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    Sunday, October 22, 2017

    Good Lucha Things (10/18/17): The End of an Era

    Welcome to the season finale of Lucha Underground, and possibly the last(?) edition of Good Lucha Things!

    After 40 episodes, we've finally reached the end. Ultima Lucha Tres did not only give us new champions, it also shook the very foundation of Lucha Underground with the many events that transpired. Let's take a look at what went down in the finale, and how the Temple might look if we ever come back to it.

    Puma Wins! (And More)

    So, if you haven’t watched the episode yet, here’s the big headline: Prince Puma won the Lucha Underground Championship from Johnny Mundo, becoming the first two-time champion and saving his career in the Temple.

    Well, at least that was half of it.

    Watching everything unravel after Prince Puma won the belt is one of the most wonderful swerves Lucha Underground has put on, and may very well be its best one yet. The moment Puma’s match against Johnny Mundo ended with time to spare, you just knew something nefarious was about to happen. Cue Dario Cueto’s entrance, then Pentagon Dark’s, then the announcement the both their careers were on the line. Like their encounter in the Cueto Cup Finals, this was a nice sprint of a match where both men really sold how high the stakes were. Vampiro pulling Pentagon to safety was the knife being twisted in your gut, and was a great follow-up to last week’s cliffhanger. It’s the show’s version of Roose Bolton revealing his armor to Catelyn Stark as the Rains of Castamere played, or the Riverdale gang watching that video and finding out that Clifford Blossom killed his own son—that moment when you knew things had truly gone to shit.

    As much as you have to feel bad for Prince Puma’s end, you have to be delighted at how everything has come together for Pentagon Dark. Just last week, we were celebrating Pentagon’s first championship win after beating Son of Havoc for the Gift of the Gods Championship. Now, he’s already Lucha Underground Champion, and it just feels like this moment has been long overdue. Pentagon’s ascent throughout Lucha Underground has always been obvious, and the close of Ultima Lucha Tres proved that. A crowd that was just cheering for Prince Puma suddenly changed tune the moment Pentagon Dark came out with the Gift of the Gods Championship. Hell, Prince Puma even got a couple of boos in this match, just because he wasn’t Pentagon Dark. Pentagon Dark is the most over guy in the Temple right now, and a Lucha Underground Championship win is the perfect way to celebrate that.

    Of course, all of that shouldn’t take away from what was actually a solid title match between Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo. It isn’t surprising that these two put on another show since we’ve seen them do this before, but it’s another highlight in an Ultima Lucha Tres that has been rife with huge moments. It’s still very WCW-esque with all the run-ins and shenanigans, but that’s a given for the Worldwide Underground at this point. Angelico’s return lets us go back to one of Mundo’s loose ends if the show comes back, and was a nice return for a man who has had tough luck all season long. Outside of the interferences, though, this was simply a very good match between two very good wrestlers. It’s been a nice run for Mundo with the belt, but he was due for some payback for all the shit he’s pulled, which was what he got here.

    And finally, we get to the part that’s so hard to admit—Prince Puma is gone. We thought he had saved himself after beating Mundo, but that wasn’t the way the cookie crumbled. It’s going to be very hard to imagine a Lucha Underground without this guy, because he’s been the heart and soul of this show for three seasons now. We’ve seen him run the whole spectrum of character growth—from unknown local kid to budding star, from fallen champion to his last moment of redemption. That shot of the Puma mask being left behind opens up the possibility of a new man taking his place, but it isn’t going to be the same. No one made lucha libre look as easy like Prince Puma did, and I doubt they can find someone out there who will. Lucha Underground wouldn’t be what it was without Prince Puma, but there’s no choice but to move on without him.

    Thanks for everything, Prince Puma. It’s been one hell of a ride. May you, uh, go full sail ahead and ricochet your way into your future endeavors. ;)

    And The Gauntlet Goes To...

    Before that thrilling end to the season, though, we were treated to another stellar match as Jeremiah Crane, Mil Muertes and Cage battled for the prized Gauntlet of the Gods.

