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    Thursday, May 7, 2020

    #ThrowbackThursday: Have Some Patron

    Welcome back to the second entry of our look back at Lucha Underground! This week, we cover Episodes 10-19 of Season 1, including a hot debut and one of the show's iconic matches. Let's get to it!

    Story Beats

    With introductions out of the way and a championship in place, this is where things started to pick up for Lucha Underground.

    Prince Puma’s initial reign as Lucha Underground Champion is met with a bevy of challengers, as names like Fenix, King Cuerno, and Johnny Mundo jockeyed for position in the pecking order. All of them were blown away by a debuting Cage, who immediately laid waste to Prince Puma and the belt. We also saw Konnan begin to play a more prominent role as Prince Puma’s mentor, getting more involved in his feuds and getting destroyed by Cage for it. He even got his own return vignettes, complete with cuts of Konnan beating some street thugs and quoting Sun Tzu's Art of War, promising revenge. At this point, they were still building up Prince Puma as the face of Lucha Underground, and having him look like an underdog versus the bigger, more imposing Cage was a good way to do it.

    The other big feud in this batch of episodes was the thematic battle of life and death between Fenix and Mil Muertes. These two have such an intertwined history in Lucha Underground, and this is where it all began. Fenix became the first person to pick up a win against the Man of a Thousand Deaths, which caused Catrina to take notice of him and leave Mil Muertes behind. Mil didn’t take that lightly, of course, and the two traded wins until a Grave Consequences match was set up. This was the first part of a long, storied rivalry with multiple chapters throughout the entirety of Lucha Underground.

    Elsewhere, our other luchadors started to get a little more development, setting up storylines that would eventually pay off throughout the show. Pentagon Jr. ran through the Temple’s enhancement talent and left broken arms in his wake, leaving one to wonder just how much he cost Dario Cueto in talent fees and medical bills. King Cuerno hunted down Drago, then set course for a more glamorous target in the form of Johnny Mundo. Son of Havoc and Ivelisse ran into problems against the debuting Angelico, starting the formation of Lucha Underground’s most memorable trio. Chavo Guerrero quit, but he eventually came back because GLOW didn’t exist yet and there was no need for a producer with wrestling experience. Oh, and Big Ryck went to confession and started quoting the Bible, which is such a drastic turnaround from his big-money persona in the early episodes that I can’t believe I forgot this happened.

    Notable Debuts & Appearances

    This batch of episodes kicked off with a quartet of debuts—Angelico, Aero Star, Argenis, and Cage were all introduced after Aztec Warfare and competed in a match against each other, with Cage coming out on top. Of these four, Argenis went on to be the least accomplished in the Temple, so it surprised me to see him look like a viable contender in his debut because he didn’t really do much throughout the show. We’ll talk more about Angelico next week, while Aero Star’s evolution into the Temple’s living, breathing deus ex machina is something we’ll see play out throughout seasons. Yeah, that guy’s had a wild ride on this show.

    It was The Man From the 559 who made an immediate impact, though, so let’s focus on him a little more. Cage was immediately built up as the next big challenger, wreaking havoc against the likes of Prince Puma, Konnan, and Johnny Mundo from the start. It’s interesting to hear commentary play him up as an antithesis to the style of Lucha Underground, looking more like your typical big jacked monster than a high-flying luchador. The Machine would later employ some of those flips and tricks himself, as he transitioned into a fan favorite with his own Terminator-esque clap that the Temple loved. He would go on to have multiple excellent matches and feuds in Lucha Underground, so you’ll see more of him throughout this column.

    Cage wasn’t the only debutant to make a huge splash, though. Damas y caballeros, remember this guy?

    I swear this entrance would’ve been a hundred times better if they got Ricardo Rodriguez. 

    Fresh off an unceremonious departure from the WWE, Alberto El Patron arrived in the Temple in what was arguably the show’s biggest catch at that time. I mentioned the influence of Mexican promotion AAA last week, and here we see it in full swing—El Patron arrived in the Temple as the AAA Mega Champion, and his first feud was basically an extension of his AAA storyline with Texano Jr. I remember being so hyped when he debuted because he just looked and felt like that big of a deal. Check out his debut promo above—he showed fire and passion that was never really there in his WWE run.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of good old’ Bertie in Lucha Underground. He left after the first season to return to the WWE, where he went on to team up with Zeb Colter and establish the great nation of MexAmerica. Yeah, I bet you thought you’d never hear of that storyline again, right?

    The Fave Five

    This is where it starts getting hard to list just five matches out of around 20 or so because Lucha Underground started to pick up the pace here. Not that it's a bad thing, of course.

    1. Prince Puma vs. Fenix in a Lucha Underground Championship Match (Episode 10) - At this point in the show, these two were arguably the most impressive luchadors in the Temple, and they got their time to shine here. It’s your good old-fashioned lucha libre, with a bit of showmanship at the end as they tried finishing each other off with the other’s signature moves. Fenix tried a very risky move, got clocked for it, and Prince Puma’s first title defense was a success.

    2. Drago vs. King Cuerno in a Last Luchador Standing Match (Episode 11) – These two traded wins early on, with Drago spoiling King Cuerno’s debut and Cuerno getting his comeuppance afterward. In a show where your stereotypical luchador is fast and does cool flips, King Cuerno’s slower, methodical style served as a breath of fresh air. Here we saw him slowly wear down Drago, eventually trapping him with some ropes for the win. If you ever wanted to learn how to train your dragon, watch this.

    3. Angelico vs. Son of Havoc (Episode 13) – It’s the origin story of Lucha Underground’s unlikely champions! Having played a heel so far on the show, this was where fans started to realize that Son of Havoc could bring it. You can hear the crowd start to cheer for him here, starting him on his path as a fan favorite. Angelico may have picked up the win here, but he failed to pick up Ivelisse afterward.

    4. Johnny Mundo vs. King Cuerno in a Cage Match (Episode 16) – King Cuerno’s second appearance on this list is a slugfest between him and his new target, Johnny Mundo. These two fought to a double count-out in a previous match, so Dario Cueto set up a cage match to make sure that wouldn’t happen again. In true showboating fashion, Mundo picked up the win after he decided a top of the cage dive would be better than just climbing over the cage. That’s the Johnny Mundo we all know and love.

    5. Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences (Episode 19) – The last match of this batch of episodes is also its pièce de résistance. They went out of their way to showcase this match as a spectacle—from the Dia De Los Muertos casket entrance to Fenix turning into a bloody ragdoll. Here we saw Mil Muertes at his most savage, ripping off Fenix’s mask and trying to bite parts of his face off. Fenix got the W in the end of the brutal match after an assist from Catrina, and we all thought that was it for Mil Muertes. How wrong we all were.

    Next week, we take a look at Lucha Underground’s first championship tournament, as well as a Temple recreation of that time Marty Jannetty dove through glass to escape Shawn Michaels.

    Photos from Lucha Underground.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThrowbackThursday: Have Some Patron Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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