The Longest Triplemania XXV Preview
I might be one of the few people out there who believes that the CMLL Anniversary Show is bigger than AAA’s Triplemania. For one, the Anniversary Show has been going on for 84 years now, making it the longest enduring annual show in wrestling today. Secondly, while Triplemania has had their share of good to great matches at Triplemania, the Anniversary Show always seems to deliver one legendary match, more often than not from their main event slot where the biggest Apuesta matches of the year occur. You could argue any point you want, and I’ll still maintain the Anniversary Show is the more important, bigger show…except for this year. That’s because AAA has put together a Triplemania that, while hit and miss in the undercard, features one of the biggest main events you’ll find in wrestling all year. It was a match too volatile to happen, a match too big to happen, and yet it will happen tomorrow evening just after Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are done pissing all over boxing. And you know me when it comes to big events sports fans; I have to be there to break it down before and after. So with that, sit back, get a cold Pepsi and get comfy; this is going to be one of the longest previews of a big show I’ve ever done. It may also be one of the best, but I’ll let you be the judge. Moses, play that “God of Thunder” and kick out the meme!
Llave a la Gloria Finals
What to Expect: This will be the first of two times during this column where I start off this section typing, in big bold letters, I DON’T KNOW! Luckily I don’t think anyone else does either. For those not paying attention, Llave a la Gloria has been this talent competition where AAA has been searching to bring in a new star. After months, they’ve finally leveled the field down to fourteen people; Ángel Mortal Jr. (son Ángel Mortal, the same man Super Calo unmasked at Triplemania III-A), Angelical, Ashley, Bronco Gonzalez Jr., Chicano (who may or may not be the same guy who works with IWRG), Dragón Solar, Fetiche, Hahastary, Hijo del Vikingo, Pardux, Solaris, The Tiger, Tigger Boy and Villano III Jr. (gee, wonder who his dad is). Besides knowing who Villano and Mortal’s fathers are, I know next to nothing about how good these luchador(a)s are or aren’t, though luchablog’s great preview of Triplemania indicated that Hijo del Vikingo is at least very good. How will this all work out? Absolutely no idea. But with five hours on the card and a lot of time to fill, I get the feeling AAA will divide this up into two matches; a one on one match between Ashley and Hahastary (the only two luchadors in the field) and a twelve man cibernetico (six on six) with the last luchador standing getting the contract. Whether or not any of that is good will depend on these youngsters. Here’s hoping they can deliver.
Winners: Everything I’ve heard suggests Ashley is the real deal out of the two luchadoras, so I’m guessing she wins her competition with Hahastary. The men’s side of things is trickier. On the one hand, luchablog is hardly ever wrong, which leads me to believe that this Vikingo kid is probably the best bet to win this in terms of overall talent. At the same token, Villano III Jr. is the son of one of the greatest luchadors ever, and you know how lucha libre promotions feel about legacy kids. I say AAA chooses him to win whatever they’re doing on the men’s side, and then hire everyone anyway. It’ll be like WWE Tough Enough, only everyone will get a chance to be misused on AAA’s main roster.
Big Mami, Dinastia, Estrella Divina, Máscara de Bronce vs. Hernandez, La Hiedra, Mamba, Mini Psycho Clown
What to Expect: This is the downside of AAA’s “let’s throw everyone into one match” philosophy. This isn’t to say everyone here is bad. Dinastia is in fact actively awesome and Máscara de Bronce, though not quite there yet, is a solid young luchador with a whole lot of potential. But aside from them and Hernandez (who is the third talented dude by default) there’s not a lot of talent here, with Big Mami being putrid, La Hiedra being nice to look at but nowhere close to ready, and Estrella Divina and Mini Psycho Clown being…okay? Some day Dorian will have to explain why he let Vampiro book this rudo team the way he did instead of sticking the super fun Poder de Norte team in instead. As it stands, Carta Brava, Mocho Cota and The Artist Formerly Known as Soul Rocker will just have to watch this one with the rest of us, hoping like hell Dinastia and Máscara de Bronce have a great night to rise this one out of mediocrity.
