Back in the Spring, Lucha Underground was about halfway through its second season when bossman Dario Cueto’s office was the victim of a massive hoss fight. The Monster Matanza (El Jefe’s brother) and Mil Muertes were making every Believer’s Hoss Fight dreams come true when a well-executed flatliner took both giants through the roof of the office to end the fight in a double count-out. A week or so later (after what we can only imagine were expensive repairs) a backstage vignette showed Dario standing on a chair and peering into the space above a removed ceiling tile. Perhaps he was stashing any number of contraband items up there (possibly drugs, weapons, ancient Aztec talismans, etc.) or even better, perhaps he was searching for something. The storylines of the show continued to unfurl before its viewers over the following weeks and quickly whatever was hiding in Cueto’s crawl space became the furthest thing from our thoughts.
Over the past 26 months and 81 episodes, I have been both a devoted fan and harsh critic of Lucha Underground. When they are being progressive, insightful, and eccentric, I am among the first to congratulate them and offer up positive attributes to encourage others to support them. When they miss the mark, I am also usually among the first to express my disappointment and criticism. I find that in the realm of commentary on professional wrestling television programs, there are often only two choices: the voice of those trying to be overly optimistic, and the voice of those who overly criticize. Finding a stride between the two has always been my goal, and I have been taught to find that balance by the writers themselves. I often find myself critiquing a particular narrative as having gone “missing,” only for it to quickly reappear just after I’d noticed it was gone.
Lucha Underground’s writers have managed to find a pacing to their storytelling that so closely mimics human memory (or, at the very least, MY human memory) that we as an audience can take comfort in knowing that our realization that something was never resolved is a good sign that it will soon make a comeback. In some cases that means a few episodes, while for others it can take half a season. In the case of The Thing in Dario’s Ceiling, we received a payoff this week that we didn’t even know we wanted.
There was Jeremiah Crane standing in the Temple proprietor’s office demanding a match for next week when he suddenly pulls up a chair to climb on, moves aside a ceiling tile and retrieves a Ouija board he claims he left there as a child. The stunned look on Dario’s face matched my own as the scene changed to Crane in the hallway with resident ethereal figure Catrina, discussing how they used to play with the board together, whatever that means. So many new questions are now being asked, not the least of which is what is Crane’s relationship to the structure of the Temple? All we needed to get us there was one callback to eight months ago, and writers who know what they’re doing.
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.