SI.com’s Week in Wrestling is published every week and provides beneath-the-surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling.
Penta El Zero M: “Matt and Nick Jackson are our greatest rivals”
Penta El Zero M and Fénix are two of the brightest stars in AEW. The masked luchadores combine to form the Lucha Brothers, where the real-life brothers have brought a distinguished international flair to the U.S. wrestling scene.
Penta and Fénix are two wins away from a tag title shot at All Out on Sept. 5, where they would continue their long-standing rivalry with The Young Bucks. In order to reach that title shot in a cage at All Out, they first need to defeat The Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman and Griff Garrison) in the finals of the AEW World Tag Team Eliminator Tournament on Wednesday night on Dynamite.
“Pillman and Garrison are very good,” Penta says through a translator. “They’re not better than us. This is going to be a great fight, and we have a special opportunity. We’re going to show why we’re so hungry. Those tag team championships should be ours, and it doesn't matter what we have to do; all that’s in my mind is winning.”
If they can defeat Pillman and Garrison, then Penta and Fénix will make their Rampage debut Friday in the finals against the Jurassic Express. The Lucha Brothers have also been active outside of AEW, defending their AAA tag titles earlier this month at Triplemanía in a three-way match against Los Jinetes del Aire (Hijo del Vikingo and Laredo Kid) and the team of Brian Cage and Taurus. The match was outstanding, and Penta believes there is no ceiling for Vikingo and Laredo.
“Laredo and Vikingo are incredible,” Penta says. “Both have so much fight in the ring. They are the future of wrestling.”
Highly decorated in championships and accolades in multiple different promotions, Penta and Fénix have yet to win a title in AEW. Though there is occasionally debate about the importance of titles in the industry, there is no denying that a run with the tag titles would place a new spotlight on the Lucha Brothers.
The opportunity to be champions would further highlight their brilliance. And unlike WWE, where, with the exception of the legendary Rey Mysterio, luchadores have been relegated to a lower-tier status on the card, Penta and Fénix continue to show their world-class ability every time they step in the AEW ring.
“AEW is very important to me,” Penta says. “Tony Khan is a great human being and AEW makes us feel like we are family. When you know that the boss is a great person, then you are happy and go out to fight with all the energy in your soul. I know that I am an important pillar in AEW, but I still want to go further and accomplish more.”
The chance to embed themselves in the fabric of AEW will be within reach if they win the tag tourney and then can emerge victorious at All Out. The Bucks are their longest and fiercest rivals, dating back to their time together on the indies. Penta and Fénix also defeated the Bucks two years ago at All Out in an Escalera De La Muerte (ladder match) where the AAA titles were on the line, continuing a reign that started when they defeated the Bucks in June 2019 in Mexico. A win this year in a steel cage for the AEW titles would mark the biggest moment of their careers.
“Matt and Nick Jackson are our greatest rivals, and we have so much history with them in AEW and from the independent world,” Penta says. “We are both brothers, and we all have a passion for wrestling, but there is a difference between us and The Young Bucks. It is not for show. Winning titles means everything to us. We will fight to the death for that championship.
“Our biggest motivation is that we are indebted to all our fans. This time, we will show them it is different. This time, we are better prepared. We will show why we’re the best tag team in the universe.”
The (online) week in wrestling
- CM Punk is back in pro wrestling. That still seems hard to believe.
- On the subject of Punk, this is a fantastic interview with the immensely talented Renee Paquette.
- John Cena had a brief but sensational run with WWE, infusing genuine excitement into the product every time he appeared on camera or at a house show.
- Cena left in style, further bolstering Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam with a trip to Suplex City.
- Brock Lesnar was one of the best promos in MMA, but speaking has never been his strong suit in pro wrestling. What will he do in this run without Paul Heyman by his side?
- Does anyone else get the feeling that this Goldberg run is leading to another title victory in Saudi Arabia?
- Karrion Kross had a spectacular run in NXT, and a critical element of that success was his presentation. So why rip all of that away on Raw?
- The Miz and Morrison are no longer, which means John Morrison may have the potential to flourish as a babyface.
- Can we keep Lilly as far away as possible from Charlotte Flair? How is this happening in a world title program?
- I was a guest on two podcasts this week. First was Nick Durst and Joe Calabrese’s You Know I’m Right, where they really did their homework and discussed different parts of my journey in journalism. I also joined Stew Myrick and Justin Simmons on Sports Guys Talking Wrestling. Having known Stew for years, it’s always a pleasure to connect with him and hear his passion for pro wrestling.
- Congratulations to Carmelo Hayes, who won NXT’s breakout tourney and looks like a star in the making.
Johnny Gargano ready to celebrate National Dog Day
National Dog Day will be recognized worldwide Thursday, although that’s every day in the Gargano household.
Candice LeRae and fiancé Johnny Gargano just announced that they are expecting their first child. They broke the news on Twitter in a post that includes their beloved French bulldog, Pawdme.
“She’s part of the family,” Gargano says. “We adopted her in April , and she is our first taste of parenthood. She sleeps in our bed every night, and she’s just so lovable.”
Pawdme, whose name is a pun inspired by Natalie Portman’s Star Wars character Padmé Amidala, is a year and a half old, but, as Gargano explains, wise beyond her years.
“It’s mind-blowing how intelligent she is,” Gargano says. “Whenever we can, we try to include her on TV. She’s a member of The Way. It’s amazing when we see her after a long day of work. We have a little nanny cam, too, so we can keep an eye on her.
“We take her everywhere we go, and it’s so cool to see people’s eyes light up when they see her. She’s a member of the family.”
Tweet of the Week
I can’t stop rewatching Walter-Dragunov, which was spectacular.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.