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Triplemania XXVI recap & review: Fantasma loses mask, new Mega Campeon, play Vampiro’s f-ing music, more!

Triplemania XXVI aired live from Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City for a marathon event of rocking, rolling, swearing, cussing, fighting, gritty, bloody action. Despite a run time of eight hours with the pre-show (five and a half hours of wrestling), there was never a dull moment.

Let’s jump right into this sucka.

Jorge Luis Alcantar Bolly

34 years old. 18 years as a professional wrestler.

Four men entered the Poker de Ases main event. One man lost his mask. That man was El Hijo del Fantasma.

Poker de Ases was a four-way cage match. After two escaped, the cage was lifted and it turned into a one-on-one bout from there. Fantasma competed against Pentagon Jr., Psycho Clown, and LA Park.

The four-way started fresh with Fantasma on an early flying crossbody from the top of the cage. Masks were torn. Blood was shed. Pentagon hit Fantasma with a package piledriver on open chairs off camera. On camera, Psycho superplexed LA Park through a table.

Pentagon and Psycho battled atop the cage. Fireball! Pentagon flashed Psycho. Down Psycho went to the ring, and down Pentagon went on the other side to escape first. That was about seven minutes into the match. Two minutes later, Psycho Clown escaped.

The final two luchadores battled for over fifteen minutes. Action, drama, and chicanery ensued. The best maneuver was a Fantasma frog splash onto an announce table.

Near the end, the crooked referee, El Hijo de Tirantes, started getting involved on Fantasma’s behalf. Tirantes physically attacked LA Park at times. This would backfire later.

In a humorous moment, LA Park took out both Fantasma and Tirantes with a suicide dive. The action went back into the ring, while Tirantes was still knocked out. Fantasma took off his own mask, threw it at the feet of LA Park, then jumped on the ground in phony pain while covering his bare face. I guess he was trying the lie, cheat, steal fake out for a disqualification. LA Park recognized the scheme then took off his own mask and did the same. Tirantes finally regained consciousness and saw both umasked men rolling on the ground. He raised one luchador’s arm to get the crowd’s opinion. Then the other. Back and forth. Tirantes gave up and threw each mask back at the respective luchador.

For the finish, there was an exchange of two counts. LA Park had a sunset flip pin, but Tirantes pushed him over so Fantasma was on top. Before the third count, LA Park caught Tirantes arm on the way down to prevent losing. It was badass.

Shortly after, there was miscommunication between Fantasma and Tirantes. Fantasma lost his cool and clocked Tirantes. LA Park capitalized on the distraction with a spear. Tirantes counted three in a fit of momentary ire for the LA Park victory.

That led to the respectful unmasking of El Hijo del Fantasma. Well, not so respectful from El Hijo del Fantasma’s son. The kid gave LA Park a death stare and throat slash. Fantasma grabbed the mic to announce his true name and age.

Poker de Ases was what one would expect from a AAA main event. Overbooked yet entertaining. Amazing athletics but also facepalming execution. In the end, the positives outweighed the negatives to provide an enjoyable viewing experience.

It will be interesting to see how Fantasma’s career progresses from here. I wonder if it will be used to step out of his father’s shadow and become his own character. Fantasma only recently became a top player in AAA. Shedding his mask might open up the opportunity for him to evolve and hit the next level of stardom.

Mini rant coming your way. There is always talk about how the luchador masks are sacred. I’m calling bullshit for today’s generation. All four participants in Poker de Ases had their masks ripped to the point that you could clearly see their face. This wasn’t out of the norm. It happens quite often up and down the card on big shows and standard TV episodes. I fail to see the respect in that. It is for sure a heel move, but it happens so often that it loses the zest of being extra heely. It seems to me like it is a cheap way to get meaningless blood to cover the face and appear extreme. I’m going to have to watch some old classics to see if mask ripping was as prevalent back then.

Legends will collide at a future date

The night wasn’t over yet. After the main event, Dr. Wagner Jr. came down to the ring to smack talk LA Park. LA Park crushed him on the volley by dissing how Wagner lost his mask at last year’s event. LA Park said he himself was an example of how to defend the mask to the death.

A mask vs hair match was made for Triplemania XXVII. I guess the grudge match of LA Park vs Rush in CMLL will have to wait until 2020.

My night of spectating wasn’t over either. My dogs had so much energy stored up after the show that I had to officiate a fifteen minute lucha libre match of their own.

