The 25 Greatest Matches in the History of Triplemania (15-11)
I know, I know, I know…I know; the next column I was supposed to do was a review of last night CMLL Tuesday show. I promoted it in my last two columns and everything, and then there was no review. I feel your anger folks. But in my defense, my friend and mother called me while I was watching the show, thus distracting me from taking notes so I can give you the high quality review you deserve. I understand that explanation may not be good enough for you though, so allow me to give you my recap of last night’s show in the shortest way possible. Are you ready? Here we go; Bengala did something impressive for once in his life, Raziel, Cancerbero and Sangre Azteca had a trios match with young guys that went exactly how you’d expect, Puma and Tiger were the best part of their trios match, Stuka/The Panthers vs. The Dinamitas was really good, Mr. Niebla’s fake hair was the star of the semi-main (which was okay) and the UG-Mistico was really good. Excuse me while I go drink all the water in the universe.
So there; you satisfied now? Good, because we’ve got more Triplemania to talk about! We’re now up to part three of the countdown, which means after this we’ll be right into the top ten. The best of the best of the best if you will. You know, let’s just move on before I ruin the “if you made the top 25, you’re already the best of the best” point I was going to try and make. It’s just better this way. So yeah; let’s get started! Moses, just meme it.
15. Charly Manson vs. El Zorro (Triplemania XIV)
The funny thing about AAA is that most fans can only logically talk about two eras; the golden days of the early 90’s and the “what the hell is Dorian doing?!” days of…well right now. In between is an era of many lost matches, stars and angles, like the Faby Apache-Gran Apache-Billy Boy storyline, Abismo Negro, Hector Garza, Cibernetico, Chessman; the list goes on. And it includes Charly Manson and El Zorro, two dudes named after two even more famous (or infamous) dudes that decided to settle the score between them in a (get ready) Last Man Standing Steel Cage Hair vs. Hair match. Try saying that five times, then trying contemplating that something like that exists five more times! Naturally this match was a complete success, largely because it was an overbooked hardcore match and, wouldn’t you know, that was just the thing both Manson and Zorro excelled in. Combine that with the hot feud between the two, and Manson-Zorro breaking everything and anything over each other’s head for nearly twenty minutes was just what the doctor ordered, especially in comparison to the main event where the man who eventually became El Mesias was forced to carry the Imposter La Parka to the finish line. And now I remember why everyone likes to forget this period of time in AAA; Imposter La Parka. He ruined it for all the Charly Manson’s and Zorro’s of the world I tell you.
14. El Hijo del Santo, La Parka, Octagón, Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera, Pentagon, Psicosis (Triplemania III-B)
Antonio Peña’s AAA, or his early AAA at least, was known for many things; the Mini-Estrellas division (which we’ve covered), the massively creative and over main events (also covered) and Peña’s ability to stick eight ridiculously talented luchadors together and have them create magic. This match is a fine example. You’ve got a young Rey Mysterio Jr. still figuring things out while still be explosive, Blue Panther in his prime, Octagón before his batshit crazy phase, Hijo del Santo and Psicosis having killer sequences (isn’t it funny they always were great together, yet no one talks about it?) and La Parka channeling his insane charisma into a technico persona who could dance, entertain and fly all the same. Oh yes; Fuerza Guerrera (Juvy’s dad) and the guy semi-responsible for Pentagon Jr. becoming Pentagon Jr. are also here. Those two are probably the reason why another certain atomicos match ranks just a little bit higher on this list. But even with them just kind of being there and some guys being sloppier than usual, this match is exactly what you’d want and what you’d expect from classic AAA era; fast paced, entertaining, high flying and supremely exciting. It’s the type of match both AAA and CMLL would be well to look at and try to copy these days.
13. Juventud Guerrera vs. Perro Aguayo Jr. (Triplemania III-B)
Could you make the argument that this match was one of Antonio Peña’s craziest ideas ever? Seriously; who sits there and goes “I’m going to have my biggest star’s son make his debut at the biggest show of the year against another big star’s son, and I’m going to have them wrestle under Olympic Rules!”? And yet that’s exactly what happened, with 20 year old Juvy taking on 15 YEAR OLD Aguayo. That’s right; 15 YEARS OLD! There’s a joke about Kenny Omega and the eight year old girl I could make here, isn’t there?
