DOES WRESTLING NEED UNREALISTIC MATERIAL?
I will never forget Papa Shango putting a curse on The Ultimate Warrior. I don’t recall any other time that Warrior had appeared in that much pain as he rolled around on the arena floor before vomiting a nasty yellow liquid backstage. Of course, this was unrealistic. But it made for excellent TV.
On this week’s episode of Lucha Underground, we saw Catrina appear and disappear into thin air right in front of Fenix. He appeared to be under some type of trance as he watched three men in skeleton masks dancing on top of the lockers. We continued to see that Dario Cueto has his brother locked up in a cell in a manner that is reminiscent of Sloth from The Goonies. A few weeks back, it appeared that Drago turned into a dragon, breathed fire, and flew up into the sky. None of this stuff is realistic. But once again, it makes excellent TV.
Is it possible that this type of material is needed in pro wrestling? I think it only helps the product. Some of the best material from the Attitude Era involved The Undertaker and supernatural storylines. Is it realistic that Kane put him in a casket, chopped it to pieces with an ax, lit it on fire, and The Undertaker survived? Of course not, but it was sure awesome to see. Could we honestly believe that The Ministry of Darkness could kidnap Mabel, but a spell on him, and turn him into Viscera against his will? No way, but I would take that type of storyline over anything currently on Raw.
We need to remember that the entire genre of pro wrestling is entertainment and meant to draw our attention by over-the-top, larger-than-life characters. It is natural that storylines that are also over-the-top are appealing to the audience. The Undertaker is one of the most popular and successful wrestlers of all-time, and it isn’t for putting on what the IWC considers “five-star matches” every time out.
Lucha Underground is taking the right approach by using storylines that seem magical or supernatural. Whether the characters are supposed to be this way, or are using tricks or slight-of-hand to fool their opponents doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this type of television product is appealing to the casual audience. These types of storylines make viewers want to tune in next week to see what happens next. If Lucha Underground continues on this trend of mixing exciting matches with over-the-top storylines, it will only be a matter of time before the viewership increases.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffLane22