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Lucha Libre Roundup: Vampiro done with AAA, Pentagon inspiration, more!

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Welcome to the Lucha Libre Roundup. Vampiro laid out his future plans, Lucha Underground executive producer Skip Chaisson revealed the inspiration for Pentagon’s origin story, and CMLL counted down the top 10 feline fighters.

We’ll start with the most pressing question on the minds of lucha libre aficionados. When will live events return? The answer is cloudy in unclear coronavirus times.

For the most part, lucha libre has not taken the empty arena path (exceptions being AAA’s Lucha Fighter and a spattering of indie matches). They heavily rely on ticket sales to keep the show afloat. The majority of lucha libre events take place in Mexico City and the surrounding state of Mexico. That area has the highest count of coronavirus cases in the country.

According to Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico City has 4,027 positive coronavirus cases as of May 29, while the state of Mexico tallies 2,071. Puebla is in third place with 751. It also needs to be stated that the test supply does not meet the demand for precautionary testing. Just like with most areas of the world, no one really knows how many people truly have the coronavirus.

To deal with economic re-openings, the Mexican government announced a gimmicky stop light system to judge when states can start getting back to normal. As of May 29, 31 of 32 states were given a red light. That means large public gatherings are not to be had, as it relates to lucha libre.

When the stop light system was first announced, Mas Lucha theorized that empty arena shows might be able to kick in anywhere starting from June 15 to August. On the Lucha Central Weekly podcast, their crew mentioned rumblings that AAA will try to hold shows in healthy states as soon as is permissible, while CMLL will most likely hold off until September.

Vampiro’s future

Vampiro mentioned in a Facebook chat that he is done with AAA for the time being. They don’t need him at the moment, so Vamp is moving on. Prior to the coronavirus throwing a monkey wrench into storyline plans, it looked like AAA was setting up another battle between Vampiro and Konnan.

In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Vampiro shared a positive outlook on his mental health recovery process. He has a ton of projects lined up to keep him motivated. There are plans for a traveling show to discover indie talent, teaming with Santino Bros to train wrestlers, an interview show with El Rey, a comic book, a spiritual trek on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and more. Vampiro was optimistic that official announcements for the projects will be coming soon.

Lucha Underground interview

The Masks, Mats & Mayhem podcast has made a return. They are running back the Lucha Underground series episode by episode. On their latest podcast, there was an interview with LU executive producer Skip Chaisson (starting at the 48-minute mark). He was heavily involved in filming the vignettes.

The most interesting tidbit, in my opinion, was Chaisson explaining how Bruce Lee was the unifying element among the wrestlers, even with the Mexican luchadores, in relation to adapting as actors for the vignettes. Game of Death was a big influence on Pentagon’s origin story of mastering skills. Chaisson also mentioned using Toshiro Mifune’s performance in Seven Samurai and Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars to teach Pentagon economy of movement.

Top 10 luchador felines

CMLL posted a top 10 list of masked cat-men.

10. Bengala
9. Leono
8. Lynx
7. Tigre Metalico
6. Pantera
5. Tigre Blanco
4. Tiger
3. Panterita del Ring
2. Blue Panther
1. El Felino

That list makes me want to watch ThunderCats. Luchadores, hoooo! My favorite part is learning that Pantera was part of musical group called Los Rudos del Ritmo, which was made up of other fighters.

We’ll close with a gang of luchadores riding motorcycles to jazzy music.

Oh, how I wish luchador films would make a comeback. These guys are cooler than James Bond.