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    Friday, December 16, 2016

    Good Lucha Things (12/14/16): Snakes in the Temple!

    Last week, Dario Cueto announced a new tournament—the Battle of the Bulls—to crown a new #1 Contender for the Lucha Underground Championship. In the first match, Cage qualified for the finals after getting past Dr. Wagner Jr., Joey Ryan, and Texano. The Mack would join him later in the main event, edging past Mil Muertes, El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Marty "The Moth" Martinez. Meanwhile, Sexy Star earned her rematch for the Lucha Underground Championship after some miscommunication left PJ Black on the losing end of a pinfall. She gets her rematch against Johnny Mundo next week, inside a steel cage to prevent the Worldwide Underground from interfering.

    BULLFIGHT! Pt. 2

    The Battle of the Bulls tournament continued this week as Dario Cueto sought to find a new #1 Contender for the Lucha Underground Championship, and by the end of the show we completed our final four that would duke it out for the big prize.

    The opening match saw Killshot, Dante Fox, Jeremiah Crane and Mariposa duke it out for one spot in the Battle of the Bulls finals. This was probably the best first-round match in the Battle of the Bulls tournament. All four competitors looked like actual threats to go to progress, with Jeremiah Crane winning in the end. Crane’s no-nonsense approach to fighting works, and it goes nicely with his dark, brooding look that makes him stand out. He was the catalyst for the big highlight in this match, which was a Tower of Doom spot onto a pile of steel chairs in the ring. Killshot and Dante Fox were their usual excellent selves, with Killshot’s post-match attack on Fox serving as a way to continue their ongoing feud.

    Mariposa was also solid and she even got the crowd chanting for her at one point, which is a good sign that you’re doing things right in Lucha Underground. We know that she’s capable of putting on quality matches (see No Mas), so it was nice to see her out on her own after spending so much time being Marty's muscle and helping hand. I hope we can see more individual displays from her, as she’s quietly been showing why she’s one of the better luchadoras in the Temple.

    The last qualifying match (and this week’s main event) featured a lot of tension as current partners PJ Black and Jack Evans squared off with former partners Angelico and Son of Havoc. Prior to the match, Black and Evans were chastised by Johnny Mundo for failing to beat Sexy Star last week, so pressure was on them to deliver some results.

    As has been the trend with the Battle of the Bulls, this was another solid four-way match. They could’ve gone the easy route and turned it into Black/Evans vs. Havoc/Angelico, but all four men mixed it up in this match. Evans and Black kept trying to one-up each other, which made for a couple of good laughs. Son of Havoc was his usual reliable self. Angelico fared well in his return match, and he’s been sorely missed. His combination of length and agility is something no one else in the Temple has, and it’s nice to see that he can go after being out since halfway through last season.

    With that said, I was surprised Angelico didn’t win as it seemed so obvious they were planning out a Johnny Mundo-Angelico clash down the line. Instead, PJ Black picked up the victory after reeling Evans in and teabagging him for the pin, which is sure to cause tension within the Worldwide Underground. It creates some needed friction moving forward, and gives them something to do other than just being Mundo’s lackeys.

    The Battle of the Bulls Finals takes place next week, and we’ve got our four competitors—Cage, The Mack, Jeremiah Crane and PJ Black duke it out in an elimination match to crown a new #1 Contender. On paper Cage looks like an easy pick, but I don’t think he’ll get it as he still as to deal with his Best-of-Five series against Texano. My guess is that either Mack or PJ Black (!) wins the tournament—Mack easily slots into a feud with the Worldwide Underground as he’s allied with Sexy Star, while Black winning would continue to escalate the tension brewing in the group.

    Snakes in the Temple

    Man, Samuel L. Jackson is going to be pissed with all these motherfucking snakes again.

    After weeks of teasing a confrontation, Drago and Kobra Moon finally got their chance to go one-on-one in the ring. While it was the Trios Champion who looked strong, his victory was short-lived as Kobra Moon’s generals ran in to cause the disqualification. Not even some help from Aero Star and Fenix changed things, as the reptiles just laid waste to the champions before carrying Drago off to God knows where.

    Lord Pindar (right) and Vibora (left)—our new reptile friends.

    Kobra Moon has played a bit part so far in Lucha Underground, but it seems like she’ll be moving forward in a more significant role. She hasn’t exactly impressed in the ring, so putting her in a figurehead role for her tribe looks good. We got a better look at both generals—Lord Pindar and Vibora—this week, with the second one looking very impressive. Vibora (Spanish for “viper”) is huge—he’s easily the tallest guy on Lucha Underground right now. He also looks like he can go in the ring, as we saw him easily dispatch the Trios Champions. The Believers also seemed to love this guy the moment he came out, as he got “Luchasaurus!” chants while cleaning house. That’s a good start for success, and I hope we see this new team go to work in the ring.

    The ending was interesting as we don’t exactly know what they’ll do with Drago, and it creates a new obstacle for the Trios Champions to solve. With Drago gone, how do Aero Star and Fenix defend the championships? Do they go out and try to rescue him? There’s also Kobra Moon’s agenda to wonder about, as she did mention that she wanted Drago back. Does she want him killed as payback for his betrayal, or does she have something more sinister planned? We’ll likely get some vignettes soon to see all of this play out, with the Snake Tribe perhaps getting a title shot in the near future. It’s also worth noting that we’re slowly building up a small number of Trios teams (the Rabbit Tribe and Worldwide Underground in addition to these two), so that might mean that the Trios Championship will be featured more often soon.

    The Rest:

    • Sexy Star’s preparation for her rematch with Johnny Mundo took a nasty turn when she discovered a spider in her locker. Apparently, she’s not a fan of these creepy crawlies, so when she came across Mariposa backstage you know what came next. Cue one of the best backstage segments Lucha Underground has ever shown, with the two luchadoras renewing their rivalry. This had everything you want in a confrontation—history, ferocity and some really good Robert Rodriguez-esque cinematography. They’ve been letting Sexy Star show a fiercer side lately, and it’s been great.

    • The student has graduated! El Dragon Azteca Jr. told Rey Mysterio Jr. that he’ll no longer be his protégé, as he sets out on his own for some payback against Matanza. Mysterio seemed resigned to the fact that they can’t win a fight against the Monster, and Azteca refused to buy into any of that. I’m very excited to see El Dragon Azteca Jr. fend for himself, as he’s been Rey’s sidekick ever since debuting last season.

    This was another strong showing for Lucha Underground, as we got the one-two punch of quality in-ring action and good storytelling. Everything felt like it progressed forward, and I’m excited to see how some of them, such as Drago’s kidnapping, play out in the long run. The two Battle of the Bulls matches were great—all eight competitors looked good—and they set up a tournament final that looks amazing. After a couple of misses early this season, Lucha Underground looks to be getting back to its groove of putting on quality episode after quality episode, and that shouldn’t be stopping anytime soon with the Battle of the Bulls Finals and the Sexy Star-Johnny Mundo rematch coming up. All in all, this was a solid B episode.

    What did you think of this week’s Lucha Underground? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

    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 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 (12/14/16): Snakes in the Temple! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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