The Car That Knew Too Much: A Scandal in Arena Mexico
You may not have noticed, but it’s kind of crazy in the world right now. We’ve got wacko leaders, scandals, treachery, corruption, and here in America, a combination of all those things and more. Our president is seemingly trying to create a remake of Watergate that, like most remakes, is worse and somehow dumber than the original. With all that going on, it’s been nice to just kick back for six combined hours this week to watch some CMLL. Yes, Paco and the gang are just as nuts as anyone else and their decisions can be baffling, but that’s just in a creative sense. Surely there couldn’t be a scandal of semi-epic proportions brewing under the surface, right? That’s what I thought until Friday, when the most interesting story of the year broke and possibly brought about the biggest change in the lucha libre landscape since Dario Cueto uttered the phrase “Welcome to Lucha Underground!” It’s big enough that I feel it deserves its own Watergate-like name, only I can’t think of a good one! Should we do Blue Sports Car-gate? Alvaradogate? UGgate? Uniongate? I’m sure someone will eventually come up with something worthwhile, but for now I’m so stumped that I’m just going to refer to this story as The Car That Knew Too Much. Might as well throw some Hitchcock into this rollercoaster of a story.
Now there may be a few of you out there (either lucha fans out of the loop or American wrestling fans who have finally chaffed themselves talking about Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne) asking, "What the hell are you talking about?" So let’s just get the narrative out of the way as it was wonderfully told to us by Súper Luchas, Fredo Esparza, luchablog, and many others. A few weeks ago, you may recall that Brazo de Oro, lucha legend and power player in the CMLL offices, suddenly died of a heart attack. It made for an emotional CMLL show that Friday night but it also created a hole in the CMLL power vacuum. As it turns out, Brazo de Oro was the head of the CMLL wrestler’s union, and his death left the position open until Paco Alonso could choose a replacement (lower card luchador Nitro has taken up the position in the meantime.) This all created tension that finally boiled over during a Thursday meeting where La Máscara, Brazo’s son and a CMLL headliner, suggested that he take his father’s place in the role to the (supposed) strong opposition of fellow CMLL headliner (and front officer member) Último Guerrero.
Why did the UG speak out against Máscara taking the position? Though there’s no concrete proof, rumors have persisted for years that Brazo de Oro’s leadership of the wrestler’s union was exceedingly poor. There were allegations of favoritism, mistreatment, and so on and so forth. The key was that no one ever spoke out about it, at least until that Thursday. Guerrero (who again, is a pretty powerful dude with a lot of people backing him) attempted to keep Brazo’s family (the Alvarado’s) from seizing power. Enraged, Máscara and his cousin, Máximo Sexy (yet another top CMLL star who you can see above with the pink mohawk), took matters into their own hands. The next day, the family destroyed Guerrero’s blue sports car in the Arena Mexico parking lot. As shocking as it sounds, it’s supposedly not something out of the ordinary in lucha libre. Stuff like this has gone on for years, but has generally faded away because no one could ever conclusively prove events like this happened or who the perpetrators were. This time however, some lucky fellow just happened to come across this in the parking lot and videotaped the whole thing on their phone. The rumor that the Alvarado family (including top AAA star Psycho Clown) destroyed Último Guerrero’s car while Máximo and La Máscara watched and gave instructions is now a legit thing you can watch on your laptop.
I don’t think anyone expected CMLL to sit back and do nothing, but I also don’t think anyone thought Máximo and La Máscara would be instantly fired. Which, spoiler alert, is exactly what happened yesterday. It may have happened Friday if Máximo’s no show on Super Viernes is any indication. So now both Máximo and La Máscara are out the door in CMLL, they and numerous other Alvarado family members are facing criminal charges for destroying UG’s car, and another promotion in Mexico that you may have heard of is now licking its chops at the thought of what this could mean. There will certainly be more to this story to come; hell there may have been already today and I just haven’t heard about it as I haven’t gone online yet. But while this story will most definitely continue to grow in the days and weeks to come, there’s still a lot to sort through right now. Why? Because I’m sure the many of you reading this, from those who have been following this story since Friday or those just discovering this now, are asking the same questions I am. What does this mean for CMLL? Guerrero? Máscara? Máximo? AAA? The Alvarado family? Everything (and one) else? Lucha Libre? So I figured it would be best if we simply worked our way down the list until there was simply nothing more to dissect for the time being.
