Lucha Underground
GenreProfessional wrestling
Action drama
Fantasy
Developed byMark Burnett
Robert Rodriguez
StarringLucha Underground roster
Narrated byMatt Striker
Vampiro
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes127 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersMark Burnett
Robert Rodriguez
Eric van Wagenen
Anthony Jensen
Chris DeJoseph
ProducersMatthew Stollman
Chris Roach
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Sue Vial
Barry Murphy[disambiguation needed]
Ryan Hermosura
Nick Staller
Production locationsBoyle Heights, California
Downtown Los Angeles, California[1]
Camera setupMulticamera setup
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesUnited Artists Media Group
MGM Television
Release
Original networkEl Rey Network
Original releaseOctober 29, 2014 (2014-10-29) –
November 7, 2018 (2018-11-07)
External links
Website

Lucha Underground was an American professional wrestling promotion founded in 2014 by United Artists Media Group. Partly owned by Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA),[2] Lucha Underground also refers to its weekly television program, which featured characters portrayed by wrestlers from the American and Mexican independent circuits. The series originally aired in English on El Rey Network and in Spanish on UniMás.[3]

The series was developed by Mark Burnett and Robert Rodriguez and produced by United Artists, MGM Television, and One Three Media. It premiered on October 29, 2014 and aired until November 7, 2018, consisting of four seasons for a total of 127 episodes. It was set and filmed in Boyle Heights and Downtown Los Angeles, California, while the series later forged creative and production partnerships with other North American promotions.

Lucha Underground received generally positive reviews throughout its run, with praise for its action, characters, and cinematic presentation, with critics noting its departure from professional wrestling tropes of legitimate sporting contests. The series had moderate viewership in its first two seasons, but the third and fourth season saw fluctuations in viewership after it was made available on Netflix prior to the fourth season premiere. The series was eventually cancelled due to budget concerns.[4]

History

In January 2014, it was confirmed Mark Burnett would partner with Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network to launch a weekly hour-long professional wrestling television series in the second half of the year; it would be affiliated with the Mexican wrestling promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA).[5] In July, it was tentatively titled Lucha: Uprising,[6] before officially announced as Lucha Underground in August, with AAA wrestlers Blue Demon Jr., Pentagón Jr., Sexy Star, Fénix, and Drago joining the cast.[7] It was to be narrated by Matt Striker and Vampiro and began filming on September 6 in front of a studio audience in Boyle Heights, California.[8]

The series premiered on October 29, 2014, on the El Rey Network where it aired on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. E.T.,[9] and in Spanish on November 1, 2014, on UniMás where it aired on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. E.T.[10]

Johnny Mundo won the main event of the pilot episode. Prince Puma was the first Lucha Underground Champion after winning the first Aztec Warfare match on January 7, 2015.[11] On April 22, Ivelisse, Son of Havoc, and Angélico became the first Lucha Underground Trios Champions after winning the inaugural Trios Tournament. The season's two-part finale, Ultima Lucha, which doubled as the promotion's first annual special event, received acclaim.[12] Lucha Underground was subsequently renewed for a second season on September 21, 2015.[13]

The second season began production on November 14, 2015, and premiered on January 27, 2016.[14] Prior to filming, it was leaked the series had been renewed for a third season;[15] El Rey announced the renewal on February 1, 2016.[16] During this period, Lucha Underground began a collaborative partnership with the International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS),[17][18] and held its first touring event, Austin Warfare, in Austin, Texas, as part of South by Southwest in 2016.[19] The promotion was also represented by different teams at three editions of the Lucha Libre World Cup, between 2015 and 2017.

On November 10, 2017, it was announced Lucha Underground had been renewed for a fourth season to premiere in 2018.[20] In February 2018, filming was moved to Downtown Los Angeles,[1] while Lucha Underground entered into a working relationship with Impact Wrestling, holding a joint promotional event on Twitch on April 6.[21] The fourth season premiered on June 13, and concluded on November 7,[22] after which producer Eric van Wagenen stated that the series had amassed budget concerns, and would require "a major reboot on a lot of levels" to produce a fifth season.[23]

A fifth season was not produced in 2019, and in a 2020 interview with Chris Van Vliet, Vampiro stated the series was effectively cancelled, and the promotion dissolved.[24]

In the Fall of 2020, Major League Wrestling began incorporating story elements from Lucha Underground into an angle on their weekly television series, MLW Fusion. Talent formally associated with Lucha Underground were brought into MLW as part of the Azteca Underground stable.[25][26] In June 2021, Dave Meltzer reported that MLW would begin taping content in Los Angeles for a spinoff series that would "resemble Lucha Underground" with plans to film vignettes in the summer and matches in the fall.[27] On August 4, 2021, The Wrestling Inc reported that MLW had signed a deal to produce a spinoff series for Azteca Underground.[28]

