AAA TripleMania XXXI: Mexico City
August 12, 2023
Arena Ciudad de Mexico
Azcapotzalco, Distrito Federal, Mexiko

Watch: FITE

AAA finishes a season of TripleManias in Mexico City on Saturday with a lineup that feels hastily drawn up on a napkin. The card includes three different four-way matches. The combined age in the only male singles match is 115. It’s a disappointing lineup in a down year for international fans of AAA, but there’s enough talent here to keep this a decent show. 

TripleMania XXXI: Mexico City takes place Saturday at 8 pm Mexico City time. (That’s 10 pm Eastern US.) It’ll air on FITE in both Spanish and English for 23 USD. It’ll also air, in part, on both Space and HBO Max in Mexico and a couple of other Latin American countries. The TV version of the show will go up on AAA’s YouTube for free in the upcoming weeks. 

Yes, it’s another TripleMania already.

Yes, there’s a lot of TripleMania.

Yes, it feels way too soon to have a TripleMania again.

The schedule got compressed. Tijuana got moved from June to July after a scheduling conflict. Mexico City was in October in recent years and moved to August this year. AAA never explained why; my guess is AAA moved up to get away from the usual October WWE show, only for WWE to do the same and run in July. It’s too much TripleMania in a short time, but look at it this way: for about 95% of you who only pay attention to AAA when “TripleMania” is in the name, this is the last time you’re going to pay attention to any of this for six months.

I’m not sure you need to pay all that much attention to this one.

Plenty of the matches look good on paper, and the main event could be memorable. The issue is AAA matches often don’t deliver as well as they look on paper, the main event is not as compelling as similar Mexico City ones in past years, and the rest of the matches aren’t the issues AAA has told fans to invest their time in this year. Good matches for the sake of good matches don’t move the needle when good matches are everywhere. Emotional investment is a valuable asset, and there’s little here to care about. 

TripleMania also is a poorly constructed card.

Three different four-way match is silly indie booking on a big-league level. The main event is a repeat from Tijuana, albeit where AAA must deliver a finish this time. The rest of the card is low effort and high nonsense for a TripleMania. Even people booked on this show have subtly taken shots at the lineup. I expect the only people who will buy this show are those who reflexively buy TripleMania, though cards like this erode even that interest. 

AAA will get by without significant PPV interest or being liked by those who do by their PPVs. (Konnan’s spent the three weeks since the previous TripleMania yelling on his podcast about how “smart mark” fans can’t and shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion on AAA. It’s been a nice respite from him complaining that young people are too soft and can’t take criticism.) AAA is a live attendance business; live attendance for TripleManias is good. Arena Ciudad de Mexico figures to also be close to sold out. The triple TripleMania strategy worked well for AAA for a second straight year regarding live attendance. AAA will be trying this same plan for 2024.

There are seven matches scheduled for the show. AAA also announced a segment with pharmacy chain Faramacias Similares’ mascot Dr. Simi sometime during the show. It is AAA: you can count on other weirdness during the night.

Dalys, Lady Shani, Sexy Star versus Chik Tormenta, La Hiedra, Maravilla

There’s no reason for this match. Tormenta and Shani agreed to a cage match months ago. The cage match has yet to come up since. Dalys is also vaguely feuding with Tormenta. I presume Dalys is the reason this match made the card; she and Negro Casas had to get on TripleMania XXXI: Mexico City as a reward for jumping from CMLL. The match will be fine and forgettable; you’ll remember just as much from this as the similar trios match in Tijuana.

Copa Bardahl: Komander, Laredo Kid, Willie Mack, Dave The Clown, Pagano, Aramis, Mr. Iguana, Murder Clown, Arez, Octagón Jr., Myzteziz, Niño Hamburguesa

This match is the same battle royal as ever, with the annual car parts manufacturer sponsor. It is less clear why the sponsored match has to be a royal rumble; it seems like they could just as well sponsor a trios match or a cibernetico with the same people, and either would be better. It’s a waste to have so many talented wrestlers reduced to “hurry to the ring, do spots for a minute, then step aside as the next guy comes in,” but wasting talent is not a motivation for change in AAA. 

