Monday, 10 August 2015

AAA TripleMania XXIII iPPV Review

This is the first time we've covered an AAA show on ATPW, in fact it's the very first time that we've covered Mexican wrestling at all, as we continue to branch out in the content that we offer to you. The show featured Rey Mysterio Jr. battling Myzteziz in the main event, with the bout being billed as a "Dream Match", whilst Pentagon, Jr., Brian Cage, Angelico , El Hijo del Fantasma, Cibernetico and more featured on the card. But was it any good?

Stupidly, I had the opening of the show on with Spanish commentary, so I sat pretty confused through the opening five minutes or so, however there was a nice Mission Impossible themed opening video package.

One Fall Revelos Atomicos de Locura Match
Dinastia, Drago, Goya Kong & Pimpinella Escarlata 
Daga, Mamba, Mini Psycho Clown & Sexy Star

This match featured a good cross-section of what AAA has to offer, with a member of each side representing the four singles division within the company, Male, Female, Mini-Estrella and Exotico. As an opening match this worked alright from a home viewing perspective, with the action keeping a fast-pace throughout, whilst providing some good contrasts in the collisions between the performers of different divisions. The crowd lapped up the comedy from characters like Pimpinella Escarlata, and although it wasn't really my cup of tea, it's clear that the live audience were big fans of Pimpinella's antics throughout the match.

Sexy Star was one of the stand out's of the bout for me, alongside fellow Lucha Underground competitor Drago, with both providing some of the best action in the contest, with no one else really threatening to break out of the pack. Out of that pack, Goya Kong especially looked sluggish and seemed to be holding back the match from really lifting the pace, although her cannon ball off the apron, during a series of high-flying dives, was impressive. The finish saw Pimpinella manage to get a submission out of Sexy Star, seemingly coming out of nowhere, which left the match feeling a little flat at the end.

Winners - Dinastia, Drago, Goya Kong & Pimpinella Escarlata 

Referee Pepe "Tropi" Casas was honoured, with Matt Striker informing us of his legendary status and that he would be refereeing his last match tonight (In fact the bout had two referees, for reasons). There was also a video package on Los Villanous before their match.

One Fall Six Man Tag Team Match
Los Villanos' Villano III, Villano IV & Villano V
Los Pyscho Circus

This match was marred with technical issues, both audio and visual, that certainly affected the match from where I was watching it. It's hard to concentrate when there's a constant buzzing, and only Matt Striker's commentary can be heard (including the face-palm inducing line "There's no leg slapping here") in a match that needed Hugo Savinivich to really get over the history of the two families involved in the bout. The visual issues meant that the match was very choppy and therefore difficult to follow. 

From what I did see the match seemed like a little bit of train wreck. Even if I had been completely up to date on Los Villanos and the history they had in the industry, I don't think I would have been into the sluggish action that the trio provided. Having three guys in the ring over fifty years old was always going to create this kind of action. Perhaps the bout could have been saved by having a decent story to follow, but that never really occurred, beyond both trios ripping one of the others masks. The finish was very confusing as Psycho Clown refused to pin Villano III, supposedly out of respect, but Psycho Clown ended up getting pinned by Villano IV after a low blow, like what? 

Winners - Los Villanos' Villano III, Villano IV & Villano V

A celebration of Villano III's career followed, with this PPV beginning to build a theme of honouring the past, more than looking to the future. The funky cage was lowered, complete with billboards around the side, in preparation for what Striker described as the "Aerial Assault" match, whether that is the actual name I have no idea.

Three Way Trios Aerial Assault Match for AAA World Trios Championships.
Los Hell Brothers (C)
El Hijo del Fantasma, El Texano, Jr. & Pentagon, Jr.
Angelico, Jack Evans & Fenix

The gimmick was essentially a combination of a steel cage match and TNA's Ultimate X, with the World Trios titles being suspended on a beam across the top of the cage. A big ol' clusterfuck of a match. The spots in this one were big, Fenix's moonsault of the top of the cage, Angelico jumping to the middle beam of one edge of the cage and some big bumps through a tables, here and there. I imagine the match looked much better inside the arena, as the camera work was shoddy throughout, making it difficult to feel like you were catching everything that was going on and making some of the spots look not quite as impressive as they could have. 

