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Temple Rants (3/16/16): Dead or Alive



Last week was one hell of a show, with Mil Muertes defending his Lucha Underground Championship against Prince Puma and Pentagon Jr. in a three-way. It was a highly competitive match, but the champion retained in the end, sending a huge message with a double Flatliner on both challengers. Soon after, Fenix announced that he would be cashing in his Gift of the Gods Championship, resulting in this week’s main event match.

Elsewhere, Mariposa finally appeared in the Temple, Drago was helped by a returning friend, and Cage took out his frustrations on Johnny Mundo’s pal, Taya.

We kick things off with Fenix, who is in the locker rooms. Catrina pays him a visit, and she tells him that she covets his powers. The two rekindle their past feelings (complete with emo rock music), as Catrina wonders what if she just stayed with Fenix all this time. Suddenly, she tells him that Mil Muertes is out to destroy him tonight, and that she will be brought back from the dead. This was a nice way to remind us just how much history there is between Mil Muertes, Fenix and Catrina, and sets up this week’s main event nicely.


Match 1: Trios Championship Match – Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc vs. The Disciples of Death (c)

Everyone brawls in the ring to start, and the challengers show off their unity with some coordinated strikes. Sinestro De La Muerte slows things down, locking Ivelisse in several holds. She tags in Son of Havoc, who works a nice blind tag with Angelico, leading to the South African taking out all the Disciples with some kicks and knees.


Catrina pulls down Son of Havoc just as he’s about to end things, providing a distraction for Sinestro De La Muerte to pull off some twin magic with Trece. Their masks aren’t even the same color! Not that it matters to Angelico, who goes ahead and hits Sinestro De La Muerte with Fall of the Angels. That sets things nicely for Son of Havoc’s Shooting Star Press, and we’ve got new champions!

Winner, and NEW Trios Champions: Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc!


I just realized that the Disciples of Death have lost all their matches so far in Season 2. Wow. Remember when they were built up to be some unstoppable force of death towards the end of last season? Apparently, all that magic wears off once you’re on top. Also, minus points for that twin magic spot when they don’t even look alike anymore.

It is what it is, though, and we’ve got our first two-time Trios champions in Lucha Underground history. It’s been fun watching Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc grow as a team. This was very quick as far as their matches go, but it told us just how far these three have come along. I’m looking forward to seeing how these guys back on top of the Trios mountain.

It’s not that big of a mountain, though, because aside from Team Ivelisse and the Disciples of Death, who else is there? There’s Chavo Guerrero and the Crew, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone else who can step up and challenge our two-time champions. Hopefully Lucha Underground addresses this in the next few shows.

Meanwhile, Prince Puma is sparring with Johnny Mundo, and they’re reminiscing on last year’s Aztec Warfare. Mundo says he might have taken Prince Puma lightly last year, but this year he’ll take him to Slam Town. Stop trying to make Slam Town happen, Johnny. He’s got his sights set on Aztec Warfare next week, as Prince Puma punches a hole through a punching bag in frustration. Nice segment that served as a reminder of Mundo’s quest for the ultimate prize, despite his current problems involving Cage.


In an unknown location, El Dragon Azteca Jr. has finished his training, and Rey Mysterio celebrates by giving him his mail (and some tequila.) It’s an invitation to compete in Aztec Warfare, and El Dragon Azteca Jr. is excited at this opportunity. He asks Rey if he’s coming, and the legend smiles and reveals his own envelope. They toast to next week’s match. We’re finally seeing Rey Mysterio in action next week!


Match 2: Bullrope Match – Texano, Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero

Mr. Cisco and Cortez Castro seem to have had enough of Chavo, bailing on him right before the match begins. Welp. Ignore what I said earlier about another Trios team, then. This is all happening to the delight of Texano, who pulls Chavo into a beatdown. The two brawl around the ring, but Chavo uses the ropes to pull Texano into the turnbuckle. He nails the younger Texano with a cowbell, and uses the ropes to choke Texano out.

Texano gets a break with a nice electric chair drop, but Chavo beats him down again. Chavo tries for a frog splash, but Texano uses the bullrope to derail Chavo’s momentum! He lifts Chavo up for a powerbomb, and this is over!


