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Good Lucha Things (8/23/17): Why, Dario, Why?!

Welcome to the second straight holiday edition of Good Lucha Things!


Welcome to Dario's Yard

This week was the highly-anticipated title match between Johnny Mundo and Rey Mysterio, which has escalated in recent weeks due to Mundo’s actions towards Mysterio’s son Dominic.

This was a fine main event between the two, as you would have expected when Johnny Mundo and Rey Mysterio are in a match. They worked their roles very well here—Mundo being the arrogant champion who tried to keep things grounded, and Mysterio being the huge fan favorite trying to pull off his flashy moves. The two work well together thanks to their years of experience, and it showed here. This match could’ve been stellar, but things ended differently thanks to some interference by Dario Cueto. And you thought that wouldn’t happen anymore since the Worldwide Underground were banned.


It’s no secret that Dario isn’t the biggest fan of Johnny Mundo. He’s never given the Worldwide Underground any sort of preferential treatment, and has even made life hell for them at times. So why did he help Mundo win and cost Rey the match? Was he really that convinced by Mundo and Benjamin Cook’s threats prior to the match?

There are two things in play here. The obvious reason is easy to spot—Dario’s a businessman first and foremost. He recognizes the value that Mundo brings to the table, his Hollywood connections, and the star power he brings to the Temple. Dario just acted accordingly to keep his star guy with Lucha Underground. It’s all standard boss-employee fare.

The other reason, and one that has a bigger implication on where Lucha Underground goes from here, is a little less evident. For as much as Mundo is a star of the show, you can argue that Rey Mysterio is at the same level as, if not a bigger star than, the Lucha Underground Champion. The show has always made this clear when they call Mysterio lucha libre royalty, for example. So why did Dario seemingly ignore that in favor of appeasing Johnny Mundo?


The answer lies in a loose end that we’ve yet to tie up—the Monster, Matanza Cueto. The last shot of Lucha Underground before it had a midseason break was of Rey Mysterio tossing Dario’s brother through the bleachers. If you go even further back than that, it was actually Mysterio who eliminated Matanza in Aztec Warfare III, ending his reign as Lucha Underground Champion reign. Put all these together and you start to see why Dario interfered—the Cuetos have unfinished business with Rey Mysterio. I expect Matanza to make his return very soon and immediately go after Rey (and maybe El Dragon Azteca, too), picking up right where they left off.


The Beginning is the End

With Mysterio set to be preoccupied, where does dear Johnny go from here? Oddly enough, back to the very first match he had on the very first episode of Lucha Underground. Yes, we’re going full circle at Ultima Lucha Tres.


Prince Puma won the Cueto Cup finals after a really fun match against Pentagon Dark. It’s one of those 10-minute matches that was so well done, you wonder why it couldn’t have gone on any longer. These two have shown that they excellent chemistry, and it really showed in this sprint of a match. It’s filled with everything we’ve come to love out of these two—Prince Puma flipping around, Pentagon Dark kicking everything in sight, and just some really good wrestling.

While this was a fine way to cap off the Cueto Cup, here’s where they were hurt by just being a match in the middle of the show. For as much hype the Cueto Cup was given, it feels counterproductive to just have the finals on a show where it’ll get overshadowed by a colossal main event. On any other week, this would’ve easily been the main event and given a lot more time than it really got. They actually could’ve done both—have the Cueto Cup finals first, then the Mysterio/Mundo title match a show or two later. Heck, Lucha Underground’s 100th episode is coming up, and that would’ve been the perfect place to put the Lucha Underground Championship match. It just feels like they could’ve given both matches the time they deserved, but tried to cram too much in one episode.



Of course, we can’t change things that have already happened, so we look forward to the upcoming Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo feud. These two have come a long way since they debuted in the first episode—Mundo has surrounded himself with goons and reached the apex of the Temple, while Prince Puma has gone on a much darker path under the tutelage of Vampiro. The Worldwide Underground is likely going to try and interfere in any Prince Puma match, and it’ll be interesting to see how Puma handles that in his next couple of matches. Unlike Rey Mysterio, he doesn’t exactly have many allies in the Temple (aside from Vampiro), so how he’ll handle all the shenanigans and run-ins remains to be seen. Maybe Vampiro can start taking out Mundo’s friends, though I wouldn’t really bet on that.


Quick Hits:
  • Hey, Dominic didn’t look too bad with that takedown! That was actually a little impressive. I know he’s training to be a wrestler now, and I’ll likely look out for him once he has an actual match.
  • If Veneno won the Mask vs. Mask match, shouldn’t Sexy Star be forced to unmask? Joey Ryan attacked Veneno, which means that he won by DQ. The loser of a mask vs. mask match has to unmask, so why didn’t this happen? That’s how it works, right? I have no love for Sexy Star at all right now given the inane shit she just pulled off at AAA’s TripleMania XXV, so this might just be me ranting.
  • How did Joey Ryan even find out that Veneno was Cortez Castro? Did he do actual police work and track his partner around? Yeah, that’s probably what happened. God forbid Joey Ryan just heard about it on social media and decided to unmask Veneno himself. No one is stupid enough to do that, right?
This week's episode was a good show overall, although it does feel like they could've structured it much better. The Cueto Cup finals and the Mundo/Mysterio match were fine, but could've been spaced out better to give both more time to shine. Nevertheless, we had two solid matches this week, and a ton of groundwork was laid as we head towards Ultima Lucha Tres. 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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