Thursday, January 14, 2016

Top Ten Thursday: Lucha Underground Performers

Lucha Underground season two is getting ready to premiere soon and I haven't been more excited for the return of a wrestling program in a really long time. Season one was an absolute blast, that was easily my favorite wrestling show of the past year or so. Today, we will look at the performers in Lucha Underground that I feel are the best in the company. It can include all wrestlers, commentators, authority figures, managers, etc.

The Mack

We open the list with one of the most fun people on the roster. I hadn’t much of Willie Mack during his time on the indies before his arrival in Lucha Underground, but I had heard good things. After seeing him in Lucha Underground, I understand part of the appeal. He’s just such a blast to watch most of the time. In his highest profile match, at Ultima Lucha, he wrestled Cage in one of my favorite matches all year long. At one point, the Mack was close to signing a deal with WWE developmental and could have been seen on NXT, but that fell through due to some medical issues. Instead of hanging his head, he found his way to the Temple and is a nice addition to the roster. While the company’s name and style puts emphasis on the Lucha style, guys like Mack bring a certain versatility to the roster. Similar to guys like Cage and Big Ryck, when he wrestles, you know you’re going to get something different than you would when you watch the rest of the roster. That is very important to have when running a successful wrestling promotion. Of those guys that are so different, the Mack stands out to me as the best of the bunch.


In a world full of colorful, way out there characters, Drago may be the strangest. I mean, considering his absurd tongue and the season one finale where we saw his shadow fly away, we’re basically supposed to believe that this dude is an actual dragon. Hell, there was even an angle against Hernandez about the fans believing Drago is a dragon. However, in the weird world of Lucha Underground, Drago fits in. This character would never work outside of the environment the Temple has set up. He was one of the first guys to sign with Lucha Underground and he immediately stands out. From the aforementioned tongue to the wings, to the mask and everything else about his look, he catches your eye instantly. Drago had some great feuds in season one with King Cuerno and Aerostar, having some really great matches. As noted, he warred with Hernandez to close out the season before heading to PWG and having a really good showing in the Battle of Los Angeles. I fully expect Drago to play a pivotal role in season two of Lucha Underground and beyond.

King Cuerno

I wish we got to see King Cuerno do a lot more in season one. Similar to Drago, Cuerno has a look that jumps out at you, especially when he shows off his hunter style. Also similar to Drago, he was one of the first guys to sign with Lucha Underground. He almost always had good to great matches with the likes of Drago and Johnny Mundo. Something about him always made me want to see him more, but unfortunately, he always kind of took a backseat during the entire season. It’s like, he was always booked in relatively important matches but somehow always avoided the major spotlight. The Last Lucha Standing match with Drago and the Steel Cage match with Johnny Mundo were two of the best matches all season long. He is very good at being able to blend storytelling with great wrestling. He also seems to nail his character in a way that many others don’t. He just gets it. Hopefully, he gets a more prominent role in season two because he’s too damn good to get lost in the shuffle.

Dario Cueto

Since I didn’t name this list the Top Ten Lucha Underground Wrestlers, I can include Dario Cueto. Dario was one of the best performers in the entire company. Lucha Underground created the ultimate “El Jefe” in Cueto. He is the perfect boss character to run the Temple. While the heel authority figure is a ridiculously tired trope in the WWE and TNA, Dario breathed new life into the role in Lucha Underground. It didn’t matter what interaction he was given to work with. He could wield his power and send the Crew out to attack you. He took so much joy in watching chaos erupt around the Temple. Even the Black Lotus angle, which at times felt a bit out place and strange, was made enjoyable by the performances of Dario Cueto. He was always just so captivating and charismatic every single time he appears on the screen. It was refreshing to see the heel boss character played so wonderfully in an age where we’ve seen it done to death. It is a testament to the writing of the Lucha Underground crew that they made this work so well. Unlike every other heel authority figure, I need to see more of Dario Cueto in 2016 and I cannot wait for him in season two.


Like a lot of others in Lucha Underground, I didn’t know anything about Fenix before watching the show. When I did finally see him, he was pretty captivating. The guy only just turned 25 but is already incredibly impressive. Despite his age, he’s already one of the best high flyers in the business. In my opinion, the best match of the entire first season of Lucha Underground was the Grave Consequences bout between Fenix and Mil Muertes. One of the things that made it so special was that Fenix played off the monstrous Muertes so well. He was able to be the babyface in peril while getting fantastic sympathy and really making you feel for him. While that was the particular standout match, everything that he did was impressive. He perfectly encapsulates everything that works about Lucha Underground and fits their style so well. It’s as if he was put on Earth to be a key player in Lucha Underground. At Ultima Lucha, he captured the Gift of the Gods Championship. That, coupled with his performances in season one, means that Fenix should be a major contributor to season two.

