AAA TripleMania XXXII: Monterrey
April 27, 2024
Estadio Mobil Super
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexiko

Watch: TrillerTV

AAA kicks off its annual triplet of TripleMania shows this weekend with a show that’s more in TripleMania in name than spirit. The promotion has leaned into nostalgia acts and is treating its Monterrey stop as a setup for the rest of the year. This show is a decent starting point to get on board for 2024, though not at PPV prices. The drama around AAA is intriguing. The TripleMania Monterrey card is not.

AAA TripleMania takes place this Saturday, April 27, from Monterrey’s baseball stadium. Like recent years, it’s the first of three TripleManias in a sixteen-week sprint. The show starts at 7 pm local time and airs on TrillerTV internationally for 25 USD. You might as well pay 55 USD and get all three shows if you’re going to get this one – the other two can’t possibly be any worse. TripleMania will eventually turn up on AAA’s YouTube channel in the coming weeks. That’s the wisest method for most VOW readers to check it out.

You can leave your star rating notebooks at home for this one. You can skip this entirely if you’re looking for star ratings; this show may top at three stars for best match. The loss of Hijo del Vikingo – not expected to be healthy enough to wrestle at any TripleMania this year – means AAA no longer has that one excellent must-see match on every big show. AAA has made other changes, too, and “putting on excellent wrestling” matches is currently a low priority. This lineup is neither a card for people looking for the traditional fire dumpster of a TripleMania. A lot of matches will be OK. Some first acts in stories will happen. That’s about it. The show is for people who are either fond of 2000s/early 2010s AAA or for people who loved the Alberto del Rio/Dolph Ziggler WWE title program. 

The story of how AAA got here is interesting, even if the results aren’t. Fans internationally and locally trashed TripleMania Mexico City 2023, but AAA still sold tickets. AAA’s return to Mexico City for TV a month later was the business failure that followed the critical one, a small crowd for a show meant to be headlined by the first-ever Hijo del Vikingo versus Komander match. (Even that didn’t happen; Vikingo got hurt a week prior on a ROH show.) AAA struggled the rest of 2023, with some good and some distressing turnouts. 

AAA management was receptive to ideas to change their direction. Their big 2024 idea, and the most critical creative choice AAA’s made this year, came from Faby Apache. The longtime AAA luchadora left the promotion three years ago, then returned as one of many names from the past as part of their 30th Anniversary celebrations. AAA used these returning wrestlers in filler tag matches as cameos with no firm direction or focus. Apache’s idea was to do one taping focused on those previous generation’s wrestlers, supplementing with a few who hadn’t returned yet, as an “AAA Retro” concept show. AAA went with that Retro concept for a January 2024 Mexico City taping in the same building they didn’t half-fill last year. They sold it out. Faby’s idea was a winner, enough for AAA to throw out any plans they had for 2024 and build the show around a nostalgic “Origenes” concept.

Nostalgia is always decisive in wrestling, and more so in Mexico. Caristico becoming Mistico helped launch CMLL’s current upswing. AAA has seemed to experience growth in late 20s/30-year-old fans wanting to see the stars of their teenage years again. Nostalgia in Mexico also has a longer shelf life than most countries; witness largely immobile luchadors like Canek and Rayo de Jalisco Jr. still picking up work. The people AAA is bringing back aren’t as limited as those two, but they’re no great shakes. No one’s watching mid-00s AAA for great wrestling matches, and those wrestlers aren’t going to be better two decades on. AAA also learned so hard about the nostalgic direction that they started bringing back anyone from that era, even if they weren’t stars. WWE’s plenty of times, though those are usually 10-second cameos of someone doing the catchphrase and waving to the crowd at the end of the show. The AAA version puts Nygma & Hator as the third different nostalgia match on a six-match card. The results aren’t great.

AAA’s nostalgia direction has dovetailed with another important figure in 2024: Vampiro.

