I really hate surprises and I really hate secrets. I took every ounce of strength for me not to write about Lucha Underground sooner because I wanted to watch the season 2 premier with all the casual fans and believers. From the opening moments featuring Vampiro and Matt Striker in a grindhouse opening getting into a 1960s black Lincoln Continental drop top in the desert caused me to fanboy out.
Once the Attitude Era blew the doors off on, “the business” and the rise of MMA, primarily PRIDE and the UFC and professional wrestling had to change. No longer could it be kayfabed debating is it real or isn’t it? We had full confirmation that it was predetermined. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) absorbed World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) into their promotion. However, the fans never fully got what they wanted from the professional wrestling industry. The work was still being sold as reality and that in the long run hurt the business.
It took 15 years for a legitimate competitor to the WWE to rise. Total Nonstop Action (TNA) the brainchild of Jeff Jarrett was a blend of Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) and United States Wrestling Association (USWA). What was a refreshing series that was OnDemand weekly eventually got a television deal and left their six-sided ring (which they “borrowed” from AAA) to have a standard ring and watering down their product to be a WCW light as a home for former WWE “superstars.”
It wasn’t until 2015 that a new and refreshing promotion came to light, birthed from acclaimed indie film director Robert Rodriguez and Mark Burnett to produce a product that resurrected professional wrestling and that is Lucha Underground.
The ultimate blend of Mexican style Lucha Libre, Japanese Strong Style and American Professional Wrestling, along with a comic book feel that could have only been produced by Image Comics, Lucha Underground is what every modern professional wrestling fan deserves.
“Of course it’s how wrestling has to go, you can’t convince someone that this is real fighting with the UFC out there. I would be thrilled if they showed us doing power bomb from the moon into the center of the ring,” said Angelico, the 6’4″ South African superstar who flies around like a cruiseweight and lost in the number one contenders match to his former trios partner, Ivelisse (yes a female) in the second match of the season premier.
Lucha Underground has intergender matches, Aztec mythology, dragons (yes, dragons) a phoenix, death and psychopaths. It has made the full transition to full live action comic book, everything I ever wanted from professional wrestling. Why have them pretend it’s real when we know it’s a Greek tragedy? Do they really get hurt? Absolutely! These are athletes, but the rush I’m getting from watching the premier as the east coast feed is airing live and I want more. I don’t want to wait until next week, I want to power watch the next three seasons!
Lucha Underground went so far as to release a four issue comic mini-series featuring their latest acquisition, the great Rey Mysterio that you can read here.
The series does not just feature intergender matches, but has strong female figures. Catrina who now runs the temple. Ivelisse, one-third of the former trios champions and the number one contender for the heavyweight title. Sexy Star a Luchador (wrestler) who regularly competes against men. Not only are they strong females, they are also strong Hispanic females. An image rarely seen outside of being the wisecracking sidekick or comic relief.
“Not only as a woman but as a Hispanic woman, I can be in a position of power and run the show. I can be strong and sexy without being objectified,” said Catrina who not only manages Mil Muertes and The Disciples of Death, but in the storyline is the booker, the president and to quote Rob Van Dam, “The whole F’N show!”
Lucha Underground airs Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on the El Rey Network