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Ten Wrestlers You Never Knew Wrestled for Lucha Promotions
I'm going to be upfront right now; I wasn't going to write today at all. Seeing as my brain as feeling like an antelope and the call to play NHL on the Playstation was greater than my crush for Candice LeRae, I figured it would be best to take the day off. NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS! I've got the second wind, and I'm about to drop some knowledge on you like Lex Luger dropped Barry Windham on the Great American Bash show were everyone booed his ass. What am I talking about today then? Well, I decided to get a bit creative, and combine two things that normally don't go together; big time wrestling stars in the U.S. and lucha libre. I know, I know; most big name stars from WWE or WCW don't go down to Mexico, either because they're set here or they've got Japan to fall back on. Well, with a little bit of research (thank you Cage Match and Wikipedia!), I've found ten stars from the states (ranging from known, solid stars to OMG, HE'S A LEGEND! stars) who happened to cross over to lucha libre territory at least once. Who are they? Let's find out before my brain goes into freeze mode again. BEGIN THE LIST!
Doink the Clown
Let's be real to kick this off; Doink the Clown may have eventually devolved into one of the worst gimmicks in the history of the western hemisphere and could just possibly be the blackest of black marks on a period in WWE where things were midway point of The Dark Knight Rises grim. That being said, Matt Borne (the original man to portray Doink) is without a doubt one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time and his portrayal of a heel Doink (before he was replaced with wrestling's equivalent of the Saibamen) was pretty genius. For one night, he got to take that genius down to Mexico to team with Villano IV and La Parka against Tito Santana, Grand Hamada and El Hijo del Santo on a special AAA/UWA (Universal Wrestling Association) joint show. The bad news; Doink's team lost, making his lucha career a disappointing 0-1. The good news; he teamed with the original La Parka, which allows us all to imagine what the interactions between the two was like. My guess is that it was on a level of epicness you only find during the guitar solo of Faith No More's song "Epic" and every Jamie Vardy counterattack.
Now we're getting to the big names! This may not be surprising to some, considering Scott Hall worked for TNA a few times during the mid 00's and likely could've worked for AAA as part of the cross promoting both companies did. During his short stint there in 2007 (when Hall just appeared with Kevin Nash a couple of times before no showing the final PPV of the year), Hall would indeed wrestle for AAA at the Antonio Pena Memorial Show, where he competed as a surprise entrant in the Copa Antonio Pena (a gauntlet/tournament that's now become an annual AAA event). Despite being the second to last entrant, Hall would be defeated by Charly Manson in what can only be described as an underwhelming few minutes of action. All things considered though, Hall's appearance isn't that bad, especially considering the kind of demons he was battling at the time. Which is more than can be said for a certain other wrestler on this list.
Yes, you're reading correctly; the Franchise of WCW has indeed gotten his feet wet in lucha libre. Unfortunately, that's the best thing I can say about his brief tenure there. Sting's match in AAA, another example of the lucha power crossing over with TNA, took place at Heroes Immortales 2011, with him taking on El Mesias. I know, that sounds like a good combination, like pizza pretzel Combo snacks or Buffy and Angel. Truthfully, the match's failings have nothing to do with either guy and more to do with it only being given 9 minutes before devolving into some sort of bizarre TNA angle. Poor Sting; the man is cursed I tell you. You have to be when your career consists of Hulk Hogan preventing you from becoming the biggest star ever, TNA never rising to another level, TNA using your only AAA appearance as a throwaway and...whatever the hell that WWE run was.
Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan
You know what other brilliant way AAA used to get semi-famous to famous talent from North America to work with them besides TNA? La Legion Extranjera (The Foreign Legion), a treacherous evil stable formed and led by Konnan to help assist him in his never ending quest to take over AAA. This beautiful creation led to the one lucha appearance of future WWE Champion, beard enthusiast and just overall champion of industry Bryan Danielson (better known by his ring name Daniel Bryan). That appearance was at Triplemania 2008, where he teamed with Teddy Hart and hero to all Jack Evans to take on The Mexican Powers (Crazy Boy, Ultimo Gladiator and Ricky "Bengala" Marvin) and La Famila de Tijuana (Extreme Tiger, Halloween and T.J. Extreme. Yes, someone actually thought that name was cool). As you would expect, it's a pretty good match that's worth checking out. As you'd also expect, Danielson and co. don't win, because you're never winning a one off (well, you can, but you've got to be a Hogan level politician brother jack dude!). Oh well, it happens. The good news is that it may not be Bryan's last rodeo in lucha, if you're to believe statements he's made about wanting a CMLL match with his hair/beard on the line. Can you imagine Bryan vs. Atlantis, hair vs. mask? We'll now go live to the LuchaKliq's reaction.
Diamond Dallas Page
No way; DDP WRESTLED in Mexico?! Technically no (both matches were in New York), but the king of bada bing did indeed wrestle for AAA not once but twice during his first few years as a wrestler, both times teaming with Los Gringos Locos member Louis Spicolli (known as Madonna's Boyfriend in AAA. Eat your heart out Charles Barkley) in losing efforts. Because again, you have to lose if you're only staying a short time. Still, pretty cool that DDP actually had a short run with AAA, especially considering he'd go on to become one of the more underrated legends in wrestling history. Perhaps he can return and help prolong all the current luchador's careers with some DDP Yoga. Imagine Aerostar limbered up on DDP Yoga? He'll be doing dives off the roof of arenas!