Negro Casas vs Nicho el Millionario

Negro Casas and the original Psicosis are legends in Mexican wrestling and deserve to be honored on a big show. They’re also both increasingly limited, and putting them in this spot is a significant risk. I think they’ll be fine; they’ll probably be fine. Yet, in the back of my head, I’m worried about a Villanos/Psycho Circus situation. There’s little chance this will be that bad, but a decent chance they’ll show their age at points during this match. The reality is AAA probably will camouflage the weaknesses with weapons and interference. Nicho cheated to win in his home of Tijuana. Casas should get the revenge win here because there’s nowhere to go. Fans and others would mock and deride a hair match stipulation between two people who’ve lost those often.

Taya © vs Flammer for the Reina De Reinas Championsjhop.

It took 14 months for AAA to get to this match. Taya offered a title shot to the women’s mask match winner on the 2022 TripleMania Tijuana, Flammer won, and then the match just didn’t happen. AAA had Flammer and Las Toxicas confront Taya about the title match when Taya would appear in AAA as a reminder it was unfinished; they just never finished it. The Taya/Flammer match happened: it just happened at the Republic of Lucha and in MLW and never in AAA itself. Maybe there’s some Taya-specific reason for this, but it seems more like the pattern for all AAA non-TripleMania feuds outside. All of them have an inciting incident, and then nothing beyond reminding the viewers that they still dislike each other from that inciting incident. The only reason this one is reaching an actual conclusion is that AAA knew it was afraid of the pitchforks. Booking Taya versus this year’s equivalent of Thunder Rosa or Kamille would’ve led to a social media rebellion. AAA didn’t put anything hype behind the announcement. Neither woman has talked up the match much. It’s just checking an item off an overdue list.

I vaguely remember watching the two previous Taya/Flammer matches a year ago. They were fine. This match would typically be a 95% chance of Flammer winning to get the title back in Mexico since Taya is full-time with AEW. However, Taya is also speedrunning through all of AEW’s sparse women’s storylines (wrestle for the world title, turn, wrestle for the TBS belt, wrestle Britt Baker) that I guess she I wonder if she might have more time for AAA shortly. Maybe it’s only an 85% chance Flammer wins the title.

Pentagón Jr. versus QT Marshall versus Dralistico versus Brian Cage for the AAA Latin American Championship

The idea here is Fenix held this and the Cruiserweight championship, Fenix hasn’t been to Mexico because of AEW commitments, and AAA fans demanded more title defenses, so AAA stripped Fenix and promised to have a title match on TripleMania. It was a good line instantly exposed as lunacy when AAA announced the challengers were all wrestlers who work for AEW, just like Fenix. Maybe there’s a secret plan to get the winner on AAA TV a lot, and it’ll work out in the end. Right now, it looks like a dumb plan, even for AAA.

Putting that aside, it’s still an absurd match. Penta and QT had a bloody ambulance match and followed that up by fighting for a title? Brian Cage fits better in AAA than elsewhere, but I wonder why he’s here; he does not appear on any AAA show besides TripleMania XXXI: Mexico City. (If AAA can fly in Cage to be nothing more than a name on a paper, it’s absurd they can’t fly in their English announcers.) Dralistico is likelier to be around than the other three but is less interesting than all the guys in Copa TripleMania. The match should be fine. I could care less who wins.

El Hijo Del Vikingo © versus Mike Bailey versus Daga versus Jack Cartwheel for the AAA Mega Championship

The most frustrating of the excesses of this card is the main event. Hijo del Vikingo versus Mike Bailey is a fantastic match, a worthy successor to the Vikingo/Omega sequence. Vikingo versus Daga is not quite as strong, Daga has little momentum in AAA, but Daga also has been calling Vikingo out in promos for months (seemingly on his own), so there’s material to work with. It’s tough to make a case for Vikingo versus Jack Cartwheel match on a TripleMania, though it’d be a fun random defense on a TV taping. Putting all four together makes it a formless mess, something that’ll have a lot of highspots but will struggle to mean anything. There needs to be more separation between this and the previous title match.