Fenix is King of the Mountain

The AAA Mega Championship match saw Jeff Jarrett enter as champ but leave as a slap nuts. Fenix, Cage, and Rich Swann carried the ring load. Jarrett carried the sports entertainment.

Jarrett began the bout by faking a leg injury. As Jarrett was being assisted up the ramp, he sprinted back to the ring to break a pinfall. In another moment, Jarrett was hamming it up to do some lucha libre flying. He ran the ropes only to stop and strut.

Side note: Even though Cage is a member of MAD, there was zero teamwork with MAD member Jeff Jarrett. I don’t know if Cage quit MAD in story that has yet to air or if they just completely forgot that connection. I understand Cage is a competitive machine that wants glory for himself, but it was like the two were total strangers.

The finish involved AAA president Marisela Pena. Jarrett was jawing at her, so she threw a beverage in his face. Fenix immediately came flying out of nowhere and made contact with Pena. Medics attended to her.

In the confusion, Jarrett smashed the referee with a guitar. That led to a call back to Jarrett’s method of victory at Verano de Escandalo. At that event, “La Parka,” came out as a backup ref. However, that La Parka was Konnan in disguise.

In this event, “La Parka,” once again came out as a backup ref. This time it was not Konnan under the hood. Dr. Wagner Jr. was the trickster for payback of his title loss to Jarrett. Fenix made the best of the situation with a cutter on Doble Jota. New Mega Campeon.

This was another match of overbooked sports entertainment where the positives outweighed the negatives. Jarrett was silly in a fun way. Fenix had the big moment of bringing the belt back to AAA. Cage and Swann did work, but it never felt like they were a threat to win. Those two were an afterthought.

I am very interested in seeing who will be the first challenger for Fenix. El Hijo del Fantasma (aka King Cuerno) has had some doozies with Fenix in Lucha Underground. I would love to see that feud reignited in AAA.

Schedule an appointment for the barbershop

Faby Apache and Lady Shani met in a hair vs mask lucha de apuesta. This feud has been brewing for such a long time that the tension could be felt while watching.

As is common for these types of bouts, each luchadora had a second for support. Shani was backed by Niño Hamburguesa. Faby had Taurus at her side. Taurus beat Hamburguesa so bad that he was stretchered out.

That left Shani with a stacked deck against her. The referee was on Faby’s side as well. He did the old slow count, fast count routine. At one point, Shani had a deep crossface locked in. The ref pulled Faby to the ropes, so he could have a legit excuse to break the hold.

To even the playing field, La Parka came to help Shani. When his music hit, Shani powered up with momentum. La Parka neutralized Taurus for the rest of the bout.

The finish included one of the best type of moments in lucha libre. Ref fight! The bad guy ref, El Hijo de Tirantes, was knocked silly by a dropkick from one of the ladies. Shani made Faby tap in a submission, but no ref was there to call it. A second ref jogged to the ring. Pushing and shoving between the refs ensued and turned into a full blown ref fight.

Lady Shani sprang up with a lung blower to Faby. The second ref made the three count. Matt Striker erupted, “She got iiiiitttt!!!!” Lady Shani kept her mask. Faby Apache lost her hair.

Faby reluctantly had her head shaved then soon accepted her punishment in defeat.

This match was the beginning of the overbooked but entertaining nonetheless trend. It was a mess at times, but damn was it fun. Whenever Faby and Shani had a chance to actually wrestle, it was electric. The feud was so full of hatred that each strike had malice. I don’t think this is over. Faby possesses the Reina de Reinas Championship. I’d love to see them have a proper one-on-one bout for that title in the near future.

“Where’s the f-ing music?”

During the show, MAD came to the ring for a promo. Konnan talked all kinds of shit to Vampiro. Mean, mean stuff. And words not fit to be translated. Vampiro shot back with lines about beating Konnan to death. Vamp proposed loser leaves AAA and Mexico. Konnan signed the ready-made contract. The stipulation was a little unclear. Konnan has to honor it. Vampiro, on the other hand, I’m not sure. It would make sense, but he never came right out and said that. It sort of came across as a requirement only for Konnan.

Their bad blood was riveting, but that is not why I’m discussing this segment. The best part of the entire Triplemania event was a production screwup. As Konnan was berating Vampiro, someone was supposed to come down to fight off other MAD members. MAD was waiting and stalling. Vampiro snapped on commentary, “Where’s the f-ing music?” He went on to spoil the surprise by saying to play Pagano’s music. Pagano and Murder Clown came down for a quick pattycake then left.

