As I’ve covered in this column more than once, there’s a lot of great wrestling out there right now. Between NXT, the awesome Raw this past week and even TNA looking good recently, there’s no shortage of awesome stuff to watch. However, aside from maybe just NXT, there’s one show that is as entertaining as anything out there: Lucha Underground. Today we’re going to take a quick look a the promotion and why it’s the fast food of wrestling.
Now what do I mean by fast food of wrestling? It’s very simple: it’s simple, easy to get through and enjoyable, though the quality may not be that high. You’re not going to see someone doing some technical, ground based wrestling sequence with deep layers of psychology, storytelling and a mat war that Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero would be drooling over.
However, what you will get is action, non-stop energy, easy to understand characters, wrestlers going as fast and hard as they can every time and some incredibly fun matches that you can just turn your brain off and enjoy. I’ve called the promotion the Fast and the Furious of wrestling: if you think about it for more than ten seconds your head will explode, but you won’t have much more fun watching complete insanity with people flying all over the place.
Let’s get into the details of this and we’ll start with the devil himself: Owner Dario Cueto. There’s no other way to put it: Cueto is pure evil. I haven’t seen an evil owner this perfect since the heyday of Vince McMahon. The Authority wishes they could pull off the levels of horrible Cueto puts out every single week. Whether it’s putting out hits on people, making people put their careers on the line for his own amusement, or just being a smug owner who knows no one can touch him, Cueto steaks every single scene he’s involved in.
Moving on to the wrestlers, there are some names you’ll remember and some you might not be so familiar with. As far as the names you probably know, we have Johnny Mundo (John Morrison), Big Ryck (Ezekiel Jackson, this time with one good eye after the Crew put the other one out with a lit cigar in an awesome moment), Alberto El Patron (I’ll give you two guesses), Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero Jr.
On the other hand, there are far too many wrestlers to list that you probably haven’t heard of but can still put on some breakneck matches. That’s what Lucha Underground boils down to: taking people you probably haven’t heard of and giving you something entertaining to watch once a week instead of the same stuff you see more often than not. It’s all about just having a good time and putting on fun wrestling matches.
Something else that works so well about Lucha Underground is how different their productions are presented. Instead of just having the highly produced backstage segments that WWE has, Lucha Underground has people talking in dark rooms or as they warm up for a match. Imagine that: not having interviews taking place in well lit offices when people are just standing there waiting for the segment to start, presumably staring at the wall until the camera light went on.
This is one of the most refreshing things about the promotion: it feels more realistic. Of course things are staged and people are talking off their scripts (or at least bullet points), but there comes a point where it’s hard to suspend disbelief. I have an issue believing that the Authority has their traveling office with the posters and identical furniture transported with them to every arena they work out of. However, I can easily believe that Dario Cueto goes up to Johnny Mundo to talk to him as he works out before a match.
There isn’t enough room to list off all the great talent in the promotion, but there’s one constant on the roster: everyone seems to be working hard and wanting to steal the show. From Pentagon Jr. being pure evil and injuring people because he can to Angelico (a South African wrestler) diving out from the balcony to the ring to help his team win the inaugural Trios Titles (the company’s Tag Team Titles) to Aerostar (something like a superhero) and Drago (someone who might be a dragon in human form) having a best of five series because Cueto liked one of their matches, everyone always wants to be the most entertaining wrestler they can.
If I haven’t gotten you yet on Lucha Underground being different, here’s the moment that won them over for me. They needed to crown an inaugural champion a few months back. Now how would most companies go about doing that? Odds are it would be through a month long tournament with a rivalry deciding the finals. Or what about a battle royal or a three way dance?
That’s not what Lucha Underground did. Instead, Lucha Underground had a Royal Rumble style match with almost everyone on the roster involved, but eliminations could only occur by pinfall or submission. In other words, the champion would be the only person who didn’t get pinned or submit while outlasting nearly the entire roster in a match that took the entire TV broadcast. That’s something different and out of the box instead of the same old stuff that we always get.
Lucha Underground may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that actually feels different. It’s a fun, fast paced show that makes me want to keep watching it. The matches may not hold up under a microscope, but they’re more than entertaining enough to make for a fun hour of wrestling. If a show doesn’t have fifteen minute talking segments and dumb comedy as we sit through some writer’s whims instead of an actual entertaining hour of wrestling, it’s a good night.
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