By: Andrew Lister
While going through Netflix a few months back, I noticed something strange. The first two seasons of Lucha Underground had been added. Maybe I just missed this somewhere along the line, but this was a new revelation for me. I've heard good things about the promotion, but as I barely have time enough to even keep up with the WWE, I never had the chance to give Lucha Underground a watch.
So as I sit down to start watching the premier episode, I figured I'd write an article chronicling my viewing experience.
Click the link below to keep reading!
Opening Video, Announcers, & The Owner
Right off the bat, I can tell that Lucha Underground is going to have a very different feel from the WWE. We get an overly produced opening video of guys beating the shit out of a dude in a hoodie, whose face is obscured. Then comes another guy in a luchador mask and jeans, who uses wrestling holds to beat off the bad guys. We end with him extending his hand to the guy in the hoodie, saying in a ridiculous, action hero voice, "Come with me!" Given the tone, they probably should have finished that line with "if you want to live."
We then get some guys in traditional facepaint and headdresses. They talk about the tribes of their seven ancestors, "warriors that built the Aztec empire" and its connection to Lucha Libre. They connect the old world to modern day, and we see an obviously heel promoter, who is offering tons of money to buy the best luchadores and bring them to his underground fighting arena.
I'm not sure what I think about the intro, but I'm at least interested to see if this is a recurring side story they will develop over the course of the episodes or just a one-time set up to explain the company and overarching storyline. We get a lot more of the overly cinematic camera shots and music, which makes it seem like I'm watching a Marvel movie rather than wrestling. I'm not saying that's bad, just different.
Our announcers are Matt Striker and Vampiro. I'm a Matt Stryker mark, so I was pretty excited to see and hear him. Also, Vampiro is one scary looking motherfucker. I can see why he painted his face in WCW.
We're introduced to "the host, promoter, and owner of Lucha Underground," Dario Cueto. Apparently Striker knows nothing about him, which is odd considering he works for him. Cuerto sets the tone, saying this isn't a place for children to cheer on their heroes (Sorry, Cena); it's his temple, a place where they honor the traditions of courage, honor, and violence.
He offers $100,000 to the fighter that impresses him the most tonight. It's a tired gimmick, but it will be interesting to see who this heel owner pushes as their top talent.
Match #1: Blue Demon Jr. vs Chavo Guerrero
I'm not familiar with the history of the Blue Demon family. Then again, I'm not really up much on lucha libre in general. I hope this federation does the honor of giving their American audience the rich history of some of these competitors. They drop a bit of information about Demon Jr, but I'm still left wanting to know more about his family's history.
Speaking of history, it was really nice to see Chavo in the opening match! I miss Chavo from his WWE days. The guy could compete, and he looks like he's still in amazing shape.
The match begins surprisingly technical. It isn't the super fast style that you might imagine from Lucha Libre, and part of that might be the build and age of Blue Demon. I also want to note that the over-the-ring camera was really a unique touch. It's clear that they put a lot of time and effort into the production value of this show.
Chavo and even Blue Demon pull out some high spots later into the match, and one of the scarier moments was when Chavo goes for a triangle hold on the top rope but gets powerbombed in a not-so-graceful landing. The match ends with Blue Demon picking up a submission victory over Chavo.
Not a terrible first match, yet it felt a bit too slow and plodding for Lucha Libre.
Dario Cuerto and Conan
This was a little bit of a surprise. I haven't seen Conan for a while, and he's looking pretty rough around the edges. I suppose a 3 decade career will do that to you. Conan says he isn't here to work for Dario, and he's only interested in money. Apparently Conan is taking on a manager role.
Then Dario drops a big bombshell that he's signed Johnny Mundo, who WWE fans may know as John Morrison. In true fashion, Mundo is described as cocky and disrespectful, and he's being brought here to learn a lesson. That lesson may be dealt out tonight by Conan's man.
Before we get to our next match, we learn that Conan's man is Prince Puma, who gets a vignette with Conan talking him up. He goes on about the Aztecs once again, and it's actually a really cool way to hype up Prince Puma and the concept of the lucha mask and its importance.
Match 2: Son of Havoc vs Sexy Star
Son of Havoc is easily a heel character, and his look is...unique. He's sporting a huge beard and an odd stocking cap, bargain bin excuse for a lucha mask.
And then...cue Sexy Star. To my complete and utter surprise, out comes a beautiful woman sporting a pink and black lucha mask and massive silver wings. I never realized that apparently Lucha Underground utilizes inter-gender matches.
Before the match, we get a quick video on Sexy Star, who talks about how she grew up in a terrible situation, but the mask saved her life. She says she's as strong as, as tough as, and can kick as much ass as men. Pretty awesome role model message if you ask me.
Son of Havoc grabs a mic, saying he isn't going to wrestle a woman and suggests she leave before she gets hurt. She does leave the ring, but she runs back in as Havoc turns his back and starts an attack. Each time she comes at him, Havoc simply swats her away, though. It was a little tough watching Star get thrown around so violently, but Star uses her speed and technical prowess throughout to really put up an amazing fight. However, Son of Havoc ends up winning.
It was a short match, and I'm still not fully sold on the idea of woman and men competing each week, especially if the woman loses each time. I just hope that this leads to her picking up some big wins going forward.
"The Great Chavo Guererro"
Dario finds a dejected Chavo on the back and starts taunting him about his loss. He's supposed to be from the greatest luchador family in the world, yet he tapped out tonight. Dario makes it clear that Chavo doesn't get the money, and next week he's bringing in someone to stop Blue Demon.
Match 3: Johnny Mundo vs Prince Puma
It's so great to see Johnny once again. He was always one of my favorite guys in WWE, and he never got the fame and respect he really deserved.
The match is a mix of technical and quick wrestling. Prince Puma is stunning. One of my favorite moments early on involved him doing two backflips, the second leading to a head scissors take-down. Mundo also shows off his chops, flipping and flying around the ring like a freaking spider monkey.
Partway through the match, things spill outside at the commentator's table, and Mundo pulls off an amazing parkour flip off the table and then sends Puma smacking right into the post. Then later once they're back in the ring, Puma goes for both a standing moonsault and then hits a standing shooting star press within ten seconds of one another. Truly awesome!
The end of the match goes back and forth, ending with a hell of a sequence that involves a missed springboard 450 splash from Puma and Mundo hitting The End of the World, his split-legged springboard finisher from WWE. The fans lose their shit, and rightfully so. Great match!
Who gets the $100,000?
Puma and Mundo show respect to one another after the match, and here comes Dario Cueto, who offers Mundo the money. When Johnny goes for it, Dario closes the briefcase full of cash, and both Puma and Mundo get mugged from behind by two gangster-looking guys, A third man, a massive, slow-moving dude, joins the beat down and chokeslams Mundo.
Dario Cueto gets on the mic, saying that he's scouted other competitors and not just luchadors. He hands over the briefcase to the three men, and the show ends with an angry, booing crowd.
Growing up, most of my wrestling experience comes from watching WWE, WCW, or local wrestling shows. Getting a chance to watch Lucha Underground has been intriguing, and it's one that all wrestling fans should undertake. There was a good mix of Lucha Libre meets American wrestling style. This made for some good first matches, even the opener that seemed a bit too slow.
I'm definitely going to watch the next episode, partly for the way that they introduced their cast of characters, their attention to detail in their sense of style and delivery, and the quality of the main event.
Check out the first two seasons on Netflix! Let me know your thoughts on the show in the comments or on our Discord!
TV & Movies
Henry Huge Pecs
Ray Williams III
Contribute your own writing today!