There was some great news in the wrestling world earlier this month when we found out that Lucha Underground will be renewed for a fourth season. The promotion has a small and devoted following, but has had issues with growth during its run.
The show isn’t on a major network and haven’t done much to grow as a company by doing bigger shows or live event touring. And of course, that months-long hiatus in the middle of season three didn’t help their momentum any. Those of us who know about it like it a lot, but their TV audience is a lot smaller than WWE, obviously.
It was also revealed last week that El Rey Network had no intention of canceling Lucha Underground and wanted it to continue. The plans are for the show to be taped in in March and April (or perhaps February and March), and that should carry them until the next season.
In an update on the contract situation of wrestlers, Dave Meltzer reported on the Wrestling Observer radio show this weekend that Lucha Underground management is going to grant releases to talent who make the request, but there will be conditions. Here’s how Meltzer described it:
“A lot of the guys are unhappy that they got renewed because some of them wanted to leave. They (Lucha Underground) realize they are only taping for about two months of the year to get a season done quickly that’s least expensive as possible. Lucha Underground are allowing talent to work anywhere they want, but they can’t work for WWE, nor would WWE use them if they are contracted to somebody else. Wrestlers can work pretty much anywhere else they want to.”
That’s a unique situation, but it’s also smart by LU’s management because if they tell talent they can’t work anywhere else then they are preventing talent from making money. With Lucha Underground only taping for two months in a year, they should give talent the flexibility to continue to work in other companies. That’s part of the reason we have seen Johnny Mundo as Johnny Impact in Impact Wrestling and Taya Valkyrie is there too.
Meltzer also added this from Lucha Underground’s Executive Producer Eric Van Wagenen and what the company told the talent about asking for releases.
“If anybody wants to leave, they will give them their release and go, but in return for their release, Lucha Underground would like for them to come back and at least work out an exit. If you have belts, drop the belts. If you have a storyline, let us write you out, but you can go to WWE or anywhere else you want to go.”
It was also mentioned by Meltzer that season four will have a lower budget. The plan is to tape in February and March perhaps every year for several years. Meltzer noted that Lucha Underground was really hot after the first couple of seasons, but things have cooled down with them since they are not building to big shows or anything that shows major signs of growth.
All of this sounds good for the talent. If they want to keep working there because it’s fun they can do so and work elsewhere, too. However, if they feel like they can go to WWE, then maybe some of them will go that route. It’s smart for management to keep the wrestlers happy by giving them options like that.