Editor’s Note: If you’re already a fan of lucha libre or looking for a great way to get started, check out LuchaBlog.com, ran by the author of this piece, thecubsfan.
Hey, it’s TripleMania again. Hooray?
Last year’s TripleMania had a significant media campaign and a terrible show. This year’s card looks better, but no one knows or cares enough to give them another shot. AAA will have an English feed, and it’s unclear why they’re bothering, as they haven’t promoted the show to an English speaking audience at all. The interest is down even among lucha libre fans, passing on the show due to the negative star potential of the main event or the bad run of TV this year.
This year’s TripleMania includes very basic matches AAA should’ve gotten around to years ago – their exciting tag team champions get a high profile defense, the anti-hero has his first ever singles match on AAA PPV – but are only now doing. TripleMania XXIV is greatly helped by an influx of Lucha Underground wrestlers—it would look very empty without them.
AAA will offer TripleMania on iPPV ($23/Sunday @ 6pm CT). Alternatively, I will point out that TripleMania will likely air on AAA’s TV show on September 10 & September 17, and be posted on AAA’s YouTube account soon after. The televised version is edited down, but the main matches usually make it thru intact.
Should you buy the iPPV, or check it out later, these are the matches you’ll see.
Faby Apache & Mary Apache vs Averno & Chessman
Averno & Chessman put an open challenge for the tag titles, the Apaches accepted, Averno & Chessman decided the Apaches were not good enough to get a shot, the Apaches harassed Averno & Chessman until they actually lost the tag titles, and that caused Averno & Chessman to finally agreed to the match.
For reasons not totally explained, the Apache’s father has been made special referee, but he has a long standing grudge against Faby and favored on Averno & Chessman’s side in the build up. Simple enough.
The one kinda important detail is Faby & Mary are women and Averno & Chessman are men.
This is not a situation where it just so happens to be an intergender match. Instead, the entire build of the match is around it being men fighting women. The heels refused the title match because fighting women was beneath them, they are male chauvinists, ranting along the lines of how women can’t drive as well as men and need to stay barefoot in the kitchen. (The rhetoric seems heavily designed to get some mainstream heat, but it doesn’t seem to have worked outside of a skirmish they had in front of the press.) The Apache sisters are larger than the average luchadora, have long been respected as legit tough wrestlers, and have spent the build up destroying AAA’s women division.
The Apaches should win – this is basically the plot of a 60s sitcom, where the men get upended by the women in the 3rd act – and maybe El Apache ends up siding with his daughters to give the men an excuse.
A Copa TripleMania Battle Royal
In the post-Konnan era, AAA’s become to resemble a more WWE like product in new ways. Every taping starts off with a talking segment setting up the main event, people regularly lose via the distraction of music playing, and now AAA has the Mania ‘get everyone else on the card’ battle royal. It’s not quite the same concept, as a dozen or more people are deemed not even worth being quickly thrown over the top rope and instead sitting this one out, but the concept is the same.
AAA literally announced this match as “La Parka and 10 other people”. In normal form, it turned it to be 11 other people. For the record, the rest are El Elegido, Taurus, Hernandez (back in the fold as a member of Team Trump), Pimpinela Escarlata, Hijo del Pirata Morgan, Daga, Super Fly, Zorro, Australian Suicide, Mamba and a surprise luchador. The surprise luchador might have a shot against La Parka, but no one else really does. Parka will get a trophy, Daga & Suicide may eliminate each other to keep their own feud going, and everyone will quickly move on. You should hang around long enough to see if the mystery person is anyone fun, and then use it as a chance to refresh your beverage.
AAA Tag Team Championship
Angélico & Jack Evans © vs Matt Cross & Paul London vs Aerostar & Drago vs Fénix & Hijo del Fantasma
Angelico & Jack Evans have had a hard year with injuries, but finally both were healthy at the same time and quickly regained the titles back. They put them up for the first time in this four-way match. Aerostar & Drago have teamed more frequently following their Lucha Underground success, though they’re here mostly because there’s nowhere better to put them. London & Cross are making their AAA debuts. London is currently an agent for Lucha Underground and did the same for the Lucha World Cup, so he may have double duty on this show. There’s no logical explanation why it’s Matt Cross wrestling and not Son of Havoc, but then they haven’t done more to introduce these two than quickly mention their name at a press conference. It hardly matters.
