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    Monday, September 10, 2018

    Good Lucha Things (9/5/18): Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead

    Welcome back to your weekly dose of Good Lucha Things!

    I apologize for missing the past couple of weeks’ worth of reviews—it’s hard to actually write reviews without a working laptop, but thankfully we’ve got a new one up and running. In the meantime, so much has happened inside our beloved Temple that I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about any of them. Here’s a quick list of the major events that have recently happened:
    • Pentagon Dark is still your Lucha Underground Champion, and Cage now has a broken arm. The Pentagon Dark train continues to chug along, this time disposing of the Machine in a Last Man or Machine Standing match. This was probably his biggest defense to date, and he came out of it looking good. 
    • We had a Haunted House Match. Yes, I’m not kidding. This was the chosen stipulation for Mil Muertes and the Mack’s blowoff match, which has been building ever since the latter kicked Mil out of the Gift of the Gods match. It’s basically a steel cage match with various scary items scattered around the ring. As you would expect from a match involving the spooky, Mil Muertes won. 
    • We had a wedding crashed! The big wedding between Johnny Mundo and Taya looked good at first—we got the whole package with groomsmen, wedding gifts, and even a cameo by Joey Mercury! Unfortunately, the Worldwide Underground’s constant bullying of Ricky Mundo seems to have cost them this moment. Ricky let Matanza Cueto loose while the wedding was going on, and the monster did some celebrating of his own. In other words, it was Johnny that got taken to Slamtown this time around. 
    • The Reptile Tribe are your new Trios Champions. The Mack, Killshot and Son of Havoc finally blew up, as one more miscommunication led to the Reptile Tribe pulling off the win. More on this later in the review, as we do get some action between Killshot and Son of Havoc on the latest episode. 
    There’s a lot more that went on, but with the way Lucha Underground manages to cover a wide variety of feuds and stories, we’ll get to talk about those in the next few weeks.

    Moving on to the most recent episode, there’s a lot to unpack with the opening scene. Let’s start with the biggest one: Catrina has been laid to rest.

    In what has to be the coolest opening scene this season, we saw Catrina duke it out around the Temple with Melissa Santos, with whom she’s been having some problems with the past couple of weeks. It’s the exact kind of grindhouse-style scene that Lucha Underground pulls off, and I like that they actually gave this a lot of time to happen. It actually felt like a cross between their typical hardcore match and backstage vignette rather than just the latter, and it worked.

    They gave this feud, which has been long building, enough time to have a proper ending. It does seem peculiar that a ring announcer can go toe-to-toe with Catrina in a fight, but I think it’s fine because Catrina barely wrestles in the first place, and they’ve established that Melissa does train with Fenix. Or at least she used to, because he probably can’t train her while he’s locked in a coffin.

    While the twist at the end felt a little predictable, it does a lot to freshen up a lot of characters moving forward. I’m curious to see where Mil Muertes goes from here, now that Catrina and the stone are gone. We’ve never actually seen him on his own, so it’ll be interesting to see how they develop his character from here. Meanwhile, they also hinted at something being wrong with Fenix since they fucked around with the timeline (thanks, Barry Allen), which sounds like a way to give Fenix a darker slant to his character. Considering that he’s been one of the show’s quintessential babyfaces since the start, it’ll be fun seeing him develop this new streak.

    The Hunt is On

    Meanwhile, with Johnny Mundo out for now, Pentagon Dark needed a new challenge for this week’s title defense-slash-arm breaking. That led to an open challenge being issued, so out came… Hernandez?

    I get that this was a cool return for Hernandez, but the match felt anything but. As much of a pedigree Hernandez has, it just felt like he was a step behind Pentagon the entire time. It didn’t even help that Hernandez took the time to showboat after every relevant move he hit—sure, that’s part of who he is, but you can’t just slack off in a match as big as this. Overall, this was a decent effort to keep Pentagon Dark looking strong, but it’s no replacement for the quality that a Johnny Mundo vs. Pentagon Dark match would’ve given us.

    Thankfully, the ending of the match pointed to Pentagon Dark’s next challenger, who is none other than King Cuerno. As much as I want King Cuerno to pull this off and claims the big gold belt, this does feel like Rusev vs. AJ Styles from earlier this year. I want to believe the challenger wins, but he’s going up against this meteoric force that doesn’t look likely to lose the title any time soon. Pentagon Dark is probably going to come out of this still the Lucha Underground Champion, but hell, I’m going to enjoy King Cuerno doing his darndest to stop that from happening.

    Quick Hits:

    • In the midst of all the drama that happened in the opening scene, Aero Star played a pivotal role in bringing Fenix back from the dead. Now, he has that mysterious half-medallion with him—where is he taking this? I wouldn’t expect any normal answer, considering that the man travels through space and time. 
    • Oh, it is on. Killshot debuted a new look and a new in-ring style in a victory against Big Bad Steve, all while Son of Havoc was watching with some popcorn. Havoc and Killshot continue their feud, with the former getting the upper hand this time by snatching off Killshot’s mask. You know where this is going—someone’s about to lose a match, and then their mask. 
    • This week’s sacrifice to the Gods sees none other than Joey Wrestling (AKA one half of the most inept security duo ever, Joey Mercury) trying to avenge his buddy Johnny Mundo after Matanza crashed last week’s wedding. Joey actually put up more of a fight than most sacrifices, but the end result was still the same. Will someone be able to stop the Monster before he ends up sacrificing the whole roster?
    This recent episode of Lucha Underground showed why they make these vignettes better than anyone else in wrestling right now. That opening fight between Catrina and Melissa Santos was great, and was a nice send-off for one of the show’s pivotal characters. Otherwise, the rest of the matches were just fine—watching new-look Killshot was fun, but we’ve had episodes with better matches. 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 (9/5/18): Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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