From creators/producers of MTV’s WSX & PPV’s Viva La Lucha- dedicated to creating tomorrow’s stars it’s the 1st fan funded lucha series
The goal of Viva L.A. Lucha is twofold: First, it seeks to create an environment where wrestlers who specialize in either the Mexican “lucha libre” form of professional wrestling or the more “traditional”/”WWE style” form can compete with and against each other as a way to become experts in both styles, helping both the individual performers and the companies who need well trained wrestlers to produce their television shows all while ensuring the brightest future for the lucha art form. Our second goal is to give fans and viewers a unique program that will deliver incredible action and entertainment as tomorrow’s stars are groomed in front of their eyes today (with incredible “groomers” as you will see below)! And, with the unique rewards we have created for this campaign, backers can have an unprecedented say in WHO a wrestling show will feature, HOW some of the talent is used, and get to SEE the actual television taping as it happens including what is normally restricted behind-the-scenes access and uncensored producer commentary as the tapings take place.
We also want to be able to take networks a television pilot that is 100% in our vision – including the input from our fans and backers – so that they can see, not just on paper or in a sample reel, what tremendous potential a Viva L.A. Lucha series can have. Often times, leaving the creative process of developing a series WITH a network can lead to the network creating a series in THEIR image and not that of what the fans or producers really want.
Why Masked Republic? Why Us?
Masked Republic is the only company in the world dedicated to expanding lucha libre beyond the borders of Mexico. Our core businesses include representation of lucha stars for licensing, merchandising (through our LuchaShop.com site and various retailers), live event production and management, and production & distribution of content across multiple platforms including TV, home entertainment, pay-per-view, and digital.
Masked Republic is a unique entity for the wrestling industry as we are the only company set up not only to produce our own content, but to enrich the rest of the industry as well from helping lucha stars monetize their intellectual property, to providing talent for other companies shows, to fostering future talent to keep the art form of lucha libre alive and well for decades to come.
But Masked Republic is really just two guys who have collectively spent more than three decades in the pro wrestling and lucha libre businesses.
Kevin and lucha legend Vampiro on the set of MTV’s Wrestling Society XKevin and lucha legend Vampiro on the set of MTV’s Wrestling Society X
At the age of 12 I knew I wanted to work in pro wrestling and so, I set out to do just that! From March 24, 1991 (yes I remember the exact date, because it was during the “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior match at WrestleMania VII that I had this epiphany) on I have worked every day to that and for that. By 16 I was working for a small local wrestling company writing for their program, ringing the bell at ringside, and even ring announcing. When I graduated from high school and headed off to UCLA, I took that as an opportunity to start branching out on my own and that led to teaming with two friends to start Southern California Championship Wrestling. SCCW would run until we teamed up with a businessman named Rob Black to form Xtreme Professional Wrestling (XPW). XPW would become an internationally known brand including nationally distributed DVDs and a syndicated TV program seen by thousands every week for over 100 episodes. In 2006, I got the opportunity of a lifetime and MTV backed my idea for a wrestling series called “Wrestling Society X.” They put $3.5 Million into creating 10 half hour episodes of the series which debuted in early 2007. That experience allowed me to learn first-hand about the television industry in a way most in the pro wrestling business never do. This would also become the first of many TV shows I would be on the production side of, both wrestling and non-wrestling related. And while lucha libre had always had a part in every wrestling company I had been a part of or created, it was shortly after WSX that I would join with Ruben Zamora to expand his Masked Republic company from making masks and in-ring gear for wrestlers, representing talent, and promoting shows to adding licensing, production, and distribution arms. Together we would produce a pilot for the G4 network, create a Pay-Per-View and home entertainment series, develop a slew of television and film projects, and start a program to develop the next generation of lucha talent in the United States, the very program which has lead us to this Kickstarter project today.
Ruben with lucha legends Blue Demon Jr. to the left and Mil Mascaras to the right.Ruben with lucha legends Blue Demon Jr. to the left and Mil Mascaras to the right.
