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This isn’t news to you if you read this site, but this Saturday night is kind of a big deal for one Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. The promotion will be holding their second TripleMania Regia event, once again in Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey in, you guessed it, Monterrey, in hopes of drawing nearly 20,000 fans for a show. At the moment I’m 98% excited and 2% scared. By Saturday I may be 98%, 2% excited. That’s what makes it so tense. While Lucha Libre AAA has had shows with limited crowds over the past few months, this will be the first true lucha show with fans fully back since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus making it a more marquee event than the proper TripleMania that took place back in August. But that’s not all. TripleMania Regia will be the first Lucha Libre AAA show since last year to be broadcast (legally) to an international audience, signaling a potential end to the silly Lucha Libre AAA/Lucha Libre FMV lawsuit and allowing luchablog to finally get a well deserved breather. It features a card with guys dressed as Marvel characters, mystery partners, the never ending Lucha Brothers–FTR feud and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez throwing down with L.A. Park. On a more concerning note, it takes place during a time where Lucha Libre AAA creative, running at an all time high from April 2018 to earlier this year, is on shaky ground.
And then there’s the main event, a match that has dominated the lucha libre headlines for the past week, and not always in a good way. In case you’ve been living under a rock since early November, the main event (or the scheduled main event) is a five way match for the vacant Lucha Libre AAA Mega Championship, a change that occurred after Lucha Libre AAA Mega Champion Kenny Omega became too injured to compete. His departure and vacating of the title has both disappointed and, at the same time, made the match more intriguing, quite the accomplishment given the Lucha Libre AAA Mega Championship isn’t exactly looked at as a major title (by fans and arguably by Lucha Libre AAA itself). Certainly it seems gonzo to say that about a match that went from featuring Kenny Omega to the likes of Bobby Fish and The Artist Formerly Known as Kalisto. But it is indeed the case, thanks to the involvement of Hijo del Vikingo. Arguably the most exciting luchador today and perhaps the most exciting wrestler in the world period, Vikingo is the lone holdover from Lucha Libre AAA’s original Mega Championship plan. It also leaves him at a crossroads with the only major promotion he’s ever known, the biggest reason this match remains interesting.
Make no mistake sports fans; the Mega Championship match this Saturday is the biggest match of Hijo del Vikingo’s career. And that’s despite the roller coaster ride that took Vikingo from a dream match with Omega, a man who personally requested Vikingo for this match, to a five way match with two certified luchadores (Bandido and Samuray Del Sol) and two guys in Fish and Jay Lethal with a combined two appearances in Mexico between them (all by Lethal). Even still, it’s the most high profile match Vikingo has partaken in to date and the rare match he’s actually kind of, sort of expected to win. And what a historical win it would be. A Vikingo victory would make him the youngest Lucha Libre AAA Mega Champion in history at 24 years old (beating out Fenix, who won the title at 27), the smallest luchador to ever hold the title and, at only nine years experience, the quickest a luchador has ever won the title in their career, beating El Mesias (the first Mega Champion who won it ten years into his career). Most importantly it would be a fitting conclusion for a luchador that, unexpectedly, became the unsung hero of Lucha Libre AAA during it’s late 2010’s renaissance, alongside frequent partner and occasional rival Laredo Kid.
To say anyone ever saw Vikingo in this spot when he first appeared on Lucha Libre AAA programming as part of the La Llave a la Gloria competition in 2017 would be the sort of fiction saved for that meme with the Star Trek guy. It’s not that people couldn’t see his talent mind you; from the moment I first saw him at TripleMania XXV in the pre-show match, it was clear Vikingo was a performer with endless athleticism and effort, the kind of luchador with the potential to wow fans for years. There was just no confidence he’d ever get the opportunity to do that in a marquee position. At the time Lucha Libre AAA was at a level of quality that would make Vince McMahon quiver, putting forth terrible shows while running off some of their most beloved stars under the guidance of then booker Vampiro. The option of CMLL for Vikingo also lacked appeal due to CMLL’s lack of pushing anyone who wasn’t made a star in the mid 2000’s. And promotions like IWRG and even The Crash (which was trying to gain steam at the time) were too small for the youngster to make a dent. Thus the thought of Hijo del Vikingo ever being anything more than a fun luchador who constantly wrestled in the lower card while getting handicapped by lousy booking was a pipe dream.
