Boring Tuesday shows continue.
Lots of news in the last week, so I thought best to throw in the post. If you get bored with this session of reading tea leaves, there’s some actual good fan content near the end.
Lucha Underground isn’t on the current El Rey schedule today, or any day. This makes no sense to me, given El Rey has the time. The only thing I can think of is maybe the show is more valuable to an online service if it’s not available on TV at the same time.
A lot of news came from Eric Van Wagenen’s Reddit AMA on Friday. In the very first post, Van Wagenen continues the trend of everyone involved in management being sure they’ll be back for season 2, and saying it’s only a matter of finishing off some deals to announce the comeback. Van Wagenen set January 2016 as the latest possible return date. Wagenen also said they are looking at moving to places where it would be cheaper to run the show, but would hate to leave LA. He’s still pretty sure the show didn’t cost $20 million.
October seems like already a non-started given the bookings the wrestler are taken, though they could always be pulled off those shows. I think you get one move of the goalposts on the return date before people become skeptical. But I also really appreciate actually having goal posts, instead of the nebulous “it’ll be back at some point” place we were left on Wednesday.
The current investors are thrilled with the show’s reaction. Van Wagenen says Mark Burnett himself has been pitching people on the show, which gives him confidence things will get done. They have merchandise plans, but can’t get on those until they get a season 2 started. (The Prince Puma masks I saw were actually fan made. I saw no Prince Puma masks in Mexico, which surprised me a little.) They’re not running a Kickstarter, but they’d like you to contact Netflix and other services to ask them to pick up Lucha Underground, and a lot of people were over the weekend.
On to the fun stuff: Bael was not eaten, his head was repeatedly bashed into the bars of the cage until his skull broke. Brian Cage will be back on El Rey; he’s said to have a role on the Dusk Till Dawn show. They first felt they had something great after the ladder match. Light tubes were a one off. They are concerned about going too far with matches and how they scare off announcers, so extreme matches like Cero Miedo and Grave Consequences will never happen often. They love Striker & Vampiro as announcers and believes it’s better for the show if people have positive or negative feelings about the announcers, rather than nothing at all. Michael Schiavello was a last minute call, marathoned Lucha Underground on a plane trip from Dubai and probably is too busy to be a full time announcer for the show. They wanted to do a Roddy Piper cameo (in a way where you couldn’t be sure it was Piper), but it didn’t work out. I think Piper would’ve been prohibited from appearing on the show due to his WWE Legend’s deal, but I also don’t think that would’ve stopped him. Van Wagenen wanted Matt Cross on the show after feeling they screwed him on Tough Enough and Ivelisse actually broke her foot practicing in the ring before the trios title tournament TV but wrestled anyway. (As he notes, if Ivelisse had fairly asked out, her team doesn’t advance to the finals and maybe Angelico never dives off the office.)
In the world is a small place some times: Van Wagenen and WWE’s Head of Talent Relations Canyon Ceman have been friends for years; when Ceman went to PWG to scout Angelico (among others), his wife and kids were hanging out at Van Wagenen’s house. One of Eric’s kids put LU tattoos on Canyon’s kids before they left. Van Wagenen doesn’t want to lose Angelico, but notes the show isn’t tied to one guy and could survive losses.
It generally seems like the original El Rey vision was something very sci fi/fantasy from the get go, and Van Wagenen & DeJoseph convinced the people in charge they needed to start on the wrestling side and move from there. (Jack Evans’ being told he was going to be “Sky Dragon” or something like that fits, as does all talk we heard in this direction before the show went on the air.) They found out the fans were more accepting of the fantasy parts than they thought – they kept an eye on Twitter reactions for things like Catrina vanishing and Drago’s wings as little teasers and it went okay – but Van Wagenen still feels it was a good idea to start easy on that. He gives a lot of credit to the writers, Chris DeJospeh, Chris Roach and Matt Stollman, Skip Chaisson & the editors
Chris DeJoseph also did a AMA, but in real life. He appeared at the Wrestling Guy Store, and a poster on Reddit typed up highlights. It does not appear anyone took my $1 El Bunny Question bounty. There’s some more stories about how chaotic that first weekend was – Puma/Mundo wasn’t supposed to happen until much later, Matt Striker wasn’t contacted until a day before the first show and signed his deal just before he walked out. DeJoseph says he pushed for Ricochet to be on the show, and wanted to make sure to get wrestling fans on board with the show so they’d spread the word. He said the idea for using Shane Strickland as Killshot came from Ricochet, Marty the Moth was cast as Mil Muertes at one point, and they’ve got ideas for many AAA wrestlers who haven’t yet debuted. Everyone loved working on the show, and the wrestlers had lots of input. DeJoseph’s noted before that Catrina came up with the licking idea, and Hernandez came up with the belt whipping idea from seeing a similar match (though that involved a raffle for the honor, which really does sound like an indie show.) I get the feeling that if you saw anyone do something you were surprised the writers asked them to do, it’s probably the wrestlers themselves offering to do it and the writers taking them up on it.