As of now, the UG is the only guy who looks like a complete winner in this. Short-term, he’s by far the most sympathetic figure in the whole story, which should only add to his popularity both with hardcore lucha fans in Mexico and worldwide. Long-term wise, he may have just set himself up to become the most powerful man not named Paco Alonso in lucha libre. Again, it’s not like the UG is just some random top star; he’s been a big player in the CMLL booking committee for years now and is really popular with the roster due to him helping discover a whole lot of them (especially guys from the Laguna area of Mexico.) UG already had power and support; now he’s just seen Paco Alonso side with him over one of the more established lucha libre families in recent history. I don’t care if it was the easy or right decision (and it was); Paco still had to make it and he did. If UG wasn’t solidified as a major player in CMLL before (he was), then there’s no question he is now. He looks to probably gain even more from this incident. So yeah, great few days for Último Guerrero. Well, other than his car getting destroyed, but he can repair or replace that. It’s much harder to get power back once you’ve lost it.
Hard to believe it was just a few weeks ago La Máscara was crying in Arena Mexico hours after his father passed. We were all crying with him. Just like that, he’s out of a job, out of sympathy, in huge legal trouble, and may be the one who takes the biggest hit in terms of reputation. He seems to be the one who organized this whole thing. Alas, barring him going to prison for this, Máscara should be able to find work and find it quickly. Some are going to argue that he has the most options of where to go due to his connections with La Sombra (Andrade “Cien” Almas) in WWE, but my impression has always been that Máscara was more interested in WWE than they were in him. As seen with Sombra and Máscara Dorada (Gran Metalik), CMLL contracts aren’t that strong. If WWE wants a guy, they’ll get him. The fact that they haven’t gotten Máscara tells me they aren’t interested, and likely won’t be unless Sombra is much more powerful in WWE than we think (it’s also possible that Máscara’s behavior in this story will hurt his chances.) The more likely landing spots are The Crash or AAA, both of which would make him a main event player right away and would give him an avenue into the states via Impact Wrestling.
In the short-term, it isn’t good. Like Máscara and the rest of his family, Máximo will face those looming legal issues and his reputation as a squeaky clean, lovable worker will be hit hard. Long-term though, I think he will end up just fine. The guy is just so likable onscreen that as soon as he starts working regularly again, I think this will blow over for him. This is assuming that he remains on his best behavior. It also doesn’t hurt that Máximo is one of the more versatile performers out there, capable of having great matches with anyone and playing any sort of role due to his charisma. He’s a no brainer to be in AAA before the end of the summer and he ultimately may prove to be the free agent signing that helps AAA the most. Provided more dominos don’t start falling of course (more on that in a moment.)
The Alvarado Family
For some, this will just confirm the strong rumors that the Alvarado’s (by and large) are a Mafia-style lucha family that are out only for themselves. For others, this will be a massive disappointment that will tarnish the way they look at a family that, all things considered, have produced some of the best and biggest stars in lucha libre over the past 30 years. Without question, it will affect the employment of many guys. We know Máscara and Máximo are gone, but it doesn’t end there. Robin (who apparently also participated in this incident) will surely be fired. Super Porky will likely be gone from CMLL, if he wasn’t already due to his health issues. More importantly, no one from the Alvarado Family will likely be allowed to work for CMLL again anytime soon, possibly ever. Paco Alonso has banished numerous wrestlers from CMLL in his time as owner and has done so for far less than what the Alvarado’s just did. It’s very possible that the family just closed off any avenue of employment in CMLL for the time being.