Then a funny thing happened; Lucha Libre AAA got better! Vampiro was canned, Konnan left The Crash to return to Lucha Libre AAA as booker and the promotion entered that period I referred to earlier where they were, I’d argue, the most entertaining promotion in the world. And while incredible TV tapings, the return of several stars that left years earlier, big time TripleMania matches like Dr. Wagner Jr. Vs. Blue Demon Jr. and Omega’s unexpected title run were a big help, the two biggest constants during this time were Laredo Kid and Vikingo. The former, a journeyman who had passed through Lucha Libre AAA previously and seemed destined to never break through, suddenly put it all together to become one of the best luchadores in the world. And Vikingo, through his unbelievable ability to innovate nearly every time he was out there, became impossible to ignore. The two slowly rose up the card individually in 2018, then found themselves paired together with one Myzteziz Jr. as Los Jinetes del Aire. While the trio never had the long, consistent run they should’ve, it allowed Laredo and Vikingo the platform to break out in a way they wouldn’t have on their own.
They haven’t looked back since; Laredo would win the Lucha Capital 2018 tournament, with Vikingo winning it in 2019. Los Jinetes del Aire won the Lucha Libre AAA World Trios Titles, while Laredo won the Lucha Libre AAA World Cruiserweight Title from Sammy Guevara and got his own Mega Title shot against Kenny Omega in an instant classic at TripleMania XXVIII. But the true magic came in matches Vikingo and Laredo found themselves working together or against each other. There’s almost too many great ones to count so I’ll just name these two. First, there’s the Lucha Libre AAA World Tag Team Championship match at Heroes Inmortales this year where Vikingo, Laredo and the Lucha Brothers combined to give Lucha Libre AAA it’s first five star match from the Observer in nearly 27 years. And then there was the singles match between Vikingo and Laredo for the Lucha Libre AAA Cruiserweight Championship in June of 2019, one of the best matches of the last decade, a match that got Laredo Kid a shot in AEW and the singles match that truly put Vikingo on the map with hardcore fans for good. Without that match, without the other performances and without the change in Lucha Libre AAA’s front office three years ago, I guarantee you Vikingo is nowhere near the Lucha Libre AAA Mega Championship match this Saturday without that chain of events; he would either still stuck at the bottom of Lucha Libre AAA’s barrel or roaming the lucha libre indies, beloved by the hardcores and waiting for his due.
Naturally after all those obstacles, there’s only one left in the path of Vikingo winning the match that, all things being equal, only he can and should win. And what’s that obstacle; none other than Lucha Libre AAA itself. Despite Vikingo’s rise, despite his ability and despite the fact that Lucha Libre AAA clearly knows what they have, it is also crystal clear to regular Lucha Libre AAA viewers, or even semi-regular viewers, that Lucha Libre AAA sees Vikingo largely the same way WWE saw Bryan Danielson; a good hand who isn’t the top guy. Remember the five star tag team match I mentioned earlier that took place in October? Guess who took the pin; Vikingo. It’ll then shock you even less to know that Vikingo also took the pin at the first TripleMania this year, once again at the hands of the Lucha Brothers in a triple threat tag team match. Both times someone else could’ve taken the pin (especially in the TripleMania match, when there was legit another team involved), and yet there was Vikingo doing so, on the most high profile shows Lucha Libre AAA had this year (that were seen by international audiences thanks to luchablog), months before his dream match with Omega. There’s also the question of how much Lucha Libre AAA wanted Vikingo in this Omega match. By all accounts, it was the AEW star himself who encouraged this match to happen, due to his long standing desire to work with Vikingo. I’m sure those in Lucha Libre AAA would deny it, but given the available evidence, it’s not difficult to imagine Vikingo isn’t involved in the Mega Championship picture if Omega hadn’t gone to bat for him. And this is all before you consider Lucha Libre AAA could’ve easily held off on doing Omega–Vikingo later when Omega was healthy, or that another luchador could’ve easily been slid into Omega’s place to create another memorable, one on one match. Instead the match now finds itself with only one true Lucha Libre AAA star surrounded two AEW stars, an ROH star and former WWE star, a further indication of Lucha Libre AAA’s lack of faith in one Hijo del Vikingo.