The longtime Mexican wrestling fixture was done with AAA and wrestling at the end of 2023. He made a speech in Monterrey that was implied to be his retirement ceremony. Vampiro has been teasing retiring since 1995. This announcement came out of nowhere, and no one believed it was the end. Backstage after the show, Vampiro revealed that he and AAA had not agreed on a new contract and a 2024 retirement tour; he was done in Mexico because no one else was likely to pay him what he thought he was worth. Even that speech was an attempt to get the fans to react so strongly that AAA would change their mind; they didn’t, and AAA didn’t. Vampiro said he was still planning to work on other projects elsewhere. It seemed like working for priority #1 would be NWA bookings, which also seem to have disappeared. Vampiro mentioned a podcast alongside those other ideas.

Vampiro is a typical wrestling person, always talking about projects that are just about to happen, and then few of them ever happen. Vampiro did get his documentary made. That podcast happened, too, and an episode with Latin Lover went viral. Latin and Vampiro pulled back the curtain on wrestling in ways not typically done in Mexico and not with stars. There’s a great thirst for “behind the scenes” wrestling knowledge in Mexico, but wrestling culture teaches wrestlers to keep those things quiet. The wrestling press gets excellent access in exchange for keeping it kayfabe. Mexican wrestling fans get what info they can from YouTube vloggers, mysterious Twitter accounts claiming inside knowledge, and Spanish-language sites mainly translating English-language wrestling gossip. Neither Latin Lover nor Vampiro was part of any promotion when they did the podcast, and they’re both big enough stars not to feel bound by lucha libre mores. They had no reason to hold back and did not, talking about promoters who treated them poorly, wrestlers who bullied them, and other realities of living in the wrestling business. Vampiro’s podcast with Latin Lover and a subsequent one with Pentagon Jr. was like an oasis for fans thirsty for knowledge. It did not even matter that Vampiro was involved, and so inherently, half of what was said was obvious fiction; it spoke to those fans. Vampiro and Latin Lover was not the first barrier-breaking Spanish language discussion – Cibernetico’s been doing it for years for one. Vampiro’s podcast, instead, is the Mexican equivalent of the start of the Steve Austin podcast, breaking through to a much larger audience and creating new interest in the host. 

Vampiro and AAA parted ways because AAA wouldn’t pay Vampiro what he wanted and wouldn’t do his retirement tour. Vampiro became a podcasting star, and AAA was now more than happy to pay him and play off that podcast in angles. They also went for the retirement tour: every TV taping and plenty of spot shows are now “Vampiro’s final show in [this city]. ” Big or small, if you’re in Morelia or Saltillo, you’re getting a big announcement that this will be the last time Vampiro wrestles in your town. This TripleMania Monterrey is Vampiro’s last show in Monterrey, and the one in Mexico City will be his final match ever. It’s hard to believe that – a wrestling retirement, a Vampiro promise – but AAA is selling this so hard that it’ll look worse than usual if they back off later. They’ve pushed Vampiro’s retirement of the focus of most of the TV tapings so far. The tearful thanks and goodbye speeches work well for the live crowd, and a US promotion would’ve kept them just as a bonus for those in attendance. AAA instead airs them all, leaving a viewer to wish Vampiro would hurry up and leave by the fifth time he’s said goodbye. I’ve never been into Vampiro and found an AAA built around him a tedious watch.

Vamp’s not the only person who’s gone from the sidelines to the spotlight. Alberto el Patron returned to AAA early in 2024, declaring he would be a full-time roster member. AAA isn’t blind to Alberto’s problems and hasn’t used him more than as a guest star on big shows. AAA is also desperate to rebuild that attendance, and – with no help seemingly coming from TNA or AEW right now – AAA sees Alberto as their best option. AAA’s plan appeared to be to play it slow with Alberto, to feel him out as a character and a human being. They would give him a prominent foreign opponent in Monterrey, then again in Tijuana, and perhaps put him in the big title match in Mexico City if Alberto behaved himself. That caution went out the window when Hijo del Vikingo suffered a knee injury; Alberto went from getting the title if everything went right to getting the title immediately.