Ruben grew up in both Los Angeles and San Diego and was attending lucha events at the Olympic Auditorium and the Auditorio de Tijuana as far back as he can remember. In 2002, his love for lucha would lead him to Rey Misterio Sr.’s school in Tijuana where Ruben would train under the same man who launched the careers of Konnan, Psicosis, and his own nephew, the 1st luchador to ever become WWE World Champion, Rey Misterio Jr. (now known in WWE as Rey Mysterio). But Ruben’s time in the ring would quickly transition to behind the scenes work as he became the official U.S. agent for Misterio Sr. and Psicosis. This lead to teaming with Misterio to form Luchamania International, their own small wrestling league based out of San Diego and eventually his own promotion called Viva La Lucha. Without selling a single sponsorship or partnering with any media outlets, Ruben’s one-man promotion company would regularly draw over 1,000 fans to live events featuring some of the biggest names in the sport. His success would lead to being called on to consult with other wrestling groups wanting to bring in luchadors to attract audiences locally as well as companies in Mexico looking to him to get their content into the United States. It was a content deal that lucha star and power broker Konnan had made with Kevin for a series of DVDs that would lead the two to meet and expand Masked Republic to the entity it is today.
LOS ANGELES – A MELTING POT OF CULTURE & STYLES
Los Angeles, known as a melting pot of cultures and traditions, serves as the ideal location for the first ever TV show designed to blend both the Mexican “lucha libre” style of wrestling and “traditional” American/WWE style. Different all the way to the core of how moves are performed in each style (In lucha libre, moves are done to the right and in traditional pro wrestling, moves are done to the left) and how “realistic” each style is (lucha libre matches often feature obviously set up moves), these differences do not make the styles mutually exclusive. In fact, many successful wrestlers have been able to learn both styles and deliver amazing performances tailored to their opponent and audience. But, the opportunities for up and coming wrestlers to get “on the job training” against wrestlers of their opposite style have been extremely limited. And that, is what Viva L.A. Lucha aims to change!
Hijo De Rey Misterio vs. Bestia 666 (photos courtesy of Josh Garcia)Hijo De Rey Misterio vs. Bestia 666 (photos courtesy of Josh Garcia)
DEDICATED TO THE FUTURE OF THE SPORT OF LUCHA LIBRE
When we started Masked Republic, it was hard for some people to grasp the idea that we were not just a wrestling promotion, we were not just putting on shows for ourselves. We were working with talent in Mexico to expand their reach outside of the country for everything from wrestling appearances to licensing. And our mission became clear, Masked Republic existed to expand lucha libre beyond the borders of Mexico. Part of this meant working to create lucha projects in the United States. And, in doing so, we knew we would need fresh talent who could become the stars of tomorrow both here in the U.S. and in Mexico. In 2010, we started our Masked Republic Development System. It started by working with the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy in Los Angeles and the Pro Wrestling Revolution Training Academy in San Jose. We identified key talent who we thought deserved to get more “on the job experience” working shows and who would be groomed for our next Masked Republic television programs. Most recently, we added our first east coast developmental school, the Ludus Training Center and their promotion Fighting Spirit Wrestling, based in Brooklyn, NY.
PWR Training Academy in San Jose, CAPWR Training Academy in San Jose, CA
Santino Bros Training Academy in Los Angeles, CASantino Bros Training Academy in Los Angeles, CA
Ludus Wrestling Center in Brooklyn, NYLudus Wrestling Center in Brooklyn, NY
And as we looked around to what we were doing, we noticed that we may not be the only ones in need of the next generation of lucha talent. As Mexico’s #1 lucha libre company turned it’s eye toward the U.S. and as the biggest companies in the U.S. had not quite figured out how to transition big name Mexican wrestlers into their programs with much success, it became clear to us that we could be doing something good not just for Masked Republic but for the entire lucha libre industry. And with that in mind, the idea for Viva L.A. Lucha was born with it’s mission: to showcase the best up and coming wrestling talent and to create and fine tune stars who can be top level performers both in Mexico and around the world. And, as we work developing that next generation talent, lucha fans and viewers of the show will get to witness the action of styles NOT CLASHING in the ring, but BLENDING, merging the two art forms of traditional pro wrestling and Mexican lucha libre resulting in a fast paced, high energy, exciting style and program.
VIVA L.A. LUCHA – A TV PILOT & WEB MINI SERIES ROLLED INTO ONE
While the experience creating and producing Wrestling Society X for MTV was a great one, it was also difficult in that the show ended up looking very different than it would have if we had full creative control. In fact, the web series we did in conjunction with the show, WSXtra, ended up being preferred by many to the MTV episodes themselves, because matches were shown in full and given more time. So, rather than go to a network looking for them to fund a pilot themselves, giving away creative control of the product, we have decided to turn to the fans of the sport themselves so that we can deliver a product we know they will love. (Just looking at the talent already wanting to be part of the series, we are confident wrestling fans can list off dozens of “dream matches” already.) In producing an “airable pilot,” we can then meet with networks and show them our vision in detail, ideally leading to a television series which delivers both what the network and the fans want while simultaneously working for a brighter future for the lucha libre industry as a whole as we develop talent allowing them to improve individually and providing wrestling promotions/companies with a solid pool of talent from which to choose.
