This weekend will see the second annual Lucha Libre World Cup event emanate from Mexico.
A Trios tournament AAA is hoping will become a signature event on the global pro wrestling scene, the 2016 edition will be spread out over two days. Now known as the Lucha Libre Victoria World Cup (Victoria being a brand of financial backer, the Grupo Modelo brewery) the tournament begins with elimination rounds tonight, June 3 in Puebla. That will set-up Sunday, June 5's Final in Mexico City.
Last year's inaugural version was won by a "dream team" of Rey Mysterio Jr., Myzteziz and Alberto El Patron. El Patron has returned to WWE and is again working as Alberto Del Rio, while Myzteziz (the original Sin Cara and most famous Místico) had a falling out with AAA and is now working for their chief competitor CMLL as Carístico.
Mysterio is still in the fold, and will be representing Mexico alongside Dr. Wagner, Jr. and his mentee from Lucha Underground, El Dragon Azteca, Jr.
Those two are far from the only names who will be familiar to fans of El Rey Network's weekly visit to Boyle Heights, as Lucha Underground and TNA are well represented throughout the tourney, along with AAA's Japanese partners:
Team AAA: Pentagón Jr., El Texano Jr., Psycho Clown
Team NOAH: Taiji Ishimori, Naomichi Marufuji, Maybach Taniguchi
Team Ōdō and Zero1: Masato Tanaka, Akebono, Ikuto Hidaka
Team Mexico (Legends): Canek, La Parka, Blue Demon, Jr.
Team Mexico (International): Rey Mysterio Jr., Dr. Wagner, Jr., El Dragon Azteca, Jr.
Team TNA: Ethan Carter III, Eli Drake, Tyrus
Team Lucha Underground: Chavo Guerrero Jr., Johnny Mundo, Brian Cage
Team "Rest of the World": Mil Muertes, Rockstar Spud, Apolo
In addition to the scheduling and naming tweaks, AAA also expanded the format for their second go-round, adding a Women's bracket with more names you'll recognize from not only LU and TNA, but also other indies and even the occassional NXT appearance:
Team AAA: Faby Apache, Mari Apache, Lady Apache
Team Japan: Aja Kong, Yuki Miyazaki, Sumire Natsu
Team Canada: Taya, Allie, KC Spinelli
Team USA: Santana Garrett, Sienna, Cheerleader Melissa
You can stream both days for $25 US from here.
We'll have results and some reactions coming next week. In the meantime, anyone checking out the shows? Will this be the event that finally helps AAA break out beyond their home country?