FanPost

Lucha Underground, Episode 1 (October 29, 2014): Rundown & Review

Photo courtesy of El Rey Network

Lucha Underground debuted this past Wednesday (October 29) at 8pm ET/PT on the El Rey network.

The premise is simple. From the show's website:

Lucha Underground introduces U.S. audiences to the high-flying, explosive moves of lucha libre. An ancient combat tradition, watch as good and evil wage war in a gritty battleground called The Temple.

There was a lot of curiosity brewing about the show due to being backed by the production prowess of Mark Burnett and Robert Rodriguez. Let me put any doubts to rest. Lucha Underground delivers the goods in all aspects of a wrestling program.

Now, on to the show...

Introduction

We start with a masked man saving some hoodied hombre from a 2-on-1 alleyway beatdown. It transitions to a voice-over tale of the 7 tribes of their ancestors, the legacy left behind, and tying that into lucha libre. The montage has some nice visuals of warriors, pyramids, and lucha libre stars.

Brief intro of the owner, Dario Cueto. He is a businessman and wants the best talent to compete for him in America. Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!

Dario Cueto in-ring segment

"I've opened my doors to the best fighters from all over the world. And I'm going to give them the opportunity to either kick ass or get their ass kicked. Because this is not a stadium where children can cheer for their heroes. This is a temple, my temple, where we honor ancient traditions like courage, honor, and my personal favorite, violence." Cueto offers a signing bonus of 100,000 dollars to the person who impresses him most tonight.

Blue Demon Jr. vs Chavo Guerrero

Ooohhh, Chavo! They didn't really say that, but my mind does automatically whenever I see him. Solid match. It was a slower paced lucha style. The end had Chavo get reversed into a powerbomb off the top turnbuckle. That led to a some kind of pretzel submission as Chavo tapped out.

Cueto & Konnan office segment

Konnan doesn't know about that, "working for you shit," however, he is interested in all that money Cueto is throwing around.

But this isn't about Konnan, this is about Prince Puma. He is Konnan's protege and the best fighter in the world. Cueto had just signed a deal with, "the biggest former free agent in the business. He's arrogant, he's cocky, he's reckless. He's a man that goes by many names, but, here in my temple, he will be known as Johnny Mundo. But I signed him only to make an example of him."

If Puma makes an example of Mundo, then the $100,000 could go to Puma and Konnan tonight. Dun-dun-duuuun!

Intrigue has been set.

Prince Puma video profile


Konnan explains the significance of masks in lucha libre. Puma does some in-ring sparring while Konnan shouts inspirational messages from his wheelchair. Prince Puma's spirit animal is the jaguar. RRRrrrrrrrrrowl!

Son of Havoc vs Sexy Star

A man vs woman match. Pretty cool entrance by Sexy Star. She was huge silver wings waving around. A real strong video profile of Sexy Star follows. The delivery is heavily accented English, most likely read from cue cards, with subtitles, but the message is quality. She came from a world of abuse and even contemplated suicide, but the mask saved her. Lucha libre showed women are as strong and as tough as men. She trains for every girl who no longer needs to be afraid.

Son of Havoc (aka Matt Cross) speaks in a goofy modulated deep voice on the microphone to say he won't be wrestling a woman. He gives Sexy Star the option to take the 10 second count out, but she sneaks attacks him after the count of 5.

The referee for the match has the type of giant gut that often leads to plumber's crack when bending over. It will interesting to see how he avoids that when performing three counts.

Sexy Star puts on a feisty, high-flying performance in defeat. Son of Havoc was too powerful and ended it with a knee to the back backbreaker maneuver. Matt Striker, the play-by-play announcer, claimed there was pulling of the tights, but it didn't look severe enough to me to discredit the victory.

Cueto & Chavo locker room segment

Chavo is sweaty and stewing over his defeat. Cueto enters and uses the Guerrero family pride to run down Chavo's performance, especially tapping out. Cueto wanted Blue Demon Jr. to be sent into retirement. Since Chavo didn't get the job done, a new opponent will be brought in next week. "Once this man is here, there will be nothing I can do to stop him." Cueto then rubs his nose like he just finished doing lines of cocaine. "One thousand deaths might be coming for us all."

Johnny Mundo vs Prince Puma

As Konnan escorts Puma to the stairs during his entrance, Vampiro, the analyst, puts Konnan over as a tactical genius, but advises us not to trust him. Foreshadowing?

Tons of flips, flops, and spins in this fun match. It felt like a showcase match to feature the abilities of Mundo (aka John Morrison) and Puma (aka Ricochet). I believe there were three separate chants of, "This is awesome," during the match. Mundo picks up the victory with the Fin del Mundo, which looks like Starship Pain or a variation of it. I'm not savvy enough to know the difference. A display of sportsmanship and respect afterward.

Post-match shenanigans

Cueto comes to the ring to reveal the victor of the $100,000, which most assume will be Mundo due to his win in the main event. "Congratulations, Johnny. You've earned this." Briefcase opens, briefcase closes. Now a tussle over the briefcase.

Hey, what's going on?

Two vatos locos entered the ring to ambush Mundo and Puma. Big Ryck (aka Ezekiel Jackson) enters the scene and lays some muscle into the heroes. Cueto hands over the $100,000 to the three goons.

Review
Lucha Underground was a real solid show and a very enjoyable viewing experience.

All of the matches were entertaining. I really like how the character motivations are clearly defined. Right off the bat, money is introduced. Pride is another motivation that was touched on.

Aside from the crowd size, there was nothing amateur about the first episode. The backstage segments were smooth and more like little movie scenes rather than a typical wrestling backstage segment. The announcers, Matt Striker and Vampiro, actually call the matches and sometimes provide interesting insight. Striker has toned down his wrestling encyclopedia schtick.

Even the ring announcer, Melissa Santos, adds something to the show. She had some sass whenever anyone took her microphone away.

The program is only 1 hour and there are no wasted segments. The bell to bell times for the matches were roughly 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 13 minutes. I didn't time the talking segments, but I'm pretty sure none were over 2 minutes. The program had a good flow and I never felt bored.

I highly recommend giving Lucha Underground a chance.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.