AAA’s lack of options is of their own making. They spent years recruiting younger luchadors while doing little to elevate them into stars. The non-Alberto options were Pagano (style has caught up to him, frequently injured) or Psycho Clown (seems to be too over, gets passed up for these chances because he does ‘need’ it.) Laredo Kid is a great wrestler who’s less over since becoming a prelim guy in TNA and hasn’t gotten much help in AAA. Guys like Octagon Jr. and Myzteziz Jr. are in the same spots they’ve been in for years, stuck in place. Others who AAA could’ve moved into more prominent positions bailed. The AAA talent drain has been a constant story over the last six months: Villano III Jr., Aramis, Black Taurus, Latigo, Toxin, and Arez are all among those who’ve unhappily left the promotion, deciding they’d do better without being tied to AAA. All of them have been correct, which isn’t an excellent look for AAA. None of them would’ve made sense winning the Mega championship on Saturday, but AAA failing to advance them towards that goal contributed to them leaving. AAA needs this nostalgia wave to last long; they lack stars to take over when it fades. 

Who’s masking those decisions in the future is a new “only in AAA” mystery. That Vampiro podcast and a subsequent charity appearance brought Latin Lover more into the AAA fold than he’s been in the last two years. The one-time AAA top tecnico has been more of an acting/entertainment celebrity, maintaining a connection with wrestling but not being deeply involved. Seeing Latin on the red carpet of a theater production early this month was normal. It was abnormal to hear Latin Lover mention he had dinner with Dorian Roldan and that they devised a plan for Latin to start as AAA creative director at TripleMaina Monterrey. Latin walked it back a day later – he only said there was a plan, not that he had agreed to it, but still left the appearance that Roldan was looking to replace or demote Konnan. You’re not going to find a defense of Konnan’s booking here, but Latin Lover makes little sense as the key person making creative decisions for a wrestling promotion. He’s a guy who has many other jobs (including his own podcast) and has little experience in wrestling, aside from the one bodybuilder/dancer character he played for most of his career. He also doesn’t seem to have the savvy to deal with the wrestling business if he’s leaking things like, “I’m pushing out the long-running booker of the promotion two weeks from now.” The counterpoint is that the last time AAA replaced Konnan, it went to a famous wrestler overmatched for the job from day one. Latin Lover and Vampiro are different people, but the story is the same. AAA’s let this story sit unaddressed. Konan has said nothing as well, which is unlike him. Konnan is still involved in the build-up to this show: there’s a tease of a new heel stable and a US/Mexico match; you know he’s still working. The idea of Latin Lover taking over AAA is absurd – my best guess is this is an offer for an on-screen authority figure role misunderstood as a significant backstage role – but nothing is too absurd for AAA.

There are some matches on this show. Would you like to read about them?

Estrellita, Faby Apache, Reina Dorada, Sexy Star vs Dalys, Flammer, La Hiedra, Maravilla

There’s nothing more token than this token’s women match – though the way it works in Mexico is this is more about keeping the women happy rather than worrying about the wrath of their fans. The Las Toxicas act is over, but it’s a decidedly unserious act in an unserious division. The women will flirt to get reactions, everyone will get a turn to make a big move, half of them will look sloppy, and then one of the Tirantes will directly lead to the finish. Everyone will talk about promos and how they will have a big match soon, and AAA will book another multiwomen match in Tijuana. Wash, rinse, repeat.

El Elegido vs Pimpinela Escarlata, Antifaz del Norte, Súper Caló, Aerostar, Chessman, Niño Hamburguesa, Mr. Iguana, Charly Manson, Abismo Negro, Heavy Metal and two unannounced people in a Copa TripleMania.

It’s the same as ever here: a really long battle royal where nothing matters but the entrance. AAA’s lack of midcard depth has a silver lining: They’re wasting fewer talented people in these matches now. 

Ex-CMLL Halcon Suriano Jr. is likely to be a mystery wrestler. Suriano is physically talented, but CMLL’s bias against ex-mini wrestlers held him back. Suriano also held himself back; he was a headcase. Suriano’s fellow workers hated working with them because he only cared about himself and getting his moves in. Halcon Suriano Jr. lives and breathes wrestling, trains aspiring wrestlers, and doesn’t understand professional wrestling. Suriano complained about his push at a CMLL run press session and either got fired or quit just before that ax came. The standard outcome is AAA for disaffected CMLL wrestlers is promising to make him a star, booking him as a surprise, and then rarely following through with it. 

