AAA has had about six rotating major stories in the time I’ve been following it. In no particular order:
- Konnan has quit AAA
- Konnan has returned to AAA
- AAA has a bunch of talented young wrestlers
- There is great talent unrest in AAA
- AAA is coming to the United States
- AAA has made a poor business deal that has left them unable to promote in the US
Saturday’s TripleMania Regia is both the kickoff of AAA’s 30th Anniversary year celebrations and the soft launch of a new run at #5. It’s the first AAA show available outside of Mexico in 12 months and the first show with English commentary since the onset of the pandemic. It’s also meant to be the springboard towards AAA living their northerly expansion dreams once more. Which makes it too bad that they seem to have limited interest in what people want out of AAA.
TripleMania Regia 2 airs Saturday at 6:30 pm on FITE from Monterrey’s baseball stadium for $20 USD. The PPV will air in both Spanish and English and will be available for everyone around the world, except those people who live in Mexico. Space will be broadcasting the show in Mexico over the next two weeks, with the first part airing live. Broadcast network Azteca will also show some matches from this show later that night. TripleMania Regia is meant to be the winter equivalent of AAA’s normal summer TripleMania show, though in practice it’s been about a half step down from those cards.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported Matt Striker and a man I couldn’t even find on Google would be announcing the show; I don’t list his name because my guess is Dave Meltzer had a typo, and because AAA’s never announced either of the names to allow us the correct name. Striker probably has less recent AAA product knowledge than anyone reading this post. It appears you can switch commentary tracks no matter which show you get, and I’d suggest you stick with Spanish if the announcers are as specified.
AAA has rivaled Ring of Honor for the most affected group by the pandemic. All their normal TV shows this year have been no fans events, with only the last few major events including a crowd. TripleMania Regia will be AAA’s first show with no limitations of any kind and they’re using it basically as a 2022 kick-off show and are hoping to draw 15K fans for this show to get started. They’ve got big plans for a 30th-anniversary tour, already announcing a special birthday show and a jersey tie-in with some LigaMX teams. There’s more to come and rumors of newly planned shows for the US market. Half the AAA plans never come close to happening, but TripleMania Regia is meant to get people to start following AAA again.
Which makes a gigantic issue that most people don’t know they can actually see this show. AAA’s previous US adventure left them unable to air anything outside of Mexico. No one’s reported exactly what’s changed to make this show possible. AAA’s YouTube and Facebook continue to lockout international viewers. AAA needs to do some serious re-education that this show is available specifically for everyone, and that’s work they’ve been either unwilling or uninterested in doing. I don’t think this offering is going to do particularly well, and believe there’s going to be a decent amount of people looking for a bootleg stream under the mistaken belief it’s the only way they can see TripleMania Regia.
Maybe it’s not worth the effort. This was originally the Omega/Vikingo show, and that would’ve been enough to get quite a few people to pay for it. What’s left is a show that doesn’t seem to put AAA’s best foot forward. It includes a lot of names, with a heavy emphasis on part-time wrestlers, and sidelining many of AAA’s own exciting wrestlers
The two dark matches, which are slated to air on TV the following week, are the Marvel Lucha Libre match and a women’s trios match. The Marvel match is notable because it appears Laredo Kid & Taurus will be pulling double duty on this show if they continue their recent superhero portrayal.
The women’s trios replace the nominal title defense. Current Reina de Reinas champion Deonna Purrazzo has a previously personal commitment on this day, though it’s also been clear AAA’s had no idea what to do with her next after winning the belt – she hasn’t appeared since the day she won it. Former Reina de Reinas champion Taya Valkyrie’s WWE non-compete is believed to expire just prior to this show and there’s a strong chance she turns up in Monterrey to offer herself as Purrazzo’s next opponent.
Poder del Norte (Carta Brava Jr., Mocho Cota Jr., Tito Santana) vs Los Vipers (Abismo Negro Jr., Arez, Psicosis II) vs Nueva Generacion Dinamita (Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón)
NGD’s performance at Verano de Escandalo showed they could still have good matches when they interested; their TV performances following showed they’re back to being boring when they don’t care. Poder del Norte hitting people hard is usually a formula to get them to care, so this should be alright.
