AAA News: La Sociedad is over, Konnan Out and Octagon Jr.

During the last television tapping in Hidalgo on February 3. La Sociedad which was one of the larger stables in AAA included Legion Extranjera, La Milcia, Los Maniacos/La Manarquia, Perros Del Mal and Consejo has broken up. AAA has fired Konnan and Dorian Roldan after nearly three years at running rough shod over AAA with the La Sociedad. It is rumored that Konnan’s departure has linked to his plans to start promoting in the US. I will get into that with another blog post.

The unit situation in AAA is in a holding pattern though it seems the alignments of the smaller groups of La Sociedad will continue. By looking at the next tapping on next Monday, it seems the former Los Maniacos are still aligned with El Consejo (as Ultimo Gladiador will team with Argos) and Daga is teaming with fellow Perros Halloween and Psicosis (the original NOT the one in CMLL) against Drago, Fenix and Joe Lider. Mascara Ano 2000 Jr., Texano Jr. and Toscano defend their AAA Trios titles against the Psycho Circus, Legion Extranjera members Chessman and La Parka Negra (the third wrestler in AAA to copy the look of L.A. Park in you include La Parka and La Parkita) take on El Mesias and La Park.

The other big news in AAA is that Octagon Jr. (Samuray Del Sol in America) missed the tapping La Sociedad ended. This makes the third show he has not been on since Guerra de Titanes when his rival Pentagon Jr. debuted. To be fair the first two the December 21st Acapulco taping he was not set to be on the show at all and for the January 18th Toluca taping he was working the Calgary show Konnan was on promoted by Teddy Hart. and was long enough for Drago to be promoted as a replacement. However the latest tapping is a different story.

Last weekend was a WWE tryout weekend at their NXT training facility. Octagon Jr. took part in the tryout along with several American independent workers including Ricky Reyes (former CMLL wrestler in 2003) and others who have no ties to Japan or Mexico. The interesting thing to note here is that Octagon Jr. is a position to be a huge star for AAA. AAA has not bestowed the gimmick the way Octagon Jr. was. Before anyone asks, La Parka is different as L.A. Park left to be full time with WCW and then Promo Azteca in Mexico while the current La Parka was known as La Parka Jr. before having the Jr quietly dropped before the 2003 lawsuit over the name. To me, I like Octagon Jr. and hope he gets a WWE job, BUT I wish he would not leave AAA the minute they put a big name in AAA’s history on him and he leaves before AAA could do much with him. Now I know, Mexico is not doing as good as America is but AAA is one of the big two in Mexico and known for black balling wrestlers who depart for several years.

Update: on the MLW podcast Konnan said that Octagon Jr. did not go to the tryout. He was double booked and will soon be doing less bookings as he will be based out of Mexico City rather than Chicago like he is right now.

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The Tanizaki-Tanisaki Feud: How A Wrestler Became Known As Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin

Over the last year there has been one big feud going on in Dragon Gate though it did not really start until July. It is the story of two men, Naoki Tanizaki now known as Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin and Takuya Tomakomai now known as Naoki Tanisaki.

Naoki Tanizaki debuted in 2002 after training with Ultimo Dragon in the Ultimo Dragon Gym and would go on to wrestle in Toryumon Mexico teaming with Kenichi Sakai (also known as Keniichi Hanai, Pineapple Hanai and now Ken45) to take on Takeshi Yamamoto (now known as Takeshi Minamino) and Manabu Murakami (now known as Manjumaru.) He would then debut in Toryumon X on their August 2003 debut show taking on Kenichi Hanai. Naoki was known for being a quick wrestler as the Toryumon X class were lighter weight wrestler who were better at lucha libre than tradtional Japanese junior-heavyweight style wrestling. Naoki formally debuted for Toryumon in April to replace Ryo Saito in the annual El Numero Uno league before becoming the only Toryumon X to be a part of Dragon Gate as a full time wrestler (until Kagetora joined in 2009.)

Naoki Tanizaki would be introduced as a member or Magnum TOKYO’s Do FIXER faction joining Genki Horiguchi, Dragon Kid and Ryo Saito and started feuding with Shingo Takagi as generation rivals. Naoki would then leave Do FIXER for Blood Generation in April 2006 and then leave Blood Generation with Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and Gamma to form Muscle Outlawz. In July 2006 after the yearly Pro Wrestling Festival at Kobe World Hall, Tanizaki left Dragon Gate when his contract was not extended. Naoki would then wrestle a freelancer in Big Japan Pro Wrestling and El Dorado before returning to Dragon Gate in March 2008.

