News broke earlier this week that seasons 1 and 2 of Lucha Underground will finally become available on Netflix in the U.S. and Canada on Feb. 15. That’s more than 65 hours of intense storytelling, phenomenal wrestling and some wild, over-the-top characters. If the task of conquering all Lucha Underground has to offer seems daunting, fear not! We’ve assembled a list of 10 must-see matches (and their mind-blowing storylines) as a gateway for any wrestling fan. Without further ado, in the words of “El Jefe” Dario Cueto: “RING THE BELL!”
Note: Lucha Underground’s Netflix debut actually came on March 15, 2017, one month later than originally rumored.]
What better way to introduce yourself to an entire roster of Lucha Underground performers than to see them all in one giant match? Like WWE’s Royal Rumble, two luchadors start out in the ring, and at regular intervals a new opponent is entered into the fray, until 19 have been pinned or submitted and one is left standing tall. You’ll quickly learn that in Dario’s Temple, just about anything goes, so don’t expect count-outs or disqualifications here. Even better, the winner of this match becomes the first ever Lucha Underground Champion. History is made.
Exactly one whole season later, Aztec Warfare is established as a regular event in the Lucha Underground Temple. But things in the Temple are much different now, as a new evil genius is at the helm and chaos reigns supreme. With the Lucha Underground Championship on the line, there’s no predicting what people will do – or who might show up – to claim the most coveted prize.
If tag teams and factions are your thing, here’s where you’ll find your happy place. Angelico, Son of Havoc, and Ivelisse do “unwilling tag partners” wonderfully, and The Crew is easy to both love and hate. There’s a beautiful meshing of styles here, as well, with a great deal of hard-hitting matched with some fancy lucha aerial work. But if you ask any LU fan, they’ll tell you, the craziest spot in Season 1 takes place right here in this match.
Perhaps your tastes are more in line with Lucha Underground proprietor Dario Cueto, and what you crave most is a great deal of violence. In that case, break out the light tubes, kiddies; it’s time for a hardcore match. In the only “Cero Miedo” match in LU history, Pentagon and Vampiro allow a feud between them to boil over into a blistering blood-fest, complete with a wicked swerve a whole season in the making, delivered right in the kisser.
Think the boys are the only ones allowed to bleed for their art? Think again. Halfway through Season 2, fan-favorite Sexy Star and newcomer Mariposa hit a fever pitch (and topped off a lot of people’s best-of lists for Season 2) with an insane “No mas,” or “I Quit” match (“no mas” means “no more.”) It was bloody, raged into parts of the Temple yet to be explored by luchadors or luchadoras, and includes the single most cathartic utterance of the f-word in modern wrestling history.
It’s likely you’ve heard of Ricochet and John Morrison before. When the two began facing off as Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo in Lucha Underground, it was clear they would elevate the product by pushing one another to create truly magnificent moments in the ring. In episode 32, we get an “All Night Long” match, a single ironman match spanning one entire episode that rages all over the Temple and includes a grand total of nine falls in more than 50 minutes. Don’t be shocked if this one leaves you breathless—we’ve all been there.
Coming to Lucha Underground to give intergender wrestling a try? May we suggest the incredible match between “The Machine” and “The Valkyrie” in Season 2? Cage is a monster of a man—bigger than most of the rest of the roster. Taya is cunning, shifty and agile. Together, they dish out a great deal of punishment and nothing is off limits. For those who want more actual gender equality in wrestling, watch these two put on a clinic for how to wrestle intergender matches and make them some of the best of the whole season.
As is true of many of the best matches in Lucha Underground, this one is at the heart of an important storyline for the beginning of Season 2. When all of the major players are aligned, a moment is created for a nearly perfect match—leave it to Cuerno and Fenix to deliver. Nothing more could be asked of these two competitors than what is given to their audience during this “Last Luchador Standing” match. A work of art, truly, and the catalyst for a world of pain to come.
Speaking of telling a good wrestling story, try putting a man who rises from the ashes and the man who conquered death in a casket match together. When Dario Cueto announces he’s created something called “Grave Consequences” for Muertes and Fenix to settle their differences, you can be assured of two things: These two are going to do everything they can to kill one another, and whoever goes into that casket isn’t staying dead for long.
Knowing the type of carnage we got from Grave Consequences in Season 1, it’s only fair to expect that, with two of the biggest, baddest luchadors in the Temple facing off with four caskets at their disposal, we’re probably going to have ourselves a substantially violent match. The hard-hitting main event of this episode is not only frighteningly aggressive, but the end of the match feels terribly final and creates a new feeling among the Temple’s Believers: fear.
Lady J is a freelance writer and podcaster based out of the Washington D.C. area. She specializes in feminist wrestling critiques on her blog and hosts a Lucha Underground and indie wrestling review podcast, The Facelock Feministas. She’s on Twitter @theladyjsays.