taped 2013-06-16 @ Arena Ciudad de Mexico
Some general thoughts (which exist as much to separate the gifs as anything)
The defining image of TripleMania XXI was the Mexican Powers, having just won a 20 minute match to recapture the tag team titles, standing in the darkness while the one spotlight in the arena was on Vampiro. The Mexican Powers eventually realized to stand close enough to Vampiro to get some light on them, which is symbolic if I know what symbolic means. (I may not!) This wasn’t just about going with the stars of years past to play the safe hand, this was about reminding you that the stars of the years past were the real stars and everyone else are just guys.
The show didn’t have any great matches on it; it’s not just that the CMLL Estetas del Aire vs Guerreros match was the best match in Mexico City on the night, it’s that the semimain from that show would have a case at being second best too. TripleMania was almost designed that way; Demon/Mesias is the first match of their feud and was a dry tecnico vs tecnico battle, two handicaps. Perro vs Cibernetico was going to be memorable but never great. The tag match was handicapped by the Mamitos, but some of the participants had a lousy night. The Heavy Metal matches were unlikely to be really good, unless you live within the Heavy Metal Reality Distortion Field. I am disappointed there wasn’t a great match, but maybe I’m punishing the show for something it had no intention of delivering.
This is just going to turn into a list of complaints, and there was stuff I liked on the show. I liked how we can actually see the full show – the process is another post itself, but I was able to eventually see every single match on TripleMania from the comfort of my couch 4000 miles away, and I probably won’t be able to see every match of the competition unless I’m 0 miles away from the show. I liked that they gave a definite resolution to the Cibernetico vs Perro Aguayo Jr. feud – no take backs, no bait and switches, just a guy won and a guy lost. I liked that Texano got the same deal; he unquestionable beat Heavy Metal and that feud is over and done. Every match got the time they wanted, and no match was cut to shred to end the show sooner. I liked the Abismo Negro and Hector Garza presentations (though I prefer if the tribute videos were shown directly on the PPV, and not shown thru a camera shooting a video screen.) I liked the entrance set up, the giant match graphics, and the look of the building. I liked how Dr. Wagner Jr. more or less walked out of AAA, told everyone he was going to CMLL, reluctantly returned to AAA and still got the big pinfall win because that was hilarious. I liked how AAA followed last year’s fake (???) fan run-in attack spot with a fake doctor getting attacked spot, and wonder fake person will be beaten up next year.
This show a show built instead on presentation and atmosphere. Of the 4+ hour show, my imprecise math says they spent around 1 hour and 3 minutes on enterances. It’s probably 5-7 minutes more, since we’re missing a chunk of the opener’s ones, and I didn’t check AAA’s version. Total match time was 1 hour and 54 minutes, really not that many by ratio. To give you some context, the last UTDN show with matches had around 18 minutes of entrance time and 1 hour and 2 minutes of wrestling. The biggest show of the year should have longer and bigger enterances, but it really dragged at times watching on TV, where the enterances were not as impressive.
The sound was a problem too; it felt like maybe the closest sections were miced and audible, but when they weren’t making any noise, it was deathly quiet. There were parts of the Mesias vs Blue Demon match which would’ve been equally noisy in a library. Elegido getting his trunks pulled in the opener was the sign something was wrong – the spot that always gets a reaction got almost none. The ringside people got loud for some stuff late, but not enough to carry the show themselves. It’s a huge arena, and it’s not going to sound like Toluca or Naucalpan when you have to fill up all that space, but it has to sound more exciting than it did.
It’d be nice if there was some, any, internally consistency in the rules. It can’t be that tables are completely legal in the match to get a title shot, but are completely illegal in the actual title match an hour later. It can’t be the chairs and staple guns are fair play for on AAA title, but another match is built around technical wrestling and rore breaks. The Texano/Metal & Demon/Mesias matches felt from a very different context than the rest of the show and there was no particular attempt to make sense of it together. Things changed even during the courses of matches – Piero was completely fine with everything that happened in the main event, including the martinete on Cuervo. Copetes, taking over, broke up the same move. The announcers could help with these sort of things, but they were having their own issues. There’s got to be a better role to get Arturo Rivera on TripleMania every year than having him announce for four hours. I like the idea of bringing in Hugo for familiarity to WWE fans, and he worked at times as the new guy impressed by this grand promotion AAA, but it also degenerated into guys talking over each other to squeeze in their signature lines and not working together much. Both of these concerns are not new, and probably unlikely to be addressed. The camera selection – especially in the first half of the show – was frustrating at times for the important shots they were missing. It seemed to get better later in the show and the problem hasn’t been there on regular AAA TV, so I suspect that’s just a crew unused to doing live lucha. Maybe they’ll get better if they do this again. I hope they do it again.
Mamba, Mini Abismo Negro, Silver King, Taya Valkyrie vs Dinastía, El Elegido, Faby Apache, Pimpinela Escarlata: Had some good moments, had some iffy moments. There has been smoother of these matches – Pimpinela looked sadly old near the beginning, then took a crazy bump later, and there were definitely nervous people trying to remember spots, but it was perfectly fine for an opener like this. Would’ve liked to see Dinastía be spotlighted more, but Faby was the most over person in the match and so she might as well get the win.
