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Good Lucha Things (7/5/17): Seeing Double


On this week's episode of Lucha Underground, the first round of the Cueto Cup came to a close with the last four matches. It wasn't all about tournament action this week, though—we saw the debut of a new fighter, and some more backstory for another guy. Let's break down what happened this week.


Drama on the Open Road

One of this week's Cueto Cup matches saw Son of Havoc progressing to the next round, but it seems like he’s got a bigger problem to deal with.

His mystery opponent was the debuting Son of Madness, whom we were introduced to last week. He’s basically a bigger, shaggier, whiter version of Son of Havoc, so we can at least tell them apart when they’re in the ring together. They put on a match that was actually pretty fun, with Son of Madness impressing in his debut. I loved how they portrayed him as someone basically even with Son of Havoc, because it implies that these two really, really know each other. The result was an exciting match where no man really had the advantage, and Son of Havoc had to rely on the element of surprise to pick up the win.


BIGYAN NG JACKET!!!

Son of Madness’ post-match assault on Havoc sets this up as an incoming feud, and I’m excited to see how this goes. It’s been a while since Son of Havoc has had to do something meaningful, and this feud looks like it’ll explore his story on the open road. Having Son of Madness take away his kutte (the vest) basically means he’s being kicked out of their brotherhood, so expect some biker drama in the next couple of weeks. I just hope that they’re consistent with the naming system, and that we get to see Son of Anger, Son of Chaos, Son of Insanity, Son of Anarchy and all their fellow brothers show up soon.



War! What is it Good For?

Dante Fox’s backstory was explored this week, and you can’t help but root a little more for the guy after what he’s been through.

Look, I swear this isn't from an ISIS live feed.

One thing Lucha Underground does well is flesh out their characters in the ring, and Dante Fox’s history didn’t disappoint. We learned that he fought in Afghanistan, became a prisoner of war and was left to die when Killshot could’ve rescued him. Also, it looks like he has PTSD, and still suffers from some memories up to now. There are a couple of questions we can pick up from the expanded story—did Killshot really intend to leave Fox (and presumably some others for dead), or did he leave because he thought they were already dead? Killshot’s previous vignettes have hinted at the latter (hence his surprise at seeing Fox show up in the Temple), while Fox’s side makes it look like the former. It looks like a case of both men seeing things differently, and I’m looking forward to how they eventually resolve this.

It wasn’t just Fox’s story on show, though, as he fought the returning El Dragon Azteca Jr. in this week’s main event to progress in the Cueto Cup. This was Azteca’s first match back since getting tossed through the bleachers, and they put on one of the tournament’s best matches so far. Fox looked like he kept trying to kill himself with every move he made, and Azteca matched the intensity. It’s not as good as last week’s spectacle between Jeremiah Crane and Killshot, but it’s still far better than a majority of the first round Cueto Cup matches. Having Rey Mysterio around as Azteca’s mentor was also a nice touch—we often get heels who hang around and cause trouble in matches, so it’s nice to see a supportive face in that role for once. Unfortunately, that might have been the key factor that cost him the match.


Rey Goes to Slamtown

Just when things were heating up between Dante Fox and El Dragon Azteca Jr., the Worldwide Underground ran in for a quick attack on Rey Mysterio. That distracted Azteca long enough for Fox to hit his finisher and get the pin, progressing into the next round of the Cueto Cup.


I liked the run-in from the Worldwide Underground, as it served to enhance the upcoming match between Johnny Mundo and Rey Mysterio. Giving Mysterio an actual reason to go after Mundo makes this match much more personal, considering that the attack resulted in an untimely end to El Dragon Azteca Jr.’s championship aspirations. As good as the Mike Schiavello-voiced previews were, that wasn’t going to be enough to hype up this feud. They needed some degree of interaction beforehand, and that’s exactly what we got here.

Mundo’s lackeys also saw action this week, with PJ Black facing Sexy Star in the opening match. For the most part, this was a fine match—Black actually has some chemistry with Sexy Star, and we got some decent back and forth action. Unfortunately, an interference from Taya led to Sexy Star using some brass knuckles, leaving the referee no choice but to disqualify her.