Production missed another music cue for something cool. Vampiro shouted on commentary, “Please, for the love of f-ing god. Put music on.” Eventually, Vampiro’s music hit so the crowd could get amped. That led to the contract being signed by Konnan.

I think that was one of the themes of Triplemania XXVI. Even when something went wrong, it was oh so right. Not matter what happened, it worked out to be thumbs up entertainment.

Other action:

The following recaps aren’t the most thorough. I usually have the benefit of taped shows. This was live. The moves flied fast and furious too quickly for me to take notes. Plus, I wanted to sit back and enjoy the show as a fan.

Let’s go from the top down in match order.

Los Mercenarios were the tougher team in a street fight

The newly formed mercenary squad of El Texano Jr., Rey Escorpion, and La Mascara outlasted Joe Lider, Murder Clown, and Pagano in an extreme street fight.

In the beginning, Vampiro was warning us that this fight would be brutal. I was thinking, “This isn’t so bad.” I spoke in my head too soon. It become obvious that Vampiro had a hand in planning the match and knew what was to come.

Chairs, tables, beer, a bat, a shopping cart, light tubes, skewers, fire, and a bull rope were all used. Highlights include a super powerbomb onto open chairs, a powerbomb into a shopping cart, skewers into Pagano’s head, and big man Murder Clown splashing La Mascara through a table.

The super insano stunt of the match was Pagano lighting a table on fire near the entrance ramp. He then C4ed Rey Escorpion onto the flaming wood.

The finish involved Texano and Joe Lider. Texano executed a top rope arm drag onto a light tube. Texano then smashed another light tube onto Lider’s head. The final blow was lighting his bull rope on fire for a whipping and the 1, 2, 3.

Vampiro had a great line. Matt Striker surmised that it is impossible to train for such a match. Vampiro explained that drinking a ton of Jagermeister then walking into a biker bar while wearing a pink shirt would do the trick.

Los OGT’s won the lumberjack match against MAD

The sides consisted of Averno, Chessman, and Super Fly against Juventud Guerrera, Jack Evans, and Teddy Hart. The lumberjacks were strapped and not afraid to use that leather. At one point, they pulled the referee out for a whacking.

I always wondered what OGT stood for. Thanks to Vampiro, I now know. Organizacion Gran Talento. Or when said as the letters OGT, it sounds like a naughty word meaning m’fer or bastardo. Knowledge is power. Thanks, Vamp.

I don’t remember anything about this match. Nothing in my notes about it, aside from the ending. I was wearing down at this point in the show. I think the crowd was too. They might have been the most quiet for this bout, even though it was entertaining.

The finish was iffy. El Poder del Norte ran down to interfere against the OGT’s out of rivalry hatred. It was brief and didn’t have much effect on the outcome. Shortly after, Teddy Hart was pinned off a powerbomb.

El Poder del Norte resumed their attack on the OGT’s. Poor Averno. His teammates ditched him as he was being beaten on the entrance ramp.

Oh, there was almost a fight between a fan and El Poder del Norte. The fan was a fake tough guy thinking it was part of the show. El Poder del Norte weren’t playing around. I have a hunch that the fan would have been socked up if not for the show being televised.

El Poder del Norte earned a trios three-way victory

The other teams were Mamba, Maximo, and Pimpinela Escarlata and El Hijo de LA Park, Puma King, and Taurus.

There were plenty of quick maneuvers. It was hard to focus on this match, since I was still laughing about the Vampiro and Konnan segment.

The finish involved teamwork from El Poder del Norte with a Code Breaker, lung blower, and splash to pin El Hijo de LA Park.

Bandido & Flamita obtained the tag team number one contendership

This was a ladder match also including the teams of Aerostar and Drago, Laredo Kid and Golden Magic, and DJZ and Andrew Everett. The winners will get a title shot against Texano and Rey Escorpion.

Ladder spots galore. DJZ leaped through the middle of an open ladder for an attack. Everett performed a Frankensteiner off the top of a ladder onto the bodies outside the ring. There were powerbombs onto ladders. Spears. A flipping powerslam through a table.

The top sequence was Aerostar and Laredo. Both climbed up to grab the chintzy briefcase bag. Together they hung in the air holding onto the clasp device. Two other luchadores grabbed them, pulled each one back, and let them smash into each other like Newton’s cradle. Drago then leaped to spear Laredo down to the ground.

