In this edition of Real Talk, I take a look at MPW’s last-minute show on Saturday and the incompetence of LA Lucha.
While there will be more prolific Saturdays in SoCal wrestling this year, this last one was still pretty eventful. Eventful, but mostly for the wrong reasons after LA Lucha canceled its show for that day in the morning. But when news of LA Lucha’s cancelation broke, Ray Rosas took action.
Before we get to LA Lucha, let’s jump ahead and start with something positive.
Hustle & Show: How Ray Rosas Saved The Day
I woke up around 11:20 AM after trying (and failing) to get up for the UFC card that started at 4:00 AM. Yes, I love MMA so much I wake up early to watch it. A few moments later at 11:31 AM, I was told that Ray Risas was putting together a possible MPW show at its training facility in Chatsworth due to LA Lucha’s cancelation. My initial reaction was that the show would draw a single-digit crowd. At the same time, I felt like it was the most honest and genuine display of dedication to pro wrestling anyone in the local scene has ever shown. No matter what the outcome would be, MPW was doing something special for the local scene.
At 12:56 PM, I asked Ray if he had any updates. He told me MPW would be running at 6:30 PM. He also gave me some names he booked for the show, and I started to get a story up here on the site to spread the word. Some of the names Ray had initially booked were Douglas James and the International Superstars. I later learned that they were unable to make it to the show for unrelated reasons. Considering this was a last-minute show, one would have to understand given the circumstances.
I got to MPW’s venue around the scheduled bell time of 6:30 PM. As I went inside, there were only six people in attendance. Myself included. As the show went on, I counted up to 18 people in attendance at one point. Before the show started, I had a conversation with Ray Rosas’ wife, who was handling ticket sales that night. She gave me her perspective about the events that unfolded on Saturday and talked about her husband’s efforts to put this show together. Based on her description of the day’s events, Ray really put his soul into making this show happen.
The show started around 6:40 PM. It was solid overall, but not spectacular. The first two matches were average at best. They also dragged at some points. The highlight of the first two matches was seeing the improvement in Frankie Frank’s in-ring ability. When he started out as Osiris Mittens, a masked comedy character that was a cat, he sucked. His gimmick wasn’t funny, and his matches were dreadful. Even though his Frankie Frank gimmick isn’t great and his ring work needs polishing, he’s gotten a lot better as a performer. He’s adapted a bit of the NJPW Young Lion style, and it’s working well for him. He’s still got room for improvement, but he’s way better now than he was before.
The third match of the show saw Brendan and Danny Divine, The Millennials, face Ray Rosas and MPW newcomer Barbie Boi. Barbie Boi recently began training with MPW’s school and made his debut with the promotion on Friday night. Barbie Boi is an overly flamboyant character with tons of charisma. His entrance attire is a cape with wings that have lights flashing brightly. When he enters the ring, he gets on the ring apron, jumps in the air, and lands in a splitting position. When I saw him do this for the first time on Friday night, I felt a jolt of pain go up my nuts. I hate to be so vulgar, but that was the actual feeling I got when I saw that. Even before he got in the ring, I became an instant fan of his.
His match ended up getting the best reaction from the audience. A lot of that can be credited to his charisma and outgoing character, Don’t get me wrong, Ray Rosas and the Divines had good performances too in this match. The Divines were as great supporting players. Ray was a good co-star too, but Barbie Boi was the star of the match. Most of this centered around comedy and antics, so this was a match where Barbie Boi was able to shine. Brendan and Danny Divine were pretty funny in this and played off the antics of Ray and Barbie Boi well. If this match were done in front of a bigger crowd, I could see it getting really over.
The main event was the best match of the show in terms of action. Danny Limelight, who was scheduled to headline LA Lucha’s show, took on MPW regular Daniel Moon. Moon was also scheduled to be in a match at LA Lucha. Even with 14 or so people in the audience, both guys put a lot of effort into this. Limelight has done a good job of expanding his move set and getting away from using too many cliche moves that everyone else does. Moon had a good showing as well. He’s another guy who has been getting more polished lately and will eventually be one of the top workers here in SoCal within the next two years I think.
One thing I enjoyed about the match was how hard both guys worked to put on a good match. They put more effort into trying to entertain 14 people than most workers do in front of much larger audiences. I really liked that about this match since I hate when pro wrestlers don’t give people their money’s worth. With that said, I also didn’t think they needed to do as much as they did on this show. Both guys are talented enough where they could’ve cut out a few highspots and still have had a really good match. I say this not because I’m one of those people who think wrestlers should be lazy. I just don’t want to see performers damage their bodies trying to please a small audience.
