Prior to Finest City Wrestling‘s two shows during San Diego Comic Con weekend, FCW promoter Gus Parsons said on social media that he was going to make an announcement after the show. Gus is one of the most fan friendly promoters in Southern California and he is a big part of the FCW shows, often making in ring announcements during the show. On July 23rd’s show he had been uncharacteristically quiet. As the show ended with B-Boy in the ring having just defeated Jeff Cobb to retain his title, the crowd began to chant “Gus” and after what seemed like several minutes he came to the ring. In the ring he seemed emotional and all he would say is “fuck AAA” then left the ring.
Several months back FCW booked Pentagon Jr. for their April 30th show and had him announced for nearly two months. A few weeks before the show lineups in Mexico started showing up with Pentagon Jr. listed for the same day as the FCW show, then on April 21st, only nine days before the show AAA notified FCW that Pentagon Jr. would not be on the FCW show. AAA’s reasoning at the time was that FCW didn’t book him through the proper channels.
FCW then went through AAA directly and booked both Pentagon Jr. and Fenix for their July 22nd show during Comic Con weekend. When FCW booked them through AAA, Gus Parsons informed AAA they would be doing a signing to help promote the show as well, which according to FCW was never questioned. FCW was then asked by AAA if they could fly Pentagon Jr. and Fenix out a day early, which they agreed to.
The plan was for Pentagon Jr. and Fenix to sign at the joint Headlocked Comic and Masked Republic booth on July 22nd to help promote that nights show. Entertainment Earth, who had a deal with Lucha Underground announced that Pentagon and Fenix would be signing at their booth at the Comic Con on July 21st. Shortly before the Comic Con Masked Republic was warned of possible legal action from Lucha Underground for using any of their trademarks or selling any merchandise at their booth that could be confused as being Lucha Underground. Masked Republic in their online marketing blacked out any reference to any wrestlers’ Lucha Underground names and announced that no wrestlers would be able to sell merchandise that could be misconstrued as being of any Lucha Underground wrestler would be sold at the booth.
After Pentagon Jr. signed at the Entertainment Earth booth on the 21st the next day Pentagon Jr. and Fenix were told they would not be allowed to sign at the Masked Republic booth. The wrestlers were told by AAA they could not do the signing and Gus Parsons didn’t find out until he was told by Masked Republic’s Kevin Kleinrock. Gus e-mailed AAA and was told that “he is in charge of them that day” only to receive another e-mail 30 minutes later saying that there is an issue between Lucha Underground and Masked Republic and that AAA needs to “obey Lucha Underground’s wishes.”
Aside from the wrestlers being pulled from a signing to promote FCW’s shows, FCW’s bigger issue is that they paid AAA for the use of Pentagon Jr. and Fenix and paid for their flights, picked them up from the airport and then the wrestlers did a signing for Lucha Underground but were not allowed to do FCW’s signing. FCW was also not compensated for any part of the flight by AAA or Lucha Underground.
Both wrestlers were still able to wrestle at the show, but a major part of FCW’s promotion strategy was to promote the show at the Comic Con, which without the draw of Pentagon Jr. and Fenix their ability to do that was hampered. No other wrestlers nor Lucha Underground announcer Melissa Santos were pulled from any signings at Masked Republic’s booth.
Masked Republic’s Kevin Kleinrock offered the following statement “While we appreciate LU and AAA not messing with any other talent’s abilities to meet their fans and the fans to meet them, the fact that even Melissa Santos and John Morrison – who were also part of the LU signings – were not pulled – it’s one more example of LU and AAA continuing to treat talent signed to AAA as secondary citizens.”
AAA has not responded to a request for comment, a person at Lucha Underground who wishes to remain anonymous said that no permission was ever given for any signings at Comic Con and they had a deal with Entertainment Earth to hold officially sponsored Lucha Underground signings. They did not respond to inquiries about FCW paying to fly Pentagon Jr. and Fenix in early for Lucha Underground’s signing.
We will update this story as more information comes available.