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8 Reasons Why You Need To Watch "Lucha Underground"

The wrestling show, which airs on the El Rey Network, has established itself as the perfect alternative to WWE.

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So, can we talk about how awesome Lucha Underground is? Seriously, it's the BEST one-hour show on television right now.

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In a wrestling landscape where WWE reigns king, it's hard for fans to find an alternative. ROH, TNA, NJPW, and several independent wrestling promotions have all stepped up to the plate. Even though these companies provide some fantastic entertainment, none of them stand out quite like Lucha Underground.

1. The show comes off as the awesome lovechild of Breaking Bad and a good episode of Monday Night Raw.

El Rey Network

When it comes to storytelling, Lucha Underground does not attempt to take a "live event" approach like WWE. Instead, it embraces the "entertainment" aspect of the show and runs with it. All backstage segments are filmed as if they were key scenes in a Hollywood movie, using cinematic lighting, close-ups, highly scripted dialogue, and yes, dark, ominous background music. And it works!

2. The announcers makes the show exciting to watch.

El Rey Network

Matt Striker and Vampiro bring passion and credibility as the voices of Lucha Underground. Striker's encyclopedic knowledge of wrestling maneuvers and history make it easier for the viewer to suspend belief and take the action seriously. He's an expert at explaining why wrestlers apply certain moves and delves into wrestling strategies. He's like the dramaturge of a great Broadway show. Vampiro, on the other hand, is the perfect embodiment of the wrestling fan inside us. He's the ying to Striker's yang.

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3. This is one of the most progressive shows on television.

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While American pro-wrestling has traditionally been dominated by white male athletes, Lucha Underground instead shines the spotlight on athletes of color. We see Mexican wrestlers like Chavo Guerrero, Pentagon Jr., and Fénix, dominating the action. We see charismatic, out gay wrestlers like Pimpinerla Escarlata, who has developed a serious fan following. We also see wrestlers like Sexy Star, who's portrayed as a serious heroine who can take chair shots and dish out a wrestling clinic on both men and women. African-American wrestlers like Big Ryck have become major headliners for the show. And while in the past, dwarf wrestlers were used as a comedic novelty act, we see Mascarita Sagrada portrayed as a bonafide badass who's a threat to be reckoned with. It's refreshing to see characters like these own the spotlight.

4. The show has an incredibly strong identity.

Lucha Underground films out of Boyle Heights in East L.A., a predominantly Mexican and Mexican-American neighborhood. Since the show itself is affiliated with AAA (Asistencia Asesoría y Administración — one of Mexico's major wrestling promotions), the show has built its identity around Mexican culture, like having an Aztec calendar printed in the middle of the ring and having the set built in the theme of an Aztec temple. Instead of having Spanish-speaking wrestlers cut monologues in English, producers allow them to freely express themselves in Spanish, adding subtitles in post-production.

The show features establishing shots of the surrounding L.A. neighborhood, giving the show a genuine homegrown feel. This show does not attempt to whitewash itself and more important, It does not attempt to replicate the look and style of WWE. It's a whole new product and one that wrestling fans appreciate.

5. The high-flying action in Lucha Underground is jaw-dropping.

For the full hour of this show, there is never a single dull moment. If you are new to the show, or have never seen wrestling in your life, you can't help but be in awe of the breathtaking acrobatics stunts performed by these wrestlers. The high-flying spots and innovative maneuvers will give longtime wrestling fans a breath of fresh air. The action you see in the ring can only be rivaled by WWE's NXT and Japan's NJPW. Matches like the 10-Way Match and the 60-minute Aztec Warfare match are two examples of what makes Lucha Underground so great.

6. Dario Cueto is the most charismatic antagonist since WWE's Mr. McMahon.

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He's brash, powerful, and sleazy. He's the comical bad guy everyone loves to hate, and he "owns" Lucha Underground. A character like this does not come around too often. A man who handles the crowd like clay in his hand. He's got Scarface characteristics with the charm of a telenovela leading man. He's funny as hell and more important, he makes his presence known without taking too much screen time. It also helps that his office is located right at ringside.

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7. The cinematography is top-notch.

There are many production elements that make Lucha Underground a unique viewing experience. The Hollywood-style backstage segments, the fish-eye camera at the announcers table, the large "Aztec temple" set design, it's all great. But the one element that stands out above the rest is the cinematography — especially that gorgeous overhead camera angle. It's become Lucha Underground's signature shot, and a powerful storytelling device. Whether it's capturing the action from a neat angle or capturing opponents sprawled over the mat in defeat, the cinematography of this show is off the hook.

8. The crowd makes the show fun to watch.

El Rey Network

While WWE likes to hold its television tapings in large arenas across the country, Lucha Underground films in a small soundstage that's packed with highly energetic wrestling fans screaming their lungs out. The small size of the soundstage creates an intimate setting between the in-ring action and the fans. Therefore, you can feel the energy from the crowd radiating across the television screen. You can feel the passion. There's even an awesome "ICULERO!" chant. The crowd injects a shot of adrenaline to every match and that adds to the experience that is Lucha Underground.

9.

Oops. New Japan Pro Wrestling is NJPW, not NJWP as stated earlier. Genuine botch. You're watching Botchamania.