Sunday brings a few returns to AAA. It’s the return of the Lucha Libre World Cup, a pleasing and inoffensive distraction. It’s additionally the newest return of Alberto el Patron to the promotion, who’s neither of these issues. The World Cup shall be enjoyable sufficient in case you search it out, however it appears sure to get misplaced for promotion with out worldwide noise.
AAA’s Lucha Libre World Cup happens Sunday at 5 pm in Guadalajara. (Daylight financial savings time has made this extra complicated. Yow will discover your native begin time right here.) The present streams reside on FITE for 23 USD and can stay accessible on VOD. It additionally will finally go up on AAA’s YouTube channel. My greatest guess is about April 8, however that’s only a guess. The broader level is that you simply’ll have to attend some time to see this (legally) totally free.
AAA beforehand ran in Lucha Libre World Cups in 2015 and 2016, then a scaled-down model in Japan in 2017. This 12 months’s match seems to be returning to the unique format: eight males’s and 4 girls’s trios in a single elimination knockout bracket. All matches have a fifteen-minute time restrict. If there’s no winner, either side chooses a wrestler for a 1v1 match with a five-minute time restrict, they usually maintain working these additional time intervals till somebody lastly wins. Mexico received the 2015 and 2017 World Cups. The USA took the 2016 males’s competitors; Mexico settled for successful the primary and solely girls’s match till this 12 months. (That’s the cheap expectation for this 12 months: Mexico will win both the lads’s or girls’s group, simply not each.) The World Cup reveals have a whole lot of the pageantry of a world sports activities competitors, and AAA tries to tone down their AAA-ness: no angles, no blood, no interference, they’re simply straight matches.
The earlier Lucha Libre World Cups have had sturdy ticket gross sales. AAA expects the baseball stadium they’re working to be near full in 2023. That pleasure and fervour appear to exist in a bubble in Guadalajara and nowhere else. Lucha libre reveals by no means have a lot web buzz within the basic wrestling dialog, however a present that includes this a lot worldwide expertise ought to interrupt by one way or the other. Wrestling followers loudly demand cross-promotional matches usually, there are a half dozen promotions on this present, and there’s no discuss it.
A part of it’s AAA’s existence in obscurity. Few folks outdoors of Mexico care about AAA outdoors the TripleManias. It’s onerous for them to construct pleasure for the rest. A part of the difficulty is the value: 23 USD for an all-star present and not using a massive singles match is a giant ask. A part of it’s the non-AAA collaborating promotions not hyping this present to their competitors; it doesn’t really feel like a world competitors if just one nation and one promotion care. And the final a part of the difficulty is likely to be related: AAA bringing again Alberto el Patron for this present (and sure all their 2023 TripleManias) is such a turnoff that the curious onlookers are taking a go on this, and people companion promotions is likely to be hesitant to convey up their reference to this present. I’m wholly unconvinced 2023 Alberto is any draw – his most up-to-date try at an arrogance promotion crashed and burned to such a level that he’s pretending it didn’t exist. Alberto brings availability (completely no worries about AEW or WWE scooping him up midstream) and has a reputation. AAA will take anybody with a reputation and is prepared; they’re not involved about their repute.
AAA has introduced the first-round matchup for each the ladies and the lads.
On the ladies’s aspect:
Staff Mexico (La Hiedra, Girl Flammer, Attractive Star) vs. Staff Japan (AKINO, Emi Sakura, Mayumi Ozaki)
AKIMO and Ozaki are returning to AAA after 15 years; they appeared in a 2008 Reina de Reinas match. Ozaki additionally appeared in a 2006 AAA girls’s match, which I’ll without end bear in mind as “the match so dangerous the Japanese girls have been visibly laughing throughout it.” This match certainly shall be significantly better than that. Hiedra, Flammer, and their traditional companion Maravilla have been successful all their matches as Las Toxicas for over a 12 months and have a strong formulation found out. It could find yourself being Maravilla on this one: Attractive Star (2) picked up an ankle harm final Friday and appears uncertain for this present. Staff Japan hopefully does nicely however is right here primarily to spherical out the sphere. Staff Mexico will advance to the ultimate.
Staff USA (Deonna Purrazzo, Jordynne Grace, Kamille) vs. Staff Remainder of the World (Dalys, Natalia Markova, Taya)
This match is the closest to a toss-up of all of the first-round matchups. Purrazzo, Grace, and Kamille is an efficient cross-promotion dream crew of ladies not in WWE or AEW. Taya continues to be AAA Reina de Reinas champion (although she has but to defend it on TV because the final TripleMania, virtually a half 12 months in the past, and appears even much less prone to be round together with her new AEW gig.) Dalys is a late sub. Extra wrestlers are conversant in one another on this matchup than in different first-round matches, which could make for a good match.
On the lads’s aspect:
Staff Mexico 1 (Alberto el Patrón, Hijo Del Vikingo, Psycho Clown) vs. Staff Latin America (Carlito, Hip Hop Man, Zumbi)
It’s possible you’ll argue, “Latin America is just not a rustic.” I’ll depend with “it’s simpler to usher in the 2 most seen South American males working in Mexico than spring for 2 extra flights from Puerto Rico.” Argentina’s Hip Hop Man is in from being the Imply Decide on a current IWRG new expertise search. Zumbi has been much less lively just lately however continues to be the capoeira man. Some months again, Alberto referred to as Carlito the Joker his Batman, and I’ve by no means been capable of course of that concept. Carlito’s right here to do stuff with Alberto, however there’s no approach Staff Mexico is shedding this one.
