Lucha Libre: Challenge of Coming to America in the ’90s

This is the incredible story about the people who brought Lucha Libre into America in the 1990s and the multitude of challenges they faced along the way!

Hijo del Santo and Blue Demon Jr. are amongst those who popularized Lucha Libre in Mexico, America, and beyond.
Hijo del Santo and Blue Demon Jr. are amongst those who popularized Lucha Libre in Mexico, America, and beyond.

Lucha Libre – Coming to America

Lights, cameras, Lucha! Mexican wrestling, or simply Lucha or Lucha Libre, is a unique style. Usually known for being high-flying, fast-paced, and filled with intricate submission holds, it has influenced all aspects of today’s wrestling and entered our pop-culture consciousness.

Now few wrestling fans bat an eye when someone performs a huracánrana, a senton, a tope, or a plancha, but in the early to mid-’90s, these maneuvers were still very foreign to most fans outside of Mexico.

Many young wrestlers entering the business today grew up watching Lucha Libre and incorporated many of these holds into their “wrestling toolbox.”

Ron Skoler Discovers Lucha Libre

Although New York-based Entertainment Lawyer Ron Skoler was unaware of Lucha Libre when growing up, he was fascinated with American wrestling and loved the larger-than-life characters and storylines. He vividly remembers the bloody covers of magazines featuring The Sheik, The Bruiser, Bull Curry, and The Crusher.

But as is the case with many, as he got older, he pursued other interests and temporarily left wrestling behind him.

However, as explained in the three-part interview with Brian Last and David Bixenspan on the 6:05 Superpodcast, things were about to change for Ron, who’d soon find himself immersed in the Lucha Libre business.

“Somehow, I was listening to the radio [in early 1992], and I heard [John] Arezzi’s show [The Pro Wrestling Spotlight],” explained Skoler.

“It was fascinating to me because they were stripping away the veneer of professional wrestling, and they were talking about what was really going on with it. It was always interesting to me because it was pretty much a hidden world, yet I liked it and enjoyed the idea of suspending your disbelief.”

In 1992 Ron Skoler was about to enter the world of Lucha Libre and didn't even know it yet.
In 1992 Ron Skoler was about to enter the world of Lucha Libre and didn’t even know it yet. [Photo: 605-superpodcast.fandom.com and added by J. Naccarato]
Six months later, while channel-surfing at home, he came across one of Mexico’s finest exports: Lucha Libre.

 

The athletic, acrobatic style of these luchadores caught him off guard and rekindled his interest in wrestling. While staring in awe at this spectacle broadcasted on the Galavisión channel, his brain went into overdrive, and he believed that this fantastic show might be something that could be a huge hit stateside.

“It was a whole new world to me! They seemed to be jumping off a high diving board but with no water beneath them!” Ron exclaimed in his interview.

Once again, enter John Arezzi.

A superfan turned Madison Square Garden wrestling photographer, “Classy” Freddie Blassie Fan Club founder, country music talent agent, and later wrestling radio host extraordinaire. If anyone could hook up Skoler with the Lucha promoters, it would be this well-connected radio personality.

Arezzi informed him that Antonio Peña was the main person in charge at AAA, and although he didn’t know him personally, he knew how to reach him. So, he contacted wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, who put him in touch with Konnan, which eventually led to talks with Antonio Peña.

The Formation of Lucha Libre AAA

Antonio Peña was a former luchador who booked for EMLL (later renamed CMLL in 1991), Mexico’s original and still more traditional wrestling promotion. They go back to 1933 with founder Salvador Lutteroth González nicknamed “The Father of Lucha Libre.”

On November 30, 2018, Lucha Libre was declared an "Intangible Cultural Patrimony" of Mexico City. Also, the senate decreed September 21 as "National Lucha Libre and Mexican Professional Wrestlers Day."
On November 30, 2018, Lucha Libre was declared an “Intangible Cultural Patrimony” of Mexico City. Also, the senate decreed September 21 as “National Lucha Libre and Mexican Professional Wrestlers Day.”

