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    Friday, February 5, 2016

    Temple Rants (2/3/16): The Enemy of My Enemy is (Not) My Friend

    Last week, Lucha Underground kicked off its second season with a bang, with two championship matches on the card. In the first match, King Cuerno managed to pull off a shocking victory over Fenix, earning himself the Gift of the Gods and a future opportunity at the Lucha Underground Championship.

    Meanwhile, the trio of Ivelisse, Angelico, and Son of Havoc were forced to compete against each other in a #1 Contender’s match, with Ivelisse picking up the victory. She immediately got her match against Mil Muertes, but was defeated after a solid effort. Prince Puma and Pentagon Jr. then made their intentions clear, with the latter attacking Mil Muertes post-match and breaking his arm.

    We begin with a look at Prince Puma backstage, who is working on those maskels while having flashbacks of Ultima Lucha. Pentagon Jr. pops up behind him and thanks him for last week’s assist. He then tells Puma that they’re teaming up tonight to take on Mil Muertes’ goons, the Disciples of Death. The two engage in a brief, but awesome, sparring session before Prince Puma walks away.

    Match 1: Johnny Mundo vs. Killshot

    Johnny Mundo's return kicks off the show, and he comes out looking cocky and confident, which is basically how he looks every day of the week. Killshot is out next, and this should make for a fun match. Killshot was one of the more underrated talents last season, and with him getting heavy airtime in the trailer for this season, we can expect to see more from the Tacoma native.

    Killshot catches Mundo with some solid kicks, followed by a moonsault onto the outside. Unfortunately, he takes his eye off Johnny for a second, allowing the latter to nail him from behind. Killshot hits a rolling cutter, and then immediately walks into a C4 from Mundo. Mundo gets tangled in the ropes, leaving him easy prey to a crisp DDT from Killshot!

    Killshot keeps up the pressure with a 450 splash, but that only gets a 2-count. Mundo tries to call timeout but this isn’t basketball, so instead he eats a knee from Killshot. Unfortunately, the ref gets caught in the crossfire, allowing Mundo the chance to toss Killshot up and down into a low blow! Enzuigiri into End of the World, and this is over!

    Winner: Johnny Mundo!

    Short, but decent match. Rudo Mundo’s style is much, much better to watch than tecnico Mundo, simply because he’s mixing it up more as a heel. He can still put on the flash, though, as shown by that low blow. I believe he needs a new finisher, though, because End of the World is just a terrible, terrible move. It rarely looks good.

    Just like his matches last season, Killshot manages to get a couple great spots in, but ultimately ends up eating the pin.

    Johnny Zero grabs a mic and addresses Mil Muertes, telling him that he’s going to hit him harder than that traumatic earthquake Mil experienced as a child. Before we hear more, Cage comes out and challenges Mundo. Man, Cage really sounds like Scott Steiner. Mundo laughs at his challenge, and tells Cage he’s way out of his league. That’s odd, because I remember watching Cage beat Mundo last season. The two tease a confrontation, but Mundo walks away to boos. Mundo slides back in and cheap shots Cage, but the Machine simply runs through him! Mundo scampers away for good, and Cage stands tall in the ring. Plus points to Lucha Underground for continuity here, and I wouldn’t mind seeing these two go at it again.

    In another place, we see our first glimpse of Marty "The Moth" Martinez. Seems like he's kept Sexy Star locked up since the events of Ultima Lucha, He tells the luchadora that his sister has noted that it is time for her to return to the Temple, and that they'll all be going back together. We still don't know who this "sister" is, but it looks like we're going to meet her within the next couple of weeks.

    We come back to a vignette for one of the Temple’s new stars, PJ Black, who beats up some goons in luchador masks. Looks like we’ll be seeing him tonight!

    Match 2: The Mack vs. PJ Black

    Mack comes out for his return to the Temple, having had 6 months to shake off getting his head smashed through a cinder block. The debuting PJ Black is out next, and the crowd seems to be loving him! Also, we’re getting The Mack vs. PJ Black to kick off Black History Month. Witty, Lucha Underground. Really witty.

