Winners vs. Super Calo
June 30, 1995
Mask vs. Mask
The inevitability of TripleMania 1995’s Cuadrangular de la Muerte was that AAA was going to have to run an all rudo or all tecnico mask match at some point. I understand why AAA booked the mini-tournament the way they did to have Winners and Calo meet in the final match. In theory at least, an all tecnico mask match should have generated more crowd interest than an all rudo one. Winners and Calo – although especially Winners – were further up the AAA food chain in 1995 than Los Diabolicos were. I get why they booked this match rather than the alternative, but the tecnico-tecnico mask match still ended up leaving much to be desired.
One of the major issues with the match is that the crowd reacts reactions are subdued at best. Obviously there is no way of knowing for sure why that is, but not having a rudo to root against (and therefore one wrestler to root for) is as logical of an explanation as any for the distinct lack of heat. Maybe they didn’t know who to root for and so they rooted for nobody. Maybe they didn’t want either wrestler to lose. Or maybe they found the idea of friendly tag team partners facing each other in a stipulation match usually reserved to end personal, violent feuds to be underwhelming. It is impossible to say but I got the definite impression that the crowd was not into the match the way they were the prior two and the face/face dynamic is the major differentiator between the first two matches and this one.
To be clear, I don’t think it’s a case of all-tecnico apuesta matches being doomed to fail. There have been mask matches that were essentially wrestled without a true rudo that have succeeded. Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero from 2014 was basically just that. Of course, Atlantis and Guerrero had a decade of build behind the match and the crowd saw both wrestles as true legends. Winners and Super Calo was essentially a mid-card all-tecnico match slapped together with no history behind it. It is not hard to see why that sort of match might struggle to garner a reaction.
The wrestling itself in no way improved the chances of the match getting over. Winners was solid – if unremarkable – in the match with Marabunta. In the ring with Calo, Winners was downright bad. His execution was sloppy and awkward, as it often was based on my viewing experiences. Winners was tall – he is listed as 5’11 on Wikipedia which seems about right – and gangly at this stage in his career. His height often made his more agile moves look awkward, as was the case in this match. To be fair, Calo was also prone to bouts of sloppiness throughout his career including this match. The execution wasn’t there, the fans did not seem interested, and the two wrestlers did nothing special to overcome that pair of deficiencies.
The match plods along without much in the way of rhythm before Calo pulls out the slight upset when he rolls up Winners to take his mask. The most interesting portion of the entire segment might be the unmasking. When Winners unmasks, he instantaneously shows a level of charisma that he didn’t show in this match and from what I have seen, rarely showed ever while working masked. He’s a good looking guy but even beyond that he is able to fire up the crowd with simple gestures in a way he failed to do while the match was happening. Granted, I have not seen much of Winners unmasked run (which lasted about a year and a half) but based on the post-match I don’t quite get why Peña chose to put him back under the mask and give him the rudo Abismo Negro character. The mask and the rudo affiliation seems like they worked against his strengths.
Although the Cuadrangular de la Muerte ended with a whimper, I still think highly of the concept. Promotions don’t do multiple shows tied together by a singular theme nearly enough and when they do it is almost always a standard tournament. This was different and helped make a trio of otherwise mundane mask matches seem “bigger” because of the concept. The match quality range from above average/good (Winners/Marabunta) to bad (Winners/Calo), unfortunately, but the concept is a neat one.