Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Project 33" - Match #22 - La Parka vs. LA Park

La Parka AAA vs. LA Park
6 June, 2010
Palacio de los Deportes; Mexico City, Mexico

Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

Well, this was one of the biggest matches in lucha libre history. 

Adolfo Tapia was a typical journeyman wrestler in the (mostly) Northern Mexico independent circuit.  When Antonio Pena left CMLL in 1993, he started a new company - AAA.  One of the first wrestlers to get a big push from Pena's new company was Tapia, as a masked "Day of the Dead" themed wrestler.  However, with his comical style and his dance routines centered around Michael Jackson's "thriller", La Parka became one of the top drawing stars in Mexico. 

So naturally, he ended up in WCW.  While, Parka wrestled in the states and cashed in on his new fame north of the border, Pena was left with many of his top stars farmed out to WCW via Konnan.  One solution Pena undertook, in true carny fashion, was to put other wrestlers under the masks of the departed wrestlers, and attempt to pass them off as the originals.  In some cases it worked, in some it didn't. 

In the case of La Parka, Pena took a Tijuana based wrestler by the name of "Karis La Momia" and put him in the La Parka outfit.  Shockingly, Karis did a pretty good job at being La Parka, so for awhile the general public didn't really have a clue that it was a different guy - especially with the real Parka off in the US or on the independents. 

Well, before long the US wrestling scene kinda dried up, and Parka returned to Mexico - but not to AAA.  Pena sued Tapia over using the "La Parka" name, and suddenly, people started becoming more and more aware that there were indeed two La Parkas. 

Most of the magazines and media in Mexico began referring to the Karis version of Parka as "La Park Jr." or "La Parka AAA".  Tapia began to use the name "LA Par-K", which ended up evolving into "LA Park", and began wearing more colorful masks and outfits, with slightly changed features.  However, AAA acknowledged none of this, and continued to treat their version of La Parka as the one and only. 

So, after thirteen years of exile, LA Park showed up at a AAA television taping, and attacked la Parka.  Suddenly, a dream match was on the horizon!  Everyone assumed Park was returning to AAA to take the mask of the impostor La Parka.  Instead, we had Park not signing with AAA at all.  In fact, this match, from the biggest AAA show of 2010, was actually Park's first match back with AAA.  Park refused to wrestle in AAA or against La Parka unless the name "La Parka" was put on the line. 

With a McMahon-esque war going on between the heirs of Pena's AAA empire - the Roldan family, Dorian took the side of Park, while father Joaquin took the side of company man Parka - and thus both men are at ringside.

The match itself is easy to understand - Park attacks early and often, wearing out his doppelganger  with anything he can get his hands on - chairs, tables, railings, belts, etc.  Parka courageously battles back, and in return attempts to use everything that Park just used.  Both men end up with ripped masks, and bloodied up.  This is far from a classic mat wrestling exhibition, but it is a pretty damn brutal brawl that doesn't cross that fine line into ridiculousness.

The ending was pretty damned amazing at the time, but is a disappointment a few months later.  The referee is injured, both Parkas are both down, the Roldans get involved, and some former AAA wrestlers who went to WCW return to help give Park the victory.  More amazing was that, after thirteen years of furor over a name, the winner of the match - LA Park, did not return to using the La Parka name.  Nor did La Parka quit using it.  One of many cases in recent memory of AAA not abiding by their match stipulations - which mean a helluva lot more in Mexico than in the US or anywhere else. 

Not only that, but any heat and money to be made off of a mask vs. mask match went out the window.  While it would still draw a pretty good amount of attention and money, at the point in time that this match took place, it was easily one of the five biggest matches in lucha history if it would have happened.  Now, it probably wouldn't be. 

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