Here’s where it gets crazy: Doing it “our way” both in production and creativity, we are going to be able to deliver the pilot and 8 webisodes for less than 2% of the budget for Wrestling Society X on MTV. While those from the TV world would look at our funding goal here and scratch their heads on how we can deliver so much for so little, we know that the bulk of those on the independent side of wrestling are scratching their heads thinking “why so much?” Most professional wrestling shows do not need to be shot or edited to be “broadcast ready” and “airable.” This means things like high end 3D graphics, color correction sessions, professional audio mixing, music clearance or composition, Errors & Omissions insurance, and a whole slew of other expenses that add up quickly. So, while we can’t reduce some of those basic expenses, we CAN use our combined nearly 3 decades in the professional wrestling and television industries to deliver above and beyond what any network would expect for $60,000 and at the same time deliver the fans what they want as well!
HAVING THE RIGHT “MAESTROS”
From the My Lucha Libre Life blog:
Maestros: literally, teacher (and sometimes master), a maestro is a luchador that trains other wrestlers. Sometimes (though) not always a maestro will be a retired luchador, who wishes to still be active in the world of lucha libre without actually wrestling. Most maestros own or work at a gimnasio (gym). The term maestro can also be given to an active luchador who has been wrestling for many years, and trained luchadores “on the ring,” but does not necessarily owns or works at a lucha libre school. In any case, maestro implies that the person has “mastered” lucha libre.
For Viva L.A. Lucha it was important for us to select behind the scenes teachers/maestros (on the American side of the wrestling industry now often referred to as Producers as the result of the WWE’s shift toward a “we are entertainment like the rest of television” approach) who had first hand knowledge and experience at the highest levels of wrestling both in the United States and Mexico and who had experience in the ring against both traditional pro wrestlers and luchadors. We found just that!
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER KONNAN
Konnan in actionKonnan in action
How do you summarize someone who’s Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame bio is over 21,000 words (over 60 pages) long? Konnan is not only one of the largest box office draws in Mexico’s history, but he also found success in the United States having competed in ECW, WWE, and finding his most success in the U.S. in Ted Turner’s WCW. Though, this would come years after proving his popularity with U.S. Hispanics by drawing a number of turn-away crowd sellouts at the Los Angeles Sports Arena for AAA lucha libre shows. And while Konnan’s in-ring success and appeal place him in an “elite of the elite” category, his greatest contribution to lucha libre has probably not had anything to do with his personal performances, but in promoting lucha to the decision makers and becoming the “lucha power broker” that he is known to be. Without Konnan’s efforts and persuasion, AAA may never have crossed the border into the U.S. in the 1990s, Paul Heyman may never have brought game-changing young luchadors Rey Misterio Jr., Psychosis, and Juventud Guerrera into ECW, and WCW may never have embraced an influx of talent from south of the border. After over a decade of success in U.S. based companies and leading a literally revolutionary fight to bring the lucha style to the biggest companies in the world, Konnan would return to AAA where he would take a major role not only on-camera but behind the scenes as well. Today, Konnan, along with AAA’s Dorian Roldan, spearhead all of the “creative” (a.k.a. storytelling and match making) for the company – a task which includes 3 weekly television broadcasts and numerous live events across the country. But AAA is not staying put in Mexico. Recently, the company announced a major U.S. partnership with a major production company and Konnan will now be spending his time between the AAA offices in Mexico, home in San Diego, and new AAA offices in Los Angeles. Konnan’s history inside and out of the ring mixed with his passion for bringing lucha libre into the modern era both in presentation and story, make him the perfect producer for Viva L.A. Lucha.
