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  1. #1

    Lucha Underground/Netflix column Series

    In the spirit of Lucha Underground Season 4, I'm re-posting this series I wrote. Thus, far I've found my first two columns. These are the columns from microsoft Word and are the columns before they were edited. The ones posted in 2016 had some more content and some more polish, but these aren't too shabby.



    SEASON 1


    Column 1



    Lucha Underground Season one: The Unity of Effect that gives spirit and steals disbelief.



    “The unity of effect is determining what effect you would like to have on a reader and carrying that effect through all elements of your poem or story.” Edgar Allen Poe penned that quote and housed his horrors in cellars, under pendulums, and during the middle of nights. While a different medium than those which existed in Poe’s day brings us Lucha Underground, his aforementioned quote comes to mind as I, through Netflix, open up my chamber doors to season 1 of this curious creature that’s been rapping.




    The place



    Amid the bank of America and other commercial properties that are erected high to light the night stands a warehouse to which Dario Cueto holds the Key. Inside the building’s ring, Dario sets the stage of Lucha Underground. He promises this to not be a place where young children come to cheer for their heroes, but a place warriors fight for honor, respect, and violence. Later, Matt Striker with his masters in English calls the setting a character in itself named the Temple. Insomuch that a promo package alerts us of the gods thirsting for sacrifices, the inhabitants of the warehouse share the history of the 7 tribes, whose members took heads of their defeated and lost heads to their victors. The referees who should be keeping order have the barbaric, Aztec symbol on their backs; the ring where the men and women battle, also, centers its soulless face.


    Right away, we know the theme! Honor, violence, and respect. If ever a wrestling show laid out the theme so clear, I am not aware. Also, we know the mood: cold and dark. After all, there comes a point every fighter has to step out in the dark to fight for what they desire. This is a post daddy helping his kid learn the tricycle world. This is survival and all the fighter has is what they’ve trained to get and the instincts that they have innate. If ever a wrestling show laid out a mood so clear with its set, I am not aware.



    Now, I’m one to hate shows where the arena is named; specifically named the TNA asylum or the Impact zone. But what do those names mean? What do they add to the show? How does the asylum add to total nonstop action? And how does total nonstop action serve as a theme that is comparable to intangibles such as honor, violence, and courage? If ever a company came close, it must be ECW’s bingo hall. I suppose I can argue; however, the hall’s barbwire and smoke did not stand for a theme as universal as temple’s platform for warriors. The stone steps lead to a battleground that demands nature’s best and worst desires to be conjured by risk and reward. Will merit be found in something archaic but timeless?



    The Announcers



    To the temple, Matt Striker brings a fandom of WWWF and early WWF. Vampiro brings his experience of being in the lucha world. Still, there’s no world like this which arouses them to the athletics in front of them and builds them comradery with each other. Like Lawler and Ross, and the earliest Gorilla who effected Striker’s youth and the man who heeled next to him, Ventura; Striker and Vampiro are allied by the essence of their environment. They stand and clap for the action, and they agree and disagree with their passions for it.



    Were Ross and the King as effective in 2003 as 1999? Were they in 1993 as 1999? In 1999, the spirit of a place demanded them both to change. Ross transformed into the Cowboy wearing good ol’ Jr., Jerry Lawler became funny, Uncle Jerry. Just as they bettered the place, the place’s spirit bettered them. This Lucha Underground spirit has not given us a past great announce team, but it’s made, in this wrestling fan of 25 years’ opinion, the best announce team in wrestling today.


    The soul of the show must affect and be affected by the announcers. Striker withholds pity for the females who attack against the gifts of genetics given to their male foes. After all, he is the voice of the Aztecs. Vampiro, more so, wrestles with sitting and watching Chavo Guerrero slamming a chair over Sexy Star’s lady-head; after all, Vampiro and Striker are very human. Still, they must not interfere, for unless the talent unites with partners, they must test their courage alone against the inhumanity of the gods, the ring, the steps, and the warehouse.



    The luchadores



    The announcers have no disbelief in the ability of the physically weaker body to overcome the stronger. The wrestlers are luchadores and luchadoras or male and female fighters who must fight for courage. These fighters are from all backgrounds. Midgets, women, and homosexuals test their audacity amongst men and monsters. One can hold on to their disbelief like a wallet on a chain, but the darkness of this place will pick pocket it without that one feeling a thing. This happens when one learns who the characters are in the framework of every aspect of this alternate universe.


