When I saw the announcement I couldn't believe it. I was watching a major interpromotional angle unfold, and one that I never thought I'd see at that. A match was announced for the next week, and it would be title vs title. Then two hours later Kenta showed up in AEW and overshadowed it. In what was possibly the worst coincidence in wrestling history in years, MLW announced Laredo Kid vs Lio Rush with both the AAA Cruiserweight and MLW Middleweight Championships on the line on the same night that Kenta crashed AEW to attack Jon Moxley setting up Lance Archer and Moxley vs Kenny Omega and Kenta.
It's a shame too, as MLW and AAA have spent months working on a good relationship mostly centered around Laredo Kid. Kid competed in the Opera Cup, losing in the first round to ACH, before recently defending his AAA Cruiserweight Championship on MLW Fusion against Zenshi. The announcement of Lio Rush vs Laredo Kid is the result of long term planning that is coming to fruition: not in terms of storytelling, but in terms of building trust. The last time AAA had such a major presence in America was Lucha Underground, and given how that ended in legal disaster, it's surprising to see them ready to work with an American company again so soon. What makes it more surprising is the amount of Lucha Underground references in MLW. Between Mil Muertes, and the (for sure)likely arrival of Dario Cueto, it's possible that AAA wanted these references. The two events are occurring around the same time, and we don't know what all is owned by AAA vs other people involved with LU. Either way, having AAA present can really help solidify MLW as the new Lucha Underground.
But let's get back to Laredo Kid vs Lio Rush. We knew the match was coming, but we thought it would just be for the MLW Middleweight Championship. I was genuinely shocked to see the match would be title vs title. As of this writing, the match is tonight, so I want to weigh the pros and cons of putting the belts on each person. Putting the MLW belt on Laredo Kid gives a chance to show the belt in Mexico frequently, give a reason why the division isn't always on display letting MLW focus on other belts, and helps Laredo Kid look like the star he is as a double champion. Putting the AAA belt on Lio Rush shows that MLW can hang with the best, gives Lio a major boost beating a long reigning champion, and gives AAA another foreign star they can bring in. The downside for both is travel. We don't know what borders are going to look like tomorrow, and both companies are at risk of not having access to a champion for months. The fact that this match is happening under those circumstances underlines by earlier point: trust. This match is a symbol of trust.
Last week I wrote about the eventual MLW Women's division and how they should bring in Taya Valkyrie. As I said then, she is AAA Reina de Reinas champion. We are not only fine doing AAA title matches on MLW, but we are now doing title vs title matches. Going from letting another belt be shown on your program, to letting that belt sit on the opposite shoulder to yours, is a major step. Now that MLW and AAA have reached that level of relationship the options are limitless. AAA has not had a belt change hands since 2019, in large part, but not solely, due to the pandemic. Now that they have another show to have title matches on, we might see a little more shakeup. MLW has always respected Lucha Libre, and I believe that AAA has seen that, which is why they are willing to do such a big partnership. AAA and MLW can really do some special matches together. I look forward to seeing not just their Cruiserweight belt defended, but the Tag Team Championship, the Trios Championship, the Latin America Championship, but probably not the Mega Championship.
It's easy to forget most of the year, but Kenny Omega is AAA Mega Champion. His last appearance for AAA saw him defending the belt against Laredo Kid in a wonderful match. That took place at Triplemania, where the Marvel Comics/AAA partnership also debuted. That match saw Thanos and Venom vs Spiderman and Captain America, but what's interesting is who played those heroes. Thanos, or Terror Purpura, was Brian Cage. Venom, or Venenoide, was Black Taurus. Captain America, or Leyenda Americana, was Daga. Most importantly though, Spiderman, or Arcano, was Lio Rush. Lio is already performing in AAA, and now he has a chance to win its Cruiserweight title under a different identity. Brian Cage of course is also in AEW, and the Lucha Bros are the Tag Team Champions. It's like playing connect the dots putting together all the companies where people are fighting each other. Besides AAA, Lio has recently made several appearances in NJPW, as has ACH, who beat Laredo Kid in MLW. It's one giant circle from Impact, to MLW, to AEW, to NJPW, to AAA, to CMLL, to GCW, and it just keeps spiraling until every company not owned by a certain Vincent can be tied together.
Kenta appearing in AEW was massive. The announcement of Lio Rush vs Laredo Kid was massive. The two events have a lot more in common than it seems, as they both show the larger scale coming together of the wrestling world. As I wrote Saturday, wrestling has never been more connected, and while Kenta is getting most of the recognition this week as a symbol of that, what MLW is doing shines just as bright, and in hindsight, will be the more important moment, when two companies trusted each other across borders to hold their belts shoulder to shoulder.