Juventud Guerrera, who shares much of the “talented but hopeless” traits as Halcon Suriano Jr., spent much of 2023 shooting social media angles for a title match with Hijo del Vikingo. He also ripped Konnan, blaming him for the match not happening. AAA was not at all interested then. The nostalgia concept changed the math, and Konnan contacted Guerrera to book him as a surprise for this battle royal. To the surprise of no one (but maybe Konnan), Juventud Guerrera went on his podcast to show off the text messages from Konnan, take more shots at Konnan, and said he wouldn’t come in for a battle royal; he deserved to be in as a top guy. Konnan went on his podcast – there’s entirely too many podcasts involved in this TripleMania preview! – and withdrew the invitation. It’s wrestling, so there’s still a 25% chance Guerrera will show up anyway, but he has another booking that day already.

Like Halcon Suriano Jr., Tiffany recently left CMLL and is likely popping up somewhere on this show. This match seems all men, so maybe she’ll be earlier. Tiffany is from the same era as many of the returning names, from Monterrey, quit CMLL with the idea of getting in on this Origines tour, and AAA already announced her for their 05/11 taping. Tiffany was also an atrocious in-ring in her last CMLL years, one of those wrestlers that people who dip in for big shows would never see because CMLL knew she wasn’t any good. AAA’s knowledge of CMLL is nonexistent, so it’ll take them a while to figure out something they should’ve already known with these wrestlers.

Negro Casas and two other humans vs Dr. Wagner Jr. and two other humans

Negro Casas and Dr. Wagner Jr. will be in a trios match. AAA said they’d announce their partners later on social media. It’s later; there’s still no announcement. The preview discussion made fans believe this is a family versus family match, though AAA didn’t explicitly promise it. Puma King (nephew) has vanished from wrestling and could pop up here. Internet speculation involves Felino (brother) and Felino Jr. (nephew). I doubt it, and I don’t think it would be good news for AAA if they got two more people who haven’t seemed into wrestling lately. El Hijo del Dr. Wagner is busy in NOAH on this date, but (son) Galeno del Mal and (maybe related? perhaps fake?) Simon Blanco could slot in. Or it could be someone weirder. Casas and Wagner were great wrestlers for much longer than most but have firmly aged out of it in the last couple of years. The quality of this match will entirely depend on the other people included.

Laredo Kid, Octagón Jr., Psycho Clown and someone TBA vs Parker Boudreaux, QT Marshall, Sam Adonis, Santam Singh (w/Jeff Jarrett)

Octagon beat QT for the Latin American championship last December. Adonis and QT are going as Los Gringo Locos, and Psycho & Adonis have their feud from last year. Laredo Kid doesn’t belong here – his never-ending (and never-advancing) feud with Antifaz del Norte should’ve had them wrestling on this show. It instead feels like Penta was supposed to be from that spot, and Laredo got pulled out of the Copa whenever that didn’t happen. Adonis and Marshall don’t fit the theme of the Origines tour, so this is the first time they’ve appeared on TV in months. Bourdeaux – here because he’s a friend of a friend – did a run-in on the last taping to quickly dispose of Octagon. Singh and the mystery person are late additions. This trios looked like the best match on the show when it was just six people, but figuring out something good while working around both Boudreaux and Singh’s limitations is asking an awful lot.

El Mesías, Pagano, Vampiro Canadiense vs Cibernético, Dark Cuervo, Dark Ozz

This match is a present from Konnan for Vampiro’s retirement tour: He gets to team with one of his old partners/rivals in Mesias and a wrestler inspired by him in Pagano. They face old rivals; Cibernetico left Los Vipers behind to team with his other friends in the Dark Family (Dark Cuervo, Dark Ozz, and Dark Escoria).