After years with the company, dissenting opinions on how Lucha Libre should be presented prompted Peña to leave and start his promotion called AAA on May 15, 1992, now called Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.

Mass media company Televisa established AAA as a subsidiary and positioned Peña in charge. But behind the scenes, Televisa financed everything and had the wherewithal to greenlight or shoot down any proposed ideas by Peña.

For an easy analogy, this business structure resembled when Turner Broadcasting owned WCW. You had people “running” WCW, but ultimately TBS was their bank and boss.

A New Era of Lucha Libre Begins

At the time of the newly formed promotion, Peña convinced stars like Blue Panther, Octagon, Konnan, Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras, Máscara Año 2000, and Universo 2000), Mascara Sagrada, Perro Aguayo, Hijo del Santo, and later La Parka, to join him on his bold venture.

His fresh vision of what he believed Lucha Libre should be about was a more high-flying style filled with outlandish characters like exóticos, and he wasn’t shy in featuring women wrestlers in mixed matches with men or the very entertaining minis.

Peña figured that Lucha Libre could be so much more if not restricted by norms and social mores like the more conservative CMLL. He wanted to tap into the vast market outside of the traditional wrestling fan. As of now, they are arguably the number one promotion in Mexico and aim to establish themselves as a global brand.

Since 1992, AAA Worldwide has looked to innovate wrestling and showcase its unique product outside Mexico.
Since 1992, AAA Worldwide has looked to innovate wrestling and showcase its unique product outside Mexico. [Photo: radiomas.mx]
But after the December 1994 Mexican Peso Crisis, which alarmingly caused a global currency crisis and the country being bailed out with $50 billion, Televisa in late 1995 liquidated much of its assets and parted with AAA.

 

With the country’s economy in shambles, Peña saw an opportunity and seized majority control of AAA.

Both he and Televisa maintained a healthy business partnership until 2019, but publicly Lucha Libre AAA didn’t change its name. Instead, it was now run by Peña’s new company: PAPSA.

Bringing in Daryll Brooks and Carol Kirkendall

Skoler, now feeling he was getting somewhere, contacted CD Enterprises friends Daryll Brooks and Carol Kirkendall. They were influential players within the music industry and big-time concert promoters in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Coming together in their 20s, they started as a nonprofit group that organized an annual concert in D.C.’s the Mall called Human Kindness Day. Stevie Wonder performed in their fourth annual festival in 1975. In the ’80s and ’90s, Brooks and Kirkendall changed their company name to G Street Express and began launching national tours of artists specializing in the new style of music called hip-hop.

“So, I called Daryll, and I said, ‘I know you’re gonna think I’m crazy but check this out.’ He was open-minded and showed some mild interest in it,” recalls Ron.

The History of Triplemanía

So, through John Arezzi, Ron Skoler reached AAA’s, Antonio Peña. Skoler and Brooks were then invited down South and accompanied by an interpreter. As a result, they experienced AAA’s first-ever Triplemanía held at Mexico City, Mexico’s Plaza de Toros bullfighting arena on April 30th, 1993.

Peña wanted to make an immediate impact, and what better way to do it than by creating a yearly mega-event like WWE’s WrestleMania? Just tweak the name a little, convince Televisa to back the colossal card, add their pizazz, and they were on their way.

It's been a long time since the original Triplemanía from 1992. And in 2022, with Triplemanía XXX, AAA Worldwide celebrated its past while launching itself into the future.
It’s been a long time since the original Triplemanía from 1992. And in 2022, with Triplemanía XXX, AAA Worldwide celebrated its past while launching itself into the future. [Photo: Cageside Seats]
The storied Plaza de Toros that hosted Triplemanía could fit nearly 42,000 people. But on the day of the event, another 6,000 rabid fans enthusiastically watched the historic card on giant screens from the arena’s massive parking lot, technically boosting the total attendance to at least 48,000 and up to 50,000.

 

Jake “The Snake” Roberts also made the trip and was the unexpected ace up AAA’s sleeve for Triplemanía when he interfered in the Konnan vs. Cien Caras two-out-of-three falls retirement match. After Konnan was counted out in the second fall and referee “El Tirantes” (The Suspenders) announced Cien Caras, the victor, the crowd became enraged.

