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Latest information on Lucha Underground featuring AAA wrestlers

Find out the AAA wrestlers announced for the first set of Lucha Underground tapings, as well as all the former WWE and TNA talent linked to the projects, plus all the other gossip that is fit to print!

John Morrison to star in Lucha Underground?
John Morrison to star in Lucha Underground?
Photo by Alexander Vaughn of Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

Earlier this week, The El Rey Network sent out a press release confirming that Lucha Underground will premiere on their station on Wednesday Oct. 8th at 8:00 pm ET/PT and that Mark Burnett's One Three Media company will start production next weekend in front of a live audience at a studio in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.

So far, only five AAA wrestlers have been announced for the tapings, who are:

Blue Demon, Jr, son of the legendary original Blue Demon and is the first Mexican and the second masked wrestler to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship; Sexy Star, who has held the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship and FILL Women's Wrestling Championship; Fenix, the inaugural AAA Fusión Champion (March 2013) has also wrestled in Japan for Pro Wrestling Noah and Pro Wrestling Wave; Drago is a dead dragon, a character brought back to life as an immortal being, to protect La Parka in the last fight against his enemies; and Pentagon Jr. who has spread terror and fear in his adversaries without exception since his introduction in the 2012 War of the Titans.

However, a lot of top U.S. independent names have already been linked to the project. In this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer claimed that John Hennigan (former WWE star John Morrison), Chavo Guerrero Jr., Hernandez, Joey Ryan, Ivelisse Velez, Ricky Reyes and Candice LaRae were expected to wrestle at the first set of tapings.

Luchablog added the names of Rycklon Stevens (aka Ezekial Jackson), Karlee Perez (aka Maxine), Angela Fong (aka Savannah) and B-Boy to the list, whilst noting that Ricochet had been offered a spot on the show too, but it was unknown if he had accepted the position yet. Obviously Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio won't be involved at this stage for legal reasons, but would be expected to join the show later if it is a success.

After the Observer had been published, Meltzer clarified that although both Joey Ryan and Candice LaRae had been offered deals, neither had signed yet. Apparently there's a lot of justifiable trepidation about signing with Lucha Underground due to the highly restrictive terms of the contracts being sent out:

Lots of talk regarding the contracts offered by the El Rey Network for the Lucha Underground promotion. As a group, several of the wrestlers offered contracts have contacted Andre Verdun, a San Diego lawyer to represent them in negotiations. There was fear of a lot of wording in the contracts for seven seasons, and require the promotion to clear wrestlers for any dates outside of the promotion, as well as a long non-compete period. One person close to the situation told us that the contracts sent "are so laughable my pen ran out of red ink trying to redline it."

Hopefully these issues are sorted out pronto, because the last thing you need is talent dropping out at the last minute, causing scripts to be overhauled days before taping starts.

Other gossip from the luchablog:

  • Little is known about the format of the series, other than the promise that it will present pro wrestling / lucha libre in an entirely new manner. In my opinion that's both a blessing and a curse. They won't fall into the trap of coming off as a second rate version of a bigger promotion and will thus be a truly alternative product to their competitors, but that also leaves a lot of leeway to mess things up by being overly creative and a failure to understand basic wrestling psychology.
  • People who attend the TV tapings will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement upon entering the arena in an effort to prevent spoilers getting out, but the expectation is that everything will leak out regardless.
  • It's unknown how many episodes will be taped for this run, but given that they've announced 12 TV tapings over the next two months, each running one to three hours long, the rumor is they plan to shoot 30+ episodes, which will last them well into the spring of 2015.
  • AAA's involvement is believed to be minimal other than supplying talent for the show. The big picture creative direction is being handled by Mark Burnett and Robert Rodriguez, although they've hired former WWE writer Christopher DeJoseph and Eric Van Wagenen (who was the executive producer for WWE's Tough Enough and Legends House), so it's not like no wrestling minds are involved in the creative process. AAA booker Konnan will be working at the tapings as a road agent, but that will be the extent of his creative influence and he is not involved with writing the shows scripts.
  • Nonetheless, AAA has aspirations that this will in the long run get them a foothold in the U.S. wrestling market and eventually allow them to run two full time tours (both with their own special events and pay-per-views), one in Mexico and the other in the United States. Given that we've heard talk of such hopes for two decades now and the politics involved of turning those dreams into a reality if Lucha Underground is a smash hit, I wouldn't hold too much hope out for that.

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