Roster

Main article: List of former Lucha Underground personnel

Championships

Championship Final champion(s) Reign Date won Days
held
Location Notes
Lucha Underground Championship Jake Strong 1 March 18, 2018 1< Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Defeated Pentagón Dark at Ultima Lucha Cuatro.
Gift of the Gods Championship Jake Strong 1 March 17, 2018 1 Los Angeles, California Defeated King Cuerno, Big Bad Steve, Aero Star, Hernandez, PJ Black, and Dante Fox for the vacant Championship. Vacated once Jake Strong cashed in at Ultima Lucha Cuatro
Lucha Underground Trios Championship The Reptile Tribe
(Daga, Kobra Moon, and Jeremiah Snake)
1 March 9, 2018 9 Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Defeated The Mack, Killshot, and Son of Havoc in a trios tornado match.

Other accomplishments

Main article: Lucha Underground tournaments

Accomplishment Last Winner Date Episode
Aztec Warfare Pentagón Dark February 24, 2018 El Jefe[disambiguation needed]
The Cueto Cup Prince Puma June 11, 2016 The Cueto Cup
Battle of the Bulls Tournament The Mack April 23, 2016 The Battle Of The Bulls
Unique Opportunity Tournament Son of Havoc January 30, 2016 Ultima Lucha Dos
Trios Tournament El Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio January 10, 2016 Cage In A Cage

Reception

Lucha Underground was well received by critics. John Moore, from ProWrestling.net, praised the show for "[knowing] their identity and [weaving] together an amazing universe".[29] Lucha Underground has also gained praise from media sites like Uproxx, which said Lucha Underground had two of the top ten matches of 2015.[30] In 2015, the show was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter[31] and won SoCal Uncensored's 2015 Southern California promotion of the year award, ending Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's 12 year streak of winning the award.[32]

In comparison to WWE, Sports Illustrated described the promotion as "vastly different", with the show creating a "cinematic approach with supernatural elements and science fiction that also embeds wrestling psychology and storylines".[20]

Broadcasters

Country Network
Canada TLN[33]
France La Chaine Action[34]
Germany Tele 5 and TNT Serie[35][36]
India 1Sports[37]
Philippines TAP DMV
Japan Fighting TV Samurai[38]
Southeast Asia KIX[39]
United States El Rey Network[13]

Lawsuit by King Cuerno and others

On February 6, 2019, it was reported that Jorge Luis Alcantar, who played King Cuerno, had filed a lawsuit in California against the El Rey Network and the Baba-G production company that made Lucha Underground. The lawsuit claimed that LU's contracts "illegally restricted" wrestlers from working in their "lawful profession," by blocking them working for other wrestling companies until their multi-year LU contracts expired. Production of the series ended in less than 4 years, despite producers signing some original cast member wrestlers to 5-year, exclusive contracts.[40][41] Alcantar stated that wrestler pay was usually less than $1,000 per appearance, with some wrestling cast members earning only about $4,000 a year from the show.[41] Alcantar's lawyer also revealed that he had filed a class action lawsuit against LU on behalf of other wrestlers, claiming their contracts, too, were illegal under California labor law.[40] Other wrestlers Ivelisse Vélez, Joey Ryan and Melissa Cervantes (who played Kobra Moon) joined the class, seeking to invalidate their contracts.[42] As of March 26, 2019, all lawsuits had been settled in the wrestlers' favor, and they were freed from their LU contracts.[43]

