Pro wrestling (and pop culture in general) has a strange wasteland reserved for the mediocre. The terrific characters and the awful storylines can be remembered at the drop of a hat, but we scratch our heads trying to remember the also-rans. “Who was that one guy? No, not him. The other guy.” For every Great Muta or Shockmaster, remembered for reaching either the highest of highs or lowest of lows, there must be a thousand Simon Deans and Jon Heidenreichs who were just sort of… there. I’m making this long-winded point because I’d like to tell you about a Saturday morning lucha libre show that I occasionally have to google just to make sure I didn’t imagine the whole thing in the midst of a Jolt Cola fever dream. This is the world of Los Luchadores.
So, this actually existed?
Yes, it did. Los Luchadores ran for only one season in 2001, airing on the Fox Kids Saturday morning program block.
I’m trying to get a frame of reference here. Was it anything like Lucha Underground?
Oh, not in the slightest. Lucha Underground is an actual wrestling show, albeit one with Actual Literal Dragons. Los Luchadores was much more of a Power Rangers knockoff, with luchadores enmascarados as the heroes. You’d only get a minute or two of wrestling per episode. Even then, it was that tacky, edited-to-hell, sitcom approach to wrestling. Lots of airplane spins and big, dumb sound effects. This was way closer to the 1960’s Batman TV show, complete with brightly colored villain-of-the-week shenanigans.
And our heroes were fighting to defend… let me guess, Mexico City? Or perhaps Los Angeles?
Did I forget to mention this show was made in Canada?
You most certainly did.
I know, it’s like if Sábado Gigante had a hockey segment. Just watch the intro, maybe things will start falling into place.
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Did I see an evil Chihuahua in there?
I’ll get to the Chihuahua, I promise. Just hold on.
Fine. So, who are these three crime-fighting create-a-wrestlers?
The big guy is Lobo Fuerte, and he’s the John Cena of the operation. I mean, that makes sense, right? It’s a Saturday morning kids’ show, so of course the good guy has to win all the time. His sidekick is Turbine. Turbine’s interests include motorcycles and being the most annoying guy ever. He’s supposed to be the Robin to Lobo Fuerte’s Batman, but you might end up wishing the Jason Todd fate upon him.
Harsh. And who’s the girl who looks like she accidentally inspired Sexy Star’s outfit?
That’s Maria Valentine. She and Turbine have a juvenile “are they or aren’t they” relationship going on, which seriously makes me wonder about Turbine. You look like you’re in your early 30s, you should be way past the “girls are icky” phase. Unfortunately, Maria doesn’t get a heck of a lot of character development beyond “I’m here to help out the boys.”
Hang on, do I know this actress from somewhere else? She looks kind of familiar.
That depends on how willing you are to admit that you watch Falling Skies on TNT. Her name is Sarah Carter, and she’s a series regular.
Got it. So, can I see this show in action?
Yeah, I managed to find a full episode on YouTube. Knock yourself out.
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Okay, now I absolutely must know about the Chihuahua.
Believe it or not, he’s the main villain of the show. His name is The Whelp, and he’s actually a mad scientist who got stuck in the body of a cybernetically-enhanced Chihuahua after an experiment went awry.
CYBERNETICALLY. ENHANCED. CHIHUAHUA.
I know, right? But, like a lot of this show, it sounds more awesome than it actually is. Even as a kid, I remember this being kind of bad. Actually, “bad” might be too harsh. Its biggest failure was that it just didn’t live up to what it could have been. If you tell a kid the words “lucha libre superheroes fighting an evil Chihuahua,” it’s pretty much guaranteed that the kid will end up imagining something more awesome than what Fox actually put on TV screens in 2001. At the end of the day, it was just weird. Even today, it finds a way to be residually weird.
“Residually weird?” What do you mean?
Okay, so when I was looking on YouTube for full episodes of the show, I managed to find Episode 10, “It’s a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World.” And I wish I hadn’t because it appears to have been uploaded by someone with a weird mud/quicksand fetish.