Wednesday was a long day for me – the first back at work after the epic Blizzard of 2016 that basically buried all of DC. Because there was so much to make up for, I was at the office way past closing time and missed the Wednesday night airings of both NXT and the Season Two premiere of Lucha Underground. Last night (after a really excellent bowl of borscht) I decided to check out LU and see where Season Two is taking us.
I really love Lucha Underground. It’s directly in contrast to WWE: an hour long show packed with matches and really crisp story telling. So much happens over the course of a season that it’s almost impossible to imagine how we got from the first episode to the finale. The premiere episode of season two was absolutely jam-packed with story and great matches. (NOTE: If you’ve never seen Lucha Underground, I recommend starting at the beginning of Season 1, or you may be a bit confused.)
There are plenty of things that went on in this episode that I could talk about – the way the stories and matches are paced, the way the entire program is produced, or even the fact that you need to keep watching past the credits to not miss anything. It’s as if Lucha Underground is produced not only for wrestling fans, but fans of comic books and film as well. For me, the thing that drives me back are the characters. They are so complex and can’t be fit into an oversimplified stereotype. Some of the characters are inherently good, some are inherently bad, but none of them are perfect. They make errors – some of them grievous – and they move forward from there. Wednesday night gave me a really perfect example of great characterization and better booking than we’d ever get in WWE. It happened in a very small way, but paints a sweeping picture of where Lucha Underground has built its foundation.
The final match of the episode is where everything suddenly clicked into place for me. I spent most of this episode enjoying Catrina as the match maker for The Temple. She’s very beautiful, has a very sultry voice, and manages to bring the chaos while still remaining loyal to Mil Muertes. Even though she is in charge and Mil is the Lucha Undergound Champion right now, there is nothing about this set up that feels similar to The Authority being in charge and Triple H being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Where as WWE wanders in and out of reality with its programming, Lucha Underground very clearly exists inside of an alternate reality, complete with demons, monsters, and magic. So when she showed up at ringside for Mil’s title defense at the end of the episode, I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t even think anything of it when she didn’t administer her kiss to his opponent, and instead insisted he deliver his finisher a second time. And what happens? He doesn’t hit it. There is confusion in the ring and somehow Catrina is the one who ends up taking a spear. She rolls out of the ring to recover as other wrestlers begin to appear, and the story continues.
This is such a small moment, a tiny detail, but it’s also so incredibly perfect. Catrina is in charge, and yet she took that spear like a champ, didn’t oversell it, and let the story continue without trying to steal the attention. By the end of the episode, there were five individuals in/near the ring – and she was certainly not the center of it all. The purpose of an authority figure – of a matchmaker – is to mold the matches and guide the story. I am absolutely infatuated with the fact that the Catrina character fluidly moves between power and purpose. She appeared in almost every single backstage promo without making me feel like we were overdosing on her. Her two appearances at ringside dealt entirely with plot (and in one case a feud that doesn’t actually involve her). She’s being written strong, utilized brilliantly, and performed to perfection. If there is one thing I am confident in saying about LU right now, it’s that Catrina is absolutely my favorite character to watch. I can’t wait to see what they do with her as titles change hands and story lines evolve. You can bet whatever is next for Catrina and Mil Muertes, it’s going to be some pretty dark stuff. I say – bring it on.