Upon his return to Dragon Gate, Tanizaki re-entered his feud with Takagi and Takagi’s New Hazard group. Tanizaki would later join the original version of World-1 with Doi, Yoshino, m.c. KZ and BB Hulk in June 2008. He won the Open the Brave Gate title and the Open the Triangle Gate titles with Doi and Pac. By 2010, Tanizaki was on outs of the group and left to join Deep Drunkers with Takuya Sugwara, Kzy (formerly m.c. KZ), Kenichiro Arai and Yasushi Kanda. Deep Drunkers would fold when they lost a unit disbands match against World-1 but Doi would join the former Drunkers and kick out Arai. Tanizaki teamed with Kanda and Sugawara to win the Triangle Gate again. In 2011 Doi’s group would merge with CIMA’s Warriors to form Blood Warriors.

Tomakomai is a Dragon Gate trainee that debuted for Dragon Gate NEX in March 2010. against Super Shisa.  By May 2011, he was getting regular showings on the first match of the Dragon Gate shows. Tomakomai was getting notice by his physique and fighting style as he was one of the more power based wrestlers in the promotion.

Where these two cross paths is when Tomakomai becomes a member of Blood Warriors which Tanizaki was a part of since its creation. Tomakomai became Tomahawk T.T and got painted up not too different than a Road Warrior and was a lower ranked member of Blood Warriors while Tanizaki was a middle ranked wrestler regularly teaming with Kzy and Naruki Doi as the Open the Triangle Gate Champions. In late 2011, Tanizaki injured his shoulder and would be out of action for several months.

At the January 19th Korakuen Hall show Doi, Kzy and Tanizaki were set to defend the Open the Triangle Gate title against the team of Arai, K-ness and Taku Iwasa. With Tanizaki out injured,  he was replaced by Tomahawk T.T. who wrestled as Tanizaki for the night. Doi, Kzy and “Tanizaki” would lose the match by disqualification after Kzy consistently cheating during the match. After the match, Dragon Gate General Manager Takayuki Yagi stripped the Blood Warriors of the titles.

Over the next few months Tomahawk T.T. wrestled without the facepaint and started to wrestle full time as Naoki Tanisaki and would take over Tanizaki’s position in Blood Warriors. Tomahawk adopted Tanizaki’s moves, music, ring gear as well as tattoos. Blood Warriors would end in March 2012 when Akira Tozawa and Hulk forced out Genki Horiguchi, Ryo Saito and Kanda from the group. The core became Mad Blankey. Because of being Tanisaki, Tomahawk would eventually become the third ranked member of the group rather than one of the lower ranked Blood Warriors. He would win the Open The Twin Gate titles with Hulk.

Tanizaki would return to Dragon Gate in July saving CIMA from a Mad Blankey attack. This would cement the fact that he was not a part of Mad Blankey. The next night Tanizaki would join up with the Jimmys while Tanisaki said that there was an impostor (Naoki) in The Jimmys. Tanizaki would make his in-ring return losing the fall in the opening eight-man tag at Kobe World Pro-Wrestling Festival between a Jimmys team and a Windows team.

In August would be the annual Summer Adventure Tag League for 2012. Unlike past Summer Adventure Tag Leagues, the round robin would be a two-block tournament to decide the new Open The Triangle Gate champions after Pac left Dragon Gate for WWE. In the first match of the A-block, the Mad Blankey team of Tozawa, Hulk and Tanisaki to take on the Jimmys team of Saito, Horiguchi and Tanizaki. Tanisaki and Tanisaki would have their first face off in this match. Tanisaki would beat Tanizaki with the Implant to win the fall for the Mad Blankey team. During the Kobe Sambo Hall show a few days later, Tanisaki beat Tanizaki with the Implant again for the win. Mad Blankey would eventually win the Summer Adventure Tag League tournament and the Open The Triangle Gate while the only win for the Jimmy team with Tanizaki on it would be to the Mad Blankey team in Block B of Cyber Kong, Kzy and Mondai Ryu in the last place match of the Summer Adventure Tag League.

Over the next month Tanizaki would go on a losing streak continually losing matches to everyone on the roster heading into a Open the Triangle Gate match at Dangerous Gate but only with Tanizaki’s ring name on the line. Tanisaki team with Tozawa and Hulk while Tanizaki teamed with Horiguchi and Saito. At Dangerous Gate, Tanisaki beat Tanizaki with the Night Ride to retain the title. Tanizaki would lose the match and ultimately would have to change his name. Because of this Tanizaki cried and Tanisaki said that his cries sounded like a dolphin so he would be called Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin going forward.

