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    Friday, May 13, 2016

    Temple Rants (5/11/16): Truth and (Graver) Consequences

    Last week, we saw what went down as one of Lucha Underground’s most memorable matches. Sexy Star and Mariposa finally settled their differences in the first ever No Mas match, culminating a months-long story of kidnapping, abuse, and trauma. In one of the show’s most emotional moments, Sexy Star managed to bring down her tormentor, finally overcoming the past few months’ worth of struggles. Her buddy, the Mack, also got one in on the Moth family, pinning Marty “The Moth” M artinez to pick up another Aztec medallion. Meanwhile, things weren’t as swell for Famous B, who saw his first client, Mascarita Sagrada, lose against the massive Cage. The Machine, however, had his own Aztec medallion nicked by Chavo Guerrero, who seems hellbent on finding a way into the Gift of the Gods Championship match.

    Pascual Mendoza (1978-2016)

    You started off buried in rubble and soil; and now you end as such. Rest in peace, amigo. We hardly knew ye.

    Once again, Mendoza—or as he is more known, Mil Muertes—competed in Lucha Underground’s take on the casket match, squaring off against fellow monster Matanza for the Lucha Underground Championship.

    For a match that was built up as the next level of last season’s amazing Grave Consequences match, it didn’t really live up to the promise of the original. That doesn’t mean that it was terrible. Mil Muertes and Matanza put up a good match, but to call it anything beyond that would be a stretch. To their credit, they were able to find new ways of delivering violence, such as the metal hook and the chain-linked glove. As one of the show’s main storylines, I expected it to deliver big things like the original Grave Consequences did. It did not. It was still a good match, but is far from the season’s most memorable moments. It probably didn’t help that this had to go the week after that amazing No Mas match between Sexy Star and Mariposa.

    Moving forward, I’m interested in seeing where Matanza sets his sights now that he’s finally conquered Mil Muertes. As it stands, Dario Cueto’s possessed brother stands head and shoulders above the Temple, with most of the plausible competition currently occupied. Well, there’s Pentagon Jr., but he can’t even beat a 48-year old man spilling candle wax on him.

    Right on cue, though, this week’s episode hinted at another bigger power—Delgado’s mysterious boss. As you’ll recall, Delgado was the guy who told Captain Vasquez to stop her pursuit of Dario Cueto, citing that his boss wouldn’t be pleased. We saw him in business mode this week, meeting up with Dario Cueto to get some money. He also hinted at his boss coming to the Temple soon, so we might see who this mysterious man really is. They hinted towards this guy being greater and scarier than Matanza, which has me hooked. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but let’s see them try.

    On the other hand, Mil Muertes is sent back to, well, beyond the grave. I expect the Man of a Thousand (and One) Deaths to come back and set his unholy sights on King Cuerno, as the hunter’s actions indicated that his next target would be the big dead man. That sets up a very interesting match between these two Lucha Underground originals, and is a nice step up for King Cuerno. It also makes for an interesting matchup, as King Cuerno hasn’t really feuded with bigger guys before. For Mil’s sake, though, I hope he stops resorting to Grave Consequences matches. The poor soul’s 0-2 so far in them.

    Quick Hits

    • We got a rematch for the Trios Championships, as Son of Havoc and Ivelisse were teamed up with Johnny Mundo to take on the new champions Rey Mysterio and two mall ride-on animals Dragon Azteca and Prince Puma. The former’s chemistry went exactly how you thought it would, with Mundo failing to get along with his team in every way possible. One miscommunication later, and the masked trio retained the belts. Taya attacked Ivelisse afterwards, which seems to set up a feud between these two. I’m all for seeing more of Taya in the ring.

    • Joey Ryan defeated Cortez Castro and Mr. Cisco to pick up the last remaining Aztec medallion. With the pops Cisco has been getting lately, you would’ve expected them to get a fair amount of time to strut their stuff. Instead, Ryan picked up the win in a minute following one of wrestling’s greatest moves—the rollup. At least he knows where to keep that medallion.

    • If you’ve been keeping count, that’s 7 holders of Aztec medallions – Texano, Aero Star, Mack, Sexy Star, Siniestro de la Muerte, Joey Ryan and Chavo Guerrero (who currently holds the one Cage picked up.) That sets up the Gift of the Gods Championship Match for next week, which does seem early compared to last season. With roughly 3-4 months’ worth of episodes left, that leaves more than enough time for the winner to cash in their title shot, allowing the medallions to scatter again. I’d wager that by the time Ultima Lucha comes around, we’ll see another match for the Gift of the Gods.

    • I don’t have any picks to win next week’s match, but if you hold me at gunpoint and asked I’d just say Cage (IF he gets his medallion back.) He’s been very strong all season long, and this looks like a lineup he can beat. Otherwise, I wouldn’t mind seeing Siniestro de la Muerte rip everyone’s hearts out.

    I don’t think this week’s episode was quite as good as the last couple of weeks’, but it was alright for what it was. We got two decent matches, a couple of new feuds set up, and some interesting progression on one of Lucha Underground’s mysteries. That’s enough to give it a B, and while it doesn’t rank up there among the finer episodes, it’s still a good watch. You know things are damn good when something like this looks like a low point.

    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 (5/11/16): Truth and (Graver) Consequences Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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