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Csonka’s Lucha Underground Review 10.29.14

October 29, 2014 | Posted by Larry Csonka
6.5
The 411 Rating
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Csonka’s Lucha Underground Review 10.29.14  

Introduction
As a reminder, this will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard. Remember, this is a review; and I am here to review the show. As always, I encourage discussion and even disagreement, just do so in a respectful manner. I will be doing the review for Raw and most PPVs and iPPVs going forward.

 photo luchaunderground_zpscf8a3766.jpg

Lucha Underground 10.29.14


OFFICIAL RESULTS
~ Blue Demon Jr defeated Chavo Guerrero @ 5:00 via submission [*]
~ Son of Havoc defeated Sexy Star @ 2:30 via pin [NR Under Three Minutes]
~ Johnny Mundo defeated Prince Puma @ 13:00 via pin [***½]


* So here we go with a look at a new wrestling product, the El Rey Network’s Lucha Underground. It will be interesting to see what happens with the show, as the early episodes were reportedly not liked by many due to “lack of Lucha and lack of Lucha stars,” one was due to the booking and one due to VISA issues. Later episodes were reportedly received better, due to the addition of Lucha stars and a change in the writing. Lets see what happens in tonight’s debut.

* The show’s opening video features a wacky Lucha street fight, Aztec Warriors and the history of Lucha Libre. Owner Dario Cueto is opening the doors of his temple and is allowing all Luchadores to fight for his money. We then go into a more traditional opening video with the wrestlers we’ll be seeing.

* We’re at the Temple, Matt Striker and Vampiro are the announce team. The Temple also has their own live brand.

Meet The Host, Promotion and Owner of Lucha Underground: Dario Cueto: Vampiro says that Cueto is Spanish and not Mexican, which is why he is not liked. Cueto says that this is his temple, filled with courage and violence. The luchadore that impresses him the most will receive a $100,000 signing bonus tonight. “It’s your chance to get rich or to try dying”. Cueto seems perfectly fine portraying his character, but I really wish that they would have not started the debut show with the authority figure that has been a cancer on mainstream wrestling for so long now. They need to feel different to attract the eyes that are looking for an alternative.

Blue Demon Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero: Blue Demon Jr. is 48 years old and has been wrestling since 1985. He’s the adopted son of Blue Demon, is a former NWA Champion and has reportedly defended his mask in 19 Lucha de Apuesta matches. Chavo Guerrero is Eddie Guerrero’s nephew, working WCW, WWE and TNA. PWG’s Rick Knox is the referee. They did some odd jump cuts to crowd shots, which traditionally is a tool to cover up botched spots. Vampiro buries Chavo on commentary, saying that like most of the family, he isn’t liked and that the only Guerrero that was really liked was Eddie. Ouch. The match was not good, too much obvious cuts with the camera work to cover up sloppy work. The cuts were very bad and very obvious, and became very distracting. Not a good start for the in ring product.

* Konnan meets with Dario Cueto. Konnan doesn’t want to work for Cueto, but he wants some of that money and has brought the best fighter to the Temple. Cueto says that he has signed Johnny Mundo, a big free agent, but he wants to make an example of Mundo because he doesn’t respect the Temple. He tells Konnan if his guy can take him out tonight, they can have the $100,000.

* We see Johnny Mundo (John Morrison) preparing backstage. Vampiro says Konnan doesn’t invest in anyone that doesn’t have true potential.

* We get a promo for Konnan, introducing Prince Puma (Ricochet). Puma is a descendant of the original Azrtec Luchadores.

* We get a video package for Sexy Star. She had a horrible life and almost killed herself (seriously) but the mask saved her life.

Son of Havoc vs. Sexy Star: Havoc is one time Tough Enough competitor and veteran independent worker Matt Cross. He looks like he bought his gimmick at an Aces and Eights yard sale. Sexy Star is a regular performer for AAA. I have no issue with intergender wrestling, when done right (Sara Del Rey in CHIKARA, Candace LaRae in PWG) it is easily believable. The size difference here isn’t huge, which is a key to matches like this working. Havoc did not want to face a woman and told her to leave his ring to get counted out. She teased leaving but returned to attack and the match was on. Havoc had control for about a minute, Star got to hit some flashy offense and then Havoc won with a side back breaker and supposedly pulling the tights. He was supposed to, commentary said he did, but he really only grabbed at her thigh. The work was fine, the finish was poor and I felt that they missed the boat on introducing a new audience to the intergender wrestling they want to do here.