Skoler remembers running for their lives after Jake’s interference because the people saw that he’d been seated close to them. And while fleeing, he even temporarily lost his shoe. Fortunately, Daryll Brooks got it back for him.

“And that was the beginning of it all,” says Skoler when remembering Triplemanía.

Pomp and circumstance filled the momentous event. It was a roaring success and is still a pillar of AAA. Every year, all storylines and feuds get resolved or are at least showcased at Triplemanía. Masks are often lost, heads shaven clean, or careers retired in “Lucha de Apuestas” (betting matches).

Watch fans in tears at Triplemanía after Konnan loses and “retires” thanks to Jake Roberts:

Los Angeles and its Rich Wrestling History

At a dinner with Antonio Peña and accompanied by his assistant “Chucho” and perhaps Konnan, Daryll Brooks suggested that the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena would be a prime venue to host a Lucha Libre show. Before this, at least one such card had been held at California State University in Los Angeles years prior.

Nonetheless, the city was no stranger to pro wrestling. The storied Grand Olympic Auditorium, formerly on 1801 South Grand Avenue (locals would say: 18th and Grand), but now a Korean church, was the Southern California wrestling mecca for years.

Every other Friday, The Olympic hosted hundreds of wrestling shows and provided thousands upon thousands of fans years of entertainment. Here we see Mil Mascaras going on the offensive against Masa Saito.
Every other Friday, The Olympic hosted hundreds of wrestling shows and provided thousands upon thousands of fans years of entertainment. Here we see Mil Mascaras going on the offensive against Masa Saito. [Photo: Theo Ehret]
The dreaded heel team of “The Red Devils” Black Gordman and Great Goliath were mainstays there during the ’70s. And in the early part of the said decade, the 10,400-seat Olympic showcased intense, bloody battles between Freddie Blassie and John Tolos. These were legendary confrontations that marked a generation.

 

And later, in the late ’70s, alpha heel Roddy Piper pushed what was deemed socially acceptable in his impassioned battles against the Guerrero family.

But The Olympic did not host Lucha Libre-style shows. Instead, it was an NWA territory where most of the big names of the era at some point passed through. Promoters Cal and Aileen Eaton (“Judo” Gene LeBell’s mother) brought in stars from Mexico, hoping to attract Latinos.

La Revancha: The First-Ever Event of Its Kind at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena

Although there is evidence that lucha libre shows were run in the famed Olympic Auditorium in 1986 featuring stars such as Tineblas, Lizmark, and a very young Rey Mysterio, on August 28th, 1993, fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena were treated to the first-ever event of its kind in that venue.

La Revancha (The Re-Match or The Revenge) was meant to build on the tremendous heat generated four months prior by the heinous Jake “The Snake” interference at Triplemanía, where he even mercilessly slammed Mascarita Sagrada (a mini) before causing Konnan to lose and “retire.”

And since the USA was out of the Mexican Boxing and Wrestling Commission’s jurisdiction, the feud would push on. So, they signed a Konnan, Cien Caras, and Jake Roberts three-way match, and expectations were through the roof.

Based on all the above, Skoler and the others involved in the newly formed IWC (International Wrestling Council) believed La Revancha would quickly sell out. But that was not the case- at least not at first.

La Revancha was heavily promoted on different media outlets in Spanish. So naturally, this put a financial strain on everyone involved, and stress was at a maximum- especially after seeing the rather tepid gate numbers.

A sellout seemed like an impossibility and based on previous wrestling shows (but not Lucha Libre cards), venue administrators predicted about 8,000 fans.

But Ron and Daryll soon discovered that Latinos were used to purchasing the day of because often unscrupulous promoters canceled shows or just plain scammed people. Fortunately, sales picked up, and attendance reached 18,000, with another 8,000 people turned away.

