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    Friday, March 11, 2016

    Temple Rants (3/9/16): Three to Tango

    Last week saw the culmination of the Fenix-King Cuerno rivalry, as Fenix mustered enough strength to reclaim the Gift of the Gods Championship in a grueling ladder match. Kobra Moon also continued her strong start in the Temple, picking up another victory over a distracted Sexy Star. Meanwhile, Prince Puma and Pentagon Jr. went at it again, but their match was interrupted by Mil Muertes. Thus, we’re going to see all three men go at it later in the show, as Mil Muertes is putting his Lucha Underground Championship against both Pentagon Jr. and Prince Puma.

    We kick things off with the Mack, who pays a visit to Sexy Star backstage. Seems like they managed to escape from whatever it was they saw a couple of episodes ago. Mack gets to go up against Moth this week, and he wants Sexy Star in his corner. Sexy Star just shakes her head, so Mack gives her a little pep talk to convince her to help.

    Match 1: Marty “The Moth” Martinez vs. The Mack

    Moth is creeping around Melissa, prompting the crowd to give him a “No means no!” chant. Brilliant. Mack rushes the ring and starts beating down Moth. He takes it to Moth with some strikes, but has his momentum halted when the Moth launches himself at Mack onto the outside. Martinez tries for another splash, but Mack gets right back up and takes him to Suplex City! Mack goes up top—

    What 4th dimension of hell did that come from!? That thing proves to be a fatal distraction for Mack, as Moth tosses him off and hits a curb stomp from the second rope for the win!

    Winner: Marty “The Moth” Martinez!

    Moth grabs a microphone and introduces us to his sister, Mariposa. Sexy Star is too creeped out at all that’s happening, so Mariposa kicks her out of her misery.

    After multiple teases, we finally get to meet Marty’s sister. Mariposa is Spanish for "butterfly", so that's another addition to the Lucha Underground Zoo. That's one weird-looking butterfly, though, but I think the creepy outfit works really well.. Her theme song is a perfect fit, and it gives you the same feeling you get when you hear the Apocalypse’s (of PWR fame) theme—complete, utter fear.

    It’s interesting to note that Sexy Star, who was established last season as a strong, fearless woman, is left afraid and hesitant following her kidnapping by the Moth and Mariposa. Her hesitation at accompanying Mack to the ring, coupled with how she reacted when Mariposa appeared, told us as much. She’s clearly traumatized, and I expect the show to shed more light on what exactly happened as this feud continues.

    We get a vignette for our new Gift of the Gods Champion, Fenix, which talks about his past. It’s your typical overcoming the odds story—poor, abandoned kid in Mexico turns to lucha libre, where he finds his passion despite naysayers telling him he wouldn’t amount to anything. This was a good way to make Fenix more relatable to fans, especially since he’s mostly been known as “guy who doesn’t die."

    We cut to Jack Evans pissing in some seedy bathroom. Drago comes right at him, clearly pissed at Evans for his constant bragging that he once slew the Dragon. PJ Black blindsides Drago, leading to a very cool sequence where all three men show off with their nunchucks. The numbers game catches up, and Drago is beaten down two-on-one. Right as things get worse, though, the lights go out and we see a masked man glowing. It’s Aero Star, and here he comes to rescue Drago! Evans and Black scurry away, as Drago is helped up by his former rival. This is the kind of stuff that only Lucha Underground can get away with. It was so over-the-top, but still done very well, and sets up a tag team match between these two pairs in the future.

    Match 2: No DQ Match – Cage vs. Johnny Mundo Taya

    Cage is already in the ring looking pissed, clearly eager to get Mundo for what happened in their last match. Johnny’s music hits, but it’s Taya who comes out instead. Guera loca (which literally means “crazy white girl”) tells everyone that since Mundo already beat Cage before, it’s now her turn to fight the Machine.