    This clash between the Temple’s unstoppable force, immovable object, and whatever Jeremiah Crane is was rock solid. It didn’t have the emotional gravitas of something like the Hell of War, but it didn’t really need to—it’s just three big boys running over each other in increasingly violent ways. All three guys brought it in this match, and the result was great. Crane was the MVP, getting a ton of “you sick fuck!” chants for his ingenious use of some wooden skewers to turn Cage into a walking kebab. The Machine was his usual style of hoss meets high flyer, which always goes down well with the crowd. Even Mil Muertes was out flying around like we’ve never seen before—when was the last time you saw this guy dish out a hurracanrana or soar from the top rope?

    The one thing that put a damper on this match, though, was the ending. After Crane’s elimination and the commercial break, the last few minutes just felt so flat. Mil Muertes’ Flatliner looked like one of those finishers that’d just earn a two-count, but it was enough to end the match here. I don’t know if it’s because they brought the final moments back in the ring or because Crane was gone, but it was like watching a completely different match. It could’ve been a rock-solid match, but that ending takes it a couple of notches down into the territory of “just okay."

    Where the Gauntlet of the Gods goes from here is going to be interesting. We still don’t know the full extent of its powers other than being used as a decpitation device or as a way to switch lights off (thanks, Mil!), and this is something I want to see explored. We know it’s a powerful artifact, and we know that it makes everyone covet it, but how powerful is it? It probably is, considering that it made a guy who was dead for one whole season come back and covet it so bad, he just stole it from Mil Muertes.

    B-b-b-back from the dead!


    Yes, Dario Cueto actually said that. Good lord, does anyone remember that travesty?

    Dark side of Filipino society aside, there’s really not much to say about this steel cage match. It’s your typical display of Matanza tossing people around like a rag doll, only this time there was a 15-foot steel structure involved. The cage actually made for some entertaining moments, like El Dragon Azteca Jr. “winning” because Matanza was strong enough to toss him through the cage. Of course, that shit wouldn’t fly in Dario Cueto’s Temple, but Azteca still had a couple of shining moments here. Going after Dario was a nice hint at payback, but it wasn’t meant to happen here. Instead, this was all about the Cuetos destroying the student after getting rid of the master first. Black Lotus’ return opens up the possibility of getting the Black Lotus Triad involved again, though, which is always welcome. Maybe we’ll see them go after Matanza if we get a fourth season.

    Quick Hits

    • Referee Rick Knox taking out the Worldwide Underground is both hilarious and surprising. Apparently, he’s known for doing this kind of stuff in PWG. Nice to see someone get some payback on the Worldwide Underground.
    • The Johnny Mundo documentary was his best feature film to date. I don’t think any of his box office movies were as good as this. This was a good measure of continuity by showing us why Taya was always holding a camera in their backstage segments. Also, it feels great to hear Jack Evans talk again!
    • Where are all these spiders coming from? I’m surprised they still kept the Sexy Star vignette in after recent events, but this might be a way to write her off. Maybe she’ll be killed by a bunch of spiders off-screen. I wouldn’t mind that.
    • WHO IS THE MAESTRO? Okay, I was right in guessing that Vampiro was going to help Pentagon Dark, but he isn’t the real dark master behind this. Who is he, and what’s his deal?
    • RIP Pindar. Hey, any of you remember Daga? Apparently that dude was alive the entire time, and is now the king of the reptiles! Daga went ahead and chopped Pindar’s head off after the latter’s defiance cost them the Trios Championship, marking this the first non-human murder the show has seen. The Reptile Tribe is going to look very different when they return.
    • RIP Dario, too? NO! Don’t do this to us, lucha gods. Please.

    It isn’t Lucha Underground without the violence, Dario Cueto shenanigans, and lucha libre, and we got all of that here plus more. The last ten minutes will go down as some of the most shocking moments of the show. That's one hell of a way to close the season out. If this is the last time we see Lucha Underground, I won’t even be mad, because that was an amazing ending. Just don’t let Dario die, please. 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 (10/18/17): The End of an Era Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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