This was great for publicity, but turning away so many paying customers sent concert promoter Daryll Brooks into a somewhat depressive state because they hadn’t planned a second card or secured a future venue! They were effectively “leaving money on the table” because of underestimating Lucha Libre’s demand in the Los Angeles area and maybe their inexperience at promoting the product.

“It was hard to attract 8,000 people, let alone turn them away!” emphasized Skoler.

The hot crowd at La Revancha was possibly rowdier than Triplemanía, and after La Revancha, Skoler’s IWC had to increase security at subsequent shows.

John Arezzi also shared his thoughts on the 6:05 Superpodcast about the IWC and their first significant show.

“…Ron [Skoler], I mean, was a visionary. You have Carol and Darryll involved, and I came in, and…I was a shareholder in the IWC – and the dealings with Peña were never smooth and easy, but in the end, that first show in Los Angeles was the proudest moment I had in the wrestling business, to see that overflow crowd turning away 8,000 or 9,000 people. We were on to something…”

Watch La Revancha’s main event and the wild crowd at the Sports Arena:

Diminishing Returns

Skoler and Brooks soon realized that promoting large Lucha Libre shows was like the circus; best to run them once or twice a year, and not every couple of months, unless you’re running them in smaller venues. In November, the next show wasn’t a sellout but attracted a very respectable 16,000 people. But even with a loaded card, it fell a few thousand short of a full house.

According to Ron, a large chunk of the blame fell on Televisa’s and Galavision’s shoulders because he couldn’t get any continuity or build for their upcoming shows.

“It fell on deaf ears,” Skoler recalled. “The schedule for [Lucha Libre] AAA changed from week to week and sometimes wasn’t even on!”

The build for La Revancha stemmed from the first Triplemanía, which was regularly replayed in Mexico through Televisa and in the USA by Galavisión.

But they didn’t have continuity afterward or from Triplemania II nine months after La Revancha.

“I wanted to get television. I knew if we had television, we could’ve done amazing things, angles, and so many great storylines that never got off the ground and would’ve been unbelievable,” Ron Skoler stated when interviewed on the 6:05 Superpodcast.

Skoler continued, “We brought into L.A. a tag team of white wrestlers called “La Migra,” you know, the immigration police and stuff, and we could’ve built that into a big thing if we’d had television. And that’s the most frustrating part of the whole thing.”

Since the 1950s, it has been widely accepted that television (and now online presence) is of utmost importance to have a successful wrestling product. WWE has followed this formula for years, and Skoler desperately tried to secure this for the IWC but to no avail.

“Can you imagine if WWE didn’t have continuity on television? Like if you’re going to have a match between John Cena and The Undertaker, and you’re not able to build that up week after week, but you’re still showing matches between, I don’t know… Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. It was pathetic.”

Skoler went on, “I thought Peña was great, but as far as Televisa and Galavisíon, I have less than no respect for them. They couldn’t care less as far as to help build up shows.”

He explained that they’d show matches from the different Mexican cities AAA ran but didn’t help build towards the IWC/AAA’s subsequent events.

Crucial to AAA Worldwide's success has been television. But according to Ron Skoler, Televisa (former AAA owners) rarely helped his IWC promotion in the USA.
Crucial to AAA Worldwide’s success has been television. But according to Ron Skoler, Televisa (former AAA owners) rarely helped his IWC promotion in the USA. [Photo: yahoo! deportes]
So, according to Skoler, this forced them to buy time on stations for top dollar. Peña’s AAA (still under Televisa control) got a sizable cut from the shows, but Peña couldn’t control television, and the people who controlled it gave them no assistance. The only thing that helped build the upcoming shows were the commercials they ran, not what was on T.V.

 

“It’s amazing how the worst people tend to own the best products. Whether its film studios, record companies, T.V., or networks that own wrestling companies, it’s astonishing,” Ron Skoler stated on his unhappiness towards Televisa at the time.

According to Brian Last, before the upcoming co-promoted event with WCW, fans in Los Angeles witnessed on March 12, 1994, one of the IWC’s more memorable shows.

The main event was Konnan vs. Jake Roberts in a cage, and Mascarita Sagrada vs. Espectrito in a two-out-of-three falls match for the IWC minis title; considered by many still today one of the most incredible minis’ matches of all time.

