Lucha Underground: Crossing the Border

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I swear that title isn’t me making a racist crack, that’s genuinely the name of the third episode of season one. Poor Donald Trump wouldn’t be able to watch this episode. Actually he probably couldn’t even watch this show–you know what? Let’s focus on the program.

Let’s start off with our first match of the night: Mascarita Sagrada versus El Mariachi Loco. Right off the bat you can see a very noticeable height difference between Mariachi and Mascarita: the latter being on the shorter side.

Just goes to show, even if your opponent is too short to ride on Space Mountain: they can still kick your butt in the ring. It’s the type of match you probably wouldn’t see on other more mainstream forms of entertainment like WWE: but it provides different fights and storylines to follow. That’s not true, you’d probably see it on WWE, but it would more than likely be a pitiful squash match that’s downright cringe-worthy.

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I mean hell, this is basically a classic David versus Goliath with way more flippy shit and a comedic twist that doesn’t take away from the match itself.

In the end, Mascarita Sagrada wins his match amd is met by Chavo Gueerrero coming down to the ring. Classic Chavo attacks and beats the happiness right out of him; establishing that he’s a bully with an inferiority complex. Or htat he’s a complete scrub, however you want to look at it.

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Now we pause our writing in order for a fashion break. Today’s fashion victim is once again: Mil Muertes. He’s here to bring you the latest in pajama couture. His bottoms belong to the ‘probably would be found in a haunted mansion on the murder victim from 1896‘ line.

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Now Johnny Mundo has a scene which screams classic action movie protagonist. His hallway fight trying to get to Dario Cueto (those poor bodyguards) is a quintessential action movie brawl and fit far too perfectly.

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Aside from Catrina escorting Mil Muertes to the ring, there were no female competitors featured on the program. Does this sadden me? Yes, yes it does. However, I do get it. It’s only a one hour program that’s heavily based on storylines. Perhaps featuring someone like Sexy Star or Ivelisse here would not have fit right in regards to pacing. Perhaps the next episode will show some of these ladies kicking more ass than a donkey.

 

Lucha Underground: Los Demonios

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Lucha Underground: Season 1 Episode 2: Los Demonios

I must say, in binging this show I know simply summarizing what happens in each episode would become boring and redundant for me. That’s not a reflection of the show, I simply have the attention span of a goldfish. Therefore I’ve decided we’re going to look at moments from episode two of the first season which caught my attention.

I’d like to start by saying that the opening promo was short, sweet, and to the point. It was an introduction for Cortez, Cisco, and Big Rick: but wasn’t overwhelmingly long and boring. Now this is likely because they don’t have a three hour time slot to fill with nonsense, but it worked out quite nicely.

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Obviously Big Rick caught my attention here. The man looks like a douchebag version of Luke Cage; except he smokes a cigar and has an incredibly sad color palette for his wardrobe.  Plus he has Cisco and Cortez fight for him, and I mean…come on. How could I not call him a Bizzaro Luke Cage?

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To quote Matt Striker: “It’s almost like Dario is the Beyonder from Secret Wars.”

Well HELL YES I’m here for some comic book references thrown into the mix. These performers are practically walking comic book characters to begin with, may as well drive the point home.

Seriously though. Keep it coming, the nerd in me giggles with glee each time.

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The debut of Mil Muertes and Catrina makes me giggle (not the nerd in me, just the general me).

Not that I don’t take them seriously or find them intimidating….but the outfits are so unexpected compared to what I’ve seen of them when I started watching during season 3. Which of course makes me view them just a little differently.

I mean, Mil just looks very much like a lovely feathered friend. Dare I say even Catrina seems less sinister and manipulative. To be frank, she gives me the impression of a very skilled, seasoned professional dancer.

Though I suppose I can say she dances her way over the graves of their opponents. Ha!

I’ll go home now.

Lucha Underground: The Very First Episode

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When it comes to Lucha Underground I am far behind in what’s going on. Sure, I caught a few episodes of the most recent season and I’ve seen some random clips thanks to the Tube of You; but I’ve neglected the wave of awesome which is: Lucha Underground. Now thanks to Netflix, I can tend to an all new addiction!

YAY!

That brings us to this series, where I start at the very first season of Lucha Underground and work my way to the present.

Let the violence begin!

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Right away the show begins to establish and identify itself as just the kind of entity that it is: which is not your standard WWE programming in the slightest. The pilot weaves together the history and culture behind lucha libre in order to educate viewers; whether they’re seasoned fans or brand new to that style of wrestling.  Hell one of the ways it does this is by having the first ever match on the show feature two legacies/legends of wrestling: Chavo Guerrero Jr and Blue Demon Jr. They too are used to further the history and storytelling aspect Lucha Underground is trying to establish right off the bat.

The entire premise of this program seems simple and is outlined in the very beginning. The point is to be an alternative to what’s out there. They’re unapologetically violent and utilizing a style all their own.