Now that I got that “responsible adult” moment out of the way, both guys deserve tons of respect for putting on a strong showing on Saturday night. They didn’t have to, but they did anyway. It wasn’t a MOTYC by any means, but it was something that would be a standout match on most shows in the area.
The show ended with Daniel Moon and Ray Rosas thanking the audience for showing up and talking about the day. Ray thanked his wife for doing ticket duty and the workers for coming out at the last minute. Then he said they had to get out before 8:00 PM since that is when Boulderdash SFV closes.
Overall, MPW’s show wasn’t bad. There was nothing “must-see’ on it, but it was okay. While the show didn’t draw a big crowd and more people will read this article than the show, Ray Rosas and MPW went above and beyond to run a show. I talked to Ray after the show and asked him about how hard it was to get the show together. Hearing him describe the effort he put into making this happen made me respect him a lot more than I did before. Putting together a wrestling show (the right way) is a lot of work. For him to put one together in hours is something not many people would be able to pull off.
Say what you want about who you think is the best pro wrestler in SoCal this year, but Ray pulled a real MVP move. Even if he hasn’t been voted SoCal Wrestler of the Month this year and his matches get overlooked in the monthly rankings, what he did on Saturday puts him above all of the frontrunners and favorites for SoCal WOTY in 2019 in my eyes. Ray Rosas is a great performer, but he showed he’s got just as much value outside of the ring as he does inside. I hope people see or hear about this and come away with a new appreciation for him. This scene needs more people like Ray Rosas.
Regarding MPW, I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it one last time on this site: These guys deserve the support of the SoCal scene. Every week, they run solid events in Chatsworth. They’re creating a new crop of prospects to the scene that will help the talent pool become deeper. MPW isn’t going to have PWG-level matches, but they are worth giving a shot. Again, one last time, support these guys. Check them out and give them a shot. They’re doing something special, and it’ll only be a matter of time before more people in SoCal take notice.
Now, this is where the tone of the article will begin to shift. It will contain harsh criticisms and brutal honesty. I’m not going to pull any punches.
Let’s talk about LA Lucha
(Note: All of the opinions below are mine and mine only. The opinions below do not reflect the opinions of Steve Bryant or anyone else associated with SoCalUncensored.com)
The news of LA Lucha’s show being canceled broke at 10:40 AM on Saturday morning via Twitter. After the news broke, I was contacted by people asking me if I heard the news. I reached out to a worker on the show about it. They told me they were bummed as they were getting a good payday for the show. Later in the afternoon, I got word Tony Deppen was in the air as this drama was unfolding. He might not have known the show had been canceled as he was coming out to LA.
While he may or may not have known what was going on as he was flying out to LA for the show, some workers found out about the news through social media or from other sources. Supposedly, there had been little-to-no communication between the staff of LA Lucha and some of the workers booked for the show. I was told one worker found out the show was canceled when they were contacted by another worker to ask them what they had planned that night after the show was nixed. I also learned The International Superstars, who were booked for LA Lucha’s show, were left stranded at LAX.
When LA Lucha announced its cancelation, the promotion issued a statement explaining the reason for it. Nothing about the statement made any sense. In it, the promotion claimed they received a legal document regarding alleged copyright infringement over the name LA Lucha during the week before the show. Then the statement claimed they were told by their legal representative last Wednesday the show would be fine.
Last Friday, they claimed they got a “cease and desist demand” regarding their show the next night. They were still planning on running and said they’d deal with potential consequences later. All of a sudden on the morning of the show, the promoter claimed he was told if he didn’t comply, law enforcement and a rep from an attorney’s office would shut down the show and slap LA Lucha with a lawsuit. Due to the alleged threat, LA Lucha decided not to run their show. In a response to a Facebook comment by Vance Thornburg (known to wrestling fans as Suede Thompson) on their Facebook account, LA Lucha claimed they couldn’t run even with a name change. You can read the promotion’s statement and response to Thornburg below.
Since the cancelation of LA Lucha’s show, both myself and Steve have received information that workers haven’t been paid yet. We also learned that some workers allegedly had to spend their own money on a hotel room after the promotion didn’t give them enough to pay for it. Unbelievably though, LA Lucha has been contacting workers to try to book them for their next show. Steve will most likely have more information on this and a possible report later, but for now, if what we’ve been told is true, it really exposes how bush-league LA Lucha is.
