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    Friday, June 10, 2016

    Temple Rants (6/8/16): Don't Call it a Comeback

    Last week, Cage cashed in his Gift of the Gods Championship for a match with Lucha Underground Matanza. It was a tightly-contested affair, but in the end, even the Machine couldn’t overpower the monster, as Matanza fended off another challenge to retain his championship and remain unbeaten. Meanwhile, Johnny Mundo, Jack Evans and PJ Black defended their newly-won Trios Championship against Rey Mysterio, El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Prince Puma. Unfortunately, Puma lost his cool after some foul play from the champions, resulting in the challengers getting disqualified from their match.

    Guess Who’s Back? No, Not Slim Shady

    Everyone’s favorite (unless you’re a huge fan of Delavar Daivari or Pimpinela Escarlata, in which case this part probably won’t interest you) luchador came back this week, and he did it the only way he knew how.

    One thing Lucha Underground does better than any other promotion out there is continuity, and that was on full display. It was a nice throwback to the show’s very early days, when Pentagon was just another masked guy on the roster. Chavo was the very first guy he teamed up with, and it seems that Pentagon hasn’t forgotten that. Heck, he even thanked him for it, although Chavo probably doesn’t think that getting his arm broken was a gift. Sorry, ese.

    With Chavo out, Pentagon took his spot in Dario Cueto’s newest concoction—a 12-man tag team match where the winning team would face each other next week to determine the next contender for the Lucha Underground Championship at Ultima Lucha Dos. Having too many people out made for a wild and frenetic pace, but at least everyone had their time to shine. It was a mess, but a fun one at that, and in the end Johnny Mundo picked up the win for his team with a Spanish Fly.

    That sets up next week’s main event, as Johnny Mundo, Taya, Ivelisse, King Cuerno, Fenix and Pentagon Jr. try to eliminate each other to see who gets a big match with Matanza. Looking at the field, it does look like one that our returning favorite can beat, and I’d hedge towards him or Fenix picking up the victory. King Cuerno’s about to head into some problems of his own (more on this later), while Ivelisse and Taya seem too busy going at each other’s throats. Mundo’s always a threat, although he has his Trios Championship reign to worry about (plus Fenix, who’ll be raring to go at him after he was attacked a couple of weeks ago.) This should be something to look forward to for next week.

    Nunchucks and Dragons and Time-Travelling Space Men, Oh My!

    It took them months to address this, but hey, we finally got here. Drago, Aero Star, Jack Evans and PJ Black finally got a match all to their own, and naturally, it was a Nunchucks Match.

    The match itself was very fun to watch, and at no point was the use of nunchucks too overwhelming. Sure, they all raced for it at the start, but it wasn’t as if whoever got them first would hold a massive advantage. They made good use of the weapons, with all four men getting their turns at whacking each other with it. All in all, this was still a lucha libre bout at heart, with Drago picking up the victory thanks to some mist and the Dragon’s Tail pin. We even got a nice Aero Star moment when he jumped off the office roof onto Black and Evans below. I guess someone had to take over Angelico’s spot since he’s still injured.

    With that said, here’s one thing that has been bugging me: why haven’t we seen more of Drago this season? He ended last year red hot when he beat Hernandez (lol), and at that point he was one of the most beloved luchadors in the Temple. His fire seems to have been doused this year, as we haven’t really seen him do much. At the very least, the Temple still seems to love him, and this win may put him on the path to doing bigger things before the season ends. They did just beat 2/3 of the reigning Trios Champions, and if Drago and Aero Star find a third buddy, we might be seeing them challenge for the belts soon.

    Quick Hits

    • We’re well on our way to Ultima Lucha Dos, and this week we got our first match for the finale: El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Black Lotus. That’s the first time Black Lotus is set for a match, which is something I’ve been waiting to see since the first season. Also, that means El Dragon Azteca Jr. has his own match at the big show, which is a great thing considering how good he has been in his matches so far.

    • Killshot and Marty “The Moth” Martinez continued their rivalry this week, with their match resulting in a double countout as both men were too busy beating the crap out of each other. It was a nice way to keep the feud going, and with Marty getting away with the dogtags again, we’re probably bound for a match between these two at Ultima Lucha Dos.

    • Mr. Cisco got interrogated today, and at the very least it looks like he’ll continue in the Temple. Captain Vasquez offered him the choice of being on a wire or rotting in jail, which sounds like an easy pick to make. At least now he’ll be in on all the fun Joey Ryan and Cortez Castro were having.

    • Vasquez also identified Dario Cueto as the “lynchpin to the end of days”, and it seems like they’re going to go beyond your normal undercover cop story. There’s obviously more to this story than we expected, and the way she said it makes me think that this is going to collide with the show’s other fantasy plots in due time. Let’s see how they move this forward.

    • The show ended with Mil Muertes returning from the dead (SURPRISE!) for the second time. It seems like no one learned from the first time that killing him only makes him stronger, and now the rest of the Temple has to deal with this Solomon Grundy-turned-luchador. Well, maybe not immediately, as he does have a score to settle with King Cuerno, so the Hunter better keep an eye on his back.

    This week’s show was very, very entertaining, and you can tell the believers enjoyed every single match we had. Fan favorites such as Drago and Pentagon Jr. returned, and we had a very entertaining Nunchucks match in the middle. The main event was a mess at times, but it featured the Temple’s biggest stars, and everyone had a chance to impress. Add our usually strong backstage segments and vignettes, and you got an episode that was a joy to watch from start to finish. I’d mark this episode as an A-, and it has definitely left me wanting more as we head towards Ultima Lucha Dos.


    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 (6/8/16): Don't Call it a Comeback Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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