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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/11/18): Pentagon Dark vs. Marty "The Moth" Martinez

    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 2018 produced for us.

    Among the many, many things that took place in wrestling in 2018 was the fourth season of Lucha Underground. It's easy to gloss over the show considering just how wrestling there is to consume these days, but it's still there, and it continues to be one of wrestling's strongest alternatives with its unique brand of dark, gritty storytelling.

    We're visiting the Temple for today's entry, featuring the main event of Ultima Lucha Cuatro with arguably to of its biggest homegrown stars.

    On one side of this match was Pentagon Dark, who had spent most of the year establishing himself as the face of Lucha Underground. With the departure of several iconic names such as Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio, the show needed a new central figure to carry it forward. Pentagon's rise throughout the show has been one of its most organic stories told—from random arm-breaking heel into the defiant badass fan favorite with a signature catchphrase, you won't find anyone who gets more support from the Believers than him. He's even parlayed that rise into more mainstream success this year, getting to face NJPW star Kenny Omega at All In, and getting into the resurgent Impact Wrestling as part of their new talent influx.

    On the other hand, you had Marty "The Moth" Martinez, who in many ways had also risen through the ranks just like Pentagon Dark. Martinez started off as just some lucha libre fanboy in the first season, stalking various women and generally being a creep. Over time, it was revealed that the Moth was more than meets the eye, and was actually an unhinged, deranged man capable of some very depraved things, and he sought to terrorize various members of the roster.

    He's inflicted more than his fair share of torture onto names like Sexy Star, Melissa Santos, Killshot and Fenix, each time more depraved than the last. Heading into this season, Martinez stood as one of the show's dark horse threats—while he had never won a championship, he was always a threat to do so at any point just based on the lengths he would go.

    The story heading into this match was actually very simple—Pentagon Dark had carried the Lucha Underground Championship for most of the season, taking on challengers left and right and beating them all. Meanwhile, Martinez picked up the Gift of the Gods Championship, and set up an opportunistic cash-in after Pentagon Dark finished a grueling match to become the new Lucha Underground Champion. Pentagon wanted his championship back, becoming #1 contender and setting up a rematch at Ultima Lucha Cuatro. Martinez accepted the challenge and went one step further—he made the match into Pentagon's signature Cero Miedo match, in an attempt to beat him at his own game.

    The match itself is a signature classic that Lucha Underground has done well in the past—the violent, bloody hardcore match. At this point, both men had already put on their share of bloody showcases, and this was no exception. It's less of a wrestling match and more of an actual brawl, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this was an excellent fight. They managed to convey how far Pentagon Dark was willing to go to reclaim the Lucha Underground Championship, and at the same time how badly Marty wanted to hold on to it. Steel chairs, trash cans, barbed bats and glass were also staples here, as well as copious amounts of blood.

    One thing that Lucha Underground does well is rewarding faithful viewers, and that was on point here as the match included some very nice callbacks to seasons past. Martinez using the fork again was a throwback to last season, where he used the very same weapon to batter Fenix (who, funnily enough, is Pentagon Dark's brother) in their Mask vs. Hair match at Ultima Lucha Tres. Pentagon Dark sending his foe crashing through weapons with a piledriver is reminiscent of how he beat Son of Havoc last year, and Martinez threatening to light his foe on fire harkens back to the very first season, where Pentagon set his then-master Vampiro on fire through a blazing table.

    While it turned out that this wasn't the cherry that topped Ultima Lucha Cuatro—that honor, in fact, ended up belonging to Jake Strong and the reveal of The Order—it still stands out as the finale's strongest moment. With things up in the air once again for a fifth season, here's to hoping Lucha Underground comes back and we get to see Marty "The Moth" Martinez and Pentagon Dark in their element once again.

    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2018.

    Read our previous entries:

    1. Winnipeg Boys Conquer the Tokyo Dome (Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho, No DQ match for IWGP US Heavyweight title, Wrestle Kingdom 12)
    2. Roman Reigns Finally Becomes Universal Champion (Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, SummerSlam 2018)
    3. The Man Is Last Woman Standing (Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, Last Woman Standing match for SmackDown Women's title, Evolution)
    4. Kenny Omega, Finally IWGP Heavyweight Champion (Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega, 2-out-of-3 Falls match, Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall)
    5. The Resurrection of Daniel Bryan (AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, WWE SmackDown Live 11/13/18) 
    6. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Unsanctioned match (NXT TakeOver: New Orleans)
    7. The Lightbringer Has Arrived (Ralph Imabayashi vs. Quatro for the PWR Championship, PWR Live: Homefront)
    8. The First Ever Women's Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 2018)
    9. To Surpass God (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi, G1 Climax 28 Finals)
    10. Wreck It, Rowdy (Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H, WrestleMania 34)
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/11/18): Pentagon Dark vs. Marty "The Moth" Martinez Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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