In typical Toryumon/Dragon Gate fashion, Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin would hit his rock bottom moment and would eventually get to a be a success and embracing the name temporarily. Toyonaka Dolphin would win the Open The Triangle Gate titles with Horiguchi and Saito from the World-1 International team of Doi, Yoshino and Shachihoko BOY by an arm lock. The Open The Triangle Gate title win in November would cement Quu Quu’s return to glory.

After several contests between the two in which Tanisaki would continually beat Toyonaka Dolphin, he would finally get his win in December by an inside cradle. Druing the 2013 debut at KBS Hall, A final match between the two at January 27th’s Kobe Sambo Hall Event where Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin and Naoki Tanisaki with Tanisaki putting his name on the line for Quu Quu’s contract. If Quu Quu wins, he will get the Naoki Tanizaki name back and Tanisaki can no longer wrestle as that name. If Tanisaki wins, Quu Quu will no longer be a part of Dragon Gate.

It all ends on Sunday January 27th. The results will posted once they happen in Hyogo.

CMLL Titles and Weight Classes

I apologize in advance for this long post but I figured it would be good to talk about the current champions of CMLL. CMLL has fourteen individual championships. There are three sanctioning bodies that oversee CMLL’s titles. CMLL sanctions their own titles and the NWA World Historic titles, the Mexico City Boxing and Wrestling Commission sanctions the Mexican National titles and Reina a joshi or Japanese women’s wrestling promotion sanctions two titles that are co-promoted with CMLL.

CMLL has several of their own World titles includes in the Heavyweight, Light-Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Super Lightweight, Tag Team, Trios, Women’s and Mini-estreallas (mini stars) division. CMLL’s earliest of titles have existed since Paco Alanso broke  the then EMLL away from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in 1991. CMLL also sanctions the NWA World Historic branded belts after the NWA sent letters to CMLL to send the titles back to the NWA Mexico offices. In 2010 CMLL took the former NWA World Light Heavyweight, Middleweight and Welterweight titles and re-branded them under the NWA World Historic title. The second sanctioning body is the Mexico City Boxing and Wrestling Commission who over see the Mexican National branded titles.  The Mexican National titles include titles in the Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Trios, Women’s and Lightweight divisions. Interesting to note, a holder of a Mexican National title must be native to Mexico. The third is Japanese Joshi promotion Reina who co promote their International women’s and International Junior women’s titles under the CMLL banner. These titles have been defended in CMLL

I have divided the title into which divisions the belts fall into.

Heavyweight

The heavyweight division weight limit starts off at 230 pounds and goes higher.

CMLL World Heavyweight Title was the first CMLL title created. Konnan became the first champion in June 1991 after winning a tournament and defeating Cien Caras in the finals. The current champion is Terrible after beating Rush following Hector Garza leaving CMLL to jump to AAA.

Light Heavyweight

The light heavyweight division is between 200 pounds and 210 pounds.

CMLL World Light Heavyweight Title was created in September 1991. The first champion was Jerry Estrada after beating Pierroth Jr. Rush was the most recent champion before vacating the title in lead up to a match with Terrible for the CMLL World Heavyweight title.

NWA World Historic Light Heavyweight Title was created in August 2010 though it has ties to the NWA World Light Heavyweight Title. El Texano Jr. was the first champion after being the last NWA World Light Heavyweight champion recognized by CMLL. Rey Bucanero is the current champion after beating El Hijo de Fantasma in a decision match in June 2011 after Shocker had to vacate the title due to injury.

Mexican National Lightweight Title was introduced to CMLL when then CMLL World Welterweight Champion Mistico beat champion Vangelis in a title for title match. La Mascara is the current champion after beating Volador Jr. in October 2010.

Middleweight

The middleweight division is open to anyone under 190 pounds.

CMLL World Middleweight Title was created in December 1991. Blue Demon Jr. defeated Santanico in to become the first champion. The current champion is Dragon Rojo Jr. after beating Jushin Liger in November 2011.

NWA World Historic Middleweight Title was created in August 2010 though it has ties to the NWA World Middleweight title. Averno was the first champion after being the last NWA World Middleweight champion recognized by CMLL. Dragon Rojo Jr. is the current champion after beating Prince Devitt in September.

Welterweight

The welterweight division is for wrestlers between 150 pounds and 170 pounds.

