Over a month or so ago, Major League Wrestling made waves when Salina de la Renta and Promociones Dorado introduced the company to the Man of 1,000 Deaths, the legendary, Mil Muertes. Known in wrestling as Ricky Banderas, Muertes was one of the most popular characters from the cult hit, Lucha Underground. Upon the show’s end after four unforgettable seasons, Banderas retained the right to use the Muertes name outside of the walls of the famed LU Temple. But even still, shockwaves were sent throughout the wrestling community when Muertes and his full LU backstory, arrived in MLW in January. But the company wasn’t done yet…
Shortly after Muertes’ arrival, it was revealed that Promociones Dorado, which de la Renta had been trying to sell to the highest bidder, was under new management, specifically from a group called Azteca Underground, which bears the name and likeness to the former Lucha Underground. From iconography to familiar phrases, fonts, and even music, Azteca Underground quickly captured the allure of its predecessor. And if that wasn’t enough to get fans excited about the possibility of LU’s legacy living on, MLW has continued to drop weekly hints that something is brewing and specifically that someone well known to fans, may be behind it.
😱The man of 1000 deaths has arrived!😱
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) January 14, 2021
On January 20th, the Azteca Underground Twitter debuted, announcing the members of the group, all of whom are under its subsidiary of Promociones Dorado as well as tweeted a photo of Konnan, under the moniker, “El tonto intrigante,” which loosely translates to “the scheming fool.” It was on that same day that the account tweeted a photo of a key and nothing else. While some may not have caught on to the significance of the MLW tweet, it was a key that the Temple’s first owner and proprietor, Dario Cueto, wore around his neck when Lucha Underground first began. The key was a source of much speculation early on as everyone wondered why Cueto held it so close and what it could potentially unlock. Of course, that answer was revealed when Dario Cueto unleashed his brother Matanza, who had been kept under lock and key in a cage, to the Temple.
Over the next several weeks, the tweets continued to drop hints that all seemed to suggest the connections to Lucha Underground went beyond the name and logo. For starters, the location for the Twitter account is listed as Boyle Heights, California, the location of the first and most famous iteration of the LU Temple. On January 26th, the first reference to “believers” was dropped as well as a call for “glorious violence” alongside a photo of what looked to be an empty warehouse. Fans of the show will remember that the original temple lived in a similar location as did its season four successor. Believers were what the fans of the show were called, and calling for violence was one of the specialties of LU’s longtime authority figure, Dario Cueto. On February 7th, the account tweeted its intent to buy IWA Puerto Rico and that Savio Vega would be making a mistake if he were to refuse this “unique opportunity.” Yet another reference to a catchphrase used by Cueto, one that even lent itself to the title of season one, episode eight of the show. That episode saw Cueto introduce his first, but certainly not last such opportunity. Finally, on February 18th, echoing an ad that aired during the Filthy Island episode of MLW, the account tweeted a GIF that simply read, “Opportunities Abound for Believers,” followed by a very real website, AztecaUnderground.com.
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) February 21, 2021
A quick glance at the new website, reveals even more details about the potential LU revival under the MLW banner. There is a section called, “Opportunities,” in which Azteca Underground notes looking for new office space, specifically away from police. Fans will recall that Cueto had several run-ins with the local authorities during LU’s original run. There is also an option on this page to sign up to be alerted of unique opportunities, which directs back to MLW’s mailing service. There is a section called “Artifacts,” which details a selection of items that Azteca Underground is hoping to acquire. Fans will recall that during Lucha Underground, several artifacts including the Thanos-esque gauntlet which was most famously worn by Cage, played a huge role in the mythology and stories of lore that LU prided itself on telling. There is a section called “Proprietor,” which currently shows just a photo of a man outside of a large building and a logo of a bull. It’s easy to miss this one, but if you click on that logo, it takes you to one of the most obvious signs Cueto is behind this whole thing: the notice of his death. Suggesting Cueto did indeed die in 2017 as per LU’s storyline, feels like an obvious red herring. But even if it isn’t, fans might remember season four’s cliffhanger, that saw Aerostar go back in time, place the medallion on Cueto’s neck and seemingly not just bring the man back to life, but also go back in time. Known for his time travel escapades, Aerostar’s actions, in essence, could have potentially erased more than just the events of season four, giving MLW a fresh canvas to play with here. While Aerostar revived Cueto, he wasn’t the only member of the LU roster that proved to have life-giving powers, which brings us to the page of second-most intrigue, the roster page, called “Luchadores.” The page lists Los Parks and Mil Muertes, followed by the words, “Who will Enter Azteca Underground Next?” Below that is a paid advertisement for Cat’s Curiosities Y Santeria, depicting a woman licking a skull. The ad features a phone number, which you can actually call (323-790-6660). When you do, there is a recorded message of a woman’s voice laughing maniacally. The clues are pretty obvious as it looks like MLW is suggesting that Catrina, who famously controlled Muertes on LU and who was known for her Lick of Death, could be heading to Azteca Underground next. Catrina was one of LU’s deepest and darkest characters with a backstory that led to major complications for Cueto. At one point, Catrina even became proprietor of the Temple herself. Of most note, however, she was the one who brought Mil Muertes back to life, a story thread that MLW has in part incorporated in the man’s backstory.
