Court Bauer discusses formation of MLW Azteca Underground, tapping into Mexican-American market

MLW CEO Court Bauer dives into the formation of Azteca Underground, the production budget for the filming of that program and more

Photo Courtesy: Major League Wrestling

Details behind the formation of Azteca Underground.

Along with their special events, live shows and FUSION tapings, Major League Wrestling has also introduced Azteca Underground to their content folder. Azteca Underground is often compared to Lucha Underground in regards to the way some of the material for the show has been presented. Cesar Duran, the former ‘Dario Cueto’ is the on-screen head of Azteca Underground.

While on the Wrestle Buddies podcast, MLW CEO Court Bauer detailed how Azteca Underground came to be. He stated that he wanted to tap into the Mexican-American market and first began to notice he could expand into the market while seeing the response to beIN Sports’ Español feed.

Yeah, I mean historically for us, we’ve had the opportunity with beIN Sports to kind of stumble on something we didn’t necessarily look at and have in our business plan which is they have a Spanish feed to their channel which was actually very popular called beIN Español and they’re biggest rise involves soccer and they’re audience is predominantly first, second generation Mexican-Americans and so our show started to air in Spanish on beIN Español and at the time we started off with luchadors from AAA, guys like The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix) and then the legendary L.A. Park and his family and brought in tons of luchadors; Aero Star, Drago and we found that we actually had an interesting way to counterpunch two billionaires was that we were able to tap into the Mexican-American fanbase and the fans that love lucha and having spent time in AAA as part of their executive team, Lucha Underground of course and then having this TV outlet tap into something. We saw our audience in Chicago was predominantly Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants. We saw that there was something there and as time evolved and we’re looking at, ‘How does MLW evolve?’ Because you shouldn’t stay the same and as people and other promoters copy our ideas, how do we keep one step ahead and go different directions? And one of [the] things we really saw was, you know, we have so many of these luchadors, people loved Lucha Underground. So how can you tip your hat to that but be true to yourself and do something different and kind of create this multiverse and be very respectful of the intellectual property of others? And we navigated that and over a six-month period, we kind of dropped the bread crumbs on MLW TV starting in January of this past year and it was revealed like in May that in fact the former Dario Cueto, now Cesar Duran, Luis Gil-Fernandez had come to MLW and he was now our matchmaker and then that just opened this new door to this world of Azteca Underground and from there it’s kind of slowly, we now take to the next phase. [The] next, I’d say four-to-five weeks, there’s gonna be some interesting developments on the Azteca Underground front. A lot of the fans wondering what’s the next big shoe to drop on that one, it’s coming. Cesar Duran, we paid that off, this one will pay off too.

Continuing on the topic of Azteca Underground, Bauer said that project has an “incredible budget”. Mark Burnett, who was the Executive Producer of Lucha Underground is also producing Azteca Underground.

Well they [Azteca Underground] had an incredible budget, Mark Burnett running point on that so it’s a bit different from what we do. I mean I think that even different from WWE on down, it was a very ambitious production, it was the highest standard you could ask for in a scripted show, a wrestling show. For us, what we do is we try to import some of the qualities and characteristics of that but very selectively use it so it doesn’t feel — it feels immersive. It doesn’t feel like frankenstein’d. So like, when you go into Cesar [Duran’s] office, it’s a cinematic, multi-cam shot. We bring in a team from L.A. to film it. We have track cameras and everything and different lighting and it’s definitely a different presentation than what we’ve done in the past and it’s different — I mean we’ve upped our production value because of it which was fun. It’s just it takes a lot more time post-production to assemble but it’s really rewarding when you get to see Cesar Duran and all of his characters in his office and all the different schemes and things that are transpiring.

This weekend, MLW is presenting their War Chamber event from the 2300 Arena. There is going to be a Ladder match for the vacant National Openweight Title and one of the participants in the match, Alex Kane, was interviewed by POST Wrestling ahead of the bout.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Wrestle Buddies podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 8726 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.