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April 28, 2022

Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide Triplemania XXX, Monterrey HOT TAKE

"Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you." - George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

For the valiant luchadors who compete weekly in Mexico and beyond in the ever-vibrant world of lucha libre, the mask is sacred in a way that is seemingly impossible to translate beyond the United Mexican States. While fans worldwide may identify and love luchadors who have emerged in the world of professional wrestling for different reasons, in Mexico, the mask of a luchador has seamlessly integrated into the culture.

A luchador's mask is not just branding or a way for a talent to become recognizable. No, the mask is everything to a lucha fighter. It is their larger than life expression of who they are as a competitor, it is the flag they wave when they enter their battles. Indeed, the mask and the soul become permanently intertwined, the literal physical definition of their soul, their fighting spirit. It is as much a family crest as anything else, the very essence of their lifeblood held out for the masses to see.

It is literally a luchador's heart held out for all to take in an absorb, something to be cherished, celebrated and defended at all costs, for losing your mask is tantamount to losing your very dignity, humiliating your family and fans forever, leaving you trapped in the abyss, desperate to somehow regain your lost honor.

So, to extremely understate the situation, Lucha Libre AAA's finest fighters and greatest legends are all standing at the edge of a cliff, trying to battle their way from what could be the ultimate humiliation - and that fearless fight begins this Saturday live from Monterrey, Mexico when the first iteration of Triplemania will emanate from Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey live on FITE when the Ruleta de la Muerte commences.

The competitors who enter the fray this Saturday will compete in first round matches as part of the celebration of Lucha Libre AAA's biggest events of the year. Those who are successful will have earned the right to retain their masks and the identities they have known their entire careers. Those who fall victim and lose will be forced to advance to another round with the process continuing until the final competitors will battle and the ultimate loser will be forced to undergo the indignity of having their mask stripped of them, publicly exposed for the first time in what can only be described as a luchador's worst nightmare come to life.

Live on FITE this Saturday, the first round battles in the Ruleta de la Muerte at TripleMania in Monterrey will feature:

Ultimo Dragon vs. Pentagon Jr. - A generational battle between two of the most famous fighters of their respective eras, taking place for the first time ever. Pentagon aka Penta Oscuro in All Elite Wrestling has captured the hearts and minds of fans worldwide as one half of the Lucha Brothers and proudly marches into battle with NO FEAR. However, if there is a legend that event Penta should fear, it is the highly decorated Ultimo Dragon, who's journey across the pro wrestling cosmos has taken him from EMLL to New Japan Pro Wrestling to WCW to the JCrown to legendary status as one of the groundbreaking competitors who brought high flying Cruiserweight hybrid professional wrestling to the masses in multiple companies. For each man, their masks are their sword and shield and the idea that either could be without it is unthinkable, yet this Saturday on FITE, one will be forced ever closer to that unthinkable moment.

Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs. Blue Demon Jr. - A battle of second generation luchadors whose families have helped carve and define the landscape of modern day lucha libre. Blue Demon Jr., himself a former NWA Worlds Champion, carries the banner of one of the all-time greatest lucha libre legacies, considered second only to the mythical career of El Santo. Rayo de Jalisco Sr.'s identity has never, EVER been publicly revealed, NOT even today. For Jalisco Jr., the Ruleta de Muerte is the manifestation of his family trapped against a wall, forced to brawl their way out the only way they know how - the free fighting style of lucha libre, but to be successful, Jalisco Jr. will have to somehow solve the riddle that is Blue Demon Jr., perhaps the only competitor who enters the Triplemania on FITE this Saturday with the exact same perspective of family pressure.

Canek vs. Psycho Clown - Psycho Clown has emerged as one of the most famous (infamous?) luchadors of the modern era, headlining AAA Lucha Libre events in New York City, Los Angeles and Mexico alike. If there was a beloved favorite heading into the tournament among lucha fans, it indeed may be Psycho Clown. In one of the most intriguing battles this Saturday at Triplemania, he'll be taking on one of the ultimate lucha legends in Canek, who at 69, intends to fight to retain and defend the masked identity that has defined his family since the early 1970s. Live on FITE this Saturday, lucha fans will see the definitive personalities of their eras collide, each seeking the ultimate victory in order to prevent the unthinkable from occurring.

