Tope Guerrilla | Tale of Two La Parkas

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On  June 6, 2010, TripleMania XVIII. The Lucha Libre world saw something, they could have never imagined seeing. L.A. Park had made his return to AAA, to wrestle La Parka. These two wrestlers, face to face, wrestling for the rights of the name “La Parka”. At one of the biggest stages in Mexico, in front of one of the hottest crowds in the world, in the middle of a boom period for AAA: 

Not a lot of people noticed, nor seemed to care.  

Allow me to explain. 

Lucha Libre has been getting a lot of press, and gaining popularity in the US thanks to different promotions and luchadors in the US. Pentagon, Fenix, Bandido, to name a few. With places like Lucha Underground, Impact Wrestling, and MLW giving them television time to show their skills. But as recently as a few months ago, there was something that blew my mind about modern wrestling and television: People still get confused about the “La Parka” situation.  

During one of the Mexico City tapings leading up to Bound for Glory, Eli Drake had an open challenge that was answered by La Parka. Throughout the broadcast, references to La Parka’s time in the US and “his signature weapon” (steel chair), were made. The issue with that is, that was not La Parka that used a chair. He is not the one that we saw on WCW in the late 90s. Whether it was a situation that came from not knowing, or not caring. It was quite the injustice. It only propagated the ongoing ignorance of the legacy of the La Parka name, which is admittedly confusing to those outside of Mexico, as it splits in two.   

This is how it breaks down. The wrestler we currently know as “L.A. Park”, was the original “La Parka”. He began as La Parka in 1992 in, then, brand new promotion AAA.  At the time the promotion to storm on all of Mexico and brought a boom period of Lucha Libre throughout the country. Towards the end of 1996, when L.A. Park left the promotion, or was fired depending on who you ask. He made his way to WCW, where the majority of American wrestling fans knew him as “The Chairman” La Parka. According to many interviews he has given, L.A. Park states that he left after a pay dispute, considering he was one of the few stars that hadn’t gone to the US. He was embarrassed after a show and decided to leave the promotion and within days he was on WCW television.  

Once L.A. Park left, AAA registered the name and gave the gimmick to a different wrestler on the roster. This is the man that has been La Parka in Mexico for decades. That is La Parka that many kids, including myself knew as La Parka. For 5 years, I was convinced that La Parka wrestled in Mexico, and WCW. I honestly thought this man had the craziest schedule of all time. Which looking at current luchador schedule, isn’t that far off. When L.A. Park returned to Mexico, a full-on lawsuit began, ending the original Parka, and changing his name to L.A. Park.  

The following is the breakdown for L.A. Park name. L(La)A(Auntentica) Park(A) 

La Auntetica stands for The Authentic. In fact, for a long time, he wore boots that said original down the side. LA Park is the what we would call, King of the Indies. More bruiser Brody than indie darling, he has quite the reputation across Mexico. Known for his abrasive attitude, and extreme wrestling style, he has maintained his status as a star, without a company and television supporting him. He has appeared on multiple television shows and is a genuine star across the country. He still wrestles in his original gear every once in a while, and has made impacts in Europe and Japan as well, surpassing the “AAA” version of La Parka, as he never made it outside of Mexico. It all came to ahead in 2010.  

L.A. Park and AAA had been at each other throats both in and outside of the court. After returning to Mexico, L.A. Park joined AAA rival, CMLL. He first appeared as La Parka until AAA sent legal action against the company itself. While L.A. Park was in WCW, AAA marketed their version of the character as “La Parka Jr.” In 2003, when litigation was ongoing, they officially changed the name of their top star to simply be La Parka. Trying to cement their claim to the name. While L.A. Park may have lost the name, within Mexico, he is often regarded as the true La Parka. In 2010, after almost a decade of bad blood. The two sides came together to create one of the hottest angles the company had ever seen.  

Tope Guerrilla | Tale of Two La Parkas
Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage

It seemed that as a year of true experimentation, that lead to a lot of its current success as a company. That year, TripleMania is the biggest of the year for AAA, and they had stars from TNA, Japan and quite the surprise at the end of the event. The main event saw L.A. Park vs La Parka. Wrestling for the rights to the name La Parka. Using both men as a representations of a family power struggle angle within the company, The stakes where very high. Starting of with an attack at a previous PPV, months of back and forth and angles and matches reminiscent of Hall and Nash first arriving in WCW. The match finally came. It was an outright fight. Literally the first 10 minutes of the match looks like an assault as La Parka gives no offense. After going thru a table, La Parka gives a superplex through a table that evens the odds. Both men bloody, with ripped masks. Thru interference from Perros Del Mal, L.A. Park defeated La Parka.  

To give you an idea of how monumental this was in Mexican wrestling. Imagine Stephanie and Shane McMahon having a feud after the death of Vince at the height of the attitude era. Where one man chose the biggest star of WWF, let’s say Stone Cold, and the other chose the biggest star of the rival company, let’s say its Goldberg to be the main event of Wrestlemania for the rights to wrestle as bald guys in black tights. (There is no good example on the rights of a wrestling name that I could think of) They wrestled an insane match up. Crimson masks, weapons, multiple ref bumps. Then after swerves and double crosses. ECW wrestlers came in and helped Goldberg win the match.  

It was that bonkers.  

That led to Perros del Mal to take underground success into mainstream success, and made both Perros del Mal and AAA a lot of money. Because of this we got a lot of the stars we see today come out of Mexico. Pentagon Jr, Taya Valkyrie to name a few. It led to ground work of independent stars being able to work with major promotions, while maintaining said independence. It led to the scene in Mexico, which felt stagnant at that point, to reinvigorate and grow new stars. Yet not all those who participated came ahead.  

L.A. Park may have come out as the winner of the match, but the result was thrown out. In Mexico, there are Wrestling and Boxing Commissions that sanction events and results in Lucha Libre. They deemed that the interference, as well as the use of a piledriver, a move that is outright banned in Mexico, voided the pin fall victory and threw the result out. While it looking back, it looks to be part of an angle or clever manipulation of the rules, the lines of kayfabe are blurred in Mexico. It is not uncommon to see actual tension and anger outside of a wrestling event, allowing for the events to seem more real, as well as decisions by the commission to be legitimate.  

To this day, L.A. Park has wrestled for AAA, CMLL, and anyone who is willing to have them, being outspoken about never signing a contract. In AAA, La Parka is considered a legend, even though his stock has fallen quite a bit. L.A. Park is experiencing a resurgence in the US thanks to MLW and the independents here. More and more fans are becoming more knowledgeable about Lucha Libre, and of the Chairmans legacy. With his son at his side ready to take the mantle when he is done, there is plenty to see of LA Park, and fans are lining up once again to see his hard-hitting style and acrobatics that they loved when they were younger.  

Also, they want to see him strum the chair like a guitar again.