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Temple Rants (5/27/15): All Men Must Die



Last week, the Trios Championship was defended in a ladder match as Son of Havoc, Angelico and Ivelisse went at it with the Crew one more time. Thanks to some divine intervention from Angelico, the champions were able to retain the belts. The Crew, meanwhile, face some repercussions for once again failing Dario Cueto. Meanwhile, Big Ryck has aligned himself with Delavar Daivari, as he took out Daivari’s current rival Texano. The tension between Prince Puma and Hernandez further escalated, with things almost coming to blows before the challenger backed off.

Things come to a head this week as Prince Puma defends the Lucha Underground Championship against Hernandez! Will we crown a new champion, or will Prince Puma continue his title reign with another impressive win? Also, as announced in last week’s show, Mil Muertes makes his return to the ring against Fenix in a deathmatch! Will Mil Muertes deliver some payback, or will Fenix score another win over the risen luchador? And since they’ve billed it as a deathmatch, will we see someone actually die!?

We kick things off with Black Lotus walking into a building, where Chavo Guerrero comes out to greet her. Black Lotus scoffs at his offer of protection, and Chavo tells her to seek justice the right way, by doing it in the ring. Chavo mentions his family’s beef with the Cuetos, and says that his grandfather was there when Dario’s brother killed her parents. I’m all for more girl power here in LU, as this is a show that has their women actually compete with the men. If Sexy Star and Ivelisse are any indication as to how Black Lotus will fare here, then I’m looking forward to seeing her debut.

Striker and Vampiro run down tonight’s card, and it’s time for our first match!


Match 1: Aero Star vs. Johnny Mundo

Aero Star is already in the ring, looking like he came from a Detroit Pistons fan rally. Mundo is out next to is usual entrance schtick, and here we go!

The crowd is strongly behind Aero Star as the two lock up. Mundo takes Aero Star down to the ground with some kicks and stomps, but Aero Star fights back with a splash from the ring apron. Mundo traps Aero Star on the ropes before sending him outside with a knee, and Mundo tries to show off for a bit. Aero Star recovers, takes Mundo out of the ring and hits a dive of his own!

Mundo with a kick to Aero Star’s knee as he continues to ground him with stomps and punches. He locks in an Anaconda Vice, but Aero Star gets to the ropes to break the hold. Aero Star hits Mundo with some knees, but again Mundo slows things down. Mundo goes for the End of the World, but Aero Star counters and gets further pummelled for his troubles. Mundo tosses Aero Star towards the corner with a suplex, and he hits the End of the World this time for the win!

Winner: Johnny Mundo!


I like how Mundo’s heel turn has also led to a change in his in-ring style. His offense has usually been very flashy, and it’s difficult to boo someone who does incredible athletic stuff in the ring. Having him switch to a slower, more vicious ground-and-pound style makes it easier for the crowd to hate him.

We cut to a Vampiro interview with Sexy Star, and he asks her about her feud with Pentagon Jr. They reminisce about Super Fly for a bit, and Sexy says she stands up to him because he’s a bully. She says that she’s not afraid of Pentagon Jr., and Vampiro announces a Submission Match between Pentagon Jr. and Sexy Star!

Let me take a moment to address how good this segment was. It wasn’t as intense as last week’s segment with Johnny Mundo, but it made Sexy Star look very strong. One thing I like about Lucha Underground is that it is not afraid to challenge gender roles, and they’ve been showing that female wrestlers can compete with male ones. Not only do they make Sexy Star look like a formidable foe for Pentagon, they put her over as a heroine. Sexy Star is the kind of wrestler that young girls should look up to as a role model, and they got that point across very well here.

We’re back to the Temple for our second match, and Melissa announces that it’s for the Lucha Underground Championship!


Match 2: Hernandez vs. Prince Puma (c) for the Lucha Underground Championship

Hernandez looks much, much better with this black gear on than he did before. He used to look like Random Latin Thug #3, so this new outfit makes him stand out more. Prince Puma is out next to the crowd’s delight, and the match begins!


I wear your granddad’s clothes. I look incredible.


The two waste no time as Hernandez throws Puma into the mat face first, but the champion retaliates with a kick to the head. Prince Puma then mocks Hernandez with his own taunt, causing Hernandez to come fighting right back. We get some splashes off the ropes, as the champion continues to keep up the offense on Hernandez. Hernandez slows things down and uses the ropes to his advantage, knocking the wind out of Prince Puma with a splash. Hernandez with a nice overhead and a powerbomb, but Puma easily kicks out. Hernandez tries for the Border Toss, but Prince Puma sneaks out before Hernandez tackles him out of the ring!

Konnan gets up on the ring apron and talks trash to Hernandez, as the camera cuts to Prince Puma grabbing a steel chair under the ring. Ooh! Hernandez leaps out onto Puma outside, but the champion whacks him with the steel chair in midair! Puma continues the assault and leaps out onto Hernandez from the ring!


Prince Puma brings out the fly swatter.


