The match has begun. Tonight on the El Rey network, it’s the premiere of Lucha Underground. Working with Emmy winning producer Mark Burnett, Lucha Underground promises to bring drama, excitement and action to U.S. audiences as the masked heroes and villains battle it out in the ring for wrestling supremacy. The high-octane original series combines ancient lucha libre tradition, extraordinary athleticism and a flare for theatrics in each hour-long episode. Every Wednesday, viewers will have a ringside seat as masked villains and heroes face off to battle for wrestling supremacy resulting in programming that is unlike anything else on the screen.
Nerdist had the opportunity to attend a match and speak with executive producer and showrunner Eric Van Wagenen about the experience of bringing traditional lucha libre to an American audience with a Robert Rodriguez cinematic flare to create a show like Lucha Underground. As someone who was not a wrestling fan before I got to experience Lucha Underground firsthand, I really had no idea what I was in for. By the time I left, I was floored by the experience I just had. The match was incredible. Complete with elaborate and authentic sets and costume, as well as music and Aztec themes, everything on Lucha Underground, from the look of the space to the athleticism of the luchadores, was breathtaking. The show was, to put it bluntly, an absolute f***ing blast. I asked Van Wagenen about how Lucha Underground came to be. He told us, “The idea for the show started almost a year ago when the El Rey network was just getting started. I work for Mark Burnett. I’ve worked on and off for Mark Burnett for years… and now I’m a showrunner for him.”
Van Wagenan, who had previously worked with the WWE on two other wrestling shows, went on to explain the creation of the look of the show. “The idea was to bring a version of Lucha Libre to America that would crossover and be all inclusive of wrestling fans… So, we started to put the pieces together. We found some people who had this kind of experience. We worked with some of Robert Rodriguez’s FactoryMade [and] a lot of the people that go into putting the look of El Rey together.” He continued, “We’ve brought in some Robert Rodriguez people to helps us with some of [the production] stuff too so it feels like a well-oiled television production but it has elements of it that have very much film-like and Robert Rodriguez-like…. It’s one of the more interesting shows that I’ve ever worked on. ”
In the series premiere of “Lucha Underground,” owner and promoter Dario Cueto opens his “Temple” to the best fighters from around the world, to compete for wrestling supremacy and a $100,000 prize. Watch the clip below from tonights premiere as the masked heroes and villains battle it out in the Temple.
Lucha Underground will kick off tonight, Wednesday, October 29th at 8:00 pm ET/PT and visit El Rey’s website to see if you have the network.