    There are not simply gimmicks and shticks but characters preloaded with backstories and preconditioned with powers and flaws. What these fighters have fought for elsewhere develops very little of the story; what the temple tempts out of them within the context of who they are in this place becomes the story. If you invite a nun to a party, how many body shots does she allow on herself before she ceases to be a nun? The Vietnam vet is not the man he was before shooting unarmed gooks in the fog of war. Dario Cueto in his segment with Konan shows little interest in Johnny Nitro or John Morrison but concerns himself in the intentions of the Temple’s Johnny Mundo. Rather than Konan only being introduced as a Triple A success, he is presented as the corrupter and trainer of the company’s break out star Prince Puma. Puma is not the indy darling Ricochet. Mexican stars introduced the hometown boy to Konan after they found him overcoming a gang without need of their help. Yet, Konan threatens to stand in the way of the tenacity that makes him win. Puma’s mask means courage. Masks are not masks but are the life of the luchadores. To lose a mask is to lose ones head to another Aztec. The wearer of the skull mask, Pentagon Jr. is not here in this universe as one beloved as a Triple A star but as one rejected by the Mexican people. He now seeks guidance and respect and sacrifices broken arms for it. Chavo Guerrero isn’t living on Eddie’s nostalgia, but is despised and is advanced by being a long-time dealer of dirty deeds. Ricky Banderas shows no sign of being TNA’s Judas Mesias, but he’s Mil Muertes, a man who in 1985 was a seven year old child who ascended from the earthquake rubble that buried his family. He lay with death and became its companion. Now he is intimate with it and now he walks with Catrina who represents it. He ceased from being a child at age seven and has experienced death since. While his opponents’ eyes are widened to the stink that walks beside him, he wrestles like a classic heel, methodical and in control. The man of 1000 deaths may not work in a WWE universe but his contribution is crucial to the effect of Lucha Underground. Matches are matches but, more so, luchas that test the tenacity of the fighters. The fans are the faithful, to whom the warrior may find strength in or be distracted by during a lucha. And the biggest bout to the date that it happens is the Aztec warfare.




    Aztec warfare and The Title




    It takes 10 episodes to get the Aztec warfare that decides a Lucha Underground champion. Think about this. TNA decided its first champion on their first episode in a gauntlet for the gold. When TNA crowned Ken Shamrock as champion, we didn’t know why the asylum was the asylum and we knew its wrestlers only in the context of their histories in other promotions. We knew the gauntlet for the gold would be similar to a Royal Rumble but nothing more about what it was or more importantly what it meant. When Lucha Underground brought Aztec Warfare, we knew the Aztecs history and they fought for honor; violence; and courage. We knew the wrestlers were Aztecs of today and what each Aztec contributed to the theme of the place and what the theme contributed to each of them. Finally, we knew how the title belt offered its own incense to the challengers’ gods and the show’s effect!


    Who cares if the belt is not as well designed as the attitude era’s WWF title or as bold as the NWA gold belt? When Cueto says gold from the seven Aztec tribes make up the Lucha Underground title—when fucking Cueto says gold from the seven Aztec tribes make up the Lucha Underground title, the belt becomes a puzzle piece that connects the effect from all sides.


    I hope unlike Edgar Allen Poe’s works, this masterful production gets the respect it deserves in one lifetime, but either way the effect that it works from all sides for will be appreciated and duplicated forever.






    Column 2



    Segundo Parte: Lucha Underground Season one: How to Treat Your Protagonist



    With only enough light to see, you pull your weight upwards to the iron. As your chin lifts over, you grip your eyesight on the pimp stick that seems to be capacitating Konan’s tread towards you. The staff dings against the darkened brick. You stare masked at Konan and hang shirtless from the barbell. Man, you show great abs. But, can you be the core of this show? Konan, your mentor, reprimands you for helping Mundo. Johnny’s fight is not yours! Underneath, your mask I see you defying him. You like this Mundo, and you still don’t know this Konan. You battle gangsters and even odds for the sake of another. You must be an honorable man. Why is this Konan stopping you, Puma?


    And how about you, dear faithful? Have you ever transitioned to a new job, or started a new school, or been in a new place where the first person to join you made you wish they didn’t do so? Maybe his presence sojourns your sex with senorita red panties or problematizes your promotion from senior El Jefe. What if he starts telling you who and who not to hang out with? Yet, he helped you get in in the first place.


    And you Puma were a street fighter. Finally, thanks to this Konan, you can do what you do best for a purpose. You can fight for courage, honor, and the believers. It may be violent but it’s what you do, and at least you’re getting paid. “Why though,” I somehow see your face ask, “Why, Konan do you tell me to not do that which is honorable.”


    Faithful, here’s what complicates the conundrum: when you’re Puma, you’re in Boyle heights kicking ass, but in the rain whose hand reaches for you? Who gets you into the shelter that is Dario Cueto’s warehouse and teaches you to combat? That same hand that trains you carries the cane. In a world where WWWF overtones are always in the audio, what do you do when you find out your Arnold Skaaland may be fucking Fred Blassie in disguise.