(DeJoseph noted that report missed him calling this year’s Tough Enough “The worst reality show of all time.“)
People ask about ratings numbers for Lucha Underground often. PWTorch occasionally gets numbers, including the Unimas ones, but they seem to show up infrequently. (Unimas, being a network of smaller over the air affiliates instead of a single cable station, is probably a harder number to track down.) El Rey numbers were not available at the start of the season, but did turn up eventually. Douglas Pucci (@sonofthebronx) started tracking numbers for this show in February as part of the many ratings Sports (& Sports Like Substances) posts he does for Awful Announcing. They’ve been there for months, but I threw them together in a list to see them all at once.
His numbers include the 7pm CT original airing and the 10 PM ECT repeat (which is more normal time on the West Coast.) There was also a 1AM repeat – it’s not included, but it’s probably not changing the number much.
I also think these numbers are largely irrelevant. They’re so low that anything else on would dramatically affect them, and they’re so low that I don’t trust the system to accurately measure that low. They’re also not including the Unimas numbers, which should be 2-3 times these numbers. They’re also so all over the place not to indicate anything: Sexy Star main evented the lowest and highest rated shows, for one. You can reach on some things if you already know what case you want to make – it’s interesting the Grave Consequences repeat was so high, higher than some first run shows – but you really need minute by minute ratings to give credit to people.
The ratings for this show get posted on about a 9 day delay; Ultima Lucha’s numbers should be available on Friday.
On a recent podcast, Dave Meltzer mentioned he’d gotten a copy of a Lucha Underground contract and read it over, mostly looking to see if there’s an out clause if the show stops filming for an extended period. There does not appear to be one. The standard contract he saw is a seven year deal, where Lucha Underground has the option to extend or cancel the deal each season. The wrestler can not get out of the contract on their own. If LU lets them go, they can not appear on TV for six months following their last television appearance. That could mean a lot longer than six months if they continue to tape far ahead of airing. Meltzer notes something of that length could be struck down in court should a wrestler have the money/time to fight it.
There’s nothing in the contract that says how long they have to go dark before the contract is a free agent. The standard contract is seven years; you have the option to leave after the seventh season, but they can cut you after any season. (You have a sixth month non-compete after your last episode airs, not taped.) For what it’s worth, when Van Wagenen talked about guys leaving LU in the AMA, he didn’t mention “he’s under contract” as a reason why they’d stay, just that they’d fight to keep them.
There was no talk about a Lucha Underground renewal and almost no talk about the series at all in Mexico. Lucha Underground came up in AAA press events as one of the projects AAA had done to modernize and internationalize, but in the same way the anime movie from years ago and the video game from years ago always get brought up (and there doesn’t appear to be anything going on with those.) AAA isn’t even involved in making the deals and just wanted to focus on TripleMania, but there was no positive sign, not even the carrot on the stick from elsewhere.
411Mania has a ranking of the top matches from Lucha Underground Season 1. There were so many good matches for a one hour TV show.
CMLL (TUE) 08/11/2015 Arena México [CMLL]
1) Pequeño Olímpico & Pierrothito b Acero & Último Dragoncito
Ultimo Dragoncito replaced Angelito.
2) Arkángel de la Muerte, Hijo del Signo, Sangre Azteca b Molotov, Oro Jr., Robin
The CMLL recap notes Hijo del Signo is in better shape.
