You know what’s better than the Yankees getting no one at the trade deadline? The second part of Lucha Central’s countdown of the 27 Greatest Matches in Triplemania history! Yesterday we took a look at matches 27-21 and now it’s time to check out matches 20-11. It’s gonna be a good time. So what are we waiting for; let’s get the party started.
20. Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Máscara Año 2000 Jr. (Triplemania XX)
This match, and this is no joke, may be the greatest accomplishment in the history of AAA and the history of Dr. Wagner Jr.! I say this because Máscara Año 2000 Jr. is legitimately the worst luchador to have a match on this list. He is so bland, so unremarkable and so mediocre that he makes Pagano look like Ricky Steamboat in 1989 by comparison. I’m not sure he’s ever been in a match besides this one that was memorable and in all honesty this match shouldn’t have been memorable. And yet…it was!
So why was it as good as it was? Three reasons. First, Dr. Wagner Jr. is the ultimate force of charisma that can get a crowd invested just by convulsing the right way. Second, AAA threw everything into this match, from pen stabbings to beer bottle shots to Máscara Año 2000 Sr. appearances to family betrayals (the late Silver King betrays Wagner because of course he does) to Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. having the greatest moment of his career (at least before the Psycho Clown stare down). Like this match is overbooked beyond the extreme. And finally it works because the crowd bought everything I just described. They bought Wagner, they bought all the wackiness and they honest to Grodd bought that Máscara Año 2000 Jr. could beat Dr. Wagner Jr. because of it all! As such this match, which should’ve had no chance, is one of the most electrifying matches I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly not a workrate classic, but it’s a whole lot of fun and proof that sometimes AAA’s reliance on overbooking can work. Most importantly it tells you all you need to know about Wagner’s greatness. Yes he’s had better matches than this. But like Psycho Clown’s performance against Pagano four years later, this match more than any other is the prime example of why Dr. Wagner Jr. is the legend he is.
19. Psycho Clown vs. Texano Jr. (Triplemania XXII)
If this match had happened a year or two later it may have been even higher on the list. Alas it happened in 2014 when Psycho Clown was merely on the way to becoming the ace of AAA and wasn’t yet over enough with the fans to get the reaction AAA wanted from this match. In the end though AAA got everything else they wanted out of this match. There’s ultra violence, there’s enormous spectacle and unlike Psycho’s future match with Pagano there’s some actual good wrestling because, unlike Pagano, Texano is a terrific worker and the perfect compliment for Psycho. It’s no wonder the two have continued to work together well as they’ve both improved over the past few years. A really terrific match that I may be underrating from a Triplemania that is kind of underrated.
18. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. LA Park vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Psycho Clown (Triplemania XXVI)
That’s right; last year’s Triplemania main event is good enough to qualify for a spot in the top twenty. If only AAA had realized the match didn’t need the cage; it could’ve possibly made the top ten! That’s the one flaw in this match, as the cage leads to very little from Pentagon and Psycho Clown and thus results in a slow start. Luckily the cage is then raised up and this match turns into the LA Park show, with Park bringing his usual big show show performance while Fantasma has some of the best work of his career in a failed attempt to try and keep his mask. Frankly the post match may be even better thanks to the scene where Fantasma’s son gives the throat slash sign to Park. I would think Park would be too old to work by the time Baby Fantasma can seek vengeance but as Konnan once told me, at the end of the day it’s f**king LA Park. He could be kicking ass and getting banned from Defy shows at 90 years old and it wouldn’t surprise me.
17. Charly Manson vs. El Zorro (Triplemania XIV)
It’s weird to look back at this match now considering Charly and Zorro are now slumming it as past their prime headliners in CMLL as, get this, Sharly Rock Star and The Chris respectively. Could two guys that lame ever have been good enough to make this list? The answer is yes, especially in the mid 2000’s when Zorro and Charly had one of the hottest feuds going. The whole thing climaxed in this Last Man Steel Cage hair vs. hair match, a match that seems too bizarre to be real and way too bizarre to be good. It was in fact real and it was, in fact, spectacular, thanks to some awesome death match wrestling and arguably career best work from both Manson and Zorro. I suppose I understand why the Impostor La Parka headlined the show over this match with a then young El Mesias, but boy it’s a crying shame. This match should’ve been the real main event, and quite frankly may be the best Triplemania match from an era of AAA most people don’t remember.