CMLL World Welterweight Title was created in February 1992 with Fuerza Guerra crowned as the first champion beating El Khalifa. (Yes Fuerza Guerrera is Juventud Guerrera’s father.) Polvora is the current champion after beating Mascara Dorada in November.

NWA World Historic Welterweight Title was created in August 2010 though it has ties to the NWA World Welterweight title. The first champion was Mephisto who was the last NWA World Welterweight champion recognized by CMLL. The current champion is Negro Casas after beating La Sombra in February 2012.

Mexican National Welterweight Title is a title that was recgonized in CMLL up through 1992 and again since 1998. (AAA had the rights for the title from 1992 until 1998.) The current champion is Titan after beating Polvora in September 2011.

Super Lightweight

The weight limit for the Super Lightweight division is between 150 pounds and 160 pounds.

CMLL Super Lightweight Title is also interchangeably called the  CMLL Lightweight Title despite the fact they follow two different weight classes. (See Mexican National Lightweight title under the minis section for the Lightweight weight division) The championship was created in September 2003. Rocky Romero was the first champion winning a cibernetico beating Volador Jr. in the finals. The current champion is Virus who beat Guerrero Maya in the finals of a cibernetico to determine the champion after Mascara Dorada vacated the title to move up into the middleweight division.

Tag Team

The tag team titles are not weight specific but defended in tag team matches.

CMLL World Tag Team Titles were created in 1993. Canek and Dr. Wagner Jr. beat Vampiro Canadiense and Pierroth Jr. in the finals of a 16-team tournament to determine the first champions in March 1993. The current champions are Terrible and Tama Tonga after beating the team of Atlantis and Diamante Azul in November.

CMLL Arena Coliseo Tag Team Titles are the lower ranked tag team titles of CMLL only being defended in Arena Coliseo which CMLL do Sunday shows in. The titles were created in November 2000 with Alan Stone and his brother Motocross/Chris Stone beating Fugaz and Virus in the finals of a tournament. The team would hold the titles until they jumped to AAA in 2005. In June 2008 the titles were brought back with Stuka Jr. and Flash/Fuego winning the titles after beating the team of Euforia and Nosfeartu who were known as Los Neuva Infernales in a tournament finals.

Trios

The trios titles are not weight specific but defended in trios (six-man tag) matches.

CMLL World Trios Titles were created in November 1991. The Los Infernales team of MS-1, Pirata Morgan and Satanico winning the titles after beating Los Brazos of El Brazo, Brazo de Oro and Brazo de Plata (Super Porky) in a tournament finals. the current champions are Marco Corelone (Mark Jindrak), Maximo and Rush known as El Bufete del Amor who beat the trio of Averno, Ephesto and Mephisto known as Los Hijos del Averno.

Mexican National Trios Titles were introduced in March 1985. From 1985 until sometime in 1993, the titles were defended in CMLL. From 1993 until 1996 AAA had the rights to the titles. After 1996, CMLL regained the rights to the titles Los Infernales becoming the first champions after beating Los Brazo. The current champions are Los Invasores members Kraneo, Mr. Aguila (Essa Rios) and Psicosis II who beat the team of Atlantis, Delta and Guerrero Maya Jr. otherwise known as Los Reyes de la Atlantida in December.

Women’s

There are four titles that are dedicated women’s titles for CMLL. The titles are not weight specific.

CMLL World Women’s Title was created in 1992 after CMLL broke away from the NWA. The first champion was Bull Nakano after winning a 12 woman battle royal. The current champion is Marcela who defeated Ayumi (Kurihara) in March.

Mexican National Women’s Title is the secondary women’s title of CMLL. The title goes back to 1959 but the first recorded champion was in 1986 with Reyna Gallegos being the first champion. The current champion is Estrellita who beat Princesa Blanca in November ending her 1,000+ day reign of champion.

Renia-CMLL International Title is one of two titles co promoted with the joshi promotion Reina. The first champion was crowned at the finish of a four woman tournament. Leon defeated Tiffany in the finals after they beat Alex Lee and La Malcrida in Japan during August. The second champion was La Amapola after beating Leon in Mexico City in October but eventually La Amapola lost to the title back to Leon in Japan during November to be the third and current champion.

Reina-CMLL International Junior Title is a title that despite the name implies is not a weight class title but rather experience based. Wrestlers under 10 years of experience can fight for the title. Ray became the first champion in Septemeber 2011 after beating Zexuis in the finals of a seven woman tournament that took place in Japan also including Luscious Latasha, Mia Yim, Saya, Dama de Hierro and Sendai Sachiko. In October 2011 Silueta defeated Ray in Mexico City to become the second and current champion.

