By d9000 12 Comments
- I’m only comparing the Royal Rumble match to the Aztec Warfare match. The rest of the Rumble PPV does not count here.
- The winner is decided by my own personal entrainment level. Just like every wrestling fan I have my biases and favourites in each promotion so I can’t be completely non-partisan. But feel free to disagree with me. We can debate on the comments like grown men (or women, but that’s not likely).
As you probably know the Royal Rumble PPV took place on January 25th in Philadelphia. This is (arguably) WWE’s second biggest PPV of the year and kicks off the “Road to Wrestlemania”. It’s essential for establishing potential matches at Wrestlemania and sets the tone for the next few months of programing. Meanwhile, Lucha Underground is in their first season of existence and quickly built up to their own rumble style match. They call it Aztec Warfare and though the rules may differ, it’s a very similar match. It took place on January 7th, coincidently in the same month as the Royal Rumble.
Some important facts to know, while WWE has been in existence for over 60 years (depending on when you start counting) LU only began in October of 2014. Obviously WWE has more fans, more money and more wrestlers while LU is starting fresh. So keep in mind that after all these years WWE fans have become rabidly possessive of the product. Meanwhile LU is brand new so they can basically do whatever they want with the characters without anyone getting too upset.
TALE OF THE TAPE:
- AZTEC WARFAR:
- o 20 Combatants enter the ring at 90 second intervals.
- o They are eliminated from the match if they are pinned or submitted.
- o Men and Women are allowed to compete together.
- o The winner becomes the Lucha Underground World Champion.
- ROYAL RUMBLE
- o 30 Combatants enter the ring in 90 second intervals.
- o You are eliminated when you’re ejected from the ring, over the top rope with both feet touching the ground.
- o The winner gets a chance to face the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion (Brock Lesner) at Wrestlemania.
THE REVIEW (which is just a cleverly disguised rant, hahaha!):
So if you don’t know already let me be the first to tell you that this year’s Royal Rumble was been unanimously hated by both critics and fans. The reasons for this are numerous but can be boiled down to a few bad decisions. We’ll get into this later though because Aztec Warfare was actually really fun to watch. So just like the Royal Rumble, you know who’s going to win this review before it’s over. But the bigger question isn’t who wins, it’s why and for this I’ll go over each match from my own point of view.
I watched Aztec Warfare shortly after aired but had a hard time finding a decent version. This is because LU only plays on the El Rey Network and Unimas. As far as I can tell those channel are only available in certain parts of the United States and Mexico. You also can’t order the shows on PPV or pay for them online, so my only means to watch is through streaming video websites (lock me up now, I deserve it!). Even though it’s totally free I actually hate this because it can be hard or impossible to find a good version of something that I would gladly pay for (I’d go up to $9.99 a month). This hurt my experience because I had to watch it over several days on a small screen with crappy sound. Booo!
That said, what I did see was excellent. The rules of Aztec Warfare aren’t focused on the spectacle of someone being thrown over the top rope (which is a bit outdated to me) and allows the wrestlers more freedom to move around as they like. This in turn gives them more space to do cool spots. Very often the ring was cleared of combatants so that two or three wrestlers could go at it with their signature moves. We get to see plenty of amazing areal spots and glimpses of singles matches that could come out of this. I also prefer that you must pin or submit your opponents. It gives you the thrill of near falls plus saves from other fighters.
I also realized that I really love the LU roster. We got to see every wrestler in the promotion right now and they are such a cool bunch of weirdos! They’ve got the obvious baby-faces like Johnny Mundo, Puma, Fenix and Sexy Star who I thoroughly enjoy. A surprisingly large collection of quality heels like Mil Muertes, Chavo, Son of Havoc & Ivelisse, Pentagon Jr plus all of Dario Cuetos enforcers (all four of em!). A few great workers like Super Fly and El Mariachi Loco. And finally the ‘Wild Cards’, or perhaps ‘oddballs’ would be a better description. These guys range from creepy to exotic(o), but at all times kick ass. That would be Drago and King Cuerno, Mascarita Sagrada and Pimpinela Escarlata. I love the depth of the roster and how well it was built from day one. That’s why every episode of the show features great matches and very little BS, and why Aztec Warfare was so awesome. You get amazingly acrobatic moves and high flying spots. Plus you get a few non-high flyers like Big Ryck, Mil Muertes and Chavo to balance out the group. As I said above they tend to keep the ring clear of everyone except about 2-3 people (at least in the beginning) and this means we see more than just corner beat downs and shoving matches. It was basically a bunch of great matches rolled into one.
One thing I’m not totally sold on yet is the Women fighting Men aspect of LU. On one hand I like the equality. If I compare it to comic books (another media I really enjoy) we don’t see female characters only fighting other women so why can’t that apply here? Well if I’m listing reasons one is that despite their skill and strength they still aren’t a match physically for the men. Even though I think they could they don’t want the men to job for Sexy Star. So even when she beats somebody like Son of Havok or Chavo it’s either a very tough battle or with the help of a male wrestler. It doesn’t necessarily hurt her feuds because even if she can’t actually beat her opponent she stands up to him anyway. What you end up with is less about her being physical equal and more about her strength of character and courage. Maybe that makes her a more realistic role model? I don’t know, that’s why I’m conflicted. I’d like to see more women in this promotion to allow for more even feuds and more character development.
