lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, performance, school, school of lucha libre, strength, training

Trying Out For AAA: Another 48 Hours in San Jose

Saturday morning started at the horrific hour of 5:45am. The prior day I had been told that the gym would be open shortly after 7am, with tryouts starting at 8am sharp and ending around 1pm.

Because calories, particularly breakfast, are important to optimize athletic performance & endurance, as well as mental clarity, I opted for a substantive breakfast over an extra hour of sleep. Furthermore I did not want to run the risk of eating too close to tryout time thereby making myself sick, so I opted to rise earlier rather than later.

Fortunately for me the hotel that I was staying at was merely a mile away from Pro Wrestling Revolution’s gym. Unfortunately there were nearly zero options within a reasonable distance of the hotel, let alone options that were open at such an early hour. Additionally my hotel room lacked both a refrigerator and any cooking facilities, so eating a homemade breakfast was also not an option. In short: I was subjected to very specific, and perhaps somewhat dire circumstances for breakfast.

I say all this to preface the decision that I made for breakfast, which occurred largely because it was the only reasonable option and also happened to be within the same parking lot as my hotel.

Image source: Wikipedia.
Readers: please forgive me.

I was however, able to make the most of it by ordering fairly reasonable food—specifically eggs, veggies, and fruit. While eating breakfast I was reviewing the results from CMLL’s 80th anniversary show online, which had occurred the previous night. Because there is scant English coverage of Mexican lucha libre, I read through some of the reports in Spanish to the best of my abilities. Accordingly, and perhaps somewhat dickishly, after hearing the waiter speak to a co-worker in Spanish, I asked him if he would be kind enough to help me with the phrase “Relevos Suicidas“—which he was awesome enough to explain to me in both English and Spanish. However immediately after he walked away, I had realized that my explanation “No puedo leer mucho” was unclear, and instead of explaining that “I don’t read Spanish that well”, I may have in fact used my subpar Spanish-speaking skills to roughly say that “I am kind of illiterate.”

This morning was clearly off to an excellent start.

I arrived at the gym around 7:15, shorty after which most of the other wrestlers arrived. I was somewhat dismayed to find that amongst the wrestlers, only 4 of us were luchadores proper. Regardless I was able to both watch and work with some solid talents, most of whom where from California.

The tryout was structured like this: we were initially assembled into three different 3 vs. 3 tag team matches, and then Konnan systematically narrowed down the participants into a second round of two 3 vs. 3 matches, after which the tryout culminated in a final 3 vs. 3 match. We were told that Konnan would select 1-2 finalists who would be given a shot at an extended tryout via a series of dark matches at one or more AAA shows. I was fortunate enough to make it all the way to the final match, which also means that I wrestled three times within a 4-hour period.

I failed to execute a couple of basic moves, and was dropped on my head by a specific individual more than once. Alas, the details are of little importance. Upon completion of the final match, I was not selected for the extended tryout. I am not distraught nor bitter, for I know that I did achieve the other goals that I set for myself:

1) Cast myself against a larger pool of talent: Washington is lacking talented wrestlers, let alone luchadores specifically. I know where my abilities rank amongst those around me, so in order to grow as a performer, I feel it necessary to occasionally throw myself into a larger pond with bigger fish, so to speak. By doing so, I not only received useful feedback from other performers, but was also able to learn from the more experienced ones.

2) Represent the Pacific Northwest lucha libre scene: there are only a handful of us, but outside of the Puget Sound area few know that we exist, let alone that we have some truly talented performers.

3) Leave an impression: I have been training my proverbial ass off in the ring for over 2 years, in addition to several years in the gym that I spent preparing my body for professional wrestling. When I step in the ring, I want it to be immediately clear that I have prepared myself to be there—not that I am some weekend warrior hack wearing a mask.

I was ecstatic to get to work with GalacticoCazador del Alma, and especially Vaquero Fantasma—the three luchadores with whom I practiced lucha libre for my very first time roughly 3 years ago. Being reunited with the three of them made the trip worth it regardless of the outcome, and I look forward to having more adventures in the ring with them.

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