And it seems that is the way things are heading, with Dario Cueto once again behind the rebirth of his precious Temple. A major hint toward this outcome was dropped again on Filthy Island when Los Parks continued referring to their new boss in Promociones Dorado as “El Jefe.” This is the moniker Los Parks, de la Renta and the MLW commentators, have been using for several weeks now. For Spanish speakers, this may not sound any alarms as el jefe simply translates to, “the boss.” But anyone who watched Lucha Underground knows there was more than just a translation at play here. Because of course, it was under the title of El Jefe, that Lucha Underground owner and proprietor, Dario Cueto, ran his temple and perhaps will do so again in MLW and Azteca Underground.
— Lucha Underground (@LuchaElRey) October 10, 2014
For those who don’t know, Cueto, while he became the favored wrestling authority figure of many, is not actually a promoter, booker, or anything of the kind. Cueto, as well as his father Antonio, was played by actor Luis Fernandez-Gil, who is credited with over 100 acting roles in his career including movies, TV episodes of Mike and Molly, the Mentalist, Punk’D, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and more. But perhaps Gil’s most famous role, one he held for nearly 100 episodes of TV, was that of the LU owner and proprietor. So why bring up Gil’s shoot job? Well, it’s simple. Had Gil, or Cueto, been the real-life booker of Lucha Underground, it may have been more difficult for MLW to secure his services. As such, however, they can simply hire him to resume the role he held from 2014-2017. The only thing standing in their way was his storyline death, but as mentioned above, if the events of season four are any indication, that seems to be a non-issue.
Perhaps the only last hurdle for MLW then would be the trademarks, but that too seems may have eased as a result of El Rey Network, the parent company of LU, shutting down at the beginning of 2021. It seems the timing wasn’t a coincidence then, as MLW began teasing their LU connection shortly into the new year. With El Rey shut down, there is a question as to who owns the rights to Lucha Underground as well as all of the entities that go along with it. That would presumably include the rights to use the character, Dario Cueto. There is still much to be determined as far as those details, but there is no doubt that reviving LU in some way, shape, or form as Azteca Underground, seems firmly in MLW’s plans. In fact, there is even some thought that Azteca Underground may serve as MLW’s second show, which they are reportedly working on for DAZN as part of the partnership that was announced last June. It is also worth noting that with Konnan on board and the partnership with AAA Lucha Libre working at full force, MLW may just be the company best-suited to revive the brand which not only had a great following but that also opened up a televised U.S. platform for so many Lucha libre stars. Several of whom, have already appeared in MLW, including Konnan, Pentagon, Fenix, Drago, El Dragon Azteca, Muertes, the time-bending Aerostar, and others.
Glorious violence is coming for my Believers. pic.twitter.com/1EzinTcR02
— Azteca Underground (@AZTECALucha) January 27, 2021
Whether or not a Lucha Underground-inspired revival does materialize as its own show or even with a larger presence on weekly episodes of Fusion, MLW certainly has the believers on the edge of their seats. It’s been three years since the doors of the Temple have been opened. Now, MLW has the unique opportunity to welcome fans back inside those doors and back to the world of Lucha Underground, and if the teases to Cueto and Catrina, as well as the effort being put into this (creating a Twitter account, website, and working phone number), are any indication, it appears we could be headed for exactly that outcome.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. MLW Fusion airs every Wednesday on Fubo Sports Network and YouTube at 7 PM EST and every Saturday on beIN SPORTS at 10 PM EST.