What's the one thing more unbelievable than DDP wrestling lucha? Scott Steiner, my mortal nemesis, poet, scholar and overall batshit crazy man lucha. Unbelievable or not, it's happened three times, all for AAA and once again thanks to AAA's working relationship with TNA. Unlike all the other guys on this list however, Big Poppa Pump's actually had success south of the border. Though his first match for AAA (as a member of La Legion Extranjera) resulted in a loss, Steiner would be on the winning team for his next two bouts, first in 2008 while teaming with Sabu, Electroshock and former WWE star Kenzo Suzuki and again in 2011 with Samoa Joe and...La Parka. That's right, original La Parka and Scott Steiner were a team together! That's almost better than the Doink/La Parka union I talked about earlier. What I wouldn't give to see those two fight, with La Parka coming out on the winning end of course. Say what you will about the "chair man", but he's a rad dude who doesn't appear to always be stuck in a nu metal music video. That's right Scott, the feud continues. You're getting no sympy from me!
As I already spoiled while talking about Steiner, the suicidal, homicidal, genocidal, death defying Sabu has dipped his toes into the lucha pool. Unlike Steiner and everyone else on this list though, Sabu has frequented Mexico much more. First appearing for AAA back in 1995, Sabu would have a semi-decent run for the company after he was let go from WWE's version of ECW in 2007, joining La Legion Extranjera (I know, they're getting more air time in this column than Taylor Swift gets on the radio). Overall, his record was pretty good, going 5-2 during his seven matches, with his only losses coming in a Tag Title match (where he was teaming with Teddy Hart) and his final match to date for AAA in 2011, where he lost to Dr. Wagner Jr. Not bad at all for one of ECW's founding fathers, although it would've been sweeter if he'd worked in Mexico more in his prime. Imagine young Sabu working AAA or CMLL at the peak of his insanity? He would've been a great Los Gringos Locos member waiting to happen.
Val Venis/Sean Morley
How much do you want to bet that most of the first reactions to Val Venis' name being on here were "HELLO LADIES!", "this guy is still alive?" and "really?"? First off, yes, Val Venis (or Sean Morley, as I believe he prefers to go by now) is alive and, despite him not seeming to be that big of name, was at one point one of the most popular stars in the Attitude Era. How did he get to that point? Well, he was hired by WWE largely because of his run with CMLL, where he wrestled from 1997-1999 (WWE graciously allowed him to work with both them and CMLL for a time) under the name Steele. There, he had a long running feud with lucha star Rayo de Jalisco Jr. (who he defeated to win the 1997 International Grand Prix) teamed with Atlantis a few times and most notably won the CMLL Heavyweight Championship in 1997 by defeating Jalisco again. Morley is one of only three non Mexicans to hold the belt (the others being Konnan and Norman Smiley) and would ultimately never lose (or defend) the title before being stripped of it when he went to work full time up north. That's right folks; Val Venis, your favorite wrestler to ever rock the porn star gimmick, is a lucha libre champion and semi-legend. I'll give you a few minutes to let it sink in.
Unlike the rest of these, you may actually know that Haku (aka the most diabolical hater of all time) wrestled down in Mexico for CMLL thanks to the numerous stories Chris Jericho and Vampiro have told about their time with him down there. For those who didn't know for sure though, here's your confirmation. In between his first WWE run and his WCW days, Haku would wrestle for CMLL almost full time from 1992 through 1994, where he pretty much did the same thing he did in America; kick ass, take names and never quite get his just due (although he did have a few CMLL Heavyweight Title shots, including one against Norman Smiley in 1993). Am I the only one amazed Haku never got a great look as a top monster heel in any company? The man was a legit bad ass for crying out loud; Charles Bronson in Death Wish probably quivered in fear at the sight of him.
Yup; I saved the best surprise for last. Following his falling out with both WWE and WCW, Jake the Snake headed south of the border for AAA, where he famously interfered in the main event of Triplemania I. That would be a big deal on its own; the fact that he cost Konnan (wrestling in the main event against Cien Caras) not only the match but his career (the match was indeed a career match) instantly made Roberts the number one rudo in all of Mexico. It also set the stage for a year long feud between the two (retirement stipulations hold together worse than celebrity marriages), culminating in Roberts losing a hair vs. hair match against Konnan at Triplemania II. That run for Roberts was so good, I haven't even mentioned that he was one of the original members of Los Gringos Locos yet! His run in AAA was good enough that he would return briefly in 1997 (though not to the same success as his earlier run) and it propelled him back to WWE for one last run in 1996. Now that's a great run in lucha libre history!
That'll do it kids! Hope you've enjoyed having your mind holes blown! I'll be back tomorrow with...something. Who knows what it'll be?! Till then, something something kids on that TV show, something something movie reference. Shit, my brain is broken again.
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