After five years, the Mexican promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) is holding its Lucha Libre World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the sport is bringing the world an epic event.  If you have never seen this type of show, you will be seeing a mix of wrestling styles and personalities from not just their talent pool but from other organizations such as the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Dragon Gate USA, and other various promotions.

A quick history, AAA started this with the financial backing of the Modelo brewing company in 2015.  The tournament is mostly comprised of three wrestlers, or trios, vying for the Cup.  It first began with eight teams at its inception and had stars like Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, Jr., and Brian Cage compete in this event.  The last time that AAA hosted this event was in 2017 but recently announced that the tournament will be back.

This show is being held at Estadio de Béisbol Charros de Jalisco in Zapopan, near Guadalajara, Mexico. Not only is this featuring male wrestlers, but there is a separate women’s tournament as well.

So, let’s get into the teams for the…

Men’s Division 

This is a varied team, with wrestlers SLAM! has featured at various points.  Among the teams are:

Dream Team: Alberto El Patrón, Hijo del Vikingo, Psycho Clown (AAA)

Team Mexico: Black Taurus, Pentagón Jr. (aka Penta 0 M)(AEW), Laredo Kid (AAA)

Team USA: Johnny Caballero (aka John Morrison), Sam Adonis (AAA), Christopher Daniels (AEW)

Team Canada: Vampiro (AAA), Josh Alexander (Impact), PCO (Impact)

Team Latin America: Carlito (NLL), Zumbi (Independent, Brazil), Hip Hop Man(Independent, Argentina)

Team Japan: Takuma Nishikawa (Dragon Gate), La Estrella (Dragon Gate), Kuukai (Independent)

Team Europe: Thom Latimer (NWA, England), Heddi Karaoui (Independent, France), Joe Hendry (Impact, Scotland)

Team Resto Del Mundo: Rage (QPW, Qatar), Classy Ali (QPW, Qatar), Bhupinder Gujjar (Impact, India)

Obviously, a lot of talent looks poised to shine, and some will showcase their skillset for the first time on tonight’s show, especially those from Qatar Pro Wrestling (QPW) which holds shows in the Middle East and North Africa.

Also, to address the elephant in the ring:  Yes, El Patron is back wrestling again, but for those of you that are new to AAA, they do understand the personalities they court and give them a platform to perform in the squared circle.  It wasn’t that long ago they had Cain Velasquez on a recent show.  Another thing of note is the fact that Vampiro will be in action, given his current health issues.

And that leads to the teams for the…

Women’s Division

Team Mexico : Sexy Star II, Flammer , La Hiedra (AAA)

Team United States: Kamille (NWA), Deonna Purrazzo (Impact), Jordynne Grace (Impact)

Team Japan: Emi Sakura (AEW), Mayumi Ozaki (Oz Academy), Akino (Oz Academy)

Team Resto Del Mundo: Taya Valkyrie (Impact, Canada), Dalys (AAA, Panama), Natalia Markova (NWA, Russia)

Most of these women are well-known through the promotions covered here at SLAM!  Some of the new faces like the ones through Ozaki’s OZ Academy Joshi Puroresu will probably be new to fans watching for the first time.  Another interesting note, Christi Jaynes (also known as “CJ”, the valet of “Magic” Jake Dumas) was supposed to be in the tournament for Team Rest of the World, but Dalys has substituted for her instead.  She is related by marriage to Negro Casas, a wrestling legend in Mexico, but she has held titles in Mexico as well for the AAA rival, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL).

Now let’s head to the Stadium as the mascots of the Charros baseball team came out, led by Team Mexico for both men’s and women’s teams come out like the Olympic open ceremonies, holding their country’s flags.  Adonis holds a sword he won from the AAA Rey de Reyes show.  Then the legends of lucha libre, like Negro Casas, Shocker, Fantasma, and others come out as they will be the judges for the show.  then there is an acknowledgment to current AAA president Marisela Peña Herrera, and then there is some pageantry as the Mexican Armed Forces play the Himno Nacional de Mexico.

As for the rules of the World cup, this will be more like a Texas Tornado match and will last for a ten-minute time limit.  If there is no winner, it will go to a one-on-one sudden-death match that will last five minutes.  This can go one for three sudden death matches, and if there is still no winner the decision will fall to the judges until there is a definite winner. The match will be held in a hexagonal ring similar to what TNA used to have back in the day.

