AAA rolls into Tijuana on Saturday, a shambling mess as ever. The card’s headlined by a replay of one of a match of the year, a big tag match that may or may not happen, and one of the most popular Mexican wrestlers against an AEW comedy heel.

It doesn’t quite make sense.

It’s AAA; it never does.

TripleMania Tijuana, the second of three, airs live Saturday at 6:30 pm Tijuana time. (You can see your start time here.) The complete show airs on FITE; they’ve struggled to figure out the correct time zone for this show, don’t trust the countdown clock. Fans in Latin America may also watch most of the show on Space, Claro Sports, and HBO Max – AAA somehow beat AEW on that last option. The show will eventually go up on YouTube as well.

The day-to-day AAA, the part of the wrestling promotion which exists outside of these TripleMania shows, is deep in some struggles this summer. A photo of a mostly vacant TV taping over the weekend went viral in the Mexican wrestling community this past week. (The shared photos are from before the taping started, so it’s an unfair shot, but the turnout still ended up poor.) The problems with 2023 are worth a deep examination – but not here because these TripleManias live in some alternate universe. (That may be one of the problems.) AAA will survive bad TV turnouts as long as people are still coming out of these TripleMania shows. It becomes dicey only if those TripleMania shows don’t sell.

AAA aired a TV episode entirely focused on previewing this TripleMania last Saturday. There are seven matches on the card. AAA focused heavily on one of them, talked some about two more, briefly touched upon two other ones, and could not find the time to mention the other matches. I will attempt to follow that lead.

Matches that do not matter, even to AAA

Copa TripleMania is the land of people on AAA TV and has no room to do anything useful with them on a major show. Willie Mack, Mr. Iguana, Jack Cartwheel, La Hiedra, Flammer, Myzteziz, Puma King, Niño Hamburguesa, Dinámico, Gringo Loco, Laredo Kid, and Taurus all could probably find better things to do. Some even have ongoing feuds, not that AAA will do anything with them here.. AAA announced at least two mystery people would appear in this match, one of which is probably AAA’s new and unnecessary version of Drago. There’s a lot of talent there, but AAA struggles at harnassing much of it in this format.

Dalys, Lady Shani, Sexy Star vs. Kamille, Natalia Markova, and Viva Van is a trios match. I don’t even know why it exists. I guess it’ll be fine. AAA put no effort into explaining why this is happening, so I will put in no effort in this paragraph.

Matches that exist only to set up something for later

Bestia 666, Mecha Wolf, Pagano vs. Aramis, Jack Evans, Vampiro Canadiense is the middle chapter of a slow-developing Vampiro/Pagano story. Some mystery men attacked Pagano at a spot show, putting him out of action. (Pagano needed surgery and time off after years of wrestling like Pagano.) Pagano returned after many months and got attacked by a mystery man again. Pagano believes Vampiro is behind the attacks, based on Vampiro telling Pagano to stop hanging out with Bestia & Mecha and Pagano not listening. This match will be the first time Vampiro shows up in AAA since that accusation, and maybe we’ll find out if this is a Pagano/Vampiro feud or if it’s Rebelion against both of them, or if it’s something else entirely. This match will be a car crash.

Argenis, Chessman, Daga, Negro Casas vs. Damián 666, Nicho el Millionario, Rey Horus, and Xtreme Tiger is a Mexico City vs. Tijuana battle in hype. In reality, it’s a 4 vs. 4 to help carry a singles feud. Nicho is beefing with Negro Casas over a 2003-ish CMLL gripe, arguing the promotion protected Casas, and he can only now get his revenge with Casas outside of CMLL. (Nicho got fired from CMLL because he no-showed a title defense, but who can remember what happened twenty years ago.) Nicho is washed, but that hasn’t stopped AAA from booking a year-long program with Vampiro, and the original Psicosis is better than Vampiro ever was. Casas is supposed to be the good guy in the feud, but it’s a Tijuana team in Tijuana, so it likely won’t end well for him. It’ll be fine.

The three matches that matter, all of which are wildcard

AAA aired weeks of vignettes of a masked man taunting Pentagon, defacing his car, attacking him off-screen, and even threatening Penta’s family. Not a single person expected this person to reveal himself as QT Marshall. It was an out-of-left-field reveal, someone who hadn’t been in AAA prior and had no connection to the promotion or Pentagon. Marshall isn’t coming in particularly hot from AEW either, but AEW itself only got back on to streaming in Mexico in the last few days. QT Marshall is a blank slate to most people watching AAA, and he’s coming directly into an ambulance match third from the top. It is wild.