This particular four-way feels like thrown together in the hours after TripleMania Tijuana. Cartwheel said he had no idea he would get a title shot until he read it on Twitter. No one watching TripleMania Tijuana would’ve guessed it after he was a non-factor in the opening match battle royal. AAA didn’t build up Cartwheel and Daga (a punching dummy for UFC’s Brandon Moreno in Tijuana) for this opportunity. The only thing apparent about this match is it wasn’t the plan until it suddenly had to be the answer.

Mike Bailey was an AAA regular for a couple of months in 2015, not longer after the unhappiness of his US travel ban. AAA seemed to have no idea what to do with him, and he wisely shifted his focus to DDT. An alternative universe where he became the new Jack Evans would’ve been fun for me but probably disappointing for the rest of the world. I wish more AAA talent would take the Bailey route; they’re not getting to the title match at TripleMania by just happily working battle royals but by leaving and making a name for themselves elsewhere. 

I presume Vikingo will remain the champion and stay the champion until AEW officially signs him (and AAA belatedly realizes they’re in trouble again.) I want to argue for Daga getting the title here – AAA needs to make someone, and they don’t have forever to do it – but I think Daga’s top priority is NOAH. It makes no sense to trade one busy champion for another. Bailey is with Impact, and Cartwheel’s probably ending up in the US somewhere. These four guys will only return here next year if something else doesn’t work out.

Sam Adonis versus Psycho Clown versus LA Park versus Rush, someone loses their hair or mask.

This TripleMania main event had been planned as Psycho Clown versus Sam Adonis since AAA announced the Guerra de Rivaldades tournament. It’s now a four-way match, with the first person to lose a fall losing their hair or mask. It’ll still certainly be Adonis, with Park and Rush here more in hopes of selling some tickets. Konnan explained on his podcast that it was a mid-show decision to finish the match in Tijuana as a draw, and it certainly feels like one: the show’s promotion has been around Adonis versus Psycho, while LA Park and Rush have been non-factors. 

That last-minute final change implies a troubling status quo for AAA. Suppose Psycho Clown (the top regular tecnico) and Sam Adonis (the strongest pushed rudo over the last year) aren’t strong enough for AAA to run as the TripleMania main event. What else will AAA have that’ll be stronger? The two looming apuesta feuds are Vikingo/Gringo Loco and Pagano/Texano, neither of which have the star power over Psycho/Adonis. Look back at the rest of the matches on the card, and you won’t find a single regular roster AAA is trying to make a star on this show, much less someone getting set up to headline a TripleMania in 2024. AAA will talk about how great and hot their wrestlers are, but they do not trust them in the big spots.

AAA probably can not deliver a finish in this main event involving Rush, LA Park, or Psycho Clown losing this match, but they also probably should not. If AAA needed LA Park & Rush to make this TripleMania feel big, there’s a good chance they’ll need them again next year, too – AAA has few alternatives beyond hoping they can work with those sorts of guys again.

The idea of this match will see a definite ending to either Psycho/Adonis or Rush/LA Park feuds. The rules of the match leave open a lot of other possibilities. Someone’s beating Adonis, and it’d be foolish to rule out Rush or LA Park getting that win.

TripleMania XXXI: Mexico City will have a great atmosphere and be the usual wild experience. The multiple four-way matches could be more exciting, but they’re full of solid wrestlers and should provide at least good action. Rush, LA Park, Psycho Clown, and Sam Adonis will likely deliver something memorable in the main event; I wouldn’t bet against them. AAA’s 2023 output has diminished expectations so much that even an OK show will feel good. I still don’t think this is a show worth going out of your way to pay for unless you’re someone who just always watched TripleMania. Wait for the reviews, wait for it to pop up for free on AAA’s YouTube channel, and wait for the promotion to figure itself out before investing your time and money. AAA didn’t make this show a priority, and neither should you.