AAA Debut Show

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The AAA promotion debuted on May 15, 1992 in Veracruz.

Matches

# Side A All Others Stipulation Notes
1 Dr. Maldad & Mr. Maldad Quarterback & Super Bowl [1]
2 Justicierito, Mascarita Sagrada, Octagoncito Espectrito I, Jerrito Estrada, Picudito
3 Rocco Valente, Tony Arce, Vulcano El Colorado, El Giro, Winners
4 Fuerza Guerrera, Ice Killer, La Parka Angel Azteca, Justiciero, Octagón
5 Cien Caras, Máscara Año 2000, Universo 2000 El Fantasma, Máscara Sagrada, Perro Aguayo Sr.
  1. Dark match. Rudo side may not be correct.

AAA's debut

(by Steve Sims)

Friday, May 15, 1992, was the date of the first card run by a company named Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (called AAA or more often Triple A for short), name that translates into business ephemera in English and doesn’t mean much more that that even in Spanish. The company’s leader, Antonio Pena, was one of the few visionaries who had a concept of wrestling unique to his own mind, one that combined enough of the old of professional wrestling to be at least be recognizable but in it use of character and entertainment was novel and interesting enough that for its initial three years was actually one of the leading wrestling companies in the whole world.

To sum up how we got there: CMLL (then EMLL) had been a solid wrestling company in Mexico, running competition with LLI/UWA in a wrestling war in which both sides made lots of money. The UWA promotion had been the more successful from the middle of the 1970s to the middle of the 1980s, but after the death of both founding promoters in 1987 (Salvador Luterroth with ELMLL and Francisco Flores with UWA), new leadership was at the help of both companies.

The new leadership in EMLL particularly was in flux, as it was the much older (55 years vs 13 in 1988) and had a much larger office staff and crew of independent contractors. As the company was re-tooling, they brought on board an ex-wrestler (under characters such as Espectro de Ultratumba, the ghost from beyond the grave, and Kahoz, the masked man who bit the heads off pigeons as part of his ring entrance)who had promoted cards in small arenas on the periphery of Mexico City, Antonio Pena. Pena brought with him a new energy and new ideas about characters and ways of doing business that seemed to revitalize EMLL almost immediately.

Pena, whose own personal greatest love in the business seemed to be creating new characters and seeing which one worked (he may literally have created over a thousand). Right off the bat, he came with Mascara Sagrada, Octagon, and a collection of miniature {“minis”) versions of the big stars , minis that were shockingly good in the ring, especially to those fans who had seen smaller wrestlers used only for comedy.

But Pena had an eye for what did and didn’t work in other areas of the world, and one thing he was sure of in 1988 was that stars were made on television. AT the time, Mexico City television did not show wrestling; an executive order signed in 1956 by a man who was essentially the mayor of Mexico City had banned televised wresting, supposedly for the effect it would have on women and children and the general public or some such nonsense (the real reason had to do with the settling of a four-year battle in various municipalities in Mexico on the topic of televised wrestling and ended up being more of a face-saving political discussion than anything else). Pena convinced his cohorts to try to talk Televisa into broadcasting EMLL TV.

It worked, and starting in 1989, fans could see the Friday night Arena Mexico show 24 or 48 hours later. By 1990, such names as Konnan, Vampiro, Rayo de Jalisco jr., Octagon, et al. were major stars – the kind of thing that happens when someone is on top when TV wrestling hits a major market.

EMLL was on fire in 1990, and 1991, really as hot as it had ever been, even in other so-called golden ages of TV. The three largest gates in the company history to that time (which would stay that way until just a few years ago, when after WWE invaded Mexico City, EMLL finally started charging WWE prices to its anniversary shows) happened in this era. Pena gained a lot of power, but old hide-bound EMLL (funny, here 20 years later, that still is now as it was then the most apropos adjective for CMLL) split into cliques. Pena wanted to run a TV-first business, spreading out nationally. Another clique (Juan Herrera) wanted the status quo,. Local house shows except book the stars out on Sundays to the boondocks. A third (Paco Alonso) wanted something about halfway in between. Sides hardened a bit, and after the wrestlers’ strike of September 1991, sides hardened some more, and it became harder for Pena to execute what he wanted, what he knew would work. In late 1991, Pena met with a friend of his, a business colleague turned trusted companion. Alejandro Burillo, a high-ranking employee of Televisa, the TV network with at the time a near-monopoly of the TV business in Mexico. The importance of this meeting cannot be understated. Pena laid out for Burillo what he wanted to do (and it was pretty darn close to exactly what he ended up doing) as a wrestling company, touring the country, taping TV around Mexico, with the biggest stars on top and entertainment galore from ring entrances to higher production values. Burillo was convinced and signed Televisa on, giving AAA a promise of a weekend afternoon network TV spot to die for.

Pena then quietly began setting up an office, contacting a few promoters in towns located some distance from the larger cities (where EMLL owned its own arenas, often the best or close to the best arena in town), with varying degrees of success. Pena also contacted the wrestlers he wanted and figured were likely to come, from Konnan, Perro Aguayo, and Cien Caras on the heavyweight side to El Hijo del Santo, Octagon, and Fuerza Guerrera as lighter weights but equally big stars.

Through all this, he kept it secret. Someone very briefly spilled some of the beans in February 1992, and one of the 20-25 weekly lucha libre magazines ran a mild story in hypotheticals explaining what was going on (I forget the name of the magazine, Konnan told me the story, he would remember), but that magazine story died without anyone paying basically any attention to it.

