Delmi Exo on how MLW embodies the magic of Lucha Underground and her quest to regain gold

Former MLW World Women's Featherweight champ Delmi Exo discusses Lucha Undeground's influence on the promotion, wanting to regain the gold, beating Taya Valkyrie, and more.
Delmi Exo calls out Miyu Yamashita!
Delmi Exo calls out Miyu Yamashita! / MLW

Although all eyes are on WWE and AEW, there are plenty of promotions out there these days doing equally excellent work that deserves recognition, including Major League Wrestling.

MLW has experienced an influx of fresh and familiar faces in the last several months. Notable names such as Matt Cardona, Sami Callihan, Richard Holliday, Tom Lawlor, Matt Riddle, and Satoshi Kojima have all either debuted or returned to the company.

The women's scene in particular has been a recurring highlight on MLW programming throughout the year with the undefeated Janai Kai leading the charge as MLW World Women's Featherweight champion.

At Saturday's Azteca Lucha event in Chicago's Cicero Stadium, former champ Delmi Exo will have a chance to regain the gold in a four-way also involving Mayu Yamashita and Zayda. Kai knocked off Exo to clinch the title at Slaughterhouse in October and Exo has been in chase mode ever since.

"It's weird because I've more than done my fair share to get a rematch for the World Women's
Featherweight Championship and they keep throwing me for a loop," Exo told Daily DDT. "Mayu Yamashita is someone I've been wanting to get back in the ring with since the first time we locked claws. Janai Kai, I've been training for those kicks, so I'm ready.”

Having shared the squared circle with all three world-renknowed competitors before on separate occasions, Exo is well aware of their determination and what motivates them. Although she admits to not looking down on any of them, she believes her hunger for the prestigious prize and dedication to MLW will be what gives her the upper hand over her opponents.

In February 2023, Exo became one of the first women to sign an exclusive contract with the company and has seen the growth they've experienced in the past year firsthand.

"It's really great to see how far we've come with the women's division," she said. "Before, we were getting maybe one women's match on the card, and now we have two or three instances where women are represented on the card. I don't want to give credit to Salina, but I will give credit to Salina de la Renta for helping drive more focus toward the women's division. It's great to see the new faces that are coming up who are fresh blood in the business.

"I want to represent the brand, and knowing how motivated and driven I am, I feel like I'm the right person to do it," she continued. "I don't want to lose my position as being one of the top females in the company.”

Now known as The God Queen, Exo has evolved exponentially as a character since winning and losing the Women's title. The division has seen multiple stars come and go, but she has managed to maintain her spot on top even without the gold.

MLW clearly sees her as an asset is a testament to her talent, her potential, and her ability to elevate anyone she shares the ring with. She feels she's broken out of her shell more, going from being content with any opportunity she was given to carrying the burden of proving she's the best.

Her back-to-back victories over Taya Valkyrie—who currently competes for AEW and Ring of Honor—in championship matches last summer was MLW's ultimate endorsement of her.

"Taya is someone I watched when I was training," Exo said. "She was up on Lucha Underground when everyone was watching it. Everyone wanted to be in that position, so to be a part of MLW and that pass-off of what that was and that legacy, it feels memorable. It feels like we're onto something that's going to be looked at maybe by people who are just starting their careers or getting interested in getting into wrestling.

"For her to pass that on to me felt like such a privilege and an honor," she added. "She's someone I'm incredibly grateful for having broken into wrestling and representing and being super supportive of Mexican culture. As a Mexican Latina myself, her doing that pass-off was so overwhelming and motivating to keep going and keep pursuing more and more.”

As much as winning the title elevated her desire to work harder, losing it was what put a chip on her shoulder. She stressed that she has so much more she wants to do and that becoming a champion is just the beginning.

On the subject of Lucha Underground, she discussed how MLW is similar in the sense that they're not afraid to feature Lucha Libre as a high-profile division in the United States. More than anything, that's what makes them stand out from the rest of the industry.

In many ways, Lucha Underground revolutionized wrestling with its run from 2014 through 2018 and captured lightning in a bottle. No company has come close to replicating that same magic, but MLW bringing back Dario Cueto as an on-air authority figure and reviving other concepts that made the promotion popular are certainly steps in the right direction.

"The way MLW features lucha and making it such a priority on the show is definitely what makes us
different," Exo said. "As women, I feel like we're encouraged to do more of a high-impact offense as opposed to bringing it down. Without going into much detail, we are encouraged to bring it up and make the most of our time in front of the audience. It does help in creating these stories and getting people invested in your character.”

MLW Azteca Lucha airs live on Saturday, May 11th at 8/7c on Triller TV+.