Personally, I think having three teams, or nine different wrestlers in the match, hurt the contest, as there was just too many bodies standing around inside the cage, especially at the start of the match. Six performers would have been enough to keep the spot count high, whilst keeping people busy from start to finish. In a comparison to WWE's Money in the Bank concept this match lacked a slickness and the spots seemed to be more for the sake of it, rather than in an attempt to get hold of the title belts. Almost certainly the best match of the show so far, but still didn't deliver on the promise of an intriguing gimmick and the talents involved in the match. 

Winners and still AAA World Trios Champions - Los Hell Brothers

Plenty of replays followed, alongside the celebrating Los Hell Brothers, who managed to retain their titles. We got some good shots of fans dicking about for a bit, which was slightly better than the wide shot of the arena that was the usual go to between matches, with the commentary randomly switching to Spanish for a little while.

One Fall Tag Team Match
Blue Demon, Jr & La Parka
El Mesias & Electroshock

The highlight of this match for me was realising that Electroshock looked like a gimp Giant Gonzales, in his ridiculous get-up. Things felt rather short here, in what was a basic tag team encounter, set up to celebrate the career of Blue Demon, Jr, as the theme of the PPV continued. There was nothing that stood out as particularly good or bad, but for the biggest PPV of the year, I was expecting a little bit more here than a basic tag team match. The finish saw Demon, Jr. able to get Gimpy Giant Gonzales to tap out with his El Pulpo submission, which made for a decent send off for the former NWA World Heavyweight Champion. 

Winners - Blue Demon, Jr. & La Parka

An emotional celebration followed and it was clear that Blue Demon, Jr. meant a lot to everyone involved in the show.

Hector Garza and El Hijo del Perro Aguayo became the 10th and 11th inductees into the AAA Hall of Fame. An emotional experience for the live crowd and the families of the inductees, due to both having passed away in recent years, with Aguayo's death being particularly recent. Unfortunately, Hugo Savinivich's commentary was missing for the initial induction meaning that most of the speech was lost on me, however, he returned for the second induction, adding to the moment and really helping me to understand the significance of the duo and their group, Perros del Mal, in Mexican wrestling.

One Fall Lucha de Apuestas Hair vs. Hair Match
Alberto el Patron 
with Fenix
Brian Cage 
with El Hijo del Fantasma

One of two main event calibre matches on the show, this was the first match to genuinely deliver on the show. The Mexico vs. USA storyline is a simple one, but one that is particularly relevant at the moment, with Brian Cage capitalising on this by wearing a "Trump 2016" t-shirt. Because of this, the crowd seemed into everything the two men did in the ring, lifting the action and adding a certain level of importance to it, with the Hair vs. Hair gimmick also adding some weight to the bout, despite El Patron's AAA World Heavyweight Championship not being on the line.

This was an enjoyably, brutal clash between the two, that told a good story and was easy to get involved in, despite the potentially alienating Mexico vs. USA element. El Patron getting busted open early doors provided some strong visuals, with Lucha Underground regular Cage dominated the early goings with the use of a folding chair and baking tray. The deck being stacked against the former WWE Champion throughout the bout after Cage and El Hijo del Fantasma had taken out Fenix on the ramp and the referee had been revealed to be in Cage's pocket, put El Patron in an underdog role that he seemed to revel in. His comeback, following a missed double jump moonsault from Cage, was heated with plenty of spot-on strikes, before he was able to pick up the victory via submission with a Cross Armbreaker. A special shoutout to the Bret's rope powerbomb through a table by Cage that worked a great near fall.

