I was right! I just wanted to start this article with that. Of course, as the weeks have gone on, it became more and more clear that Lucha Underground's Dario Cueto had to be the leader of Azteca Underground. It reached the point where it almost felt too obvious and I started to wonder if MLW was just teasing me. But on May 5th we finally saw Dario Cueto return, signalling the return of Lucha Underground to our lives. Now, in what form exactly we'll be seeing more LU remains to be seen, but it's clear that Dario will be there. As such, there are several elements of Lucha Underground that should be included. Today I've listed just five, as I really think is an opportunity to cut out what didn't work, and make the revival stand out.
This was always a super cool element of Lucha Underground that I'd love to see return. The show also started and returned from commercial breaks with Live performances from various Latin artists. A bit of rock, a bit of pop, a bit of mariachi, it was great. It gave the show a unique feel to other wrestling shows at the time, and it would still be a standout feature if it was brought back today. It gave the show an energetic feel, and it would help the show maintain energy throughout the broadcast, especially if it's going to be on cable through Vice.
#4: Grave Consequences
There were several interesting takes on stipulations throughout Lucha Underground: the Zero Meido deathmatch, the Fight all Night Ironman match, the No Mas I Quit match, but one of the best is Grave Consequences. A casket match that actually matters, this one sees the loser actually carted off and dead. Granted, that loser is usually Mil Muertes. The whole death thing really added to the Telenova feel of Lucha Underground and is something that this revival will need. Some people might look at this as too cheesy, but since when has that stopped MLW? They have a terrorist group hijacking the feed weekly from a secret underground bunker. They had a show on a crappy beach called Filthy Island. MLW loves these over the top storylines, and they implied months ago that Konnan's dead now(thanks Mil Muertes) so why not kill someone in a casket match. Personally, I'd love to see Lio Rush lose a grave consequences match, only to reemerge as the Blackheart. The Blackheart character is one of the coolest gimmicks on the indies right now, and I'd love to see Lio bring it here.
#3: Aztec Warfare
I said Grave Consequences is one of the best, because this one is just a little bit above it. Aztec Warfare is a take on the Royal Rumble match type, but this one is easily my favorite variation. You don't have a siren blaring counting down from ten, you have drums beating. The whole thing is treated like a tribal ceremony, which fit the entire theme of Lucha Underground being about seven Aztec tribes. Every season of Lucha Underground had an Aztec Warfare match, and it could easily be considered the show's signature. The one thing that could keep this match from coming to the new Lucha Underground is that MLW already has a variation of the Rumble, in the form of Battle Riot. They even announced that this year's Battle Riot will have 40 people. I still think there's a place for Aztec Warfare though. It could be the match for the rougher fighters, or a second chance offered by Dario to those who lost Battle Riot but have to face his handpicked fighters. We could even see the winners of the two matches face off as to who is truly the best. Aztec Warfare is always a spectacle, and let's be real, would you really be mad to have two Rumble style matches?
#2: Gift of the Gods
Easily the coolest innovation of the show, the Gift of the Gods championship was so clever and unique. It was over the top for sure, but in such a fun way. Basically this championship tied back to those seven Aztec tribes I mentioned earlier. Throughout the various episodes of Lucha Underground, matches would be held with Aztec medallions as prizes. Winning a medallion was a huge deal, as once all seven medallions had holders, those seven wrestlers would place them in the side plates of the Gift of the Gods championship. Those seven would compete in a match with the winner getting the Gift of the Gods championship: Lucha Underground's secondary title. The belt wasn't just a midcard title, it was an opportunity. At any point, the Gift of the Gods champion could claim a match for the Lucha Underground title, just needing one week notice. Regardless of winning or losing, the seven medallions would then be scattered again and competed for, and the whole process begins again. A mix between the X Division belt, Option C, Money in the Bank, and a treasure hunt, there is truly nothing else like the Gift of the Gods championship in wrestling. It's so fun and exciting, and Lucha Underground wouldn't feel the same without it.
#1: Unique Opportunities
This one is less of a single item and more of a mentality. Unique opportunities are what made Lucha Underground so special. It was a frequent occurance that Dario Cueto would step out of his office and promise wrestlers in the ring a unique opportunity. This could vary from a best of seven series, to the formation of the Trios belt, to the first Aztec Medallion. Not every opportunity would lead to a major change in Lucha Underground, but what's important is that they went for it. It gave the show a true feeling of innovation and freshness. You never knew what would happen on any given episode, and that isn't something that most wrestling shows can say. Lucha Underground had a spirit of innovation. It didn't always work, but the fact that they were unabashedly them was admirable. If MLW is truly doing a full Lucha Underground revival; then more than anything else, it's this spirit that they need to preserve.