Winners: Unless Kevin Kross is making an appearance here to run his day, this match should be all about Máscara de Bronce. He has that briefcase with an AAA Mega Championship title shot contract inside, he’s been treated like a joke during the build up for the show; this just feels like the match where he gets a shot in the arm to move him up the card. I see him winning this for the team by pinning Hernandez, taking back the briefcase and…well we’ll get to it in a little bit.
Four Way Match for the Reina de Reinas Championship
Sexy Star (c) vs. Ayako Hamada vs. Lady Shani vs. Rosemary
What to Expect: Getting to this match has been a roller coaster. For one, it wasn’t that long ago that Taya was the Reina de Reinas Champion, only to be stripped of it due reasons so bizarre that only Vampiro (or David Lynch) could’ve thought it up. Taya reacted badly to this, and then reacted even worse when Sexy Star, who spent the last year burying AAA, shocking returned in July and won the vacant Reina de Reinas belt in a four way. That probably was the last of Taya in AAA…except I can’t say that for sure because it’s pretty clear almost everything about what I just described was a work, especially the parts that involved Vampiro and Johnny Mundo. The only question now is whether it was a work used to write Taya off as she focuses more on LU and GFW in the states, or if she’s going to come out during this match and somehow win the title while Vampiro cackles over the loudspeaker.
Regardless of whether that scenario happens or not (and FYI, Taya would be the best performer of the five if she got involved) this match actually looks pretty good. Sexy Star has her limitations and numerous flaws, but she won’t be asked to do much in a multi-woman match other than her usual spots and if she should at least be able to nail those. Meanwhile the other three women range from good to very good. Hamada in particular is returning after having the best women’s match of 2017 against Taya back in the spring, Lady Shani has been someone who’s just needed a chance to show what she can do and Rosemary has blossomed into one of the most unique workers out there during her TNA/GFW stint. As long as Sexy Star isn’t allowed to run rough shot over these other three luchadoras (and her booking since returning indicates she won’t), I expect this match to actually be a solid bout and probably the second best of the undercard. And that’s without Taya’s involvement; if she is added to this match then it could get even better.
Winner: Hamada and Rosemary aren’t AAA regulars (at least as of this time) and it’s hard for me to believe AAA is going with Lady Shani when they couldn’t even give her a one on one match with Sexy (as was originally scheduled). So unless Taya is riding in on the white horse with that crown perfectly placed atop her head, Sexy Star is retaining this one after sneaking out a pin around the 11 minute mark.
Four Way Match for the AAA Tag Team Championships
Dark Cuervo & Dark Scoria (c) vs. Aerostar & Drago vs. Monster Clown & Murder Clown vs. Andrew Everett & DJZ
What to Expect: This match looked good before we knew Andrew Everett and DJZ were going to be in it. Now that they are, it looks even better! I mean sure, Dark Cuervo and Dark Scoria couldn’t be more “just kind of there” guys if that’s what they called their team, and Monster and Murder Clown aren’t going to deliver the same kind of athleticism the other three teams can due their size. But Everett and DJZ (provided he’s healthy) are two of the best young high flyers around today, and if I need to sell you on Aerostar and Drago at this point then you probably don’t know enough about lucha libre. In fact, the only problem I have with their involvement here is that this match is too low for them; shouldn’t Aerostar and/or Dragon be working a marquee matchup on this show instead of another multi-man tag match for the second straight year? That complaint aside, Aerostar, Drago, Everett and DJZ will provide enough thrills to offset Cuervo and Scoria’s lifelessness and provide us with what might be the best pure wrestling match of the show. I only ask that after this is over AAA finally do the right thing and push Aerostar. Or at the very least bring Steve Pain back in and let the two have a mask vs. hair match. Rob Viper and I can’t be the only ones who’d pay big money to see that.
Winners: Aerostar and Drago would make the most sense from a prestige standpoint, but they’re currently involved in a Trios Title feud with Poder de Norte, which makes a tag title victory seem unlikely (unless that’s going to get incorporated into the feud). Meanwhile Everett and DJZ likely aren’t sticking around, and I can’t imagine AAA (as weird as they can be) wanting to keep the belts on Cuervo and Scoria after their lukewarm run. That leaves Monster and Murder to take it home, which they’ll do by pinning either Everett or DJZ to win the AAA Tag Titles for the first time in their ten year stay with AAA. What a moment; too bad it’s probably just leading to them getting clowned (pun fully intended) by Psycho Clown for the rest of the year.