3) Amapola, Dalys, Zeuxis b La Vaquerita, Marcela, Princesa Sugehit
Amapola beat Marcela.
4) Virus b Pegasso [lightning]
Virus submitted Pegasso
5) Dragon Lee, Rey Cometa, Valiente b Ephesto, Hechicero, Luciferno
Dragon Lee tried a dive onto Luciferno, only Luciferno was no longer there. Lee was hurt, but finished the match. Hechicero stole Valiente’s mask and rolled him up for the win.
6) Euforia, Niebla Roja, Último Guerrero b Dragón Rojo Jr., Rey Escorpión, Vangellys
Vangellys replaced Thunder, which was mentioned in the preview earlier the day. Ultimo Guerrero defeated Escorpion again.
Contrary to my Twitter message last night, CMLL did sneak in a mention of Vangellys being in the main event in their preview (though never on the lineup page.) That’s still the third straight time they’ve advertised Thunder and he hasn’t been there, and they’re still building him to a mask match with Ultimo Guerrero. I don’t know. Rey Escorpion sure is losing every single match.
CMLL announced Claro Sports will be broadcasting the full Friday night show on their website. (That website is clarosports.com.) It’s said to be for this week, so no idea what happens going forward. ClaroSports has experience broadcasting live events – they air Leon soccer games – and it might just be a different place hosting the YouTube link for all we know. Crossing my fingers this isn’t region blocked or something weird.
CMLL returned to Time Warner Deportes last night. It’s now the reair of the Claro Sports “Titanes del Ring” show, which usually airs Sunday Arena Mexico matches. (That wasn’t the case for the debut show – it was the week of the All Elite show, so they aired matches from Friday instead. They’re on about a six week delay.) These are the same tapings which air on LATV, but with different graphics. The Titanes del Ring show airs in HD, and I do not believe it’s currently available in that format in Mexico. That means the same matches will air on three different channels – Claro Sports, TWD, and LATV – and I get none of those channels. (The Tuesday/C3 shows were previously being shown on TWD on a many month’s delay and in no particular order; it’s possible this will end up the same.)
The El Popular recap of Monday night Puebla’s show lists the Atlantis/Mephisto trios match as the main event and has no mention of Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Escorpion, which might be a clue about who got kicked.
Titan says he’s less concerned with winning hairs or masks at the moment, and more wants to establish himself as a name on the poster who gets you to buy a ticket.
Angel de Oro talks about his title defense.
Poly Star took Dark Fantasy’s mask in the final of a Ruleta de la Muerte in LLF. Dark Fantasy was said to be Karla Shadai Silva, 7 years a luchador, from Andalucía, Spain.
Segunda Caida watches La Sombra vs Volador, gives up.
Super Porky, Octagon and Tinieblas are concerned about adult literacy.
La Katrina, a lucahdora in Nayrit who had only been wrestling for six months, is retiring due to a neck injury.
A New Zealander visits Arena Mexico.
CMLL (TUE) 08/18/2015 Arena México
1) Acero & Aéreo vs Pequeño Olímpico & Pequeño Universo 2000
2) Leono, Metatrón, Molotov vs Espanto Jr., Espiritu Negro, Inquisidor
3) Oro Jr., Pegasso, Stigma vs Okumura, Puma, Tiger
4) Blue Panther, Stuka Jr., Tritón vs Cavernario, Felino, Rey Escorpión
5) Valiente vs Hechicero
6) Ángel de Oro, La Sombra, Marco Corleone vs Rey Bucanero, Terrible, Vangellys
Valiente versus Hechicero is a nice a surprise. It’s the old one week build. Puma & Tiger still booked too low.
CMLL (TUE) 08/18/2015 Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
1) Gallo, Magnum, Vaquero Jr. vs Furia Roja, Mr. Trueno, Rey Trueno
2) Hombre Bala Jr., Omar Brunetti, Súper Halcón Jr. vs Canelo Casas, Disturbio, Metálico
3) La Vaquerita, Marcela, Silueta vs Amapola, La Seductora, Zeuxis
4) Atlantis vs Ripper
5) Dragon Lee, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas, Último Guerrero
Well, that main event isn’t happening. The listed main event here last Tuesday was Negro Casas versus Maximo, wonder what they actually got.