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Lucha Tributes: Vinny Massaro
If you missed any of the previous Lucha Tributes, click below to check them out!
Oh what a day. What a…interesting day. Ah, you thought I was going Fury Road there right? Alas no. While I wouldn’t say a day where a Lucha Underground marathon and a viewing of Django Unchained and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly back to back is bad, it’s also been a day full of snow. A lot of snow; which leads to shoveling, which leads to me being cold and leaving me in the state of a sad panda. In fact, I’m getting sad thinking about it again now. Let’s wipe that away with a Lucha Tribute, shall we? Who are we talking about tonight? Why it’s another unsung hero, a man who has only stepped foot in the Temple a few times, but someone who is beloved by Lucha Underground fans all the same. Most importantly, he’s a dude who loves wrestling and loves lucha libre. I mean yeah, they all do but this guy really seems to be into it. Who am I talking about? None other than the man with the snoring elbow, the “Nice Guy” Vinny Massaro.
What You Already Know
Such a great question; what do we know about Lucha Underground legend Vincenzo “Vinny” Massaro? Well, we know that Vinny’s legendary status in the Temple exists only in the minds of dudes like myself and the Last Real Heels. Poor Vinny’s track record thus far for Lucha Underground has consisted of Pentagon Jr. snapping his arm like a Twix bar (covered in caramel and cloaked in chocolate, like what they do at Right Twix. Or is it Left Twix?), being beaten up by Texano because that’s just what Texano does and competing in the ten man Battle Royal for that final Aztec Medallion. Spoiler alert; poor Vinny didn’t win. Despite his hardships in the ring, Vinny has been one of the most social Temple warriors outside of the ring, and has frequently been a guest of podcast kings and fellow Lucha Kliq members, the aforementioned Last Real Heels. So it’s not all bad!
What You Didn’t Know
While in Lucha Underground he’s a relative unknown, elsewhere Vinny Massaro has been a king. His primary kingdom over the course of his 17 career has been All Pro Wrestling (APW). Formed in 1991 as Pacific Coast Sports by a Roland Alexander, APW became a popular indie promotion in California following the rise of the Attitude Era, which just so happened to be when Vinny was breaking in in 1997 (at the age of 16!). He was successful out of the gate, winning the APW Tag Team Championships with Vic Grimes; at the time. At the time, Vinny was known as Little Dic Grimes, the masked kayfabe brother of the future WWE/ECW star. After a few months however, the two would vacate the tag titles and feud, culminating in a mask vs. mask match between the two that Vinny lost. Now wrestling under his better known name, Vinny broke off and became a singles star, winning both the APW Worldwide Internet Championship and the APW’s top title, the APW Universal Heavyweight Championship once each. Though his reign as top dog was brief (poor Vinny had to vacate the title after three days due to shenanigans during his victory), Vinny’s reign as Internet Champion was quite successful, and even today he is listed as having one of the longest reigns as champion. Perhaps even more impressive is who he beat for the title; “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels. I don’t see Pentagon Jr. walking around with a victory over him!
Though Vinny has continued to work on and off for APW since his initial run, he’s expanded his resume beyond that. He is the only man to compete in the original King of the Indies tournament back in 2001 (won by journeyman Bryan Danielson. Whatever happened to him?) and the most recent one in 2015, having an excellent match with future star Timothy Thatcher. In recent years, Vinny has been a mainstay both as a wrestler and trainer for the Californian based Pro Wrestling Revolution (run by former APW booker Gabriel Ramirez) promotion, competing amongst greats like Cage, Atlantis, Blue Demon Jr., El Hijo del Santo (before “retirement”), Octagon, Rey Horus, Willie Mack and the legendary/mysterious Ultimo Panda. His most famed run outside of the LU and APW however was with Xtreme Pro Wrestling, the infamous promotion founded and run by Rob Black and a few other dudes that included friend of the blog Kevin Kleinrock. Vinny would wrestle for XPW in 2002 under the gimmick of Eric Bischoff’s nephew, while teaming with lucha libre legend and hero of mine Juventud Guerrera. He would later return for the promotion’s two reunion shows in 2009 and 2010, teaming with X-Pac and Jardi Frantz as Team XPW to take on Team Revolution Pro at the 2009 show (titled A Cold Day in Hell) and teaming with a Monica Massaro to defeat Joey Ryan and Lizzy Valentine at the XPW Tenth Anniversary Show in 2010. I know what you’re wondering; no, I don’t know if Monica Massaro is Vinny’s wife, sister or whatever and no, I don’t know who won the Team XPW-Team Rev Pro match. Wikipedia says Rev Pro won while Cagematch says Team XPW won. The lesson as always; asks Kleinrock next time. In fact, I’ll ask him now!
Here’s where it’s tricky, because unfortunately Vinny didn’t have any big moments stick out in season one of Lucha Underground, and the moment I would’ve picked to be his best (his APW Worldwide Internet Championship win over Christopher Daniels) is nowhere to be found online. Thus, I’m going to give you two things. One is the ten man battle royal towards the end of LU’s first season. No Vinny doesn’t do a whole lot, but he does show off an awesome clothesline and seems to be having the time of his life. I would be too if Pentagon Jr. wasn’t snapping my arm. The second video is an interview from last year where Vinny tells you all why he will be winning the King of Indies tournament. I’m sure he’d even tell you it’s nothing ground breaking, but it’s a solid promo, it’s a chance to see him talk and a chance to see if you can memorize the longest middle name in the history of the western hemisphere. Good stuff.
Vinny Massaro is someone you cannot help but root for. One person I talked to about him before this column called him “seriously underrated” and I think that’s right on the money. Vinny will likely never be a guy who wrestles at Wrestlemania and although I hope otherwise, he’ll probably never be on the level of a Mil Muertes or Pentagon Jr. in Lucha Underground (then again, everyone matters in the LU, so you never know. You just never know). But so what? Vinny Massaro has had a hell of a career overall, having gotten to wrestle the biggest names, win titles and live the dream most of us would die to do. And he’s done it all while being a fantastic dude. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with Vinny on a few occasions online; what I’ve learned is that he’s not a fan of CMLL (thought you’d like to know) and that he’s a funny, very nice guy who like the rest of the LU roster and staff cares about the fans and cherishes what he’s a part of. What more can you ask for than that? I, the Last Real Heels and the rest of the Lucha Kliq raise our Pepsi’s/beers to you Vinny. Can’t wait for you to get that monumental upset victory one day in the Temple.
And we’re at the finish line. I’ll be back soon with some more Lucha Tributes, the Survival Guide and an X-Files column. Till then, ONLY ONE MORE DAY TILL THE X-FILES IS BACK!
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