The two men recover, and Hernandez gets the advantage by clubbing Puma hard. He then hits a Border Toss onto the ring apron, and Prince Puma is out cold! The challenger tries for another Border Toss, but Prince Puma counters and hits another insane dive off the fan barricade. Action goes back into the ring as Prince Puma tries for the 630, but misses. Hernandez drops the Puma on his head, but Prince Puma kicks out! Hernandez tries for a top rope move, but Puma gets the knees up and hits some kicks to the head! Hernandez tries for a superplex, but Puma with more kicks, and hits a 630 splash for the win! The champion retains!

Winner, and STILL Lucha Underground Champion: Prince Puma!


That was easily the best match I’ve seen from Hernandez in his time here at Lucha Underground. He looked like a credible threat to take the championship away from Prince Puma, hitting a variety of slams and splashes to keep up pressure on the champion. There was a nice story told here with Hernandez going for the Border Toss very often, with Puma being able to reverse the last one that led to the advantage for the win. Interesting that Prince Puma used a steel chair as well here, which does seem out of character. Is Konnan’s influence beginning to show? Nevertheless, Prince Puma was once again on top of his game here. This man is easily one of the best wrestlers in the world right now, and this match showed why.

Right after one hell of a match, we’re back in the ring for our main event!


Match 3: Mil Muertes vs. Fenix in a Deathmatch

Fan favorite Fenix is out first, with Mil Muertes making his return right after. He’s got Catrina with him and, oh, it’s those creepy luchador ghosts! Apparently, they’re not just figments of Fenix’s imagination. Fenix wastes no time as he goes right for Mil Muertes with a dive, but the big guy just shrugs it off and smacks Fenix right in the gut!

Action goes back into the ring as Mil Muertes stomps on Fenix before hitting a powerslam. Fenix tries to fight back with some kicks, but Mil Muertes just shrugs it off and lands another slam. Fenix runs the ropes and kicks Mil Muertes out of the ring, and he hits a moonsault. Mil Muertes brings out a steel chair and continues the assault, slamming Fenix into barricade. Fenix climbs up the barricade and hits a double foot stomp, but the succeeding pin is broken off.




Fenix comes down hard on Mil Muertes. No, that’s not a Phoenix Splash.


Fenix with some kicks now, but Mil Muertes tosses him to the outside. Mil Muertes goes up the corner, and throws himself at Fenix outside! Mil Muertes with another chair shot to Fenix, and now he’s carrying him up the steps! The two brawl around the audience, but Mil Muertes gains the upper hand and powerbombs Fenix through a roof! HOLY SHIT!


Mil Muertes gives Fenix a one-way ticket to hell.


Catrina’s skeletal disciples enter the wreckage and bring out a limp Fenix, who is tossed into the ring. Mil Muertes picks him up and hits the Flatliner for the win.

Winner: Mil Muertes!


Catrina gives Fenix the lick of death as the credits roll. Wow. This match came and gone in the blink of an eye, but it was brutal. Mil Muertes and Fenix carried over the intensity from their Grave Consequences match weeks ago here, and that powerbomb through the roof was an amazing spot. I guess this means we won’t be seeing Fenix for a while now, at least not in the next couple of weeks.

Oh, it looks like we’re not done yet. It’s Dario Cueto and the Crew! El Jefe berates them for last week’s failures, and asks them to choose one. Mr. Cisco and Cortez Castro grab Bael, and Cueto orders them to hold him right up to the bars. Bael struggles against his unseen attacker and goes limp, as the show closes with a shot at a bloodied Castro and Cisco.

Wow. Just, wow. Did they actually kill off Bael? That’s an interesting way to write someone off the show, and I certainly did not expect that kind of ending. Man, this Metanza dude is shaping up to be a real monster. At this point, I’d rather they keep him off the screen than actually show him, because any portrayal of him on-screen will turn up disappointing. But yes, this show just ended with one man probably dead after being powerbombed through a roof, and another man surely dead after being beaten to a bloody pulp. Lucha Underground, ladies and gentlemen.

This week’s show gets a fat, shiny A from me. We had a great match between Prince Puma and Hernandez, flanked by two shorter matches that told excellent stories. Heel Johnny Mundo was established, while Mil Muertes came back with a bang. The last few minutes put it over the top, with Mil Muertes getting payback on Fenix and Bael being sacrificed. Wow. I feel like I just watched a Lucha Libre-inspired version of Game of Thrones. That was intense.


TL;DR Results:

  • Johnny Mundo def. Aero Star
  • Prince Puma (c) def. Hernandez to retain the Lucha Underground Championship
  • Mil Muertes def. Fenix in a Deathmatch


*****

Anthony Cuello is an HR professional and training designer. When he’s not sleeping or reading the Harvard Business Review, he covers NJPW and Lucha Underground for Smark Henry. A psychology nut, he tends to watch wrestling looking for these small nuances of in-ring behavior. He dreams of a wrestling business with good people management practices, and hopes to help make that happen one day.

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