So let’s start with the…

World Cup Men’s Tournament First Round

and your First Match of the Night is…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament First Round: The Dream Team vs. Team Latin America

The highlight here is The Dream Team nails triple stereo tope suicidas on Team Latin America, and the Dream Team has some cervezas to celebrate. They go again and Team Latin America splash the same beers in their faces.  The action goes to the ten-minute mark, and this is our first sudden death match of the night,  as Patron seems to be pulling up lame. But Patron and Carlito are selected for their respective teams and Carlito hammers away at the midsection, but Patron nails the DDT and covers for a two count, and is hurting.  He attempts his signature armbar, but Carlito counters with his backstabber and then takes his time to open a bag with an apple. Takes a bite, but spits in the ref’s face by accident. Patron then uses the opportunity to get the backstabber and roll up for the three count, and…

Your Winners via Pinfall, and Advancing to the Semifinals:  The Dream Team

Zumbi and Hip Hop are upset that Carlito showboated and did get the pin. That leads to the next match between…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament First Round: Team United States (with Jack Fancy) vs. Team Japan

Interesting Music intro choice as Team USA comes out to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” (the most ironic song of politicians and patriots alike…Google it sometime).  Also JAck Fancy is the valet for Team USA as an ambassador of sorts.  I smell shenanigans.

As you might have guessed, Adonis is so beloved in Mexico chanting “USA” to fans at ringside who boo lustily at “El Rudo de las Chicas.”  Japan looks good against the big stars of America with Kuukai hitting Caballero’s leg to trip him up to land on the middle ropes, then Estrella nails a Tiger Feint kick, and Ishikawa finishes with a suplex.  The members of Team Japan hit topes on Team USA and Estrella climbs up top, but Daniels trips him up and then gets the BME (Best Moonsault Ever)for the pin and win.

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Semifinals:  Team USA

Now out third match has…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament First Round: Team Mexico vs. Team Resto Del Mundo

Team Mexico comes out with banners showing the founder of AAA, Antonia Peña, as they pose with his widow at ringside.  This is also the first match for Laredo Kid as he is coming back from ruptured intestines

Rage and Ali and Gujjar show their strength and cohesion as a unit on Penta and the rest of Team Mexico.  Penta keeps the team in the fight while Taurus and Kid take out Mundo with stereo suicida.  Penta follows close behind with a tope con hilo to add the extra point.  Now Gujjar and Kid go back and forth and the Kid delivers the Spanish Fly and…

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Semifinals:  Team Mexico

That leads to the last match and it’s the final…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament First Round: Team Canada vs. Team Europe

Speaking earlier of interesting song choices,  Team Europe come out to The Final Countdown, and Team Canada come out to The Weeknd’s Binding Lights.

There’s also a big pop to Vampiro, and fans love the Canadiense estrella.  Team Europe attacks right away and Hendry manages to overpower and outwrestles the Impact Heavyweight champion.  PCO comes in to take out Hendry and has him laid out on the middle ropes.  He then goes up the top turnbuckle and lands a leg drop Hendry on his neck very awkwardly.  There are a lot of big moves by both teams, none are as insane as PCO with an elevated senton onto Latimer who’s laid out on the ring apron.  He then follows up with a Moonsault to all the men on the outside, and PCO is not human! The end comes with Karaoui breaking Alexanders’ arms and going for a cover, but PCO breaks the count and hits a Moonsault and Hendry sneaks from behind and displays his power game, and chokeslams him to earn his team’s berth to the second round.

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Semifinals:  Team Europe

That was some impressive action by the man.  But now we go back to ringside and reset because it’s time for the…

Women’s Tournament First Round

And your First Match in the…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Women’s Tournament First Round: Team United States vs. Team Resto Del Mundo

Team USA is coordinated with USA gear, showing focus and a no-nonsense attitude as they come to ringside.  Valkyrie and Team Mundo are the hands-on favorites, since La Wera Loca is the current holder of the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship, and is having a week since signing with AEW recently.  Also interesting is the American broadcasters mention Markova’s Russian home of Moscow, so I guess she’s the “Russian Crush” again for tonight only, eh?

The match devolves quickly into a Pier Six brawl that leaves all bodies on the canvas, and near the end Markova and Kamille trade forearms, but the Russian Crush gets a facebuster to the holder of The Burke, and then all the women on both teams throw the heavy ammo.  But anyone who’s watched NWA POWERR or read my recaps knows the end is nigh when Kamille delivers a spear to Markova and picks up the win.

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Finals:  Team USA

Purrazzo channels Team America as the three women walk to the back, and says into the camera, “F*** Yeah!”

Your next match is…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Women’s Tournament First Round: Team Mexico vs. Team Japan

As you might expect, the hometown crowd is fully behind Team Mexico.  This is a great contrast in styles between  Mexico’s lucha libre and Japan’s puroresu, but Team Japan is fully in the driver’s seat.  At one point, Ozaki chokes out Star with a dog collar, as the rest of Team Japan distracts the ref.  Ozaki loads up for the Red Mist on Star but she evades and nails Akino full in the face.  Both teams slug it out as the clock ticks away.  The match ends at the ten-minute mark, and we head to sudden death.