It is also something that sort of had to be Penta and QT’s idea. Penta is a guy who’s probably not under an AAA contract and only works in Mexico because he’s enjoying it. He’s doing a program with Marshall because he’s into the idea, as strange as it reads. Marshall is giving his all in the lead-up promos. He did come through in AEW when given a chance to for a serious feud blow-off match, the Bunkhouse tag match with Dustin Rhodes against the Butcher and the Blade. His matches against the Lucha Brothers earlier this year seemed well-received and may have sold someone on the concept of this feud. Still: it’s a guy few people in Mexico know, and they don’t know for the right reasons, getting a spotlight match on a TripleMania. Even if he kills it, it might not be the right choice for AAA fans.

The bit that might swing this match is it’s an ambulance match, and seemingly one primarily because Konnan (as explained on his podcast) believed no one had done one in Mexico before and that people would be excited to see the concept. There’s no reason this should be an ambulance match, no build towards that stipulation; it just is. AAA struggles at pulling off US-style gimmick matches, and the ambulance stipulation usually makes for a worse match, so these two will have their work cut out for them.

The Psycho Clown and Sam Adonis vs. LA Park and Rush Guerra de Rivalidades match is an easier one to figure out how it would go. They’re going to bleed, they’re going to break a lot of things, and they’re going to have a borderline nonsense finish with Psycho Clown and Sam Adonis advancing to the masks vs. hair match in Mexico City. AAA would happily push those two men off for another day if they could get LA Park vs. Rush to happen. They can not. Konnan (on his podcast again) revealed AAA had been trying to make that match ‘for three years’ and seemed to believe those two would never agree to have the match and will just milk fans and promoters along by teasing it forever. That acknowledgment takes away any suspense with the finish in Tijuana (and Mexico City.)

There is still a lot of suspense around the circumstances of the match: like, is Rush going to show up? Rush announced he quit AAA in early June. AAA didn’t acknowledge it. Wednesday, Rush announced he would wrestle here after all out of respect to all the fans who cared about this rivalry. AAA didn’t acknowledge that part, either. Rush doesn’t seem to care much about working for AAA past this show, and LA Park probably isn’t sticking around, either. They’ll both be back in AAA again someday but, for this TripleMania day, those two figure to be in full “last day of school” mode. Anything is possible.

The main event is more solid than other stuff, but it’d have some question marks on a typical show. Kenny Omega is in the midst of another round of not being 100% to build to recovery but also probably still feels that Forbidden Door match a bit. Hijo del Vikingo is wrestling in the US far more than initially planned, and cashing in on the excitement has taken a toll on his performances. Neither guy is coming in 100% in a match where fans expect 200%. They have a significant advantage in their AEW match; that one had to introduce Vikingo to a new audience. This one happens in front of fans who know both men well. It’s up to them to have the best match they want, and that’s usually a pretty memorable encounter.

There are a fair amount of outs to the Vikingo/Omega finish if AAA doesn’t want to (or isn’t allowed to) end it decisively. Takeshita or Don Callis showing up to cost Omega the match fits the ongoing AEW storyline. Gringo Loco, on perpetual hold for a hair match with Hijo del Vikingo, could also figure in. Still, AAA’s done a remarkable and unusual alert job of keeping angles out of their AAA mega championships. They’ve seemed to realize that what people are looking for out of an Omega or Vikingo defense is a lot of action, a clear winner and loser, and none of the usual AAA booking. AAA’s earned some faith on this account that they’ll let these two guys settle it alone.

I haven’t written much about finishes here because the results aren’t dependent on a story or what will profit AAA the most; they’re all available issues. LA Park & Rush are not going to make themselves available for an apuesta match, so everyone assumes Psycho Clown and Sam Adonis is going to win. Konnan’s told the Mexican press that this is Kenny Omega’s one and only AAA appearance of the year, so Vikingo probably has to stay AAA Mega champion. The finish to QT & Pentagon depends on whether those guys feel like returning for another rematch. There’s little to sink your teeth into in these.

TripleMania Tijuana has all the same issues as AAA has had for a year plus. It also has Kenny Omega vs. Hijo del Vikingo, which is enough to forgive a lot. I’m intrigued to discover what will happen with the other two crucial matches on this show, but this will live or die on people’s excitement to see the Vikingo/Omega rematch. If you have to see it, you have to get this show. If you can wait, you might as well hold off 24 hours and see what comes off the rest of this show.