Managing director Dorian Roldán will see a family dream realized when Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide debuts at Madison Square Garden on September 15. One of the aspirations his uncle and promotion founder Antonio Peña had when he produced a show in the Paramount Theater. This is taking it a step further by running the most famous arena in the world.
"I think for any entertainment company in the world, all of us share that dream that is to be in that iconic venue," Roldán said. "Speaking about this show in particularly, it was a long process. We have been in discussions with Madison Square Garden for several years. At least in the last couple of years, we have been really much more aggressive trying to close a deal. We were trying to enter since the last year. We were in a position to book the venue a year ago, to make the show in 2018. But we weren't prepared or in a trustful position to be successful.
"So, we decided to push the show to this year and have the ticket sales on Cinco De Mayo, to be on September 15. For that to be the night we celebrate our Independence Day. I think it was a really good position to push a show. I think we are in a different stage. We have really professional talents working with us. We are in that time to make decisions to make the company more global. This is our statement that we are entering America in a different way, a more professional way and in the most iconic place that is the Madison Square Garden."
The executive felt the goosebumps when the company made the formal announcement during a press conference. All of sudden, it became real.
"If you told me we would produce a show five years ago at the Madison Square Garden, I would have told you that you were crazy. It's a challenge. We need to be ready," he said. "I think we are being really aggressive in the manner entering in one of the most competitive markets in the world and the U.S. We are not testing. Entering in not just the most iconic but most expensive venue in the world. Trying to bring our brand, trying to bring AAA, our luchadores, a totally different concept that what Americans are used to in the wrestling industry. I think we are really confident about what we are going to present. But also, with that challenge we want to give the best product. We want to stay in the U.S. market and make the next step for the company."
AAA is open to collaborating with promotions from around the world. The mindset Roldán shares is that when people work together, it can only make the industry bigger and stronger. He teases talent representatives from other companies would be working the show but couldn't reveal too many details that are still being finalized.
"We made the announcement with Tony Khan and his team at AEW. We also have a really good relationship with the people from Impact. I was personally there at the Ring of Honor for the last event they had at Madison Square Garden. I said hello to Joe Koff," he said. "Of course, we are competitors, but I think at the end of the day we want, and need have alliances.
"We need to give the fans what they want to watch and see. We also know our fans that day are going to be the Mexican community. We are also having conversations with talent that was in AAA before and was important for the Mexican families, and maybe to be part of that lineup for that day."
Attending the G1 Supercard gave him a chance to take in a pro wrestling show from a fan and office perspective. He felt Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling set the bar high.
"The people's reaction was really good. As I sat as a fan, I really enjoyed the show. Of course, part of my team was there. We also did some scouting on how to produce a show in Madison Square Garden. We learned a lot about it," Roldán said. "We got an idea of what we can do. My only words to Ring of Honor for the event they produce, I can only say congratulations to them. It was really amazing. They do a good job, and they really do a good job in the industry. As Joe talked to me, we are next in entering Madison Square Garden. Let's see what happens. We are going to try to have the people enjoy the show and even bring them back to Mexico and to see a little bit of the Mexican nostalgia with some of the wrestlers and talent we are going to take to America."
Beyond their programming on Spanish language channels, AAA has also been able to grow its audience and visibility thanks to their deal with Twitch. Organizers want to maximize the number of eyes that can see the MSG event.
"We are having conversations with the most important Spanish TV networks, but we are right now not able to reveal the terms of how it's going to work. We are also having conversations with local television to make the show available and with digital platforms to make this available on a worldwide basis," Roldán said.
"It's not part of our Twitch deal. It's not going to be available on Twitch. It was not on there when we signed the Twitch deal, so it's not there. It's also going, of course, be captured in Mexico. We are also finalizing the final terms with our current partners in media."
Roldán speaks highly of Konnan's creative vision, even referring to him as "one of the best bookers in the world." He will have the arduous task of deciding what matches are on this momentous card. Expect a mix of the top stars of lucha with legends sprinkled in.
"It's not an easy job because at the end of the day, there are many different kinds of wrestling fans," he said. "The wrestling fan who likes the comedy, the fan who likes a very good quality match. We also need to satisfy the Mexican community. It's going to be interesting. We think we are in a position right now to have the talent that can satisfy the different kinds of fans."
For Roldán, The Garden is the catalyst toward the long-term goal of AAA expanding in the market. Producing more than 40 events through the year, his hope is to bring the product to America in a different way than the brand has done ever before.
"The most important thing is we are not by ourselves. We have a really good relationships and partnerships with those who know the live events market," he said. "The first step and short-term is to have a really good show in the Madison Square Garden that can open possibilities to produce other events in other markets.
"The second one for example is giving an announcement really soon of a second venue we are going to produce this year. Another show from AAA. At the end of the day, what we are trying to do and discussion this week is to at least produce 10 shows in America, during the summer. It's part of the plan we have in mind right now."
Roldan's full interview with Wrestling Inc was included on Wednesday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded player at the bottom of this post.