notes from a Lucha Underground episode 1 rewatch

I went back and watched episode 1! Seemed like a good idea. The first episode is Lucha Underground, but it’s a different Lucha Underground than will end the season on Ultima Lucha. Every show is going to change over the course of thirty nine episodes, especially shows which are just starting out. This show, with scripts being rewritten the day before the first show, was changing even as it was being filmed for the first time. It’s still the same same concept, but the differences stick out when you go jump back in time nine months. Some of them were even interesting!

The Temple.

It’s the same building in that first episode, only you’ll have trouble noticing it. The main lights are only on the ring. To keep with the grindhouse aesthetic, the fans have colored lights shined on them, but there’s a dark void surrounding the ring. (The Puma/Mundo brawl to the floor requires spotlights to be seen.) There’s a lot less fans too; just a couple sitting behind Vampiro & Striker, plenty of empty spaces on the bleachers, no one standing at the railing, and no seats at all on the floor. They’re careful not to show the section of seats on the hard camera side, so who knows what was happening there. It’s strange to see all that extra empty space; they’re a long way from turning people away. They’d start to add the floor seats and turn on the lights by episode 3, but it’d take until the end of the first run of shows before they hit capacity.

The Announcers

Matt Striker wears a vest, a dress shirt and a tie on the first few episodes. It turns out that Lucha Underground is not a tie wearing show, unless you’re Mil Muertes. This turned out to definitely not be a formal vest wearing show. Striker pushes the differences in the style of wrestling (asking Vampiro to explain a lot of history) and the style of show (“no kids in brightly colored t-shirts” – kids would actually be there by show #2) during commentary. Those theme setting commentators would mostly fade away when there were past matches and storylines to talk about okay. Vampiro is pretty much Vampiro. It’s impossible for him to be anyone else. That first episode had a lot of GoPro style shots of the announce desk, with Matt Striker’s pen taking up most of the screen. It was a technique to cover up edits, but done so much that it gave away the game. LU got a bigger and better responding crowd in later episodes, so they could use those shots as well, and they moved the camera to the center of the desk to show more of the announcements and less of their writing instruments. Even Melissa has changed a little bit; she seems to be hanging on to the last syllable of names longer.

the wrestling

The Blue Demon/Chavo Guerrero Jr. match was derailed by a Demon knee injury. It wasn’t well received when people were watching that first episode. It would feel totally out of place in one of the later episodes, where the style has become fast paced, high spot focuses, and often involving gimmicks or stunts. At least part of that change is due to building to Ultima Lucha and the show itself, but I imagine it would be the same way even as a second season started. Even on that first show, the Puma/Mundo match is a very different style of match. The stylistic change was inevitable once Lucha Underground got more of the people they wanted from the beginning.


It’s been mentioned that first vignette – the one with Dragon Azteca and what’s his name – impressed the people in charge of the promotion so much that all the other vignettes were reshot in that style. Not all of them: there’s a shot of Johnny Mundo doing pull ups backstage done in traditional wrestling single cam shot. The announcers can even see what’s happening backstage at this point, or at least it’s happening more concurrently with the action. This show also has the first of a few early Dario/Konnan sit downs. The two haven’t spent as much time together in the second half of the season, but they’re pretty instrumental in getting the character over. Dario had some in-ring segments on the show – opening it with a very un-Cueto speak emphasizing the importance of courage, honor and violence – and the turn at the end of the show, and both of those come of as more generic owner bits. Dario really shines in the quieter moments in his office.

Other random differences

spot the bull

Ivelisse is not with Son of Havoc, may not even be a person on this episode. Dario’s red bull is on his desk, but cropped out of the picture. Sexy Star’s well done introducion promo is done in English, which she never speaks English again. Big Ryck is wearing jeans, and not his ratty gym shorts gear. No one ever claims Prince Puma’s spirit animal is the jaguar, though I’m holding out hope for Ultima Lucha. There’s a segment where Dario forces Dorian Roldan to take money for the rights to five luchadors (Demon, Sexy, Fenix, Drago, Pentagon) to the disapproval of the TripleMania crowd which comes off as an artifact from a script a few drafts ago and doesn’t connect with anything. (When Fenix, Drago and Pentagon finally clear the border and make it to the show, Konnan claims he’s the one who found them.)

Strange moments of foreshadowing and unexplained phenomena

Dario brags about signing Johnny Mundo to humble him, saying Mundo disrespect this Temple and “is only hear for the money and the fame”, which seems to be closer to the truth than it seemed. Striker mentions Mundo & Puma can go “All Night Long”, which might only be meant as a theme song reference at the time but I’m giving him credit anyway. Dario is angry Chavo didn’t injury Demon into retiring, and that’s exactly what he has Chavo try to do when they next face off. The guy Dragon Azteca saves at the start is indeed a guy in a white hoodie; we see the top of his head and he’s got hair, but that’s all we know.

Prince Puma’s shown wearing the puma headdress he’d debut later

King Cuerno and Mil Muertes are also shown before they debut.

Hernandez wouldn’t debut for an even longer amount of time, but there’s a shot of him taking a dropkick from Ricky Mandell in a dark match.

And this looks like Dragon Azteca doing a tornillo (note the D on the boots)

Maybe he’s also this guy in green?

But – who’s the evil bunny??????

(Edit: It’s “El Bunny”, according to the presentation slides from Dorian Roldan speech on Lucha Underground back in May. It’s 15:34 in.)