Torneo Triplemania 25
Argenis, Bengala, Imposter Parka vs. Australian Suicide, Faby Apache, Pimpinela Escarlata vs. Heavy Metal, Pirata Morgan, Villano IV vs. Averno, Chessman, Super Fly vs. Decnnis, Scorpio Jr., Zumbido vs. Bobby Lashley, Jeff Jarrett, Moose vs. Histeria, Maniaco, Psicosis vs. Crazy Boy, Lanzelot, Niño Hamburguesa vs. Halloween, Joe Lider, Mr. Aguila vs. Blue Demon Jr., El Intocable, Luchador Sopresa
What to Expect: We have now arrived at the second match that is going to make me say I DON’T KNOW! And amazingly I’m even more confused about this one then the Llave a la Gloria Finals, despite knowing most of the luchadors in this match. As best as I can tell, this was originally supposed to be a battle royal featuring current and past AAA stars, sort of like a mega Copa de Triplemania match. That made sense, even if it wasn’t your cup of tea. Then the match was changed to a ten way trios match for reasons only Vampiro knows and now all we know is that all the luchador(a)s listed for this match will be there. Except we actually don’t know that, because this is AAA and half of them may walk out when they realize they aren’t getting the W at the end. Where’s a meme of Vampiro’s face over the Joker saying “he’s an agent of chaos” when you need it?!
The one thing I can say about this match is there will surely be times where I’m laughing hysterically and times where I want to stick my computer in the oven and watch it burn. I’m certain Bengala, Argenis and Australian Suicide will at least get a moment or two of doing something cool, as will the OGT team of Averno, Chessman and Super Fly, it’ll be nice to see Perros del Mal again and it’ll be even nicer to see Heavy Metal for the first time in years to show Canelo Casas just how it’s done. Oh, and I guess the surprise partner for Blue Demon Jr.’s team could be something, provided its someone along the lines of LA Park, Máscara Sagrada, Juventud Guerrera or Teddy Hart and not, say, Octagón or Alberto El Patron. But beyond that I just see this match not making that much sense made worse by the fact that it features teams I either don’t want to see (looking at you Ripper and Histeria), wrestlers I don’t want to see (Jeff Jarrett) and teams with guys who should be doing something better (Lashley, Moose). Unless the surprise here is ultra good or AAA finds a way to make this match work from a format standpoint, I think we’re better off just hoping this only goes twenty minutes and calling it a success if it does.
Winners: I have this down to five possible teams; Imposter Parka, Argenis and Bengala; Suicide, Faby and Pimpi; OGT; Team GFW and the Blue Demon Jr. squad. The right thing to do would be to give it to one of the AAA exclusive teams to make your roster look good (preferably Averno’s team as that’s the best one) but that would make too much sense, which means AAA is totally ending this with it coming down to GFW vs. Team Demon. I won’t say which one will win but I will say this; if the surprise partner of Team Demon is someone the caliber of the names I mentioned earlier, they’re taking it home. If it’s someone like Latin Lover, then GFW is taking it home. Either way there will only be three winners and a whole lot of losers after this one, provided Vampiro doesn’t pull off a miracle and make this work.
Pagano vs. El Mesias
What to Expect: We have now entered the portion of the show where chaos reigns supreme till everyone is whisked away into the Mexico City night. Yes I know the match prior to this should be chaotic, but that’s the bad kind of chaos where as everything from here on up should be relatively fun. The story behind this match is that Pagano and Mesias were partners who eventually became disgruntled, teased breaking up several times and eventually did after Mesias officially turned on Pagano following them losing the AAA Tag Team Championships. They’ve been feuding ever since and are now going to settle their differences in a match tailor made to play to their strengths. Whatever you may think of Pagano, he’s a highly charismatic individual who thrives in matches where he’s allowed to use any and every sort of weapon possible (which he will here). And we know Mesias can do great in these kind of matches when motivated, as he always seemed to be when essaying Mil Muertes up in Lucha Underground. I suppose there’s always the chance that Mesias could take the night off and this certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but if you’re tolerant of wild, crazy, Mexican hardcore/death matches then this one should be pretty good. It’ll probably be the only one of the three headlining matches that doesn’t feature interference, so there’s that to look forward to as well.
