Nerd Culture

Lucha Underground Is Coming to the Arizona State Fair This Sunday

The Arizona State Fair has never been short on astounding spectacles or amazing sights.

There are the flashy and glitzy rides that dot the midway each and every year, of course, not to mention all the gonzo thrills of demolition derby and monster truck races in the grandstand and the lineup of jugglers, hypnotists, and other circus-like acts performing on the fair’s various side stages.

And depending on the particular year, there’s also professional wrestling. As a matter of fact, the fair has a long history of featuring legendary grapplers duking it out, dating back to the heyday of the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage and the Ultimate Warrior.

That history continues this weekend, when the wrestlers of Lucha Underground bring their high-flying moves and masked theatrics to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, October 23.

That’s right, Lucha Underground. The edgy and highly entertaining wrestling promotion and program that wrestling geeks have been gushing about for a few years now.

For those who happen to be unfamiliar with LU, here’s the scoop: It’s an upstart lucha libre-style wrestling show that airs Wednesday night on the El Rey Network, the cable channel launched by cult film director Robert Rodriguez back in 2013. And according to many in the internet wrestling community (read: the online tribe of wrestling nerds), it oftentimes offers more captivating action and programming than what you see on WWE shows.

As we described it in an article from earlier this year, Lucha Underground is more “akin to a Mortal Kombat telenovela.” Episodes take place in a temple-like arena and everything's a bit more stylized than the WWE, not to mention edgier. There's much more of supernatural vibe (talismans grant special powers and there’s a monster that’s known to eat wrestlers), and the program is filled with cinematic vignettes and cutscenes that come across as something out of a movie. Best of all, the plots tend to be more serialized and coherent than either the WWE or TNA.

As the name LU implies, it's also steeped in the traditions and culture of lucha libre, which means masks, superhero-like characters, and high-flying moves aplenty.

Unlike its competitors, Lucha Underground hasn’t staged live events before now, save for a special one-off card at this year’s South by Southwest festival. That all changes this weekend during its first-ever live tour, which kicks off in Phoenix and will give wrestling junkies across the Valley the chance to see LU’s stars do their thing live during back-to-back shows on Sunday afternoon.

According to Lucha Underground officials, each show will offer multiple matches and its own main event. The first one, which starts at noon, will feature Johnny Mundo (formerly known as the WWE’s John Morrison) battling Cage in a “falls count anywhere” match. Other wrestlers and luchadores scheduled to appear and compete include Son of Havoc, Jack Evans, Ivelissa, Taya, and Mariposa.

The second show begins at 3 p.m., and will see masked grapplers Pentagon Dark and Mil Muertes facing off in the main event. Aerostar, Drago, Kevin Kross, and Ricky Mandel will be involved in the undercard.

Lucha Underground regulars like Vampiro, referre Marty Elias, and ring announcer Melissa Santos Vampiro will reportedly be involved with both shows.

And like every special event that takes place during the fair, it's free to attend (if you've paid the regular $10 admission). Plus, seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

In other words, get there early. 

Lucha Underground Live takes place at noon and 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, at the Arizona State Fair.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.