everything we know about Lucha Underground so far

last updated 09/06/14 12:17AM  – more people, a few changes

What’s the show called?

Lucha Underground.

(It’s at least the third different working name, but appears to be the final one.)

What’s the show like?

No one’s saying! The only thing people are talking about is it won’t be a standard wrestling show, but there’s a wide range of possibilities from there.  This is a giant mystery, until it all inevitably leaks out after the first day of taping.

There will be wrestling matches. It’s not a reality show. Best on the info I have today( 09/01), I’m guessing “underground fight club” as the theme, but I’m far from sure (and we’ll know soon enough.) You can take a look at the set right here and here (originally from here, may go down later.) The same band posted about 10 seconds of rehearsals because they’re clearly bored.

Where can I see the show?

The show will air on the El Rey network. The channel is available on DirectTV and some Time Warner and Comcast systems. Their website has a channel finder. El Rey is only available in Standard Definition channel in most markets, though the original shows are recorded in HD.

A Spanish language version of the show will also air Saturdays on UniMas (which was known as Telefutura up to last year and is essentially Univision Dos.) UniMas is a broadcast station, so you must have a local affiliate to get their programming, but they’re in many large markets and broadcast on both DirectTV and Dish Network. UniMas has an HD equivalent. It’s unknown if there will be any delay between when it airs on El Rey and UniMas; UniMas hasn’t announced about it airing soon and AAA/El Rey’s press release didn’t mention it. (The original rumor was the show would repeat on a Univision station after it had appeared on El Rey, so it’s possible there may be a few month wait.)

It’s unknown if/when the show will be released thru other methods (Netflix/Amazon/etc). Other El Rey original shows have been made available thru those systems a couple months after they air on the network.

Nothing has been announced as far as airing the show in Mexico or elsewhere. UniMas does broadcast into Mexico in some border areas (like El Paso/Ciudad Juarez.)

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can write in to win free tickets to the tapings in September and October. More info is here. You’ll have to agree not to talk about anything you see if you go. The first taping is said to have doors open at 2 and the show starting at 4pm; maybe that’s the same on the rest of the shows?

When does the show air?

The premier episode of Lucha Underground will air on Wednesday nights at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central, starting October 8th.

The UniMas airing date is still unknown.

Who’s on the show?

Officially announced from AAA

  • Blue Demon Jr.
  • Fenix
  • Drago
  • Pentagon Jr.
  • Sexi Star

Konnan has also said he’ll be an onscreen character. However, his recent hip surgery meant he’s not able to walk to the ring, so he may have to be just used in other roles for the time being.

Alberto el Patron visited Los Angeles on the day before the tapings, but left before they started. He’s unlikely to be cleared to appear yet.

El Mesias turned up in a photo with Ricky Reyes, so he’s at the tapings and probably a part of them.

Others officially signed

  • Karlee Perez (former Maxine from WWE – mostly the previous version of NXT; Lucha Underground sent out a press release on 09/03)
  • B-Boy (said to be signed by PWI, confirmed on Twitter)

Reported to be signed

  • Ricky Reyes (said to be signed by PWI)
  • Martin Casaus (ex-Tough Enough)
  • Ricochet (said to be working tapings by PWI)
  • Matt Cross (said to be working taping by PWI)
  • Vampiro and Matt Striker are said to be the announcers.

Former WWE referee Marty Elias has been promoting the show on his Twitter, so he’s probably involved either as the referee or in a backstage capacity.

Reported to be offered contracts to be on the show, but may have not signed

  • Joey Ryan
  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. – possibly announcing in addition to wrestling “and will have some administration responsibilities”
  • Hernandez
  • John Hennigan (former John Morrison from WWE)
  • Rycklon Stephans (former Ezekiel Jackson from WWE)
  • Angela Fong (former Savannah from WWE – mostly developmental)
  • Candice LaRae
  • Ivelisse Velez
  • Rocky Romero (apparently at the official hotel, so probably signed)
  • Scorpio Sky
  • Ricochet (had not signed a contract at least of late July)
  • Famous B
  • Aaron Aguilera (replacement for some of the above who haven’t signed?)
  • Kaos (replacement for some of the above who haven’t signed?)

