Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lucha Libre USA on MTV2

Anyone who was witness to MTV's last wrestling debacle was probably smart enough to either skip last week's Lucha Libre USA debut show, or have severely lowered expectations. I fell into the second camp, as someone who, for some reason unknown even to me, watched every episode of the sub-par and deservedly short-lived Wrestling Society X. That being the case, I was almost impressed by what Lucha Libre USA put forth.

WSX had three major problems. 1) The show was 30 minutes long. A half-hour is not long enough for a wrestling show, unless it only has one match, and how far can you advance stories with one match per week unless your roster is four guys? 2) Because of #1, the matches were all clipped, and not only were they clipped, the audience wasn't told that they were clipped, which made them look terrible, though I'm sure many of them weren't. 3) Musical guests. Nothing like taking up a third of the show with a musical guest none of the wrestling fans give a fuck about, am I right?

You will be happy to know that LLU has none of these things. Unfortunately, what it does have is a bunch of guys most people have never heard of, and the bookers are doing a pretty poor job of making us care about any of them. They're basically trying to bring us into their world in media res. This does not work in wrestling. I understand lucha has rudos (heels) and technicos (babyfaces), but just telling us "he's a rudo and he's a technico" doesn't give us any reason to cheer or boo. The wrestlers and the booking needs to give us reasons to do that.

The first match on the card was a trios match, which is not the same as an American rules six-man tag. It featured rudos El Oriental, El Limon & Neutronic vs. technicos Mascara Purpura & the PR Powers. The rules were explained haphazardly (there's a captain, if he gets pinned, it's over, otherwise both of the other guys on the team must be pinned), and did not offer much clarification. (If one of the non-captain guys is pinned, is he eliminated? Does he have to go to the back?) The finish only compounded the issue, since both non-captain members of the technico team were pinned simultaneously, which would lead viewers to question in future matches if that's how it has to be done.

Beyond that, the match was ok. Nothing spectacular, but reasonably solid in ring work, no breakthroughs in wrestling psychology, but not bad. Enough high spots to get viewers hooked at the prospect of later matches being actually good.

There was a promo by R.J. Brewer playing up an anti-Mexican heel. He's from Arizona, he hates illegal immigrants, he also hates legal ones because he doesn't know for sure if they're legal, blah, blah, blah. Very one dimentional, full of cheap heat. Hopefully, he'll get a chance to branch out.

There was a tag match from the "minis" division. I assumed that meant midgets, but only one guy in this match looked to be a midget. It's hard to tell a wrestling audience that a guy who's the size of Evan Bourne (Mini-Park) is a guy who is in the same division as midgets. It just doesn't make sense. And all the while, the announcers are putting over how much Pequeno Halloween and Marscarita Dorada (the actual midget) hate each other. Okay, that's fine, they hate each other, but why? At least show me some tape of a AAA show or something, or book this match like there's real bad blood, because these guys were locking up in the middle of the ring.

Moving on to the main event, we had Marco Corleone (Mark Jindrak, for all you WCW fans) taking on Tinieblas, Jr. There was a promo with Tinieblas talking about how famous his mask is, despite the fact that almost no one watching this has ever seen it before, (either on him or Tinieblas, Sr.) then Jindrak says something about beating him up, being his daddy, really standard, non-creative promo stuff.

The match itself wasn't too bad, but they're clearly trying to push Jindrak as their top technico, which isn't going to work. Two reasons for that: 1) If I'm watching lucha, I want a dude in a mask as the top babyface, it's what casual fans who tune into lucha expect. 2) His charisma is... lacking, to say the least. In a world of John Cenas and Rob Van Dams, even of Tyler Blacks, Mark Jindrak doesn't have what it takes to carry a promotion. Which really just takes us back to #1, because a mask can do wonders for a guy who isn't naturally charismatic. Ever wonder why WWE put the mask back on Rey after WCW took it off? Well, besides all the merch they can sell...

Still, though, I was more entertained that watching an episode of iMPACT, because while the booking was bog standard, it wasn't dick-in-the-toaster idiotic. I'll give it a few more weeks to see if it picks up once it's in the swing of things. And while it's faint praise, I'll say it's worlds better than MTV's last wrestling show.

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