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Good Lucha Things (12/9/16): Battle of the Bulls



Last week was the debut of the Black Lotus Triad, as they sought to make Pentagon Dark pay for his sins via a series of matches. Doku and Yurei were taken care of by Pentagon Dark, but he found his match in the deadly Hitokiri. A savage assault led to Hitokiri picking up the victory, and Pentagon Dark had his arm broken at the hands of Black Lotus, before El Dragon Azteca Jr. sought his own payback and broke the other arm. Elsewhere, we found out that Jeremiah Crane and Catrina have some history, and Prince Puma was revived (!!!) as part of Vampiro’s latest sinister plot.


BULLFIGHT!

This week, we were treated to another Dario Cueto concoction as we kicked off the Battle of the Bulls tournament. No, this isn’t wrestlers fighting actual bulls, but a quartet of four-way matches leading to one more four-way elimination match, where the winner gets a shot at the Lucha Underground Championship. The final elimination four-way is like what NXT is going to be doing the next few weeks, except that twist is that more men are involved in the qualifiers. That makes it as chaotic as it can get, but hey, that’s Dario Cueto for you—he can book a wrestling show and satiate his thirst for violence at the same time.

Fittingly, this week’s first tournament match had four men who all embodied the bull in some way. Cage, Texano and Dr. Wagner Jr. all have the strength and size of a bull, while Joey Ryan has as much hair as one. The match itself was basically a showcase for each guy’s strengths, as all of them took their turns in the spotlight. Nothing to rave about, really, though watching Cage moonsault and toss people around is always fun.




Speaking of Cage, his victory came as a surprise as I honestly thought they’d go with Wagner to give him something to do. Cage and Texano are still in their best-of-five series, after all. Seeing as that is for the ULTIMATE opportunity, it feels like they could’ve given someone else the tournament win to spread the glory a little more. Hey, at least this means we’ll be seeing Cage in more matches.

The main event featured the Mack, Marty “The Moth” Martinez, El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Mil Muertes vying for the second spot. These are four guys who always put on a decent match, and that’s exactly what we got here. This match made me realize how much I’ve missed seeing Dragon Azteca Jr. in action. He’s very crisp and agile in the ring, and that satellite DDT is a thing of beauty.


Unfortunately, Matanza had no plans of letting El Dragon Azteca Jr. win, coming out at the last second to deliver the Wrath of the Gods (and to powerbomb Azteca onto Mil Muertes, because fuck his old rivals). I almost had a heart attack when Matanza slammed Dario’s head onto the cage, but thankfully our lord and savior wasn’t left for dead. This is a nice twist to Matanza—he’s like a kid starting to make his own decisions after being sheltered by family for so long, and I’m curious to see where this takes the Cuetos.

Going back to the match, the Monster’s run-in left Mack and the Moth competing, with the former picking up the victory after a classic Stunner. That means Mack and Cage are going to go at it again in the final, and considering their previous matches, that’ll be a classic. We’ll have to wait and see who the other two finalists are, but for now I’m leaning towards Mack picking up this opportunity over the machine.


The Sexy Road to Redemption

Sexy Star’s path to win back the Lucha Underground Championship began this week as well, with a match against Worldwide Underground member PJ Black to determine if Sexy Star would be getting a rematch for the title. It wouldn’t just be any match, though, as Dario promised that it’d be a steel cage match to prevent any interference from the Worldwide Underground.



Sexy Star has actually been stepping up her in-ring action lately, and this match just continues that trend. She seems to be on a different level of intensity when dealing with anyone from the Worldwide Underground, and PJ Black got that this week. Black played the role of jackass heel very well, capping it off with a nice Styles Clash on Sexy Star in the middle of the match. Sexy Star picked up the win after an interference by Jack Evans gone wrong, meaning that we’ve got our main event for next week.

As much as a steel cage match sounds fun, there’s one slight problem with Dario’s logic here. He made it a steel cage match to keep out the Worldwide Underground, except that it’s not really going to keep them away. There’s the (really) small detail that the top of the cage is open, meaning anyone with enough balls to jump in could interfere if they wanted to. Heck, this even happened last season when Taya flew into the Mundo/Cage steel cage match, so Sexy Star really isn’t at a big advantage here. I don’t get why he didn’t just ban the Worldwide Underground outright, because they will find a way to get involved. Sexy Star got the really short end of the stick here.


The Rest:


  • Angelico’s on a mission to get back at Johnny Mundo, but that restraining order isn’t making things easier. The South African returned to the Temple this week, where Dario Cueto told him that he can get his hands on Mundo if he wins the Battle of the Bulls tournament. No problem, then.

  • Cortez Castro’s been out with a broken arm, but he’s already got a lot of work piled up. He can’t really go back to the Temple now that Dario Cueto knows he’s a rat, but at least Captain Vasquez is going to make him go back under a mask. I don’t think it can get any more undercover than that.

  • Sitting atop a golden throne, Kobra Moon told the story of her tribe this week. Several ages ago, they had three great generals, but a betrayal by one of them caused the tribe to lose the war. It’s heavily hinted that this traitor was Drago, and now she wants him brought back. She sends the two generals (Leatherface Drago and snake-y Winter Soldier) to get Drago back, so expect the Temple to have a snake infestation in the next couple of weeks.

This week’s episode was an entertaining affair. It’s not as fun as last week’s Pentagon Dark massacre, as we got more set-up than payoff this week. We were bound to come back down after a string of intense payoffs in the last few episodes, so at least they’re building up towards the next set of big moments. Sexy Star got her rematch, the Battle of the Bulls tournament kicked off, and the Kobra Moon storyline looks to be finally picking up. There were no big shocking moments this episode, but at least it was still very entertaining. C+

What did you think of this week's Lucha Underground? Sound off in the comments section below!


*****


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