Winner: Texano, Jr.!


Texano finally gets his bullrope back, and continues to assault Chavo with it after the match. Nice payback for all the times he’s been cheated by the Guerrero. This was a decent ending to their feud, and hopefully we see both men move on to new chapters soon. Maybe we’ll see something come up at Aztec Warfare.

Backstage, Mil Muertes is warming up for his match by beating up the Disciples to, well, whatever it is that comes after death. You know, just in case we forgot that this guy is supernaturally strong. Catrina leads him away from the carnage, as they walk to the ring for our main event.

Before that, though, we visit the other Temple, where Dario Cueto is standing outside with Black Lotus. Cueto says it’s time for them to take back his Temple, and proceeds to unlock the door. Out comes this guy:





Holy shit. There he is, folks. Matanza Cueto has appeared, and he looks pretty swell. His bloody butcher look is great, and all that blood on his shirt adds a nice, sadistic touch to this ancient god. This definitely looks like someone who could eat a human face (RIP Bael), and I’m looking forward to seeing what role he’s going to play as Dario tries to take his Temple back.


Match 3: Lucha Underground Championship Match – Fenix vs. Mil Muertes (c)

Here we go! Fenix gets Mil off his feet early with a nice springboard cutter. Mil Muertes responds with a cutter of his own, and then he tries to rip off Fenix’s mask. The bird of war tries to leap out onto Mil Muertes, but Mil grabs a chair and smacks Fenix across the head. Ouch.

Fenix is busted open now, as Mil Muertes is simply having his way with the challenger. They brawl around the Temple, where Fenix tries to rally with some superkicks and a huge crossbody. Back in the ring, Fenix hits some more kicks followed by a double foot stomp onto the champion. Now it’s Fenix’s turn to rip off Mil Muertes’ mask, and holy shit, this is getting intense!

Mil Muertes nails Fenix with a spear, and now a steel chair is in play. Fenix picks it up and starts throwing it onto Mil Muertes. The two trade a couple of near falls, with Fenix showing insane strength by lifting Mil Muertes for a bridging German. The challenger takes his time climbing the turnbuckle, which allows Mil Muertes to catch him and hit a neckbreaker. Mil calls for the end with the Flatliner, but Fenix manages to roll him up for the surprise pin and the win! NEW CHAMPION!


Winner, and NEW Lucha Underground Champion: Fenix!


Wow. If there’s anyone on this roster with the most chemistry between themselves, it has to be Mil Muertes and Fenix. These two are amazing together, and tonight they added a new chapter in their timeless rivalry. Trying to rip each other’s mask off was a great bit of storytelling, as we saw just how much they hated each other. Excellent, excellent match, and I look forward to seeing these two renew their rivalry once again.

The believers celebrate with Fenix, but Catrina grabs a mic to spoil the party. She tells Fenix that at Aztec Warfare next week, he’ll be defending his newly-won championship. Oh, and he’ll also be entering at #1, while Mil Muertes enters as the last man, because death is coming for everyone. Yeah, this is all stuff we’ve seen before, so I’ll go ahead and borrow something from the WWE:



Just take out Roman Reigns for Fenix and change “30-Man Royal Rumble” to “20-Man Aztec Warfare”.

I’m not saying that LU copied WWE (or vice-versa), but it’s just funny that we’re getting another one of these so soon. Poor Fenix, though, as it seems that nothing ever goes right for him. With the rest of the Temple hungry for a shot the Lucha Underground Championship, he’s going to have the odds stacked against him next week. Aztec Warfare is shaping up to be one hell of a war.

Lucha Underground continues its streak of strong shows, and they managed to find a way to top last week’s show. Nothing felt like a throwaway this week, and while the first two matches had to be shorter to accommodate the big main event, they still managed to put on a show. The main event was outstanding, and I can see this being talked about as the season’s best match so far. It’s a nice, solid A this week, and if these episodes are any indication, Aztec Warfare next week is going to be one hell of a show.


*****

Anthony Cuello is an HR professional and training designer. When he’s not sleeping or reading the Harvard Business Review, he covers PWR 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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