    Give your protagonist a manager



    Konan in season 1 gives Puma something John Cena saw little of, something that throws back to the 1970s and 80s: a manager done right in his life. A manager links the hero to enemies and allies. A manager tells stories in matches. Rocky Balboa had the Mighty Mickey Goldmill, Bruno and Backlund had Arnold Skaaland; the Grand Wizard; and Fred Blassie, and Hogan had Bobby the Brain. Whereas, the stories of Hogan and Heenan’s don’t retell themselves in Season 1 of Lucha Underground, new stories do emerge. The man connecting conflicts is not positioned in the corner against the protagonist but the corner for him.



    Mickey Meredith achieved award nomination for supporting Sylvester Stallone by playing the manager in Rocky. The Mickey role supported the main character by offering strategies in matches and even giving his goddamn life to make Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang’s fight mean something. The Lucha Underground Protagonist is accompanied by a manager who does not always have to be in his corner.



    Konan has evolved the manager role that some feel is best left obsolete. He’s there when he needs to be. But, more so, he finds other functions like causing conflict in some of the cut scenes and teaching Puma with Sun Tzu’s the Art of war, a book that helps tell stories later in Puma’s plights against fiends. Not to mention scenes of Konan lying in his blood and in the casket carried Puma to his biggest matches of the season 1. Yes, just as sure as a Mickey Goldmill heart attack, Konan fucking died for the Puma’s story.



    Give your protagonist war


    Throughout season 1, Konan expounds on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to his protégé. “Appear weak when you are strong and strong when you are weak.” Perhaps that’s why Konan himself seems to lean on the pimp stick at times when it’s really a weapon. Here’s another quote from the book, “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred enemies.” When a wrestling company selects a protagonist or antagonist, whichever it is that leads, I wish they’d think about the result of that one against 100 enemies. What will the matches be like? Will they be remembered? Most importantly what will they mean? What stories will they tell?



    Puma struggles for congruence, throughout season 1. He seeks to be honorable but Konan interferes in his matches. Perhaps, WCW could have thought combatting for congruence when it came to protagonists. Sting chases Flair, had the set back of a leg injury, and returned against all odds to become the world champion. Again, Sting went to the rafters after WCW had turned its back on him, he returned as the dark-hero, the Crow-Sting and brought the WCW Title home to WCW. Neither time could Sting cement in his legacy a worthy title reign. The chase for the Title told the story; after he won the belt he had no worthy enemies. Puma’s chase begins win he becomes champion. He climbs the ladder for congruence, always reaching only to have someone else pull his opponent off the ladder. In this, Puma must reach again, and in this he always has strong enemies.




    Give the protagonist character




    I love that in Season 1, Puma speaks with body language instead of words. He’s passionate with his arms. Think, my fellow watcher, how he rips his arms from Hernandez, like a beast protesting the force holding it. I spend episode 37 dreading him picking up the microphone; because I know when he does he’ll make himself… just like everyone else. He’ll speak with words instead of action. Imagine how I mark out when he drops the mic and instead with his hands challenges Mil Muertes to fight. To this, Matt Striker remarks, “things are done differently here in Lucha Underground.” Unless underneath that mask lie a bald head and Bud Weiser drenched goatee, he may not be the most charismatic lead character ever. But I always say, until you get your Hulk Hogan, hang onto your Bob Backlund. Hang on to the man you think tells the best stories from bell to bell with the supporting cast. Hang on to your All American hero. Or in this case your Boyle Height boy.



    While I much prefer Puma to Backlund, like the early 1980's Bob the company explores the parameters of Puma's character without him running outside on either end. He’s consistent but not flat. He’s always reaching for honor. He continues to learn and we continue to learn about him. The parameters of Puma; he’s honorable in intention but deceitful in combat, he’s wrestling naïve but street smart, he appears to be a victim but is usually in control.





    And now you lay on your back. Finally, in Konnan’s burial, you can champion how you will. But now you’ve lost the championship. You hurt, you suffer. You lost your manager. Underneath your mask, I see a man defeated, a man unable to defend his manager, and man who has seen the face of death and fallen victim to it. I see a man who has been mistreated by the creative forces against him. But I see a protagonist who’s been treated just right. Because every protagonist prays for conflict, every protagonist must meet their antagonist. Because when you get up, when you dust yourself off, you have a new enemy and a new reason and to fight.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    Loved this when I came out, love it now.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    "“The unity of effect is determining what effect you would like to have on a reader..."

