I fell in love with Lucha Underground on episode one, season one. Many are still shocked by that because of how different Lucha Underground is compared to the pure, realistic, style that I hold aloft as being the only wrestling that’s “done right.” I’ll admit, Lucha Underground does not fit with my usual tastes, but the wrestling is so fun, fast paced, and exciting. The gimmicks, while colorful and full of fantasy, are still done well. At least for the most part, and that is where I want to start critiquing a company that I really enjoy, and will continue to enjoy. I mean how can a wrestling fan not enjoy a Fenix vs Mil Muertes match? How can a wrestling fan not enjoy Pentagon Jr.? While I admit that I while completely divorce Lucha Underground from all other wrestling companies, and see it as its own little “universe,” I still very much enjoy it still. The question is though, how can an old school purist like myself enjoy a wrestler that claims to be risen from death, accompanied to the ring by a woman that seems to have magical abilities? How can I enjoy a wrestler that seems to claim that he is a legitimate time traveling alien? Honestly, it’s a struggle, but I’ve been told that is the Lucha tradition and if I like the wrestling, to just get past it. I’ve done that for the most part, as it seems to me more of the gimmicks are based in reality. Killshot for example, Cage and Texano for another. For every eye rolling gimmick there seems to be two or three solid ones. So what’s my critique?
First of all, this season has been less appealing to me because of Matanza. We waited an entire season to see this creature, Dario Cueto’s brother, who had been locked in a cage until just the right moment. It was an interesting storyline, but what I feared might happen with it, has. Matanza has come in and done what no one ever has, dominate. One of the most appealing things of Lucha Underground was the idea that anyone could win, and anyone could lose. The roster was so solid, that no one was going to walk in and win all the time. There would be no John Cena’s, no Goldbergs, in Lucha Underground. It was such an even playing field, that even the women could win championships, they didn’t need a “women’s division!” Now we’ve got one guy, that doesn’t even look all that imposing, wiping the floor with everyone. This guy isn’t just winning, he’s destroying everyone with ease. I trust the writers and producers of the show that we’re being taken somewhere special, but when I see Matanza advertised, I have no interest in the match because I know what it’s going to be.
What would I do differently? Well, I wouldn’t have put the title on this guy. Have him come in and destroy people, but have him do so with no care of winning or losing. He’s come just to hurt people and get his brother back in charge on the temple. Have him be a weapon Dario uses against anyone that doesn’t do his bidding. He would still work matches, but he would do so only to hand out pain, and suffering. I’d have him get disqualified often, because he didn’t care about rules and such. You could still have your roster afraid of him, and they could still have to work together to overcome him, but he wouldn’t have to be the champion, destroying everyone in his path as if they were nothing.
Another issue I’m having is the idea that Joey Ryan and Ricky Reyes are undercover police officers. I can get past silly gimmicks like aliens, and Zombies, but asking me to accept that these guys are undercover cops is just too much. It doesn’t help that the vignettes are terrible either. Lucha Underground normally gets anything involving video production right, often times even much better than the mighty WWE, but with this story, they don’t….at all. The acting in them is terrible, and they aren’t the slightest bit believable.
How could they be better? Well, how about if you took Reyes and Ryan, and had them be confidential informants to the feds? This would be much more believable. Ryan and Reyes could remain the professional wrestlers that they are, without asking longtime fans to believe they are actually working as police officers. This would also eliminate the need for them to “act” well in these vignettes. They could simply be themselves. You could easily explain the story too. Joey and Ricky were refused entry into the temple, and later discovered that Dario is some kind of sleazy criminal, and used that against him by going to the police and getting an in, into the temple. That also leaves you with the possibility of turning either Ryan, or Reyes, by having them lie to the police to protect their new boss. There’s many ways you could do that, without having to turn Ricky, and Joey, into actual police officers, which is just silly, and unbelievable.
Now that I’ve written about my issues with Lucha Underground, allow me to once again say that I’m still a big fan. I’ve purchased a lot of merchandise, and I bought the “Sling” application just so I can make sure I never miss an episode. The in ring talent is second to none, and I hope they get many more seasons, and if they do, I’ll be there for all of them. The wrestling is so awesome, so much fun, so entertaining, that I will continue to dismiss gimmicks, or angles I don’t like. It takes a lot for me to ignore aspects of a company that I don’t care for while still proclaiming them “Wrestling Done Right!”