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    Thursday, May 28, 2020

    Temple Run (5/28/20): Oh, Hey, Mil's Back!

    Welcome back to another edition of Temple Run!

    This week, we’ll take a look at episodes 27 to 33, then wrap up Season One next week with the Ultima Lucha set of episodes. After that, we’re on to Season Two!

    Story Beats

    Our main story for this bunch of episodes is the return of Mil Muertes, as he set on another path of destruction towards Prince Puma and the Lucha Underground Championship.

    Of course, you probably already expected this from someone nicknamed The Man of a Thousand Deaths. Hey, I even did the math and concluded that for Mil Muertes to have a thousand lives, he’d have to be bitten by 333 radioactive cats. That sounds way too painful a price for virtual immortality because that also means 333 chances you get infected with rabies. But hey, it worked out for Mil!

    Kidding aside, Mil Muertes’s return is significant because it tells us that no one really stays dead in Lucha Underground. It seems like such a cheap thing to do, but I’d argue that it worked for the show for two main reasons. One, the show was only one hour a week, and two, they had a deep enough roster that you could rotate the spotlight for a bit and not really miss anyone. That allowed them to refresh characters and build hype for when they would come back, while using the time in between to give other feuds and characters more time to shine.

    As an example, look at how the Black Lotus storyline really ramped up in this set of episodes. After spending much of her time stalking the Temple, Black Lotus made her way back only to be double-crossed by a returning Chavo Guerrero. We know what her motivations are—she wants to avenge her parents’ death, and she wants to do so by killing the mystery man in jail. She hasn’t even had a match on the show, and yet we already know so much about her, which is a testament to the amount of time Lucha Underground spends building up its characters and the world they live in.

    Elsewhere, the rest of the Temple kept on chugging, now with the destination of Ultima Lucha in mind. Prince Puma didn’t get much of a storyline, but he’s still there, as he successfully defended the Lucha Underground Championship against Hernandez and Johnny Mundo. Drago made his return to the Temple through a very unique loophole, and immediately butted heads with Hernandez. Alberto El Patron got sent through a window, putting his feud with Johnny Mundo into high gear. Pentagon set his sights on Vampiro after a series of run-ins with the commentator, while Daivari picked up a new ally in Big Ryck after presumably paying him a lot. Hey, whatever happened to Bible-quoting, vengeful badass Big Ryck?

    Oh, and one more thing—it was here where we first saw Lucha Underground write someone off in gruesome fashion, as we got a taste of what Dario Cueto’s mysterious brother could do. After failing one time too many, The Crew had to make a sacrifice, and it was Bael who ended up getting the short end of the stick.

    Hey, that’s a cool record for us—the first gruesome death on the show was a wrestler with Filipino ties. #PinoyPride, y'all!

    Notable Debuts & Appearances

    There isn’t a ton of debuts and first-time appearances in these episodes, to be honest. Jack Evans might be the most prominent one of the bunch, as he would later go on to win the Trios Championship as part of the Worldwide Underground. The Disciples of Death also made their debut here, giving Catrina more bodies with which to wreak havoc around the temple. Oh, and there’s Bengala, who’s basically Prince Puma except that he’s a white tiger. Dude didn’t really do much on this show, unfortunately.

    At least we got a nice celebrity appearance:


    Just kidding, that’s not Roman Reigns—it’s Robert Trujillo, the bassist of legendary heavy metal band Metallica. I wouldn’t fault you for thinking it was him, though!

    The Fave Five

    1. Fenix vs. Killshot vs. Mack vs. King Cuerno vs. Cage vs. Sexy Star vs. Pentagon Jr. for an Aztec Medallion, (Episode 27). The introduction of the Aztec Medallions gave us a number of these chaotic multi-man matches, and the inaugural match was a fun one to watch. Just look at the names in these matches—every single one of them would go on to have successful stints in the Temple, and that alone should tell you just how much quality was in the ring. It’s also a nice way to pit guys who had not interacted with each other yet, such as Cage and Pentagon. in a match, as a teaser to what a full match between them would look like.

    2. Fenix vs. Mil Muertes in a Deathmatch (Episode 29). A returning Mil Muertes looked to put away the man who conquered him in this rematch of Grave Consequences. While it doesn’t reach the same heights as their previous match, it’s still an excellent match that sold just how reinvigorated Mil Muertes was in his return. They made excellent use of the Temple itself as they brawled around, resulting in Fenix getting sent through a roof. That’s one way to get back at someone who locked you in a casket.

    3. Prince Puma vs. Johnny Mundo, All Night Long for the Lucha Underground Championship (Episode 32). Lucha Underground’s take on the Ironman match resulted in this epic battle between Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo. You already know how well these two work with each other, and they spiced it up a bit by letting Mundo really play up his new heel persona here. Mundo got the upper hand thanks to some weapons, staging a frenzied Prince Puma return that remains as one of the show’s greatest comebacks. I know people give the Golden State Warriors shit for blowing a 3-1 lead, but don’t forget that Johnny Mundo somehow did worse when he blew a 4-1 lead.

    4. Aero Star vs. Cage vs. Mack vs. Marty “The Moth” Martinez for an Aztec Medallion (Episode 33). Another hit from the Aztec Medallion matches, this was the match that really sold me on the Mack as a wrestler. Big Ryck’s cousin jumps around all over the place, dishing out moves that you wouldn’t have thought likely from a guy his size. Honorable mention also goes to the Moth as well for showing everyone that he could go at it with the big boys.

    5. Mil Muertes vs. Drago (Episode 33). It’s a match between the two returning luchadores with a shot at Prince Puma’s Lucha Underground Championship on the line. It’s your classic tale of power vs. speed—Mil Muertes looked to toss around a smaller, faster Drago, who had to rely on his wit and agility to take the big man down. A pre-match attack from Hernandez helped sell Drago’s underdog narrative, and while he ended up short again, at least he wasn’t forced to leave Lucha Underground for good this time.

    Photos from Lucha Underground
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    Item Reviewed: Temple Run (5/28/20): Oh, Hey, Mil's Back! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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