I’m a mark. I freely admit it. If you love professional wrestling and sports entertainment, you have to be one. I also have to say that I love Lucha Underground, which I happily call, “The Evolution of Professional Wrestling.” Wrestling Society X tried to shake thinks up last decade, but missed the mark (pun intended) because it relied too heavily on gimmicks in the ring instead of in their stories.
Old School wrestling is amazing, if you’re watching it on YouTube or the WWE Network. The problem is we cannot live in those days forever. Whether it was the 1970s smoke filled halls, the ’80s spectacle that birthed the WWF’s Rock’N’Wrestling and the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling (GLOW) or the ’90s Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) Hardcore style, fan based Backyard Wrestling, Attitude Era and Monday Night Wars, all those styles had their season and flavor that reflected the times.
When the business was, “exposed,” there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle and professional wrestling had to evolve. It could no longer be questioned whether or not matches were works or shoots and with the rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), we can’t suspend disbelief on what a wrist lock, arm bar, leg lock or any other move could look painful.
There will never be another Road Warriors, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Midnight Express, Rock’n’Roll Express or Freebirds. We will never have stables like the Heenan Family, Four Horsemen, The Von Erich’s or Dangerous Alliance. Nor will we ever see managers like Cornette, Bobby Heenan, Slick, The Grand Wizard of Wrestling, Gary Hart or JJ Dillon and frankly as sad as it is, that’s okay. Hell, that all ended when Diamond Dallas Page went from being a manager in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) to becoming a professional wrestler in World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Now one of the most brilliant minds in all of professional wrestling has made it clear how much he detests modern professional wrestling and shows like Lucha Underground, which he calls, “…a movie that has wrestling scenes,” but what Cornette seems to be missing is that this is the future professional wrestling.
This Not Safe For Work (NSFW) four minute clip from a podcast where Cornette opened fire on Lucha Underground:
I can feel Cornette’s pain regarding nostalgia professional wrestling. I have the same nostalgia for Saturday Morning and daily After School Cartoons. I had such disdain for Michael Bay’s Transformers, not to point that I would claim it, “ruined my childhood,” that’s just stupid, my childhood ended when I turned 18 and became a man. However, I do understand because I missed the sound effects, the energon and designs of the original characters. There is only one problem, just like I am no longer the demographic for what The Transformers has become, Cornette is no longer the demographic for where the world of professional wrestling has gone.
Now some of you may be asking how can I make the comparison of real people and cartoon characters, if you can’t see the connection, I don’t know what to tell you. Do you really think the Missing Link wasn’t a gimmick? Do you think the Road Warriors walked the streets of Chicago in spikes and paint? What about the Texas Hangman, do you think that terrifying and semi-racist gimmick was legit? The talent is real, but they were character driven and if you don’t see that, then I call bullshit.
If anything, Lucha Underground is more like regional promotion days than most would want to admit. On tonight’s episode there was a Bull Rope Match between Chavo Gurerro and Texano, you can’t get much more old school than that, unless you want a Scaffold Match. Comic books, cartoons and professional wrestling are all intertwined, just look up the first Gorgeous George and his flamboyant gimmick that got under the crowds skin. It took a professional psychologist to create in-ring psychology.
Lucha Underground is similar to the regional days in that you have to come to Los Angeles to see it live. Like any other television show, they are getting their money from advertising and they just had their first show outside The Temple at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Texas for the Austin Warfare. The product is starting to get out there and if it wasn’t for Lucha Underground, Alberto Del Rio wouldn’t be back in the WWE.
We have Dave Marquez’s Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, we have Pacific Coast Wrestling, but we also have Lucha Vavoom and Lucha Underground.
Lucha Underground is a reflection of Southern California and our cultural melting pot. We have American style wrestling, Lucha Libre high spots, Mexican mythology and Hollywood production value with stories that draw you in like many other cable series, that means you can’t get more Los Angeles than Lucha Underground and I love living here because this is our identity, this is our culture and this is a reflection of who we are and what makes us Southern Californians.