The finish saw Aerostar smashed with a Death Valley Driver off the top off a ladder. Bandido and Flamita climbed to the top to unlatch the case and win the contract.

Niño Hamburguesa & Big Mami retained the AAA World Mixed Tag Team Championships

The challengers were Dinastia and Lady Maravilla, Hijo del Vikingo and Vanilla Vargas, as well as Angelikal and La Hiedra.

Rope to rope action and then some. There was the always exciting everyone jumps onto everyone spot outside the ring. Vikingo and Angelikal has springboard spinners. Hamburguesa kissed Vargas. Mami wasn’t pleased. Vanilla charged them, and they pressed her onto the bodies outside. Mami’s turn was next. She went up top for a flying splash, then Hamburguesa did a suicide dive with the ref holding the ropes open.

The finish had the champs against Vikingo. Mami hit a swinging sidewalk slam. Hamburguesa followed with a top rope splash. The big duo covered Vikingo one on top of the other. Vikingo could not kick out from under that much weight.

After the match, Vargas and Hiedra had a skirmish. Work? Shoot? Vargas had a neck issue early in the match but continued to fight. I don’t know if Hiedra was the cause of that discomfort or not.

Sammy Guevara is the new AAA World Cruiserweight Championship

Australian Suicide defended his title in a four-way with Sammy Guevara, ACH, and Shane Strickland (aka Killshot). ACH irritated Vampiro on commentary when he took over Matt Striker’s mic during the introductions. Vampiro ripped him the whole match.

It was a nice contest with plenty of moves. The finish involved Guevara connecting on a 1800 splash. I don’t know how many spins he did. It was too fast to count.

Afterward, Killer Kross of MAD came to the ring beating up three of the four. Kross stood face to face with Australian Suicide and offered him a MAD shirt. Australian Suicide looked bewildered. He exited holding the shirt but did not put it on. Intrigue.

Later in the evening, Australian Suicide entered as a member of MAD in the segment with Vampiro and Konnan.

Llave a la Gloria

The Llave a la Gloria was a rising stars match featuring luchadores trying to break into AAA. There was an aged veteran and a young luchador of 17 among the six participants in the trios bout. The teams were Dragon Bane, Astrolux, and Freelance against Drastick Boy, Latigo, and Aramis.

It was a super hot opener. Non-stop action. The aptly named Freelance (the older gentleman) got the winning pin with a Frankensteiner. I don’t know who will get a contract, but I say to sign them all.

Triplemania XXVI was a hoot. The atmosphere was high-energy. Pretty much every single luchador seemed to give it their best at the biggest show of the year.

There were no boring matches. My pick for most entertaining would be Llave a la Gloria. The mixed tag and ladder match are right behind. All three of those were fast-paced with continuous action.

I went 3-6 in predictions, so that shows the results were surprising to me in a good way. I was not expecting any of the three main events to have those outcomes.

The length was a bit much. I fatigued in the middle of the show. I was invested in the three main events, but my energy was still zapped.

Matt Striker and Vampiro were gold on commentary. Unfiltered Vampiro is the best Vampiro. Not everyone will enjoy his sense of humor, but I sure did. Vamp explained the curious question of why the referees count so slow. He said the refs give the luchadores the benefit of the doubt due to their tremendous fighting spirit. I’m not quite buying it, but I’ll accept it in theory.

Bonus nugget: It was either Vampiro or Striker who made a joke about Chris DeJoseph writing season five of Lucha Underground. Season five!!! Eeeek!!! I hope that means they have funding already or a strong path to it.

It was a tough night for MAD. They gained a new member in Australian Suicide, but he had just lost his championship. MAD’s team also lost the lumberjack match. Jeff Jarrett lost gold as well. Potential addition Faby Apache had her head shaved. To top it off, Konnan was baited into signing a loser leaves town contract against Vampiro. For as interesting as MAD is, I’m wondering if the faction will soon fizzle out.

If you missed Triplemania XXVI, you can watch on demand via paid subscription to the AAA channel on Twitch or wait several weeks until it eventually gets posted on the AAA YouTube channel. I look forward to consuming this show again in bite-sized morsels when the episodes hit YouTube.

Which was your favorite match of the night? Which luchadores made an impression? How excited are you for a Vampiro vs Konnan death match? Will you be counting down the days until the Triplemania XXVII legends fight of Dr. Wagner Jr. against LA Park?

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