A substantial portion of the beauty of Lucha Underground, a reason it has become a marquee promotion, is the treatment it has given its luchadoras, the female wrestlers. As the WWE spun its wheels on the Women’s Revolution, LU was well underway pushing its female competitors to the forefront. No luchadora represents this better than Ivelisse, the baddest bitch in the building.

Now, I know it’s quite bold to perch Ivelisse on such a high pedestal right out of the gate, but I think it’s well deserved. Ivelisse started out teaming with Son of Havoc in intergender tag matches, then swiftly added Angelico to the alliance and set their sights on the Trios Championships in the inaugural tournament. The team was a bit of an odd grouping out of the gate, with each member a starkly different character. Thankfully, no time was wasted into forming a more cohesive identity with a badass, biker gimmick sewing the three tightly together. Crowned as the first-ever champs, the trio set out on a strong run through the division. Defenses against Cage, Daivari, and Big Ryck, as well as a ladder match retention against the Crew solidified the team as a force to be reckoned with.

Take a moment to digest that series of events. In a nation dominated by a single promotion attempting to get its female division a footing in the male-dominated scene, a budding promotion is abandoning the idea of divisions and set out to make the sexes truly equal in competition. Ivelisse was never a female wrestler; she was female and she was wrestler, and Lucha Undeground has treated her as such. Ivelisse has competed alongside and against male wrestlers with the ferocity and tenacity that any other male would in her place. She did not just fight, she won and she won a major championship in what would otherwise be a “male division”. It is nothing short of astounding, and veritably refreshing to see that equality in American professional wrestling. Such progressive storytelling has laid the path for further advancement by Kobra Moon, Mariposa, Taya, and Mexican megastar Sexy Star.

Though the first season concluded with the team of Ivelisse, Son of Havok, and Angelico losing their titles to the Disciples of Death, the spotlight would not turn away from this young up-and-comer. As Season Two debuted, Ivelisse saw herself catapulted to the main event scene as a win over her partners in a three-way match earned her a shot at Mil Muertes’ Lucha Underground Championship. Though her tremendous achievement did not result in carrying the gold home, yet another giant step forth was made for female wrestlers. The trio would unite again for another run with the gold from late Februrary until a loss to Rey Mysterio Jr., Prince Puma, and El Dragon Azteca Jr. in late April. A challenge was made in vain, and an injured Angelico dissuaded further contention to regain their championships. Late Season 2 saw Ivelisse contend for a shot at the LU Championship to no avail, with Taya partially to blame. This interplay set up a confrontation at Ultima Lucha Dos, where an interfering Catrina helped Taya score the pinfall.

Left beaten at the conclusion of Season 2, it looks as though Ivelisse will carry a redemption storyline through Season 3; hopefully against Catrina, who has been a painful thorn in the side of the Baddest Bitch. With Sexy Star holding the Gift of the Gods Championship and role as top female firmly in her grasp, it seems Ivelisse will be involved in more story-based action in the stead of title contention. The strides she has made for equality in this specific promotion (as well as across the world of wrestling) have been tremendous, and I hope we see more ground-breaking action from this star of the Temple. Ivelisse is a talent to be cherished, and Lucha Underground would do well to keep her in the upper echelon of the organization.