Over the decades, the world of professional wrestling has played host to quite a few characters seemingly intended to delight horror fans, most prominently the WWE’s zombie-like Undertaker and his demonic brother Kane. Mick Foley’s crazed Mankind character, and Bray Wyatt’s sinister cult leader also deserve mention.
In the last few years though, a new wrestling company has emerged, one that caters more directly to genre fans than ever seen before. Premiering in fall 2014 on the El Rey cable network, Lucha Underground is truly unlike any other wrestling program, presenting multiple characters and storylines sure to delight those who enjoy spending time on the darkside.
In honor of Lucha Underground’s Netflix debut earlier this week, iHorror presents a list of five great reasons that any horror lover should consider watching the show, assuming they haven’t already.
1 – Lucha Underground is executive produced by Robert Rodriguez
This first one is a no-brainer, as Lucha Underground counts among its executive producers noted genre filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, director of such kickass flicks as From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, Sin City, and Planet Terror.
Rodriguez’s stylish influence can be felt all over the show, especially through characters such as the serpent-like Kobra Moon, who seems like she would fit right in with Santanico Pandemonimum.
2 – Lucha Underground’s storylines regularly include the supernatural
Ancient Aztec myths and superstitions play a huge part in Lucha Underground’s narrative, and the series is far from shy about incorporating the supernatural and otherworldly into things.
For example, one of the company’s biggest villains is a gargantuan brute named “The Monster” Matanza Cueto. Portrayed as nearly invincible – and adorned in a mask that would make Jason Voorhees blush – Matanza was first introduced as a literal caged beast, fed victims to rip apart in torrents of blood.
Then there’s Mil Muertes, Lucha Underground’s human personification of death itself, and his ghost-like manager Catrina.
Mil has been killed and subsequently resurrected more than once, each time seemingly more powerful than he was before. Catrina is prone to teleporting at will, and disappearing in the blink of an eye.
3 – People get murdered, in brutal fashion
Lucha Underground’s on-screen boss, Dario Cueto, is quite the ruthless bastard, and doesn’t hesitate to remove his enemies from the picture permanently.
In addition to the hapless victims that he’s fed to his monstrous brother Matanza, Dario recently beat a wrestler who displeased him to death with a small bull statue.
The force necessary to do this required multiple shots, complete with flying blood splatter. One assumes that Lucha’s body count will only continue to grow as the seasons go on.
4 – This show isn’t PG, and matches often test the limits of hardcore wrestling
For those annoyed by the WWE’s generally kid-friendly nature and glaring lack of blood in things like cage matches, Lucha Undergound semi-regularly features matches of a more hardcore variety, complete with gushing gashes of gore that would make Cactus Jack smile.
A good example of these are the Grave Consequences matches. Similar to a WWE casket match, Grace Consequences only ends when one combatant is locked inside an airtight coffin.
In Lucha though, the fact that there are no rules is readily apparent, with the aforementioned Mil Muertes showing himself to be a particular master of brutal savagery in this setting.
One of Lucha’s bloodiest matches took place on the inaugural Ultima Lucha show, which caps off each season of the series. That’s another great thing about LU, storylines actually take place within seasons like a normal TV show, with a beginning, middle and end. No dragging things out forever here.
Anyway, the match in question pitted hardcore wrestling legend Vampiro against his then-protege Pentagon Jr., and featured such delightful implements of torture as light tubes and a freakin’ flaming table. Vampiro also wore this badass outfit to the ring:
5 – Ever wanted to see a dragon fight a terminator?
Finally, this last slot will be used to highlight a few more of Lucha Underground’s most memorable characters that I didn’t get to in the above sections.
First up is Drago, a luchadore with one of the most amazing masks ever seen. Also, he’s a goddamn dragon. He doesn’t just think he’s dragon, in the context of the show, he is one, and occasionally breathes fire. That’s just awesome.
Next is the massively muscled Cage, Lucha’s equivalent to The Terminator. His battle cry is “I’m not a man, I’m a machine,” and he lives up to it on a regular basis. Not only is he probably the strongest person on the roster, he’s also amazingly athletic, sometimes flying around like a cruiserweight.
Then there’s Sexy Star, arguably LU’s most prominent female wrestler, and the company’s first female champion. In Lucha, there’s no gender divide, with men and women competing as equals. Despite the size disadvantage that Sexy has against guys like Cage or Mil, she never backs down and never gives up.
Finally, there’s The Mack, a good-natured street fighter that seems like he’d be right at home at in a blaxploitation flick. A notable rival of Cage, The Mack also has an aptitude for flying around, and loves to employ the Stone Cold Stunner as a finisher.
That’s not even mentioning several names sure to be familiar to followers of WWE, such as the brash Johnny Mundo (formerly John Morrison), his buddy P.J. Black (formerly Justin Gabriel), and lucha libre legend Rey Mysterio Jr.
Lucha Underground seasons 1 and 2 are now available to stream on Netflix. Season 3A is now available for purchase on iTunes, with season 3B set to premiere on El Rey on May 31st.