But don’t let the age, or the fact that this match was under Olympic Rules (which heavily neutered the high flying Juvy) fool you; these two not only delivered, they over delivered. The Juice showed he was more than just high spots. Aguayo, who I may or may not have mentioned was 15 at the time and wrestling his first ever match, looked like a polished five year veteran. Throw in a little added drama thanks to Fuerza Guerrera getting involved and this eight minute grappling gem largely overshadowed many of the highly touted matches on this card (a card that features four matches on this countdown mind you), including the Aguayo Sr./Konnan vs. Máscara Año 2000/Cien Caras tag match. That’s right; 15 year old newbie Perro Aguayo Jr. stole the show from his father that night! Amazingly it never quite got better for these two in terms of Triplemania match quality; both went off to do separate things for awhile (Aguayo to CMLL, Juvy to WCW and the US) and Aguayo’s return to AAA in 2010 mostly led to him taking part in the lesser end of AAA’s big match spectacles (although his bout with El Mesias in 2012 was almost good enough to make this list). But if Aguayo Jr.’s career ultimately shone brighter for his charisma and personality than his ring work, let this be a reminder that he was pretty damn good at that too. Again; 15 years old! Teddy Hart and Harry Smith think that’s impressive.
12. LA Park vs. El Mesias (Triplemania XIX)
Park’s third appearance in this list (remember, he was La Parka before La Parka was cool) is the exact kind of match you’d expect from a man known as the God of Chaos going against the future Mil Muertes in an AAA spectacle main event. No that’s wrong; it’s more. Yes you’ll get your dose of blood, chair shots, table spots and the whole shebang, but you’ll also see two 6’1, 240 lb plus men put guys half their size to shame with suicide dives and corkscrew moonsaults. And that’s the brilliance of this match; it has the spectacle, the violence, the athleticism, the heat, great wrestling and several unforgettable moments (most notably Mesias’ perfect spear off the top to send Park through a table). It’s so good that I’m starting to wonder if I rated it too low!
11. Konnan vs. Cien Caras (Triplemania I)
At the end of the day wrestling, for all its awe inspiring moves and spectacle, can be boiled down into one factor; storytelling. If you have great storytelling, it doesn’t matter what you do with your match; you’re going to be just fine. In many ways, the first main event in Triplemania history serves as Antonio Peña and Konnan’s masterpiece as far as storytelling goes. There are little to no spectacular in ring moments I can point out from Konnan’s bout with Cien Caras; nothing they do is terrible by any means, but you’re also not seeing them pull dives out of their ass. What grabs you is the fact that both men, one the biggest star in Mexico at the time, the other a certified legend, are fighting for their livelihood in a career vs. career match. What captivates you is that Konnan then lets it all slip away thanks to Jake Roberts, who’s taunting of Konnan at ringside eventually leads to a full scale brawl and a mistake that will cost Konnan his career. It takes balls to end any of your big shows with a big risk; it takes even bigger ones to end the first ever big show you’ve done (one that took place in front of 50,000 people) with your biggest star being forced to retire. But Peña and Konnan’s story of the top star that lost everything thanks to his pride and the hate of the evil foreigner made the risk all worth it. That night Cien Caras walked out with his career, Konnan and Plaza de Toros walked out in tears (if you want lessons in how to sell a loss, watch Konnan after this match. TREMENDOUS!), Roberts walked out with the heat of the sun and Peña walked out with the lucha libre world in the palm of his hand. Like I said; a masterpiece of storytelling.
That’s game sports fans. I’m off now to play The Last of Us and maybe sneak in my Triplemania preview (before I do it over the podcast airwaves) but I’ll be back tonight to review Lucha Underground. It may be a bit later as I’m going to have to access the show remotely, but don’t worry; it’ll be there. Till then, THIS!