In the irony of all ironies though, it has made Vikingo the rooting interest for most fans going in. For US lucha fans like myself, Vikingo is an ultra talent who has been deserving of this shot for years now. That Lucha Libre AAA has sent him through the ringer and he’s still involved in this match despite his biggest advocate being gone, makes it impossible to not root for him. That’s before you factor in that he’s, at worst, one of the two best performers in this match, alongside Bandido. Then there’s the fact that Vikingo is the lone Lucha Libre AAA representative in this match. Whether by design or coincidence, the fact that Lucha Libre AAA has booked this Mega Championship with Vikingo fighting to win the title away from four non Lucha Libre AAA wrestlers, after the Mega Championship has been held by a non Lucha Libre AAA wrestler for over two years, also makes him the de facto sympathetic figure. And that’s before we get into the widespread knowledge of Samuray Del Sol alienating himself to every fanbase imaginable, the numerous controversies surrounding Jay Lethal, Bandido’s own questionable choices as of late and the fact that Bobby Fish is so new to lucha that he couldn’t get cheers if he walked out with Chucky Lozano. Put it all together in a big bowl and Vikingo, largely by fluke, has become the best and really only option to win this match. He has to win. I’ll repeat; he has to win.
And against my better judgment, I do believe he will win. Lucha Libre AAA may not see Vikingo as their long term meal ticket, but they also must be aware this is the only choice. There’s a better chance of Joss Whedon regaining his credibility than Bobby Fish and Jay Lethal showing up in Lucha Libre AAA again following TripleMania Regia, and Samuray Del Sol is equally unlikely to commit to Lucha Libre AAA long term. Only Bandido makes sense otherwise, and he’s publicly said that there’s no more dates between him and Lucha Libre AAA following this show (though he has also said the two sides will talk more about potential future bookings). Then there’s Omega. It’s entirely possible we have seen the last of Omega in Lucha Libre AAA, but the former Mega Champion has vowed to return, and the biggest hook Lucha Libre AAA can dangle to bring him back is a match with Vikingo, the only bout that, as of now, he cannot have in AEW due to Vikingo’s visa issues (how did we get this far and only now that comes up?!). It all leads back to Vikingo being the best option, and really the only option. It also makes the very real possibility that Lucha Libre AAA may go in another direction so annoying. The Omega title reign showed that Lucha Libre AAA has no problem having the title disappear onto a foreigner for long stretches, and again, no matter how much anyone denies it, the booking over the last year shows they don’t believe Hijo del Vikingo is a main eventer.
That, sports fans, leads us all the way back to this being the fork in the road moment for Vikingo. Winning the Lucha Libre AAA Mega Championship Saturday night may not solidify Vikingo as a top Lucha Libre AAA star (in fact, I can almost guarantee it won’t), but not winning the title condemns him to the midcard during this run for good. He will never have as good a chance at winning the Mega Championship as he does a few days from now, and a loss will be very telling about where the Lucha Libre AAA/Vikingo relationship will end up. While the long delayed visa for Vikingo continues to elude him, it will eventually be here, perhaps even sooner than many think. And once that occurs, it’s only a matter of time before Vikingo seeks his fortunes in the states, be it with AEW, Impact or some other promotion. His talent is too big for just Mexico, especially in a promotion that may never see him as anything more than an upper midcarder who has great matches but is never up there rubbing shoulders with the top stars like Psycho Clown. One way or another, TripleMania Regia will show us where Lucha Libre AAA stands on Hijo del Vikingo. And as such, it may show us where Vikingo will eventually stand with them.
Professional wrestling in the past was built on gaining fan interest by building interesting stories, some of which blurred the lines of reality; these days, in the absence of interesting stories in most promotions, fans have turned to reality for investment. The Lucha Libre AAA Mega Championship match this Saturday night in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico is a perfect example of it. It is the real life story of one 24 year old luchador, a man who was never supposed to make it this far, finding himself in a match he was never supposed to be in, wrestling for a title the promotion he was never supposed to fight for. It truly is a journey fit for a man who’s name translated to English is the Son of the Viking. How does it all end? Only Lucha Libre AAA knows. It could end in triumph, it could end in tragedy, and as lucha fans know too well, it could end in phenomenal goofiness. Late Saturday night we’re going to learn a whole lot about current day Lucha Libre AAA and where they stand on one of the brightest stars in wrestling. And I, for one, cannot wait to find out what the answer is.
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