Minis

These titles are specificially regarded to the minis division. Wrestlers in the minis division are typically smaller guys who are 5’0″ and under though there are wrestlers are as tall as 5’6″ in the division. The minis are often not actually midgets unlike the typical smaller wrestlers in America. Minis are known for typically having gimmicks of full-sized wrestlers though some have their own names and gimmicks. Minis have wrestled in Mexico, WWF (during 97-98 and during Los Super Astros), WWE (in 05-06 under the Juniors banner) Lucha Va Voom, CHIKARA, Pro Wrestling Revolution and Lucha Libre USA. Sometimes a mini wrestler will be introduced into the full-sized division like Virus.

CMLL World Minis Title was created in 1992 to showcase the Mini-Estrellas division of CMLL . The first champion was Mascarita Sagrada after beating Espectrito in the finals of a four mini tournament in March 1992. Sagrada left and vacated the title in June 1992 to jump to AAA. Pequeno Olimpico is the current champion after beating Bam Bam in February 2011.

Mexican National Lightweight Title despite the name is a minis title. The weight division includes wrestlers within 140 and 150 pounds. Most of CMLL’s minis are below the upper bound of the weight limit. The title existed from 1934 until 2005 as a full sized weight class with form Guerrero Tureg Loco Max being the last champion. The title was reactivated for the minis division in September 2008 when Pierrothito beat Mascarita Dorada in a decision match to determine the first champion. Pierrothito has not lost the title yet.

A Look Into AAA Heading into 2013 and What You Need To Know

Continuing in my look into the fast forward history of the promotions, I look at Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion de Espactaculos or AAA. This is a promotion thatwas created after creative issues between then CMLL booker Antonio Pena and CMLL owner Paco Alanso in 1991/2 while AAA was created in 1992. After Antonio’s death in 2006, his sister Marisela Pena Roldan, her husband Joaquin Roldan and Dorian Roldan have taken over along with Konnan.

AAA runs five big shows each year along with television tapings for their Galavision and Fusion shows. Rey de Reyes is basically AAA’s King of the Ring that is held in spring normally in March with a tournament of four-way elimination matches. TripleMania which is the virtual copy of WrestleMania held typically in June (this year’s was in August.) Verano de Escandalo which is held in July/August. Hereos Inmortales which is a tribute show to Antonio Pena that holds the annual Torneo Antonio Pena royal rumble for the Copa Antonio Pena. The year is closed out with Guerra de Titanes in December.

AAA is known for several distinctive things. AAA’s product is known for being more hardcore than the traditional style of CMLL. The AAA product rearly has singles matches (mainly in title situations) and typically has a form of tag team wrestling whether it is, trios or Atomicos (eight man tags). AAA also has also became a more likely promotion to see Americans in Mexico due to Konnan’s ties to TNA wrestling and the style being more accessible to American cruiserweight sized wrestlers. AAA also does intergender matches in which men will wrestle men and women. AAA will also turn it into what they call the Relevos Atomico Triple A in which a man, woman, a mini and an exotico (crossdress) will team up to take on another team with a man, woman, mini and exotico.

There are several stables currently in AAA. The largest is La Sociedad which has several rudo groups within it. La Sociedad is basically follows the nWo 1999 or WCW New Blood where there stables with in larger stable. La Sociedad is made up of a couple of stables including El Consejo, La Legión Extranjera, Perros Del Mal and the sole member of La Milicia Chris Stone.

El Consejo as the name might imply was originally a group of invaders from CMLL. Consejo debuted at Guerre de Titanes in 2011. The stable includes Texano Jr., Masacara Ano 2000 Jr., Argos (Sin Cara’s brother) and their leader Silver Kain who WCW fans would remember as Silver King. Legión Extranjera is a group of both foreign and domestic heels brought together by Konnan. The group includes Chessman, Jeff Jarrett, Jennifer Blake, La Parka Negra, Pentagon Jr. (more on them later) Sexy Star and Ultimo Gladiador. Perros del Mal is a stable that came into AAA as invaders in 2010 siding with L.A. Par-K who at the time took issue with La Parka who was given the name after L.A. Par-K left AAA after his time in WCW. Perros include Perro Aguayo Jr., Daga, Halloween, Psicosis, Taya Valkyrie and Teddy Hart.

