April 1, 2022
In a continued attempt to establish their niche in the landscape, Major League Wrestling (MLW) launched their rebooted version of Lucha Underground, entitled MLW Azteca, late last year.
No one would be guilty of mistaking it for a continuation of Lucha Underground. It doesn’t quite capture the zeitgeist in the way LU did but, there again, I don’t know that anything or anyone else in the current landscape could. That said, as with all MLW programming, the Azteca shows are generally an enjoyable, easy watch and they have a different feel to them. Part of that, obviously, is the more varied roster involved, but also in terms of the production values and presentation.
Those looking for a LU nostalgia hit will get their fair share here. Matt Cross, known in LU as Son of Havoc, takes on Octagon Jr, Puma King vies for the Openweight title in a four-way match also involving Alex Kane, ACH and Myron Reed, and King Muertes teams up with Mads Krugger and Richard Holliday to face World Champion Alexander Hammerstonee and home favourites The Von Erichs. Oh, and Cesar Duran, the man who used to be in charge of all things in the temple.
Duran isn’t just the omnipotent chieftain of the promotion on this show, he’s also supposedly wrestling a match against current nemesis Hammerstone. It remains to be seen how much of a match it’ll actually be but it’s certainly an intriguing addition to the card.
I noted in my preview of Intimidation Games, MLW’s other Mania Weekend show, that MLW isn’t necessarily a promotion that produces too many MOTY contenders. However, there are two matches set for this show that could approach notebook territory if given enough time: Bandido vs Flamita and the main event involving LA Park and Jacob Fatu.
Fatu and Park first met over two years ago in the main event of MLW’s first PPV event and they had a belting No Disqualification match. They’ve got a similar stipulation to work with this time as it’s an Apocalypto match and I’m hopeful they can hit similar heights.
Bandido and Flamita, meanwhile, are former tag team partners who have met a number of times over the years in singles matches across various promotions. Those matches have always delivered and you’d have to suspect that they’ll produce something great in this environment.
Looking down the rest of the card, the match that keeps catching my eye is Aramis vs Gino Medina. Not necessarily because I have particularly high expectations for it, although I do enjoy Aramis’ work, but because of the stipulation. Initially advertised as a Mexican Strap match, it’s now a Mexican Lumberjack match – largely similar to a standard Lumberjack match but in this instance all the Lumberjacks have straps to use. It’s certainly different…
Azteca Underground has been the focus of MLW’s promotional efforts for Mania Weekend this year and it certainly looks to be their stronger card on paper. It’s a busy Friday in Dallas but if you’re looking for something different with a strong Lucha Underground nostalgia factor, this will be the show for you.