Winners vs. Marabunta
July 18, 1995
Mask vs. Mask
Along with Heavy Metal, Winners is one of two early AAA wrestlers who got a lot of hype in the newsletters at the time but has never resonated quite so strongly with me personally. Dave Meltzer and Steve Sims spoke highly of him in their respective newsletters. I see Winners as a competent – sometimes exciting – tecnico trios worker with good high spots. I don’t think I ever watched a trios with Winners where he was the best guy in the match, however. That is maybe a bit unfair because he was usually in the ring with Rey Mysterio Jr. Nonetheless, he could be noticeably sloppy at times and doesn’t blow me away in those matches. He rarely had a singles match – this one and his match with Super Calo twelve days later are the only two under that gimmick. The newsletters at the time, however, loved the guy. Sims for example, wrote in these glowing terms about Winners in the March 24, 1993 edition of Lucha Libre Weekly.
“I may have said it 100 times but I’ll say it again; of all the AAA’s (if not Mexico’s) young tecnicos in their “novato” years, only “Oro” of the EMIL’s “Metals” trio would be ahead of Winners as to whom I think will be a long-term superstar. I just see “total package” written all over this guy and I think he is going to draw this promotion big money – and more than once, too.”
Watching Winners early AAA work after the fact, I have had trouble seeing the vast potential in Winners that Sims saw. I can see the positives – he had some major high spots – but in hindsight he pales in comparison to the best of the AAA youngsters (Rey Mysterio Jr., La Parka, Psicosis) and I haven’t found him to be appreciably better in those days than his tag team partner, Super Calo.
To briefly recap, this is the second mask vs. mask match in the four match (“seeding” tag match and three singles mask matches) series that spanned all three 1995 TripleMania tour stops. Winners and Marabunta won the falls in the tag to set up this match and the winner of this goes onto face Super Calo in the third and final mask match.
I was hoping for a Winners showcase match but that’s not what we got at all. The match is above average – good even – but a showcase for Winners it is not. Marabunta’s performance stuck out more to me. He controlled the pace and tempo of the match, while also adding in some high level offense of his own. His bumping was on point and he took the few high risk moves Winners tried perfectly.
The match was structured like your run of the mill apuesta match which wasn’t a bad thing. Marabunta is a good rudo and Winners was undoubtedly a popular tecnico so the heat was decent, but not anything mind blowing. This match main evented the second night of TripleMania but it has the feel and presentation of a mid-card mask match. I don’t necessarily intend for that to be a negative, it just is what it is. The fans were invested in the outcome, however, the match and the heat never reached that dramatic peak that the really great mask matches reach.
Despite an overall quality match, Winners still underwhelms me relative to the lofty praise he received at the time. The match, however, is the best of three although it too is far from a classic.