Right now we are at a weird place in professional wrestling where if you want to turn on your television here in the United States and watch wrestling, chances are you don’t have much in the way of options. It just is what it is. If you want to be hardcore you can watch Lucha Libre in Spanish, but you need to get a specific set of networks to be able to watch whatever is being offered (right now it’s CMLL, which seems to be the superior over AAA at the moment). But when it comes to the mainstream stuff it is WWE or TNA.
There’s nothing really wrong with WWE right now, in fact, WWE has a really great roster and at times is incredible, but there is no denying that the writing leaves a lot to be desired and, in turn, that the wrestling tends to suffer because of that as well. I have not considered TNA as a viable alternative in a very, very long time, which is coming from someone who blew a bunch of money on their early weekly PPVs and attempted to support them through a lot of things, only to be continually insulted and disappointed. Their current product is WWE Lite in the worst of ways and if it just went away (like it might) it would only suck for those guys pulling steady paychecks that WWE isn’t interested in. From a fan’s perspective, it would be no big loss.
So over the past few months we’ve been hearing mixed things coming from these Lucha Underground tapings in Los Angeles. Lucha Underground is airing on the El Rey Network (what the hell is that?!) in both English and Spanish and is supposed to be Lucha Libre aimed specifically at gringos, which is an interesting concept. The first event aired last week and if you were like me, you weren’t even sure that you got the El Rey Network only to then hear people rave about parts of the show and the curiosity took over. Luckily enough, El Rey tossed up the first main event between Johnny Mundo (Johnny Nitro/Morrison from WWE) and Prince Puma (Ricochet from the indies) and while it wasn’t the greatest match to ever happen, it was a strong main event and showed promise for the future of Lucha Underground.
Was it actual lucha libre? No, not at all. It was more like the kind of stuff that you’d see in NXT or on the US indie scene, but that doesn’t make it bad. It’s just different. All I know is that I’ve set my DVR for the next few episodes in hopes that there is some actual lucha on the undercard, but I’m willing to watch solid wrassling in any form.
The big thing to take away from this is that it is different. The camera angles, including that top-down angle are interesting and different. This is essentially studio wrestling, which isn’t really done much anymore (unless you consider TNA, I guess, ugh). Like I said, this match is good, but the commentary paints this as a five-star classic from the get-go, which didn’t make much sense. The overall aesthetic of being “dirty, underground fighting” could go either way in the future, but it was fun overall. The oddest thing was probably Matt Striker imploring you, the viewer, to look online for World of Sport stuff and making implications that Lucha Underground wasn’t going to ignore the world of wrestling like WWE does, especially considering that Ricochet was wrestling under a mask and that LU did their best to prevent spoilers from getting out, but it’s a pre-taped show and you can find spoilers for the next few months of programming online right now.