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Temple Rants (7/29/15): Mi Ultima (Lucha) Adios




We’re at the end now, folks. Welcome to Ultima Lucha — the biggest show Lucha Underground has to offer! Over the next two weeks, we’ll be witnessing the culmination of 37 weeks’ worth of blood, violence and gore the Temple has served up. It’s the end of the line for our luchadors, and they need to settle their rivalries here in a unique array of matches only the Temple can provide. Each match is the result of feuds that have been built over the past few months, so do check out our previous reviews if you want to catch up on things. It’s clobberin’ time, folks.

We kick things off with El Hefe himself, who has dressed appropriately for the event in a nice bowtie. He seems to be underneath the temple again, paying Black Lotus a visit. Nice to see they haven’t forgotten that they’ve been holding this woman captive for months now. Dario tells Black Lotus that it was El Dragon Azteca who killed her parents, and that Matanza was simply framed for it. Interesting. Dario leaves Black Lotus to ponder on that, and she copes via pounding the wall. They haven’t mentioned this plot at all in the past couple of weeks, but it looks like we may get something here at Ultima Lucha.

That was a brilliant segment by Dario Cueto, the highlight of which was his story about man and the pitbull. It’s classic bad guy exposition, and is the kind of dialogue you’d expect from sneaky, scheming men (Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish is a good example from Game of Thrones). That tale added layers to Dario Cueto’s character, and now we see him as someone who is simply trying to look after his brother instead of just a scheming wrestling boss. Excellent storytelling here.




And here we go! These two have been going at it the past couple of weeks, so expect another brawl here. The Mack makes his way out first, but Cage ambushes him from behind and the match is on!

The two brawl around the arena to start, with Mack hitting his exploder suplex onto the wooden bleachers. The Machine reinforces with a steel chair, but Mack just spears him through a door! Cage counters with a spray from a fire extinguisher, and then he plays Whack-a-Mack with a road stop sign. Mack kicks out of a pin attempt, and whacks right back at Cage with a 2x4’. All this action is making the Mack tired, so he brings out a cooler for some refreshment. Mack opens a couple of beers, and shit, are we really seeing this? YES! STUNNER! STUNNER! BAH GAWD THAT MAN HAS A FAMILY!



Mack cracks a bottle on Cage’s head, but the Machine no-sells it and rams Mack into the ring post. Cage sets up the table and goes up to launch Mack into it, but Mack sneaks through and hits a powerbomb through the table! The Machine goes into retreat mode up the bleachers, with Mack giving chase up to Dario’s office roof. Mack hits a spinebuster onto a garbage can, and Cage counters with a lariat into a suplex. Cage brings out some cinderblocks — shades of Seth Rollins, perhaps? Oh, oh shit! He picks up Mack by the arms and just stomps his head through those blocks! This is over! Cage wins!



Winner: Cage!


Wow. This was a great, great opening to the madness that is Ultima Lucha. This was an excellent brawl from the start, with both men working in excellent spots. Fire extinguishers, chairs, tables and trash cans all made their appearance, which made for a more creative match than usual. They really took advantage of the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation, as the ring was used for what, one spot? Major props to both men for putting on one hell of an entertaining match.

Cage going over makes sense as he’s the bigger star here in the Temple compared to Mack, and it keeps him right on that list of guys you can insert into the Lucha Underground Championship picture at any time. Still, great effort by the Mack, even if he lost. That Stone Cold tribute was gold.

Oh, and one more thing. I know Lucha Underground is taped and all, but it’s still pretty funny to see that they went with the black guy losing after getting a curb stomp. You know, especially after the Hulk Hogan debacle (in Lucha Underground’s defense, this was taped some time ago). That’s a bizarre spot to do considering the historical symbolism it shows, but they pulled it off pretty well.






So the Disciples (Barrio Negro, Trece and Sinestro de la Muerte) have new ring gear, meaning you can now actually tell them apart. I kinda liked the uniform skeletal look because it added that sense of togetherness (except for the fucker who has a shirt on). You never knew which one of them was beating you up, so you always treated them as a unit. Just three skeletons doing Catrina’s bidding. The champions are out next, and Ivelisse is still on crutches. It should be interesting how they work their way around Ivelisse’s leg again.

The Disciples with some good strategy, backing the champions into corners to keep them isolated. Son of Havoc closes the gap with some dives to two of the Disciples, and Angelico launches himself at the third. He nails his shooting star press and goes for a pin, but Sinestro breaks the attempt. The Disciples play the numbers game again due to Ivelisse’s injury, and they lock her into a submission. Angelico is laid out on the bleachers, just as Son of Havoc gets his nuts cracked on the ring post. Things aren’t looking good for the champions here!

Son of Havoc fights off Trece and Barrio Negro, just as Angelico makes his way to the office roof! You know what’s coming next!