The thing that bugged me with this match was that Sexy Star looked really, really stupid here. How did she not see this happening? There is no one on the roster that should be as used to this shit as her, and she fell for it again! She’s been the target of Mundo’s group since the start of the season, and you’d have thought she learned by now. She’s already lost the Gift of the Gods Championship and the Lucha Underground Championship to shenanigans, and now she just lost her shot to main event Ultima Lucha Tres. In earlier episodes, they showed a more aggressive, angrier side to Sexy Star, one that didn’t take shit from the Worldwide Underground. The way this match played out made it feel like we were back to square one on this feud, and that’s not really a good place to be.

Oh, and Worldwide Underground intern (yes, intern) Ricky Mandel also saw action this week, but he got demolished by Prince Puma. Hey, it’s not as if we expected anything else, right?


The Cueto Cup Update: Second Round Predictions

In lieu of a Quick Hits section this week, I’m going to take a look at the second round matchups and see who’ll likely be advancing. Let’s start with the three matches confirmed for next week’s show:

Paul London vs. Mil Muertes: Look, I really, really want Paul London to win this. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Rabbit Tribe’s psychedelic shenanigans are going to work against a hulking force of death, so I’m guessing that Mil Muertes moves on. It would be cool if London managed to win, though.

Fenix vs. Marty “The Moth” Martinez: This is a match straight out of your high school memories, because it’s the cool athletic jock against the creepy loser vying for the pretty girl’s affection. Expect Melissa Santos to get involved at some point, so I guess Fenix manages to scrape by here.

Jeremiah Crane vs. Taya: After last week’s episode, I’m all in on Jeremiah Crane going as far as he can in the tournament. He’s been a huge boost to the Temple, has a really unique character, and is just that good in the ring. It’ll be interesting to see how he can work his way around Worldwide Underground shenanigans, though—my guess is a couple of chair shots to each of them.

Pindar vs. Cage: One is the gauntlet-wielding, councilman-killing Machine called Cage, the other is the Erick Rowan of reptiles. Yeah, this’ll go well.

Prince Puma vs. PJ Black: Black has really stepped up this season while Jack Evans heals from a broken jaw, but this is as far as he’s getting. Prince Puma is just the better luchador overall, and is a heavy favorite to win the whole Cup. I don’t see him getting eliminated here.

Dante Fox vs. Son of Havoc: Okay, now here’s a match that can go either way! Both have their own problems to deal with outside of the cup—Fox has Killshot, and Son of Havoc has Son of Madness. It’s possible that either guy gets distracted with their feuds here, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see either outcome. I’m leaning towards Son of Havoc, just because he’s got a better beard.

Drago vs. Pentagon Dark: This is a very interesting test for the new Drago. He’s riding a huge wave of momentum coming off a Trios Championship win and a victory against Aero Star, but he’s up against one of the tournament favorites. Outside of Prince Puma, Pentagon Dark is the other guy likely to win the whole thing, and I really don’t see him exiting the tournament this early. Expect Pentagon to pick up the win, but this'll be close.

Texano vs. The Mack: The big boys’ brawl. Mack has been on fire since Lucha Underground returned, but I feel that it’ll be Texano who picks up the win and advances. Mainly because Famous B will be lurking around again, and he’ll probably pull something off to give his prospective client the win.


Looking at the incoming set of matches, I have high hopes that these will turn out to be much, much better than the first round. There’s really only one match that doesn’t look excellent in Pindar vs. Cage, and the rest look like they could steal the show.

Overall, this week’s show was good. It continued the solid action from last week’s episode, which Lucha Underground sorely needed after a lackluster start to the Cueto Cup. Both the Fox-Azteca and Havoc-Madness matches were great, and we got some excellent character development for Dante Fox and Son of Havoc this week. It’s the perfect time for things to pick up, because we’re getting deeper into the Cueto Cup, and the stakes are about to get higher than ever. I’m giving 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 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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