If Lucha Underground wants to grow it must get rid of intergender matches

In case any one is interested I’m also on Twitter (@bainalan05). And last Wednesday this is what someone said about me on Twitter:

“This guy is the biggest idiot on Twitter!”

“What an idiot!”

Both tweets were by Thomas Barnes (@ThomasTheRef). So what on earth had I said to annoy him?. Here is the tweet that so annoyed him :

“If it were up to me #LuchaUnderground would be shut down for promoting #domesticabuse.”

For those who don’t know (which will be 99% of the UK population for reasons I will explain) Lucha Underground is a weekly TV wrestling show which is shown on the ElRey network in the US – but does not have a UK TV deal (which is why 99% of the UK population won’t know about it). It is based on Mexican Lucha Libre wrestling and has attracted former WWE stars Ray Mysterio, Chavo Guerro and John Morrison. It has attracted a cult following in the US probably as a “protest vote” against the current WWE product which a lot of people see as stale.

So far so harmless. So why do I want it shut down, and why do I say it promotes domestic abuse? Simple. Lucha Underground uniquely among TV wrestling shows has regular intergender matches. That means men and women fight each other either in singles matches or in their trios (three man tag) matches. The people who run Lucha Underground boast they are ahead of the curve when it comes to intergender matches and they even  boasted to WWE officials about how forward thinking the intergender matches are. But they are not. Men (even pretending to) hit women is not suitable entertainment for a TV audience in a civilised country. It might have been in the 1970s (when UK films like “Get Carter” and even James Bond films “Diamonds Are Forever” and “The Man With The Golden Gun” included man on woman violence) but it isn’t now. So far from being “forward thinking” they are going back to the 1970s.

As I wrote on Twitter I would shut it down unless it agrees to stop intergender matches. (I wrote in previous post “Why Rousey v Mayweather must never happen”) how the US authorities could get intergender matches banned. But what I will do now is to explain why it is in the best interests of Lucha Underground to ban intergender matches.

Lucha Underground reminds me of both Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). ECW was an alternative wrestling promotion to WWE and WCW which existed from 1993-2001. UKIP I’ve wrote about in other posts. The similarities between ECW and Lucha Underground are obvious. Both took advantage of the unpopularity of established wrestling Promotions at the time (WCW and WWE in 1993, WWE now). And both tried to popularise a novel style of wrestling (hardcore wrestling with ECW intergender matches with Lucha Underground). ECW won a cult following but it soon suffered from the ” plateau effect” where only a minority of wrestling fans wanted to watch hardcore wrestling which caused it’s audience to plateau at a low level. The hardcore matches repelled as many as they attracted.

UKIP is similar in UK politics. Far more people agree with their policy of getting the UK out of the EU than would vote for UKIP.
I want the UK out of the EU (I’ll explain why in a future post) but have never voted UKIP. Why? Because Nigel Farage their leader has vile policies like banning people with HIV from entering the UK and too many of his party members make fools of themselves with racist and sexist remarks. As a result at last year’s election UKIP suffered from the “plateau effect”. Apart from Douglas Carswell’s personal vote in Clacton UKIP did not get more than 33.8% of the vote in any constituency last year. And in the UK’s first past the post electoral system 33.8% of the vote nearly always does not win you a seat. If Farage had moderated his rhetoric and his members had behaved themselves UKIP might have done better than nearly 4 million votes and one seat.

And this is where the analogy with Lucha Underground comes in. I am convinced that intergender matches split wrestling fans down the middle and totally repel non wrestling fans. In effect Lucha Underground is alienating half of its potential audience which is not clever. Since (apart from the intergender matches) I have read nothing but good things about Lucha Underground from anyone not called Jim Cornette I would like to watch it and make up my own mind. But I will not watch male v female violence – even acted. So they have lost me. And how many other people?

It will also cost them if they want to grow – as any business must. Plenty of cable networks in the US (like Spike TV that used to show Raw) are VERY anti male on female violence. Wrestling writer Dave Meltzer has said that “a lot of potential TV partners either would turn on Lucha Underground because of the intergender matches or would do so if pitched the show”. In other words intergender matches are costing them fans and perhaps a future TV deal.

David Bixenspan (February 3rd 2016) wrote that ” if it’s a legitimate hurdle to Lucha Underground’s business interests, then it’s probably best to abandon the gimmick”. I would say it is definitely best to abandon intergender matches. If they do not I am convinced that they will suffer from the same “plateau effect” that ECW and UKIP did. Wrestling has a small audience to begin with. If you limit your already small potential audience you are committing suicide. If Lucha Underground want to grow (and I assume they do) intergender matches must go.

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