Lucha Tributes: Marty Elias
A lot of times in wrestling, we get so caught up with the big name performers that we forget about the unsung heroes of the business; the people who go out there and do the dirty work without ever getting any credit. For our second entry in the Lucha Tributes series, I thought it be swell to throw some props towards one of those unsung heroes. This person, one of the most consistent and dependable performers on Lucha Underground, isn't someone well known or even someone you'd necessarily consider important. In fact, he's not even a wrestler. But as Lucha Underground's senior official and most consistent presence show to show, he's just as important to the LU's success as any wrestler, booker or promoter. Boys, girls, Academy voters who desperately need to be fired, this right here is a Lucha Tribute for a wrestling lifer and a man who deserves all the props in the world, senior Lucha Underground official Marty Elias.
What You Already Know
Marty Elias is a professional wrestling referee from Upland, California who you likely know very well. For starters, he's a former WWE referee, working for the wrestling mother ship from 2007 to 2009. His time with WWE was memorable, although not always for the right reasons. A quick YouTube search for Marty will lead you to a clip of him, Lillian Garcia and Jillian Hall (back in her bad singing days) all seemingly auditioning for American Idol, which I suppose you can choose to be endearingly funny or another example of WWE being behind in the times. Much more notably than that segment (and far more importantly), Marty was the official for the bonkers good Shawn Michaels-Undertaker match at Wrestlemania 25, where he famously was pushed out of the way by HBK before Taker's famous dive that nearly got him killed and did get Sim Snuka fired. That's right guys; Marty was in that ring for every grueling, captivating minute of that classic. As another Lucha Underground talent would say in another lifetime, "be jealous!". I feel nauseous for bringing that up.
Of course, for everyone in the Lucha Kliq, Marty is now best known as the senior official and the Earl Hebner (minus the corruption) of Lucha Underground. Aside from "El Jefe" Dario Cueto himself, Melissa Santos and fellow referee/PWG hero Rick Knox, Marty was the most consistent presence in the Temple during season one. He referee'd almost all of the big matches of season one (with the exception of Vampiro-Pentagon), including the first ever LU main event between Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo, the All Night Long iron man match between those same two men, the Trios Championship final, the Fenix-Mil Muertes Death Match and the Ultima Lucha main event between Puma and Muertes. Marty's run with lucha libre doesn't end there, as he was also the lead official during AAA's inaguiral Lucha Libre World Cup back in May of 2015. Basically, Marty is the king of referees. It's one thing to be an official for both the number one wrestling promotion in the world and the best wrestling promotion going today; it's another to have been the guy making sure everyone followed the rules while HBK and Taker put on a Mania classic and Angelico is flying through the air like Superman. Marty Elias has lived a life fans like us can only dream of. Batman is probably jealous of him (on second thought, maybe not. He is Batman after all).
What You Didn't Know
Grab your socks and pull folks; this section's going to be good. Prior to his stint with WWE, Marty was a mainstay at Rick Bassman's UPW promotion in California, where he worked as a referee and eventually served as a writer and booker. That's right, Marty was the writer and booker of a wrestling promotion, unless there's someone else out there named Marty Elias that's involved with wrestling. Prior to his arrival to WWE, he would also referee briefly in Japan and even the short lived World Wrestling All-Stars promotion, which was basically an even less successful version of TNA. Hey, the truth hurts kids.
Now here's the good part. After his WWE release, Marty woul become a mainstay for the California indie fed Empire Wrestling Federation founded by Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez (who are credited for training Marty). You'll be surprised to know a few things about Marty's run with EWF; first, he was actually a heel some of the time, as shown by a pretty scathing, arrogant worked shoot he cut on the EWF audience back in 2012 (and yes, he definitely rubs it in the audience's face that he was the ref of HBK-Taker. Then again, who wouldn't?). Second, he would eventually become the deputy commisioner of the promotion, making him EWF's Dario Cueto. Finally, and this is the good one...Marty Elias would end up winning the EWF's top title, the EWF Heavyweight Championship of the World, on May 3rd, 2013, defeating Brandon Gatson for the gold. That's right everyone; our favorite senior official over at the LU is a former World Champ, and an unbeaten one at that! Indeed, he would never lose the title, instead having it stripped from him that night after he tried to hand it over to Bruno Barreto (someone named Mike Maze would then win the title later that night in EWF's famous Great Goliath Rumble). My only regret about this is that there's no video evidence that I can find of this glorious event, meaning that someone could present the theory of another Marty Elias out there winning the gold. As I'm unwilling to hear any of that though, let's all take a moment to imagine Marty winning that gold and then pulling a Tommy Dreamer with it that very night, minus the part where Justin Credible took the belt from him.
How difficult is this right here? On one hand, you'd think winning a Heavyweight title in any promotion would be the number one thing on any wrestling person's resume. On the other hand, refereeing one of the greatest matches of all time in HBK-Taker may not only be better than winning a heavyweight belt, it might just be better than anything that doesn't involve Candice LeRae telling you you're the love of her life (congrats Gargano. You lucky bastard). Of course, even after all of that, being the number one referee of the hottest new wrestling promotion in town, where you're guaranteed to call almost every important match from here till when the giant gods that live underneath the earth in Cabin in the Woods come to kill us all...holy shit, where was I going with that? The point is, Marty Elias has a lot of things you can choose from for best moment. So why don't we split the difference, say it's all three and post videos of all three happening? Well, except the EWF title victory, as I can't find that; the rest will still stand. Plus, who doesn't want to relive a great LU match and that Taker-HBK bout back to back?
Taker vs. Michaels, Wrestlemania 25
- Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 25) - Video Dailymotion
Watch the video «Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 25)» uploaded by George Toutoglou on Dailymotion.
It's so easy to forget a) how vital referees are to professional wrestling and b) how friggin awesome their jobs are. Marty Elias is a great example of someone who has gotten to be a part of some of the most extraordinary happenings in recent pro wrestling history, all while doing his job incredibly well while getting little to no recognition for that. It's a shame, and this column here hopefully serves as evidence that his hard work and dedication to wrestling doesn't go unnoticed. Because hey, Marty has had a career in pro wrestling that would make some guys in WWE envious. He's a wrestling lifer who knows the business inside and out. He's been a heavyweight champion, regardless if it was just for one night in an indie fed. He's refereed some of the biggest matches in the history of wrestling and maybe, just maybe, the greatest match in the history of Wrestlemania. And now, he's been given the chance to be the head official of a promotion myself and so many others reading this call their favorite today. If that's not success, I don't know what is. So here's to you Marty; here's to you.
That'll do it guys. I'm off to figure out who the next Lucha Tribute will be for. Till next time, let Ted "Theodore" Logan challenge your perception on Britta Perry's pronunciation of the word bagel.
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