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    Wednesday, December 6, 2017

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/6/17): Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres)

    Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2017 produced for us.

    Lucha Underground only had around 20+ hours of action in 2017, but that hasn’t stopped them from putting on some of the finest wrestling we’ve seen this year. Two big moments from the Temple land on our year-ending list, and we’ll be taking a look at one of them today.

    No moment in Lucha Underground shook the foundation of the show as much as Ultima Lucha Tres’ final match.

    Prince Puma, battered and bruised after a grueling match, had just reclaimed the Lucha Underground Championship. To do so, he had to fend off Johnny Mundo and the Worldwide Underground, who had established themselves as the premier stable in the Temple. For Prince Puma, this was supposed to be the final hurdle he had to climb back to the top of Lucha Underground—the last mile in his journey to glory. All season long, we saw him evolve into a grittier, edgier version of himself thanks to the tutelage of Vampiro. That new attitude was supposed to be the X-factor that brought him back to the top, and for a couple of minutes, we were celebrating with Prince Puma as he reclaimed the title.

    Parallel to Prince Puma’s rise, fall, and rise again, we also watched the story of Pentagon Dark unfold. Unlike Prince Puma, Pentagon didn’t rise to the top right away. Instead, we saw him work his way from the bottom, breaking a ton of arms and earning the respect of the Temple along the way. We watched him prove himself worthy against his master Vampiro, wage war against the Black Lotus Triad, and even almost capture the Lucha Underground Championship against a once-unbeaten Matanza Cueto. People could not get enough of Pentagon Dark, with chants of “Cero miedo!” ringing throughout almost every episode. A week before Prince Puma regained his championship, Pentagon Dark won the Gift of the Gods Championship, which guaranteed him a future title match with Prince Puma.

    What shocked many of us was just how soon that future would come. As Prince Puma was still basking in the glory of his win, Dario Cueto came out to put a halt to the festivities. There was one more match, he said, one that he made an exception for because it was Ultima Lucha Tres. Then the drums kicked in, as Pentagon Dark made his way out to a huge cheer from the crowd. True to form, Dario then announced that the loser of this match would be gone from Lucha Underground for good, raising the stakes just a little bit higher. Thus, we were treated to one of the biggest choices the show has ever made—does it go with the hometown boy who has been the star since day one, or the guy on the rise that’s just on the verge of breaking out?

    The match that followed wasn’t a technical showcase, but that wasn’t what they needed here. Instead, we were treated to some excellent storytelling as Prince Puma tried to fight for his very life in the Temple. Despite just having gone to war with Johnny Mundo, he had to stand up again and fight back against his challenger. In the end, however, he simply didn’t have enough left in the tank, and Pentagon Dark cruised to his first-ever reign as Lucha Underground Champion. It was a crowning moment, but at the same time a bitter farewell—one man had finally reached the top of Lucha Underground, but it came at the expense of another having to say goodbye.

    Lucha Underground has made a name out of putting on some amazing storytelling in a wrestling ring, and this match was the best example of that this year. In one match, they were able to close the books on Prince Puma’s journey while starting a new chapter with Pentagon Dark becoming champion. With a fourth season confirmed to be in the works and airing next year, this moment marked a changing of the guard for the show. It’ll be a lot different when the show comes back next year.

    One thing’s for sure, though—there’s going to be a lot more arms broken by then.


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2017.

    Read our previous entries:

    #1: The Okada/Omega Trilogy
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/6/17): Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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