It’s now Flammer and Akino for their respective teams, and the Japanese star is still blinded by her teammate’s mist.  She goes for a variation of the Koji Clutch submission and has a hold on both Flammer’s arms, but the Mexican estrella manages to get a foot on the bottom ropes.  She runs the ropes but Ozaki grabs her leg on the outside. Team Mexico takes her out, but Akino recovers and knocks Flammer down.  Then they both trade forearms and Akino nails with a dropkick, but Flammer kips up and fires back with a series of clotheslines. Flammer hits a float-over suplex but gets a two count.  Akino counters with a Saito suplex for a two count as well, and Flammer delivers a tilt-a-whirl Michinoku driver to get the crucial win and…

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Finals: Team Mexico

After the match, Akino and Ozaki come to blows blaming each other for the loss.

There is a video package honoring Rayo De Jalisco.Jr., and all of the Provincia de Jalisco honor their hometown hero and he is given a plaque in tribute for all he has done for Lucha Libre. The fans show their appreciation by chanting “Rayo!” The masked superstar is overcome with emotion, as he thanks the fans and his father in heaven, the original El Rayo de Jalisco.

That was a classy move by AAA to honor the works of the legendary luchador as he reset to get ready for the…

Men’s Semifinals

And that leads to the…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament Semifinals: Team United States (with Jack Fancy) vs. The Dream Team

The big story here is that Psycho and Adonis have a huge rivalry and their hatred is very palpable.  

Team USA attacks right away and the action spills to the outside.  Caballero and Patron are in the ring renewing their previous feud, while Adonis throws Psycho over the barricade into the ringside chairs.  Patron goes for his armbar submission to Caballero, and Adonis comes in for the save to his teammate.  The wild move of the night has Patron deliver a splash on the outside, and Vikingo follows with a springboard 450 splash as well.  Meanwhile, in the ring Psycho whips Adonis with a leather belt and rolls him up for a two count.  He goes for a splash that misses, and Adonis goes up the top turnbuckle and delivers the splash, but the ref refuses to count because time runs out in the ten-minute match.

We now head to sudden death, and Adonis and Psycho reset for their teams, and they chop away at each other.  A powerslam by Psycho gets a two count, and then Adonis rips at his mask as a show of disrespect.  Psycho comes back with a Code Red for another two count.  Adonis gets a powerbomb and then goes up the top, but Psycho cuts him off at the pass with an elevated European uppercut and nails a Spanish Fly to cover, but Jack Fancy gets on the ring.  As the ref shoos him off, Adonis low blows Psycho and rolls him up for the win.

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Finals: Team USA

Adonis and company celebrate their (tainted) win, as The Dream Team members are heartbroken at the loss.  But there is still another match to get to in the…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament Semifinals: Team Europe vs. Team Mexico

Now, this adds pressure for Penta and company as they are the last representatives of Mexico on the men’s side.  Latimer and Penta start out, and he shows Cero Miedo to The King of All Evil, and then they tee off.  Penta sling blades Latimer, but Karaoui takes him out and gets a sharpshooter, and lifts Penta off the ground using his arms as leverage to add more pain.

It isn’t long until it becomes pure chaos in the ring, and Taurus gorilla…err, bull presses Karaoui to the floor.  Hendry gets a cutter to Taurus followed by a pop-up powerbomb to cover for a two count, but the big man delivers a ripcord headbutt and a pop-up backstabber and that allows his team to cinch a berth

Your Winners via Pinfall and Advancing to the Finals: Team Mexico

The fans are ecstatic as the Mexico underdogs have a chance to bring back the Cup.

That means we head to the…

Women’s Finals

The First of the two Main Events features the…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Women’s Tournament Finals: Team USA vs. Team Mexico

As Team USA enters the ring Purrazzo is wearing her husband Steve Maclin’s combat fatigue jacket when he served in Afghanistan.

Both teams go to a staredown, and Grace pie faces Flammer, and off to the races we go.  Team Mexico is on top, and Flammer and Star hit stereo tope suicidas on the outside and then Flammer targets Grace and goes up for an arm drag and then follows with a facebuster, but Purrazzo makes the save for Team USA.  Then she and Kamille get stereo superplexes to Star and Hiera but Team Mexico turns the tables as they single out The Brickhouse and get a Michinoku driver, but Grace and Purrazzo stop the count.  Hiera and Star crotch Purrazzo and dropkick her in the face.  Then both teams jockey for position but Team USA wins and lands the triple team suplex on Team Mexico.  Now it’s Team USA’s turn and they single out Flammer.  Kamille delivers the spear and then Team USA covers but the ref won’t have it due to a bad pin. Kamille delivers the spear again and it’s academic as Flammer stays down for one, two, and three!