Another Tough Enough alumnus, AJ Kirsch, was one of the first followers of the Lucha Underground Twitter. Possible he’s involved as well?

The US wrestlers are very subject to change; most if not all have not yet signed a contract. There are issues with the restrictions in the contract (how much control they have over indy bookings, how long the contract covers, lack of pay increases if the show takes off). The contracts are said to have gone over many revisions but things are still unsettled. There were also surprise/confusion over pay: some people who would be considered bigger names on the indies were offered $200/match, while others will receive $750

Pre-production is scheduled to start Tuesday, so the threat is Lucha Underground will look for different people to use if these people do not sign by Tuesday (though it’s unclear where they’ll get people on short notice.) The original deadline has come and gone and it’s still unclear if the people who were having issues with the contracts have signed. Maybe we’ll know this weekend.

Definitely turned down a contract

  • the Young Bucks
  • Frankie Kazarian
  • Matt Sydal (ex-Evan Bourne)
  • Mike Sydal
  • Willie Mack (signed with WWE instead)

Probably legally unable to be the show but would be on the show if they could

  • Rey Misterio Jr.

There will also be bands on the show. The group Bang Data mentioned they’ll be part of the show.

Sources: 08/25 WON, 09/01 WONPWInsider, Jim Ross, PWInsider (09/01), PWInsider (09/02), PWInsider (09/02 part 2)

How many episodes are there?

No one knows. Some people misread either the original press release or what I wrote about it and came up with eight episodes, but El Rey and AAA have been careful not to actually put a number to it. The announced tapings seem to cover at least 12 TV shows, which would cover all the weeks thru Christmas Day. That might be the entire first season. If it’s one show a night, they might be taping again in December for another run. of shows.

The current rumor is they’re expecting to tape 30+ episodes. They’ve announced 12 tapings, which would be 3 shows a night. (The tapings are listed as running 1 to 3 hours.) It’s possible more tapings would be announced and the shows spread out more. 30+ episodes would be about a half a year of shows, taking the program well into next May.

The Wrestling Observer reported the plan is to tape 39 episodes, shot over seven months and airing over 9 months. That would take the show thru next July. It means there’s probably two additional blocks of taping planned; maybe 2nd in Jan-Feb’15, and 3rd in Apr-May?

Do I need to already know what’s going on with AAA in Mexico to be able to understand the El Rey show? Do I need to speak Spanish?

Nope. This will be completely separate from the AAA in Mexico promotion and the El Rey show will be in English.  They’ll be explaining everything you need to know.

The UniMas version of the show will be in Spanish.

What’s AAA level of involvement?

Maybe not a lot? El Rey & Mark Burnett’s production company have the reigns. Chris DeJoseph, formerly of WWE, is one of the producers, with Chris Roach (also ex-WWE among other credits) and Matt Stollman (Big Brother, E!) working underneath him.

Eric Van Wagenen, who’s worked for Mark Burnett’s production company and produced on recent WWE reality shows, is an executive producer.

The AAA name has not been used to promote the show locally (though AAA has promoted it on their own.)

Konnan has mentioned he’ll be working in a road agent role and on screen, but not on the writing.

AAA will be supplying the Mexican wrestlers and may be helping to recruit the US wrestlers. The concept started as an AAA idea, but it’s others who are actually writing it now, and AAA’s role may just be to coordinate the wrestling action to best fit the overall plan.

My best guess is El Rey is paying AAA to be a part of this, rather than AAA spending the production costs. AAA trades costs for creative control (and may not have been able to get this done any other way.)

What does this mean for AAA in Mexico?

Probably not a lot in the short term. They’ll continue running spots shows and TV tapings as they have been. There is not expected to be any story tie in on Mexico with the El Rey show (since it’ll be almost exclusively different audiences watching each show), but it’s possible the US wrestlers working El Rey might be brought to AAA Mexico for appearances if they mesh well. The AAA Mexico wrestlers working the US tapings will be less available in Mexico while the tapings are going on – they may even not be used to prevent them from getting hurt and messing up the tapings – but AAA has no shortage of people to use on television. Besides the tapings, those five wrestlers will be needed for rehearsals and should be considered unlikely to appear in Mexico until November.

