One more note: this is all assuming that “Lucha Underground” isn’t renewed for a fourth season. There are rumors of a potentially scaled down fourth season but as of this writing, that hasn’t been set in stone yet. It’s possible that the promotion will continue but at the moment, it’s looking like they’re in major trouble. For the sake of this, assume that the promotion is in fact going under.
In the WWE dominated wrestling world, we often long for an alternative. You hear the term thrown around with Ring of Honor or Impact Wrestling (Is that what they’re called this week?) but really, they’re little more than watered down versions of whatever WWE was doing a few months or years before. That has almost never worked and there’s no reason to suggest that it would change in another attempt with talent that isn’t exactly thriving since leaving WWE.
That brings us to Lucha Underground, which was a genuine alternative to the mainstream wrestling promotions. You can call Lucha Underground a lot of things, but you cannot call it a copy of other companies. It’s shot differently, written differently, has completely different backstories and barely even tries to be anything like a regular wrestling company.
New to the show? Try this.While this can often cause some problems, it’s also the show’s greatest strength. “Lucha Underground” is a show that features Aztec gods, time travel, a 300+ year old witch, a man who has died 1000 times, multiple murders and a man who may in fact be a dragon. Those are just a few of the things on the show and I couldn’t begin to give you a complete list of everything on the show. That’s where the show really shines: in having something that is so totally different than any other wrestling show that you’ll ever see.
In addition to being an alternative product from a creative perspective, look at all the other talents that it allowed to appear. At the top of the list, you have top stars like Alberto El Patron and Johnny Mundo, both of whom have had a near career resurgence since appearing for the show. There’s also the long list of talents who have gone from obscurity to having a following (some bigger than others) thanks to their successes on “Lucha Underground”. That did wonders for the cruiserweights in WCW and it works very well here too. You can always benefit from undiscovered talent, which brings us to two very big names.
If there are two people who embody the good things about Lucha Underground exposing the world to new talent, they’re Prince Puma and Pentagon Dark. These two were big deals in all three seasons of the show and you could easily make a case that they’re the top two stars in the company. Both guys became stars from their work on the show and it wouldn’t shock me to see them on a main roster sooner rather than later.
The John Cena/Edge of the show:They’re very talented people who have shown that they can hang with some top talent, which is a very valuable accomplishment. Both were around elsewhere, but this was the first major exposure to an American audience. To put this in perspective, earlier this year at “Wrestle Con Super show 2017”, Pentagon’s CERO MIEDO was receiving equal if not bigger chants than Matt Hardy’s DELETE. That’s some high level of fan reception for a performer who hadn’t made much of an American impact prior to appearing for Lucha Underground. Also on that card: a ten man tag with Puma captaining the winning team.
Speaking of performers, my goodness what a find they had in Dario Cueto. The best boss since Vince McMahon (and maybe better than McMahon), Cueto made the Lucha Underground Temple feel like his own personal playground. In addition to attempting to take over the world with the help of some shady bosses, Cueto was one of the most convincing performers you’ll ever see. It really felt like he was an evil man who just wanted to torture people and incite violence everywhere he could. But what was the big key to Cueto?
Here’s what Cueto was capable of:
He was a professional actor. Played by Luis Fernandez-Gil, Cueto felt like a real character because he was played by someone with acting abilities. Now why has no one figured this out before? Simply put, most wrestlers aren’t good actors (sidebar: I love Roddy Piper’s statement on this: “When I was a wrestler, they said I was just acting. When I was acting, they said I was just a wrestler.”) and if they were, there’s a good chance they would be full time actors. Cueto is one of the best non-wrestling personalities you’ll ever see and was easily one of the highlights of the show.
Finally, there’s the in-ring action itself. Back in WCW, the cruiserweight division was some of the most exciting action you were going to find on television. That’s an easier style to find in the internet era, but there was some stuff in “Lucha Underground” that you just weren’t going to see anywhere else. Be it Aztec Warfare (it’s like the Royal Rumble but with pins and submissions), a fast paced back and forth lucha spot fest or an Iron Man match with the entire show dedicated to one match, the show provided some outstanding action that you weren’t going to get anywhere else.
Very simply put, that style is very exciting and something that you could get interested in only in a matter of seconds. It might not have been the highest quality and it was almost never without a bunch of botches, but some of the stuff you would see on “Lucha Underground” was as impressive as anything else you would see. As important as the storylines were (and they’re more important than anything else), the in-ring product has to work as well. That’s what you got on the show and it caught fans’ attention almost immediately.
Here’s something you would see on the show.
“Lucha Underground” certainly wasn’t for everyone. It was all over the place, completely insane at times (there was a tribe of people who worshiped rabbits and thought a mini wrestler was their deity) and at times much more of a crazy television series than a wrestling show. However, it also entertained its fans like almost nothing else ever had.
I really hope the show isn’t gone. There’s far too much talent and far too much entertainment still to go. I’m hoping the show gets picked up for a season four and beyond as the fans can always use more wrestling on their TV’s. It helps a lot when the promotion is an actual alternative to the mainstream wrestling scene and “Lucha Underground” offered that in spades. If you’ve never seen it, give yourself a treat and watch the whole thing in order (it’s on Netflix), especially if you want wrestling in a completely different way.
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