By Will Pruett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@itswilltime)
I got the email from Lucha Underground PR and it had been so long, I almost didn’t open it. They’re kind humans and they’ve always been great to me, but somewhere in the second season of Lucha Underground the show went off the rails and I never came back. So, when the opportunity to go to a taping for the fourth season came up, I almost passed. I’m so glad I didn’t.
One of my best friends ended up accompanying me to the taping. He’s a good guy who has come with me to WWE, PWG, and other random wrestling shows. He’s never been a wrestling person really, but is a theatre person. Theatre people all love wrestling, they just don’t know it yet.
Walking into Lucha Underground’s new Temple was interesting. It had a larger indoor waiting space, but once you got to the makeshift wrestling arena, you saw the same Lucha Underground touches. There is a balcony around the room. There’s a large staircase for wrestling to walk down (and fight up). There are a number of surfaces one could imagine Angelico or Fenix doing something really fun and dumb off of. There are plenty of places for Mil Mascaras to throw someone through, into, or off of. The design is actually so similar, I forgot I wasn’t at Lucha Underground’s old home.
On top of the great setting, the same production values were present. Amid rumors of budget cuts, a fourth season being questionable (let’s be honest, every season is a big question mark until it tapes for Lucha Underground), and their wrestlers starting to work elsewhere on television, I wondered if Lucha Underground’s signature production style would be compromised. From what I could see at their taping, not at all. This is the same show with cameras on every inch of the arena and many of the same people running them.
Now, onto the actual wrestling show. I can’t tell you what happened, since I’d like to be invited back, but I can tell you it was great. The usual surprises, twists, and turns occurred. Not everything was shown to the live crowd, but we could piece together what was happening. Lucha Underground still has their same booking philosophy. Their shows are built around action that will satisfy hardcore wrestling fans and storytelling that will surprise them. It works.
I know people will come away from the first episode of the season raving about it.
I know people will come away from one of the later episodes (that likely involves a casket) raving about it.
The friend I mentioned earlier, who has been my plus one to a number of great shows? This was his favorite of all of them. He’s sat ringside at a WWE pay-per-view with me. He’s been to the fabled American Legion Hall in Reseda. He enjoyed Lucha Underground’s Temple more than any other. Why? The action, the surprises, and the intimacy all worked for him. On top of all that? It’s produced exceptionally well.
Lucha Underground returns tonight and, after diving back into the show for last season’s finale (with moving seats!) and attending a season four taping, I’m excited to see this unique wrestling show return to TV.
Will Pruett writes about wrestling and popular culture at prowrestling.net. Of interest to him are diversity in wrestling and wrestling as a theatrical art form. To see his video content, subscribe to his YouTube channel. To contact, check him out on Twitter @itswilltime, leave a comment, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.