Your Winners of the 2023 Lucha Libre Women’s World Cup:  Team USA

As Team USA heads back to celebrate, Team Mexico stays in the ring and the fans cheer the women for a hard-fought match.

Your second Main Event is the…

Men’s Finals

And this match is for the…

2023 Lucha Libre World Cup Men’s Tournament Finals: Team USA (with Jack Fancy) vs. Team Mexico

Caballero kisses Peña on the cheek at ringside as Adonis badmouths her and the rest of the Mexican fans, and they are emphasizing the “Ugly” in “Ugly Americans.”  Once Team Mexico comes out there is a big pop for the home team to really win it.  As the bell rings, it’s another slug-out fight, but Team Mexico gets superkicks and planchas to Team USA.  Team Mexico triple team Daniels as Taurus and Kid hold his legs apart and a dropkick by Penta finds its mark on his nether regions (ouch).  Penta covers but Adonis comes in to break the count.  Now Team Mexico focuses on El Rey de Reyes and Pentga attempts his Fear Factor package piledriver, but Daniels and Caballero stop him just in time.  The action spills outside the ring and it is complete pandemonium at this point.  Team USA isolates Penta and sends him out, and then Taurus becomes the next focus of their attack as they attempt a pin but Kid breaks the count.  The numbers game catches up to the Kid as  Caballero nails a spinning leg drop on the Laredo star for a two count.  Taurus comes back in the ring and hits Daniels with a cannonball in the corner, and Caballero gets the Moonlight Drive (corkscrew neckbreaker) on the big man and follows with a corkscrew tornillo to the outside.  Back in the ring, Penta and Adonis chop away, and then Adonis takes him out of the ring and throws him to the ring post.  In the ring are Kid and Daniels, who lands a uranage and nails the BME to cover, but Penta makes the save at the last second.  Penta and Daniels trade blows and he attempts  Fear Factor, and Fancy gets on the ring until time expires.  Frustrated, Penta knocks him off the ring as retribution.

We go to sudden death and Penta and Caballero fight for their teams in singles action.  Caballero goes for a handshake, and Penta slowly extends a hand, and then kicks him to the ground (jerk), and then rips at Penta’s mask to carry over any feud they had when they were part of Lucha Underground.  Caballero goes out of the ring and beats him down some more, and then grabs a cookie sheet and brains Penta.  He sends him in the ring and Caballero has a trash can lid and slams it on his head again to cover for a two count.  He lands a knee for another two count and tries to pin but Penta keeps kicking out.  Finally, the five-minute time runs out and we head to a second sudden-death match.  Taurus wants to come in and Penta wants to keep fighting, as does Caballero, so both teams allow them to continue on.

Penta manages the sling blade and a plancha to take flight on the outside to Caballero and then grabs the same trashcan lid and it’s just desserts for the Shaman of Sexy.   He gets a nice chop to his chest and the fans chant “Otra (One more).”  Back in the ring and Penta connects with the Fear Factor and covers for one, two…oooh, so close.  The fans are on their feet and as Penta attempts Fear Factor he wriggles out of the finisher.  Penta nails a backstabber to cover, and Caballero kicks out at the last second.  He finally delivers Fear Factor and covers again for one, two… a close kick out. With thirty seconds left, both men dig deep and get double clotheslines to knock them both out, and time runs out again.

This is heading to triple overtime, but Penta and Caballero are still staying in the match.  Running on fumes, Caballero gets Penta in a Samoan Drop variation for a two count.  Now he gets a table and sets it in the ring. He then sends Penta out and uses a chair to wrap around his neck and then slams it on the ring post to cause further damage to his throat.  Back in and Caballero delivers the Fin del Mundo (Starship Pain aka split-legged corkscrew moonsault) and covers for one, two…Penta kicks out.  He comes back and nails Fear Factor on Caballero on the ring apron and goes up the top turnbuckle to deliver a double stomp for another two count.  Penta sets him on the table, but Caballero fights back and they battle up the top turnbuckle.  Penta wins with an avalanche Mexican Destroyer on the table, and he gets the one, two, and three!

Your Winners of the 2023 Lucha Libre Men’s World Cup:  Team Mexico

After the match, Konnan and Taya Valkyrie come out to congratulate Team Mexico, and the fans feel national pride and they know they have Cero Miedo.

That leads to an award ceremony and Fantasma passes out medals respectively to Team Mexico for the men and Team USA for the women. Then the Best Luchador award goes to PCO, and the Best Luchadora goes to La Hiera as the show fades out.


AAA's Lucha Libre World Cup 2023 - 3/19/2023

Final Thoughts:

Some technical problems from FITE’s American broadcast team made it hard to get into the show, but the wrestler delivered a great show from beginning to end.

Maybe I’m a sucker for tournaments, but I hope AAA continues this tradition next year.  Hopefully, this can expand to more teams for the women’s division.