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    Saturday, January 23, 2016

    Temple Rants (1/22/16): Return to the Temple

    It's been a long 6 months, but we're finally here. Lucha Underground returns with its second season, next week on January 28 (27 in the USA)!

    There may be no new episodes to cover yet, but we're starting early this year. This week, we've got a quick preview of the new season, taking a look at the new faces we'll be seeing, as well as where things seem to be headed after the events of Ultima Lucha. You can also take a look at El Rey's trailer for the upcoming season here.

    Welcome back to Temple Rants, damas y caballeros!

    First, a quick recap of last year, courtesy of Matt Striker:

    Heading into the new season, there's been a slight change in personnel. The most notable departure is Alberto El Patron, who has since shuffled back to the WWE to join some form of inter-nation cooperation. Good on him going for world peace and all, I guess. We also won't be seeing Hernandez in the Temple soon, after all that shit he pulled off. Also, no one really liked him, anyway.

    One of the new faces we'll see in Lucha Underground is PJ Black. Most of you will remember Black for the time he spent in the WWE as Justin Gabriel, where he won a couple of championships. Since then, he's been competing in Jeff Jarrett's upstart promotion GFW. Black seems to have some sort of affinity for wolves, and the Temple is the perfect place to level up that aspect of his character. I'm not saying he'll be some sort of half-human, half-wolf hybrid, but it's certainly possible. This is a show that features a dragon, after all.

    Photo taken from PJ Black's Twitter.

    Another name we'll be seeing is, well, this guy:

    Yes, that's none other than Rey Mysterio, and he's set to enter the Temple in the coming months. Fans of the Ultimate Underdog know that his style of wrestling will fit in with what we've seen from Lucha Underground, and he adds a big name the show can use to bring in some new viewers. This is a big, big pickup for the show, and expect them to treat Mysterio like a star.

    Having Rey on board also opens up a whole ton of possibilities in terms of the story they're telling. He can slot right in the Chavo Guerrero-Blue Demon-Texano triangle as another respected Lucha name. He could also go straight after the Lucha Underground Championship, as a big-time star looking to return to former glory. Rey can also play the veteran mentor role, testing the limits of the younger luchadors we've seen. He can slot into many roles at Lucha Underground, and it'll be exciting to see exactly how they use the Master of the 619.

    In addition to Black and Mysterio, expect to see more names from AAA show up in the Temple. Lucha Underground is riddled with stars from the Mexican promotion. It wouldn't be surprising to see names such as Taya Valkyrie, Los Psycho Circus and Daga make their way to this show, following successful AAA imports such as Drago, Sexy Star and Pentagon. Having new blood keeps things fresh and interesting, and I can't wait to see who else they're going to be bringing in.

    We'll also see the rest of the crew we've come to know and love from Lucha Underground's maiden year. Ultima Lucha, while resolving a lot of feuds and storylines, also opened up a ton of new questions, paths and problems for our luchadors. In particular, expect to see the following plot points drive the first few episodes of Lucha Underground:

    * Reign of DeathUltima Lucha came to a close with Mil Muertes capturing the Lucha Underground Championship from Prince Puma, while the Disciples of Death also seized the Trios Championship. The balance of power has shifted to Catrina's group, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the show. With all but one championship in their grasp, expect to see a lot of these ghastly figures in the early part of this season. Speaking of the other championship...

    * A New Hunt. Fenix's rebirth culminated in him winning the Gift of the Gods Championship at Ultima Lucha, seemingly setting up one more encounter with his storied rival Mil Muertes. It's not an easy road, however, as Fenix has to fend off challengers for the belt until he gets to use it. That seems to be what King Cuerno is going for, if his actions at Ultima Lucha are anything to go by. The luchador hunter's got his target locked on, and there's a big, shiny bird for the taking.

    * Recovering from a Title Loss 101. The formerly dysfunctional trio of Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc promised to win the titles back, setting their sights on the Disciples of Death once more. With Ivelisse back in full health, expect the team to climb once more to the top of the Trios division.

    On the other hand, Prince Puma seems to have taken a different approach to getting his title back.

    Since eating a flatliner from the top rope at Ultima Lucha, we have not heard from the former Lucha Underground Champion. One can only presume that Prince Puma is deep into training (perhaps in a far away land?) as he tries to find a way to regain his title back from Mil Muertes. If there's anything we learned from the first year of Lucha Underground, it's that Prince Puma is a fighter, and he's not going to give up easily on this. Expect to see him coming out of the gates swinging.

    * The New Face of Fear. With his maestro Vampiro now fully behind them, the Temple is now open for Pentagon Jr. to wreak some havoc and break some arms. After passing his rite of passage at Ultima Lucha, Vampiro has now deemed Pentagon "ready" for whatever lies ahead. Whether that means setting his sights on a new foe to break, or a championship belt to go after, expect Pentagon Jr. to continue to feature heavily in Lucha Underground.

    * Family Love. In one of the most interesting stories told out of the ring, we learned the history behind Dario Cueto and his brother Matanza. Along with Black Lotus, they fled at the end of Ultima Lucha to head off where no one knows. With the Temple open once more, has Dario managed to get out of trouble and continue business as usual? Will we finally see his brother, Matanza Cueto, enter the Temple?

    * The Mothman Cometh. Last season, we saw Marty "The Moth" Martinez evolve from typical lucha fan into a rabid, seemingly deranged luchador. At the end of Ultima Lucha, he managed to kidnap fan favorite Sexy Star and has trapped her somewhere, promising to introduce her to his sister. Just who is the Moth's sister, and what role will she play in the coming months? Will Sexy Star find a way out?

    In addition to these stories, let's not forget the rest of the roster. In particular, look out for guys such as Johnny Mundo, Cage and Drago. Fresh off big wins at Ultima Lucha, these three may look to step up and challenge any of our current champions. Right behind them are more names such as Aero Star, Jack Evans, Mack, Big Ryck, and Bengala, who are all hungry for an opportunity to make a name for themselves.

    It looks like we're in for one hell of a year with Lucha Underground, as the show looks to surpass what it achieved in its maiden season. As it continues being the alternative so many people have been looking for in wrestling, it remains to be seen whether it can break out of the traditional sophomore slump most shows suffer from. All signs, however, point to an even greater show than before. I'm very, very excited for the coming season, and you should be, too.

    Are you excited for the second season of Lucha Underground? What do you expect to see from the show? Let us know in the comments!

    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 PWR and 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: Temple Rants (1/22/16): Return to the Temple Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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