    ^ Yes! I wonder how many people never get past "I want to have *an* effect." Who doesn't, morons! <------------- Pentagon Jr. word. I told you this before reading this article, Dario set the stage on day 1. I was coasting on a company of "violence" that wasn't that violent (until the season finale), but I cannot say a word of complaint, as they let me know from day one what effect(s) they were determined to have.

    "a different medium"

    I sometimes think that much of the griping in this day and age is because people have it SO GOOD and they don't know what to do. That's not to say that people don't suffer, but the ones who make gimmicks out of suffering are the rarely those ones. We have it far better or, at least easier, than Poe could imagine. I hook my laptop to my TV sit on my couch and binge watch LU. And I barely make any money right now. Yet, the entertainment pours in regardless.

    "Dario sets the stage of Lucha Underground"

    Yes. And "place" definitely deserves first mention. Great orienting.

    "He promises this to not be a place where young children come to cheer for their heroes, but a place warriors fight for honor, respect, and violence."

    I don't know what happens in seasons 2-4, but we are in a moment (a weird and sad one) where it's in fashion to bash fans for their reactions to show, rather than dealing with the reality that the crowd + the show = the reaction. As for season 1, aside from being a little dark at times, which is their choice, I found the fans to be consistently impressive, fitting the credible booking put in front of them week by week.

    "Insomuch that a promo package alerts us of the gods thirsting for sacrifices,"

    You can't find many peoples, religions, mythologies, that do not include a thirst for sacrifice. Seeing that these stories often reflect the reality of human life, it should alert us to something very ugly in the human condition, which should alert us to what we should be prepared to see play out in this gods-filled, god-forsaken temple.

    "Right away, we know the theme! Honor, violence, and respect."

    Back to Poe. Back to what makes LU foundational in this world of wrestling that doesn't always know what it is. Great orienting, again.

    "Honor, violence, and respect. If ever a wrestling show laid out the theme so clear, I am not aware. Also, we know the mood: cold and dark. After all, there comes a point every fighter has to step out in the dark to fight for what they desire. This is a post daddy helping his kid learn the tricycle world. This is survival and all the fighter has is what they’ve trained to get and the instincts that they have innate. If ever a wrestling show laid out a mood so clear with its set, I am not aware."

    ^Beautifully styled, with content that is concrete and undeniable.

    "Now, I’m one to hate shows where the arena is named; specifically named the TNA asylum or the Impact zone."

    ^ We talked about this on the phone, but TNA is so often the outlier. Almost everything they do is worse than anyone else. Mostly because they are the symbol of wanting to make an effect by any means but never determining what effect. I told you little Austin is champion now and he is bashing people who come out to a script, yet he wanted to be in WWE but failed at WWE, so he is bad mouthing a place that, a short while ago, he preferred. TNA and LU share nothing in common except some wrestlers.

    "Were Ross and the King as effective in 2003 as 1999? Were they in 1993 as 1999? In 1999, the spirit of a place demanded them both to change. Ross transformed into the Cowboy wearing good ol’ Jr., Jerry Lawler became funny, Uncle Jerry. Just as they bettered the place, the place’s spirit bettered them."

    ^ Wonderfully parced. Mizfan and I had a great conversation on an ep. of TLS that will soon air about how all of us judge people by the time we saw them (and this is fair enough) but often, if you would have seen them in a better era, a different era, a more conducive era, you would appreciate them, or understand them, or have a more balanced take on them.

    So much of life is time and place. So much of life is time and place.

    "The announcers have no disbelief in the ability of the physically weaker body to overcome the stronger. The wrestlers are luchadores and luchadoras or male and female fighters who must fight for courage. These fighters are from all backgrounds. Midgets, women, and homosexuals test their audacity amongst men and monsters. One can hold on to their disbelief like a wallet on a chain, but the darkness of this place will pick pocket it without that one feeling a thing. This happens when one learns who the characters are in the framework of every aspect of this alternate universe."

    ^ I agree with this, somewhat. But I also...know...now...that there are elements of the show, or times in the show, where storylines that are rising take a hit for the extreme nature of playing at equality of outcome. It doesn't happen much and thank god for it, but I do think people like to sweep over any negativity of some of that stretch. I don't really mind. Let folks enjoy it all if they can, but I do know there are moments where at least one career was only stalled while he was placating a bullshit narrative of the like. But alas. Jesus himself said, whosoever will, let them come.

    Your final paragraph of part one is deep and rich. It's why these folks are comic book characters, larger than life. God knows if there was ever a group of wrestlers who deserved action figures.....

    Column 2

    "Man, you show great abs. But, can you be the core of this show?:

    ^ "Will you stop!?"

