Ever since Lucha Underground wrapped up its first season on Aug. 5, fans have waited anxiously to hear when their favorite masked wrestlers would take the screen again — if ever. Rumors swirled that despite the success of the first season, producers were scrambling to come up with funds to keep the show running. In the end, all it took was one simple tweet to put all the “believers” at ease:
— Lucha Underground (@LuchaElRey) September 21, 2015
That’s right, Lucha Underground is back!
Dario Cueto and Alberto El Patron are already getting the party started:
A second season is well earned and deserved after a first season that took a simple, overdone concept of professional wrestling and flipped it on its head. Lucha Underground was much more than just a pro wrestling promotion — it was a movement and a culture that ran through the veins of every believer watching in the Temple or all over the world on El Rey.It’s certainly a time for celebration for all the Lucha Underground supporters, fans and employees alike. But with a new season comes new expectations, and with new expectations comes necessary improvements.
With the second season officially announced, airing in early 2016, it’s important to address some improvements Lucha Underground needs to make heading into its new season.
Lucha Underground is still a new concept, so it’s understandable to have some kinks that need to be worked out early on. Ultimately, the show will need to focus on how to attract new viewers, and the best way to do that might be having more big shows.
Ultima Lucha — a two-week, three-hour finale event that aired on El Rey — was the only major event that Lucha Underground held in its first season. The show would be smart to tack on one more big event, perhaps for the midseason finale, and consider making Ultima Lucha II its first pay-per-view event to air at the end of the season.
A PPV would offer the show more exposure and more revenue, as well as an additional venue to pay their performers. El Rey isn’t provided by every cable provider (which should also be a point of emphasis), so a PPV could attract audiences that haven’t seen the product before. Lucha Underground also needs to work on the build-up to major episodes better, as the weeks leading into Ultima Lucha felt a bit choppy and lackluster compared to earlier episodes.
In addition to having more major episodes and possibly introducing PPVs, Lucha Underground should explore leaving the Temple for bigger shows and possibly throwing some house shows outside the Los Angeles area.
Use NXT as an example. When the NXT performers left their Full Sail home and took over Brooklyn, the response was overwhelming and it was a major success. Lucha Underground hasn’t been around as long as NXT, but fans in major cities like Chicago and New York might just want to get a taste of Lucha Underground, even for just a house show.
Also, this might be a pipe dream, but how about some crossover promotion with companies like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling? The wealth of talent and intrigue would be immense.
Another point of emphasis heading into the new season should be to keep being absurd.
I know that might sound general and maybe insulting in some circles, but ultimately what fans love about Lucha Underground is how ridiculous and awesome it is. We want more demonic mind games and brutal battles between Pentagon Jr. and Vampiro. We want Drago spewing slime into Hernandez’s face as he’s pummeled by fans with straps. And while he can’t really be eaten again, it was fun seeing Bael get devoured in front of our eyes.
It’s those kinds of things that make Lucha Underground different and unique. With that being said, you can overdo the absurdness.
I’d quite frankly be OK with a little less of the beatings handed down to Pimpinela — the cross-dressing wrestler — and Mascarita Sagrada — a Mexican mini luchador. That’s not because there’s anything wrong with having more diverse performers, but because it could be unsettling for audiences unfamiliar with the product to see them getting pummeled by the likes of Cage or other brute performers.
Same could be said for the women performers. I think an introduction of a women’s division could do wonders for the company, letting performers like Sexy Star and Ivelisse duke it out with each other instead of putting themselves at risk for injury against men double their size.
Also, I think it’s finally time to let Prince Puma talk. We know he’s built as this warrior with Aztec roots, but in reality he’s just a dude from Illinois. He doesn’t need to have some fake Hispanic accent, just give him a chance to cut some promos to add to his character and show who he is. If they want him to be the young stud to lead the company like Seth Rollins does for the WWE, he needs to be able to captivate a crowd with his voice, not just his wrestling acumen.
I’ll let the last point of emphasis come from one of the Lucha Underground performers themselves, Johnny Mundo — better known as John Morrison.
When I spoke with him a few months back, he spoke to Today’s Knockout on what he thought the biggest challenges were for Lucha Underground in the future.
“People with agendas start climbing out of the woodwork, clamoring for a piece of a successful product,” Morrison said. “I’m expecting some of that. It’s not a bad thing. It’s something that happens when you’re a successful property. I expect some that. It’s going to be a challenge. I think the creative autonomy that made Lucha Underground successful in Season 1 may be more challenging going forward. I hope not. I think one of the biggest problems with other wrestling organizations is that too many cooks get in the kitchen and starting putting different kinds of spices, and sugars, and crap into your pot. And now you’re cookin’ a pot with a bunch of different kinds of crap when you only need one kind of crap, because that’s the crap that people want.”
Right now, it appears Lucha Underground has the goods that people want. Let’s hope it stays that way for Season 2.