There are four other stables currently in AAA with no ties to La Socidedad.

La Secta Biazzara Cibernetico is the latest incarnation of the storied La Secta stable. In 2005 Cibernetico created the rudo original version but was eventually kicked out by El Mesias and the original La Secta would end after El Mesias lost a feud with Vampiro in 2008. Cibernetico then started a new stable in 2010 called Los Bizarros which were tweeners due to La Parka’s feud with Cibernetico over his loyalty towards AAA. In 2012, he brought back the La Secta name and combined several of the older La Secta members with Los Bizzaros. The current group is a tecnico version of the historic rudo La Secta as they are standing up for AAA against La Socidedad. It includes Cibernetico, Billy El Malo, Dark Cuervo, Dark Espiritu, Dark Ozz & Taboo.

Los Psycho Circus is one of the longer lasting current groups of AAA. The tecnico group is a trio of scary looking clowns that were pushed the same way as Bill Goldberg was with a long undefeated streak. The members are Monster Clown, Psycho Clown & Murder Clown. Monster is the largest member of the group while Psycho is quite possibly the best wrestler of the trio. Psycho Circus are not afraid to get hardcore.

Los Infierno Rockers are relatively new group in AAA. They started off as a group of three rudo luchadors in Machine Rocker, Devil Rocker, Soul Rocker but were eventually joined by a fourth and noticeably larger luchador Uro Rocker.  The group is based around heavy metal music. Not too unsimilar to another stories AAA group Los Vatos Locos. Similar to Los Psycho Circus, Los Infiernos had a winning streak going.

Real Fuerza Aérea is a group of high flying tecnicos. The group was created in 2006 with many members though many of them have left AAA. Currently there are only three full time members. Aero Star is the leader and has the longest time in the group, Argenis (brother of Argos and Sin Cara) was a long time assoicate of the group and was given full membership in 2012 and in 2012 they were rejoined by Super Fly who turned on the group in 2010 to join La Milcia. All three are known for their high flying ability with Aero Star known being completely crazy.

AAA’s title belts are mainly defended at the bigger shows rather than the television tapings.
In 2007 AAA took four major champions that AAA had the rights to (the IWC World Heavyweight, the Mexican National Heavyweight, the GPCW Super-X Monster Champion and the UWA World Light Heavyweight titles) and condensed them down to one, the AAA World (Mega) Heavyweight. This title is the highest ranked title of all of AAA’s titles. Texano Jr. is the current champion after beating El Mesias in December at Guerra de Titanes.

AAA Latin American is a secondary title created at the 2011 TripleMania. There have only been two champions thus far. L.A. Park beat original champion Dr. Wagner Jr. in December 2011 at Guerre de Titanes 2011.

AAA World Cruiserweight was a lighterweight title created in 2009. Alex Koslov won a tweleve man tournament after Billy Boy (now Billy El Malo) lost a thirteen man Domo de la muerte match (think TNA’s Steel Asylum except there is not a single winner, instead one loser who normally gets is head shaved or loses his mask.) Daga is the current champion after beat former champion Juvdentud Guerrera, Joe Lider, Jack Evans, Fenix & Piscosis in December at Guerra de Titanes in a ladder match.

AAA Fusion Television title is the newest title. It was created to tie into the new AAA Fusion television show. The title will be decided through a 16 man tournament. Similar to Rey de Reyes, the tournament is based around four four way matches to decide the four men to face off in the tournament finals. As of right now Fenix and Daga are the only two men qualified for the finals to decide the champion. Fenix won a four way against Drago, Toscano and Dark Dragon on November 3 in Arena Neza while Daga beat Jack Evans, Joe Lider and Psicosis on November 18 in Deportivo Reynosa.

AAA World Tag Team titles were introduced in 2007 with Cuervo and Ozz winning a 16 team tag league at Rey de Reyes 2007. The current champions are Joe Lider & Vampiro after the beat the Legión Extranjera team of Abyss & Chessman in October at Heroes Inmortales.

AAA World Trios: Mascara Ano 2000 Jr. Texano Jr. & Toscano (beat Los Psycho Circus in May)

AAA Reina de Reinas is AAA’s woman’s title. Similar to Rey de Reyes there was a yearly tournament however as it was also a title, the current champion would relinquish the title prior to the tournament. In recent years, that aspect has been dropped. The current champion is Sexy Star  who beat Pimpinela Escarlata (an exotico) in December 2011 at Guerra de Titanes 2011. Before anyone asks, I do not know why an exotico won a woman’s title.