    The Machine just runs roughshod over Taya, tossing her around and even using her as weights at one point. Taya manages to hit Cage with a low blow, though, leading to some nice offense. Action spills onto the outside, where Cage just starts tossing Taya into every part of the Temple. Things get even more heated when Cage sets up some tables and hits this:

    Johnny Mundo finally comes out for the save, hitting Cage with a lead pipe. This time, he shakes it off, and just continues beating down on both Mundo and Taya. Even glass bottles couldn’t stop Cage, and he eventually hits Taya with Weapon X for the win. This was brutal.

    Winner: Cage!

    Massive props to Taya for taking that beating. Her 30 seconds of offense at the start looks promising enough, and hopefully we’ll get to see more of that as the show continues. Meanwhile, Cage continues to look insanely strong this season, building up momentum heading into the big Aztec Warfare match. It’s as if he’s not a man. Oh, yeah, he isn’t.

    Famous B is back, and this time he’s going to show how he actually makes people famous. With one touch of his magic wand, he turns some jobless, carless millennial into the fourth Kardashian sister. Brenda's one lucky girl, and I wonder if she'll show up at the Temple with Famous B as her manager.. We can now add wizards to the mythology of Lucha Underground, folks. Why is nobody else calling this hotline?

    Last season, Famous B’s screentime amounted to losing a couple of matches and getting his arm broken. He hasn’t even stepped in the ring yet this season, and his character already looks like absolute gold. We’re actually caring about Famous B. This is how you build a character.

    Back at the Temple, Ivelisse tells Son of Havoc and Angelico that they’ve got their match for the Trios Championship next week. There’s just one condition—if they lose, they have to hit the open road. Both guys can’t believe she agreed to it, and that dysfunction we saw last season seems to be coming back. Ivelisse just tells her boys that they’ll have to win next week. That’s one reason to tune in next week, for sure.

    Match 3: Lucha Underground Championship Match – Pentagon Jr. vs. Prince Puma vs. Mil Muertes (c)

    Both challengers gang up on Mil Muertes, realizing the danger the big guy poses if they leave him unchecked. Mil Muertes fights right back, though, and starts tossing both men around. Dude even found time to fly in this match, launching himself onto Prince Puma. Action spills up and down the stands, as all three men start to pile the pain on each other.

    Back in the ring, Mil Muertes tries to pin Pentagon Jr. He gets tossed out, leading to Pentagon Jr. and Prince Puma taking turns flying at the champion. The two challengers set their sights on each other and Pentagon Jr. takes out Prince Puma on one of the roofs. Now it’s Mil Muertes and Pentagon brawling, but Prince Puma comes from out of nowhere with a Shooting Star Press!

    Prince Puma sets up and nails the 630 splash, but Mil Muertes breaks up the pin. Mil Muertes takes the Boyle Heights native out with a powerslam, but gets invited to a SUPERKICK PARTY by both challengers. While Pentagon Jr. gets some time to shine, Mil Muertes wakes up, and starts hitting spears on both challengers. He sets up for another double Flatliner, and this match is done!

    Winner, and STILL Lucha Underground Champion: Mil Muertes!

    Mil’s got little time to celebrate, though, as Fenix shows up at the top of the stands. He announces that he’s cashing in the Gift of the Gods Championship to challenge Mil Muertes for his belt, and that match takes place next week!

    What I liked about this week’s main event was that it really didn’t slow down. You still had moments where it was just two guys squaring off, but the third man always got back in very quickly to keep things fresh. Each luchador got more than one moment to shine. They also told a nice story with Pentagon Jr. and Prince Puma working in tandem to keep Mil Muertes down, before fighting each other. It refreshed Mil Muertes as the biggest threat in Lucha Underground, especially given that he’s been sidelined since the first episode.

    There’s not much to say about this episode other than it was very, very good. We got one excellent match, another that was brutal yet entertaining, and another that served to introduce a new character this season. In between these matches, they also fleshed out a lot of storylines and characters, and we can expect to see these stories advance in the ring in the episodes to come. The triple threat match is up in the running for the best match so far this season, and this episode ties for the strongest one so far this season. A-.

    What did you think of this week's show? Let us know in the comments section below!

    Cover photo taken from 411MANIA.

    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 (3/9/16): Three to Tango Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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