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    Monday, July 24, 2017

    Good Lucha Things (7/19/17): The Darewolf Cometh

    It's time for another edition of Good Lucha Things, so sit back down and kick off your week with a healthy dose of violence!

    Puma vs. Darewolf

    This week’s main event featured Prince Puma going at it against PJ Black for a spot in the quarterfinals of the Cueto Cup.

    Let me get this out of the way–if you haven’t watched this match yet, please do so. This is one of the strongest Cueto Cup matches to date, largely because they allowed it the time to shine. PJ Black and Prince Puma put on a very competitive match, with the Darewolf looking like he would actually pull off the upset at several points. Given the two guys involved, you’d have expected this to be as flippy and frenetic as possible. However, they worked at a slower pace for the most part, which I like because it shows a different side to these two.

    He’s fallen under the radar so far, but PJ Black has been one of the low-key MVPs of this season. Jack Evans’ unfortunate injury has given Black the room to step up, and he’s definitely made the most of it. He’s put on solid matches against the likes of Sexy Star and Prince Puma, while putting in solid character work with the Worldwide Underground. That’s not bad for someone who looked like he was just going to fill in the numbers for the Worldwide Underground when they started off.

    In the end, Prince Puma moving on was still the right choice, as he’s the one being built up with a new look and a new mentor in Vampiro. I like the darker, edgier vibe he has now, because it’s a fresh change from the Prince Puma we’ve had ever since the start of the show. He’s also shown a more aggressive style in-ring, though you can still see him showing off here and there. At this point, he’s still the favorite to take down the tournament, though it remains to be seen if Vampiro’s guidance is the boost Prince Puma needs to regain the Lucha Underground Championship. Remember, we’ve already seen this play out before–and Vampiro couldn’t get the job done with Pentagon Dark.

    Open Road Drama

    Meanwhile, Son of Havoc’s biker gang problems continued this week, and it even cost him his shot at the Lucha Underground Championship.

    Havoc’s Cueto Cup match against Dante Fox started off on the wrong foot, as Son of Madness once again came out and beat his former brother to a pulp. A wounded Son of Havoc was then forced to continue on to his match, which firmly put the crowd behind him. I loved how they found a way to get the crowd unanimously behind Son of Havoc here, as leading into the match he and Fox would likely get equal levels of cheers. Son of Havoc gets great reactions when he’s presented as the underdog, and it helped that Fox put on an opportunistic, cocky vibe as he sought to put away his wounded opponent.

    This was a fast-paced match that saw both men hit huge spot after huge spot, which made it distinct from the episode’s main event between Prince Puma and PJ Black. Dante Fox continues to both amaze (and horrify!) with the moves he’s willing to dish out, especially that leg drop onto the apron. Fox had the upper hand from the start, but Son of Havoc managed to rally back. The story here was that the attack from Son of Madness came back to bite Havoc in the ass, as he just didn’t have enough in the tank left to keep up with Fox.

    It’s a quick bout that still managed to be one of the better matches in the Cueto Cup, and Fox moves on to an exciting quarterfinal matchup against Prince Puma. If you want a glimpse of what’ll happen, go look for AR Fox vs. Ricochet matches on YouTube. The two have some incredible chemistry, and their upcoming match should be another classic.

    Quick Hits:

    • Dammit, Cage! The Machine’s Cueto Cup run came to an untimely end, as his refusal to take off the gauntlet led to referee Justin Borden giving him the disqualification. He’s continuing his descent into insanity, and I wonder what a broken Machine is going to look like. Also, Pindar still looks like a chump.
    • Benjamin Cooke was great as the Worldwide Underground’s new spokesperson. He’s got the right amount of confidence to go out there and convince people, but at the same time he has an uncomfortable vibe that makes you think twice about your partnership. When even Dario Cueto thinks you’re sleazy, you know something’s wrong.
    • Man, I missed seeing Dario Cueto lay down the law. Having Son of Havoc decide whether to forfeit his Cueto Cup match or continue despite getting jumped falls in line with Dario’s virtues of entertainment and violence. Plus, it continues his tradition of screwing Son of Havoc, which I figure will come into play in the future.
    • I’m looking forward to Rey Mysterio vs. PJ Black next week. Black’s next big opportunity is a match between former WWE talents, albeit one that didn’t actually happen there. Rey Mysterio and the then-Justin Gabriel actually teamed up a couple of times, though a one-on-one bout never took place. 

    Overall, this was a solid show from start to finish. We got a candidate for the best Cueto Cup match to date, another one that lands in the top five, and some solid development for PJ Black. Storylines involving Cage’s gauntlet, the Worldwide Underground, and Rey Mysterio advanced, putting this as one of the better episodes of Lucha Underground since its midseason break. I’d give this episode an A-.

    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 (7/19/17): The Darewolf Cometh Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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