16. Psycho Clown vs. Dr. Wagner Jr. (Triplemania XXV)
If this list was about the most hyped Triplemania matches of all time, Psycho and Wagner would be battling with LA Park vs. La Parka for the number one spot. Unfortunately this isn’t about the hype and even more unfortunately this match happened at the wrong time to live up to its massive potential. Imagine if we had gotten this match with 2019 Psycho taking on 2005 Wagner? I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure this match would’ve wound up the greatest thing since “Donut Run” if we had gotten that combination.
Of course this match, even if it wasn’t a masterpiece that it could’ve been at another time, is still incredibly special. For one, it’s easily been the most anticipated Triplemania main event that I can ever recall watching live, as evident by the fact that this match wound up the most watched match in North America in the past decade. But even beyond that the match is also a really good bout. Sure Psycho may not yet be the Psycho we’ve seen grow into an excellent performer this year and Wagner isn’t the guy he was a decade earlier, but in the end both guys work their asses off, they brawl all over the place, they try all sorts of cool stuff and more often than not they succeeded while Mexico City lost their shit. And keep in mind, Psycho and Wagner did all of this following the complete disaster that was Copa Triplemania and the Sexy Star fiasco on the same show. The fact that this did wind up being a memorable, good to great match is quite the accomplishment. It may not have wound up the greatest Triplemania match ever as some of us wanted, but it’s still one of the most memorable in the history of the show, both for the spectacle it provided, the underrated work of both guys and the unforgettable, shocking result of Wagner losing his mask and Psycho establishing himself as THE ACE going forward.
15. El Hijo del Santo, La Parka, Octagón, Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera, Pentagon, Psicosis (Triplemania III-B)
It’s pretty funny that the middle sections of Triplemania II and III both produced killer atomicos matches that happened to feature El Hijo del Santo, La Parka, Octagón, Blue Panther and Psicosis. As you’ll soon see, the Triplemania II-B match was the better, mostly because it replaced the wobbly Pentagon and half asleep Fuerza Guerrera with Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask. But this match is still supreme, thanks to the otherworldly chemistry between Santo and Psicosis (is there a lucha pairing more unappreciated these days than that duo?), Blue Panther’s ability to hold things together, La Parka’s ability to be La Parka and a young Rey Mysterio Jr. being one of the most exciting performers ever. You know Triplemania III-B was a special show when a match like this is only the third best it produced.
14. Juventud Guerrera vs. Perro Aguayo Jr. (Triplemania III-B)
What a coincidence; here’s the second best match Triplemania III-B produced! This is a special bout considering a) it was fought under Olympic Rules and b) was the first ever match for Perro Aguayo Jr., who was at the time fifteen years old and nowhere close to becoming the dude who would form Los Perros del Mal. At fifteen years old you shouldn’t be competing in high profile wrestling matches; frankly the only things you should be doing are going to school, mastering Ocarina of Time and coming up with excuses for why you’re hanging out in your room with the door shut in the afternoon.
And yet here was fifteen year old Perro, in the ring with a then grizzled twenty year old Juventud Guerrera, in a match that should never have worked, and they absolutely friggin killed it. A big reason for that is because Perro, even at fifteen, already possessed the skill of a veteran, while Juvy was quietly a great all around worker in addition to his high flying. Throw in AAA making this match short (they get only eight minutes so to not overextend themselves) while allowing Perro Sr. and Fuerza Guerrera to get involved (both were at ringside) and I’m not sure you could ask for a more perfect scenario for Perro Jr.’s debut. It’s a little weird that this match wound up being the only match of Perro or Juvy’s that made this list, but perhaps that just makes it all the more impressive. Regardless, this was a fantastic showcase for two young luchadores who both wound up overshadowing their more experienced, famous fathers on this very show!
