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    Friday, November 25, 2016

    Good Lucha Things (11/23/16): This Ain't No Make Believe

    Last week saw Lucha Underground hold Aztec Warfare 3, once again putting on a display of carnage and violence no one else could. Pentagon Dark was destroying people left and right, but was taken out by the Black Lotus Triad midway through the match. Defending champion Matanza started off red hot, but was eventually pinned by the legendary Rey Mysterio in one of the night’s shocking moments. That meant we would have a new Lucha Underground Champion, and 4 fighters stood until the end—Johnny Mundo, The Mack, Sexy Star and Mil Muertes. Mundo and the Worldwide Underground looked set to win, until a timely return from Angelico made sure that wouldn’t happen. At the end of it all, Sexy Star managed to capitalize on Mil Muertes’ hubris, pinning the big undead to become Lucha Underground’s first-ever female Lucha Underground Champion.

    Best in the Mundo

    Since the very first episode of Lucha Underground, Johnny Mundo has been at the top of the list of people who’ve shown enough talent to be Lucha Underground Champion. This week, he finally reached the top of the Lucha Underground totem pole.

    Mundo once again managed to get one over Sexy Star, making it the second straight championship he’s taken from her in the span of three weeks. Now, this wasn’t a five-star spectacle, but they were able to tell a great story in the ring. Sexy Star showed the same level of aggression she’s been showing recently against the Worldwide Underground, while Mundo displayed a more business-like approach in this match. For a while, it looked as if Mundo would actually do things on his own for once, until the final seconds revealed a nasty surprise for the newly-minted champion. The ending was great, as Taya and Mundo were able to play upon Sexy Star’s great relationship with the believers and use it as a trap to get the victory.

    I’m not going to lie—I am very, very happy with this result. I wasn’t sure if Sexy Star could put in the same consistent display of matches former champions like Prince Puma and Mil Muertes have, but it looks like we won’t be needing to answer that question for now. She’s already had her feel-good moment with last week’s title win, and giving the championship to Mundo makes sense. Their feud is far from over, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mack try to go after Mundo now that his best friend has been screwed a second time. It’s been a long time coming for him, and it puts the Worldwide Underground as the guys to beat in the Temple. We’ve officially moved on from the Cueto reign of terror, and I welcome our new air guitar-wielding overlords.

    Tick, Tock, They’re Here

    After weeks of white rabbits and trippy teasers, the Rabbit Tribe have finally arrived in the Temple—and we may have found someone weirder than the Moth.

    Paul London, Mala Suerte (black mask guy) and Saltador (chessboard guy) had a unique opportunity in their debut, as they were instantly in a Trios Championship match against the masked trio of Fenix, Drago and Aero Star. Normally, I’m not a fan of instant title matches, but at least they explained via Striker saying that the Rabbit Tribe got this match because of Paul London’s “reputation”. This was a nice match to establish how the Rabbit Tribe are in the ring, and they’re unique enough to make me want to see more of them. They’re a great mix of creepy, trippy and odd, and it’s the kind of gimmick I love seeing in the Temple. I loved the spot where London and Saltador ended up in Fenix’s corner, laughing in his face as the champion looked to tag Drago or Aero Star in. It’s new, it’s creepy, and it sets a very good example of what to expect from the Rabbit Tribe moving forward. They held their own in the ring, with each guy establishing their role in the team—London as the ringleader/maestro, Mala Suerte as the battering ram and Saltador as the weird guy that does weird shit.

    I don’t mind the debut loss as it at least lets the Trios Champions look good (they haven’t actually defended that belt in a while), and at the same time it wasn’t a crushing victory that would send the Rabbit Tribe off to a weak start. Fenix had to get crafty to pin Saltador, so you can chalk that up to their championship experience. Otherwise, London and his buddies looked like they could’ve won this match at times, which is a strong impression to make in your Lucha Underground debut. This is a team I would love to see more of, so hopefully they get something meaningful to do soon.

    Short aside on Paul London:

    Wrestling in 2016 has seen a lot of returns and comebacks, but the renaissance of Paul London and The Brian Kendrick may be my favorite of them all. I remember these two being the tag team when they ruled the WWE from 2006-2008, and it’s nice to see them back in the spotlight. You always have a soft spot for the guys you watched growing up, and these two were putting on one hell of a show as the WWE’s plucky underdog tag team. Here’s to hoping London gets his own moment of glory in the Temple, much like Kendrick has now as the current WWE Cruiserweight Champion. The best part, though, is that you could put them beside each other and they’d still look like an appropriate tag team, because both of them look like they’ve been through a lot of shit. Or drugs, if you believe what Vampiro was saying throughout the whole match.

    Evolution, as they say, is a mystery.

    End aside.

    The Whole Foxin’ Show

    Killshot and Dante Fox finally got the chance to square off, and we got one hell of a match from them this week.

    This was a really good singles debut for Fox, as he managed to look strong despite the short time they had in the ring. He’s got the same kind of crisp offense Killshot has, and they combined to put on a hard-hitting display. I like how they played up the familiarity between them by showing that they knew each other’s offense and tried to work around it. That plays well to their background of being former soldiers, and it makes for an interesting dynamic whenever they’re in the ring. Both men made the others’ offense look amazing and devastating, with Fox picking up the win after another devastating Foxcatcher on Killshot.

    Having Fox pick up the win establishes him as someone not to be fucked with, and gives Killshot something to fight for as he’ll want to even things up. Notably, Killshot tried to end the match with his usual double foot stomp, but that wasn’t enough to put Fox away. He’s going to need something else to put his old buddy away, and I’m looking forward to that rematch when it happens.

    The Rest:

    • Kobra Moon continued to taunt Drago this week, watching from the top of Dario’s office as the latter defended the Trios Championship against the Rabbit Tribe. She then vowed that Drago would bow down to her as queen, which sounds like a pipedream considering that Drago made short work of her last week in Aztec Warfare 3.

    • Angelico may have made his triumphant return last week, but it looks like he’s on his way out again. Prior to the main event, Johnny Mundo revealed to Dario Cueto that he had a temporary restraining order filed against the high flyer, keeping him away from the Temple for now. That at least makes Mundo’s life easier in the short term, as being Lucha Underground Champion paints a huge target on your back.

    • Black Lotus wasted no time going after Pentagon Dark upon her return, and Based God Dario has given her a nice homecoming gift. Next week, we get the Black Lotus Triad (Black Lotus and the STARDOM trio of Mayu Iwatani, Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai) against Pentagon Dark. This is going to be nuts.

    • Line of the episode: “ISIS beware!” Matt Striker, when Dante Fox and Killshot were beating the shit out of each other. No kidding, if every American soldier were as good as Fox and Killshot, the USA would have a 141 2/3% chance of winning the war. The numbers don’t lie, and they spell disaster for ISIS!

    Overall, this week was a decent show. It wasn’t as good as last week’s, but not every episode can be Aztec Warfare. We had a solid debut from the Rabbit Tribe, a solid match from Killshot and Dante Fox, and a solid step forward with Johnny Mundo picking up the Lucha Underground Championship. There wasn’t anything outstanding this week (but do watch Killshot-Fox, please!), but there wasn’t anything remarkably bad, either. B-

    What did you think of this week's episode of Lucha Underground? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

    Photos taken from luchablog, Lucha Underground and ICW.


    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: Good Lucha Things (11/23/16): This Ain't No Make Believe Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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