On March 22, 1992, Pena came to Arena Mexico and told Paco Alonso and Chavo Lutteroth in the office that after tonight’s card (for which Pena was booking the finishes), he was resigning his position with EMLL. He left amicably (people came and went from EMLL frequently enough that the best bet is everyone thought he’ll be back one day looking for work again) and life went on like normal. But Pena continued his work quietly and quickly. Televisa wanted to start the TV show within 60 days and Pena need to have a promotion in place to keep his very expensive starts employed and making money as quickly as possible. He convince Burillo to help with initial funding, basically as venture capital, as it was just too hard for Pena to build a promotion on the QT, making everyone he contacted swear to keep a secret. He had to go, get the thing started, then work like the blazes t build the infrastructure once the secret was out.

The secret came out at a major press conference held at 11:00 am on Thursday, May 7, 2012, at what at the time was arguably the most elegant hotel in Mexico City, The Hotel Nikko, a 42-story tower near Chapultepec Park and the Presidential Palace. There, with many of the stars flanking his side, Pena announced the formation of his promotion.

Pena had kept the secret. Paco Alonso arrived to work at Arena Mexico that day at noon – and about an hour later, he was told of the press conference. He had had no inkling whatsoever. He wasn’t the only one. I was living in Chicago at the time, and I went on Saturday morning down to the usual place to buy my copy of the previous day’s Ovaciones. I could not believe my eyes what I was reading, in real time, a major promotion – a successful one - being rent in half.

Aaafirstcard.png

At the press conference, Pena announced that the first card of this nascent promotion would be held in eight days, in Veracruz. Konnan was not on it as Paco Alonso retaliated by retaining non-Mexican-citizen Konnan’s work permit and trying to have him deported.

The actual card turned out to be:

  • Perro Aguayo y Máscara Sagrada y El Fantasma vs. Cien Caras, Máscara Año 2000 y Universo 2000 (Los Hermanos Dinamita).
  • Octagón, Justiciero y Angel Azteca vs. La Parka (hoy conocido como L.A. Park, que hacía su debut), Ice Killer y Fuerza Guerrera.
  • Winners, El Giro y El Colorado vs. Vulcano, Tony Arce y Rocco Valente (Los Destructores).
  • Mascarita Sagrada, Octagoncito y Justicierito vs. Jerrito Estrada, Espectrito y Justicierito.
  • An off-TV opener that had rudos Doctor Maldad and Mister Maldad face two tecnicos whose names I forget, but may have been Super Bowl and Quarterback.

Back then, Dave Scherer would sit and watch the shows live as they were transmitted on the satellite, seeing them before anyone else we knew did – in fact, the first show went up on satellite less than 18 hours after it ended. Here’s what he wrote on Saturday evening, May 16, 1992, from what he saw his own eyes after watching the first show:

As I am sure you all have heard by now, but am not sure of as I seem to be on an 8 day delay at this wonderful site, Antonio Pena, the idea man, has resigned from the CMLL and has opened a new promotion.  La Lucha Triple A debuted on Friday night in Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico at the Auditorio Benito Juarez.  In what was a pretty amazing achievement, Televisa managed to get the show onto TV in less than a day's time.  The following is a summary of the premiere show, which was shown on Mexican channel 4. 


I turned on the show 15 minutes into it and there was a midget match in progress between Mascarita Sagrada, who is one of the world's best wrestlers despite his size, Octagoncito, and a new guy vs. Espectrito, Jerrito Estrada, and another new guy.  What I saw looked great, as usual.  These guys are always fabulous workers.  I talked to a friend who has a friend who's a luchador and he told me that both the CMLL and the new promotion will both have TV on Televisa.  I will monitor Mexican TV today to see what show is uplinked for us for next week.  Also, as the brainchild of Pena, the midgets left with him. 

The second match was a fabulous 3 1\2 star affair between Los Destructores (Rocco Valente, Tony Arce, and El Vulcano) vs 3 new guys who had worked the smaller circuits and came with the new promotions named Winners, El Giro, and El Colorado.  The new guys were outstanding. Tons of hot moves and great Lucha spots. 

The third match had Ice Killer, who dresses in black and brings out a hockey stick which has to be hard to find in Mexico, La Parca, who does a grim reaper gimmick complete with the staff and a skeleton suit, and the outstanding Fuerza Guerrera vs. Angel Azteca, Octagon, and Justicerio.  It was a 3 star match that saw Angel Azteca turn on Octagon, at the urging of the Rudos, after Octagon mistakenly kicked Angel in the face.  After Angel turned, the Rudos and Cien Caras, Universo 2000, and Mascara Ano 2000 attacked Azteca AND Octagon. 

The main event had the aforementioned Caras group face off against Perro Aguayo, Fantasma, and Mascara Sagrada in another 3 star match, which says a lot about the workrate of the guys.  Fantasma and Sagrada are the only two who I expect good matches from. The technico's took the first fall and when the second after one of the 2000's fouled Sagrada and the other and Caras used a chair on Fantasma, then Perro. 

Overall, a great first effort by Pena's group.  All of the guys worked hard.  Apparently, televisa has made a commitment to company with both TV time and announcers, as both Dr. Alphonso Morales and Arturo Rivera were there.  I am not sure, but I also think I heard Miguel Linares. 

As is the custom, let me know if you guys would like me to continue these recaps. 

And so, the promotion was off and running; the rest, as they say, is history.

AAA Events
Rey de Reyes 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2015 2016
TripleMania   I     II   III   IV   V   VI VII VIII IX   X   XI
XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII
XXIII
Verano de Escandalo 1994 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2014
2015
Heroes Inmortales 2007 2008 III IV V VI VII VIII
IX
Guerra de Titanes 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2016
Others: AAA Debut Show, When Worlds Collide, Noche de los Campeones, Lucha World Cup