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SEAN “X-PAC” WALTMAN
Waltman in MTV’s Wrestling Society XWaltman in MTV’s Wrestling Society X
Sean Waltman has lead a storied career, which has literally been half of his life, and which most recently landed him a “WWE Legends” contract. Breaking into the business under one of the most respected American “maestros,” Boris Malenko, Waltman quickly gained attention for his high flying acrobatic style as “The Lightning Kid.” A year after his pro debut he was signed to the WWF where he would win multiple titles before leaving to go to the competition, Ted Turner’s WCW. Not only would Sean be part of WCW, but he would take part of arguably the biggest wrestling storyline of all time, and the one that revitalized the pro wrestling industry in the 1990s, the formation and domination of the New World Order. He would also become the only wrestler in the entire industry to be in WCW at the height of their business and then jump (back in his case) to the WWE to ride their wave of their rise back to the #1 position. During this time Sean was part of WWE’s answer to the NWO, a cool, hip group of guys who in the olden days would have been “bad guys” but now they were beloved in the “Attitude Era”, D-Generation X. Waltman would also compete in TNA Wrestling, the top independent wrestling companies, and on MTV’s Wrestling Society X throughout the 2000s. He also has the honor of being the only wrestler in history to have held all 3 major “light heavyweight” championships in the U.S. – WWE’s Light Heavyweight Title, WCW’s Cruiserweight Title, and TNA’s X Division Title. Being a lighter, more high flying wrestler, Waltman’s style landed him in the ring more than once with a luchador, and in 2007, Waltman actually moved to Mexico and joined the AAA promotion full time. While he did not change the overall nature of his style, Sean definitely experienced the blending of the traditional and lucha styles of wrestling in each of his matches. After a few years, Waltman returned to the U.S. where he now not only continues to wrestle but works to help groom the next generation of wrestling stars including making guest appearances at the WWE’s training facility in Florida.
Konnan and Waltman will oversee an additional team of producers who all have their own impressive resumes as wrestlers, trainers, promoters, or in some cases two or more of those categories and each with experience blending the lucha libre and traditional pro wrestling styles. Producers for the series will work to train the wrestlers, and some will, at times, wrestle on the show as well.
Former 5x NWA Worlds Champion/PWG Champion/Executive Producer & Booker/Writer Ring of Honor: “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce
Former NWA World Tag Team Champions & Lucha Trainers at the SBWA: “Los Luchas” Phoenix Star & Zokre
Former XPW Television & head trainer at the SBWA: Joey Kaos
PWR Training Academy Head Trainer & Former WWE Developmental Talent: KAFU
Former PWR World Champion: “El Patron of La Migra™” Oliver John
PWR Training Academy Trainer: Derek Sanders
PWR Promoter & Executive Producer: Gabriel Ramirez
Plus, at least one guest “maestro de maestro” from Mexico will be brought in for the Pilot/Webisode tapings. Masked Republic has worked extensively with some of the best and most respected trainers in all of Mexico including Solar and Negro Navarro – two men who are praised as the “teacher of teachers” and who’s matches against each other often receive the time-honored “ultimate show of appreciation” when fans will throw money into the ring to show their gratitude for seeing such a great encounter!
Solar and Negro Navarro prepare to do battle for IWRG’s “Master Championship” (photo courtesy of amazing lucha photographer Black Terry Jr.)Solar and Negro Navarro prepare to do battle for IWRG’s “Master Championship” (photo courtesy of amazing lucha photographer Black Terry Jr.)
BACKERS GET UNBELIEVABLE GROUNDBREAKING ACCESS!
Beyond just delivering more per dollar than most production companies, Masked Republic’s team is constantly innovating and those who back the project will get an all-access took into the creation of a TV pilot like never before. Teaming with WWNLive, backers at the $35 level and above will get to watch the tapings themselves LIVE via internet Pay-Per-View (iPPV). During two days of tapings, 3-4 hours each day, backers will get to experience what happens live on set, and not just what happens in the ring. A camera will also bring backers a live feed from the “promo room,” delivering a behind the scenes experience like never before as our producers coach the young talent on how to up their game to the next level when it comes to their mic skills, acting, and improv.
The Truth, The Brutal Truth, And Nothing But The Truth
While the pilot and webisodes will have traditional commentary (both English and Spanish versions), those who back the project and watch the live iPPVs will hear the live and immediate thoughts of Co-Executive Producer Konnan as the matches take place. Known for being extremely controversial, uncensored, and unfiltered, the co-host of the weekly MLW Podcast/lucha legend/former WWE and WCW mega-star is perhaps the single most qualified person on the planet to determine if these wrestlers have what it takes to cut it on both sides of the border, or even one! And while the show is not a reality competition, as one of the most influential people inside the AAA Lucha Libre organization, those who impress him are likely to be considered for the world’s #1 lucha libre promotion. This live commentary will NOT be released as part of the webisodes or on the DVD backers will receive.