“Mascarita Sagrada climbed that cage and landed on Jake,” recalls Last. “And because he was so small, it looked like he’d jumped off a 30-story building!”

“Regardless of their size, many of the minis, as far as workers, were right up there with any of the best wrestlers you could name. They were tremendous talents,” Ron remembers.

“I got to know Espectrito a little more than Mascarita. Espectrito was a wonderful guy. I hung out with him a little bit in Los Angeles, as well as in Mexico City. Just a really nice guy. I was sorry to learn about his death. I actually still got the [IWC] minis’ belt. It’s one of the few items I retained, along with the women’s one too.”

Watch the phenomenal Mascarita Sagrada and Espectrito match:

Expansion Woes

In the promotion’s first few months, they suffered a weak showing at a San Diego card that Daryll Brooks had insisted IWC book.

In addition, Tijuana (which regularly ran Lucha Libre) is only 19 miles from San Diego and may have negatively affected the gate.

Nevertheless, the promotion continued expanding outside of Los Angeles and ran shows in New York and Chicago. Both took place in July of 1994.

According to Skoler, the IWC/AAA show broke even at the Rosemount Horizon in Chicago, and the following night was The Paramount Theater at MSG. Because of the prohibitive costs to run shows in New York plus the heavy advertising involved, the IWC needed to have sold out to break even. They did not. They sold 90% of the available tickets.

“Those were the economics of that situation, but we felt it was worth seeing if we could establish something in New York,” Skoler explained.

“They were great shows, but we didn’t go back because we didn’t feel like we could make money there-not without television- so they just became one-offs.”

Skoler then theorized why Lucha Libre works in some cities and doesn’t in others.

“Let’s face it. Lucha Libre is primarily a Mexican thing,” Skoler began.

“There’s Americans like me that like Lucha Libre, and Los Angeles has a large Mexican population, and they support this. Like in Texas, other cities we thought about running have Mexican populations but are more ‘Americanized’ and were more into WWE and WCW at the time.

“We had to try and reach our core audience before we reached additional audiences. And if we would’ve tried to attract white people who read the [Wrestling Observer Newsletter], we would’ve had to have run shows in a tent or somewhere because we would’ve only drawn a couple hundred people.”

He added that they were more successful at shows they ran in Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles.


Editor’s Note: I attended the July 1994 NYC card described above. It had a big event feel, and legends like Perro Aguayo, Sr. received a hero’s welcome. While some of the matches were awkward with the American stars mixed in with the luchadores, it still seemed like a triumph. We were surprised and saddened there was no follow-up.
Evan Ginzburg, Senior Editor, Pro Wrestling Stories.


When Worlds Collide with WCW: Exposing Viewers in the U.S. to Lucha Libre

Skoler, Brooks, and their group worked together on the second to last show, “¡Cuando Los Mundos Chocan!” (When Worlds Collide!).

The pay-per-view with WCW aired on November 6, 1994. It marked the first time a non-US-based wrestling promotion was shown live on US pay-per-view television and is considered the first time most viewers in the U.S. were exposed to the Lucha Libre style of wrestling.

That evening, the boisterous and diligent Mike Tenay also made his wrestling broadcasting debut.

When the promotion was hot and mentioned in sheets like the Wrestling Observer and The Wrestling Torch, Gary Juster (Executive Board Member of WCW) called Skoler expressing interest in doing a joint PPV and scheduled a meeting in Atlanta.

“Daryll knew many people in Turner Broadcasting and the person in charge of WCW on behalf of Turner,” Skoler explains. “When we met, I was given an outline of what WCW wanted to do and was told that WCW/Turner would “lay out all the money” for the PPV, so we wouldn’t have to risk anything.

“And we knew we’d have a hot house in Los Angeles with a pay-per-view. So, we negotiated that we’d keep the gate. The mistake was that I should’ve negotiated a second pay-per-view regardless of what happened with the first!