* Chavo Guerrero is a sad panda because he lost his first match. Dario Cueto shows up and mocks him for losing, tapping out and disrespecting the Guerrero name. Cueto says no $100,000 for Chavo. Cueto also says he will bring someone new next week, and “1000 deaths may be coming for us all,” teasing the debut of Mil Muertes (the former Judas Mesias/Ricky Banderas).

Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma: Johnny Mundo is the former John Morrison, who left WWE and has been doing workout website, the Asylum version of Hercules and the occasional wrestling appearance. He looks exactly the same. Prince Puma is independent worker Ricochet, who is making a legit case for Wrestler of the Year after winning the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors, DGUSA’s Open the Freedom Gate Championship and Dragon Gate’s Open the Dream Gate Championship (first ganjin to do so) and finally won Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s battle of Los Angeles Tournament. They worked a fun match, with a much quicker pace than anything else on the show. This was designed to allow both guys to show off their best skills. Puma, if you’re familiar with his work, is really good and I thought got to shine pretty well on show one. Mundo, for a guy that hasn’t been working what I’d call a regular schedule, also did well. I do want to add that after all of the hype that Puma received and the pairing with Konnan, I felt having him lose on night one was highly questionable. Mundo hit the C4 and then the starship pain for the win. They needed that as the previous wrestling on this show wasn’t very good.

* Post match, after Mundo showed respect to Puma, Dario Cueto appeared with his $100,000. he said that Johnny “deserved this” and then teased giving him the money. The Crenshaw Crew (Ezekiel Jackson, Ricky Reyes and ‘Lil Cholo) then hit the ring and beat down the main event competitors. Cueto said that he has scouted the best fighters in the world, and these guys work for him. He then awarded his guys the $100,000.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

6.5
The final score: review Average
The 411
And that was the debut of Lucha Underground. Since it’s the debut episode, I do want to discuss a few things, they are as follows…

Camera Work: The camera work has a bit of a different feel to it, almost cinematic at times, which comes across as odd, but I appreciate something new being done with wrestling. You always hear that you can’t do certain aspects of wrestling in a new way, but they are trying. Not sure how much I like it because it feels they are using it to mask a lot of errors in the work, but we’ll see how it goes in future shows.

Video Packages: The video packages are slick and well done overall. They need to be in order to introduce the new talent to the audience. I really like them so far.

Commentary: I was really hoping that Lucha Underground could provide a change to the wrestling landscape as far as commentary goes, because as far as the mainstream goes, commentary is horrible. They did fine for the first episode, not great overall, but they did help with some backgrounds on the guys, which is needed. Vampiro doesn’t add too much as a color guy, Striker had his moments as a play-by-play man.

Wrestling: The first two matches weren’t very good, with the BDJ vs. Chavo match being heavily edited due to mistakes. I also felt that the Havoc vs. Star match was a poor way to introduce intergender wrestling t a wide audience. It should have been done better and Star should have been made to look stronger. Thankfully the main event was really good, and made up for a lot of the lacking in ring early on.

I am not a fan of the “evil authority figure” at all. I know it’s he debut episode, and they had to introduce things, so for week one I can let it slide but I hope that these overdone wrestling crutches.

Overall we’ll call the debut effort an average show, with room to improve. Hopefully guys like Puma and Mundo will get chances to shine on the regular because that main event was a lot of fun.

legend
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  • XXXZOOM!

    The problem with intergender wrestling is that the male worker tends to act like a clown.

    • larrytcsonka

      When done wrong, yes, I agree.

    • Dr Wiki

      I think that having the first few male opponents act like that is a good thing as long as once the female has a few wins everybody except for the cockiest of the cocky starts acting seriously.

      I still think she should have gotten the win if they are going to use intergender matches as a normal match type. I’m pretty sure Sexy Star is the top luchadora IIRC

    • Guy Incognito

      Andy Kaufman was a clown and he invented intergender wrestling

  • DrinkingMilk

    It wasn’t great, but it was good enough to keep me coming back for a few more weeks.

  • Trashy

    Aesthetically, I thought most everything looked cool. The staging was great. Just please don’t do the above the ring camera too much.

    But wow, did it seem like everything dragged in those video packages. The “if I talk sssllllooowwwwwwwwwwww, I’ll sound sinister” thing got old by the Chavo locker room confrontation.

    Though it seems a lot of smaller promotions always have that same problem. GLOW and ECW are about the only small companies in the last 30 years who seemed to know how to punch things up in post-production so nothing lagged.

