With the rise and fall of empires, there are always those that attempt to take the spotlight. With the current decline in popularity with the WWE, much can be said about the mad scramble of the indy promotions to take the reigns. With current promotions aside, you can say a lot about the ambitions of a new promotion attempting to make its stand on the battlefield of square circles. Lucha Underground takes one part lucha libre, one part spaghetti western, and one part Twisted Metal in an attempt to create the most ‘honor oriented’ arena for the sacred tradition of pro wrestling. Or, so the story goes.
As a unique spin on the tradition-steeped tropes of pro wrestling, Lucha Underground delivers. With its spanning tale connected to ancient Aztec ‘legends’, it is an interesting take on the Ring of Honor premise of pure wrestling. The promoter, a slick haired millionaire taken out of the pages of a far cry script, is a double dealing sleazy two-faced shyster with a penchant for waxing on about the sacred art of lucha libre. Upon entering the ring, without saying a word, the villainy oozes off him, and the boos emanate throughout the halls of his ‘holy’ ring. It is a resounding notice of arrival, one that shows true mastery of the rudo craft. Vince McMahon, you may have competition.
Promos are cut with the same filter that one would see in a grindhouse style film, in the grain of Planet Terror, coupled with wrestlers declaring their deepest darkest secrets, as well as their wishes and intentions for the sign-in bonus touted at the beginning of the program. The whole production feels like a Twisted Metal style affair, with the participants partaking in an arena overseen by a mysterious Devil-like figure ready in waiting, preparing his Faustian bargain. Though it would seem to be a questionable choice for the medium, this strange combination of genres gels quite well, and whets the viewers appetite for the action to come.
But no pro wrestling company is complete without a solid array of wrestlers from which to choose. Though it is early to judge the entire showcase as of late, there is noteworthy talent that have signed to the project. Matt Striker and Vampiro collaborate for the color commentary for the promotion. Though a bit rough around the edges, Striker has been a personal favorite commentator for this writer, so there is much untapped potential yet to be displayed. Vampiro, though a bit lackluster, seems willing to work with Striker, so there is hope for the duo to have great chemistry in the future. There are some noteworthy talents in the ring as well. John Morrison makes an appearance, under the name Jonny Mundo, and makes an impressive main event with Ricochet, under the name Prince Puma, sold as the ‘fresh new talent’ scouted by Konnan. Sexy Star, from the AAA promotion, makes an appearance, though her in-ring performance was less than stellar. Especially after her heart-felt story of domestic abuse and her redemption as a luchador.
There is much to be seen still from this promotion, but the unique presentation leaves this writer hopeful for the future. Despite the obvious cheap pop at the end of the show, where the heel promoter lays out both wrestlers in the main event with his hired goons, there is potential here. With the connections pulled from the robust roster of the indy scene, there is much that the promotion has from which to build. Here is hoping that this unique presentation continues to provide its unique look on sports-entertainment for years to come.