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201 Non WWE Matches to See Before You Die #16: Perro Aguayo Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera
[A long time ago in a War Rig far, far away, a young War Boy named 'Plan wrote an excellent column series called 101 WWE Matches to See Before You Die. It was perfect, so perfect that it's now a book you can buy on Amazon! There was just one problem; it only focused on WWE matches! Thus, as a fellow War Boy, I've taken it upon myself to take a look at the other stuff, compiling a list of 201 Non WWE Matches to See Before You Die. This right here is entry #16. Enjoy! And buy 'Plan's book!]
June 18th, 1995. Aside from being the day before my good friend Tyler Godyn’s fifth birthday, history suggests that not much of importance happened that day. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! As it turns out, June 18th, 1995 was the same day that AAA, still at the height of one of the greatest runs in wrestling history, held their second Triplemania event of the year, Triplemania III-B. Much like the previous year when Triplemania II-B was considered the toast of the series, the second Triplemania of 95 is considered the best of that year, loaded from top to bottom with some of the biggest lucha stars ever and headlined by a mask vs. mask match between Marabunta and the man who would eventually go on to become the legendary Abismo Negro (he was just Winners back then). But in retrospect the most important match on the card was the fourth, a unique match with an “Olympic Rules” stipulation. In one corner was Juventud Guerrera, the 21 year old son of lucha star Fuerza Guerrera who had quickly gotten notoriety as one of the best young high flyers in lucha libre. That’s kind of funny in regards to this match considering Juvy’s opponent, 15 year old Perro Aguayo Jr., made Guerrera look like a grizzled veteran.
Granted, young Perro did come in with a pedigree. His father, Perro Aguayo Sr., was still in the midst of one of the most successful careers in lucha libre history and had just come off headlining the famous When Worlds Collide PPV less than a year earlier. That his son was following in his footsteps and expected to be really good just like his dad wasn’t very surprising. What was surprising was that Perro was both a) so young and b) had never had a professional lucha match in his life going into this one. I shit you not; before June 18th, 1995, the only experience Perro Aguayo Jr. had in a wrestling ring was maybe a few run ins with the Guerreras while his father feuded with them. Even with his family pedigree, training from his father and the fact that he was across the ring from a proven commodity in Juvy, it seemed like a risk for AAA to put him out there in such a high profile match. But there’s the rub about AAA and how Antonio Peña and Konnan ran the ship back then; not only where they unafraid to take risks, more times than not the gamble paid off.
Things are looking good for young Perro right off the bat, as the crowd loudly chants his name as Juvy plays up his “daddy’s boy” gimmick (seriously, how attached can one man be to his dad?). That’s when things get interesting. Remember how I said this was an Olympic Rules match? Well that’s how this is wrestled; a bell rings, Juvy and Perro tie up, Juvy eventually pushes Perro off and they tie up again to the sound of another bell. That’s not something you see in any sort of pro wrestling every day. Perro quickly takes control in the tie up, trying to stretch out Juvy’s arm, but the young man eventually gets taken down by the Juice, who holds him in a headlock for a few before Perro nearly steals the match with a roll up. One more separation and we’re locked up again. Juvy gets Perro with a single leg takedown, tries to get a submission and almost gets school boy’d again by Perro. Somewhere I imagine Blue Panther was enjoying this immensely.
We rinse and repeat as both men get up and lock horns again. This time Juvy takes Perro down and puts him into a full nelson submission with Perro facing the mat. For some reason this really gets the crowd behind Perro, and they will the young man to roll over…into a Juvy pinning predicament. Nice job crowd. The good news is that Perro fights out of this pin several times, bridging up every time Juvy attempts to apply more pressure. This proves to annoy Juvy, who lifts Perro up for a Tombstone! UH OH! The young Perro knows he’s in trouble though and kicks with all his might until he reverses course and falls on top of Juvy for a near fall. And that’s when we see, for the first time, that Juvy is beginning to show some frustration. Perhaps Perro can get him after all?
The two get set to lock up again, but this time a frustrated Juice connects with a slap on Perro. EVIL! Perro doesn’t take it lying down though and comes back with a slap of his own. The momentum continues for the youngster as he and Juvy work a fast paced mat style that sees Perro take the Juice down with an arm drag. It now becomes Juvy’s turn to quickly recover, which he does with a bridging fall away Suplex for a near fall. The Juice takes Perro back to the ground with an arm bar, but he can’t hold him there and instead results to a headlock. This is where things start to get dirty. With Perro in the headlock, Juvy begins to taunt Perro’s second (a mini who I cannot identify), leading to the ref getting distracted as the mini tries to enter the ring. What does this allow; why none other than Juvy grinding Perro’s face against the ropes. Perro briefly is able to turn the tide with a backdrop, but as soon as he gets Juvy in a waste lock the rudo is once again able to trash talk Perro’s second into distracting the ref. One step towards his corner and Fuerza Guerrera is involved for the first time, tripping up Perro and allowing Juvy to hit the youngster with a basement dropkick. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe basement dropkicks are allowed in Olympic wrestling. Boy have we been missing out if they are.