Winner: I guess it depends on whether this match is the blow off or if there’s a hair vs. hair match coming up for these two. Personally I don’t think so; there’s only so much more these two can do and a match like this going forward without it devolving into the same thing, and they’ve been feuding for so long as is that it’s probably best to break them off now and have them move in different directions. As such, this calls for Pagano to pick up his first big solo victory and continue his quest to replace Pentagon as AAA’s anti-hero. He picks this one up at the twenty five minute mark after hitting Mesias with a top rope Spanish Fly through two flaming tables. Why two? Because why do one when you can do two? Plus, they’re gonna need to do everything they can here to keep some attention on them, what with the next two matches being the focal point of the show and all.
Three Way TLC Match for the AAA Mega Championship, Latin American Championship and Cruiserweight Championship
Johnny Mundo (c) (c) (c) vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Texano
What to Expect: This match may be the one that causes Kevin Gill and his broadcasting partner to have an aneurism by simply trying to keep track of all the branching storylines going on. In theory the story should be simple enough; Mundo stole all three titles from Texano and Fantasma (especially Fantasma) back in March with the help of Kevin Kross and this match serves and both men’s chance to get revenge. But then you have the fact that Texano and Fantasma’s relationship has fallen apart since then and the two are now as focused one each other as they are the titles. Then you have Máscara de Bronce and his briefcase lurking in the background. Then you have Kross, who isn’t on the card but figures to play a role, coming out to either help Mundo win or screw him over and take the titles for himself. And oh yes; there’s then the whole fact that Vampiro and Mundo have been working an exceptionally worked (but poor drawing) angle since June that will absolutely play a part in this match. So yeah; there’s a lot of moving parts going on here before you even get to a match that, overbooking or not, is probably going to be great. Texano always comes across much better in AAA than he does in Lucha Underground (and more than likely GFW when he appears), Johnny Mundo is as good as any wrestler alive today and Fantasma, in my view, is superior to both of those guys. Without all the stories I’m confident these three could deliver a memorable match, and I think they do just that even with all the moving parts. And if you’re going to grumble about the interference, remember this; TLC II at Wrestlemania featured Lita, Rhyno and Spike Dudley running in and that match was just as good, if not better than TLC I because of it. I think the numerous run ins that happen here can only help the match (and the performers by lessoning the bumps they take).
Winner: I’m going to make this as simple as possible; El Hijo del Fantasma needs to be the AAA Mega Champion. He’s a fantastic worker, he comes across as a star in everything he does (be it in AAA, LU or GFW), he can be a great representative in Mexico and the US due to his bilingualism. Whichever way you slice it, he’s the dude to put the title on and I think AAA will finally go ahead and do it here. In fact, I’m calling for all the belts to change hands here, with Máscara de Bronce making an appearance to take the Cruiserweight Championship, Texano taking the Latin American Championship and Fantasma taking the big title to seal the deal. That allows Bronce to go his own way, Texano and Fantasma to continue their feud over the two titles into the fall, and, because you know Vampiro is likely going to be there to help screw Mundo over, the set up for Mundo-Vampiro to begin. In fact I’m calling it now; Johnny Mundo and Vampiro will clash at Heroes del Imortales as a result of this match, Vampiro will send Mundo packing from AAA and will then transfer the heat over to Kevin Kross come Guerra de Titanes, thus solidifying Kross as their new foreign star. Thank you and drive home safe. But don’t do that yet because we’ve got one match left!
Mask vs. Mask Match
Psycho Clown vs. Dr. Wagner Jr.
