On Rewind-A-Wai #76, we are reviewing Ultima Lucha 1 from the conclusion of season one of Lucha Underground in 2015.
This show was selected by Espresso Executive Producer @Robert_Frith and the podcast will be released Tuesday, December 8 for Patrons.
Leave us your feedback on Ultima Lucha 1 below.
*The Mack vs. Brian Cage in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
*Angelico, Son of Havoc & Ivelisse vs. Disciples of Death for the Trios Championship
*Hernandez vs. Drago in a Believer’s Backlash Match
*Johnny Mundo vs. Alberto El Patron
*Pentagon Jr. vs. Vampiro in a Cero Miedo Match
*Sexy Star vs. Fenix vs. King Cuerno vs. Bengala vs. Big Ryck vs. Jack Evans vs. Aero Star for the Gift of the Gods Championship
*Blue Demon Jr. vs. Texano
*Prince Puma vs. Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground title
Brian from New Jersey
I remember watching this at the end of my binge watching the entire 39-week first season in under three weeks in early 2016. I only had El Rey through my cable provider for a little over a year, mid-2016 to the fall of 2017, ending with just a few episodes to go in Season 3, so I primarily relied on iTunes for watching this weird and wonderful wrestling show, the first two seasons being the high points. The production values of the non-wrestling segments, as well as Dario Cueto running the show, remain the most enduring aspects of the show to me, followed by the amount of talent that either broke out on the show or reinvented themselves. Looking back at how this first season ended, Brian “They Call Him” Cage and Willie Mack showed why they were names to keep an eye on, and Pentagon Jr. vs. Vampiro was the most violent match I’ve seen from a television show in forever, perhaps topped by the Art of War Match between Killshot and Dante Fox that kicked off Ultima Lucha Tres. I also really enjoyed Drago on this show, but I couldn’t care less about him having this type of match, or any match, with Hernandez.
A great choice by Robert! I was a big fan of Lucha Underground upon its arrival, and stuck with it even through the less notable last couple of seasons. There’s plenty to be said about the show’s failure to tap into the crossover audience it seemed to be shooting for, as well as the rotten contracts it locked its talent into, but Lucha Underground presented something truly different (the dubious precedent of Wrestling Society X aside), and stayed true to its own style and twisted logic.
As for Ultima Lucha itself, at the time it felt like a well-built show with solid payoffs to long-simmering feuds, and five years later it moved along at a good clip, aided by a hot crowd. I especially enjoyed the Mack’s classic underdog charisma, the sleazy telenovela charm of Dario Cueto, and the gonzo Grand Guignol of Pentagon vs Pope Vampiro. Were any of the matches technical classics? Of course not, and even if they had been they would have been chopped to ribbons by the editing. But damn if this didn’t make for some fun and easy viewing on a Friday night with pizza and beer.
I’m sure you guys have already done the “where are they now” game and discussed the question of Lucha Underground’s influence on current cinematic matches, so I’ll ask this: how much of a role do you think the show played in the rise of the Lucha Bros? Do they go on their successful US indie run and end up in AEW without Lucha Underground raising their profile?
8 Vampiro’s Papal Mitres out of 10.
Brandon from Oshawa
This was a fun watch. It is so cool to look back and see how many of these guys are wrestling weekly in the big promotions now. Lucha Underground had everything I enjoy in wrestling, from great matches, to great brawls, a great crowd and fun stories. Whether it is death or time travel, as outlandish as this stuff was, it was fun to watch.
Do you guys think Jeff Cobb is actually better in a role like Matanza? I thought he was such a bad ass monster. As good as he is playing “himself”, I think he’s missed something since leaving Lucha Underground.
Do you ever see Dario Cueto going to a WWE or AEW or any company for that matter? I know he’s actually an actor, but has he ever done any interviews saying if he’d be open to doing more in wrestling. I thought he was really excellent.
Such a good show, I watched season 1 enthralled at a different take on wrestling. Having had the market for mainstream wrestling dominated by one interpretation of what wrestling could be, it was like a breath of fresh air to see high production values and a different take. I’m someone who values the art of storytelling and hype in my wrestling and this was it! The characters were set up with storytelling in mind and I felt season 1 really paid off.
I remember the Vampiro Pentagon match to this day which says a lot about the storytelling and craft of the match, on top of its brutality. The show managed to give wrestlers who are very good at wrestling some depth that they haven’t really been able to replicate since like Brian Cage, Jeff Cobb/Matanza, and Ricochet/Prince Puma.
As the show progressed I watched season 2 but felt it went a little too far and began to lose me with the killing off of characters. In the end I didn’t watch season 3 and fell away after that.
In my constant pursuit for the underdog take on professional wrestling this was a fantastic buffer before the rise of AEW and after the fall of TNA.
Having gone back 5 years there’s one question for today. With live sport being so valued due to its advertising potential in the 2020 market could a viable third promotion exist? I felt NWA Power (rrrr?). was heading that way in offering a unique and different take on the same professional wrestling concept of arenas and weekly big tv shows but has ultimately fell off the wagon, but I feel the market is ripe for unique takes on wrestling.