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The first episode also establishes how women are used in their programming. It’s simple: they’re used as fighters that are just as valued as their male counterparts. Through using an intergender match on their very first episode it establishes how different the program is from others, which is incredible. It’s boldly making a statement: that no matter their sex, talent will be used equally and it isn’t using genitalia or gendered stereotypes to depict it (unless of course, you have your occasional misogynistic d-bag, but that’s just a character type, not a booking standard).

From the start it’s making sure the viewers know that female competitors are equal to (or even better) than their male counterparts by having the first intergender match be Son of Havoc vs. Sexy Star. Sure, Sexy Star lost, but not for a lack of trying, and she wasn’t depicted as a woman afraid to go in and fight. She was shown as strong and relentless, and that’s the type of portrayal and representation I can get behind.

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Yes,  the programming is brutal but, it does not try to pretend that it’s not vicious or hide what it’s like.

I’d also like to point out the commentary team, which really is the equivalent of ‘mood music’ for the show. The duo of Vampiro and Matt Striker are holding down the commentary table. I must say–I’m into it. It’s very comfortable, and relaxed. Nothing feels forced, and in fact, it feels like you’re watching the programming with two incredibly knowledgeable friends just shooting the breeze. Their commentary style meshes well with the overall tone of the programming, something which I think is incredibly hard to achieve.

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So far, I’m very pleased with starting this show from the very beginning.

What It’s Like Watching: Lucha Underground

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For the first time this week I was able to watch Lucha Underground on television. I have no idea how this happened, but suddenly I had acquired the El Rey network and I was not about to let it go to waste. I hopped on my stationary bike in a pitiful attempt to do some cardio, and I dove into the world of Lucha Underground.

Holy shit, what a world it is.

My previous experience watching LU was always whatever clip I could manage to find on the internet in an attempt to piece together an episode. Sure, I’m very late in the game but you can blame my service provider for that.

My first match of the episode was: Famous B with Brenda and Dr. Wagner vs. Mascarita Sagrada with Son of Havoc in a Believer’s Backlash Match 

I know what you’re thinking, what the fuck is a Believer’s Backlash Match? I’ll tell you what it is–it’s pure gold. This was ridiculous in the most incredible way. I saw magic happen–actual magic that produced a bowling ball which led to a perfect strike! I saw a cardboard standee get the Marie Antoinette treatment. I mean, I did see popcorn get used as a weapon, and while my heart whimpered at the thought of that popcorn not finding a home in my stomach; I dealt with it.

The match was incredible. It was silly, it was ridiculous, the wrestling was awesome and it was so fun to watch. On top of all that, it told a story that didn’t need to be fed to the audience. While I was completely oblivious to the plot of their feud in the beginning, by the end of the match I understood exactly what was going on and I was able to enjoy the show like I had been following this entire time. Plus I enjoyed the inclusion of the audience, and the “all weapons being legal” stipulation to the match.

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All Inclusive Matches

The second match I enjoyed was: Ivelisse, The Mack, Marty The Moth Martinez, Mariposa and Jeremiah Crane vs. Killshot, Dante Fox, Brian Cage, El Texano and Argenis.

The Winner of this match will be entered in Aztec WarFare 

May I just say this right off the bat: the names for their matches and segments are fun. I definitely dig what’s going down here.

I can’t say anything bad about this match, this was a great match. More importantly what I loved was the inclusion of women in this match. I love Ivelisse very much and she’s a wrestler whose matches I will go out of my way to find and binge away a weekend over. Ivelisse I’m familiar with, and I knew she would bring her A-game. This was the first time ever being exposed to Mariposa, and I was not disappointed. To see the women wrestling the men and not being treated as though they’re fragile or incapable was so refreshing. They’re included in matches and showing that they can throw down with the boys and can even be better than them.

 

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A Puma put to sleep.

The final match of the night was a Grave Consequences match, featuring: Mil Muertes with Catrina vs. Prince Puma

Good lord if you think anyone would actually die in a match, it might actually be this match. It was brutal, right off of the bat. The second Mil Muertes made his entrance, Prince Puma was on him like shoppers on Black Friday. The match was on fire from start to finish, and leaves you desperately rooting for the underdog as these two wrestlers finally put an end to their story together.

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How does it feel?

So how did I feel watching Lucha Underground? Fucking great. The show is an hour long, and with three fantastic matches PLUS extremely cinematic (and entertaining) promos, it’s a recipe for success. Not a single moment of it feels like the show is dragging on. I wasn’t begging for the show to just end in preparation of everything else I had to do before calling it a night. To me, that’s exactly the way a show should feel. You should feel completely immersed in it that the time just flies by and you don’t feel pained by watching the program.

On the other hand, as a Latina, I really love what Lucha Underground is doing. The immersion of culture without any mockery or objectification is such a pleasant change of pace. I want the utmost success for LU.

Added bonus: the commentary team does not make me want to put my head through a desk, nor keep any of them away from society for being horrifyingly mysognistic. Take notes, WWE, Lucha Underground is doing some great things.

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