  • Scott

    “Vampiro doesn’t add too much as a color guy”

    I found him almost WWE-level bad on the AAA PPV, this sounds like a slight improvement since you didn’t mention anything specifically awful

    • doctorburningfire

      It was pretty entertaining to have Striker’s knowledge and relative class juxtaposed with Vampiro pointing out the obvious in almost entirely thug-speak.

  • Certainly not the best wrestling show I’ve watched, but definitely not the worst either. I’ll give it a couple more episodes to see if it finds its footing and go from there.

  • i8mypants

    i like how Dario Cueto looks like a mob boss.

    also, it’s nice to see John Morrison and Big Zeke get work.

  • Good review, I agree about the cameras and video packages. I wasn’t expecting much at all, but I thought it was alright for their first show. As far as matches go, the only one worth watching is the main event, that was great.

  • Hammer

    Damn, dog! I thought this was a great debut, certainly above average. The whole presentation was excellent. Really unique look that didn’t feel low budget at all. The show had just about a perfect balance of in-ring action and “other stuff” (pretty much 50/50). Good wrestling. One extended, PPV main event quality match. No pointless segments. All the wrestlers/characters got nice introductions and backstory. The commentary throughout was very informative yet still casual and contemporary. They managed to pull that off without being comedic or smarky. Highly entertaining overall and I will definitely be looking forward to seeing how things develop.

    • doctorburningfire

      Totally this. I was more entertained by this show than basically any wrestling program in months, even including TNA’s improved quality and NXT’s consistent simplicity.

  • Simon

    In a thread that has nothing to do with TNA…namedrops Dixie Carter for no apparant and unfunny reason.

    #OBSESSION

  • ribera

    Good enough for a start. Things will get better from E3 onwards when the AAA crew arrives.

    Keep in mind that people filming this are not familiar with wrestling, I’m sure they got better down the road.

  • VT_JizzyFingerz

    sounds good anybody know what channel this comes on in Seattle if at all?

  • Guy Incognito

    Take what Csonka rates a show add 2 points and that’s closer to the reality. I enjoyed Lucha Underground but I’m not sold on the concept.

  • Ben T.

    where can i watch el rey network?

  • Bop

    Lucha U was definitely worth watching, especially because Raw,Smackdown have been boring for months.

    Son Of Havoc is such a badass name.
    Sexy Star is plain awesome. Don’t know why they made her a face, because as a heel she is amazing.

    Morrison is very underrated and this Prince Puma guy is super athletic and agile.

    Let’s hope the show finds its groove. They are off to a good start.

  • VT_JizzyFingerz

    Finally managed to catch it. There’s much room for improvements the commentary was the drizzling shits but I do dig the owner and the cinematic promos, the camera angles will take some getting used to. It felt like TUF the movie….but wrestling. Either way I can dig it the more wrestling the better so I’m on board

  • Steve Ward

    Solid debut, showing plenty of potential. This is going to sound really shitty, but I mean it as the utmost compliment – Lucha Underground may turn out to be what Wrestling Society X could have been.

    Love the production style. It’s different enough to set itself apart, but not so different that it’s alienating and weird, it just works. Shooting all the backstage stuff cinematically doesn’t make a lick of sense kayfabe-wise, but it’s better than the wrestling norm of being shot realistically, only with the camera being a magical, invisible thing that no one acknowledges. I’ll take the Underground style any day, at least it looks cool. The Chavo segment was particularly well shot.

    I don’t see the problem with Prince Puma losing. The way they featured him and put him over made me assume he’s going to be heavily featured going forward, so losing on the premiere really just establishes that he’s beatable. I don’t even know if LU is going to have a championship, but I assume Puma will be a major player (this episode leads me to guess he’ll be the first champion), so looking good in defeat on episode one is ideal. Unless I’m totally wrong about him being heavily featured in the future.

    Plus I just dig Johnny Nitro, so seeing him in a main event with a good amount of time and a real chance to shine is perfect. Bring on more matches like that. Though having commentary flat out declare Puma vs. Mundo to be a MOTYC was far too much. You just put it over, the fans give that kind of praise. If YOU say it, the fans are less inclined to.

    And Vampiro/Striker weren’t bad at all. I was completely enjoying their work until Vampiro started talking about Konnan. Konnan’s a face, right? So that makes Vampiro a heel commentator? How am I supposed to feel, Striker? Why aren’t you providing a voice of reason?

    Minor complaint. Overall, a very refreshing show. I’ll certainly be watching next week, especially if all this talk of improvement comes to fruition. Looking forward to it.