By this point Juvy has signaled that it’s time to say goodbye and tries to hoist up Perro for a Vertical Suplex. I have no idea if that’s illegal or not in Olympic Rules matches but hey, Juvy was going to try it anyway. The problem is Perro is able to block it on the first attempt, and on the second manages to roll up Juvy with a small package! Juvy is just barely able to escape, and once more is able to get Perro in a headlock. If you’re guessing this leads to another distraction, you guessed right. Once more Perro’s dumb second starts arguing with the ref, allowing Juvy to bring Perro back to his corner so Fuerza can hit Perro with both a scoop slam AND an elbow drop. This is why the Olympics have judges to go with the refs I tell you! It should be all over but the crying…except Perro is out at two! The Rio Nilo Coliseum, already behind Perro, is now really feeling that something special could happen, and not just because there appears to be some kind of commotion away from the ring. Juvy tries to silence it with a headlock takedown and a body slam but Perro is out again. By this point whatever is happening off screen has gotten Juvy’s attention and he looks out towards the entrance way. Big mistake. Why? Because this allows Perro to grab Juvy from behind and deliver what might’ve been one of the first ever Dead Life German Suplexes in lucha libre history.
Perro immediately goes for the cover after this, but Juvy barely squeaks out at two. It’s here we finally see why the crowd is going nuts; Perro Sr. has come down and cornered Fuerza Guerrera, apparently having seen enough of his son being screwed over. The two legends begin to brawl on the outside as Perro hits another Dead Lift German that’s somehow even more impressive than the first. Juvy takes even longer to kick out of this one and you get the feeling that it’s only a matter of time before Perro is going to pull off the greatest upset since Forrest Gump beat Pulp Fiction and Shawshank at the Oscars. As Ahnuld said in The Last Action Hero however, not to be. Poor Perro takes his eye off the ball and begins to cheer on his father whooping Fuerza Guerrera on the outside, a brawl the ref feels the need to go break up. That’s all the distraction the Juice needs; he quickly low blows Perro, rolls him up with as school boy and transitions into the lateral press. The oblivious ref returns to the ring and it’s one, two, and three. Just like that Juventud Guerrera has stolen the match; unfortunately for him it was his opponent, not him, that stole the hearts of the Rio Nilo Coliseum that night.
The match was significant both in the short term and long term. The result would kick start a feud between Perro Sr. and Jr. against the Guerrera’s that continued throughout the year until Fuerza left AAA at the end of 1995. More importantly though was what happened next for the two performers in this match. For Juvy, this was just another step in a career that would eventually see him become a big star both in Mexico and America, where he would work for WCW, TNA and WWE before eventually becoming one of the greatest things in the history of podcasting. As for Perro Aguayo Jr., this match couldn’t have served as a better coming out party. Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer heavily praised Aguayo’s performance in this match, saying he never came across as green or blown while comparing him to legends like Owen Hart and Jun Akiyama. AAA also took a liking to him and immediately made him a regular stalwart for the company, a role he served until 2003 when he left for CMLL. From there, Perro would go on to form Los Perros del Mal, the greatest stable in lucha libre since Los Gringos Locos, and carved out a reputation as one of the greatest rudos in lucha history as he, along with Mistico, rudo Atlantis and Último Guerrero, helped make CMLL a force during the mid 2000’s. He would eventually form his own promotion, named after his faction, and returned to AAA in 2010, where he continued to be top rudo and top star until he tragically died in the ring on March 21st, 2015, two years ago to this very day.
The loss of Perro still hurts many of us associated with lucha libre to this day. For me, it hurts so much because of regret. I got into lucha libre towards the final years of Perro’s life and only got to see most of his work after he was gone; it’s the biggest regret I have in regards to wrestling and along with Lucha Underground the biggest reason I have become such a big lucha libre fan. So when today arrived, I knew I had to honor him in some way and wanted to do so in a way that wasn’t similar to the ways I had in the past. I can’t think of a better way than this match. In the long run it’s not even close to Perro’s best match; for that you should look at his legendary battles with El Hijo del Santo and Mistico/Sin Cara/Myzteziz/Carístico just to name a few (WWE fans would also be wise to check out his brief run with the company during the AAA/WWE working agreement, which saw him compete on RAW against Abismo Negro). But there’s something about this match that the others in some way cannot touch. Perhaps it’s because it was his first match. Hell maybe it’s because even in this first match Perro was so further ahead than anyone not named Harry Smith and Teddy Hart were at that age. I just know it’s something going out of your way to see, whether you’re looking to see Perro for the first time or just miss the hell out of him like so many of us do. As Michael Fassbender once said in an underrated prequel, big things have small beginnings. This match is that for one of the biggest and brightest stars lucha libre will ever know.
We miss you Perro.