Over the course of their first season, Lucha Underground created a program that enticed and amazed audiences. Their characters reflected a much more modern and updated idea of Lucha Libre. Fans were not only exposed to incredible storylines, but a hybrid of styles that combined traditional Lucha with American wrestling. Throughout the season, a number of performers managed to capture the attention of those watching in attendance and those at home watching on the El Rey Network. Even though many performers achieved new heights and captured the imagination and attention of the Lucha Underground faithful, only a select few could be picked as the greatest performers of the first season. This was not enviable task as there could have easily been a list of 30 performers that made the show as successful as it was.
In compiling such a list, I reached out to fans of Lucha Underground for their perspective, along with taking into account my own observations as to who stood out above others on the program. When we consider “greatest performer” it doesn’t necessarily mean just in-ring wrestlers, but rather characters that were an integral part of the program and its success. Thus, those considered for this list encompasses commentators, managers, announcers, and prominent characters in backstage vignettes. In a recent interview with Executive Producer, Eric Van Wagenen We highlighted a number of the talented performers on the program. These performers did several things that stood out either in the ring or on the microphone that provided fans with action, suspense and drama to keep coming back for more week after week. Here is the list of 10 who stood out for a number of different reasons.
Angélico didn’t appear on the program until the middle of the season, as part of an elimination match up that included Aerostar, Brian Cage and Argenis. The South African star met with success almost immediately. Alongside Ivelisse and Son of Havoc, the trio captured the first ever Lucha Underground Trios Championship. Soon after they successfully defended their titles against Dario Cueto’s The Crew in a ladder match.
Unfortunately they lost the titles to Catrina’s Disciples of Death when Catrina interfered in the match up. The match was incredible as the team faced the DOD short-handed due to Ivelisse being injured going into the match, yet they still fought to defend their championship.
Angelico’s aerial assault stood out throughout the first season, but no more than what he managed to do during his team’s defense of the Lucha Underground Trios championship. Whether it was his leap from the top of Dario Cueto’s office to the ring or his leap to the floor from the top rope, Angelico was spectacular throughout the match. His performance throughout the first season stood out, remarkable considering the short amount of time that he was on the program.
9. Son of Havoc
Fans of the independent wrestling scene will be no stranger to the man behind the mask. Wrestling under the Son of Havoc character, this masked superstar joined Lucha Underground in the fall of 2014. In the show’s debut episode, he competed against female luchador, Sexy Star. It isn’t common to see men face women north of the border, but it is commonplace in Lucha Libre. Havoc’s ability to compete in the lucha style and work an inter-gender match demonstrated his in-ring showmanship. As the season progressed, Havoc showed an ability to adapt to different styles and competitors. Throughout the season he faced a number of talents, but wasn’t victorious very often.
After numerous losses, the ever-persistent Havoc defeated Angelico, who he had lost to previously. During the tournament to become the first ever Lucha Underground Trios Champion, Havoc, along with Angelico and Ivelisse were victorious. The new position that Son of Havoc found himself in provided him with a new opportunity, and his perseverance after countless losses really stood out to fans. However, during Ultima Lucha, the team of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico lost their Trios Championship when the already injured Ivelisse was pinned by Catrina’s Disciples of Death. Son of Havoc was an exceptional performer during Lucha Underground‘s inaugural season. The question is, will he continue to stand united with Angelico and Ivelisse, or will he look to create his own path of…Havoc?
8. Sexy Star
Without question one of the most prominent performers during the inaugural season of Lucha Underground was Sexy Star. She was another AAA wrestler to star in the program. Her featured role in the program was very timely, as she appeared prior to the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag rose to prominence. Her first match was against Son of Havoc. A few weeks later, when she attempted to reason with Chavo Guerrero and prevent him from continuing his attack on Blue Demon Jr, she faced his wrath in the way of a steel chair to the head. In a match where she teamed with Fenix against Chavo and Pentagon Jr., she attempted to exact revenge against Guerrero to no avail.
Much like Ivelisse, she competed as part of the tournament to determine the first ever Lucha Underground Trios Championship. Star faced a number of dangerous encounters throughout the season; if it wasn’t the chair shot by Chavo Guerrero, it was the attempted broken arm at the hands of Pentagon Jr. She eventually won one of seven “Aztec Medallion” gold coins, leading to her participating in the seven-way Battle Royal Match for the inaugural Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship. The season ended with Star having been kidnapped by Marty “The Moth” Martinez as part of a storyline. What will season two have in store for this incredible talent?
