As you immerse yourself in the Temple environment, you’ll meet the owner of this company, the man behind everything that goes on, Dario Cueto. Like many owners in the world of Professional Wrestling, Cueto isn’t to be trusted, however, Cueto plays that role better than anyone, yes even better than Vince McMahon. McMahon plays evil pretty well, but Cueto plays slick, underhanded, smooth, yet underhanded, better than anyone else. You see, Cueto doesn’t have to constantly be present to make what he does work. In the few vignettes, or television segments he appears in, he gets the story, and message across that he’s in control, that he makes all the decisions, and you had better not cross him. His message is a simple one. “It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your beliefs are, you had better go into that ring and fight like your life is on the line, or you can leave the Temple and not come back.” It’s a great message, and adds to the mystique of the venue. Cueto doesn’t have to have a catch phrase, he doesn’t have to give 10 minute promos to open a show, or interfere in matches. He doesn’t have to wrestle (thank God) or even take bumps. He’s the cocky jackass behind the office door that oversees production, and damn it, you better make him happy, or rather, MONEY! When he makes an appearance, it’s short and sweet, and furthers a story line, then it’s back to the actual Luchas, to put on the show inside the ring.
Heels (rudos) and Faces (technicos) are a big deal in Lucha Underground, but they are done very well, better than in most wrestling you see today, in my opinion. Faces aren’t presented a “goody-two-shoes” kind of people, but rather those wrestlers that seek to earn their way to the top through pure skill and athletic competition, while the rudos are seen as the same, until it looks like they might lose, then they are willing to pull out any and all stops. It’s a subtle difference, but done very well. A rudo (bad guy) can wrestle as good as anyone, and at times doesn’t have to resort to “cheating” or “shortcuts” in order to win, but he will. Much like characters from TV shows like “Breaking Bad” or “Better Call Saul” a rudo frustrates you because you like him, and want him to do well, because of his skill, but then he will frustrate you by using underhanded tactics to get the job done, otherwise ruining a “technical” (where the name for Lucha good guys comes from) match.
While a wrestler like Ricochet may be well known in independent wrestling circles, as well it should be, in Lucha Underground he’s the new, young kid in Lucha Underground, brought in by the wily old veteran Konan, as Prince Puma. Puma is exciting, but you get the sense that Konan is taking advantage of this young guy, riding his coattails to the top of the wrestling world, long after his time has passed. Puma knows that Konana has helped him get to the level he’s on, but you can just tell that Puma also knows that Konan may be willing to go places that Puma isn’t willing to go. Puma, as the young upstart, led to the Lucha Underground Heavyweight Championship by Konan, is sticking by his mentor’s side, but you are still left wondering how long that will last, and when it falls apart, who will turn on whom? The story isn’t being rushed though, the slow, subtle, build (burn) is taking place, and it’s being done masterfully.
Pentagon Junior is the resident “bad ass” of Lucha Underground. While he’s a rudo (bad guy) the audience loves him. His intensity and the mystery surrounding him, as he attacks other Lucha’s, and breaks their arms for “his master” is appealing. When will he show up next? Who will he attack? Who is this master of his? All of that, along with Pentagon’s skill, and look, make for the “cool” character of Lucha Underground.
Fenix is a young, high flying daredevil that was made a major star in one of the best “specialty” matches I’ve ever seen in my life. For months Lucha Underground built up a scary Lucha named Mil Muertes, the man of 1000 deaths. Along with his valet/manager, the lovely Catrina, Muertes destroyed everyone he faced. Then one day Catrina seemed to see something in the young Fenix and turned on Muertes and joined Fenix, helping him overcome the man of death in a brutal casket match. That story alone has made Fenix into a major player in the temple, and one to keep an eye on at all times. Other Lucha’s like Drago, King Cuerno, Cage, Texano, Son of Havok, Killshot, Angelico,and Big Ryck deepen the roster. Johnny Mundo (formally Morrison of WWE) and Alberto El Patron (formally Del Rio of WWE) add their celebrity as well. Rumors persist that Rey Mysterio Junior will also soon be joining Lucha Underground too, something that will surely bring in more fans to Lucha Underground’s Temple.
Lucha Underground is only on once a week. Wednesday night’s on the El Ray channel is the only place to see it. While this can be frustrating, it also leads to the mystique of the company. We get one hour per week or programming, no other shows, no PPV’s, and no DVD’s (at this point, though I am so hoping that they release entire seasons of the show on DVD box sets). Matt Stryker and Vampiro are excellent commentators that really help make every Lucha Underground match seem like a great big deal. Melissa Santos is a great ring announcer, and no back stage interviewer is needed, as everything backstage is simply presented as part of the show, a segment that is filmed to add to the story lines, and they really work. Most of the wrestlers are also introduced with an amazing vignette that makes them come across as almost Super hero like.
It’s difficult to pick your favorite wrestlers in Lucha Underground because all of them are so damn good. There’s no one that makes you want to go make a sandwich, or use the bathroom when their match is up either. No chants of so and so sucks, because everyone that steps foot in the Temple’s ring, to do battle, is respected, and respectable. They have a story, a lineage, passion, honor, and desire to prove themselves worthy of the ancient Aztec warrior battles that Lucha Underground is taken from, and put inside of a wrestling ring. Lucha Underground allows you to escape into another world for 60 minutes a week, and while you’re there, you believe in it because the wrestling, the LUCHA is that good. You’re immersed, because the performances are second to none. There are several companies out there with this caliber of wrestling, places like Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, and Combat Zone Wrestling, but no one has a world, no one has an environment, no has stories, like Lucha Underground has. No one uses the storyline psychology like they do in the Temple, and that makes all the difference. That’s why Lucha Underground is the best wrestling in the United States today, by far.