Staff Mexico 2 (Laredo Child, Pentagón Jr., Taurus) vs. Staff Remainder of the World (Bhupinder Gujjar, Stylish Ali, Rage)
I might personally attempt to discover a approach to label prime AAA guys moreover “the second stringers,” however that’s how AAA already does it. The shock is that Penta’s on this crew fairly than #1 since AAA often teams collectively the part-timers because the ‘actual stars.’ Stylish Ali and Rage are from Qatar Professional Wrestling. This QPR look appears half of a bigger deal; they’ve gotten extra name-checks than the larger teams. Bhupinder Gujjar is the present most distinguished Indian wrestler in Affect; that ought to be like a title belt or one thing. Once more, there’s no approach Staff Mexico is shedding this, and these two trios don’t appear to suit collectively nicely.
Staff USA (Christopher Daniels, Johnny Caballero, Sam Adonis) vs. Staff Japan (Kuukai, La Estrella, Nishikawa)
Probably the most consideration this Lucha Libre World Cup has gotten outdoors of Mexico was for the graphic saying Christopher Daniels. AAA listed the promotion of every wrestler on their graphic. AAA’s graphic for Daniels listed him as “INDY.” The Twitter put up with the graphic did tag AEW, and AAA later up to date the graphic to checklist AEW, however that was purple meat for a phase of the AEW fanbase who would fairly reduce AAA out of their lives. I don’t assume the followers who need a CMLL/AEW/NJPW alliance are getting it any time quickly, however the days of AEW wrestlers coming to Mexico to arrange matches for AEW PPVs isn’t coming again both.
Adonis received AAA’s Rey de Reyes and shall be a giant a part of the TripleManias Match. He’s an important individual right here, although his companions are extra distinguished names to US followers. Caballero was out and in of AAA in 2022, together with a reoccurring tease of a Laredo Child feud that went nowhere. Kuukai is former Michinoku Professional wrestler Koji Kawamura, apparently having an journey in Mexico whereas determining what to do subsequent. He and Dragongate rookie Nishikawa are at present Loopy Boy proteges on AAA TV. Nishikawa appeared out of his depth when he was dropped off in Mexico and has improved to be OK. Fellow Dragongate wrestler (possibly?) La Estrella has been out and in of Mexico during the last 12 months and has but to make a lot of an impression. Staff USA is a lock to advance.
Staff Canada (Josh Alexander, PCO, Vampiro) vs. Staff Europe (Heddi Karaoui, Joe Hendry, Thomas Latimer)
I do know Mexico is usually behind, however grouping the UK wrestlers with a French one as Staff Europe post-Brexit appears somewhat dated. Joe Hendry has been in Affect of late. Latimer has been within the NWA lengthy sufficient underneath that identify that I most likely don’t have to remind you he was Bram. Heddi Karaoui is a french grappler who spends most of his time in Europe however has traveled sufficient worldwide that viewers most likely stumbled upon him in some unspecified time in the future. Vampiro is representing Canada although he lives in Guadalajara now; that is the defacto third face crew. PCO most likely ought to’ve had a dumb (in the very best approach) match with Pagano someday in the previous couple of years. It’s possible you’ll know Josh Alexander as among the best wrestlers on the earth. An thought I’ve been low-key obsessive about is Alexander and Vikingo having an identical approach again within the pre-pandemic occasions when Affect was coming to Mexico for tapings, and the way a lot enjoyable it’d be to play off that now that they’re each champions of their promotions (and the way far more practical that aim is than the endless quests for a Kenny Omega return or a Kota Ibushi look.) This concept is an obsession solely I’ve, however sharing it with is the fee I gather for scripting this preview.
Staff Canada appears like the favourite there, however the total image will get difficult at this level. Staff USA/Staff Mexico looks as if the most certainly final result in each the ladies’s and males’s brackets. Would AAA run the identical ultimate twice? Staff Canada going to the ultimate could be totally different, however asking PCO and Vampiro to wrestle thrice in a single night time is a bit a lot. (Asking Vampiro to wrestle one time is a bit a lot.) Staff Europe looks as if a stretch with no Mexico profile, but there must be an upset someplace, they usually make extra sense than Japan or the Remainder of the World successful a first-round match. Possibly AAA goes utterly bonkers and has the Latin America crew upset the prohibitive favorites within the first spherical? Maybe an sudden Mexico/Mexico ultimate? Mexico is a land of moderately predictable wrestling tournaments, and this one is a bit more durable to determine than most.
It’s intriguing for somebody’s who going to look at it anyway. I’m undecided there’s something right here value leaping in for 23 USD until you’re an individual who watches every part. The Lucha Libre World Cup shall be a enjoyable present to kill a Wednesday if the value isn’t any object. It’ll be significant in case you’re within the bubble that cares about AAA or Lucha Libre World Cups. Everybody else can wait till it turns up elsewhere.