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    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    Good Lucha Things (7/5/18): Score One for the Hunter

    After three episodes of insanity and big matches to kick off the season, Lucha Underground eased back a bit this week.

    This week’s main event saw King Cuerno facing off with Chavo Guerrero for one of the Aztec medallions, which is a match born out of the fact that Guerrero pinned Cuerno in the season-opening Aztec Warfare match. It certainly doesn’t have the gravitas of a three-way casket match, or of Aztec Warfare, or of Pentagon slaying the big, bad Matanza—it’s just a match where one guy wants some payback over the other. This isn’t a bad thing, of course—sometimes you have to take a step back from those big matches, lest you tire everyone out too fast.

    Part of Lucha Underground’s strength, though, is how these guys who aren’t in the spotlight one week can just come in the next and turn heads. We saw this last season with the rise of Killshot, and here we had two guys looking to do the same after a long time away. We got a fine main event that was well-received by the crowd, with King Cuerno getting his revenge and entry into the upcoming Gift of the Gods Championship match. It’s a match between two guys who’re among the more “cerebral” types on the roster—the wily veteran against the luchador hunter—and that made for some nice back-and-forth. You saw these guys trying to catch the other in a trap, such as Chavo trying to set up the exposed turnbuckle, which was something fresh to see.

    King Cuerno, in particular, looks set to reestablish himself this season. Prior to missing season three, he was that underrated guy that could put on a fine match here and there, but had never reached the height that guys like Pentagon, Johnny Mundo and Fenix have. He’s come back with a more unique look and the crowd on his side, which means that he’s one to look out for. His conversation with Antonio Cueto this week about the gauntlet was a nice way to continue that angle. We don’t know if he’s just playing along, as any hunter would—it’ll be fun watching his motives unveil in the next few weeks.
    Our only other real match of the evening was Johnny Mundo and Taya squaring off against the Reptile Tribe. It’s a fine, serviceable tag match that marked the return of Kobra Moon to the ring, which hasn’t happened in a long, long time. I’m surprised that they let her fight considering her role in the tribe seems to be more of a leader/commander, but it helps sell just how badly the Reptile Tribe want to destroy the Worldwide Underground. They’re also setting up the obvious Taya-Kobra Moon singles match down the line. Mundo and Taya picking up the win thanks to some PJ Black interference doesn’t come as a surprise—this has been the group’s style since day one, and points to the show for continuing to display these guys as a bunch of assholes.

    I love the way they’re positioning Vibora as the very bane of the Worldwide Underground’s existence. Cooler mask aside, he’s certainly growing into his role as the Reptile Tribe’s enforcer. His combination of power and speed looks to give Mundo and his friends fits, and it’ll be fun watching them find a way to stop the big bad reptile. I’m also waiting for Drago to get involved in this feud, as he’s been oddly missing so far—there’s a lot to revisit here playing off the feud Drago had with PJ Black and Jack Evans before.

    Quick Hits:
    • This show had four matches, but two of them were bouts of quick destruction. To the surprise of no one, Jake Strong demolished Big Bad Steve in a follow-up from their debuts two weeks ago. Strong is clearly being positioned as a major force in the Temple, so expect to see him taking on bigger names soon. 
    • What I’m not a fan of is how Strong seems to be making a gimmick out of breaking ankles post-match. This is literally Pentagon Dark’s modus except applied to a different body part. I get that he’s billed as “savage,” but surely there are other ways to convey that? 
    • Our other quick match saw Matanza Cueto annihilating Mr. Pec-tacular, and then offering him up as a sacrifice to the gods. It’s actually a smart way to write people off the show. There are a couple of names who’ve announced they’re leaving after this season (not spoiling this, but you can find them on Twitter), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Monster ends up sacrificing them too. 
    • The more I think about it, the more I’m amused at Mr. Pec-tacular’s sudden demise by way of becoming food for the Gods (heh). Here’s this bodybuilder from nearby Huntington Beach who probably signed up for the Temple thinking he’d make some easy money, and immediately got demolished by an ancient Aztec God. I’d say we’ll miss him, but we really won’t, so nah. 
    • Catrina giving Melissa Santos the necklace that “kept her from dying” presents us with a possible route to Fenix’s return—Melissa might try and use that to keep Fenix from staying, well, dead. 
    • Cage vs. Mil Muertes for an Aztec medallion is set for next week, and it’s nice to see Antonio Cueto giving these qualifying matches some more significance. Dario always felt a little erratic with his previous medallion matches since he just seemed to give them away on a whim—one thing he clearly didn’t inherit from his dad. 
    This was an okay episode of Lucha Underground, with the standouts being the main event and some nice progression for a couple of storylines moving forward. There isn’t anything as significant as the past three weeks’ episodes, though—if you’re strapped for time and just want a decent match, go ahead and catch Chavo Guerrero vs. King Cuerno. C

    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 (7/5/18): Score One for the Hunter Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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