A second season would likely include different and/or additional AAA luchadors. It would also open the door the specials/PPVs/touring, none of which appears to be in the plans for the first season. Those would likely have a larger effect on the AAA Mexico schedule.

The long term dream is two full time tours in Mexico and the United States, and all the additional revenue which comes from running in the United States. Everyone in Mexico would also get to be part of the US show. That goal will probably require a few seasons of success with this show (and success might be dependent on El Rey increasing it’s reach or the UniMas airings doing well.)

If Lucha Underground fails, it probably means a retrenchment in Mexico for AAA. They’ll turn their focus back to ways of increasing revenue in Mexico while waiting for another chance in the US. (AAA’s previous deals with US companies have precluded them from running on their own in the US; it’s believed the deal with El Rey, but it’s unknown how long it would last past the length of the show.) AAA’s goal of running the United States will never actually go away, but it may be again delayed a few more years.

I have more questions!

Ask them in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

I have info you don’t have here (or you have it wrong!)

Let me know! You can can do here in the comments, or via email.

22 thoughts to “everything we know about Lucha Underground so far”

  1. Is there any substance behind pwi story? Which wrestlers didn’t sign yet? I thought both el Rey and AAA legally own the show through Lucha Libre FMV?

    I get Unimas on regular cable(no dish), no Spanish package.

  2. PWI has great connections with US indy wrestlers. The only ones they listed as signing are Reyes and B-Boy. I’d assume the other ones have made some level of verbal commitment but maybe just haven’t put a pen to paper yet.

    I believe AAA/Factory Made Ventures own the trademarks for AAA and the show, but my guess is El Rey would own the actual shows themselves. I’m not sure about that.

    Since UniMas is over the air, it’s generally going to be part of regular cable everywhere it’s on cable. Haven’t looked into it on the dishs yet but I’d guess the same thing.

  3. So is Vampiro gonna be doing the announcing for El Rey or will it be Kriss Kloss and Larry Rivera? I’m surprised they haven’t announced Sin Cara just to piss off WWE even more.

  4. @Tim: Probably not the XPW guys or Vampiro (though Vamp would probably do better here because it’s more likely to be heavily scripted.)

  5. If Vampiro were involved, we would get a tweet 2 days before the taping asking why no one has sent him info on where the show was being held in Boyle Heights!

  6. I get UniMas on Uverse from the local Hartford affiliate here but it looks like Uverse may carry it all over too

  7. I predict this is going to be one of the lowest rated shows on Unimas, will be downgraded to Galavision, then perhaps disappear.

  8. I get El Rey so I’ll watch. The roster sounds good. I just wish they get a few more AAA guys in there that aren’t used or say a Steve Pain (as he is not able to do AAA proper anymore due to a personal situation.) They could also bring in more known guys like La Parka, Parka Negra, and Psicosis as well to get more buzz from the Hispanic market. I’m excited for the show and hope it works better than Lucha Libre USA ever did.

  9. Are there more wrestlers involved we don’t know about? Pro wrestling revolution wrestlers?

    I figured the guys like Morrison and Ricochet would not sign. A little relieved Hernandez and Jackson turned down the contracts.

  10. I don’t think we have a full list of people in, but if we knew who else was involved, they wouldn’t be people we don’t know about. Everyone (except the Young Bucks) are said to have turned down contract offers but not turned down the promotion – if the contracts get worked out by tomorrow, then they’re still probably working there.

  11. I don’t know of he will sign or not, but a guy like Ricochet would be nuts to sign. He’s a top Indy name, works for Dragon Gate and has had New Japan interest. Plus, you never know, WWE might change their minds about him at some point.

  12. I always thought the idea of the show is to create new gimmicks and do a power rangers theme show? I was surprise when I seen names like Joey Ryan and that Ezekiel jackson.

  13. “On 8/29, the casting agent brought in a new group of talent and had them cut promos and read scripts to replace any of the wrestlers in the current scripts in case they don’t sign.”

    Who in the new group?

