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    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Good Lucha Things (9/21/16): Land of Opportunities

    Hello, Henrinites, and welcome back to Good Lucha Things!

    Before we begin, I’d like to apologize for the lack of a review last week. I picked up a nasty viral infection, and that led to a quick trip to the hospital which left me unable to write. It’s a shame, really, as last week actually featured an amazing Weapons of Mass Destruction match between Killshot and Marty “The Moth” Martinez. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly suggest you go out there and look for it. It’s up there among Lucha Underground’s great hardcore matches, and it was an absolute star-making performance from Killshot.

    You Get an Opportunity! And YOU Get an Opportunity, Too!

    Dario Cueto continued his slow metamorphosis into the Oprah Winfrey of Lucha Underground, handing out even more opportunities this week.

    The Dial of Doom dictated that this week would feature the return of The Mack, as he received a shot at Matanza’s Lucha Underground Championship. Like Son of Havoc before him, Mack took the fight to the Monster, keeping him on his toes with a flurry of athletic offense. We got another competitive match until Matanza managed to pull off the Wrath of the Gods, picking up the win and retaining his championship.

    I mentioned this in our season premiere review, but it’s worth mentioning again that Matanza is infinitely more watchable when he’s not squashing his competition. Perhaps the only thing lacking in this angle would be some sort of explanation as to why this is happening. Is it because Matanza is becoming weaker by the minute, or is it simply because everyone else has learned how to fight the Monster? They would do well to address this, as it does seem like an odd change in the direction of Matanza’s dominant character.

    Meanwhile, Cage and Texano also got an opportunity this week, kicking off a Best of Five series with Dario Cueto promising the winner an “ultimate” opportunity.

    Yes, you read that right. It’s not a unique opportunity, it’s the ultimate opportunity. We don’t exactly know what this entails, but expect it to have some sort of twisted clause attached. Remember when Drago won a Lucha Underground Championship opportunity, only to be banned from the Temple if he lost? Or when Son of Havoc won a tournament for a chance to main event Ultima Lucha Tres, only to find out that he had to win one more match against a debuting Dr. Wagner Jr.? Expect something along those lines, only much bigger, as this is the ultimate opportunity we’re talking about here.

    As for the match itself, these two had a pretty decent affair. Cage wisely worked on Texano’s neck for most of the match, setting up a discus clothesline for the win and a 1-0 lead in the series. It wasn’t a bad match, but knowing these two, this could have been much, much better. This is a series, though, so look for each match to evolve based off how each luchador fought in the previous match. I’m hoping it turns out much like how Cesaro and Sheamus are currently faring in their Best of Seven series on Monday Night RAW, where they’ve had to get really creative to pick up wins as the series progressed. There’s an opportunity to tell a great in-ring story here, and I hope they can take advantage of that.

    Dissent in the Underground

    The Worldwide Underground’s plans of dominating the Temple hit a snag this week, as they failed to regain the Trios Championship in a rematch against Aero Star, Drago and Fenix.

    First, Johnny Mundo continued to pester Dario Cueto for a shot at the Lucha Underground Championship, with the boss once again firmly saying no. This led to Mundo walking out of the Temple, seemingly abandoning their Trios Championship match. For all of Mundo’s talk about being Lucha Underground’s biggest star, it’s actually pretty funny that the only championship he’s managed to win has been the Trios Championship. He’s fallen short on more than one occasion, and this seems to be what Dario is thinking.

    They faced more problems when the match began, thanks to the antics of Jack Evans. Evans started off the match with a blindfold, leading to his teammates forcefully tagging him out. This didn’t sit well with the Dragon Slayer, and he spent much of the match arguing and bickering. At one point, he even left the ring and just sat on the outside, refusing to further participate in the match. Evans’ surprising change in attitude left the Worldwide Underground as easy pickings for the champions, and they were able to retain after a soaring Codebreaker from Aero Star onto PJ Black.

    Things didn’t get any better as their trademark post-match beatdown was halted by Sexy Star, returning the favor the Trios Champions did for her a couple of weeks ago. They seem to be building towards an atomicos (4-on-4) tag match between the champions and the Worldwide Underground, and I won’t be surprised if that’s what we get in the next few weeks. Of course, the Worldwide Underground needs to get back on the same page first, or else they might be on the rough end of things again.

    The Rest:

    • Son of Havoc and Mascarita Sagrada spent some time bonding this week, as they holed up in Son of Havoc’s basement to contemplate on their misfortunes at the hands of Famous B. Seems like these two are teaming up to get back at Famous B, so look for that in the coming weeks. Oh, and Son of Havoc’s mom, Linda (unfortunately not called Wife of Havoc) made them Bagel Bites for dinner. Not sure if it’s blatant product placement, or if Linda is really just a good mom.

    • Ricky Mandel sighting! He showed up at the Temple for the first time in what felt like ages, asking Dario Cueto when his next match would be. Instead of answering the question, Dario just gave him a bunch of gruesome pictures on his desk. Guess we won’t be seeing him compete anytime soon.

    • El Dragon Azteca Jr.’s revenge tour against Pentagon Dark was all set to happen, until Chavo Guerrero convinced Dario Cueto otherwise. Instead, next week we’re getting Dragon Azteca vs. Chavo, with the winner getting the grudge match against Pentagon Dark. Oh, and to keep things fair, Rey Mysterio gets to be the special referee. There’s a lot of history between Mysterio and Guerrero, so expect this to be a heated affair. Alas, Dragon Azteca continues to get sidetracked, forgetting that they came to the Temple to unite the Aztec tribes. At least Rey seems to be aware of this.

    This week’s episode featured some good matches, as the first two matches really highlighted some of Lucha Underground’s hosses. The main event was not as good, though, as the Worldwide Underground’s antics made the match feel tedious at times. We got our usual dose of storytelling this week, with much of the focus being on El Dragon Azteca Jr.’s next steps in the Temple. This episode gets a B-, not as good as last week’s show—I’d put that at B+, as the Weapons of Mass Destruction match was solid—but still a decent episode as far as what we’ve seen.

    What did you think of this week's episode? Let us know in the comments section below!


    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 (9/21/16): Land of Opportunities Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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