Monday, August 10, 2015

Reflections on TripleMania XXIII

Mysterio was a highlight of the show
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The easy takeaway from last night's live pay-per-view airing of TripleMania XXIII is that Asistencia Asesoría y Administración needs to do better at prepping the technical aspects of its broadcast, but that's low-hanging fruit. The announcement of Heroes Immortales on October 4 will give the company another chance to get it right, and if that telecast ends up being fraught with technical issues, it will be cause for concern. For now, I'm willing to let the issues slide as first time jitters. The company's in-ring product, however, has been honed for decades, and that portion of the program, at least to the eyes of a first-time lucha viewer heralded mixed results.

The first two-thirds of the show, aside from being hampered by said technical issues, were very much a slog to get through, but those four matches weren't necessarily a lost cause, with the exception of the Villanos/Psycho Circus match, which seemed like an anomaly given the circumstances. Without fail, those first four bouts were all multi-person affairs that seemed to have issues with positioning around the ring. I'm not entirely sure that issue was a one-night thing or if lucha multi-person matches categorically seem to have people just standing around at points, but even the reviled Villanos/Circus match had a few redeeming spots. The other matches had a lot more.

In fact, that three-way Trios Championship match might have been astounding had it been contested outside of the steel cage. I gathered from Twitter chatter that TripleMania always has a cage match, but shoving nine guys into the six sides of steel seemed problematic from jump. The action was bunched together in clumps, and it was hard to follow at points. Yet, even among the clutter, individuals like Angelico and Fenix stood out.

But once the show got into the two main events, when the action could be focused and concentrated on two wrestlers at a time, it started to pick up. Brian Cage took his life into his hands wearing a Donald Trump shirt in a crowd of Mexicans, and the match he wrestled followed suit. Alberto el Patron was more than game himself, and they turned in one of the most visceral brawls of the year, even independent of the screwy interference. The crooked referee stuff, I am told, is a lucha staple, so while it appeared overwrought to the booking of the match, it was standard operating procedure.

The main event, however, was the most fascinating match of them all because of Myzteziz. As someone who only knew him as Sin Cara in WWE, I didn't expect him to come out heeling, but not only did he work over Rey Mysterio, who as usual took five or six ill-advised bumps in the course of the match, but he projected such a menacing aura, which took me by pleasant surprise. I went in expecting a boilerplate face vs. face match with maybe Mysterio going "grumpy old man" at one point, but the end result was way more dynamic, even with the confused and hilariously edited final angle.

I'm not sure I would call TripleMania a success in that it was a show to rival Takeover or even SummerSlam for the show of August. In a vacuum, the show needed both main events to deliver to save it from being total garbage to a passable show. However, I came away with enough confidence that AAA could improve on its potential to deliver something better in the future. In that way, it was successful, I suppose.