The second Psicosis returned to AAA as part of the relaunch of the Los Vipers idea, an exercise in rebranding bunch of lower card wrestlers with an important gimmick of the past to give them credibility when they lose to the real stars. NGD hasn’t lost since coming in and Poder de Norte can’t lose again if AAA plans on keeping this going, so this has obviously been a Vipers loss since the moment it was announced. AAA’s heavily teased the return of old Viper leader Cibernetico for this show, which may lead to interesting promos but poor matches. Psicosis II is already here and no great shakes either.
Psycho Circus (Dave The Clown, Murder Clown) and Chessman vs La Empresa (Diamante Azul, Puma King, Sam Adonis)
La Empresa are one of many dominant rudo groups going in AAA; they haven’t taken a loss since popping up in May. They took out Monster Clown before the last major AAA show, then left replacement Dave the Clown handcuffed and unmasked in a cage. Psycho Clown did invite Dave to formally join Psycho Circus as a thanks for helping out. This is about the time in the story where an AAA tecnico team unit gets revenge, but a middle of the card no-stakes match seems kind of underwhelming as a blowoff after all that time spent.
The La Empesa attack on Monster Clown before Heroes Inmortales seems to have been a cover for a real injury to Monsther Clown. Current and former co-workers held a benefit show for his medical expenses last week even while he’s insistent he’ll still work this show. Chessman has said he’s replacing Monsther Clown, though AAA hasn’t announced it. This will probably be a messy brawl with lots of interference. The most recent Empresa matches have highlighted second Estrellita and unidentified La Empresa goons more than the three guys actually in the group. AAA might bring in even more ex-CMLL luchadors to add to the chaos.
Laredo Kid & ? vs Dragón Lee & Dralistico
Laredo Kid’s partner hasn’t been revealed, hasn’t been hinted at it, it’s more an omission than a mystery. I believe the original plans were for Samuray del Sol to be in that spot. I expect the reveal to be a lot like Fish & Lethal – not from AEW, but a known US name who should be fine if strange to see him here.
Dralistico, the former Místico II, is the best example of the limited reach of CMLL at the moment. He was a top star as Místico, and a guy not getting booked much as Dralistico. His price is probably a significant issue. CMLL was as cold as it gets when he left, Caristico taking back the Místico gimmick wiped his replacement from their minds, and Dralistico hasn’t had a big moment to heat himself back up. Still, I can’t imagine he thought he’d have as little work as hes gotten in the last two months when he bolted Arena Mexico. He’s surely being used as a cautionary tale to other CMLL luchadors who might think about escaping.
Dragon Lee hasn’t wrestled in AAA since the first TripleMania Regia in 2019. His future is uncertain; I caution everyone not to hold their breath on an AEW deal for the Munoz family. Dragon Lee & Dralistico are supposedly here for an AAA tag title match with the Lucha Brothers, one that got derailed by those championships moving to FTR instead. It’s logical they’ll win to keep progressing towards that goal, but now we’re on three straight matches of an outsider team who never loses who are also probably beating an AAA home team at AAA’s big show.
Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood © vs Fénix & Pentagón Jr. for the AAA World Tag Team Championship
Maybe make it four straight.
Styles clashes can make for entertaining fights. It can also make for this rivalry. Fault probably lays on both sides; both teams seem to want to do what they like to do without compromising for what the other team does well. If it’s possible to do a fast-moving moves match with an 80s NWA finish well, they haven’t gotten there yet. Maybe this will go more the Lucha Brothers style throughout since they’re doing in Mexico, maybe it’ll end with some convoluted ending as a reference to a 30-year-old match most of the crowd won’t be thinking about.
