In a secret warehouse… they come to fight… for cold hard cash… and control of…. The Underground. Like something out of the cabinet era of fighting video games a la Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, The Underground kicked into high gear today with it’s debut episode. We’re introduced to the concept by “former” champion “King.” King earned his title fighting in the elite fighting circle of this alternate wrestling universe. He opens the show walking towards the camera with his promo, and strolls towards an above level overview of the pit and ring. Our combatants make their way out to do battle.

Last chance to watch without spoilers:

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The Young Buck Matt Jackson, is called “PW3” and is accompanied to the ring by his girlfriend/valet “Liz.” Yes, I know. Just a little too close to Randy Savage for my liking as well, but don’t let that steer you away. His opponent is Hayashi, who demonstrates his athleticism by doing numerous backflips in the ring prior PW3’s entrance. The area is littered by miscreants, thugs, punks, and their ilk. And the dark ominous vibe is an excellent touch of surreal in Katz debut episode.

PW3 is clearly a heel, and Hayashi a face in this bout. The word “FIGHT!” is super imposed upon the screen as the match kicks off, only further establishing the hybrid of fighter video game and wrestling program genre. As the exchange some catch-as-catch-can take down attempts, Young Buck Jeremy (“The Prodigal Son Stone”) is seen in the audience with blond hair and referred to as “A Blast From the Past” which PW3 will not be happy about. Something tells me this is a nod to Ryu and Ken.

The two men battle back and forth, with PW3 blowing a kiss to Liz after preventing a suicide dive from Hayashi. The soundtrack picks up, and in true form, solidifies the gaming ambiance with electronic rock building the drama. The intensity rises as both men begin to utilize power moves and high spots from the top ropes. PW3’s constant pandering to Liz continually opens up the opportunity for Hayashi to launch lethal attacks on the cocky heel. But Hayashi can not overcome the pretentiousness, as PW3 lands a super kick to finish off his foe while making love to Liz with his eyes as the referee counts three.

The show goes to “The Feed” to introduce some other competitors of the season. We meet “1600” who looks like a prepubescent high school kid (with braces? really?). But that’s his gimmick… he’s an underdog who relies on smarts and speed. Next up is another underdog, “Dread” who describes himself as a runt who has been picked on his whole life. “Jobs” is next, a confident tall fellow with a toothy grin. Yes, as in Steve Jobs, who was an innovator, and this Apple fan plans on being the same thing in The Underground. “Blades” cuts, maims and destroys people. He seems angry and determined (so a thumbs up for this guy).

After this, the host talks to Stone who was in high demand by the fans of The Underground who wanted him back. Stone will face Luther next week.

All and all, this is a great idea. The theme of gaming and wrestling, mixed with the modern technology of the internet and Youtube is brilliant. In fact, it creates a way for viewers to tune in regularly, or once in a while to immerse themselves in mini marathons of the series. While I will likely not review this program episode by episode, I will certainly tune in on a regular basis. Thumbs up!

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