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    Monday, September 24, 2018

    Good Lucha Things (9/19/18): The Mothman Prophecies

    Who’d have ever thought that we’d arrive at this moment?

    Even if you’ve been watching the past few episodes of Lucha Underground, you probably wouldn’t have predicted that Marty “The Moth” Martinez would be Lucha Underground Champion by the end of this episode, capping off an insane hour that shook up a lot of things in the Temple.

    But that’s where we are now. Let’s go over how exactly this happened.

    Raise You Like a Fenix

    Let’s start with the match that put all these twists into place, coming off last week’s sudden turn: Fenix vs. Aerostar.

    We saw glimpses of it last week, but this was where they firmly established that Fenix is a much, much different man from who he used to be. Beyond the black attire and increased levels of drooling (ew), he’s a little more ruthless than he was before—he hits a little harder, and there’s certainly more force to his strikes now. All in all, this was a fun opener that’s exactly the kind of match you'd expect between Aerostar and Fenix, with the latter picking up the win to help build the changed persona.

    The post-match scuffle between El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Fenix served as a set-up to disadvantage Azteca heading into his championship defense, and it ties in well to the narrative they’ve been telling with Melissa Santos all season long. We found out a couple of episodes ago that the Gift of the Gods Champion has feelings for our ring announcer, so having him come out and confront zombie Fenix makes sense. We’re likely to get a feud between El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Dark Fenix now, with Melissa Santos somewhere in between. At the very least, we’re bound to get some good matches out of these two.

    As cool as Marty finally picking up a title win is, I have to admit I’m a little bummed that this spells the end of El Dragon Azteca Jr.’s run to Ultima Lucha Cuatro for the dream cash-in. I wanted to see them pull the trigger on Azteca as a big player this season and establish him as a top-tier star, and having him go all the way until the end and win the Lucha Underground Championship was a great way to do that. The odds were never in his favor, though, and all it took was crossing the wrong guy to put an end to that dream.

    Pentagon Dark Receives a Nasty Surprise

    The main event saw Pentagon Dark defend his Lucha Underground Championship against two guys he's had some recent issues with, King Cuerno and Mil Muertes.

    As you’d expect from these three guys, they really delivered in the main event. It was a hard-hitting affair with Pentagon going blow-for-blow with the stronger Mil Muertes, all while King Cuerno tried to pick his spots throughout. Pentagon Dark picking up the clean victory after a short while came as a surprise, though in hindsight, it makes sense given where things went afterwards. I’d actually like to see this match happen again in the future with more time, because that could be an excellent bout.

    With a lot of time left on the hour, it was easy to spot shenanigans coming up—cue Antonio Cueto’s surprise announcement of another title match. Here, we got the payoff from the additional favor Marty “The Moth” Martinez asked for—that the Gift of the Gods can now be cashed in anytime instead of giving the promoter a week’s notice. I actually liked this stipulation change, as it’s another way to distinguish Antonio Cueto from his deceased son Dario. Dario is the promoter who puts a premium on the show and entertainment, whereas Antonio is the businessman trying to maximize his profits.

    While the final match was short, they at least kept up Pentagon Dark’s status as one of the best in the Temple right now. It took a grueling three-way and two ambush attacks before he lost the title, and there were even points where it looked like he would be able to retain the Lucha Underground Championship.

    As for our new Lucha Underground Champion, I’m looking forward to how Marty will do as the Temple’s premier bad guy. He’s a different kind of heel champion from those we’ve had in the past (Johnny Mundo, Matanza, etc.), and it opens up some interesting feuds down the line. He’s barely featured at all this season thanks to his arm getting broken at Aztec Warfare, but expect him to be the focal point of things moving forward. I don’t mind the sudden shift—Martinez has been one of the most entertaining parts of this show.

    Looking back at all the chaos in this episode, one thing stands out. Courtesy of his beatdown on El Dragon Azteca Jr., we can point to Fenix as the guy that helped set everything up for Marty “The Moth” Martinez to take over. Yes, Fenix, the guy who just had an intense rivalry with the Moth that culminated in a Hair vs. Mask match at Ultima Lucha Tres. Funny how these things work, right?

    Quick Hits:
    • Paul London went back to the White Rabbit this week, having freshly offered up Saltador and Mala Suerte as sacrifices to the Gods. Now, the White Rabbit wants to get in on all the Lucha Underground action, so he’s making his way to the Temple! Oh, and they’re bringing along the little guy in the cage, whom we learn is named El Bunny. Yep, pretty much your run-of-the-mill name for a demonic rabbit cult. 
    • There are subtle hints as to who the mystery woman that helped Marty “The Moth” Martinez win the Lucha Underground Championship is. You’ll hear Matt Striker mention things like “black widow” and “web” when she showed up, so this character seems to have some sort of affiliation with spiders. Who do we know has a history with spiders in Lucha Underground? I have a good feeling we’re about to find out why Sexy Star hasn’t been in this season at all (story-wise, of course). Or, we're about to witness the return of Veneno. No, probably not that last point.
    • Also, for more hype on our new mystery woman: if you didn't recognize who she is, that's actually former Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion Chelsea Green/Laurel Van Ness. In addition to being a capable wrestler, she excels at playing the batshit insane lady type. (Have you seen her "Hot Mess" character? Check out her performance at ALL IN for a good taste.) Sounds like a perfect fit for this show.

    Overall, this was one packed episode with a lot of things happening to shake up the show. We got a ton of storyline developments, the championship scenes have been shaken up, and we got some fun matches along the way. This was one of the season’s stronger episodes, for sure. 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 (9/19/18): The Mothman Prophecies Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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