Chessman vs Heavy Metal in a Number One Contenders Match for the AAA World Heavyweight Championship: Chessman beats the utter life out of Heavy Metal and little friend for eight minutes, Heavy Metal makes random comebacks, Chessman does crazy spectacular things, Chessman attempts to murder Lokillo, Chessman beats up Metal some more, Metal does one move and wins. The casita is the most powerful hold in all of lucha libre. Metal did not look like a guy I wanted to see in another match; this was the usual bit of giving everything to the guy who’s losing, but an odd fit when they’ve got another match to come with the winner. This match will make a nice highlight video but wasn’t much as a match itself.
Angélico & Jack Evans vs Drago & Fénix and Daga & Psicosis and Crazy Boy & Joe Lider and Mr. E & Sexy B for the AAA World Tag Team Championship: Once again, some really good parts and some creativity, and some really bad parts. Los Mamitos were a terrible fit for this match – if they had to have someone from the WWL, they would’ve been so much better off sending two guys from the Team Puerto trios (Noreiga, Hammet, Lince Dorado), because they would’ve worked the style everyone else wanted to work. Mamitos were put over strong, taking all the remaining teams to eliminate them, and looked big but not particularly impressive. Daga and Fenix looked great, and the Angelico/Jack team was good for the six minutes they were allowed to stick around. Drago looked super whenever he wasn’t working with Joe Lider, who did not have a good match at all. Depending on how much you like Crazy Boy’s Moves, they were the fourth most impressive team here. Psicosis took his usual crazy bumps but didn’t do a lot otherwise and seemed strangely angry after he was out. Surprising that he gets to use his stapler on every single TV taping but not on TripleMania, that seems like the wrong order. I wonder if they were meant to be the runner up team at some point, since both Jesus and the music guy thought the match was over when they lost. I actually liked the Niño Hamburguesa power up spot (though wasn’t Crazy Boy trying to get him to stop doing that?). There’s no reason they had to turn of the Mexican Powers music to play Vampiro’s music, or that they had to just have a spotlight on Vampiro and not on the guys who just won the belt after the match, but it was a pretty hilarious obvious indication of how this still is a title they have zero interest or plans for.
Monster Clown, Murder Clown, Psycho Clown vs Jeff Jarrett, Matt Morgan, Monster Pain: a match they knew was going to be bad, and so they planed as many distractions and outside people getting involved as possible to prevent the luchadors from actually having to do a match. It still didn’t work – it was so much stuff, and not particularly good stuff. Mexicans were better at working with the outsiders than the Americans are with the Mexicans. It’s funny how much stuff is missed, though they weren’t going to miss the Karen/Marisela bit if their life depended on it. The WWL people had to have paid to be on this show (maybe not directly, but in some sort of trade about AAA wrestlers being booked out to WWL shows) – I don’t think even AAA believes those guys are stars.
Heavy Metal vs Texano Jr. for the AAA World Heavyweight Championship: Most complete match on the show so far, which means it was alright. It probably would’ve been better to watch in a different context; ref distraction spots look absurd and unnecessary when we’ve just seen three different managers interfere in matches and tables and chair spots to set up this match. (Texano’s climb for a moonsault he’s never even teased doing before was equally absurd.) Heavy Metal wasn’t great here, but he also wasn’t a determent. He was just up to the task of having an ok/good CMLL style title match, and Texano looked like a worthy champion. It didn’t feel like a world title match, but that’s what they tried to do. The post match challenge makes me think someone backed out and Ray Mendoza Jr. was a replacement; it felt less than convincing.
El Mesías vs Blue Demon Jr. for the AAA Latin American Championship: Really slow paced match early on that picked up later. The pace of the match and lack of any crowd noise played off each other in the worse way. The match was hurt in those sections by neither guy playing técnico or rudo, The later stage of the match was nothing but the guys taking turns doing moves and it took a while for the fans to care about it much. They could’ve used a buffer match between this match and the Texano one, as they were essentially doing the same kind of match back to back (and I think I liked that one a little better.) LA Park played everything well for LA Park and looked like the coolest guy in the world. If he’s not back with AAA, they clearly want him back for all they allowed him to do here.
Dr. Wagner Jr., Electroshock, La Parka, Octagón vs Canek, Máscara Año 2000, Universo 2000, Villano IV: I think the idea of the finish was Dorian wanted revenge on Wagner for rejoining AAA instead of the Konnan group, but he wasn’t actually allied with Universo who wanted to win on his own, but they did not do much of a job telling that story if that was the case. You could also totally imagine Goyito Perez punching out Dorian instead of the Electroshock cutter. It was an attempt to give some excitement to what was otherwise a formula AAA main event match with over the hill and out of shape luchadors. Even by the low standards of the crowd audio, the crowd didn’t seem to be in to this match much at all except when Wagner was in, and it wasn’t much of a match. If this match existed to bring in a group of fans who don’t normally come to the shows, those fans were very quiet.
el Hijo del Perro Aguayo vs Cibernético, hair vs hair: Exactly the match it needed to be with these two, and probably as good as could be expected. It was not a classic in the traditional sense, but a classic of interference and people using objects. I wouldn’t call it the best the match on the show because there are parts of the style which don’t appeal to me at all but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was for some. It was clearly the match the people responded to the strongest, and by a significant margin. Cibernético’s mastery of the Boston crab was a surprise. Also a surprise: for a feud which has been built on faction on faction warfare, there’s only 3 guys combined there to back up their leaders in their most important match? Is it really more important to send Ozz or Halloween or whoever to a small show in the middle of nowhere on TripleMania Sunday than to be at ringside for this match? (Taya was even there and she wasn’t used.) TripleMania and this match was built around spectacle, and there’s no more spectacle than having all of their forces being involved.