“We should’ve also asked for a higher price for it. They wanted to charge $14.95 or something like that, and I tried explaining that people who really wanted this were willing to pay $24.95. ‘No. No. No. The first time we do something, we need a lower price,’ [they’d tell me] which in my opinion was foolish, just like in live events, the most expensive seats are the ones that sell out first.”

Excitement and Later Resistance

As Skoler further reveals, attitudes towards the joint pay-per-view soon turned sour and possibly affected the product. It also probably hindered their chances of working together again on future shows.

“At the beginning, they were all gung-ho where Eric Bischoff even mentioned doing a weekly ‘down and dirty wrestling show,’ I thought it would’ve been great, and it’s exactly what I wanted.”

Brian Last speculated that this would have been a response to the rising popularity of ECW at the time, but the WCW/AAA/IWC show never materialized.

“But I think they started getting resistance from within like, ‘Why are we doing this Mexican wrestling?’

“Many American wrestlers, including [I heard] Ric Flair, were not happy about this and didn’t think it was a good idea. I think there were people within the establishment that felt threatened by us.

“By the time the pay-per-view was one or two weeks away, they were already sour on the idea.”

Before "lying, cheating, and stealing in the WWE, Eddie Guerrero (right) and "Love Machine" Art Barr tore the house down as "Los Gringos Locos" in AAA in Mexico.
Before “lying, cheating, and stealing in the WWE, Eddie Guerrero (right) and “Love Machine” Art Barr tore the house down as “Los Gringos Locos” in AAA in Mexico.

In a Wrestling Observer Flashback over at Scott’s Blog of Doom, we discover it was a mess behind the scenes, and it’s nearly a miracle the pay-per-view even went on.

AAA has their biggest show, probably in their history, on 11/6 with the ‘When Worlds Collide‘ pay-per-view co-promoted with WCW. And, of course, promoting with WCW means dealing with all the things that come with WCW.

“Because WCW, for example, after they decided to finance the show, they basically dropped all promotion from their own T.V. shows. And then, instead of flying guys from AAA into the WCW tapings to cut promos, they decided to save money by simply reusing footage from Mexican TV and airing it on the TBS shows.

“Once the tapes got to Atlanta, days late, the producers decided that they weren’t broadcast quality and rejected them for air. So, by then, it was too late to do anything to promote the show properly, and the company was in full panic mode pushing Hogan v. Flair anyway.

“So, after putting the whole thing together and agreeing to finance it, Eric Bischoff suddenly had a 180 change of heart and wanted nothing to do with promoting it, leaving the entire promotional push in the hands of Chris Cruise and his event centers on WCW TV instead.”

“This pay-per-view was an experiment,” countered Eric Bischoff on Episode #82 of The 83 Weeks Podcast with Conrad Thompson.

“This was not a high profile, intense initiative that we’d considered for a long time and strategized over. This was me recognizing there was a big, underserved market.”

Bischoff continued, “My goal was to take the resources we did have, offer them up, do a co-promotion so that I could learn more about the market I was trying to break into. We knew there was money to be made but just weren’t quite sure how to do that yet.”

Skoler mentioned that he got along with Gary Juster but not Eric Bischoff.

Bischoff, in turn, claims he spoke with Skoler only over the phone a couple of times but never in person.

The main event was a steel cage match between Konnan and Perro Aguayo, long-time rivals.

In contrast, the semi-main event was a tag team “Lucha de Apuestas” (betting match) Double Mask vs. Double Hair match between the popular duo of Octagón and Hijo del Santo taking on Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero, calling themselves La Pareja del Terror (The Terror Team) but nicknamed “Los Gringos Locos.”

Skoler remembers Barr and Guerrero wanting $20k each for losing their hair. However, he says they negotiated down to $6K on top of their pay to work the match.

Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter raved about the match and rated it five stars. Barr and Guerrero were awarded Tag Team of the Year in the same newsletter, with Barr taking Heel of the Year in 1994.

Watch rare footage of the “Betting Match” from When Worlds Collide:

“It was not a bad buy for the first time,” Skoler claims.

