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Good Lucha Things (7/26/17): Worldwide Warm-up


Welcome back to another edition of Good Lucha Things!


A Wild Worldwide Underground Appeared!

This week’s main event featured Rey Mysterio facing PJ Black of the Worldwide Underground, in what served as a prelude to Mysterio’s Lucha Underground Championship match against Johnny Mundo.

It’s actually refreshing to have a match that isn’t in the Cueto Cup, which is what this was. While I get that Dario’s latest darling takes center stage, this was the perfect match to give everyone a brief pause from tournament action. Mysterio and Black put on a nice, back-and-forth main event that allowed both men to shine. While Mysterio’s clearly the star here, they continued to make PJ Black look formidable after last week’s classic. The Darewolf more than held his own and even put Mysterio down a couple of times, the highlight of which was him planting Mysterio with a Styles Clash (or Faithbreaker, if you’re like Matt Striker and are stuck in 2009 WWE.)


The moment the referee went down, though, you knew the Worldwide Underground interference was happening. At this point, they’re basically the nWo of Lucha Underground–a collection of jackasses that come in, cause chaos, and leave. I can see how some fans can get a little tired of all their matches ending like this, but that’s something that fits with who the Worldwide Underground are. Sure, Black could take on Mysterio by himself (and he actually did), but why do it the hard way when you can take it easy and have everyone chipping in? I think we could do with a little less of this moving forward, though, because they’ve already established this side of their characters. Let PJ Black or Taya pick up a solid win or two from here, so they look more like actual fighters and less like goons of Johnny Mundo.

Having Mysterio pick up the win was the right move, because it keeps him on a roll heading into the title match against Mundo. El Dragon Azteca Jr. turning up to fend off the Worldwide Underground points to a match against Mundo happening soon, because now it’s the champion’s turn for a warm-up match. That should be a good match, though I’m still bummed that Azteca continues to look like Rey’s lackey instead of an actual luchador with his own motivations. Hey, whatever happened to his crusade against Matanza?


The Cueto Cup Round-Up: Second Round and Quarterfinals Picks

We also got the conclusion of the Cueto Cup’s second round matches this week, with a pair of fun bouts to cap things off.

Texano and the Mack were up first, and I liked that they played up the respect they have for each other. It’s nice to see two fair guys just shaking hands and going at it instead of the usual good guy vs. bad guy approach, which is what we often get here in Lucha Underground. They put on a hard-hitting display, which is exactly what you’d expect when Mack and Texano are in the ring. Famous B distracted Mack long enough for Texano to recover and hit a powerbomb, allowing his prospective client to pick up the win. As much as I wanted Mack to make a deep run, Texano needed this win more so that they can continue his storyline with Famous B.


Pentagon Dark then took on Drago to wrap up this round’s matches. I was surprised when they kept using the “first time ever” approach to hype it, but apparently it really is their first one-on-one match in the Temple. This was at a much faster pace than the first match, which was a nice way to mix things up and show a different kind of lucha libre. Drago’s brief mishap on the ropes allowed Pentagon Dark to nail his patented package piledriver, picking up the win and continuing on in the Cup.

You know, it feels like we have a picture like this every month.

The post-match stuff was also fun to watch, especially Aero Star’s attempt to save his former ally Drago. Aero Star’s like the ex-boyfriend that clearly isn’t over the breakup, which does help establish the friendship he and Drago once had. Of course, none of that matters to Pentagon Dark, who went ahead and broke Aero Star’s arm for interfering. Also, Kobra Moon got knocked out for trying to interfere. She’s like Maja Salvador’s character in One More Chancethe new partner that nobody really gave a shit about.

At this point, we’re now down to a cast of eight luchadors left, with the quarterfinals set to begin next week. Here’s how the remaining matches pan out, as well as what I think will happen in each of them:

  • Pindar vs. Fenix: This’ll be the first time we see Fenix after that beatdown he suffered at the hands of the Martinez siblings. If he shows up all fine and well, then he should win, otherwise we might see Pindar make a contest out of it. There’s also the opportunity for Fenix to get some sweet revenge on the team that took away Drago and their Trios Championships, so I think he’ll be the one moving on.
  • Pentagon Dark vs. Texano: This should also be a good matchup based on the two names, but I’m most interested in seeing what Famous B does next. Is he really going to try and interfere in a Pentagon Dark match? Texano is up against the one guy in the Temple that’ll give you shit for getting in his way, and I don’t see it ending well for Famous B if he tries. I think Pentagon Dark takes this match, with Famous B trying to interfere and getting his arm broken (again!)
  • Jeremiah Crane vs. Mil Muertes: Ah, yes. Mil Muertes finally gets his hands on Crane after everything that’s been brewing, especially that locker room assault a couple of weeks back. This should be a physical slobberknocker of a match with both men among the bulkier guys in the Temple. It also sounds like the perfect recipe for an surprise, which is what I’m predicting—Crane gets another one over the Man of a Thousand Deaths, and Mil now has more of a reason to start going after Crane harder.
  • Prince Puma vs. Dante Fox: I mentioned how hyped I am for this match last week, and that excitement hasn’t dipped at all. This is going to be stone cold nuts, and I’ll be shocked if they don’t put on anything close to being the match of the tournament so far. Unfortunately, Dante Fox’s run is coming to an end here, because I don’t see him beating the star of Lucha Underground. Prince Puma wins and moves on in the tournament, Dante Fox wins our appreciation, and all of us win after watching this match.


Quick Hits:
  • What exactly did Son of Havoc do to turn his back on his biker club? Is it because he’s spending too much time in the Temple? I always assumed he was in that other social circle whenever he didn’t have a match. Yay for real human drama.
  • The Rabbit Tribe’s devotion finally paid off! Receiving a gift from Mascarita Sagrada is pretty much like Jesus giving his disciples those tongues of fire, isn’t it?
  • That was quite the throwback between Catrina and Pentagon Dark. That “something” Pentagon Dark took away from Mil Muertes happened way back at Aztec Warfare II, which was quite some time ago. Mil Muertes already has Jeremiah Crane to deal with at the moment, so I’m not sure what Catrina’s going for by antagonizing Pentagon again.


This week’s episode of Lucha Underground was a solid affair, with most of it being good. While no match was as good as Prince Puma vs. PJ Black last week, every match was good enough on its own. We also got some much-needed development in the Rey Mysterio/Johnny Mundo title feud, as well as progression for the stories of Texano, Son of Havoc, and Drago/Aero Star. I give this episode a B-.


*****

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 beha
vior. He dreams of a wrestling business with good people management practices, and hopes to help make that happen one day.

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