    I've been in the academy long enough to be an undergrad who loved to use repetition, then a graduate student who has been taught that almost anything stylistic or of use is not to be smiled upon. Still, all these years, and one of the very things that kept me watching, as much as a 1,000 deaths, or a kid from the streets being world champ, or a man's search for master, was Konnan's repetition of "Johnny's fight is not your fight!"

    LU is already a weighty place, but nobody knows how to put weight-to-words like the O.G. GOAT, Konnan.

    When I wasn't fully sure of LU, I lived in those words, in their repetition, in waiting to see what that repetition brought forth in the movement of the story at hand.

    "What if he starts telling you who and who not to hang out with?"

    ^We've talked on the phone about this as well, and I think we disagree. You've watch far more than I have, so you may end up being right. But, in season 1, I believe I was right. Konnan was wise; Konnan was right; Konnan had JM pegged from the start. Is there a space where poor little Puma has to live and learn? Sure. But he's the first fuckin' champion in a promotion making history. What Konnan has given him far outweighs exploring some ambiguous attraction Johnny Mundo. Hogan couldn't make it work with Orndorff, Andre, or Savage. Just be the champion and be glad you have the companionship of a father who takes you to the park to play chess and keeps you as the world champion. It's not for nothing that Puma is not just champ, but easily so, as long as Konnan is on this side of not being coffin-ed. These youngsters today....just be happy for what you got, moron. <-------------------------- Pentagon Jr. word.

    "“Why though,” I somehow see your face ask, “Why, Konan do you tell me to not do that which is honorable.”

    ^ Because too many idiots are out there doing what is "honorable" when they don't have the sense or life experience to judge what is or isn't. Konnan knew JM was heel from the start. Vampiro knew it, too. I knew it as well. "Honorable." What a flippin' notion. Want to be honorable? Respect your goddamn elder who got you off the street and into the run of your life.

    " what do you do when you find out your Arnold Skaaland may be fucking Fred Blassie in disguise. "

    Great intertextual work.

    "even giving his goddamn life"

    This is a fuckin' beaut. The Rocky story. That relationship. And setting up the clear kick to Konnan and the coffin. A+ work.

    "“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred enemies.”

    ^ I like this quote, and 100 is a big number. But does it say anything about one enemy who brings 1,000 deaths?

    "He seeks to be honorable but Konan interferes in his matches."

    Come on. Time to put this narrative to bed. You're better than that.

    Also, after Sting beat Flair, he ran to the mic and chastised the fans who booed Ric Flair, even though Flair had crippled him.

    More honor, I guess.

    "“things are done differently here in Lucha Underground.”

    ^ Great quote. How many organizations can promise someone speaking for the first time, NOT deliver on it, and yet the fans are into it the whole time. Except for Ultima Lucha, which is another conversation for another time, I felt LU did a GREAT job not going for the cheat heat or the quick fix. What might be "the big moment" in another organization looks like "cheap tricks" in LU.

    " But I always say, until you get your Hulk Hogan, hang onto your Bob Backlund"

    ^ Goddamned masterful line here.

    "consistent but not flat."

    ^ Accurate

    "And now you lay on your back. Finally, in Konnan’s burial, you can champion how you will. But now you’ve lost the championship. You hurt, you suffer. You lost your manager. Underneath your mask, I see a man defeated, a man unable to defend his manager, and man who has seen the face of death and fallen victim to it. I see a man who has been mistreated by the creative forces against him. But I see a protagonist who’s been treated just right. Because every protagonist prays for conflict, every protagonist must meet their antagonist. Because when you get up, when you dust yourself off, you have a new enemy and a new reason and to fight."

    ^ This paragraph by itself deserved a COTM. Didn't Puma just look tired by the end of LU? SHOULDN'T he? Who is the babyface protagonist that doesn't give every ounce of being to the cause? Too many. When a babyface protagonist loses the title, perhaps we should argue, we should almost feel relieved for them. Maybe that is why Sting was never the best. He looked like he was trading in the belt to go surfing. John Cena WOULD HAVE LOVED to go out without an ounce of self left to give, but who the fuck was going to take that out of him?

    Yet Puma

    lies

    where I left him.

    And for three days

    I've been afraid

    to turn on LU

    season 2.

    Afraid because of the

    horrors

    of Ultima Lucha,

    and afraid

    that it might be as

    good

    as season 1,

    and I don't know

    how much more

    wonderful conflict

    and

    beautiful horror

    I can take.

    Thanks for talking with me

    season 1 to season 1.

    What a wonderful set of columns.

    What a wonderful time

    to be

    a wrestling fan.

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Shane's response is damn near as good as the column itself. Spectacular.