What to Expect: AAA has called this the Match of the Decade in Mexico. With the exception of Atlantis vs. Último Guerrero, AAA is 100% right. This match, a match that many people I know never expected to happen, is as big as any match I can ever recall watching. It’s so big that AAA could’ve had Dave the Clown that working every match the rest of the show and people would’ve tuned in because this was the main event. It’s so big that Dave Meltzer has estimated more people will watch this match (between Televisa and the Twitch stream) than any other pro wrestling match in North America this year and I wouldn’t doubt that he’s right too. It doesn’t even matter that AAA hasn’t done tons to make the build interesting or that Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner have been having identical trios matches week after week for what seems like months. The fact that this is AAA’s biggest star going up against one of the most legendary luchadors…ever is enough to cancel out all the flaws and give this match enough of an audience in the shadow of the Mayweather-McGregor freak show match. The only matches in lucha libre I could see being bigger than this is if Rush and LA Park finally found someone willing to let them go completely nuts for mask vs. hair street fight, a mask vs. mask match between Park and Wagner and the holy grail itself, Atlantis vs. El Hijo del Santo in the battle between the two most famous masks in lucha libre history. Excuse me as I go wipe away a tear because the match is never going to happen.
So yeah; this is kind of a big deal. But how good will the match be? On the one hand it doesn’t really matter; neither the Good Doctor nor Psycho Clown will be trying to turn this into a PWG workrate exhibition and the emotion and heat generated from the Arena Ciudad crowd will be more than enough to make this match memorable. On the other, these are two performers more than capable of delivering the goods. Dr. Wagner Jr. isn’t an icon for no reason; he’s a master storyteller, one of the most charismatic men in the history of wrestling, a man who carried Máscara Año 2000 Jr. to one of the most memorable matches in Triplemania history and, even at 52, can still go at a high level when called upon. Likewise, Psycho Clown is a man with a penchant for showing up in big moments, and just last year pulled a great match out of Pagano when no one was expecting it. Yes they both have their limitations, yes this won’t be a technical classic and hell yes, you can expect there to be a whole lot of violence, a whole lot of overbooking and possibly some interference from Psycho’s former Los Psycho Circus pals, Vampiro (who has made an appearance in every AAA Apuesta match this year) and maybe even LA Park himself, whether AAA books him for the show or not. But even if that all comes to pass, I can’t help but feel that this match is going to be something to behold. It will be loud, it’ll be heated, it’ll be crazy, it’ll be violent and barring a major injury or Vampiro’s booking gone wrong, it will be one of the most epic matches in the history of AAA. I cannot wait to see it.
Winner: And now for one of the toughest picks I’ll ever have to make. Let me start out by saying I’m of the mindset that Psycho Clown should win this match. Key word there is should. I’ll never claim Psycho is the best worker in the history of lucha libre and there’s probably other guys who deserved the honor more than him, but the dude is still really, REALLY good, he’s the biggest star AAA has and at 31 years old, he’s poised to be AAA’s top draw for the next decade at least. Giving him Wagner’s mask won’t just be the biggest win of his career, it’ll instantly bring him as close to legendary status as one can get with twenty years to go in their career, not to mention solidifying him as the top draw in Mexico not named Atlantis. It all makes sense…except for the fact that this Dr. Wagner Jr., a man who absolutely doesn’t want to lose his mask just yet due to ego, the belief he can still go for another decade himself and the flickering hope that he can get an even bigger payday from an LA Park mask match somewhere down the road (and that says something considering the loser here is reportedly set to earn “life changing money” for losing their mask). Throw in that Wagner is clearly the more popular of the two (though not by a vast margin) and that Psycho probably wouldn’t be hurt too badly by the loss and you’ve got a compelling case for Wagner winning. So which way am I going to go? At the end of the day, I’m a guy who believes that when it comes to deciding between a top drawing 52 year old and a top drawing 31 year old to win a mask match, you go with the guy who has thirty years left, not ten. So, perhaps foolishly, I’m going with the shocker; against all odds, Psycho Clown will defeat Dr. Wagner Jr. in the most shocking upset since Atlantis defeated Villano III to win Wagner’s mask. Wagner will receive the highest payday of all time for losing his mask (perhaps so much money that he can then buy AAA afterwards!) and…yeah I don’t know what else to say other than you heard it here first. Psycho over Wagner. Send your jokes once I’m wrong to @CultIcon.
And scene. I think that may have been the longest preview I’ve ever written! Never the less, I hope you enjoy it and I hope to see you back here tomorrow to read my review of Triplemania. Here’s hoping it’s going to be as memorable as I think it is. If you can’t wait that long to read something from me though, I’ll probably be back tonight to review CMLL’s Friday show, provided I’m not doing podcast obligations in regards to Triplemania. We’ll see. Till tonight or tomorrow, THIS!