Even though I grew up in San Diego and was a wrestling fan, I don’t really remember any exposure to lucha libre as a kid. Like a lot of fans around my age, my first real exposure to it was in WCW. Everything about it was fresh and amazing. I quickly became a lucha libre fan and have remained since.
While most of the wrestling world was focused on All In, this past weekend in Las Vegas Masked Republic put on the largest lucha libre convention to ever be held in the United States, Expo Lucha. Over two days they held four different shows with over 100 wrestlers plus a convention full of meet and greets, merchandise, and panels.
I wasn’t able to make it out to Las Vegas on Friday for the first day of the convention, but that day they had wrestlers such as Rey Mysterio Jr., Penta El Zero M, and Rey Fenix in attendance.
After driving out to Las Vegas Saturday morning, I got to the convention around 11:00 a.m. With the first show not starting until 2:00 p.m. this gave me plenty of time to check everything out and catch up with people I haven’t seen in awhile. One of the more notable things at the convention was a display of various masks and ring gear that Rey Mysterio Jr. has worn over the years, all designed by the legendary Masahiro Hayashi.
Before the afternoon Legends of Lucha Libre show, there was a Lucha Underground panel featuring Ricky Banderas (Mil Muertes), Daga, Melissa Anderson (Mariposa), Martin Casaus (Marty the Moth Martinez), Lil’ Cholo (Mala Suerte), Mariachi Loco (Saltador), Marty Elias, and Rey Horus (Dragon Azteca Jr.). It was moderated by Vampiro. The panel was mostly stories about their most hardcore or memorable matches (to which there was a lot of “stay tunes”) but Vampiro did say that Lucha Underground would be back for season five. Almost immediately after the panel ended the Legends of Lucha Libre show started.
While there were no matches in the legends show that would be considered great by any means, the show was entertaining. Seeing some of the luchadors on the event again certainly brought back memories of heading down to Mexico in the early 2000s. I had never had a chance to see El Fantasma live before, and seeing him team with his son in his first match in the United States since losing his match was a treat too. Plus this show ended with Alushe doing a beat box and a rap.
Here are the results from the Legends of Lucha Libre show:
Mascarita Dorada defeated Demus.
El Cobarde, Mano Negro, Skayde defeated Piloto Suicida, Shamu Jr, and Acero Dorado.
Daga and Negro Navarro defeated Angel Blanco Jr. and Fureza Guerrero.
Solar and Solar Jr. defeated Damian 666 and Bestia 666.
Tineblas Jr., Mesias, and Ultimo Dragon defeated Pirata Morgan, Fantasma, and Hijo del Fantasma.
After the show I headed to dinner and ran into Teddy Hart at the Benihana’s that was outside the convention center. He was on a quest to eat some sushi that he once had, and Benihana’s is where that quest lead him.
The evening show on Saturday was an AAA show. The last time I had been to what was billed as an AAA show was in the early 2000s in Tijuana. That Tijuana AAA show is still one of the worst I have ever been to. Luckily AAA isn’t as bad as it once was, and I was looking forward to seeing LA Park in the main event.
The AAA show went by super fast, lasting about an hour and fifteen minutes in total. The first four matches were good but all pretty short. It was nice to see Brody King on the show in what I believe would be considered his AAA debut. This year Brody King has managed to wrestle for Japan’s New Japan Pro Wrestling, the UK’s Progress, and now Mexico’s AAA, all without leaving the United States.
Here are the AAA results:
Black Destiny defeated Black Danger.
La Mascara defeated Super Crazy, Hijo de LA Park, and Chik Tormenta in a four-way.
Killer Kross & Juventud Guerrera defeated Brody King & Black Taurus and Psicosis & Pagano in a three-way tag match.
Drago & Aerostar defeated Teddy Hart & Laredo Kid.
Texano Jr. & Hijo del Fantasma defeated Psycho Clown & LA Park.
I’m glad Masked Republic to the risk and put on Expo Lucha. While there were some notable absences (Hijo del Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras all come to mind), getting the group of luchadors together that they did I’m sure took a tremendous effort. I’m not sure how they felt it did and if it is something they plan on doing again, but I certainly enjoyed myself and would love to see it return.