Now we move onto the second portion of this review. The part where I tear apart the Royal Rumble and point out all its mistakes!!!! Just kidding, I’m only going to point out its mistakes :p And let’s not forget, the title match with Cena, Lesner and Rollins was excellent. Not much to say except that I’m glad I watched it. Was it worth the price of admission? Probably not but it was a good match anyway. Now, as for the Rumble if you’ve been following WWE this year and you thought anyone other than Roman Reigns would win you are an idiot…. Wait, that’s not the right word… you are an optimist! That’s what I meant. His win doesn’t necessarily ruin the Rumble though. I mean it’s not my company so I don’t get to choose who wins, but as you’ll see, the way it was done just made everyone unhappy.
Instead of dissecting the entire match I’ve made a pros and cons list of the things I noticed in Chronological order:
1) CON: The match opens with Miz and R-Truth as the first to wrestlers. To me this is a boring start. We know that neither guy is going very far, and they’ve got no beef with each other (although I think they could have a great feud if they allowed it). It just seemed like a blah way to start (you could also use the word meh in place of blah).
2) PRO: The third guy in the ring is none other than… Bully Ray!! (I mean Bubba Ray Dudley). A nice surprise that really sparked the crowd. I personally didn’t know he left TNA (though it makes sense) and it was great to see him back in his Dudley outfit. He did some of his classic tag moves with R-Truth (explaining why Truth was there so quick) and just generally got the crowd going.
3) PRO: Bray Wyatt looked GREAT! He entered early and dominated the first third of the match. The moments where he’s alone in the ring were excellent. He may have been in some weak feuds lately but when this guy’s allowed to do his thing he’s just perfect.
4) CON: Daniel Bryan is eliminated from the match about half way through. I’m not trying to book these matches for them but seriously?? Let him win the F***ing Rumble?? It pissed everyone off when it didn’t happen last year and it pissed everyone off when it didn’t happen this year. I mean the guy gets the title taken off him by an injury (in a stupid feud with stupid Kane!) so why isn’t he a number one competitor now that he’s back?? I don’t get it. At least he was eliminated by Wyatt, hopefully Bryan will destroy Kane and move on to a good feud with Wyatt (again?).
5) CON: Mizdow comes in at 21 after everyone’s still pissed about Bryan being eliminated. Right away he pops the crowd. Brings them back to life and even has a nice angle where Miz tries and fails to take his spot. Then what happens? He spends 20 seconds in the ring before he’s launched out by Rusev?? WTF man!? I liked that they were teasing the feud with Miz but it’s wasted if he looks just as lame as the Miz. These guys will make you money if you stop squashing them! (sorry, I’m just yelling at the computer monitor).
6) CON: Ziggler comes in last, pops the crowed, spends a couple minutes in the ring, then gets beat down by Stupid Kane and Stupid Big Show and dumped out of the ring. Again, the crowed was silenced. Thanks for trying Dolph but you work at the WWE remember? You can just stop trying now.
- At this point Reigns was clearly going to win. This does happen a lot with Rumbles where you know who’s gonna win before it ends but in this case it just meant the crowd could start booing early. We heard nothing but BOO and HISS coming from the fans towards the guys who’s supposed to be the next face of the WWE! And he’s not even a heel! How’d this happen???
7) CON/PRO/CON: Reigns basically wins after eliminating Stupid Big show and Stupid Kane but they come back and beat him up for sh*** and giggles. THEN THE ROCK ENTERS!!! The crowd goes NUTS for him… until he starts helping Reigns and (trying desperately at) giving him a rub. This does not work and the fans boo the two of em!!! Talk about… Rock Bottom!!! (hahahaha)
8) PRO/CON: After the Rock thing and everyone thinks Reigns has won it turns out Rusev didn’t get eliminated at all. He was hiding under the ring this whole time!! (Not a very Rusev-y thing to do but whatever) He jumps in, takes it to Reigns, then gets thrown out as fast as you can say WHAT. A totally pointless move and it had everyone thinking “Oh good, Rusev might win” not “Oh no Reigns might lose”. This is completely backwards!! Were they trying to turn Rusev face?? #WTFWWE.
As you can see the Cons beat the Pros by a score of 7-4 and I am a disappointed viewer. Even after all the nitpicking and bellyaching above my two biggest complaints about this year’s rumble were
A) The transparency with which the WWE tried to force Roman Reigns down everyone’s throat using every cheesy, ridiculous tactic you can imagine like; getting the real baby face out early so we’d forget, having a big stairdown between Reigns, Kane and Big Show, getting The Rocks seal of approval, using a surprise spot at the end with Rusev… If you need to go to these lengths to put a guy over HE IS NOT THE RIGHT GUY! Nobody wants the show to end in a chorus of boos when a baby face is winning, it’s ridiculous. And I’m not just gonna blame the Philly crowd for being bitter. If anything they all went home depressed and questioning why they paid for this when it’s so easy to get it for free.
B) After watching Aztec Warfare I felt like this year’s Rumble was really slow and lumbering in the ring. Not nearly enough big moves or interesting elimination spots. I mean if people can leave the ring by going under the ropes why aren’t more people fighting on the outside?? Give the guys in the ring some breathing room and space for big moves. It just felt tedious as far as in ring action to me.
So with that you can see that I clearly liked Aztec Warfare more. Nothing but good times over at LU, meanwhile the top faces of WWE are getting booed out of the building and network subscriptions are cancelled all over the world.