  5. #5
    Man, the feedback was really thoughtful and much appreciated. I've been waiting for a day to have time to respond in kind.

    Here's my response

    Column 1.

    Unity of effect: Maybe, every great era made a person feel an overall effect while they watched. It's an overlooked ingredient to the recipe of success. To your point, promotions want to leave an impact, but sometimes it's hard to tell what kind they want to leave. Good matches, big stars, blood, PG, no PG, surprises--all this goes but so far on their own. It's how it all fits in to an overall effect and how effective the effect is. It's the effect that makes integrity and integrity that makes meaningfulness. Deaths and absurdities in Lucha Underground work because of the way all things work together to allow them.


    To your point on Poe: To read his suffering and to know how little of his talent was recognized during his life raises life questions that could be a good essay on their own. Would you rather be rich and doing something you hate or poor and doing something you love? Would you rather be miserable and doing something that lives past your lifetime or be happy and doing something you don't love? Can a person be doing what they love and be miserable if they receive no proper compensation? Can someone do what they hate and be happy if they are being compensated?

    Lol, maybe it's not having the mediums we have that made him create art that would be appreciated for generations after his life. But mediums get us through. That's for sure!

    To your point on the fans: One interesting thought on Lucha Underground is the small audience. They drink the cool-aid. They the same smarks doing the singing and the "this is awesome chants" who "take over shows" but they want to be a part of what Lucha Underground's putting out. When fans become defiant, were they defied first?

    Back to the point of arenas with names: We've discussed this, but not in great detail? TNA and Lucha Underground aside, which (if any) would you say you enjoy?

    To your point on equality of outcome: Such a scholarly term to use in a wrestling forum. lol. I had to really think, "what does this mean in the world of wrestling?" Overall, I enjoy the fun aspects to the Pimpinela Escarlatas, the Mascarita Sagradas, and the luchadoras. I like that any random person could descend down the stone steps to fight. I definitely see a risk if this turns to make a political statement. Even if I agree with the statement, I'd hate to see it betray the creativity of what's happening. I'm certain Lucha Undergound isn't 100 percent above the temptation of playing to the press for brownies.

    One thing I will give Sexy Star though, on it's face what she stands for may be somewhat political. And I don't know I agree or disagree, because I put little thought into it. But at least it's something. At least one can look at her and see something being represented. When I look at other women wrestlers like Dolph Ziggler I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be seeing.

    What I'd say is this. Having Sexy Star be just a face for women's progression does a disservice to her as a deeper character. What's her backstory? What's under this layer?

    Of course I won't get too much further on Sexy's character so that I don't do any spoilers.

    Isn't it cool that we can watch a wrestling show, though, and expect to know the characters back-stories? I digress.


    Who's career do you feel was stalled?


    Column 2

    Konann approaching Puma, while he does pull ups replays in my mind all the time. Classic scene, it is.


    I loved your paragraph about Konann taking Puma to the park. From him being unable to explore his friendshipo with Johnny Mundo, to comparisons with Hogan's friends, to reliving Konann playing chess with him. Especially the line "Just be glad you have the companionship of a father figure who takes you to the park and plays chess with you and keeps you world champion." Maybe that captures the point of "how to treat your protagonist" better than anything I put in there. What a brilliant scene.

    As for the narrative, I was kind of going in and out of a 2nd person point of view. I think the point was making was how refreshing it was to see "conflict"

    I certainly don't want to put myself in a position where I have to defend Puma's character against Konann's. I much prefer Konann as a performer, too.

    Season 2 is nothing to fear, my friend. It's just deeper in the rabbit hole and shows the characters become more and more developed.




    Now excuse me, while I get caught up on some Legacy Series.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:33 PM.

  6. #6
    SEASON 2



    Ian



    Fellow Faithful,


    Has this place’s shadows swallowed your soul like it did Marty’s smokescreen? I’ve received no letters from you nor seen you sitting in in the usual amongst the believers. But thou hast named me naïve, and I hath questioned if thou still believe. But do thou even exist?



    If you’re reading this, I have made discoveries of Ian… Ian stands to his feet for the sacrifices of the luchadores. He claps and laughs with joy next to Matt Striker. He’s a devotee, wouldn’t you say? But I’ve discovered terrible things! Ian, our most public and Ian, our most passionate, I’ve documented his doings in Season 2, and I’ve a most terrifying report!


    Ian swallows pills and talks about it. What do you think of this touch, oh faithful? He doesn’t just pop them for his sanity but he sells them. Now, do not be deceived beloved, for drugs are not sold, but in the wrestling sense of the word “sell”, his sickness is sold. He acts out his mental illness. He makes a whopping doo-doo to much ado out of it. Furthermore, he reprimands Matt Striker for saying anything that would pull him away from his medicated soberness. He gets quiet when tempted. And when this happens, his surroundings must tip toe to not break an eggshell that would crack open his unholy yoke.