One of the first five AAA wrestlers to be announced as joining the program in the summer of 2014, Fenix appeared early on, main eventing in a triple threat match against Drago and Pentagon Jr. As the weeks passed, a rivalry developed between himself and Pentagon Jr. He also played a prominent role by competing against Lucha Underground Champion Prince Puma. It wouldn’t be long before Fenix was thrust into his next feud, his signature program with Mil Muertes that lasted for much of the season. He was the first person to defeat Muertes.
The feud between the two started when Muertes’ valet Catrina made overtures to Fenix, leading to her betraying Muertes. In the process, Fénix took Catrina as his own valet. Their feud initially ended with the infamous Grave Consequences casket match between the two. Fans will fondly remember this standout match, as it combined incredible wrestling, elaborate entrances and brutal violence, and fully tapped into the dark character of the Muertes persona.
During the series co-finale, Fenix captured the seven Aztec Medallions to become the first ever Gift of the Gods Champion, which will give him another opportunity at the Lucha Underground Championship.
6. Mil Muertes
What an incredible and captivating character. Mil Muertes was given a backstory that drew fans in from the start. The character’s real name was Pasqual Mendoza, and his whole family died in an earthquake in Mexico City, when he was just a seven-year-old child. One thousand people died in his apartment building, thus giving him his name (Mil Muertes being Spanish for 1000 deaths.) He was led to the ring by his valet Catrina, who carried a brick from Muertes’ apartment building in a pouch. He had a heated rivalry with Fenix, and as was mentioned previously, he was defeated in the Grave Consequences casket match.
Muertes was “resurrected” by Catrina and returned to face Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground Championship. He defeated Puma and now goes into season two as the Lucha Underground Champion. There was no question that Muertes is a haunting and destructive presence. While some may attempt to parallel his character to others that exist, make no mistake, Mil Muertes is a character all his own. While dabbling with the supernatural, black magic and Aztec mythology, Mil Muertes’ performance stood out this season because he incorporated all of these elements into a character that struck fear into the hearts of his competition.
5. Pentagon Jr.
A virtual unknown to North American audiences, Pentagon Jr. was among a handful of AAA wrestlers from Mexico that became a star during season one. He first appeared on one of the early episodes, where he lost to Fenix in a triple threat match that included Drago as well. A rivalry soon ensued between both Fenix and Pentagon Jr. after this initial match.
In early 2015, Pentagon Jr. was presented as a vicious character who enjoyed breaking his opposition’s limbs. Each broken limb was presented as a sacrifice to his Maestro (master)… Who was this Maestro? Throughout the season, Pentagon Jr. could have easily earned the nickname “the new face of fear” for his dark and menacing promos and his weekly sacrifices.
Despite his sinister character, he was still part of the Lucha Underground Trios Championships, teamed with Sexy Star and Super Fly. They were unsuccessful in their attempt to advance, much to the dismay of Pentagon Jr. After several attempts to break Super Fly’s arm, he was finally successful. The villainous Pentagon Jr. even tried to break the arm of ring announcer Melissa Santos, who was saved by Sexy Star. He later attempted to sacrifice Sexy Star, but was stopped by Mexican wrestling legend and Lucha Underground colour commentator Vampiro.
As the weeks passed, Pentagon Jr. began to state that he would sacrifice Vampiro to his Maestro. Fans could not get enough of this storyline, and both characters’ portrayals were riveting throughout their feud. Their battle ultimately culminated in a Cero Miedo match during part two of the Ultima Lucha season finale. After defeating Vampiro, Vampiro urged Pentagon Jr. to break his arm as a sacrifice. It was in fact the final sacrifice, as Vampiro was then revealed as being the Maestro that Pentagon Jr. had been alluding to for the majority of the season. It will be interesting to see how Pentagon Jr.’s character evolves and how his relationship with Vampiro will affect the rest of the Lucha Underground roster for the upcoming season.