FTR are the heavy favorites to retain. The Lucha Brothers are unlikely to be around AAA as a team outside of major shows anyway, so the belts are staying on an AEW primary team either way. FTR have gotten the belts on TV more, AAA loves having their belts on US TV, that’s a perfect fit. It does mean AAA wouldn’t be delivering on a match they teased, though that’s not really new. I’m not sure what AAA does with FTR outside of more “good, but not as good as they should be” defenses against the Lucha Brothers, but that’s a problem only for a promotion thinking long term.
Vickie Guerrero will be seconding FTR. She’s got no relationship with them in AEW, but she’s an old friend. If nothing else, this show is about helping out old friends. She may be surprisingly over beyond the Eddie references, her peak WWE moments coincide when SmackDown had its highest visibility in Mexico.
Cain Velasquez, Pagano, Psycho Clown versus LA Park, Rey Escorpión, Taurus
Velasquez was a legitimately big deal as part of the 2019 TripleMania; his appearance meant more locally than everything beside the Dr. Wagner/Blue Demon apuesta match. He seemed to be a significant help to the AAA in New York show shortly after. Two years and one poor WWE stint later, it’s a bigger test to see what the former UFC champion means for this show. He’s been the central part of marketing for this show, the biggest name to people who don’t follow AAA regularly. Cain and LA Park had a great pull apart at a press conference to announce the perennially angry skeleton’s addition to this trios. Maybe the chaotic nature of that confrontation will cover for how long it’s been since Velasquez was really relevant; this is a freakshow fight of the highest order.
Taurus did underappreciated work at making Velasquez look good last time. He’ll do it again here, Rey Escorpion will probably help. Pagano and LA Park being involved means this will also be a brawl and there’s sure a lot of those on this card already. Something crazy will likely happen in this match, and Park & Velasquez did their best to sell that idea. The ticket sales on Saturday will be the best indication if it worked.
Hijo Del Vikingo vs Samuray del Sol vs Jay Lethal vs Bobby Fish vs Bandido for the AAA Mega Championship
Maybe I’m writing this preview solely to get the takes out on this match. There’s just too much. This match is going to be good and nothing about is making me think about how the match is going to be good
My current favorite Mexican food place is the Taco Grill and Bar in Batavia. I like a good quesadilla, they make great huge ones, and they’re probably totally unhealthy for me but what’s the point of living if you don’t eat things that’ll kill you? If the Taco Grill and Bar moved away from Mexican foods and started offering Italian beef sandwiches, I’d be baffled. There are hundreds of places in the Chicago suburbs to get a solid Italian beef sandwich that are easier to get to, there’s only this place to get the quesadilla I want.
‘Good matches’ have never been easier to watch. They’re plentiful even in a pandemic and they’re easier to find than ever. This five-way match will be a ‘good match’; so will a dozen other matches airing on FITE or IWTV or YouTube on Saturday. AAA is the only group that can offer AAA matches, and yet they’re pivoting from that strength to throw Vikingo in what might as well be an MLW offer match. I’m not sure if Sports Illustrated’s story about AAA considering then rejecting a Dragon Lee/Fenix/Laredo Kid/Hijo del Vikingo match for this spot is accurate, but that is the exact sort of match international fans are drawn to AAA for, not random appearances by c-listers. AAA wants to be a worldwide promotion and there are reasons to include people outside their normal spheres to be included. They’ve got to keep their identity in the most important matches in the process. It’s not a great sign if AAA believes this is a winner of a match.
It isn’t AAA’s fault Kenny Omega is too hurt to participate in this match. They’d invested a lot in building up Omega to the point where it would mean a lot for someone to beat him, and that win would mean a lot for a building block like Vikingo than an apparent guest star like Andrade. AAA apparently can get random outsiders in easily, but what they need are difference makers and Omega proved to be on during this time as champion. The gamble on Omega didn’t work out for this show, maybe it will work out again down the line. AAA ought to make more of those types of gambles.