L.A. Park vs. Villano I - For L.A. Park, the Ruleta de Muerte holds an incredibly different significance. Breaking out as a massive star in the early 1990s for Lucha Libre AAA as the original La Parka, when he broke from the promotion and rechristened himself as L.A. Park, he carved his own unique and distinct path well beyond the promotional boundaries of any one promotion, even before his own family continued to build that legacy with their own endeavors and adventures in the squared circle. For Park, one of the greatest all time brawlers and charismatic characters in lucha libre, the idea of his hood being removed is tantamount to murder after all he has endured over the decades. Indeed, perhaps the closest equivalent to Park may be his opponent this Saturday on FITE, Villano IV, who has defended his family's honor since first debuting back in 1982. From WCW to AAA to EMLL and beyond, the Villano name has been spoken about with pride and prestige for a reason - they are a living dynasty. The idea of either of these fighters succumbing to the other and potentially giving up their respect and pride is mind-boggling, but that will be the reality one of these infamous families find themselves forced closer to when the bell rings.

Of course, there is far more set for this Saturday on FITE when Lucha Libre AAA commences their TripleMania celebration. Perhaps one of the most mind-bending, athletically insane, stratosphere-defying dream tag team matches of all time will headline when Lucha Libre AAA's aerial assault innovator Hijo del Vikingo and the global sensation Fénix unite to take on multi-time AEW and Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, Nick and Matt Jackson in a bout truly worthy of a TripleMania main event position. For the Bucks, this is a chance to once again prove their worldwide dominance in tag team competition, defeating two of Mexico's most beloved and talented competitors. For Vikingo especially, this is a chance to truly show the world the star that Mexican fans already know in their hearts he has become, a chance to take and steal the spotlight from The Bucks and instead bask in its bathing glow. For Fenix, this first bout back since a horrific arm injury on AEW Dynamite will force him back into the mix in a major way, showing the world that he is back, full force and all, as he seeks to shock and awe the Bucks and the world alike in seeking a glorious return victory. For Triplemania, where the unthinkable is the recurring theme, there could be no greater main event to begin these great series of events on FITE.

The tradition of lucha libre has always been centered, in many ways, around great tag team action and TripleMania this Saturday from Monterrey will once again spotlight the insane pageantry and evolution of the free fighting style of lucha. La Facción Ingobernable, Dragon Lee and Dralístico, will head into a Three-Way battle with the ever-popular and mystifying Taurus and Johnny Superstar (aka John Hennigan, Mundo, Impact, Morrison, etc. You get the picture!) and Laredo Kid and a mystery luchador. When it comes to raw, physical talent and the ability to defy gravity in order to soar to the heavens in an attempt to take an opponent straight to the hellscape of defeat, you aren't going to find a greater collection of souls seeking to achieve victory. This one is near-impossible to predict, especially with the intangible unknown of a mystery competitor.

The cavalcade of international stars will continue at TripleMania this Saturday as the stars of All Elite Wrestling and Impact Wrestling continue to populate the card in unique dream match scenarios. In a mixed trios bout, Pagano and former ROH World Champion Bandido will unite with the newly crowned AAA Reina de Reinas Champion Taya as they battle Cibernético, AEW's Andrade El Ídolo and Ring of Honor Women's World Champion Deonna Purrazzo in what will likely be a once in a lifetime encounter.

Then, AEW TNT Champion Sammy Guevara will team with AEWs' Brazilian sensation Tay Conti in a Three-Way battle against Maravilla and Látigo as well as the tandem of the infamous Sexy Star II and Octagón Jr. With the entire world watching live via FITE, pride is as much on the line as the prize money and with this many fiery personalities in one ring at the same time, tempers will flare live in Monterrey with the heart scorching every viewer at home.

As if ALL THAT was not enough, Lucha Libre AAA's alliance with Marvel will continue for the Marvel Lucha Libre Edition exhibition bout, plus the annual Lumberjack Match battle for the Copa Triplemania XXX will go down as well.

From family pride to insane aerial offense to brawling and beyond, the legacy of Lucha Libre AAA have changed professional wrestling worldwide since the earliest vision of the late Antonio Pena and the battle between Cien Caras and Konnan that main evented TripleMania I back in 1993. The one constant for AAA is that the promotion has evolved and brought lucha libre to the masses worldwise and this Saturday, live on FITE, that passionate tradition continues yet again, bringing everyone the epitome of lucha greatness.

Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.