In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer spoke in detail about the state of the company including the TV deal, the staff and even the budget.
Meltzer noted fairly early on that the show will go into production in December of this year and will start airing on the El Rey Network in early 2016 and will still be taped at the same “Temple” in Los Angeles.
However, some of the characters will be brought in before December for the pre-production stage where they are expected to shoot promos and vignettes.
Meltzer notes that while nothing has been confirmed, there are rumors that there is a potential deal being worked on in Mexico involving Televisa Ch. 5, which is considered to be a relatively bigger network station.
If this deal is to be believed, this would go above and beyond in financial help for funding another season and would also give the company more exposure in Mexico than WWE, CMLL or AAA currently has.
Eric Van Wagenen helped produce 24 of the 39 episodes of Lucha Underground in season 1 and is expected to have a heavier influence for season 2 with El Rey Network co-founder John Fogelman having the final say.
Beyond this, the same writing team is expected to return, which includes former WWE writer Christopher DeJoseph, who is expected to return as head of the writing team again.
After the finale of the first season, Vampiro was expected to become a manager for Pentagon Jr. for the second season, while Matt Striker would return as the lead announcer, and Michael Schiavello who was a kickboxing and MMA announcer with AXS TV could potentially be brought in after he did an outstanding job during Ultima Lucha.
Meltzer notes that the budget of $400,000 per episode from season 1 will be lowered but the difference won’t be noticeable.
In addition, he notes that one person involved with the company has explained that very little information has been discussed, but there is a belief that they won’t be taping as many shows as they did for the first season which was, again, a total of 39 episodes.
The promotion has confirmed that there is talk of moving the location for the tapings due to the cost of the current venue, and Texas or Mexico are said to be ideal new locations.
Some big news expected for the second season is the debut of Rey Mysterio Jr. who could potentially become the top star for the promotion, and would debut very early in the new season.
Meltzer notes that while the news isn’t official just yet, it was strongly teased on the season finale in season 1, and he believes the company is saving this information to use as a big surprise or as a major announcement which would indicate why everyone is very quiet on that front.
It is expected that Martin Causus will continue his character of Marty the Moth but will have a larger role, and Jeff Cobb who signed a contract and worked a number of dark matches during the first season is expected to debut with a new character.
Trevor Mann who plays both ricochet and Prince Puma has started filling his schedule with dates that include New Japan, where he is expected to become a big show regular starting next month.
This is notable as Lucha Underground contracts give them exclusivity in the North American market when it comes to both television and PPV, and while New Japan does have U.S. television, Mann works as a different character in Ricochet.
As Meltzer explains, Lucha Underground contracts don’t have any issues with people working other dates for other companies, but it can’t be televised in North America and they have first dibs on all dates, so this would mean Mann would have to perform for Lucha Underground if there were scheduled events for both Lucha Underground and New Japan on the same day.
Meltzer explains that a second season will buy them time in terms of growth in the U.S. but they are very limited with El Rey as the key platform because of the penetration of the station and the limited amount of viewers who have access to the station and are even aware they have it.
Lucha Underground grew from a little over 20,000 viewers at the start of the first season to regularly doing 60,000 viewers on El Rey with a few episodes topping 100,000 while the two-hour season finale drew about 95,000 viewers.
As Meltzer clarifies, the show actually managed to reach many more viewers on Unimas in a Spanish language version in a Saturday afternoon time slot.
Dave provided us with a lot of information about the company going forward. I am personally interested in what Lucha Underground does, and it would be amazing to see Rey Mysterio perform for the company, which I personally thought would happen during the first season. I remember reading a while back that Netflix was a possibility for Lucha Underground, and that would be a great way for users who don’t have access to the El Rey Network to see the season on a week by week basis elsewhere, and would likely make more money so they can continue with Lucha Underground.