AAA – Triplemania VIII
Triplemania VIII, the first time the event was held in Japan, took place on July 5th 2000 in the world renowned Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The card featured six strong matches, with featured Japanese wrestlers. It’s cool to see a young Naomichi Marafuji here and also, a very young CIMA in the main event as Shiima Nobunaga, a name he also wrestled under in WCW (briefly).
I am a great fan of Mini Estrella matches which do not feature any routine comedy spots, I love to see the smaller guys really mix it up in a traditional match and for this reason the opener is great. Octagoncito is such a great talent and is complimented well by Mini Abismo Negro, two true legends of the Mini division.
The next match is a great mix of veteran and rookie as the very green (but still good) Oscar Sevilla takes on seasoned veteran Gran Apache. Sevilla’s bullfighting gimmick is very endearing and he utilises it really nicely into his match. At the time AAA were using him mainly against trusted older guys to help him mature and learn as he wrestled and this was done well here as Gran Apache pulls out some brilliant manoeuvres including a beautiful Mexican Surfboard and a brutal baseball-slide dropkick right into the Matador’s face. Ouch.
The next match is a mixed gender tag team bout which is a lot of fun. The two male opponents try to outdo one another and it leads to some cool moments. Fans used to American wrestling may be surprised to see that the Men and Women fight each other, not just their own genders, but the women can more than hold their own in this match. Hamada finds herself on the receiving end of an uncalled for mist-to-the-face by the dastardly Octagon before the opening bell rang, so she is feisty and looking to return the attack. I’m enjoying the amount of diversity that this card has. Mini’s, veteran-vs-rookies and a mixed tag, AAA are showing why the were so formidable in the 90’s/early 2000’s here as they are strong in every conceivable level.
It’s also a good time to point out the sound and picture quality. The picture (as you can see from the screenshots) is VHS quality and is very good for it’s age. The sound is extremely crisp and is in Japanese (which feels weird when watching Lucha) but is really clear and adds to the viewing experience. RudoReels do strive for the absolute pinnacle of available footage and it shows as some shows I have purchased/been sent from other companies look terrible and aged by comparison, but RudoReels pride themselves on quality for money and all of their footage is of a high standard.
Another match type is here to spoil us now as the first of the Japanese talents show up in this four-corners elimination tag team match. This leads to a traditional tag team match and then finally to the impressively stacked main event. The four way elimination tag match is really good, probably my favourite match on the card. It features some excellent back and forth wrestling as well as a couple of nice spots outside the ring. I cannot get over how young Marafuji is, he’s a baby (I think he’s 19 in this match)! The tag match is really good too and the main event rounds off a great event in spectacular fashion.
Although CMLL is my favourite promotion and nowadays I tend to sidestep a lot of AAA as they feature a lot of storylines and wrestlers with a more American style and I favour the traditional Lucha Libre style of CMLL. In the 1990’s I watched a lot of AAA and this was a really nostalgic review for me to do as it had a more Mexican feel to it. I really enjoyed this event and the fact that the video quality was very good helped a lot. It is a very strong Triplemania and that it took place in Japan gave it a really chilled out atmosphere compared to the loud and chaotic (which I adore) Mexican crowds. Which was a refreshing change.
- Mini Abismo Negro vs. Octagoncito
- Gran Apache vs. Oscar Sevilla
- Pentagon & Xochitl Hamada vs. Oriental & Esther Moreno
- Vipers (AAA Psicosis, Maniaco & Histeria) vs. Path Finder, Alebrije w/Cuije & Perro Aguayo Jr. vs. Vatos Locos (Charly Manson, Picudo & Espiritu) vs. Genki Horiguchi, Minoru Tanaka & Marafuji (from NOAH) (4 corners elimination match)
- Kick Boxer & Kanemaru vs. Tiger Mask IV & Heavy Metal
- Electro Shock, Abismo Negro, CIMA & Cibernetico vs. Latin Lover, Jushin Liger, Hector Garza & Octagon