Johnny Mundo

During his time with the WWE, nothing about Johnny Mundo spoke to me. Sure, he was athletic, had a good look and was capable of good matches, but it just never clicked for me. He was absolutely rejuvenated when arriving in Lucha Underground. Right from the start, Mundo was given a prominent role, main eventing the first ever episode. He was a relatively well-known name and instantly started a rivalry with Prince Puma. From there, Mundo was a vital part of the Lucha Underground roster. His versatility to work with almost anybody on the roster and elevate them because of his name was and is extremely valuable. From the work helping to make Puma a top star, to his feuds with Big Ryck, King Cuerno and Alberto El Patron, he was pretty great. Looking into season two, Mundo should again play a crucial role. He beat El Patron at Ultima Lucha with the help of his real life girlfriend Melina. I’m hearing she won’t be in season two, but I fully expect Mundo to fill a similar role. He’ll be a top guy able to compete against a wide array of opponents. Simply put, John Morrison was relatively bland but Johnny Mundo is actually pretty damn entertaining.

Mil Muertes and Catrina

I’m putting these two together since they absolutely go hand in hand. First things first, I want to point out how far these two talents have come. Catrina was in the delightful third season of NXT as Maxine, where she flamed out. She continued to appear on NXT before it was moved to Full Sail University, never really making an impact. Since becoming Catrina though, she has quickly become something of a throwback. Gone are the days where someone can, for the most part, make a living as a great manager or valet. We rarely see it anymore but Catrina has nailed this position. She adds something to the Mil Muertes character, comes across as a powerful woman in charge and her “lick of death” has become a trademark. Meanwhile, Mil Muertes is even more of a revelation. He was once the incredibly lame Judias Mesias character in TNA, mostly known for a garbage feud with Abyss that featured some bad matches. As Mil Muertes, he was a bright spot on a great show. Lucha Underground handled the character well, building him as a monster while also making him just the right amount of vulnerable. His win of the Lucha Underground Championship in the season finale was very fitting. Expect to see these two as the best pairing in season two.

Angelico, Ivelisse and Son of Havoc

Early on in the Lucha Underground first season, we were introduced to Son of Havoc and his girlfriend Ivelisse. Son of Havoc got off to a rocky start, losing to the likes of Pimpinela Escarlata and Mascarita Sagrada. Ivelisse, the “Baddest Bitch in the Building”, got pissed and decided to take matters into her own hands. Enter Angelico. His flirtation with Ivelisse made for some fun TV. Son of Havoc dumped Ivelisse, leading to him actually getting victories. Despite their obvious issues, Dario Cueto chose to put them together as a Trios team in his tournament to crown the first ever Trios Champions. I never expected it, but this turned out to be magic. I’ve seen the uneasy partners angle done almost to death, but never has it worked so well. Angelico, Ivelisse and Son of Havoc all played off of each other in the ring and in interviews so well. When they captured the Trios Titles by defeating the Crew on April 22nd, it was one of the best moments of the entire season. They lost the belts at Ultima Lucha, but it’s clear that they will be integral to season two. With a fully healthy Ivelisse, their matches should get even better this time around.

Prince Puma

From the first ever episode of Lucha Underground, I pretty much could tell that they wanted to showcase Prince Puma as THE man. Yea, he lost to John Morrison and even got pinned a few times early on, but his story with Konnan and the focus given to him was clear. He would solidify that thought by becoming the first Lucha Underground Champion when he won Aztec Warfare. What followed was a year of some of the best title matches throughout all of 2015. Puma played up the fighting champion role better than anybody in 2015, including John Cena. He defended the title against pretty much everyone. Drago, Johnny Mundo, Mil Muertes, Cage and almost anyone else that you can think of. Puma without the mask is Ricochet (for those unaware of that obvious fact despite his giant tattoo being visible) and when he’s Ricochet, he’s nowhere near as captivating to me as he is when he’s playing Puma. The partnership with Konnan isn’t great, but it helps since Puma is never allowed to speak. There is a reason LU handed the reins to Puma in season one and had it work so well. The dude is pretty fantastic in this role and should be a flag bearer for the company going forward.

Pentagon Jr.

Forget just talking about Lucha Underground, Pentagon Jr. has become one of my favorite wrestlers anywhere and I only saw him for the first time recently. He was part of the first great match in Lucha Underground history (against Fenix in the fourth episode). For the first few episodes, he performed well but took several losses and fell victim to Chavo Guerrero’s dastardly ways. Then things turned around and he started talking about taking orders from his “master”. This took the viewers and Pentagon Jr. on a fantastic thrill ride. Pentagon began breaking the arms of his opponents and coming off as a vicious son of a bitch. Vampiro, on commentary throughout the season, jumped in the ring to prevent him from sacrificing Sexy Star. This put Vampiro in Pentagon’s crosshairs, who not only tried to attack him multiple times but even attempted to set him on fire. That storyline culminated in the Cero Miedo match at Ultima Lucha, which turned out to be a thousand times better than expected. Vampiro then revealed that he was Pentagon’s master all along in a shocking moment. Pentagon’s performances, storyline and character work throughout all of season one made for great television and his apprenticeship with Vampiro is the thing I want to see the most when Lucha Underground returns.