    Ian sells. Understand, faithful, when I take the garbage out, I spend more time bragging to my wife that I did it than it would take to clean the entire house! Where is the sell, nowadays? Think of another crazy, the crazy Mick Foley. Think of how he squealed in anger towards Jim Ross for saying, “I think he even likes pain.” Nobody suffered better than Mick Foley. He sold his pain. He sold his anger. He sold his insanity. The image of Mankind—Mankind stabbing his numb leg with a pencil—that image after HBK locked him in a figure four. That’s the way to turn a figure four into stock to be bought! Mick rocked in madness, and Mick transformed with split personalities, but did he ever pop pills? Is this a sell that works exclusively in this Boyle Heights universe? If so why does it work here? Could it be the unity of effect of this darkness has stolen our belief?


    And is the Lucha Underground Cinema a new sell? Instead of getting bad backstage comedy, Lucha Underground sells its stories with a movie-like secretive world. How about that opening segment to Season 2 with Ian sitting across from the psychologist? Really? You, Ian? Ian pictured himself tangled in all matters of violence at the Ultima Lucha. Our Ian? Ian descended from the stairs as the demonic pope. Ian? Ian pierced himself with thumbtacks with the mentally ill skeleton man standing over him. Ian! Ian rolled in flames. Ian? Ian got his arm broke by the stretch of the skeleton ninja. WTF, Ian! Ian called the skeleton man his student. Ian? Ian called himself the skeleton man’s master. Ian? Ian slammed his head against the mirror until the glass cut his bald head. Oh, Ian…


    Doesn’t he know the skeleton man is not right in the head? But I’d be remised to not ask, has his head disappeared in the darkness? He called himself Vampiro and he declared himself the skeleton man’s master. Then, he awakened to questions from the psychiatrist. Then, he saw himself hurt the psychiatrist, only for it to be not real and finally, he awakened again to swear off violence. How about the psychiatrist prescribing a life away from the vicious places to Ian, something we’d hear again and again in Season 2. Is this cinema all a sell? Did this faithful, make you believe? Or am I naïve?


    They say if one tells the same lie over and over, it then is believed to be true. Oh, Vampiro lies with such conviction. How can the picture be probed? When he dresses as the dark Sith lord and whips Pentagon Jr. with the barbed wire baseball bat, this must be real. How did the darkness connect these souls? If they not be associated how then could an entire season end with such sense? How could months of foreshadowing Vampiro’s return to manage Pentagon be conjured? After all, in wrestling, nowadays, what happened 6 months ago means so little. Wasn’t Kevin Owens, HHH new chosen, before he lost to Goldberg who lost to Lesner? Could it be that Lucha Underground sells with such conviction and pride that we suspend our disbelief when watching Pentagon Jr. in the tunnel defeating multiple versions of him and then becoming Pentagon Dark? Is it because our disbelief is stolen that this scene means so much?


    How about when Pentagon falls in defeat to the Matanza Cueto and Vampiro again takes his medicine and sits next to Striker. Would some promotion forget he ever managed Pentegon Jr? But here this story that started in Season 1 turns full circle as at the end of Season 2, Vampiro is attacked, again, by his protégé. Darth Vader has destroyed the Sith Lord. What will happen? But is this really Darth Vader and the Sith Lord or is it 2 inmates in the asylum?



    Is any of this real? Or am I truly Niave? Did you disappear? Or were you ever there? Is this just a beautiful nightmare?










    SEASON 2



    Mil vs. Fenix




    Beloved…


    My god, she was your childhood sweetheart?


    I walked away from young love, once. It clenched my coat, cried on my chest, and begged me to stay as the storm beat against the shelter above us. But I walked away into the rain and thunder. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have lived to become a man.


    The Muertes reign: The childhood love, the trauma, the darkness.


    What must it be like to love at nine years old and stay together until forty? Is this to never grow and change? Catrina should not be the child Mil met, or Mil the child who met her. Against all, they held on to the damage that intertwined them. How could Mil get past the rubble that killed his family while holding a piece of it in his hand? By never moving on, they found power in their trauma. Their stagnation meant power, hate, and revenge. Their stagnation meant death, destruction, and darkness.


    Despite Catrina’s commitment to death and to Mil, she saw 1000 lives in Fenix. And why’d Catrina not stop Fenix from cashing in his Gift of the Gods Title? After all, she halted the hunt of Cuerno. And she only allowed Mil to fight Puma and Pentagon at Mil’s demand. But she initiated the encounter of Mil and her lovebird. What did she say to Fenix? “Maybe you can be the one to make me live again?” Still, Catrina remained with the remains of her and Muertes. Mil and Catrina resisted fate once more and dared to bury 1000 lives by doing so to one man.


