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    Saturday, December 26, 2015

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/26/15): The Lucha Libre Dream Match

    Today's Boxing Day 31 Days of Wrestling entry is billed as lucha libre "dream match" between two notable WWE alumni. We don't really want to put them down, but it didn't quite live up to the hype, showing that the future of lucha libre lay elsewhere.

    #26: Rey Mysterio vs. Myzteziz, TripleMania XXIII

    Once upon a time earlier this year, three of WWE's biggest Mexican stars were free from the McMahon machine and gathered together under the banner of Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion, better known as lucha libre promotion AAA. It was such a coup for the company to have Rey Mysterio, Alberto El Patron, and Myzteziz (the former Mistico and Sin Cara)—the Dream Team, arguably the most popular luchadors of this generation—that they did all they could to milk the three to boost their standing.

    Naturally, that meant a lot of things, such as El Patron, the most well-rounded big star they have, becoming the AAA Mega Champion. It meant that on their biggest show of the year, they were able to put on a match only Vince was able to dream of putting on WrestleMania.

    This definitely was a dream match, but of a different world from a different time. There was once a time that both Rey Mysterio and Myzteziz/Mistico were the most dazzling, most athletic high-flying luchadors in the world, and such a matchup left a lot of wrestling fans salivating.

    The problem is, however, that both men were at the best at what they did in their respective primes. Those times were completely separate from each other by pretty much a decade. And the bigger issue is that neither man are still in their primes when they met in August 9, 2015.

    And so we got the exact kind of match fans should have expected from both men. Mysterio, a legend and first-ballot WWE Hall of Famer in his own right, has lost more than just a step since subjecting his knees to all that damage and surgery. Yet he continues to soldier on in his 26-year career. Myzteziz's problematic time in the WWE as the original Sin Cara seemed to sap him of some confidence and ability, although that could be attributed to him being in the business for longer than most fans realize.

    The affair was silent and awkward, the atmosphere completely unbecoming of a dream match that earns that status by the star power of the participants alone. But no amount of theatrics and badass costumes can beat back the superior power of aging. Mysterio and Myzteziz go through the bout with a seeming lack of chemistry, executing a few spots less than satisfactorily. Their age becomes more pronounced as the majority of the match remains stuck in second gear, shifting up to third at times before shifting back down, until the very last couple of minutes. The two leyendas finally ratchet up the pace for the finish that sees Mysterio making Myzteziz submit to La Mistica, the latter's own finishing move, in order to facilitate Myzteziz's heel turn minutes later after the bout.

    At the very least, AAA is self-aware enough to know where its future lies. Putting this match on last on their biggest show is merely a nod to the respective legacies of Mysterio and Myzteziz; they know that the money is really in the younger, hungrier blood, represented by the participants of the co-main event: El Patron, Fenix, Brian Cage, and El Hijo del Fantasma. Basically Lucha Underground, its sister (and better-handled) project.

    But it'll have to hustle a lot more to keep their house secure. El Patron jumped ship to return to WWE; while that was a personal decision, the AAA brand was damaged when he was not able to properly transition his Mega Championship back to a rightful contender from the company when they were forced to cancel Guerra de Titanes this month.

    Where AAA goes from here remains to be seen. The only one from the Dream Team left with the company is Mysterio, who is now also joining Lucha Underground. Given that, we have to say this with all the love and respect to the lucha legend: the dream is over, man. You've lived it all already. Perhaps it's time to hang up the mask.


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2015.

    Read our previous entries:

    #1: Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania
    #2: Kazuchika Okada faces Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 9
    #3: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect
    #4: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences
    #5: The Rise of Kevin Owens
    #6: Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma, All Night Long
    #7: Jake de Leon vs. Bombay Suarez for the PWR Championship, Wrevolution X
    #8: Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Impact Wrestling
    #9: Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal in the Battle of the Belts, Best in the World
    #10: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 9
    #11 Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Title at Royal Rumble
    #12: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship, NXT TakeOver: Rival
    #13: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, The New Beginning in Sendai
    #14: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena, Champion vs. Champion, SummerSlam
    #15: Vampiro vs. Pentagon, Jr., Cero Miedo
    #16: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, G1 Climax 25 Finals
    #17: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, Beast in the East
    #18: Peter Versoza vs. Ralph Imabayashi Quarterfinal Match for the PHX Championship, PWR Live
    #19: John Cena vs. Cesaro for the United States Championship, RAW July 6, 2015
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/26/15): The Lucha Libre Dream Match Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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