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    Friday, December 23, 2016

    Good Lucha Things (12/21/16): Welcome to Slamtown

    Last week, the Battle of the Bulls continued as two more fighters sought to punch their tickets to the finals for a shot at the Lucha Underground Championship. Jeremiah Crane picked up the victory in the first match, while PJ Black teabagged his way to victory in the other match. These two join Cage and the Mack in this week's tournament finals. Meanwhile, Drago finally faced Kobra Moon in the ring, but his revenge was cut short by the monstrous arrival of Pindar and Vibora, Kobra Moon’s reptilian generals. The two monsters then ran roughshod over our Trios Champions before making away with a fallen Drago.

    Welcome to Slamtown

    Sexy Star faced Johnny Mundo (who has a new theme song!) inside a steel cage for her Lucha Underground Championship rematch, giving her an opportunity to win back the title she held very briefly.

    Overall, this was a decent main event—the in-ring action wasn’t exemplary, but it got the job done by telling a decent story. Sexy Star works better in heavily gimmicked matches such as this, and she was able to show everyone just how determined she was to win this match. Mundo did his usual Mundo things, and even got to show off some of his parkour skills as both he and Sexy Star often scaled the cage.

    There’s one moment that stood out in that match, and it’s a spot that we’ve seen countless times. Sexy Star, who was on the verge of winning via escape, instead chose to dive back down into the ring on a fallen Mundo. One Mundo heel trick later, and Sexy Star lost the match. It reminds me of that JBL-Eddie Guerrero steel cage match on SmackDown in 2004, when Eddie chose a similar path to Sexy Star, and also got the same result. Heck, it even involved a “lucha” finish (points if you can remember who El Gran Luchador was).

    Commentary played this up as Sexy Star’s way of saying that she’s not going to win via escape—that she’d rather have a harder time fighting Mundo. It all sounds logical at first glance, except for the small fact that Sexy Star was actually trying for the escape win the whole time. The vast majority of the match consisted of Sexy Star and Johnny Mundo playing a game of cat and mouse while traversing the cage, so you can’t play it up as she’d rather have a hard time fighting because she wasn’t going for that.

    So what explains that change in Sexy Star’s approach? It’s hubris, that spark of pride that has cost so many people in Lucha Underground. When she was on top of that cage, she didn’t see the win on the other side—she saw Johnny Mundo lying in the ring, ripe for the picking. Sexy Star chose to inflict further pain on Mundo, and that cost her the match and the title. It’s a trend that we’ve seen play out so many times in the Temple—we’ve seen Prince Puma and Pentagon Dark attempt to be flashy rather than go for the win, and that cost them. It’s what makes these characters seem so human despite their extraordinary fighting skills, and allows the audience to relate to these characters better.

    Moving forward, we’ll likely see Sexy Star move out of the championship picture, though the Worldwide Underground probably hasn’t seen the last of her. Johnny Mundo has a new challenger for the title, and Sexy Star may just be in that guy’s corner.

    A Bullish Finale

    Speaking of challenger’s, who’s up next for Mundo? Why, none other than Sexy Star’s best friend, The Mack!

    The show kicked off with the Battle of the Bulls finals, which consisted of the four winners of the qualifying matches we’ve been watching the past couple of weeks. Mack, Jeremiah Crane, PJ Black, and Cage put on an excellent match, which has been the standard for the Battle of the Bulls tournament. The finals wasn’t as good as the qualifying match Jeremiah won (which involved Killshot, Dante Fox, and Mariposa), though this was still a decent match.

    Cage dominated the match as expected, but a run-in by Texano led to the Machine being the first man out of the contest. I’m fine with this finish, as this should inject some much-needed emotion into their best-of-five series. Cage is now legitimately pissed at Texano, and I can’t wait to see if that translates into a 3-1 win.

    Jeremiah Crane continues to build himself up as a force to be reckoned with, and this match was another strong showing. It looks like they’re building him up for something big (more on this later), which means we’ll see more of him in the future. PJ Black was his usual serviceable self—he’s really managed to look competent after looking like Johnny Mundo’s lackey for so long.

    The Mack winning this four-way means that Mack vs. Mundo is going to be our next title feud, which is a very interesting matchup. Both men have put on quality matches in Lucha Underground, so expect that trend to continue when they finally go at it. Mack will likely have Sexy Star backing him up, which means that they’ll know better when it comes to the Worldwide Underground’s shenanigans. We’ll have to see if Mundo and Co. find new ways to pull off the dastardly wins, but this should be something worth watching.

    The Rest

    • Fenix and Aero Star searched the toilets for their friend Drago, because a kidnapped reptile would logically hang out in a bathroom stall. They didn’t find him, but instead they found Kobra Moon, Pindar and Vibora (AKA Luchasaurus) so cue our classic bathroom brawl. The champions got their asses kicked, and Kobra promised that Drago would be the one doing the beating the next time they meet. We then find out at the end that Drago’s been chained up, although he still refuses to bow to Kobra Moon. Expect a Trios Championship match between these two very soon.

    • Jeremiah Crane paid a visit to Dario Cueto, demanded a match, then searched the ceiling panels for an Ouija board, which he claimed was an old toy. He then came across Catrina, and he told her that he’ll be facing Pascual Mendoza (AKA Mil Muertes) next week, and when he’s done with the big guy, he’ll have Catrina all to himself. Crane has looked strong leading up to this, and is currently one of the biggest question marks on the Lucha Underground roster. He seems to have a lot of history behind him, and I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

    Overall, this was another good episode from Lucha Underground. It’s not as strong as the last couple of shows, but it did its part in advancing the plots of some of our current feuds. The Battle of the Bulls tournament has been a big success, and I look forward to seeing the Mack make his stand in the championship scene. They also capped off the Sexy Star-Johnny Mundo feud (for now), but that looks to bleed into the upcoming Mundo-Mack feud. We also got some great advancement on the arcs of Jeremiah Crane and Drago, so look for those to be featured more in the next few weeks. Overall, I’d put this show at a C+.

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

    Photos taken from Lucha Underground.


    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 (12/21/16): Welcome to Slamtown Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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