“Breaking even is usually encouraging, and I think they made a slight profit. But it wasn’t a slam dunk, home run, or anything like that. But when they broke even, they said they weren’t interested in doing anymore.”

Cagematch.net reports a 0.24 buyrate. And on Episode #82 of The 83 Weeks Podcast with Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson, 0.20 is mentioned as the breaking-even point WCW sought. So about 40,000 buys.

And when Skoler and his group were criticized for working with WCW, it was simply because no one else was offering them anything, including Vince McMahon.

“It was either do a pay-per-view with them or don’t do a pay-per-view.”

Thanks to the exposure the luchadores had, many like Rey Mysterio Jr., Konnan, Psicosis, and Juventud Guerrera got opportunities to further work in the USA.

The Passing of Art Barr

Seventeen days after “When Worlds Collide,” Art Barr passed away in his home on November 23, 1994. He was found by the mother of his five-year-old son, who Art was found sleeping next to on his waterbed. Art was only 28.

Ten-bell salutes took place at various CMLL and AAA cards.

Skoler assures that “Los Gringos Locos” was one of the greatest tag teams he’d ever seen.

Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer in his book, Tributes: Remembering Some of the World’s Greatest Wrestlers, supremely praised the team of Guerrero and Barr too.

“Los Gringos Locos” literally changed the style of Mexican Wrestling,” he began.

Guerrero introduced more of the New Japan, stiffer offensive style and suplexes, while Machine introduced American-style big heel bumps in the ring and Ric Flair-style chops. Combining this with the Mexican high-spot style and an incredible array of facial expressions, and with other younger wrestlers quickly emulating them, they took Lucha Libre to the next level.”

Aftermath

Because the pay-per-view wasn’t as successful as hoped, Skoler and Brooks re-evaluated everything. Skoler and Brooks put a lot of time and money (Brooks especially) into the IWC/AAA shows. And if they were going to move forward, they needed more control over the product and, hopefully, television.

“Peña was not opposed to that, but Televisa owned AAA, and they couldn’t commit to any exclusivity with the promoters, and I wanted that in writing,” said Skoler. “And I wanted television either through Bischoff in WCW or Televisa and Galavision. And when we didn’t get that, we decided to run shows somewhere else and with Paco Alonso from CMLL.”

The only show with Alonso’s CMLL in Inglewood disappointed, and that’s when IWC decided to quit while still ahead. Unable to secure television with either of the three promotions they worked with, they decided to call it a day.

“If we would’ve continued, we would’ve lost money,” assures Skoler to Brian Last. “This is either a hobby or a business. And for us, it was a business, and I enjoyed it. But if you treat it like a hobby, then you’re gonna go broke…”

Arezzi commented on the joint show with WCW and where the IWC could’ve gone:

“Ron was on his way to doing something special, but things got derailed, and in my situation, I was in such a bad financial place that right before they struck the deal with Turner and WCW for that PPV, I sold my shares and I got out because I needed the money so desperately.

“Ron always says, ‘You’re the only guy who made any money in that deal!’ (laughing) It’s true, I mean, because I sold it for – you know, I think it was, like, $18,000 or something back then. I got rid of the stock, and they took it over, but it fell apart after the WCW thing.

“But if Ron had his way – the visionary that he was, and he was a hard businessman as well, and he was smart, still to this day; just a smart, brilliant guy – I think it could have been something amazing if everyone had listened to him in the way that he wanted to do this.”

There were other valiant attempts to bring AAA to the USA in the ’90s.

On October 21, 1995, IWAS (International Wrestling All-Stars), owned by John Arezzi, had a Chicago show combining ECW and AAA talent.

Yet as far as live shows, AAA never got that foothold in the States that Lucha fans are still hoping for decades later.

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https://popcultureretrorama.wordpress.com/author/javierojst/

Javier Ojst is an old-school wrestling enthusiast currently residing in El Salvador. He's been a frequent guest on several podcasts and has a few bylines on TheLogBook.com, where he shares stories of pop culture and retro-related awesomeness. He has also been published on Slam Wrestling and in G-FAN Magazine. He can be contacted by e-mail at jojst1@gmail.com.