As the intergender tag team matches is one of the more unique aspects of  AAA, it was only natural to create the AAA World Mixed Tag titles. The titles were created in 2003. The current champions are the team of Halloween & Mari Apache after beating former champions Alan Stone & Jennifer Blake, Fabi Apache & Atomic Boy, and Lolita & Fenix in October at Heroes Inmotrales.

Minis wrestling has been a long standing tradition in Mexican wrestling. AAA continues the tradition. However unlike in America, the the minis are exciting wrestlers. After Mascarita Sagrada 2000 (now Mascarita Dorada) held the Mexican National Minis when he left AAA in 2007, AAA created the AAA World Minis title. Mini Charly Manson won a 12 mini tournament to become the first AAA World Minis champion in 2008. Mini Psicosis is the current champion after beating Octagoncito in April 2011.

Entering into this year there are a few stories to look forward to. Despite being a member of the AAA Trios champions, Toscano has left El Consejo. Despite both being tecnicos and fighting for AAA’s honor, Dr. Wagner Jr. and L.A. Par-K continue to feud with eachother. After Octagón bestowed the name and mask of Octagón Jr. onto Samuray Del Sol, Pentagon Jr. debuted. For those of you who don’t know, Pentagon is Octagón’s rival who would thwart him at every turn. Not to be done out done, there is a new La Parka clone named La Parka Negra who is looking to cause trouble with La Parka (not to be confused with L.A. Par-K.) The Apache sisters are in the middle of a feud because of Mari’s jealousy towards her more famous sister Fabi. Their dad Gran Apache is in a feud with Atomic Boy with Gran Apache acting as the grizzled veteran who is not impressed by the upstart Atomic Boy.

AAA looks to have an impressive year. Konnan has made several cryptic comments on Court Bauer’s MLW Podcast about the fact that AAA’s no-compete in America is up this year. For those of you who didn’t know AAA ran several shows with Lucha Libre USA in the US in 2009, before Lucha Libre USA became its own promotion with the MTV2 show. I am not sure what that means but we will see some AAA action in America by year’s end. As soon as more information comes out, we will be sure to let you know about it.

Looking Forward to Dragon Gate in 2013

For the last several years I have followed the Dragon Gate promotion out of Japan. I heard about it going back to the days of Toryumon and then when it formed on July 5, 2004 as its own entity Dragon Gate. Last year I really started to follow Dragon Gate and I must say it is becoming quite possibly my favorite wrestling product. Dragon Gate is known for its fast paced lucha inspired style that dates back to Ultimo Dragon who trained about half of the current roster. Through Ultimo Dragon, three of Dragon Gate’s wrestlers actually date back to WCW with CIMA, Don Fujji (as Sumo Fujii) and Dragon Kid (as Little Dragon) wrestling on Saturday Night, Worldwide and Monday Nitro programs. The promotion has a link to America through the Dragon Gate USA promotion. The promotion will run later this month with John Morrison making his debut and Brian Kendrick returning during the California triple shot. If you are going for Dragon Gate talent, there wont be as many as there is a big Dragon Gate show at Kobe Sambo Hall. NOTE: This is something I noticed over the last few years and do not like about the promotion.

To break things down, to fans that do not know I will go over the stables (or as Dragon Gate calls them units) what the different titles represent and their current holders as well as the major storylines coming out from the new year.

Stables:
akatsuki is a four-man unit featuring Shingo Takagi, YAMATO, Chihiro Tominaga and Super Shenlong. All the members of akatsuki are Dragon Gate trueborns or those who made their wrestling debut in Dragon Gate.
The Jimmys is a six-man unit featuring Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!!, Jimmy Kanda, Jimmy Kagetora, Jimmy Susumu, Mr. QuuQuu Toyonaka Dolphin, Ryo Jimmy Saito. All of the Jimmys are wrestlers who are Toryumon or Toryumon X graduates who are criticized for being plain or boring. Their action in the ring is anything but.
Mad Blankey is the only heel stable of Dragon Gate. This stable has Akira Tozawa, BxB Hulk, Kzy, Mondai Ryu, Naoki Tanisaki and Scott Reed. The stable is known for cheating and using a yellow box during their matches to get an advantage.
Veteran Army is a stable based around wrestlers who debuted before 1999. The members include CIMA, Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii, Dragon Kid, Gamma, HUB and Stalker Ichikawa
Windows are currently a four-man stable including Kennichiro Arai, K-ness, Kotoka and Super Shisa. The stable is based around the idea that in Japan companies do not fire employees and instead move them off into lesser roles once productivity goes down. These four member definitely represent that though they still put on good showings.
World-1 International is a five-man unit with Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, Rich Swann, Ricochet, Shachihoko BOY. The unit is based around being an international wrestler. All (except Shachihoko BOY) have spent time in the US and Japan.