Fenix & Fantasma is the challenging team that might have a shot at winning the titles, and the most interesting for a number of reasons. Fantasma put the team together, billing it as the future of lucha to mix rudo and tecnico styles. (Fenix is also owed a shot at Fantasma’s cruiserweight title, though it’s unclear if AAA’s forgotten or is saving it for later.) The team worked well pretty well the first time out, with the new pair defeating Jack & Angelico in a match close to their best Lucha Underground work. Their second match didn’t happen; Fenix didn’t appear, and AAA suddenly switched to promoting replacement Garza Jr. as Fantasma’s perfect partner. Fenix offered the briefest of apologizes on Facebook the next day. AAA’s not made it clear if Fenix will be back in the team for TripleMania; it’s hard to imagine him missing the biggest show of the year, but odd things are happening with Fenix and it’s hard to escape the notion he’s not going to be a full time part of AAA going forward.
In the light of that, Angelico & Jack Evans should keep the tag titles. They’ve had a great run since being put together, only missing the quantity of strong matches on big shows. It’s hard to choose one specific match to point towards for their tag run, but this one has the potential to be that match.
AAA Latin American Championship
Pentagón Jr. © vs Johnny Mundo
AAA has belatedly gotten around to focusing about as much on Pentagon as Lucha Underground. He won the Rey de Reyes, he picked up AAA’s secondary championship, and AAA ran a big angle to give him a feud for this show. And then, plans changed, but Pentagon ended up with a better opponent.
Johnny Mundo has been making special guest appearances in AAA since Lucha Underground began and was previously matched up with Alberto and Mysterio. It wasn’t clear if he’d be back once they left, but he returned for this year’s Lucha World Cup. Mundo’s team won the Cup when he beat Pentagon (with some help from Chavo Guerrero), then Mundo pinned Pentagon again on AAA’s last show in Mexico City. Mundo and Pentagon have both been in the top mix of Lucha Underground for some time, but have never crossed paths for any length of time and this is a new and interesting matchup.
Taya is the wildcard. She’s a member of Worldwide Underground in Lucha Underground with Mundo, and a member of Perros del Mal with Pentagon in AAA. Taya is AAA women’s champion, but her only role on the card is to second Pentagon in this match. There’s no great storyline reason for Taya to turn, but it does fit AAA’s shock turn patterns (there’s been no mention of the potential conflict, to set up that shock) and it’d allow AAA to stretch out this feud for another six months (assuming they can get Mundo to come back again.)
The counterpoint is there’d be more to a turn than Taya just seconding someone else. AAA’s kept the Perros del Mal locked as the same four people since Aguayo passed away, and making any changes to what he left behind is going to be painful for everyone involved. Taya rightfully credits her success of the last few years to Aguayo adding her to group soon after she came to Mexico, and there’s a lot more emotionally involved than simply trading one shirt for another. Maybe enough to balk at the turn. If she does turn, then it might be time to respectfully retire the concept and move on to something new, rather than have it slowly break apart this way.
This is all good drama in real life, but has been completely ignored on TV. You can safely ignore it for most of the match, and just keep expect something screwy to happen on the finish. Mundo’s probably going to win because that’s how AAA usually does things, but I’d much rather see Pentagon win and AAA figure out another way to set up a rematch if need be.
AAA Heavyweight Championship
Texano Jr. © versus Dr. Wagner Jr. and Brian Cage
Like most AAA stories this year, this has been a simple build. Texano won the vacant title back in March, defeating Mesias about 15 minutes after Mesias came out as a Donald Trump supporter. Mesias united with Cage, Mundo and Hernandez as fellow Americans who have a very definite opinion of who they’re voting for in November and can’t help but express it like a Facebook comment. Texano and Wagner both ended up on the tecnico side to fight the evil foreigners. Wagner beat Mesias to get a title shot, which didn’t really make a lot of sense until later. Cage beat both Texano and Wagner in a three-way, then decided to walk off with the belt. AAA never really explained if Texano got the belt back, but Cage got into the title match out of it. Wagner’s pushed the idea of he and Texano working together in the match to make sure Cage doesn’t take the belt to the USA, but Wagner’s a hard guy to trust.
