It’s here! Like a gift sent from above, the wrestling promotion I have been beyond excited for more than any other in some time is upon us, and it is Lucha Underground! We’ve seen the roster update news (I mean, as soon as Karlee/Maxine/Catrina/Jesus was announced, you had to know I’d be all over this recap, right?). We’ve seen a few short video introductions. But tonight we get the first full fledged episode to judge for our very own eyes.
Did it live up to the seemingly impossible hype I created in my head? No, it didn’t. It exceeded it! And I’m proud to bring forth the first review of hopefully many years worth to come. Sooo without any further ado, let’s go ahead and jump right into the action just as soon as I take a second to recover from how phenomenal Johnny Mundo (WWE’s John Morrison) vs. Prince Puma (Ricochet of Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE/PWG) truly was.
We head to the temple as our announcer for the evening, Melissa Santos, introduces a luchador already in the ring known as Son of Havoc. His opponent? The one! The only! Sexy Star! Sexy makes her way out from the back with a huge (and equally as cool) silver winged cape spread out on her back. The crowd is going crazy for her, as she glides around the ring and steps inside, continuing to flow her cape around and pose on the turnbuckle as we head to a… to a… video package! Also known as one of my favorite things in all of wrestling — Hashtag Proud Video Package Nerd.
The video introduces us to Sexy Star, with her admitting that before she discovered lucha, she looked in the mirror and saw a woman who was afraid. She came from a world of abuse and even contemplated suicide… until she was saved by the art of lucha. It showed her that women can be as strong and as tough as a man, but not only that — they can even kick ass better than a man can. Every time she laces up her boots, it’s for all of the young girls out in the world who need to get out on their feet and escape living in fear. She trains for every girl who doesn’t need to be afraid. And she wins for every girl out there who needs a hero because every woman is sexy and every woman is a star. She fights for every woman because she will never be afraid again! My chills, they know no bounds.
Back to the ring, Son of Havoc has the microphone and claims that wrestling a woman is beneath him. He requests Sexy Star exits the ring and gets counted out, that of which she looks to be obeying. The referee begins his count, but once Son of Havoc turns around to taunt the crowd, Sexy runs back inside and starts beating him down! He tries to shove her off, but she comes back swinging each time. Son of Havoc eventually takes her down and goes for a moonsault off the ropes… however, Sexy Star rolls through! She nails a hurricanrana! It looks like she wants to follow it up with a wheelbarrow-esque move, but Son of Havoc simply shoves her off face first. He then sends her into the corner and she tries to springboard off until he catches her once again.
Havoc tries to hit a little Snake Eyes action on her, but she escapes from behind and pushes him square into the corner! Star springs forward, leaping over the ropes and onto the ring apron. She smacks him right in the face and hops off with a crossbody! One… no! Sexy charges from the ropes trying to keep the momentum going, however, ultimately gets a backbreaker for her troubles. The damage has been done, as Son of Havoc quickly capitalizes by covering her and attaining the three count… but that’s okay because Sexy Star will be back to wow us all in no time!
First Thoughts: I love this so so so so much. First though, let me mention that this is a program which is much more appreciated and better served by watching the full hour long episode. There’s just so many different spins they put on their version of a televised pro wrestling show that will not be appreciated if you just watch the one segment recapped above and nothing more.
Match Thoughts: As far as the action goes, I thought it was definitely solid but obviously a little short. That’s okay though, because this is their first show and they were only given an hour instead of the advertised two that (for some reason) were pulled at the last second, so I can’t fault them. My favorite part of this, though, had to be Sexy Star’s introduction. Let me preface this by saying I was surprised enough that they debuted her on their opening night because with all of the individuals already on the roster, I sort of expected the premiere to be devoted towards getting the top men’s angles over with the women coming a few episodes down the road just because we’ve sort of been trained in wrestling to expect the men will come first. But not only did they prominently feature Sexy Star, they devoted a damn near Academy Award winning hype video explaining her backstory. My jaw hit the floor.
She lost, but I think they went so above & beyond to get the focus put on her that I’m okay with this. She got the entrance and the exposure, and I think more first time watchers are going to remember that over the fact she didn’t win in the end. Also, can I add that I freaking love them for embracing Intergender action? A) Because I miss it, and B) It already sets them apart.