Winner - Alberto el Patron

Following the bout, TAFKA Alberto Del Rio cut a blistering promo, well it sounded blistering anyway, I don't speak Spanish. Personally, I could have done without Cage attempting to attack El Patron after having his head shaved, as with Cage already tapping out in the match, having El Patron quickly get the upper hand with a powerbomb seemed a bit superfluous. Unless perhaps Cage is done with the company.

One Fall Match
Rey Mysterio, Jr.

The match that seemed teased to happen at two separate WrestleMania's headlined the show, with Matt Striker taking great glee in pointing that out. The entrances of both men made the match feel very special indeed, with Myzteziz dropping down from the ceiling with the Mission Impossible theme (The upcoming spin-off film was sponsoring the show, with Simon Pegg making an appearance on the screen before the match), in a truly spectacular entrance. This gave the match a bit of glits and glamour, contributing to it's "big match feel", as AAA continued to provide some astounding visuals.

This was certainly the match of the night for me, with the pair creating a sprawling match that took in a variety of different styles. This kept the match interesting and played to the strengths of the two workers, who may have struggled to keep up a balls to wall bout, in the style that they are perhaps best known for. The opening section focused on a more brawling style with Mysterio busting Myzteziz open early with a head-scissors onto the ringpost, before TAFKA Sin Cara hit a powerbomb on the announce table and both tumbled through a table on a clunky suplex spot. Before the middle of the bout turned into both men attempting to get the pinfall with a series of different pinfall combinations, with the slower count used in Mexico playing into this section well.

With the pair running through a series of nice back and forth counters, the conclusion of the bout focused around Mysterio Jr's 619 and Myzteziz's La Mistica. Both men attempted each others' signature moves, with Myzteziz getting a good near fall off a 619 and Frog Splash combination, before Mysterio was able to make Myzteziz tap out with the second time that The Ultimate Underdog was able to utilise La Mistica. An enjoyable close to a bout that picked up it's pace heading into the final stretch of the match. Whilst the holds weren't always as slick as one would hope for in the biggest match of the year for AAA, there was still plenty to enjoy here, with the pair able to put together a match that they wouldn't have been able to if it had been booked for on a WWE show.

Winner - Rey Mysterio, Jr.

Things got interesting post-match with Averno, Joe Litre and Pentagon, Jr. heading to the ring to attack Myzteziz, with Joe Litre carrying a staple gun, because he's extreme according to Hugo Savinivich. Of course, eventually Mysterio, Jr. made the save with the pair hitting a double 619 to clear the ring of their foes. This all seemed good and well until BOTCH CARA returned and Myteziz screwed up a suicide dive onto Averno, with Mysterio having to cover for him. A slightly messy conclusion to the show, but at least it seemed to vaguely make some kind of sense.

But, that wasn't the conclusion. Myzteziz spitting in Mysterio's face and cutting a promo challenging the former WWE Champion to a Mask vs. Mask bout further down the line was, with Myzteziz seemingly siding with Perros del Mal and Konnan. I couldn't get my head around why Myzteziz seemed to be teaming with the people who had just tried to attack him with a staple gun. The mask vs. mask bout is intriguing, but having the show end with our hero, Rey Mysterio, Jr. getting the shit kicked out of him in the ring was a sour finish to the show.


ATPW Scale Rating - 5.03

The show picked up with the two main events that both delivered on expectations, perhaps even above with the Mysterio vs. Myzteziz bout, however the earlier matches didn't do much for me at all, and weren't helped out by the audio and visual issues, as well as some shoddy production. The three way trios cage bout was the highlight of the undercard, for the sheer silliness of the gimmick and some good spots.

The show had a strong focus on the past of the company, with many legends being honoured, which felt like it watered down the Hall of Fame ceremony part of the show. It would have been nice to see the company focus on some new faces, with Brian Cage the only name that seemed to be getting a big push up the card for his semi-main with Alberto el Patron. 

For my first proper look at AAA there was perhaps just enough to make me want to check out the companies next PPV in September, but they're going to have provide a little more on that effort to keep me interested in the company for the long run.

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