Tragedy Amidst the Mania

Flash-perro

AS I SEE IT: Tragedy Amidst the Mania
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
PWBTS.com

On a weekend where wrestling fans should be looking forward to Wrestlemania 31 this Sunday, they were confronted with the death of one of Mexico’s greatest stars in an in-ring accident.

As readers know by now, Pedro Aguayo Ramirez, better known as Perro Aguayo Jr., died in a Tijuana hospital Friday night after injuries he suffered in the ring during a tag team match.

The match, between Aguayo Jr., and TJ Perkins (TNA’s Manik) vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Xtreme Tiger (TNA’s Tigre Uno) continued as Aguayo Jr., stayed motionless hanging on the ropes as he was about to get a 619. Mysterio mid-flight corrected, seeing something was wrong, and deliberately overshot a double 619 as Perkins moved and he went over Aguayo Jr. Konnan tried to revive him at ringside as the match went on.

There’s footage straight from TV Azteca Baja California that shows the latter part of the match in professional quality. It clearly shows Perro Aguayo’s head hitting the apron as he was thrown out of the ring. Aguayo came back into the ring, possibly concussed or already injured when he took the bump to the floor, worsened it by getting into the ring; was then hit into the ropes in an odd way, and appears to have had his neck whiplashed.

If you don’t wish to see the footage, please don’t click the video, as it does show clearly what happened.

The cause of death has been variously described as cardiac arrest and cervical spine trauma.

The death was tragic enough, but the coverage on far too many wrestling websites was criminally irresponsible, with misleading clickbait headlines essentially trying to blame or link Rey Mysterio, Jr. to Aguayo’s death.

Some of these clickbait headlines were even found in mainstream media websites like ESPN US, CNN, and Yahoo.com. Mexico’s ESPN Deportes has far more responsible coverage (but is in Spanish). As far as wrestling sites go, The Observer, PWinsider.com, LuchaWorld, and WrestleView.com were among those with the more restrained and factual coverage, as well as, I’d like to think, my own PWBTS.com site.

For those who don’t follow lucha, Perro Aguayo Jr.’s death has been compared (in terms of mainstream and wrestling coverage, especially in Mexico) to the in-ring death of Owen Hart. While Hart’s death was the result of a stunt gone wrong, Aguayo, Jr.’s death happened because of a succession of routine in-ring and lucha spots that Mysterio and Aguayo, Jr. had taken thousands of times.

Wrestling is a skilled performance that at its best, can move us, and even take us away from our troubles for a few hours. The best definition of what wrestling is was provided (as so many best things in wrestling) by Terry Funk, who was once asked whether wrestling was “real” or “fake”. Funk said “It’s magic”.

The fact is that the magicians are so skilled at making what they do look easy and safe, that they make us forget how dangerous and difficult what they do can be. Until a moment like this, that is.

Condolences to the Ramirez family, to those who were in the match with Aguayo, AAA management, and all Perro Aguayo, Jr.’s many fans.

Now…to the routine, which should have been the only subject this week.

Here are predictions for Wrestlemania 31, and one possible way Vince McMahon can get out of the mess of a nasty crowd reaction to what is the likely main event finish.

Intercontinental Championship
Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan

I’ve going to guess this is the hot opener, and Vince McMahon is smart and throws smart fans a bone; and has Daniel Bryan win the Intercontinental Title as a sort of consolation prize after a really wild, but creative match. If McMahon doesn’t do that (with the possible exception of letting Dean Ambrose win), he risks fans being pissed for the better part of the evening. This seems especially called for if Reigns is going over in the main event.

AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins

Yawn. Unless WWE #GivesDivasAChance, lets them go awhile and lets AJ Lee and Paige do what they’re perfectly capable of, this is going to be little more than a bathroom match. I’m going to guess heels go over here.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This will largely be interesting because a NXT wrestler will be chosen this weekend at Wrestlemania Axxess in a mini-tournament out of Finn Balor (Prince Devitt), Adrian Neville (PAC), Hideo Itami (KENTA), and Tyler Breeze. Hopefully the winner gets to shine before he gets thrown out. My guess is a heel goes over here (Kane or Big Show?)

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

There’s no way in hell Undertaker is losing down 2 Wrestlemanias in a row. Lots of bells, whistles, Druids, special effects and such, Undertaker pins Bray Wyatt, Wyatt loses absolutely nothing, and everyone’s happy. If WWE had wanted to have beating Undertaker used to give a rub to an up and coming talent, this might have been the year to do it, rather than last year.

United States Championship
Rusev vs. John Cena

It’s Wrestlemania. It’s US vs. Russia. Rusev is supposed to do an entrance with 50 “Russian soldiers” (the ads were in professional journals looking for extras). This one will have standard Vince McMahon written all over it. My guess is that Cena carries Rusev to one of the best matches of his life, makes himself look like he’s at the very edge numerous times, but in the end SuperCena comes back and Cena wins.

Sting vs. Triple H

Sting goes over…I think. It’d make no sense to beat him in his first WWE match. HHH will make sure this is a helluva match, as all his big PPV matches generally have been.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

If Rollins is cashing in during the main event, then Orton wins here. The kind of match where Orton turned babyface and beat the living crap out of Rollins for ten minutes should probably have been saved for Wrestlemania. But Orton goes over here, especially if Rollins is cashing in at the end of the main event.

World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

So now…the main event. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. A lot depends of whether or not Lesnar signs, and he’s apparently being pressured to sign by today. My assumption is that Reigns goes over by pinfall, and potentially Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank to take the belt at the end.

If Reigns goes over, WWE’s going to get a nasty reaction, but since Vince likes to end Wrestlemania with a babyface win, that’s what likely to happen.

Alternative two, which is Reigns beating Lesnar, followed by Rollins cashing in Money In The Bank and going over with The Authority gloating at the end, isn’t going to go over well either, because you can only have The Authority win so many times before people get turned off and stop watching.

But I want to share a version of the main event finish that longtime Philadelphia wrestling fan Tom Robinson came up with on social media this past week, which lets the last two things happen (almost), but sends everyone home happy; which as I said, is the usual way Vince McMahon likes to end Wrestlemania.

Tom’s finish has Reigns go over Lesnar…as expected, followed by Rollins cashing in, also as reasonably expected, and winning the WWE belt. The Authority comes out, ready to celebrate in full gloat and troll mode; and watch the Internet sulk.

Sounds like a pretty much standard McMahon finish so far, right?

Here’s Tom Robinson’s wrinkle: All of a sudden, Reigns comes to life and gores HHH. Rollins, rather than coming to Stephanie and HHH’s aid, just stands there. Stephanie starts screaming for Kane and J&J Security. Reigns starts nailing everyone and everything with Superman punches and gores, and bodies start flying. Then out of nowhere, Rollins joins in the fun. Next, out of the blue, up the aisle comes Dean Ambrose. As Stephanie goes crazy and The Authority heads for the hills…. up in the ring comes Ambrose, helps Reigns and Rollins fight off The Authority; and then the three pull out black gloves and touch fists, reuniting The Shield as Wrestlemania goes off the air. Reigns was champion for five minutes, but the rational will be that the three “kept it in The Shield” as Tom put it.

Think the Wrestlemania crowd and those watching online and on PPV wouldn’t go batshit crazy for that?

So in the extremely unlikely event that finish happens, remember…that’s Tom Robinson’s idea, not mine. Give him the applause (or ask him who he knows).

Until next time.

— Bob Magee