The 25 Greatest Matches in the History of Triplemania (20-16)
Alright sports fans; the LU previewing is done which means we can move right onto Part Two of the Triplemania series that I may or may not have completed (besides this intro) before the LU preview. Depends on whether you read said preview or not. So what’s on tap for entries 20-16? Let’s just say, aside from the 20th match, this section is going to be about a whole lot of what AAA likes best; spectacle, spectacle, spectacle, guys going through giant boards aaaaaand spectacle. Did I mention spectacle? So with that in mind, let’s get into it. Moses, let there be lucha! Yup, I just aped his line. What can he do about it; he’s a meme after all.
20. Lizmark vs. La Parka (Triplemania I)
When Antonio Peña formed AAA in 1992, he brought with him the idea of a luchador wrestling in a full skeleton body suit (and mask), inspired by costumes worn for Day of the Dead ceremonies. To the surprise of many, he gave the gimmick to Adolfo Tapia Ibarra, a 27 year old journeyman who had previously been unmasked three times under three different gimmicks and looked to be going nowhere. With that, La Parka was born and a year later he was wrestling in the third biggest match of the first ever Triplemania against budding lucha legend Lizmark. And while the latter proves to be very capable despite being in his early forties, the show stealer was La Parka, who instantly looked the part and worked the part, most notably when he kept the match going by stopping the referee’s count not once, not twice, but three times. Now you know why his rival Rush does that today! Lizmark would ultimately triumph in a controversial finish and it would be another year before Parka would finally beat his rival for the Light Heavyweight Championship. But his standout performance solidified him as a star in the making and, as La Parka, Adolfo Ibarra never looked back. Well except for the time his name was stolen, but don’t worry; we’ll get to that.
19. Psycho Clown vs. Pagano (Triplemania XXIV)
For better or worse, Psycho Clown-Pagano is the epitome of the AAA big match formula; ultra violence, big moves, inexplicable interference, swerves and someone going through those giant ass boards only AAA seems to have. Hell by the time Nicho el Millionario and Damien 666 ran out to interfere on Pagano’s behalf, only for Dr. Wagner to send them packing, only for Wagner to then swerve Psycho Clown (who overcame it anyway), I was rolling my eyes so much I thought they’d just spin out of my head. But prior to that crazy finale, this match is beautiful chaos; a car wreck built around Pagano’s bat shit craziness, Psycho Clown’s never say die spirit (combined with his own bat shit craziness) and one of the hottest crowds in recent memory. You can call it overbooked spectacle, you can call it backyard wrestling and you’re probably not going to be wrong. But the ending stretch aside, this match is a lot of fun and probably a bit underrated all things considered. Depending on how Triplemania XXV’s main event goes we may also look back at this match as the starting point for another all time great Triplemania match.
18. Konnan vs. Jake Roberts (Triplemania II-C)
I’m not sure Konnan would rate this match on this list if he was doing it, and truthfully this bout, from a workrate standpoint, is pretty brutal. What would you expect with Roberts in the midst of his dark period, all while he looked like latter day Marlon Brando? But this match, built brilliantly over a year following Roberts screwing over Konnan at Triplemania I, is the perfect example of how wrestling isn’t just about moves; it’s about story, psychology and heat. And I dare say there aren’t that many other matches out there with the heat this one had thanks to Peña’s booking, Roberts’ character work and Konnan’s ability to break out of handcuffs in the match’s climax. In many ways I’d argue this match is AAA’s Hogan-Andre bout; you’d never call either match an Omega-Okada classic, but you also can’t deny there’s a reason people remember these matches specifically while other matches (with better workrate) fade away. And yes, in this comparison, the Konnan handcuff spot is AAA’s Hogan slamming Andre. Boom!
17. Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Máscara Año 2000 Jr. (Triplemania XX)
When I say Máscara Año 2000 Jr. is the worst luchador to be featured on this list, I mean it. If ever there was a talent out there who had zero charisma and whose best quality was “he’s just kind of there”, this was the guy. All of which made it inexplicable when AAA put him in the main event of their biggest show with their biggest star at Triplemania XX. Even funnier; AAA seemed to be aware the match was doomed! Why you’d book the match knowing it was a bad idea is beyond me, but they did and ultimately ended up doubling down on their usual formula in an attempt to salvage the bout. As such we got stabbings, beer bottles, chairs, Máscara Año 2000 interfering, Silver King swerving, El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. having the greatest night of his career and about fifteen other things I can’t remember. If you were to look up overbooking in the dictionary…well you wouldn’t find it there for one, but if you did, this match would be the definition, winking you in the face as you read it.
And guess what; it 100% works! Why? Because of gorram Dr. Wagner Jr. and the Arena Ciudad de Mexico crowd, that’s why. I throw the crowd in there too because all Wagner really does in this match is sell a beating (which in fairness, he does very well); in fact, I think his son has more offense than he does! But Wagner’s popularity was so massive at the time that AAA could’ve put him with both Gronda’s and it probably would’ve gotten over, which this match serves to highlight. The fans reacted to EVERYTHING, be it the interference of Año 2000 Sr., Wagner getting stabbed with a pen, Wagner’s comebacks, and especially Silver King’s betrayal, an act that almost led to a full scale riot with fans throwing debris into the ring and some fans even charging the ring (in fairness, that dude was probably a plant). That reaction was so memorable that only one moment beat it; Wagner winning the match after breaking a beer bottle over Año 2000 Jr.’s head, a callback to Año 2000 Jr. doing the same to Wagner a few weeks ago. Aside from Kobashi/Kikuchi vs. The Can-Am Express and CM Punk-John Cena, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a louder crowd. And that’s the magic of this match. Yes it’s overbooked to the nines, features little to no actual wrestling and, I’ll say it again, features a performer I wouldn’t trust with a potato gun. And yet Wagner, AAA’s booking team and the crowd made it work to the point that I irrationally love this match. If this is the work Wagner does with a talentless hack like Máscara Año 2000 Jr., imagine what he’ll do with an over guy like Psycho Clown! You know, provided AAA can get him into the building that day.
16. Psycho Clown vs. Texano (Triplemania XXII)
Take the same formula you had in Psycho Clown-Pagano, make it a little less violent, add more interference and you’ve got Psycho Clown vs. Texano. Oh I almost forgot; you’re also adding more ability because Texano, for all his flaws, is a vastly superior worker than Pagano is. As such these two proceeded to have the best of three worlds; they had all the inexplicable violence of a big AAA match, they had the entire spectacle and they actually had decent workrate. The only thing missing is the massive crowd reactions of other big Triplemania matches, which is understandable considering Texano is Texano and Psycho Clown wasn’t quite the most over man in the living room at the time. But that aside, this is as good as it gets from modern day AAA and is easily one of the top three matches to come out of the last three Triplemania’s. Don’t worry; we’ll get to the other two shortly.
And just like that, part two is in the bag sports fans. I’ll be back tonight with a review of CMLL’s Tuesday show, part three of this series tomorrow and a review of tomorrow night’s Lucha Underground. That’s a lot of writing! Till this evening, THIS!