Titles:
The Open the Dream Gate is the main title of the promotion. The title lineage dates back to Toryumons’ Ultimo Dragon Gym title. CIMA was the last holder of the title and was given the title upon creation of the belt. The title is typically defended at the bigger shows and CIMA is the current champion after defeated Masaaki Mochizuki at Final Gate 2011 in Fukuoka on December 25. He has beaten Jimmy Susumu, PAC, Cyber Kong, Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Akira Tozawa, YAMATO, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino in singles matches and then Shingo Takagi and BxB Hulk in a Triple Threat match.

The Open the Triangle Gate was the second title created for Dragon Gate based around the trios or six-man tags. As Dragon Gate is very lucha libre based, it was only natural to introduce a trios title. The title was created in late 2004 with the Italian Connection of Milano Collection A.T., YOSSINO and Anthony W. Mori winning the Rey de Parejas league to become the first champions. The current champions are Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin, Ryo Jimmy Saito of the Jimmys after defeating Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino & Shachihoko Boy of World-1 International at Saga on November 23. The Jimmys have defeated BxB Hulk, Naoki Tanisaki and Kzy of Mad Blankey; Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and Ricochet of World-1 International at Final Gate 2012; and CIMA, Masaaki Mochizuki and Don Fujii of The Veteran Army at the Last Gate of 2012.

The Open the Brave Gate is a lighter weight title with capped at 82 kilos. The title was created as the brain child of K-ness and YOSSINO who  had a major feud in Toryumon over the NWA Welterweight title that both men gained the respect of each other during. Naruki Doi won the title in March 2005 during a one night tournament. Dragon Kid defeated Ricochet at Dead or Alive in Aichi on May 6 to become the current champion. He has had successful defense over Super Shisa, Ricochet, Masamune, Eita, Shachihoko BOY and Jimmy Kagetora.

The Open the Twin Gate title date back to Genichiro Tenryu bringing the WAR I-J Tag Team Titles to Dragon Gate in 2006. After winning the 2007 Summer Adventure Tag League the team of Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi took the prize money to create the new titles. The first champion was decided in a match in which the at the time IJ  tag team champions Kennichiro Arai and Taku Iwasa lost to Doi and Yoshino to allow them to become the first Open the Twin Gate champions. The current champions are Masaaki Mochizuki & Don Fujii  after defeating Shingo Takagi and YAMATO of akatsuki at Dangerous Gate in Tokyo on September 23. Mochi and Fujii have had successful defenses over Jimmy Kanda and Jimmy Susumu, Cyber Kong and Mondai Ryu, Naoki Tanisaki and Mondai Ryu and Naoki Tanisaki and Cyber Kong at Final Gate.

The Open the Owari Gate is the lowest ranked title and a comedy title. The brainchild of Stalker Ichikawa is a title that is won by fan reaction for the wrestlers after the match, rather than winning it by pinfalls or submissions. While Rich Swan was champion in 20111, Naoki Tanizaki (Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin) stole the title and then got injured. When he returned, he returned the title to the Dragon Gate Offices. Kikutaro is the current champion after defeating Kenicihiro Arai at Fan Appreciation 2012 on December 20. Kikutaro is set to have his first defense on January 17 at Korakuen Hall.

What to look for in 2013?:

There are several things to look forward in this year. CIMA plans to defend the Dream Gate every month of the calendar year after the CIMA Royal Series which were based around battle royals and multi-man matches to determine the number one contenders. After being kicked out of Mad Blankey following Final Gate, Cyber Kong is looking to join a new stable. through the Cyber Kong Road to Unit Affiliation series. His first attempt did not turn out successful as he lost the fall while teaming with Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi of World-1 International. The Jimmys survive after winning a bet with The Veteran Army that they would not hold any title into the new year. Scott Reed of Dragon Gate USA had impressive first tour aligning with Mad Blankey I expect him to do more down the road. It looks like the Mr. Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin-Naoki Tanisaki feud will end on January 27th. They will have a bet match with Tanisaki putting his ring name on the line and Dolphin putting his contract on the line. This last one I will do a full write up about the week of that show.