HE DOES IT AGAIN! Angelico takes out Trece and Barrio Negro, and by god, he’s bleeding!

Here comes Catrina in the ring, and she raises the stone to power the Disciples. Ivelisse meets her in the middle of the ring, and these two ladies go at it! Ivelisse mounts Catrina and punches her into submission, but the dark mistress reverses and knocks her out with the stone! No! She calls in Barrio Negro for the pin, and we’ve got new champions!

Winner, and NEW Lucha Underground Trios Champions: The Disciples of Death!


This match was a different kind of fun compared to the opener. Whereas Mack-Cage was full of new and crazy things, this one had the typical elements we’ve come to know and love from the unlikely trio. Son of Havoc’s solid wrestling, Angelico’s crazy spots, and Ivelisse’s ability to tell a story despite physical injury all came into play here, and this is not the first time we’ve seen them. That’s the thing, though — because most of it was stuff we’ve seen before, I felt as if this match didn’t hit the heights it should have. Don’t take that the wrong way, as this is still a pretty good match. It’s just that coming off one hell of an opener, I thought they could have done more with it.

Oh and yes, Angelico flew off the roof again. We can’t have a Trios match without him flying off the roof, it seems.

While it’s sad to see that the unlikely trio’s reign has come to an end, this match opens up the possibility of Catrina becoming the most powerful person in Lucha Underground by the end of Ultima Lucha. With her disciples picking up the Trios Championship, a win by Mil Muertes next week would mean that this ghastly group would have all but one of Lucha Underground’s championships. That’s scary, but it sets them up well to be the group on top come Lucha Underground’s next season.

Striker and Vampiro work in a Miller Lite (new sponsor?) spot, and it’s time for our main event!



So, just to recap: this match will involve fans as lumberjacks, and they’ll be given leather straps they can freely use on the luchadors. That is what you call fan participation. The believers get their own entrance, and Striker raves about this “hot tub guy” among them. Hernandez comes out sans black shirt, and we’re informed that he can actually hit back at the believers. Drago continues to make Finn Balor’s outfit look like your third grade art project, much to the delight of the Temple.

Hernandez kicks Drago out onto the believers, but they help him get back up! This pisses Hernandez off, and he exits the ring only to be met with the leather straps. No rest for the wicked, as Hernandez is whipped back into the ring where he eats a spinning crossbody from Drago. Drago sends him out of the ring, where hot tub guy whips Hernandez halfheartedly. Seriously, he looks like he’s putting icing on a cake instead of beating someone to a bloody pulp!

Hernandez grabs one of the leather straps, and that seems to have calmed the fans down. He gets back the advantage with a Border Toss on Drago, but he misses a top rope splash. That’s not a problem, though, so he gets up and gives Drago another border toss onto the believers outside. Hernandez tries for a SuperMex Dive, but Drago stops him in midair with the mist!



And here come the straps! There’s no respite for Hernandez as he tries to hide under the ring, but the believers continue to pelt him with leather. This gives Drago the opportunity to bring out the table, and some nunchucks. Yes, nunchucks. Drago uses the nunchucks on Hernandez to batter him into submission, before setting him up on the table for a big splash! He rolls Hernandez back into the ring, where he hits another splash on him for the win!



Winner: Drago!


Great match, and a fitting end to part one of Ultima Lucha. Excellent payoff to Hernandez’s attitude throughout Lucha Underground — in the end, his own dislike of the fans cost him the match. This was a fun concept to explore in the field of fan participation, although we could’ve done away with hot tub guy’s half-assed attempts at whipping. This told a great story, while still putting in enough in-ring action to make it worthwhile.

And what about Drago? He’s not just a dragon now, he’s a dragon with motherfucking nunchucks.

That brings the first hour of Ultima Lucha to a close, and hey, El Dragon Azteca is here! He’s stopped by a man outside the temple, and after a brief sparring session, they talk about getting Prince Puma involved in this storyline. Interesting. Looks like we’ll get some closure to the Black Lotus plot next week!

One hour down, and the show has certainly delivered so far! Mack vs. Cage has easily been the highlight of this first hour, with both men putting in a very entertaining 10 minutes’ worth of hardcore action. The Trios Championship match also great, though not as good as the opener, and the Believers’ Backlash match told an excellent story. Naturally, Lucha Underground has pulled out all the stops for its grand finale, and this show gets an A- from me. Couple of points for improvement, but overall a very good show, and I cannot wait to see what the last two hours of Ultima Lucha will bring.


TL;DR Results:

  • Cage def. The Mack in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
  • The Disciples of Death (Sinestro de la Muerte, Barrio Negro and Trece) def. Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc (c) to become the new Lucha Underground Trios Champions
  • Drago def. Hernandez in a Believers' Backlash Match

*****


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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