The very first article I ever wrote here was how MLW was becoming the new Lucha Underground. The speculation about Dario Cueto, now Cesar Duran, had already begun. I spent months writing about what storylines we could see, and what wrestlers MLW could bring in to build up this new focus on Lucha Libre. Last Wednesday, Fusion returned for the first time since the arrival of Cesar Duran, and he is now the matchmaker. With him in a position of power, the entire dynamic of the show has changed. While the first episode of Fusion Alpha had great matches, it was two backstage segments that make me believe MLW has finally become Lucha Underground 2.0.
The first segment came when Duran was backstage and was approached by Matt Cross. This was Cross's first time in the modern MLW, and the first time that Duran has ever interacted with "Matt Cross." Of course, Dario Cueto and Son of Havoc met many, many times, and MLW didn't forget that. The segment began with Cross accussing Duran of being up to his old tricks, while Duran pointed out that Cross wasn't exactly the same man he saw in Lucha Underground either. This little moment tells us everything we need to know about Duran in MLW. Everything that happened in Lucha Underground is canon, and no reference is forbidden. If you were on Lucha Underground and appear in MLW, you are the same person. The walls that kept LU separate from the rest of the world have crumbled.
Taking into consideration the forbidden door being open, it's not hard to imagine people like Angelico and Jack Evans returning to MLW to see Duran again, or if I may dream for a moment, the Lucha Bros. Cross is still Son of Havoc, and Duran is still Cueto, and that means so much going forward. It also means that if you want more MLW content you can watch LU, and if you already saw all four seasons, your loyalty will be rewarded.
The second segment saw Tom Lawlor meet Duran, which I've desired since I first saw Cesar appear. I knew they would play great on TV together, and this didn't disappoint. Cocky Lawlor wanted a title shot, and he got one for a belt he wasn't expecting. As with most interactions with Duran, the segment ended with Lawlor being shooed out of his office very confused as to what just happened. While the words of the Cross segment were what mattered, here it is the presentation. The lighting, the camera angles, the writing, it was all at the cinematic level we have come to expect from Lucha Underground. MLW now has the backstage style of LU, and frankly, that was unique. In the era of cinematic matches, having cinematic backstage segments still feels fresh and special. By taking this on, MLW has brought an energy that was sorely lacking in wrestling.
With only two short segments, MLW has convinced me they know what they're doing with Duran, and I can't wait to see where they take this next.