Zorro, who doubles as an enigmatic prophet when the AAA stories need him to be, has foretold a great betrayal coming. A great betrayal of the past – and an actual money-drawing angle – involved many players here. “La Secta Cibernetica” was a Cibernetico-led religious-tinted group that took off around 20025. Cibernetico’s band included Muerte Cibernetica, the Dark Family (Ozz, Cuervo, Escoria), Chessman, and Charly Manson. Muerte Cibernetica tried to avenge Cibernetico’s mask loss to La Parka (AAA). He failed, of course. Muerte Cibernetico unmasked as Ricky Banderas (Mesias). Cibernetico suffered a severe knee around that time, so AAA ran a big angle where Mesias and the Dark Family betrayed Cibernetico to take him out. Cibernetico returned as a tecnico, the first time he’d been one since becoming a top star, and went right after Mesias. Cibernetico defeated Banderas at Guerra de Titanes 2006, put him in a casket, and had his followers light the casket on fire and toss it into the ocean. Banderas would wash up on the beach four months later, returning at Rey de Reyes in 2007 and referring to himself as El Mesias after rising from the dead.

Cuervo, Ozz, and Escoria returned to AAA as part of the Origines tour, and Cibernetico abandoned Los Vipers to hang out with his (other) old friends. Mesias returned on the final TV taping before TripleMania and teased old issues with Cibernetico. During the show, Mesias faced off against the Dark Family and Parker Boudreaux. Mesias talked about fighting all those people; the Dark Family and Cibernetico fell out and were rivals last time they were all around. The booking of AAA is forever stuck in the style of the late 90s US TV shows, which means this is all likely a swerve. AAA also has been airing a mystery “eye” video with no other information – not even a QR code! – similar to their rollout of the MAD stable in past years. The safe expectation is that Mesias will go rudo here, with Cuervo and Ozz betraying Cibernetico again and maybe Boudreaux and others joining up. AAA generally wants to do a big angle for the same reason as those ’90s bookers: to shake things up and create some buzz. Moving Mesias to the rudo side also positions him well as Vampiro’s final opponent; it ought to be either Penta or Mesias and Penta’s elsewhere.

The flip side is this is a collection of older OK wrestlers (Cuervo, Ozz), people who appear to be broken down by injuries (Mesias, Pagano), and those who self-admittedly were always bad at the in-ring part of wrestling (Vampiro, Cibernetico). This match is the odds-on favorite for a GIF that goes viral for the wrong reasons.

Alberto el Patrón vs Nic Nemeth for the AAA Mega Championship

The story is “These two guys feuded in WWE in 2013.” That’s it. Nemeth sent a promo from his pool, and that’s the extent of his involvement.

Alberto has developed into the new version of his uncle, Mil Mascaras. He similarly portrays himself as the most internationally successful Mexican wrestler ever. Alberto wraps himself in the flag at every chance. He promotes himself as the only Mexican to be a WWE Heavyweight champion. (If you ask about Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, Alberto will explain they’re not Mexican.) He, like Mil, is not interested in selling for anybody. His vanity promotion, the twice-failed Nacion Lucha Libre, had him wrestle like Superman to ensure fans understood he was the one true star. Alberto’s been a little more willing to work with his opponents, but AAA’s goals align with Alberto’s desires in this match. Alberto wants to prove himself both a dominant top title holder and an internationally successful one by beating a former WWE name and a current NJPW champion. Nemeth’s role is to be a name, get enough in to challenge Alberto, and sell big. The novelty of seeing Nemeth in a big title match for international fans is small: he was just on the TNA show in one last week and was on the NJPW and WrestleMania weekend the weeks prior. Ex-Ziggler is still a significant positive for the Mexican ones. A consistent knock from AAA’s fanbase during Hijo del Vikingo’s Megachampionship run is he was defending the title against big names. An ex-WWE name addresses that issue, even if the match is likely a lot less.

AAA damaged their TripleMania brand last year with disappointing events. They’re harming TripleMania this time out with an underwhelming card and a B-PPV lineup that exists primarily to fulfill a date and build up matches for the actual big shows later on. It’ll still be fine if the angles hit and the Mexico City show turns out bigger for this effort. There’s nothing close to a standout match here either; it’s just a lot of OK and forgettable stuff.

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