That three-way match was good if not great, and a bit limited because it was all about building up Cage as a monster to get him in the title match. They’ll have more to work with here, and this should be pretty entertaining. Wagner isn’t full time in AAA and seems a stretch to win. He may have been meant for a different match and was just added onto this one. Cage actually winning the title isn’t out of the question; he’s in AAA more than Mundo, and his act is over pretty well. It may be a matter of not wanting to repeat results; if Mundo wins the last match, it’s tough to have Cage do the same in this one. At least one of the young Mexican champions should actually win, even in AAA booking.
Marty Martinez, Matanza, Mil Muertes versus Dragón Azteca Jr., Prince Puma, Rey Misterio Jr.
(Disclaimer: Dragon Azteca’s name is Aztec Dragon in Mexico, for a reason AAA’s never bothered to explain. Expect to be confused.)
Lucha Underground Offer Match! Please note: Lucha Underground doesn’t air in Mexico. At all, not in English, not in Spanish. There’s an awareness of the product, especially among hardcore fans, because Mysterio is there and some of those hardcore favorite AAA guys are there, and the logo has made it’s way onto AAA TV a few times. Most people will know Misterio, might remember a couple others from the Lucha World Cup, might have no idea about the others, and will be confused why Mesias is wearing a mask again.
It doesn’t matter. It’s Rey Mysterio, they’ve got a clear face/heel set up that last year, it should do pretty well. Prince Puma’s TripleMania debut is two years delayed; he was supposed to appear in a multi-man match in 2014, but didn’t make a flight and didn’t make a show. He should make a big impression this time, if he can make it to the building. This should be an easy fun match, a break between the more serious ones. This is also a good time to stop watching this show.
Hair vs. Mask
Pagano versus Psycho Clown
Look. I’m tired of telling people how bad this is going to be. Maybe we can use video instead.
your TripleMania main event pic.twitter.com/OYibg1RpYy
— luchablog (@luchablog) August 21, 2016
Thoughts I had:
- Pagano almost killed Psycho Clown, don’t do that
- They were aiming for the chair! They didn’t come close within a foot of the chair!
- Even if it worked, their plan was for Psycho Clown to just get back up and hit the next move anyway, great work guys
- And AAA could have cut this all out, but decided nah!
Pagano is the living breathing embodiment of every bad deathmatch wrestler stereotype. He’s completely reliant on weapons and blood for his matches, and he doesn’t really do either particularly well. There’s no psychology in his matches, not even the slightest concept of moving to bigger spots at the end, or selling the brutality to make it look more impressive. He’s not in shape, he tires quickly, and he often puts himself and his opponents in danger. It’s indictment of AAA’s creativity and finances that they couldn’t find anyone better for this position. AAA’s gone full bore to build up Pagano, including having him beat Psycho Clown six consecutive times on TV, and no one believes he has a chance to win. (Not even Pagano, who’s told his fans to pay attention to this performance and not the outcome.)
AAA will throw everything at this they have to make this work. Pagano and Psycho Clown already have done weapon filled brawls, with fire and thumbtacks, and they’ll add in an evil referee and lots of interference for the final match. They’ve already concentrated most of the build up to the show on this match, just to get people to care. The Psycho Clown character is over, so the match should get a good reaction. It’s just hard to see it doing much for these guys going forward (the similar Mascara 2000 Junior/Dr. Wagner program ended up meaning nothing past that day), and this match won’t do anything for those who don’t normally watch AAA. Seriously: if you’re offended/appalled by wrestlers taking chair shots to the head and other very poor health choices, you should not watch this match. This is going to look like a stone age rock fight compared to major league promotions around the rest of the year.
It’s too bad the show will end on a down note, because there’s a good show buried in here. Five of the seven matches should be good if they’re not tripped up by booking, and a couple of those matches could be great. It’s just hard to see it reaching many people. Lucha has an uphill battle in the US as it is, AAA dug a great hole for themselves last year, and an improved card on it’s own isn’t enough to dig out.