Karlee Leilani Perez, who wrestled as Maxine in WWE, plays the role of “Catrina”, the girlfriend and valet of Mil Muertes. As dangerous as she is beautiful, Catrina would use her sex appeal to manipulate those competing against Muertes. If she was known for anything during the show’s inaugural season, it was her infamous “lick of death.” Suggestive in its manner, it certainly catered to a different audience. After Muertes was defeated by Fenix in the Grave Consequences match, he disappeared for a few months. But Catrina once again came to Muertes’ aid. In what is often been described as a “resurrection,” Catrina brought Muertes back to life and went on to manage him once again.
Catrina’s role expanded, as did her roster of talent. She went on to secure the services of The Disciples of Death (Barrio Negro, Trece and El Sinestro de la Muerte). They were three masked men who represented the dead much like Muertes. During part one of the season finale, she assisted The Disciples of Death as they defeated the Lucha Underground Trios Champions Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc. As her roster of talent and championships has grown, what stands in the way of Catrina’s complete domination of the Temple?
3. Dario Cueto
Actor Luis Fernandez-Gil plays the part of Dario Cueto, the owner and promoter of Lucha Underground. He is often identified as Lucha Underground‘s “proprietor” because he has access to endless amounts of money. He claims that the “temple” is his crowning achievement.
Cueto immediately solidified his position as the evil boss when he prevented Johnny Mundo from claiming his winnings at the end of the debut episode. This tactic showed that he lured people in with false promises only to snatch them away in the event that they achieve them. It was a fiendish act indeed. While his announcements such as the Aztec Warfare match and the Lucha Underground Trios Championship appealed to the crowd, fans would often question Cueto’s ulterior motives. He was often flanked by henchmen, mainly The Crew. In one particular episode, Cueto had one of the Crew members “sacrificed” to his off-screen, monstrous brother. He would even enter an alliance with third generation wrestling great Chavo Guerrero.
The Cueto character took many twists and turns, and made those around him better. His exchanges with Black Lotus in the season finale, Ultima Lucha, certainly would draw the interest of any fan of suspense, action and drama, let alone wrestling. One can only wonder what the upcoming season will have in store for Cueto, as he was last seen fleeing his beloved temple.
2. Johnny Mundo
Formerly Johnny Nitro and John Morrison in the WWE, Mundo came into Lucha Underground as one of the most notable talents, given his high profile and previous North American experience. On the debut episode, he faced Prince Puma and won one hundred thousand dollars. The celebration was short-lived, as the money was taken away from him by Promoter Dario Cueto. Following this occurrence, Mundo teamed with Puma and faced a number of Cueto’s hired henchmen, including Cortez Castro and Mr. Cisco. Mundo would also face another former WWE alumnus in Big Ryck, formerly known as Ezekiel Jackson. As the season continued, Mundo was in triple threat matches and ladder matches, all in an effort to win the hundred thousand dollars that was taken from him on the first episode.
As the season continued, Mundo participated in the Aztec Warfare match to determine a Lucha Underground Champion. Although he was unsuccessful, Mundo continued to stand out, and worked several programs including a feud with King Cuerno. If there was one highlight of the season for Mundo, which is rather difficult to pick, it would be his “all night long match” against Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground Championship. In this match, two incredibly talented workers wrestled the entire length of the program. The ever-popular Mundo, who actually finished the season as a heel, ended his season alongside a familiar face, as Melina rejoined him in his win over Alberto El Patron.
1. Prince Puma
What an incredible season Prince Puma had. While his identity is intended to be kept a mystery, Puma’s notoriety on the independent circuit has put him among the elite young wrestlers competing today. The origins of Prince Puma were rich in history. He was presented as someone who grew up in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles where Lucha Underground is filmed, and has Aztec heritage. He was managed by Mexican wrestling legend Konnan, who spoke on Puma’s behalf the majority of the time. Puma competed in the debut episode against Johnny Mundo, and the two battled multiple times. Their matches against one another were incredible; they would continuously capture the attention of the crowd with their signature moves and ability to take Lucha Libre into the next generation.
Prince Puma captured the first ever Lucha Underground Championship when he defeated 19 other competitors in the Aztec Warfare battle royal. He then entered into a feud with Brian Cage, which culminated in a title match between the two. Puma and Cage vary widely in looks, but make no mistake, their battles against each other certainly showed that they could compete in the Lucha Libre style. Prince Puma’s inaugural season was not without its disappointments, as he lost the Lucha Underground Championship to Mil Muertes during the season finale. How could he top his performance from this season? We’ll see where he ranks at the end of season two.