References

  1. ^ a b Stroud, Brandon (February 12, 2018). "Your First Look At The Ice Cold New 'Temple' For Lucha Underground Season 4". Uproxx. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  2. ^ "411MANIA". Lucha Underground Officially Parts Ways With Hernandez.
  3. ^ Johnson, Mike (7 February 2016). "More on issues with Konnan, AAA and others in recent weeks". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  4. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (18 January 2020). "Vampiro: Lack Of Communication And Accountability Led To The End Of Lucha Underground". Fightful. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  5. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (12 January 2014). "TCA: Mark Burnett To Launch Lucha Libre AAA League In U.S. With El Rey Network; 'From Dusk Till Dawn' To Premiere In March". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  6. ^ Caldwell, James (2014-07-10). "AAA news: El Rey announces AAA Lucha Libre show for U.S. TV - timeslot, show title, more details". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2014-09-16.
  7. ^ Queally, James (April 22, 2015). "Learn to speak lucha: The secret language of the squared circle". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ "El Rey Network announces more details of AAA Lucha Libre project". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
  9. ^ "Lucha Underground promotion TV debut moved back three weeks". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 2014-09-22. Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  10. ^ Steinberg, Brian (27 October 2014). "Univision To Use El Rey Wrestling Show To Bolster UniMas". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  11. ^ Johnson, Mike (2014-10-05). "Lucha Underground spoiler". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  12. ^ ""Ultimo Lucha" TV Special Planned for Lucha Underground". Wrestlezone. March 25, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Believers, are you ready? #LuchaUnderground season 2 is coming in 2016!". Lucha Underground. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  14. ^ Peeples, Jeremy (January 27, 2016). "Lucha Underground Results: Season 2 Kicks off with an Intergender world title match". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  15. ^ Thomas, Jeremy (January 31, 2016). "Lucha Underground renewed for Season Three". 411Mania. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  16. ^ "Lucha Underground gets picked up for a third season". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. February 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  17. ^ "IWS forms partnership with AAA wrestling and Lucha Underground", International Wrestling Syndicate, Retrieved on July 5, 2015.
  18. ^ Laprade, Patric. (2016-03-07) "Mysterio at IWS latest in Montreal-Mexico exchange", SLAM! Wrestling, Retrieved on March 07, 2016.
  19. ^ "Lucha Underground wrestlers battle at Austin Music Hall at SXSW - The Daily Texan". www.dailytexanonline.com.
  20. ^ a b Gartland, Dan. "Lucha Underground Will Return for a Fourth Season". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Impact Wrestling Vs. Lucha Underground Event Announced For WrestleMania Weekend". Wrestling Inc. 1 March 2018.
  22. ^ Nieves, Davey (7 April 2018). "No Spandex Saturday: Lucha Underground is coming back".
  23. ^ "Lucha Underground Exec Producer Unsure If Season 5 Will Happen". allwrestling.com. Archived from the original on 2019-04-21. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  24. ^ "Vampiro Says Lucha Underground Paved The Way For AEW, Discusses Why Lucha Underground Failed". 411MANIA.
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ "MLW: Court Bauer on Azteca Underground and the company's future". Sports Illustrated. May 13, 2021.
  27. ^ "Update On MLW's Azteca Underground Show". SE Scoops.
  28. ^ "Exclusive: MLW Signs Deal For New Azteca Underground Spinoff Show". The Wrestling Inc.
  29. ^ "5/20 Moore's Lucha Underground Review: The Crew vs. Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, and Angelico in a Ladder Match for the Lucha Underground Trios Championship, Marty The Moth vs. Prince Puma, Daivari vs. Texano". Prowrestling.net. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  30. ^ "The Beast, The Boss, And The Blood: The 10 Best Pro Wrestling Matches Of 2015". 21 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Lucha Underground: A new era in wrestling". ESPN. January 27, 2016. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016.
  32. ^ Cal, Jay (7 March 2016). "2015 SoCal Year End Awards".
  33. ^ "Lucha Underground Secures Canadian Television Deal | Fight Network". Archived from the original on 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  34. ^ "Catch " Lucha Underground " saison 3". www.actiontv.fr (in French). Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  35. ^ "Lucha Underground". Turner Entertainment (in German). Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  36. ^ "LUCHA UNDERGROUND". www.tele5.de (in German). Archived from the original on 2018-02-18. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  37. ^ "DSPORT bags exclusive broadcast rights of 'Lucha Underground' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  38. ^ "<Lucha Underground> : 番組情報 : プロレス・格闘技専門ch FIGHTING TV サムライ". www.samurai-tv.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  39. ^ "KIX's Lucha Underground Premiere Wins its Timeslot in the Philippines - CASBAA". CASBAA. 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  40. ^ a b Rose, Bryan (February 6, 2019). "Two lawsuits filed over Lucha Underground contract issues". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  41. ^ a b Satin, Ryan (1981-11-19). "Lucha Underground Star Files Dispute Against El Rey Network". Prowrestlingsheet.com. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  42. ^ Mutter, Eric (February 6, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA, IVELISSE, JOEY RYAN AND THUNDER ROSA FILE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST EL REY NETWORK AND BABA-G PRODUCTIONS". Lucha Central. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  43. ^ Collins, Elle (March 26, 2019). "The Lucha Underground Lawsuits Are Settled, Freeing Several Wrestlers from Contracts". Uproxx. Retrieved October 6, 2019.