Thunder/Escorpion, En Busca de un Idolo, Averno/Myzteziz in Neza

CMLL (FRI) 07/31/2015 Arena México [CMLL]
1) Astral, Fantasy, Shockercito b Demus 3:16, Pequeño Olímpico, Pierrothito Astral, Fantasy, Shockercito vs Demus 3:16, Pequeño Olímpico, Pierrothito (posted by luchablogdos)
2) Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto b Ángel de Oro, Rey Cometa, Stuka Jr. Ángel de Oro, Rey Cometa, Stuka Jr. vs Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto (posted by luchablogdos)
Rudos took 2/3
3) Esfinge b Disturbio [En Busca de un Idolo]
Esfinge won with nudo egipico in a quick four minute match. Esterllita was guest judge. Esfinge scored a 10 (Estrellita), 8 (Gladiador), 9 (Shocker), 8 (Tirantes) for a 35. Disturbio scored a 9, 8, 9, 7 for 33.
4) Boby Zavala b Guerrero Maya Jr. [En Busca de un Idolo]
Zavala won with a full nelson face slam and a bridging cover. Zavala scored a 9 (Estrellita), 8 (Gladiador), 8 (Shocker) and 8 (Tirantes.) Maya got the same exact scores.
5) Marco Corleone, Máximo, Volador Jr. b Rey Bucanero, Shocker, Terrible
6) Kráneo, Rey Escorpión, Ripper b Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Último Guerrero
Rey Escorpion replaced Thunder, but Thunder still turned up and distracted Ultimo Guerrero to set up the win. 

Terra video quality last night was awful, looking like an indy promotion from 1995 who couldn’t figure out the brightness and white balance settings. I’m guessing they brought the wrong equipment; they couldn’t even get their logo bug on the screen. Not sure if that’s why the En Busca de un Idolo matches were not posted this morning.

The highlights show Thunder demanded a singles match with Ultimo Guerrero. Sounds like a great idea, as long as Rey Escorpion replaces him for that one too.

Today’s Coliseo show has Mistico, Dragon Lee and Fuego versus Mephisto, Ephesto and Felino in the main event. This is the show with Hombre Bala Jr. versus Puma, which should be pretty fun.

AAA SANCHEZ (FRI) 07/31/2015 Arena Neza [Estrellas del Ring, Kronosport]
1) Angel Del Infierno, Furia Nocturna, Principe Mixteco b Angel Divino, Kid Especial, Rayo De Plata Jr.
2) Imperio Negro, Moto Cross, Taquero Maldito b Angel Astral, Bryan El Stripper, Delisador De Oro
3) Flamita, Jinzo, Neza Kid b Demente Extreme, Mike Segura, Vampiro Metálico
4) Aero Boy & Pagano b Bizarro & Joe Lider
Bizarro replaced Crazy Boy.
5) Averno & Dr. Wagner Jr. b Extreme Tiger & Myzteziz
Extreme Tiger was the surprise luchador. Rudos took 1/3, Averno fouling Myzteziz and pinning him. Averno challenged Myzteziz to a title match.

None of the recaps mention the title Averno wants. This is probably because Myzteziz doesn’t seem to have a championship. Averno maybe just can’t break old habits, or maybe he had the IWRG IC Super Welterweight Championship in mind.

Arena Coliseo Guadalajara says they’re bringing in a Rey Misterio family member. I’d assume this is a Sunday show, which is being booked more like an indy promotion.

Fresero & Rayman brawled around Arena Naucalpan.

A new lucha libre photo exhibit is open in Puebla’s zocalo.

La Parka & Psycho Clown defeated Parka Negra & Texano Jr. in Arena Aficion.

SuperLuchas looks back at shows from 22 years ago yesterday.

A mask museum in Torreon.

Lucha Libre in Japan

08/01 NOAH: Atsushi Kotogo beat Bengala [GJHL]
Bengala slips to 2-3, fifth place.


CMLL (FRI) 08/07/2015 Arena México
1) Eléctrico & Shockercito vs Demus 3:16 & Pequeño Olímpico
2) La Vaquerita, Princesa Sugehit, Silueta vs Dalys, La Comandante, Zeuxis
3) Esfinge vs Boby Zavala [En Busca de un Idolo]
4) Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Disturbio [En Busca de un Idolo]
5) La Máscara, Máximo, Super Porky vs Rey Bucanero, Shocker, Terrible
6) Atlantis, Marco Corleone, Volador Jr. vs Cavernario, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas

Well, it’s a show. No sign of Ultimo Guerrero and Thunder, no sign of Rush & Sombra, no sign of anything which would be an Anniversary main event a month and a half out.

En Busca de un Idolo is winner versus winner and loser versus loser. Titan is the only luchador to make the final with a losing record. He got there with overwhelming fan support, winning the fan poll every week of the second round. Maya & Disturbio are 2nd and 3rd, which would make it tough to pull off the same trick. The loser of that match is not completely eliminated, but they’d never every single other thing to go their way.

Zavala is running away with the poll (which absurdly wasn’t just reset when the voting restarted last night), so a win for him would mean he’s a safe bet to make the final.

Esfinge is the least certain. He could go to 2-0 with a in over Zavala, but probably also needs to root for Esfinge. Guerrero Maya could pass Esfinge if Maya wins out.  It feels like it’s going to come down to the Maya/Esfinge match on 08/14.

CMLL has started listing him as only “Cavernario” again. I have no idea.