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    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    Temple Rants (7/13/16): Deathmatches & Dead Men

    Last week was the beginning of the end, as we kicked off Ultima Lucha Dos with the special 4 A Unique Opportunity Tournament. Cage and Mack kicked things off in a nice throwback to their previous match, with Mack getting one over the Machine this time. He would face Son of Havoc in the tournament finals, who overcame a strong challenge from Texano in a match that saw broken glass all over the place. Our beloved masked underdog then outlasted Mack in a tough final, which led to the reveal of the unique opportunity—a choice of either $250,000, or a championship shot at next year’s Ultima Lucha Tres. It wasn’t that easy, though, as Dario Cueto revealed that Son of Havoc would have to go through one more match to claim his prize. This led to the shocking debut of lucha libre legend Dr. Wagner Jr. (with new manager Famous B), who proceeded to demolish an exhausted Son of Havoc and pick up the big cash reward.

    The Gift of the Gods match has always been a one-fall match, which built a nice amount of tension as luchadors scrambled to prevent each other from picking up the win. Thus, I was surprised when this match was announced as an elimination match. Such types of matches usually don’t show the same levels of chaos, as you didn’t really want to stop your opponents from pinning each other if it meant less people in the match.

    Despite the change, we once again got a solid Gift of the Gods match. It wasn’t jaw-dropping by any means, but it achieved its purpose of putting on an entertaining display. Each competitor got their own time to shine and proved that they belong in this match—everyone except for Siniestro de la Muerte, that is, who spent a total of two minutes and thirty seconds in contention before falling to the debuting Night Claw. Speaking of the newcomer, he managed to impress in this match, hitting a dive off the office similar to past highlights from Aero Star and Angelico. Killshot and Daga were solid additions to this match as well, with the former getting another chance to get his hands on Marty “The Moth” Martinez.

    The main attraction of this match, though, was the tension between Sexy Star, Moth and Mariposa. They’ve been doing this all season long, and it was a chance for Sexy Star to pile even more misery on her tormentors after getting her groove back. We’ve actually come full circle on this feud now—it was at the close of last year’s Ultima Lucha that Martinez kidnapped Sexy Star, leading to the story we saw play out this season. She would get it right this time, though, and one submission hold later Sexy Star won the Gift of the Gods Championship.

    I’m alright with having Sexy Star win. She’s not the best worker Lucha Underground has to offer, but she has massive support, and you know that even more people will get behind her as she seeks to become the first female Lucha Underground Champion. Imagine the support she’ll get when people see her standing up to a Matanza or a Mil Muertes. It’s a story I can see them running towards the middle of next season, perhaps after a small feud to help build her up. The Gift of the Gods Championship is the perfect avenue for that, as she can still lose it before getting her title shot, so expect some new challengers to come after Sexy Star next year.

    Ultima Lucha Dos, Part 2 was headlined by Mil Muertes and King Cuerno squaring off in a Deathmatch, and it was exactly what you expected it to be.

    For two seasons now, Mil Muertes has made it a habit to put on excellent hardcore matches. He’s consistently brought the brutality to the Temple, with matches such as both Grave Consequences and the first Deathmatch under his belt. The big undead man can add another feather to his cap once more, with King Cuerno being the latest victim. This was a fun and violent match that saw them make excellent use of their environment, with foreign objects aplenty.

    What I liked about this match was that King Cuerno didn’t look like a deer in headlights as he was able to maneuver his way around an angry Mil Muertes. He played it smart, picked his spots and manage to put the hurt on his opponent as well. All too often we remember Mil Muertes just demolishing his opponents, but King Cuerno did not go out quietly, and that made the match much better. They built towards a nice little finale with King Cuerno getting Catrina involved, which led to the big undead going batshit insane and tossing Cuerno through a bunch of tables. Some crowbar shots and a Tombstone Piledriver (!!!) later, and Mil Muertes finally got one over the wily hunter.

    Overall, they put a fitting end to this tale they’ve been telling all season long. This was a story about how even the best of hunters couldn’t outsmart nor outrun death. King Cuerno worked with Mil Muertes and Catrina at the start, managed to outsmart them, and had his ass handed to him in the end. Now Mil’s got his win back, and look for him to continue marching back to the lofty heights he used to occupy at the top of the food chain.

    As for King Cuerno, I’m sure we’ll see him again sooner or later. Sure, he was absolutely murdered in the final minutes of this match, but he’ll get back up soon enough. At least he’s more alive than this other guy…

    Yep, let’s not beat around the bush. Mr. Cisco is dead. He’s as dead as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s chances of winning an NBA championship next season.

    Well, fuck.

    Now, I’m not this site’s eulogy guy, but let me try to give him some degree of praise. Truth be told, we’re not really going to miss his presence. Sure, Cisco was getting a reaction from the crowds this season (getting cheered over Rey Mysterio, Fenix, and Ivelisse is probably his career highlight), but it’s not as if he was a big player in the grand scheme of things.

    For the most part, our token neighborhood cholo spent his time doing the bidding of others—he’s gone from Big Ryck to Dario Cueto to Chavo Guerrero to Cortez Castro to the law over two seasons. Fittingly, he also died in servitude, his skull caving in as he went on a futile mission for Cortez Castro and Joey Ryan to wiretap Dario Cueto. It’s not the most glamorous of deaths, but what’s done is done, and now we’re all left to wonder if Mr. Cisco would have been on his way to win the Lucha Underground Championship were he still alive (probably not.) At least he’s now with his buddy Bael in luchador heaven.

    Where do things go from here, then? For one, our cops haven’t come any closer to getting more dirt on Dario, which speaks volumes about just how competent Joey Ryan and Cortez Castro are at their jobs. Fortunately, they’ve got a couple of months until next season to think about how they’re going to crack this case. Let’s hope their next attempt doesn’t involve sending someone to their death. There’s also the very mysterious Councilman Delgado, whose boss somehow plays a role in all of this, and we haven’t even caught a glimpse of this higher power. There are too many question marks surrounding Dario Cueto right now, and barely enough time before the season ends. Let’s see what the last two hours of Ultima Lucha will add to this mess, if it adds anything at all.


    Overall, this was a nice continuation to Ultima Lucha Dos, with the stakes slowly getting higher as we start getting into the big matches. I found this a much better show than last week’s opener, as while both shows had great matches, this week’s bouts had that added factor of seeing some season-long payoffs, which was sorely lacking last week due to the hastily assembled nature of the 4 A Unique Opportunity Tournament. We got our usual doses of brutality and amazing lucha libre, with the added satisfaction of seeing guys like King Cuerno and Marty “The Moth” Martinez getting their comeuppance. This was a solid B+/A- episode, which is a great way to lead in to what should be an amazing finale next week.


    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 (7/13/16): Deathmatches & Dead Men Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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