Writing this article is certainly… a unique opportunity. If that phrase means anything to you in wrestling, then you must have watched Lucha Underground. For all the legal and logistical troubles the show ran into during its final season, it provided something very different from other wrestling companies. The show had a cinematic quality to its over the top storylines: invading militaristic groups, constantly shifting allegiences, murder, a certain man of a thousand deaths, and Konnan being unable to catch a break. If these all sound familiar, it’s because it could very easily be applied to a recent episode of MLW Fusion.
Ever since Contra Unit made their debut, I felt that they had a certain LU quality about them. A secret base, corporate buyouts, fueled by ideals rather than wrestling, all things we saw in the Temple in Boyle Heights. For as much as Contra Unit reminded me of LU though, the rest of the show did not. Whether it was the feud between Lawlor and the Von Erichs or the Opera Cup, MLW felt more like a so-called “super indie” show than it did a new Underground. Even with characters like LA Park, Selina De La Renta, Dynasty, and Konnan himself, I wasn’t ready to call MLW the new Underground: then Selina went to the woods. As soon as she mentioned a man who had died a thousand deaths, a man who lost his family in an earthquake, a man who spent time in Boyle Heights, I knew what was coming. A man most hadn’t seen since his deathmatch with Willie Mack, and I hadn’t seen since Wrestlecade 2018(look I saw a 6 person ladder match in person and I miss live wrestling okay). A man known only as, Mil Muertes.
Now, simply having former Lucha Underground talent does not make a company “The new Lucha Underground.” If that were the case, then AEW would have that title by a long shot; seriously, so much of their roster was on LU. No, what makes MLW “The new Lucha Underground” is the way they are handling their roster and presentation. Let’s start with the naming. Mil Muertes debuted on MLW: not Ricky Banderas, not El Mesias, but Mil Muertes. The Muertes name debuted with LU, as did the background of his family dying in an earthquake and of course LU took place in Boyle Heights. They chose carefully what background to give him. They also had the very first thing he did be to seemingly murder Konnan. I actually had to double check that LU didn’t already kill off Konnan because that seems like something they would do. Konnan was a major part of that show, and so to debut Muertes involved with one of the few other LU people around in MLW had to be on purpose.
So now we have a real tangible storyline link to LU, what makes the rest of the show live up to its legacy? Well, Contra. Contra is currently being controlled from an underground bunker offshore, and that is the most LU thing I’ve ever heard. That gives me hope that this will truly feel like an evolution to Underground, not just a middling sequel. The thing is, I don’t want Lucha Underground season five. I understand the problems that the show had. We would have to deal with a lot of things like writing off certain absolute scumbuckets of human sludge, and slowly bringing back the seven tribes. Doing such a big story would absolutely dominate MLW. MLW can incorporate some LU elements like Mil Muertes, but they have to give us their own things like Contra and Injustice. Between upcoming cinematic events like the Mads Kruger vs Hammerstone match set to take place in Contra’s headquarters and Tom Lawlor’s Filthy Island, we are getting that telenovela, soap opera feel, yet it's balanced with the real sports feel of MLW. This is a combination I never expected, but hey, MLW has always pitched themselves as a hybrid company.
So we’ve established that MLW is positioned to carry the mantle of LU in a new, different direction, but what does that actually matter? Well, most importantly, it makes me happy. It fills a void in wrestling, and like I said, man I missed Mil Muertes. I jumped for joy at the announcement of his return, and it did not disappoint. It really feels like a breath of fresh air and a second chance for a certain flavor of wrestling I thought was dead. As for what it means for MLW in the short term? I have an idea. I don’t like to do too much speculation, as it very quickly dates articles if I’m wrong, but there’s a reason I mentioned Dario Cueto at the top of this article. Promociones Dorado was revealed to be bought on MLW Fusion, so who bought it? Obvious options are Konnan, Contra, one of the MLW commentators, an incoming legend, but I think it’s someone from Mil’s past. For the first three seasons of Lucha Underground Luis Fernandez-Gil played the owner Dario Cueto, and in the final season played his father Antonio Cueto after Dario was seemingly killed only to be revealed to be alive in the series finale. I predict that one of the Cueto’s has bought Promociones Dorado, and MLW will finally resolve that plot. It would fit with where they are taking Selina, it would bring a fun element to weekly TV, and could help bring in former LU fans.
Now, I am a journalist! And journalists don’t just make predictions: they use sources. And boy, do I have a source. I tweeted at Luis Fernandez-Gil asking if he was ever interested in returning to wrestling and do you know what he said? He said, and I quote, “Maybe, fistbump(the fistbump was an emoji).” MAYBE, FISTBUMP! If that’s not definitive proof then I don’t know what is! When you see it on the dirtsheets tomorrow, just know that I was the super sleuth who broke the news!
I could very well be wrong, but after this past week I feel comfortable saying that MLW is “The new Lucha Underground” and bringing back Dario Cueto certainly presents… a unique opportunity.