w: john morrison

The Evil Heel Authority figure is a decades-old cliche at this point, and you wouldn’t expect a show as progressive and innovative as Lucha Underground to go back to that well. But Dario Cueto is a different beast altogether. He’s a deranged millionaire obsessed with Aztec death rituals who has converted the warehouse from the end of the Last Dragon into a makeshift sacrificial temple where Danny Trejo hangs out. He has also recruited fighters with ridiculous pulpy origin stories and made them fight each other in discount Mortal Kombat, because fuck you, what would you do if you won the lottery?

He’s got some dimension to him because he’s legitimately interested in booking the best wrestling show possible, and he puts on innovative matches that his audience actually wants to see. He’s not just an obstacle for plucky, never-say-die face, because he’s busy booking an insane wrestling show because that’s explicitly his childhood dream. He interacts with all the characters on the show, and he feels more like a character with real agency than a booking crutch.

On the other hand he has these CRAZY shady contacts. Konnan is pretty much implicitly smuggling immigrants across the border to fight in his temple, and that’s the cleanest his affairs get. He got ahold of Mil Muertes, a soul stealing earthquake monster, with only a week’s notice, and he’s locked some kind of demon/monster/mutant/whatever into a cage under his filthy temple with a Legend of Zelda Boss Key.

He’s also not just a stupid bully like most heel authority figures. He’s a slimy piece of shit who cuts shady backroom deals and tricks Chavo Guerrero into turning heel to get better matches out of him. He lured Johnny Mundo to his promotion with an offer of one hundred thousand dollars, then had him beaten up by a private army of super cholos because he wanted to make a point about how success in mainstream US wrestling means jack shit in the temple. Johnny turned out to be man enough to survive in his gritty Robert Rodriguez world so it’s whatever, and he hopes to have a lucrative business relationship with Johnny in the future. Most heel GMs are dim reflections of the Mr. McMahon character; Dario Cueto is Vince McMahon in real life.

He also has an in-character Twitter. My heart.