Just who WILL be providing commentary on the pilot/webisodes/DVD?
Not only are we excited about the wrestlers lining up to be part of Viva L.A. Lucha, but we’ve sparked the interest of some of the most popular broadcast personalities in wrestling today.
Spanish commentary duties will be handled by the team of José Manuel Guillén & Bernardo Guzmán the hosts of Mexico’s Tercera Caída (the Sportscenter of lucha so to speak) and commentators for AAA’s Fusion show both on TVC Deportes.
English commentary will be provided, in part, by a man familiar to wrestling fans in Canada and making quite a name for himself in the U.S. as of late, Arda Ocal.
Backers at the $50 level and higher who receive the 8 webisodes on DVD will also get DVD exclusive alternate commentary tracks featuring a number of guest commentators including show creators and producers alongside “KG” Kevin Gill who is best known in wrestling circles as the host/commentator for both Oakland’s hit live wrestling experience Hoodslam and the Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalo Championship Wrestling.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE’LL BE INTERESTED IN ANY OF THESE WRESTLERS ON THE SHOW?
As mentioned above, the Viva L.A. Lucha series will feature primarily up and coming talent. This does not mean that they are fresh out of training, but rather that they have not had major national television exposure. Many of these wrestlers have large followings of devoted fans who have been able to witness them in action live, on DVD, or on iPPV events like those that WWNLive.com broadcasts regularly. Mixing in those talents with the most promising unknown talents from our developmental schools and guest appearances by stars from Mexico, the U.S., and beyond, the talent pool will be vast and simply put – awesome!
Because the dates of the tapings have not been solidified, we will be making all reasonable efforts to accommodate a date that allows us to maximize the number of wrestlers listed below. However, each of the wrestlers has expressed interest in being a part of Viva L.A. Lucha. This is by no means an exhaustive list either, just a sampling of the cast to come with your support!
From Pro Wrestling Revolution:
Jr Heavyweight Champ: El Mariachi
El Ultimo Panda
From The SBWA:
Rico Dynamite (aka Rico Dynamita – 1/2 of the PWR Tag Team Champs)
Famous B (Former PWR Jr. Heavyweight Champ)
From Across The United States:Nick & Matt Jackson – The Young Bucks (CA)
The SATs (NY)
“MDogg 20” Matt Cross (OH)
Willie Mack (CA)
Shelly Martinez (CA)
Christina Von Eerie (PA)
Buggy Nova (FL)
Ivelisee Velez (FL)
Extreme Tiger (Former AAA Cruiserweight, AAA Tag Team, AAA Rey de Reyes)Bestia 666 (WWO Champ, Former IWRG Trios Champ, Former IWRG Jrs. Champ)Pesadilla (DTU Champ)Mortiz (CMLL)Hijo De Rey Misterio
BACKERS GET A SAY IN SOME OF THE STARS!
BOOKING SOMEONE FROM AAA
Thanks to our relationship with AAA, we are able to give an extremely
unique opportunity to the backers of our campaign. Everyone who backs us at the $35 level or above will receive an email with a poll asking which of 15 AAA wrestlers they would want to see in a match at the tapings. Many of these stars have NEVER performed on U.S. soil and others like Jack Evans and “El Mesias” Ricky Banderas have solid fan bases here, but have been wrestling in Mexico full time for years now.
BOOKING SOMEONE FROM THE U.K.
In conjunction with the U.K.’s #1 wrestling publication, Fighting Spirit Magazine, a poll will take place, for 10 days after the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, to create a list of 20 U.K. wrestlers from which fans who back at the $35 level and up will be able to vote. The list of will then be published here, and with your help, backers will vote when we are successfully funded!
Finally, if you just want some other fun related things to watch here is the trailer from our MTV show Wrestling Society X, and below it a quick 95 second primer on the basics of lucha libre from the amazing documentary Tales of Masked Men (starring Masked Republic maestro Solar)
For those of you who are still wondering “Just what the heck is this lucha libre thing all about” we encourage you to take a 95 second crash course provided by our friend filmmaker Carlos Avila from his award winning PBS documentary “Tales Of Masked Men.” We thank Carlos for allowing us to post this here.