. Firstly, he was over with the crowd, who gave him a hero’s welcome and were desperate to see him do his thing. Secondly, he did his thing very well. He kicked off with Black Tauros, flying around with Tijeras and Arm Drags. He didn’t look entirely natural moving around the ring and emoted a bit weirdly, but the moves were hit well, and for a guy having his first match, you’ve got to put your hands together.
Some credit does have to go to his opponents. Black Tauros, in particular, worked hard to make him look great and impressed all match. He’s another luchador who is having a bit of a breakout and delivering while in the ring with Cody will do him no harm if he wants to make headway in America. Kross, meanwhile, did a good job teasing a future match with Velasquez while not giving anything away while Psycho Clown does so much with so little. It was another match that didn’t hit great but was enjoyable from start to finish.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
The Mercenarios attacked after the match, de-masking Psycho Clown before being chased off by Cain.
The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix) and Laredo Kid defeated The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
Every wrestler in this match needs to be taken away from every other wrestler (apart from The Bucks, they can still be a team). The Elite brings the worst out of Kenny, The Lucha Bros and the Bucks have the same problem while Fenix and Pentagon take being in the ring together as a chance to coast. Then there is Laredo Kid, the brilliant guitarist who has wandered onto someone else’s stage, played a solo and wandered off. Sure, he’s spectacular, but no-one is going to be talking about him after the gig because no-one is there to see him.
And it didn’t help that this match sucked. After the Mexican fans went wild for Cain, they were going mild for this stuff, clearly not giving a single shit about The Elite. Weirdly, it seemed to take the fire out of the action too. I haven’t loved this feud because I feel like I’ve seen it all before (even when I hadn’t), but it’s always been at least entertaining. This wasn’t. It just happened, never absorbing me and being wrestled at a weird half pace. it felt like The Elite weren’t comfortable in Mexico and changed their style because of that.
So, rather than waste any more words on it I’ll take the time to point out that Matt Striker is still fucking awful. He’s either talking absolute shit or suddenly gets it into his head to do super fast and serious play-by-play which sounds like someone covering horse racing. At least when Vampiro was there we got a few laughs out of it, but the guy next to him was annoyingly competent, which just highlighted how awful Striker is.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
After the match Omega cut a heelish promo putting The Elite over as being responsible for the house. He then challenged Fenix for the AAA Mega Championship, a belt that they take so seriously they didn’t even have a match for it on their biggest show of the year. It wasn’t a very good promo and served as another way to keep this awful feud alive.
Blue Demon Jr defeated Dr Wagner Jr in a Mask vs Hair match
The entrances for this match were incredible. Both men rose up from different sides of the entranceway in cherry pickers to their music and stood in the air, pointing at each other as the pre-match promo video aired. I am all in for that level of over-the-top ridiculousness. Eventually, they took it in turns to be lowered down and make their entrances proper.
You’d think the match would struggle to live up to that insanity, but it had no problem. It took seconds for Wagner to be busted open as they brawled into the crowd. Demon then decided the best way to follow up was to smash a champagne bottle over his rival’s head having ripped his mask open beforehand (Wagner’s already lost the mask, so he didn’t have to worry about hiding his face).
That set the tone for what was to come. This was a bloody, wild brawl with Wagner and Demon both leaking blood as they beat the shit out of each other. Demon, in particular, was spurting crimson, staining the mask he fought for and everything else too. If anything, that seemed to wake him up, and suddenly he was brutalising Wagner with a hammer. He was whacking him with that thing, and it did not look gimmicked. Ouch.
He did focus that attack on Wagner’s arm, and it led to the sight of Wagner and Demon rolling around in their blood, Demon wrenching on a Fujiwara Armbar as he tried to get the win. If you got a weak stomach, you might want to avoid it, but I thought it looked fucking awesome.
Towards the end, Wagner seemed to tap, but the ref missed it. That gave him new momentum, and he got a few near falls that had the crowd roaring. Meanwhile, the families of the two men were fighting on the outside, and a block of cement somehow ended up in the ring. Demon ended up smashing it over Wagner’s head for the win.
Honestly, this wasn’t a great wrestling match. What it was, was an incredible spectacle. These two beat the shit out of each other while Arena Mexico hung off every moment, screaming their heroes on. I got caught up in it, and I’m not tied into their history, so I can’t imagine what it would be like for the true fans. Brilliant stuff.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but that was a well-booked show. There wasn’t a single laugh out loud ridiculous moment and I’m not really sure what to do with that. What’s the point of watching a show for the giggles if it’s going to be really good? Come on, AAA!
Jokes aside, this was great. A load of fun spotfests, a cool debut and a wild brawl in the main event. It didn’t so much beat my expectations as dance through them laughing and raising a middle finger at everyone who decided to watch it ‘ironically’. Fair play, AAA.