    Black looks good early on here, going toe to toe with the larger Mack. The big guy gets his foe down with a crisp knee strike, before hitting a Samoan Drop. Black kicks out of the pin, and again manages to fight back and hit Black to the Future for a two count. The Darewolf finally gets some airtime with a springboard moonsault, setting up a 450 splash. Mack is smart enough to roll out of the way, though, and manages to catch a soaring Black with a Stunner for the win!

    Winner: The Mack!

    This was a good way to reintroduce Mack, and he seems as good as he was last season. I hope he continues this string of mimicking Stone Cold Steve Austin. PJ Black, on the other hand, got a good reception from the crowd. I was pleasantly surprised to see him mix up his aerial offense with some power moves, and it seems they’re going to establish him differently from current aerial master Jack Evans.

    Meanwhile, we get a vignette for a new masked luchadora, Kobra Moon. She seems to be some sort of Daredevil-type character, since she’s going around the hood and beating up thugs, who are also wearing luchador masks. Apparently, that’s a thing in Boyle Heights. Looks like the Temple is expanding its collection of animal-themed characters. We’ll have to see next week if she can hold a candle to all the talent here. No pressure, though, considering the last jabroni who had a gimmick related to cobras.

    Yeah, no pressure at all.

    Match 3: The Disciples of Death (Trece, Barrio Negro and El Sinestro de la Muerte) vs. Pentagon Jr. and Prince Puma

    The Disciples of Death come out for their first official match as champions, with Catrina leading the way. Prince Puma comes out next, heavily focused on Mil Muertes on his throne. Konnan isn’t here, as Striker reminds all of us that he was locked in a coffin towards the end of last season. Pentagon Jr. comes out to a good reception, and Vampiro talks about just how deadly Pentagon Jr. is. So it seems like he’s fully aware of what happened at Ultima Lucha, but has managed to move on from it, thanks to his therapy.

    The Disciples jump the other team immediately, isolating Prince Puma. The former champion kicks them all out of the ring, leading into a beautiful dive from Pentagon onto the outside. Prince Puma isn’t to be outdone, though, and follows with a splash of his own. There’s some tension between Puma and Pentagon here, which gives the Disciples of Death a window to fight back.

    Pentagon Jr. with a series of loud chops, and he argues again with Prince Puma in the middle of the ring. They get jumped again, and Barrio Negro leaps out onto Pentagon outside. El Sinestro de la Muerte tries for a dive as well, but Pentagon Jr. rams Barrio Negro right into him. Inside the ring, Prince Puma manages to set up the 630 splash. However, Pentagon Jr. sneaks in the blind tag just before Prince Puma soars, pinning Trece for the win!

    Winner: Pentagon Jr. and Prince Puma!

    Prince Puma is pissed, and he brawls with Pentagon Jr. again after the match. Cero Miedo tries to break his arm, but Prince Puma fights back and sends Pentagon into retreat. It’s very unusual to see Prince Puma play the face in peril, but it helped tell how Pentagon Jr. didn’t really give a damn if his partner got beaten up. The Disciples of Death played their role well, continuing their beatdown as Catrina refused to give the order to pin and end the match. Don’t think this is the last time we’ll see these guys tangle, although the next time that happens, Mil Muertes may finally get involved.

    We end things in what seems to be an empty ring, with the new El Dragon Azteca (should we call him El Hijo? Jr.?) deep in meditation. A voice begins talking about the history of El Dragon Azteca, and how he passed on the legacy of wearing the mask. The show doesn’t make it clear if it’s El Dragon Azteca Jr. talking, but we soon find out there’s another person in the room:

    He’s here! Rey Mysterio Jr. has arrived at Lucha Underground, and it seems he’s going to jump straight into the Black Lotus/El Dragon Azteca/Dario Cueto storyline from last season. Here’s to hoping he makes his way to the ring very, very soon.

    This week’s show focused on introducing both old and new guys, continuing from the season premiere last week. The action seems to have slowed down (or at least paled in comparison to King Cuerno vs. Fenix last week), but this seems to be another one of those build-up shows. They still managed to put on a decent show, clocking in at a B- for this week.

    What did you think of this week's show? Sound off in the comments!

    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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    Item Reviewed: Temple Rants (2/3/16): The Enemy of My Enemy is (Not) My Friend Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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