The Delco Elbow Drop

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lucha Underground – The next big thing?

A new professional wrestling show began airing on El Rey Network recently – Lucha Underground. Created by the Mexican lucha libre promotion AAA, Lucha Underground is an incredible mix of high-quality video production, great storytelling and outstanding professional wrestling.

Though the WWE has dominated the American TV landscape for more than a decade, Lucha Underground has all the tools to become a viable competitor.

Lucha Underground isn’t presented in a series of live events like WWE but rather is a mix of dramatic segments mixed with in-ring action. The final product has a much different feel than most professional wrestling programs out there. While WWE is focused on delivering its brand of what they call “sports entertainment,” Lucha Underground is basically a dramatic TV show about a pro wrestling fight club.

When you first watch Lucha Underground, you’ll notice several differences from a typical pro wrestling show. The production values are on par with WWE despite it undoubtedly having a much smaller budget. The lighting and set design gives the show a low-key vibe yet at the same time all the visuals are really polished and colorful which gives it the edge it needs to compete with bigger budget shows like WWE or TNA.

When you look at the list of the show’s producers, it’s not hard to see why Lucha Underground looks so good. Among the many names, two stand out immediately – Mark Burnett and Robert Rodriguez. Rodirguez, who created the El Rey Network, has directed several Hollywood films like “Planet Terror,” “Desperado,” and “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn.” While you might recognize Burnett as the producer of several reality shows like “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” and “Shark Tank.” With these kinds of credentials on the production side of Lucha Underground, it’s easy to see why it has such a high-quality look.

On the show, Lucha Underground is run by a wealthy man named Dario Cueto who created Lucha Underground as a showcase for the world’s best fighters to show off their skills and, in the first episode, have the chance to win $100,000. Cueto is the typical evil authority figure who uses his power to lord over the wrestlers and makes deals with street thugs to do his dirty work.

Many talented wrestlers from several promotions all over the world have been brought in to take part in the debut season of Lucha Underground. Former WWE Superstars like Chavo Guerrero Jr. and John Morrison (known as Johnny Mundo on Lucha Underground) are some of the most recognizable but the roster is also rounded out by independent wrestling stars like Ricochet (as Prince Puma), Matt Cross (as Son of Havoc), Ivelisse Velez, as well as several high-profile luchadores from Mexico like Blue Demon Jr., Mascarita Sagrada and Sexy Star with plenty of lesser known but nonetheless impressive wrestlers like Drago, Fenix, Mil Muertes, Pentagon Jr and more (many of whom wrestler under different names in Mexico). Additionally, WCW and lucha libre star Konnan acts as Prince Puma’s mentor while Matt Striker and Vampiro are the commentary team for the weekly, one-hour show.

And the roster is only going to grow as the show gains popularity. Former WWE Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (who now wrestles as El Patron Alberto) said in an interview with a British TV show that he will be debuting in Lucha Underground in 2015 and also, The Young Bucks have mentioned on Twitter that they were in talks with the promotion as well.

For fans who generally only watch WWE, the actual in-ring action on Lucha Underground is a great change of pace. Whereas the WWE style can be somewhat slow and predictable, the lucha libre style is always fast-paced and exciting, with lots of high flying moves and interesting match ups. Utilizing several different styles, Lucha Underground creates an in-ring product that both tells a story and is also high octane excitement.

But one of my favorite aspects of Lucha Underground is that they treat every wrestler like a real competitor. Women can wrestle men and minis wrestlers aren’t just sideshow novelty acts. Sexy Star, who has been involved in a heated feud with Chavo Guerrero, isn’t treated like a fragile woman who needs to be protected but a skilled athlete who can compete with anyone in the ring. Similarly, Mascarita Sagrada, a famous minis wrestler, has faced and defeated several normal-sized wrestlers whereas in WWE, wrestlers like Hornswoggle and El Torito (who was known as Mascarita Dorada in Mexico) are often forced to wrestle in silly costumes and engage in antics, rather than actually wrestle. Hell, El Torito’s entire gimmick is his silly costume.

Though Lucha Underground has only aired six episodes of Lucha Underground so far (the first season is slated to have 39 episodes all together), it is showing a ton of promise. The production values are beyond what anyone would have expected and the actual wrestling is a great change of pace from the usual WWE/TNA fare.

While Robert Rodriguez is one of the show’s producers and it runs on his network, I hope that someday Lucha Underground is picked up by a larger network with more visibility so that it can reach a larger segment of the fans in America. During Stone Cold’s recent podcast with Vince McMahon, it was noted several times that there hasn’t been any real competition for WWE for a long time. But if Lucha Underground continues to produce a quality product and use wrestlers, storylines and action that WWE wouldn’t think of having on their programming, the fan base can only grow and could easily be a competitor to WWE one day.  

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

My Photo

An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]