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Give Opinions a Chance Lucha Kliq!
Inspired by a conversation I had with Lucha fan Lucas. Thanks dude!
For most of my life as a wrestling fan and writer, I’d be someone you’d describe as being more a cynical critic than a positive apologist. I can’t explain why; maybe it was the years of being disappointed by WCW and WWE, but I always seemed to lean towards fearing the worst instead of hoping for the best. That was the way it was till Lucha Underground at least. For years I would see fleeting great moments in wrestling and wonder why we couldn’t have that every show or at least that kind of effort every show. Lucha Underground proved to me you could have that, especially in the first season. Even if every show wasn’t great, the effort to be great was always there, the drive of every performer on and off-screen made the show so captivating that even the merely “okay” efforts stood out. It rejuvenated my love for wrestling; it made me less a critic and more than a fan. I’ll be forever grateful to Lucha Underground for that. And yet in some ways the old critic never dies, which is why I’m here today to dish out some criticism. Here’s the twist though; it’s not on Lucha Underground.
You see, I’m still greatly enjoying my experience with the LU deep into season two. Even though the season has been shorter and things have been rushed to accommodate fewer episodes, Lucha Underground has remained largely the same for me. The stories still make sense; the in ring action remains good to great; each member of the roster has a point and a character; most importantly the effort to be great every single episode remains there. The point is that everything that made me fall in love with Lucha Underground, from the largest detail to the smallest, is still there and in full force. I can say with 100% certainty that I’m satisfied with the product. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone else holds the same mindset that I do.
It’s fair to say Lucha Underground has come under more criticism in season two than they have in season one. Some of that criticism is baffling and stupid, particularly the criticism from the commentators at Cageside Seats who seem to believe that Pentagon Jr. and King Cuerno (two ultra talented dudes who I love) are the only guys who deserve to do anything important on the LU. Other criticism is unfair, born from the hype and rose tinted glasses many have towards season one which has in many eyes made it impossible for season two to live up to the hype. At the same token though, some of the criticism has been fair. Take last night’s Part One of Ultima Lucha Dos for example (warning; spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the show), a show built around a tournament that we later found out was put together to a) have “El Jefe” Dario Cueto screw the winner of the whole thing (Son of Havoc for those who missed it) and b) debut the legendary Dr. Wagner Jr. I loved the whole thing, but that’s because I love Wagner and El Jefe’s evil ways. For a person who thinks El Jefe is already evil enough or someone who has no idea who Wagner is, it’s understandable why a segment like that would fall flat, hence criticism for the show, indeed, falling flat (even if I don’t agree with it).
You may ask, well what’s the problem if you see both sides? The problem is that it’s become apparent to me that many of my Lucha Kliq partners in crime don’t see both sides. I want to be careful here because I love almost every member of the Lucha Kliq; it’s a loyal community that has taken me in, helped me grow as a writer both personally and professionally and has done great work to help make Lucha Underground what it is. I believe in what we’re trying to do, which is why I feel compelled to say this. There is just a little too much thin skinned, apologist tendencies going on within the Lucha Underground fan base right now. It’s one thing to enjoy the show, which I can safely say everyone in the Lucha Kliq does; it’s another thing to turn a blind eye to the flaws of the product and go around lambasting people for not agreeing with your opinion. It wasn’t apparent to me before but as time has gone on it’s now screaming at my face. And its super troubling because, frankly, we the Lucha Kliq (both fans and LU executives) are supposed to be better than that. And that without question includes me and somethings I've said in the past.
I say that because I truly believe in Lucha Underground. I believe in the concept, I believe in the performers; I believe this promotion has everything it takes to be the thing wrestling needs in this day and age. I truly believe Lucha Underground can make a difference. However, it can only do so if we not only celebrate the triumphs of LU but acknowledge the criticisms to it and look to grow. One of the many reasons I can no longer stomach following the WWE (and one of the things that keeps me from embracing TNA) is the rampant apologists than run throughout the fan bases. I felt I couldn’t be critical in any way and couldn’t express my opinion without being labeled as a typical member of some group that doesn’t exist anymore. Those fans didn’t realize what we should realize now; criticism isn’t a bad thing! Without criticism we can’t learn from mistakes; without criticism we can’t get better at things. Lucha Underground was great at many things, and it could be even better if us fans, the performers and others saw the flaws and went about looking for ways to fix them. I truly feel Lucha Underground would be unstoppable if we did that, which is why it alarms me so much that so many of my Lucha brothers and sisters are so resistant to accept any criticism. It doesn’t help anything; it makes us seem like apologists or, one of my least favorite terms, Lucha stans. And that’s unacceptable.
Here’s the point for you Lucha Kliq members still reading this column or any wrestling fan out there in general; be open to criticism and remember that criticism doesn’t mean something is bad. Just because there are flaws in Lucha Underground (or whatever promotion you watch) don’t mean there still isn’t a lot of greatness there. And there is truly a lot of greatness in Lucha Underground, from the talent to the creative team to the fans to the effort given every week; there are also just a lot of things that could be done even better. So please Lucha Kliq, fans of any product, I implore you that the next time you’re about to rant on someone you disagree strongly with or whatever the case, stop and think about the other side for a minute. Sure there will always be trolls but there will also always be people being critical because they want things to be better. Look at that side, think about it and see that maybe there’s a point to that. Only then can we start to make Lucha Underground or whatever promotion you follow truly amazing. And in Lucha Underground’s case it’s already largely amazing. Wouldn’t you like to see a level beyond that? Wouldn’t you like it to be like this all the time?
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