    We can write back and forth, faithful, about the first 7 episodes of Season 2. In spirit of our love for imagery we can paint Mil in the purple light. With brown arms folding rule on high, with Aztec gold emitting prestige of gods, and with black mask and soul threatening 1000 deaths over us all, Mil stood and sat over the Temple’s ramp way and ring. We can document his return from a broken arm and his dominance over Ivelisse, Puma, and Pentagon. I can, as you suggest, transcribe my notes on Mundo defying Mil. But was it ever really Mil and Puma, or Mil and Pentagon, or Mundo, or Ivelesse, or Son of Havoc, or… son of a bitch…was it Mil and Fenix the entire time? Wasn’t it always leading to episode 8? Mil must match the fate that he fought against since 1985 when he emerged from the earthquake. Mil must match all 1000 of his deaths against all 1000 of Fenix’ lives.


    Perhaps Mil believes in mastering death, he’s defeated the enemy that took his family. He holds on to it and distributes it like Thor does thunder. In Season 1, Fenix learned Mil’s darkness meant violence and destruction to everything in his path. And Mil must have beaten 999 lives out of Fenix on Season 2, episode 8. Right at the bell, he pummeled the bird of war. There’s nothing pretty in Mil’s offense. He doesn’t dive. However, believer, I noted when watching this match, Mil speared a life out of Fenix from the apron to the floor. Shortly after, Mil ripped Fenix mask as he’s done before and will again, because Mil respects nothing and destroys all. Mil grabbed Fenix to suplex him on the floor, here I noted faithful, Fenix jabbed Mil in the stomach with the velocity of a drowning cat scratching for its life. Fenix spring boarded and kicked Mil.


    The fight of Fenix only seemed to foster the ferocity of Mil. Mil caught Fenix out of nowhere with a steel chair. This opened a wound from the forehead of Fenix. Mil punched the open wound and sunk his teeth into it. 50 years ago, this act made Fred Blassie feared in Japan and made him called a vampire. There was nothing pretty about Mil’s offense, but there was something beautiful about this act, its history, its violence. Fenix blood splattered on the ring, on the floor and on the announcers and their table. Mil power bombed Fenix on the table and slammed his head into the monitor over and over. He dragged Fenix across the floor to which Matt Striker remarked, “Mil drags the corpse of Fenix.” I noted, beloved, Mil beat Fenix into a corpse but had not yet reduced his foe to ashes. Acts of desperation are what Fenix took to stay alive. He fought Mil off from the second balcony and dove on top of him giving yet another life to even the odds. Fenix always gives to the same extent that Mil holds on. Fenix blows became fewer and further between but each with more viciousness. Please, see my note that this was but a survival kind of viciousness, not a cruel kind. To go blow for blow with Mil, Fenix fared to double stomp Mil, face first, into the apron, the hardest part of the ring and then, he ripped Mil’s mask.


    After this, Mil managed to allow his temper to destroy Fenix with free reign while, at the same time, he stayed in control of the match. He’s as much Rick Rude as the Undertaker, a classic calculating heel. Mil speared Fenix again and pummeled him more. Mil delivered chair shots and beat downs. But, alas, Fenix took the chair from Mil, and Vampiro called the fight a Rocky Balboa fight! Fenix pulled his dead weight to the top rope, while Mil staggered. Mil staggered, slaughtered Fenix with a haymaker, and staggered again. Fenix continued climbing, but Mil awaked from his stagger before Fenix could complete his ascent. At this point Mil performed a move from the top rope that cannot be perceived or transcribed. Mil delivered a cryptic deed to Fenix, but it was ugly and it grinded Fenix to ashes. Alas, Mil picked up the ashes of Fenix. He held them in his hand with the intention of the flat liner. Here the Fenix rose from the ashes with 1 life left and rolled up Mil for the victory!





    Beloved, I recorded Mil’s darkness, his destruction, his trauma, and where it all came from, and yet, I now realize perhaps there’s darkness in you. You held on to your childhood love. If under that shelter I never broke the clench of child love, if I lay in death and all the pain of the past, would I have learned to live again and again? If she in that gazebo had pulled a carrot out and slid it between her legs, if I had watched where would I be now?


    Yours Truly,

    Senor Button.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 1 Day Ago at 10:58 PM.

  7. #7
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    1,196
    If Shane has made progress on season 2, I can't wait to hear his take on these columns, which still rule by the way.

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