    “The main issue is that El Rey is a station that has limited clearance and no viewership. Today, you need a network that can provide strong viewership to open a wrestling franchise up to make money in merchandising, licensing and doing live events, which is the ultimate goal this company has, with that starting around the fall of 2015.”

    Going to be interesting to see how they do with distribution internationally,netflix,etc. because that might actually help them in the future.

  14. When it comes to this story I think pwinsider is the best source for this. They are covering this story objectively. I wouldn’t go with Observer. From reading their piece it comes off like notes from Konnan.

  15. “Who in the new group?”

    Dunno. I’d assume generally like the current group, but even fringy-er in relation to wrestling. Casting didn’t think they were good enough to start with or they wouldn’t be backups.

    “I wouldn’t go with Observer. From reading their piece it comes off like notes from Konnan.”

    Strong recommendation not to say that to Dave!

    But PWI is obviously in close communication with the indy guys (or people are close to the indy guys) and are reporting details daily (not weekly), so they’re going to be more useful on this than the WO. Dave appears to believe his audience isn’t that much interested in indy news outside of ROH and the occasional big event shows (BOLA, King of Trios). He’s covering Lucha Underground now because it has a US TV spot but I thin it’ll probably quickly sink in level of interest (and possibly not for him.)

  16. It’s been quiet so far today(knock on wood).

    I think Mark Burnett is the issue. Why do they need Mark Burnett ?

    Sadly, there’s are no indy wrestlers that will make a difference in the ratings and this probably influence the bad contracts.

  17. Any idea how many homes El Rey is available in? Also, is AAA the top promotion in Mexico or is it CMLL? Thanks.

  18. @Frank: They say 40 million homes in press releases.

    AAA and CMLL are close enough that both sides can argue being #1 depending on what metrics they want to use. CMLL is what more of the average person thinks of when they think of lucha libre, but AAA is the one more people actually watch.

  19. I love how Konnan kept claiming that this project would go the route loading up on ex-WWE names, yet that is exactly what they are doing. Funny how this project and AAA Mexico are similar things Konnan whined about for years with WCW and TNA, which includes focus on WWE names. You got the El Rey show loading up on WWE washouts and then AAA making a big deal out booking Del Rio. It makes no difference that Del Rio was a star in Mexico for years prior to WWE. AAA is bringing him in as WWE Del Rio not Dos Cara’s Jr. WWE Del Rio was someone who was given everything and never got over. So Mr. Outspokan is a hypocrite what a surprise. He never gets called out on anything since he is friends with the people who can bring attention to his nonsense.

  20. So they’re doing rehearsals for a reality show in their “unscripted” block, FAIL

    Guess Hijo del Fantasma (and maybe some others) is gonna be working as one of the new gimmicks since I doubt they can get the rights to it (or be willing to pay), maybe there are more AAA workers in there but they want to make it a surprise, Silver Kain will be in California this weekend… since they have the Dr Wagner name, maybe the idea was using Cesar as Dr Wagner??

    “The promotion is telling the talent that all the issues are being worked out and that they will all be able to do independent dates, just as they have been doing,”

    And another fail, unless the idies are just going to be dropped at some point…

    “To me, I’ve always felt the biggest problem when it comes to Lucha Libre in the U.S. is the inability to accept what it is and nobody making an attempt to promote it to cater to its fan base, and instead try to change what it is and draw from outside its fan base.

    The only viable Lucha Libre in the U.S. is to cater completely to the Hispanic audience with an authentic product, and hope the product itself is good enough and gets hot enough that you may get some fans out of the core demo interested. But that number will never be the key to the success.”

    Taking AAA as it is (or CMLL or IWRG or whatever) would fail too, even though they’ve been opening their rosters to foreign talent which is not cheap heat heels by default, it still needs some tweaking. The “authentic product” would cater people who was born in Mexico and now is living in the US or their kids. But it wouldn have the same appeal to 2nd and third generation “Hispanics”, the show needs to have Mexican-Americans for them to cheer… El Patron and Myzteziz are not Rey Jr for that demo.

    Although bringing AAA as it is sounds much better than what they seem to be doing judging from the talent supposedly contacted so far.

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