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AAA Invades New York Review: A Triumphant & Joyous Celebration of Lucha Libre

Pop Break Live: AAA Invades New York at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City

Lucha Libre AAA returned to New York City after a 25 year hiatus. The show, AAA Invades New York, was held on Mexican Independence Day, had a cloud of negativity surrounding it.

First, AAA Invades New York was moved from Madison Square Garden to the smaller, adjacent Hulu Theater. Second, a number of talents including poster advertised wrestlers La Parka and Lady Shani (amongst many, many others) did not make the show due to visa issue. Lastly, ticket sales, were rumored to be fairly poor.

By the time the bell rang after the main event, none of these negatives even remotely mattered. AAA, in conjunction with IMPACT Wrestling, produced one of the most fun live wrestling experiences this 30 year + fan has had in a long time. The near capacity crowd (ranging from 3-5,000) was alive for every match (especially one in particular). Talent and production issues were solved with IMPACT’s involvement.

You’d have to be a pretty damn jaded person to not leave the Hulu Theater entertained.

And let’s look at how wild this whole situation is. This is a company from Mexico who packed a venue in New York City, on a Sunday, in the beginning of football season, and with a WWE pay-per-view happening at the same time. This is a company that is known for late starts, technical miscues, and sometimes massive logic gaps in their show, and they executed everything to near perfection.

In short — AAA Invades New York was a wondrous celebration of lucha libre — and let’s hope shows in New York from this company, in this venue become a regular, yearly event.

Let’s look at the matches.

The show kicked off with a tag team match featuring Demus (someone I’ve never seen before), and Dave the Clown (one of AAA’s many clown luchadors) going up against the highly unlikely team of lucha “mini” legend Mascarita Dorada and “The Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickinson. This was an odd pairing since Dickinson, who had a literal knock down drag out brawl with Josh Barnett the night before at GCW’s Bloodsport, was playing out of character as a babyface. Dickinson is a guy in the same vein as Tazz and Homicide — a New York born bad ass who’ll knock your teeth in for no reason at all. Here he played Dorada’s buddy and they had good chemistry. Dorada was a massive favorite as there were tons of kids with Dorada capes and masks. They went bananas for everything he did. This was just a super fun, hype the crowd opener which saw Dickinson and Dorada win after Dorada did a wild multiple revolution spin into a headscissors roll up.

A trios match followed as Team IMPACT comprised of Josh Alexander, Michael Elgin, and Sami Callihan defeated Team AAA featuring Faby Apache, Drago, and Murder Clown. Due to a staggering number of AAA talents having Visa issues, IMPACT stepped up and helped not only with the ring and the refs, but also sending three hot heels in to work against three hot technicos. Faby Apache was beloved by New York City. Attention AEW And Impact, she’s an asset to your company, use her. Murder Clown did his usual big man spots including a fantastic dive to the outside. The team I was most impressed was IMPACT’s. Elgin showed the most natural heel charisma I’ve seen from him in 7+ years I’ve been watching him. Callihan knows how to piss everyone off, and Josh Alexander remains one of the best people you’re not watching.

In the requisite, here’s four guys who are going to fly around and blow your mind match, Daga defeated Aerostar, Flamita, and Puma King. This absolute, pure 100% spectacle in the best way possible. Usually these matches, in any promotion, can be a a sloppy mess. However, on this day everyone brought their working boots and absolutely came to impress New York City (and did wonderfully!). Puma King and Aerostar were the most over with the crowd. It definitely seems masked wrestlers were the most beloved on the night, especially from the younger crowd, and this makes all the sense. Flamita looked awesome in this match and it’ll be fun to see him in the AAA rotation more. Daga wins this match to become the #1 Contender for the Cruiserweight Title currently held by Laredo Kid. Kid is rumored to be off AAA for a while due to a reality show, so Daga is the right call here.

Via La Wera Loca! Taya Valkyrie, in some would call an upset, defeated Tessa Blanchard for the Reina de Reyes Title. This decision works on so many levels. It keeps the Tessa/Taya feud hot in not one, but two countries — Mexico and the U.S. Taya has become the woman Tessa cannot beat, and in IMPACT it’s a great for technico Tessa and AAA it’s great for rudo Tessa. Love it. These two had an unsurprisingly terrific match because let’s face it, they’re two of the best women in the world right now. Crowd definitely was into all the big moments of this fight.

In the match of the night, The Lucha Bros defeated LAX (Santana and Ortiz). People often talk about the “Road Warrior pop.” And many times it is often incorrectly assigned to big reactions. The Lucha Bros got that Road Warrior pop at the Hulu Theater. The crowd embraced them as not just technicos but as heroes. As representatives of lucha libre, of Mexico, and seemingly everything good in this world. Fenix and Pentagon fed off this walk into the crowd, draped in the Mexican flag, rallying the crowd behind them. Chants of “CERO MIEDO” shook the walls of the venue. And boy did these four deliver. The chemistry these teams have is undeniable, and they produced another fantastic match to add to their canon. Big kudos to LAX who absolutely killed it even though they had gotten off a plane from England and still performed to the highest level. They seemed destined to fight in AEW, so get hyped.

The big fight trios match was up next as “El Torro” Cain Velasquez, Psycho Clown, and IMPACT Heavyweight Champion Brian Cage defeated Los Mercenarios (Rey Escorpion and Texano Jr.) and Black Taurus. This match revolved around former UFC Champion Cain Velasquez in the ring. The former MMA star’s commitment to lucha libre from learning the moves to donning a mask the entire match — this isn’t a guy looking for a quick crossover cash-in, he embraces the culture. This match had the big fight feel and while it didn’t match the excitement of the Triplemania trios match featuring Cain, that’s only because the wonder and mystery of Cain wrestling for the first time wasn’t there. The rudos trio really bumped their tails off and made all the technicos look great while also riling up the very passionate crowd. American promotions really need to look at those three (and Psycho Clown to boot) and start booking them.

In the main event, Dr. Wagner Jr. defeated Blue Demon Jr. The ending to this match was way too abrupt for anyone’s liking. However, again, this was about the spectacle. These are two men who are absolute second generation icons in lucha libre. Them in the ring together in New York City in 2019 is a moment. To the surprise of many, this was not the usual blood bath these two generally have — and this is in part to the New York State Athletic Commission. So, these two had their working boots on, and it was an absolute treat to see them put on a match of this caliber. Again, the ending was whatever, but the right person won the match and the crowd went home happy. Especially…

After the match Team IMPACT hit the ring to beat down Wagner. That is until Lucha Bros, Cain, Psycho Clown, Cage, and Taya hit the ring. They vanquished the rudos. Cain tapped Sami out. Then Wagner and Psycho Clown, the long time bitter blood rivals, celebrated together in the ring.

AAA invades New York will be streaming on Fite.TV,(in parts) on YouTube and various television platforms AAA is on.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


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