AAA’s top star can’t be forgotten in all this. It has been confirmed that he was involved in this incident. Even worse, he did it unmasked. He violated of one of lucha libre’s biggest codes while committing a criminal act. Throw in the fact that he appears to be the guy doing the most damage on video, it’s possible that he gets into the most trouble legally. That said, I can’t see AAA doing anything other than suspending him. He’s their top star, they need him more than he needs them. Even with CMLL closed off to him, Psycho would still have options with The Crash. He’s scheduled to headline their biggest show of the year in a few months (in one of the biggest matches of the year.) On top of that, he did just inadvertently help AAA potentially land two big stars and did so while sticking it to their rival promotion. Isn’t that just the thing you could see Dorian Roldan giving someone a bonus for? Speaking of Dorian…
Only AAA could be in a situation where they simultaneously look like big winners and big losers. On the one hand, they’re almost guaranteed to add two big stars (Máximo and Máscara), a young undercard luchador (Robin), and a legend (Super Porky) to a roster that’s in desperate need of talent. On the other hand, they’d also be adding three guys that were on the wrong side of a scandal, and the last thing AAA needs to be doing right now is siding with dudes who come across as shady as they do. It won’t matter; AAA is so desperate for names that they’ll snatch up Máscara and Máximo in a heartbeat and worry about the consequences later. Just know that it doesn’t mean everything will be sunshine and roses for AAA.
For now, nothing changes for Mexico’s top promotion. Sure, Máximo and La Máscara were big stars, but both guys were below Volador Jr., Guerrero, Dragón Lee, Atlantis, Negro Casas, Carístico, and Rush in the pecking order. CMLL is so loaded to the gills in talent that they can easily replace those two. Unless the dominos begin to fall in the next few weeks, life will simply go on for Paco and the gang. They’ll do a couple tournaments to replace Máximo and Máscara as CMLL World Heavyweight and World Light Heavyweight champions respectively and act like this whole thing never happened. The only question is what will happen in the long run, We won’t know that until we see how Último Guerrero is with the vast amount of power coming his way.
So that’s where everyone stands folks. But as I said, things could change instantly if certain things fall certain ways. There will be three luchadors to keep an eye on over the coming weeks; Dr. Wagner Jr., Negro Casas, and Rush. Wagner is Psycho Clown’s scheduled opponent for Triplemania this summer. He’s also notorious for being difficult to work with and is another talent from the Laguna area, which leaves the slight possibility that he sides with UG out of principle and sticks it to Psycho and AAA. Casas, meanwhile, is Psycho Clown’s father-in-law, which puts him in the sticky situation of being caught between family loyalty and loyalty to the company where he’s worked most of his life. And then there’s Rush, the ultimate wildcard in all of this. Rush is best friends with Máscara, has had a number of issues with CMLL over the past few years (including a few suspensions), and may or may not have tried to get out of CMLL a few times before. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he follows Máscara out the door. If he does, then it becomes possible that his brothers, Dragón Lee and Mistico, follow suit. I can tell you right now that’s the scenario AAA and The Crash are hoping for. Máximo and La Máscara are good acquisitions by themselves. But throw in Rush (Mexico’s best rudo), Dragón Lee (one of the best young wrestlers in the world), and Mistico (a highly underrated talent in his own right) and suddenly you’re looking at the end of the lucha libre world as you know it. And that’s not even taking into account the slim possibility of Casas jumping ship, which would be mind blowing considering his stature and his longevity with CMLL.
Now will any of those dominos fall? As of now, it seems unlikely. Wagner is Wagner, but he hasn’t stepped out of line yet with AAA and probably will try to use this situation to his leverage instead of bolting. Casas is so loyal to Paco Alonso and CMLL that I can’t see him leaving under any circumstances. And Rush’s desire to bring his father Pierroth with him wherever he goes (not to mention the significant power he’s built up in CMLL and their access to New Japan) are probably enough to keep him in Arena Mexico for the time being. But the possibility of those things happening cannot be discounted, which makes the next few days and weeks of lucha libre something to keep an eye on. To think, in the old days, all we would’ve found out was that UG’s car was destroyed, Máximo and Máscara might’ve had something to do with it, and everything would’ve died down. Instead, we have our very own lucha Zapruder film capturing the whole thing, two firings, one man (by accident) suddenly coming into power, and a whole lot of dominos that could fall at a moments notice. I don’t yet know what the legacy will be of The Car That Knew Too Much or what it means for lucha libre going forward. But I have been reminded of this; nothing, be it politics, lucha libre, or whatever is safe from scandal. It’s only fitting that lucha libre would get one when everything else has, and it’s pretty telling that none of us, including me, can look away.