13. Konnan vs. Cien Caras (Triplemania I)
The match that wound up leading to Konnan vs. Jake Roberts is ironically the same type of match as Konnan vs. Jake Roberts, only done much, MUCH better. It obviously didn’t hurt that this match took place in front of nearly 50,000 people (still the largest crowd for a Triplemania in history) and that Cien Caras was a better worker than Roberts at the time. But the biggest reason this match is better is because the story, unbelievably enough, is that much better. Not only was this a culmination of a feud between Konnan and Caras that stretched back to their days in CMLL, but the loser of this match was going to have to retire. EVERYTHING was on the line in this match, and both Konnan and Caras portray the seriousness of the situation accordingly while Antonio Peña, maestro of booking that he was, books it all so brilliantly by inserting Roberts as a joker card of sorts. The match becomes the story of which luchador will be the one to fall into Roberts’ trap and it winds up being Konnan, leading to Caras saving his career, Konnan losing his and the start of the year long build to Roberts-Konnan. It’s hard for me to believe that the biggest show of any year could end with a career match ending in a Countout finish and it being successful. But it was here thanks to Peña’s ballsy gamble, Roberts’ tremendous performance and Konnan selling the loss like he had just watched the Tony Stark death scene. This was all unbelievable…and amazingly it was only the second best thing on Triplemania I!
12. Angelico vs. Australian Suicide vs. Bengala vs. Daga vs. Drago vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Fenix vs. Jack Evans vs. Joe Lider vs. Pentagon Jr. (Triplemania XXII)
When this match made the 25 Greatest Triplemania matches list two years ago, only four of the ten participants (Drago, Fantasma, Lider and Suicide) were actually still in AAA. Fast forward to now and all but Angelico, Bengala, Fantasma and MAYBE Jack Evans (who may still be with AAA for all I know) are back with the promotion. Time truly does heal all wounds doesn’t it? Regardless of who is and who isn’t in AAA, this match is the perfect embodiment of what makes modern AAA so exciting. This match was nonstop action, loaded with dives and innovative sequences, and most importantly saw young talent getting an opportunity. Want to see what Fenix and Pentagon looked on the rise? You get it here. Want to see Ricky Marvin (Bengala) get a chance to strut his stuff on a big stage? Give this a look! Want to see Angelico and Fantasma have career nights by outlasting the rest of this field to make it all the way to the finals? Give this match a whirl and a half! At the time of the last list I bemoaned how AAA had gotten away from this style of multi-man matches in favor of the drizzling shit bouts they were putting on. I’m glad these days AAA has realized that this match saw the future in many ways.
11. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Myzteziz (Triplemania XXIII)
I LOVE this match sports fans. Love, love, LOVE this match. I may be the only one who does; after all, Triplemania XXIII was overall a shit show that most of us do not wish to speak about ever again, a show that set back the promotion’s US expansion by several years and was likely the catalyst for AAA’s two year descent into horror. In many ways I think the overall debacle that was that show, coupled with an absolutely awful and convoluted post match, has made people think this match was a disappointment. In reality, not only was the match not a disappointment but I had it in the top ten of the original list, and likely would’ve again if not for a few matches being added. I like it so much I’m breaking out Anakin for it.
Now why does it rule? Well for one, it’s the first big example of Rey Mysterio Jr. turning back the clock after an injury marred end to his WWE run. People forget this now that Rey is back in WWE, but not only did a lot of people not want to see Rey again but the people who did were legit concerned about whether or not he could still go. He proved in this match that he still had it, and I’d honestly say this match was the catalyst for the renaissance we’ve seen from him over the last couple of years. He doesn’t do it alone though as Myzteziz, himself in the midst of his own comeback, is tremendous as the technico who slowly resorts to being a rudo when he can’t win over the crowd and can’t beat Mysterio at his own game. It’s absolutely terrific stuff and on a better show with a post match angle that wasn’t the worst thing since the Fingerpoke of Doom I think people would’ve seen this for the borderline classic it is. As such, distance from Triplemania XXIII has shown the match to be a lot better than what people thought and in my opinion a match that lived up to the hype. It’s amazing that this was once the match that Vince McMahon wanted to do at Wrestlemania and instead he had to watch it happen at Triplemania of all places. If only AAA had surrounded it with a show worthy of its hype.
Two down, one to go sports fans! I’ll see you tomorrow as we unveil the ten greatest Triplemania matches ever (according to yours truly) and then preview Saturday’s Triplemania XXVII! The preview will be out early due to me traveling on Friday afternoon; as such that leaves little time for a CMLL preview, so look instead for a review of the show on Friday night. TILL TOMORROW!
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