Something similar to this had happened before in the SoCal scene. Nearly a decade ago, PWG was issued a cease and desist order from WWE because they were using the name “Kurt RussellMania” for a show title at a WrestleReunion convention in 2010. PWG ended up changing the name of the show to Kurt RussellReunion. The show went off without a hitch.
So, my thoughts on LA Lucha’s excuse?
Seeing as this was a legal matter, I asked a law enforcement officer for their perspective on the matter.
This is some of what hey said:
“A cease and desist letter is a precursor to a lawsuit. It’s notifying someone else that they are causing you damages, whether they are actual monetary damages or they are damages to your reputation which will cause you monetary damages.”
Interesting, right? He goes on…
“That’s not even a civil court process at that point. That’s just someone mailing someone a letter. For the police to get involved in something like that there would have to be a court order where a judge made a legal ruling on whatever the issue was. In this case use of the name. For that to occur this would’ve had to have gotten past the cease and desist letter stage of the process.”
He went on to add…
“This version this person is giving of what actually happened is not accurate. He’s gone out of his way to cover all of the possibilities of somehow running the show under a different name or just doing it in spite of the letter and giving his reasons for why that isn’t possible. He also makes sure to paint this very elaborate picture about who the person is who sent them the letter without actually posting the letter itself or disclosing who it’s from.”
This officer’s conclusion?
“I’m not saying he didn’t get a cease and desist letter. What I am saying is that the police were not going to show up and shut down his show.”
And this is where I go off…
How the fuck is anyone supposed to buy into any of this bullshit LA Lucha is spewing? I’m being dead serious with this question. Can anyone reading this right now who isn’t a total fucking moron seriously say LA Lucha sounds credible? It’s obvious that they fucking lied about the reason why the show was canceled. Even if they received a document claiming they can’t use a certain trademark, there is absolutely nothing that would have stopped them from putting on a show. There was no threat of law enforcement shutting down a show over a potential civil matter.
Something else obviously caused LA Lucha’s show cancelation, and they’re obviously not telling the truth.
Before LA Lucha made its debut, I was writing them off. That was because it was being operated by an inexperienced group of overzealous Lucha Underground fans and their wealthy friend, Anthony Pastor. Pastor previously owned Maverick Pro (which is now under new ownership). Maverick Pro under Pastor and his friends was an absolute mess and went through a similar ordeal last year with a last-minute show cancellation.
The LA Lucha management team have no credible backgrounds that make them qualified to run events. Then again, the only qualification you need these days is money since that’s the only thing that matters to people in wrestling, but I digress. LA Lucha is the embodiment of what a stereotypical “money mark” promotion is. You got a wealthy person spilling tons of money into a venture that won’t make a profit. Then he puts his idiot friends with no experience in charge of the booking. They think that because they’re wrestling fans, they’ll know how to book shows that draw other wrestling fans.
Unfortunately, these dickstains don’t know a goddamn thing about promoting or drawing wrestling fans to shows. All the shows they’ve run have drawn double-digit crowds. Most of their shows have failed to deliver on top matches they’ve advertised. When they advertised a show that had Nick Gage and Teddy Hart in two separate singles matches, they pulled a bait-and-switch and put them in a tag team match instead. If LA Lucha is willing to mislead people by false advertising top matches to draw fans, I have no doubt that they’d lie about the reason why their last show was canceled.
Sure, some of the workers got paid better than they usually do elsewhere, but the way LA Lucha’s business is conducted is completely amateurish. When they hit hardships, they fail to act appropriately and people (mainly workers) get screwed. I honestly wasn’t surprised when this happened with LA Lucha on Saturday. They are nothing but amateurs. If they run again, I won’t be surprised if they have another fuck up. At the end of the day, I wish these amateurs would fuck off when it comes to trying to be promoters.
The SoCal scene doesn’t need to have its reputation brought down because of LA Lucha’s incompetence. Will they go away? Probably not. Will there be more poorly run promotions started by fans (and to be fair, some workers too) who don’t know what they’re doing? Absolutely. It’s something that just can’t be avoided. While this is a problem that will never go away in the wrestling world, people in the SoCal scene can do their best to keep these idiots from ruining the scene by refusing to patronize them in any way, shape, or form.
So yeah. That’s all I got to say. The SoCal scene is better than this.