La Parka, the face of the AAA for nearly two decades, passed away on Saturday. He had turned 54 last week. La Parka was Jesus Alfonso Escoboza Huerta.
La Parka suffered fatal injuries on a dive in Monterrey on October 20. His head and neck injuries were so bad that there was a legitimate belief he would not make it through the night. La Parka made it through the night, though he never appeared in public. There were conflicting reports from AAA and media sources about Parka’s injuries and surgeries. Parka reportedly moved out of the hospital to a private home owned by AAA in Monterrey about a month ago. There were no official health updates after the first couple of weeks, just brief public statements by his son (wrestling as Karis La Momia Jr.) hoping for the best for his father. AAA’s announcement mentions Parka died of lungs and kidney failure.
La Parka was one of the more prominent stars in AAA over the last couple of decades. He worked the first TripleMania – not as a wrestler, but as security. He most famously wrestled as Karis La Momia in AAA before taking over the La Parka gimmick. The original Parka, better known now as LA Park, was one many wrestler who left AAA in 1996 to form Promo Azteca. AAA founder Antonio Pena declared he owned the rights to the gimmicks of the departing wrestlers and replaced many of them. Karis, as La Parka, was the most successful of the replacements, quickly adopted by the AAA fans as the new star of the company. Pena initially presented him as “La Parka Jr.” to avoid the ire of the fans, and gradually faded out the “Jr.” (Fans also would refer to him as La Parka AAA or Parkaris to distinguish him from the more internationally known Parka.) A Mexican wrestling fan in your 20s would’ve known this La Parka as the real Parka for all they can remember and have seen him as a giant star all that time. CMLL acknowledging La Parka is surprising and a statement about how big a star La Parka was.
La Parka won Cibernetico’s mask at the 2004 TripleMania, a matchup between AAA’s biggest stars of that era. He later won Muerte Cibernetica (Mesias)’s mask. Parka was a five-time Rey de Reys Champion, the most in the history of the tournament. Those achievements don’t really sum up his value: La Parka was the perfect star for AAA’s traveling caravan. He could go town to town with an easy crowd-pleasing match, doing his signature bits to elicit cheers, and leaving everyone in good shape to do the next day again. La Parka was never a guy who did much in the ring – something that would frustrate & antagonize his contemporaries – but his matches still got over. Parka’s matches became a source of internal tension during attempts to move AAA’s style closer to the rest of the world, but he kept doing his thing, and the company stayed loyal to Parka. Almost all of the great names of his era left AAA or AAA pushed them out, but Parka remained as the company legend.
Parka had wrestled less on TV in recent years. He’d been moved into a mentor/endorsement role in 2019, used to get the fans behind faces like Hijo del Vikingo, Laredo Kid, and Golden Magic. Parka was the voice of AAA, the on-screen character credited with the idea of making Angelikal into Myzteziz Jr. and Golden Magic into Octagon Jr. AAA hoped the fans would be as kind to the new versions of the character as they had been to Parka. Some of Parka’s last TV appearances were barely appearances: in one of his final shows in Saltillo, he only appeared for a couple of minutes to distract Dave the Clown on a finish. Parka never wrestled a physically demanding or risky style; he’d be one of the least likely Mexican luchadors to suffer a death related to something happening a match. Still, he was a luchador wrestling 200 matches a year and suffered severe injuries in a car accident years ago. The dive miss went badly, but – perhaps like Perro Aguayo Jr., it was made much worse by the years of damage to that point.