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A Standing Ovation for Lucha Underground

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Lucha Underground is awesome; let’s start with that. Two episodes into the new series, El Rey Network has a legitimate alternative to mainstream professional wrestling. The production style is unlike anything we’ve seen before; backstage segments seem like they are scenes from a Quentin Tarantino movie. The arena (referred to as a “temple”) doesn’t have a Titantron, or seat 20,000 fans. Instead, the commentators tout it as a “hot, dingy” place that is almost a member of the Lucha Underground roster. Those commentators, by the way, are former WWE announcer Matt Striker, and wrestling veteran Vampiro. Both men add to the show with their commentating style; believe it or not, they actually call wrestling matches. They describe the holds, and detail the perfomer’s strategies in the ring. There aren’t any corporate advertisements, corny jokes, or over-selling the product. Acting as a solid foundation, the arena and commentating crew only scratch the surface of Lucha Underground’s appeal.

The in-ring action is just as good as the production value, if not better. While a small team thus far, there isn’t one Lucha Underground performer who doesn’t kill it in the ring. Perhaps the most noteworthy of them all is Johnny Mundo, aka John Morrison. It shouldn’t be much surprise that Mundo can still go, and if Lucha Underground does nothing else, it proves that. Prince Puma (Ricochet, to the indy fans) also tears the house down on the first two weeks of the show. This guy’s timing is incredible, and has already proven that he works incredibly well with Mundo/Morrison. Adding to Puma’s character is his manager/mentor, Konnan, of WCW fame in the United States. If you enjoy the little things in professional wrestling, then you’ll appreciate the fact that Vampiro is skeptical of Konnan on air, citing back to a real-life feud they had over the years before reconciling in WCW. You’ll also recognize Chavo Guerrero, whose background and family ties are a perfect fit for this promotion. If any WWE fans miss Ezekiel Jackson, they should tune into Lucha Underground to find him as “Big Ryck“, the leader of the on-air owner’s heel faction. Through two episodes, Big Ryck (pronounced ‘Rick’) is being used perfectly. Lucha Underground is intriguing without even mentioning Sexy Star, the lucha legend Blue Demon Jr., or Son of Havoc (rocking the mask & beard combo).

Great production value and an incredibly product in the ring; do you need more? Ask and you shall receive. Lucha Underground is different; plain and simple. In the premiere episode, Son of Havoc wrestled Sexy Star in an intergender match – something you will not see on any other wrestling program. The best part? It was a great match. Big Ryck smoked a cigar during his promo, and while watching a match ringside. That may not sound like a big deal, but seeing him perched on the nearby stairs, in the shadows, blowing clouds of cigar smoke added to the heel persona he’s trying to achieve. You won’t see that in any other televised wrestling promotion, either.

It should come as no surprise that other noteworthy performers are rumored to have interest in joining Lucha Underground. Alberto Del Rio has expressed interest in joining the promotion once he’s able, and the latest rumors have Rey Mysterio being intrigued with the idea as well. Rey has already been present backstage at a Lucha Underground event. With a lighter schedule and alternative programming style, the new promotion could provide a solid post-WWE option for several “free agents.”

Needless to say, Lucha Underground is a must-watch for wrestling fans. To those that say RAW should not be three hours long – Lucha Underground is an action-packed single hour. To those that mute their televisions during other weekly wrestling shows – Matt Striker and Vampiro have been fantastic on commentary through the first two episodes. Finally, to those that simply love wrestling – the action in the Lucha Underground ring is phenomenal. Strap in, set your DVRs and experience a new form of televised wrestling.

Lucha Underground airs on Wednesdays, at 8:00pm ET/PT on El Rey Network.

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