The lack of those long-term plans has left Hijo del Vikingo in a weird spot. Vikingo might embody current AAA more than any other wrestler. Guys like Fenix and Penta are AAA, but exist in other places. Even Psycho Clown and Pagano turn up on US indies. Vikingo is exclusive to AAA and does things no one else seemingly can do; he’s a special wrestler and a fitting one to represent the promotion as his company from an outsider’s perspective.
The native fans don’t seem universally bought in. A heavyweight champion (which is how this title is looked at, no matter how AAA terms it) is supposed to be a well-rounded battle-tested veteran to the Mexican wrestler denizens who chatter about AAA on social media. Hijo del Vikingo is perceived by some as a guy who excels at one thing, but lacks the size or technical skills to be a ‘real’ world champion; he’s good but they’re not prepared to see him at that level. This is still an issue, even in the country which produced Rey Misterio Jr.
Vikingo would’ve been helped with a feud with a veteran to show he’s got heart behind the flips, but AAA lacks the sort of Negro Casas-type worker to give him those matches and the needed endorsement. Vikingo also would’ve been helped if he was made to look like a bigger star in booking, but he’s ended up as the guy who loses to the stars in the big matches. He took the pin at TripleMania, he took the pin at Heroes Inmortales, and he was given the match with Omega with no build or reason behind it. The worst thing a young Mexican wrestler can be to the online fanbase is be ‘inflatado” – someone seen as inflated by the promotion, given plenty of opportunities instead of earning them, and AAA’s lately given Vikingo opportunities without demonstrating to the fans he’s earned them with success.
Vikingo’s reaction is going to be a good litmus test on where Mexico is on between people who spend a lot of time chatting about lucha libre on the internet and the greater number of people who actually go to shows. We’ll find out which group is living in their own bubble, or maybe which bubble is bigger. Vikingo has long been over with the live audiences, much more than any other AAA high flyer, so maybe this will turn out fine. This might also turn out flat, especially if it’s Vikingo going over one of the unheralded outsiders. I believe AAA would be better off pushing off Vikingo’s big win until they have a chance to make it mean something to everyone, but they’re not a patient bunch.
Samuray del Sol’s brief run as the first Octagon Jr. is a good trivia answer, not something that’s come up in the eight years since he was last here. His run as Kalisto probably helps him more, though even then it’s been years since he was pushed any serious way in WWE. Jay Lethal has some past Mexico appearance, but both he and Bobby Fish spent most of their careers in groups that had little visibility in Mexico. These are names that have no special appeal to an average Mexican lucha libre fan, though they may be logical choices if you’re doing a weekly podcast reviewing AEW and also the booker of this promotion. The reason this isn’t just Bandido versus Vikingo is because AAA feels they need international stars to raise the value of this match, the title and this PPV. Unfortunately, they are not bringing in real international stars, just people AEW weren’t concerned with doing jobs and people most of the fans in attendance will not recognize.
The creative in AAA has now been bad for a full year. They were faced with a pandemic and either gave up trying or were completely burnt out. The same group that did a wonderful job with a midcard romance feud off all things in 2019 now can’t even attempt decent storytelling. All ideas are either repeats with nothing new added or simply left incomplete. AAA still has good matches because they’re still skilled at bringing in good wrestlers and occasionally the only idea AAA has for them is to get out of the way. AAA never has been a reliable place for long-term thinking, but the creative has never been as obviously disinterested in their own show as much as they have been in 2021. It’s definitely affected this show, and it can’t keep going on like this.
This is not a strong lineup for an AAA restart show. The undercard is full of matches existing only to build to bigger shows down the line. The top matches should be good, but nothing stands out as a must-see like Laredo/Vikingo versus Fenix/Penta. It’s so heavy with one-night guest stars that I’m not even sure it’s a good reintroduction to AAA; who knows when we’ll see an LA Park or a Bandido in this group again. I think it’d be easily worth watching as a free show to see what surprises AAA pulls off and the usual AAA chaos. It’s a harder recommendation as a $20 purchase. There’s an argument to support AAA here in hopes they do offer more content internationally, but the actual card suggests AAA’s going to do whatever they feel like without worrying about if anyone wants it.