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    Friday, June 3, 2016

    Temple Rants (6/1/16): Ang Pikon, Talo

    Last week saw the Trios Championship being defended, with Jack Evans, PJ Black and Johnny Mundo teaming up to take on the masked trio of Rey Mysterio, El Dragon Azteca Jr., and Prince Puma. Thanks to some rather dirty maneuvers, Mundo and co. managed to sneak a win over the champions, becoming the new Trios Champions. Meanwhile, Cage finally got his chance at the Gift of the Gods, facing off with the man who stole his Aztec medallion, Chavo Guerrero. Cage managed to pin Guerrero, becoming the new Gift of the Gods Champion, and immediately announced that he would be cashing in his championship opportunity this week.

    Bawal Pikon

    After a strong first season, Prince Puma has been in a sophomore slump. Since forming a trios team with El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Rey Mysterio, he’s spent most of his matches getting beat up and tagging in the other two so they could pull off highlight reel-worthy moves. For someone long considered to be the heart and soul of this show, he hasn’t really been at the center of anything this season, which is remarkable considering how big of a deal he was last year.

    Thankfully, this week’s episode seems to have injected some life into our feline hero.

    I’m a fan of how they played up Prince Puma’s emotions. It was a great follow-up to how they lost the Trios Championship last week, with Prince Puma having had enough of Mundo and Co.’s antics. We saw the frustration in him, and when you think about it, it makes sense —he’s been out of the Lucha Underground Championship scene, and has often been the punching bag in their Trios matches. Prince Puma has fallen a long way from the lofty heights he used to occupy, and he should be pissed about it. This has probably been the most I’ve cared about Prince Puma all season long.

    With their Trios team having lost their rematch, I’m interested to see in where they take Prince Puma from here. El Dragon Azteca’s storyline with Black Lotus seems to have picked up again, leaving both Puma and Rey Mysterio with nothing to do. I doubt Rey is going to let Prince Puma walk away after he cost them their match, so expect at least a confrontation between the two. Whether that leads into a match is anyone’s guess, as either man (or both, actually) could also get involved in the Lucha Underground Championship scene now that Matanza needs a new challenger. As it is, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing a straight-up match between Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio. That’s a dream match waiting to happen, and I’m starting to wonder if we’ll get it sooner rather than later.

    Monster vs. Machine

    What’s that? We need another challenger for the Lucha Underground Championship? Yeah, because Matanza just took down the Machine.

    As expected, this was a total hossfest, with both men using their power to try and mow the other down. What I loved to see was Cage used his speed to outwit Matanza at various points, pulling off a variety of moves we don’t normally see from him. It added a breath of fresh air into this gigantic matchup, and made it feel different from a similar feud like the recent Mil Muertes-Matanza rivalry. Despite coming up short, they made Cage look as good as possible, and at some points it really felt like he was going to win.

    While he came up short, I’ll continue to tune into what they have planned for Cage. He’s established himself as one of the show’s biggest stars this season, and I expect him to continue to feature prominently. With the Gift of the Gods being scattered once more, perhaps we’ll get to see him go down the same path to get another shot at the Lucha Underground Championship. Cage is the living embodiment of our childhood’s Create-A-Wrestler guys — he’s jacked, does flippy shit and has a generally awesome hairstyle. Perhaps that’s why I’m a big fan of this guy.

    Of course, the question now is: who is left to challenge Matanza’s reign? We’ve seen two of the most plausible contenders (Cage and Mil Muertes) come up short. Pentagon Jr. seems set to return, so it could be him. As mentioned earlier, Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio could get involved as well. At this point, it would take nothing less than a magical character fusion (like in Dragon Ball) to come up with a guy talented enough to bring the Monster down. Heck, that’s probably even more likely to happen considering that we’re watching Lucha Underground.

    Quick Hits

    • While most of the attention was on the Justice League’s fallout, let’s give credit to PJ Black, Jack Evans and Johnny Mundo. They actually came out and looked like a team, from their matching headgear to their penchant for being some of the dirtiest players in the game. In a show where Trios teams often feel like three guys mashed together, it was a welcome sight to see some semblance of unity. Even if said unity came thanks to a bunch of dick kicks and cheating. Draymond Green would be proud, boys.

    • Kobra Moon continued to show affection for our newcomer Daga, who faced off with Temple favorite Son of Havoc in a very fun opener. It’s still weird seeing Son of Havoc alone without Angelico and Ivelisse, but with the South African injured it’s something we’ll have to adjust to. Kobra Moon’s obsession with Daga is a promising plot point, though, and Daga seems to be in "don't stick your dick in crazy" mode right now. 

    • El Dragon Azteca  came across Matanza locked in a cell (about damn time!), but before he could do anything drastic, he was stopped by Black Lotus. We still don’t really know whose side she’s on, and I expect them to address this in the next few weeks now that El Dragon Azteca can move away from the Trios Championship scene

    This was a good episode this week, especially with the three matches we got. All were very solid and fun to watch, containing very different styles that made this episode very enjoyable to go through. Couple that with the usual solid storytelling, and I’d say that’s enough to put this week’s episode at 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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    Item Reviewed: Temple Rants (6/1/16): Ang Pikon, Talo Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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