They don’t really have enough women yet to have a full fledged division, but after seeing this I’m not sure I want one just yet. Sexy Star feels so special getting to take on the guys. It makes her come off exactly as she identifies, in that of a star. Bringing in a few more women is something I, of course, want to see. I just kind of like the small feel to things for now that I wouldn’t want it to get overcrowded and for these matches to lose their spark and their appeal.
A lot of why I don’t like small divisions when it comes to other companies is because the matches become stale when they have to face each other over and over. Here, though, the women can wrestle the men and get involved with them, which gives these girls new opportunity to become their own identity. Sexy Star will stand out from Ivelisse who will stand out from Catrina and Angela Fong and Holly Michelle. They each bring something different to the table, not only in their looks but also their roles within the show, and while I GREATLY encourage additional signings, I want that uniqueness to stay present so that each person has their own appeal.
Overview: From the classic film style backstage segments to the insanely great production quality (seriously, I cannot pride it enough) to the talent itself, Lucha Underground kicked off with such a bang and I love what they’re doing. They’re not trying to be the typical mainstream wrestling promotion with the fancy colored spotlights and huge arenas. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but we already have those. They want to be seen differently — as a hidden gem of sorts, but also one that knows if you want to be taken seriously on a big network like this and if you want to get people’s attention, you’ve got to make your product look good while maintaining those differences. Somehow, they managed to master the art of accomplishing both the true underground feel as well as the starpower and A+ production which is just unreal to me.
It’s not only that, but they’re doing something so so right that wrestling just hasn’t seen in such a long time. They’re going outside the box with their setup and they’re signing talent that deserve to be seen on a wide stage without dropping the ball on them. Whether it’s bringing demanded exposure to deserving people like Ricochet and like Sexy Star, both of whom I am continuously baffled other companies haven’t swooped up and made household names, or vice versa by bringing the TV spotlight back to also deserving people like Catrina/Maxine, Angela Fong and Ivelisse Velez that those same companies foolishly let slip through the cracks, Lucha Underground is just absolutely killing me in all the right ways (if that makes sense).
It’s almost like a second chance of sorts when it comes to those individuals. They can finally get that spotlight they should have gotten in their first runs with a major company, but this time they get to truly show and express what makes them them with no limitations and nothing holding them back. I mean, it’s no secret my love for Maxine’s days on NXT Redemption are unrivaled, so the thought of her getting to play a character that doesn’t have to abide by strict sponsorship rules and regulations? I want it and I want it now.
Lucha Underground just really seems to know talent, no matter what background you come from, and they embrace it. You can actually be a valet and get signed to do that! You don’t have to train and either immediately be a wrestler or nothing at all if you’re already great at the character aspect, just as long as you have an identity, embrace it, and go full out to make yourself special either through your actions in the ring and/or on the microphone. It just feels like such a refreshing, deserved spin on things that the sometimes stale mainstream world has seriously needed a dose of.
Fingers crossed this proves to be the success I hope for. El Rey is still a brand spankin’ new network so I have no idea what sort of ratings they get or hope their shows will attain, but I just wish to wake up and have this be a hit that commands attention for everything they’re trying to do. I have full respect for every company out there that is giving talented individuals a place to gain exposure and show what they can do, but Lucha Underground just draws me in so much more than the competitors right now. Sure, it’s only been one episode so I could very well be jumping the gun… but at least I’m excited. And at least I’m passionate. This is all I want from wrestling, and this is what things like NXT Redemption and now Lucha Underground are giving me.
As mentioned above, I do want to see them sign even more talented individuals because lord knows there are a ton of other people on my exposure wishlist (Johnny Gargano! Athena! Caleb Konley! Alex Koslov! Mia Yim! Kendall Skye!) that could either get their deserved consecutively booked TV spotlight for the first time, or be that case of showing other companies the gems they missed out on utilizing to their fullest the first go around.
The sky is the limit for Lucha Underground, but I’m all in and I’ll see you guys each Thursday I can with these recaps (so PLEASE Lucha, just give me something woman related that I can chat about. I don’t care if it’s a five second beautifully produced backstage segment… I just want to talk about you as much as possible).
See you next week (hopefully!~),