Some big news has come to light courtesy of Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet which could bring a couple of issues with Lucha Underground to a head.
Despite rumblings of a fifth (and most likely final season) being produced soon, the show is officially in limbo, with its fourth season having wrapped up back in November but with no concrete news on when, or even if, a fifth will occur. That has wrestlers who are signed to their notoriously strict contracts in a bind.
Workers signed to LU are not permitted to work other promotions with TV deals in the U.S., and that results in most of the roster having to turn down a lot of booking opportunities which severely impacts their earning potential. While LU has established working agreements with Impact Wrestling and MLW to allow the Lucha Brothers, Johnny Impact and Taya Valkyrie to work broadcasted shows, nobody else currently signed to LU have been afforded that opportunity.
The situation’s resulted in a couple of lawsuits aimed at El Rey Network and Baba-G Productions. One was filed on behalf of Jorge Luis Alcantar Bolly, aka Triple-A star El Hijo del Fantasma, who works in Lucha Underground as King Cuerno.
In the filing, Fantasma’s attorneys claim Lucha Underground contracts illegally restrict wrestlers from “engaging in their lawful profession.” They state that even when the show is being produced, most LU stars make less than $4000 per year, as opposed to anywhere for $50K to seven figure annual salaries for those working for other promotions. They also argue the market has fundamentally changed since 2014 when the contracts were written, with more options and money available to wrestlers now than ever before in the business. A market the LU contract is barring the wrestlers from selling their services too!
According to the suit, this has resulted in Fantasma losing thousands of dollars and a contract with another company. He’s asking that El Rey and Baba-G be made to pay punitive and actual damages.
Fantasma’s lawyer, Andre Verdun, who said they’re also filing “a class action to invalidate certain portions of their contracts that we believe are illegal.” Ivelisse, Joey Ryan and Thunder Rosa (Kobra Moon on LU) are among the names joining Fantasma in that suit.
Verdun says the goal is not to get Fantasma released from his contract, but if a since-deleted statement from Ivelisse is anything to go by, the performers probably hope that’s an outcome of the suits. There is money to be made out there right now, and for independent wrestlers, being held back from doing so makes their ability to earn a living more difficult
Sir Mitch Says: I see only two ways for this to end well.
1. LU announces a fifth (and final) season, films it quickly over a two month period and then lets everyone out of their contracts.
2. LU just lets everyone out of their deals and close its doors forever.
As a die-hard fan of LU…I’m hoping for the former.