(OK, in preparation for going through the first two seasons on Netflix, here’s my rant from the pilot episode way back in 2014.)
The SmarK Rant for Lucha Underground – 10.29.14
I’ve had a few people e-mail me about this show, so I figured I’d download it since there’s no legal way to watch it in Canada anyway. Other than that, I’ve heard nothing about it so I’m going in blind. It’s on something called the El Ray network in the US and that’s about the extent of what I know. The production values are really high quality, with a filmed look instead of the WWE video tape look we’re all used to.
Your hosts are Matt Striker & Vampiro.
Dario Cueto, who is your evil owner, offers $100,000 to whoever impresses him the most.
Blue Demon Jr. v. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
They fight for a knucklelock to start and Chavo works a headlock, but Demon takes him to the floor with a headscissors and follows with a baseball slide. The camera cuts are a tad jarring, but that probably comes from directors who don’t have experience with wrestling. It’s not as laid-back as an ROH, but thankfully there’s no shaky-cam like Kevin Dunn loves. Chavo comes back with a tornado DDT out of the corner for two and they tumble to the floor, with Chavo following with a dive. Back in, Chavo misses a moonsault attempt and crotches himself in the corner, but Demon misses a flip dive and Chavo gets two. They fight to the top and Chavo tries a triangle choke on the top rope, but Demon powerbombs him down for two and then hooks him in a variation on the scorpion for the submission at 5:15. Decent start. **1/2
Meanwhile, Dario tries to recruit Konnan, who looks terrible these days. Dario reveals that he signed Johnny Mundo (Hennigan), but only to make an example of him, and Konnan thinks he has just the person to make that example.
Meanwhile, meet Konnan’s secret weapon: Prince Puma, aka Ricochet. Konnan gives us some background on lucha libre as well.
Son of Havoc v. Sexy Star
We get a background video on Sexy Star, who is a woman who fights dudes. Havoc offers her a chance to leave, but she attacks him and it’s on. He misses a lionsault and Sexy tries a bulldog, but he tosses her off and pounds away in the corner. Star goes up with a cross body for two, but Havoc finishes with a backbreaker at 1:25. She seemed like any other wrestler out there, so this was fine. * Odd that they’ve give her the big backstory treatment and then just have her lose, though.
Meanwhile, Dario Cueto chews out Chavo for failing in his debut, and Chavo is pretty bummed about it.
Johnny Mundo v. Prince Puma
Puma works on the arm to start and they trade wristlocks, but Mundo hits a spinebuster for two and they trade gymnastics for a stalemate. Puma backflips into a headscissors and then follows with a crazy spinning takedown to send Mundo to the floor. Why the fuck did WWE pass on this guy? Back in, Mundo hits a backbreaker and necks him on the top rope, then follows with his own spinning kick to put Puma on the floor. Back in, Puma dropkicks him off the apron and gets a cool slingshot splash back in, and an enzuigiri sends Mundo to the floor again. They do some cool brawling and Puma ends up hitting the post, which gets two for Mundo. Puma comes back with an enzuigiri and a springboard bodypress for two. Standing SSP gets two. Mundo runs him into the corner and fights back with a beatdown, then follows with a pair of clotheslines and a leg lariat. Low kick gets two. Puma rolls him up for two, but Mundo springboards back with a head kick for two. Puma tries a sunset flip and Mundo kicks him down again, but the moonsault misses and Puma springboards in with double knees for two. 450 splash misses and Mundo hits Moonlight Drive for two. Or whatever the generic non-copyrighted name for that is. The C4 sets up Starship Pain to finish at 12:33. So that making an example thing didn’t quite work out. This was quite the main event for the debut show. ***1/2 Dario Cueto comes out with his $100,000, but instead Ezekial Jackson and a pair of thugs come out and beat down both guys before either can claim it.
This really felt like a television show that featured wrestling matches as a plot point, and that’s an interesting way to present it. I’m intrigued enough that I’d continue on, assuming I can remember to download it every week. Definitely worth a look, even if you’re a newbie to AAA and lucha libre in general.