Dario Cueto is not a run of the mill authority figure but a Spanish Conquistador of Lucha Libre.
The Heel authority figure has been played out in professional wrestling for close to 20 years. In that time we have seen these characters on every promotion out there. You had Mr. McMahon, Stephanie, Eric Bischoff, Vickie Guerrero, Jim Cornette, etc.
When I saw the promos for Lucha Underground, I groaned. I hated the idea of seeing the same thing over and over. To see a promoter screw his talent based on that talent moral compass. I had not seen the product and already had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Here we go again with the same authority figure.
After that first episode, I had mixed feelings. The backstage segments were well done. They were different from what other promotions had ever shown. They were very similar to the new Mexican crime soaps that have come on TV over the past 4 years. But the ending of the episode still gave me doubts. You had the evil promoter finish on top with his crew of bad guys. Just like any other promotion.
As time went by Lucha Underground started getting better just like Dario Cueto. Episode after episode, Cueto evolved as a character. The videos that El Rey Network release on Youtube helped his character development and I suggest you look them up on the El Rey Network channel.
You could see what his motivation was. He loves competition and violence…as long as it benefits him. However, everything is not as simple as it sounds. I don’t know if the producers of Lucha Underground did this out of pure luck or they went out of their way to find a Spanish actor for this role of Dario Cueto. If it was premeditated, then Ole Matador!
In Aztec history, the Spanish were seen as Gods when they first set foot in Mexico. They were the catalyst and destroyers of the Aztec Empire. They were after Gold and they killed millions of Aztecs to get it. The whole Spanish and Aztec dynamic now 500 years later is still something deeply rooted in Mexican society.
So here you have a promoter named Dario Cueto, a Spaniard, who is the “Ruler” of Lucha Underground. A place were Aztec descendants fight in the Lucha Libre style. Where his ring is made of animal skin from sacrificed animals. A Ruler who made his Championship Belt out of Aztec Gold. A man who wants to be the “Conqueror” of Lucha Libre.
He claims to believe in the Aztec gods yet he spits on the culture and history of Lucha Libre. Your masks are important? Well, let’s have two friends fight each other on a Mascara vs Mascara match. Oh you two luchadores want a unique opportunity? Sure, beat each other up for 5 matches and then I will give you a Title match, but if you don’t win, you will be banned for ever.
Cueto is evil and only believes in whats best for him. He loves violence and has his Aztec warriors drip blood in his ring. He lifts his talent up only to have them crashing down to his feet. Just like a good Aztec warrior should do in the presence of a Spaniard.
Maybe the casual viewer might not get this. It’s an underlining meaning that even for the Mexican Americans is not easy to understand. However for someone who has lived a good amount of time in Mexico understands this very well.
Cueto is the Hernan Cortez of Lucha Libre and wants his Luchadores to see him as a God. He is by far the most interesting and unique authority figure of the past decade.
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