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    Friday, June 15, 2018

    Good Lucha Things (6/13/18): Welcome Back to Warfare

    Lucha Underground’s fourth season kicked off yesterday, which marks the return of Good Lucha Things! 

    For those who need a quick reintroduction, welcome to our weekly review of the best wrestling show on the planet, Lucha Underground. If you want a quick way to catch up on where we are heading into the new season, check out our breakdown of the season four trailer here.

    Let’s waste no time and take a look at what happened in the season premiere!

    Welcome Back, Now Have Some Aztec Warfare

    When you think about it, kicking off the season with Aztec Warfare makes a whole lot of sense. It’s a match that allows for a ton of people to come in, do their thing, and come out—which is exactly what the show needed. This was a great way to reintroduce most of the roster coming off a long, long hiatus.

    Everyone got some time to shine, from Lucha Underground Champion Pentagon Dark to famous dick wrestler Joey Ryan (RIP—if you haven’t heard, he was murdered in Japan by actor Stephen Amell.) Even perennial Temple dweller Vinny Massaro got his share of the spotlight, even if he spent it stiffing the poor pizza delivery guy. Come on, man.

    This was probably the weakest Aztec Warfare match from the four they’ve put on to date, though. A large reason of it is because the first half was basically Pentagon Dark destroying fools left and right, with some cool moments (such as Tommy Dreamer’s debut) here and there. Things picked up in the second half with that span of Fenix, Jeremiah Crane and Mil Muertes all coming in, but the ending felt a little underwhelming. Part of it is also because they’ve associated the Aztec Warfare match with some of the show’s biggest moments—Prince Puma becoming the inaugural Lucha Underground Champion, Rey Mysterio and Matanza’s memorable debuts, Sexy Star’s shocking win—and yet nothing in this episode was as big as those moments.

    This was an Aztec Warfare that served a different purpose from the ones they’ve had before—to reintroduce fans to the roster. Were they successful at doing that? Absolutely. Did it live up to previous Aztec Warfare matches? Definitely not.

    If there’s anyone who came away from this match looking great, it was the reigning Lucha Underground Champion, Pentagon Dark. This was essentially an hour-long showcase to put over the new champion, and they did that part well. Pentagon sliced through the competition like butter, tying Matanza’s record for the most number of eliminations in an Aztec Warfare match at nine. It’s a strong start to Pentagon Dark’s title reign, and puts him head and shoulders above anyone else on the roster at the moment. He’s also the first luchador to walk in and walk out of Aztec Warfare as champion, which is impressive when you consider that he entered the match as the sixth man.

    There’s a New El Jefe in Town

    The premiere also revealed the fate of one of the biggest cliffhangers from last season—and it’s not something most of us will be happy about.

    Dario Cueto is dead, folks. Let that sink in for a moment. Our favorite violence-seeking, bloodshed-loving wrestling promoter has been put to rest. To be honest, I can’t feel anything good coming out of this twist. This might just be my gut reaction, but it’s almost impossible to imagine a Lucha Underground without Dario Cueto. He’s often been the best part of the show, and the driving force behind three incredible seasons. Rest in peace, Dario.

    The show must go on, though, and in Dario’s place we have a new owner and promoter. Enter Antonio Cueto—Dario and Matanza’s father, and the very same man Dario was calling for help at the end of last season. He’s a little crankier than what we’re used to, and seems to have some deep resentment for how “weak” his hijo Dario was. We’ll see what kind of boss he turns out to be, but it’s very clear that he has a different approach than what we’re used to with Dario.

    Also, let me get this out of the way—Antonio Cueto is very clearly the same actor as Dario Cueto, Luis Fernandez-Gil. It’s as hokey as it gets, but Lucha Underground is probably the only show that can pull something like this off. At least no one can complain that father and son don’t look alike!

    Quick Hits:

    • We got a ton of debuts and returns on this show, some more impressive than others. Tommy Dreamer’s brief run-in with Pentagon Dark was great, and he wasted no time getting cozy with the violence on display here at Lucha Underground. Chavo Guerrero had a strong showing as well, lasting all the way until the final four and eliminating huge names (Fenix and King Cuerno) in the process. Commentary did well to hype Chavo as the wily, dangerous veteran; and I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s managed to find his way back after getting exiled last season.
    • You know who didn’t have a good outing, though? Hernandez came back, and quickly got added to Pentagon’s kill count. Same with Mr. Pectacular.
    • A faction war between the Worldwide Underground and the Reptile Tribe seems to be brewing, after Johnny Mundo eliminated the returning Daga, causing Kobra Moon to summon Vibora (now with a new mask!) for some payback. This should be fun.
    • Huge points for continuing the Ricky Mandel/Mundo plot point they planted in season three. We don’t know where he got that doll from, but it seems to have some sort of effect on Ricky’s actions. This throws an interesting hurdle towards the Worldwide Underground this season, especially with the Reptile Tribe looming—can Mandel keep his head in the game, or is he going to be a liability for Johnny Mundo and friends?
    • Catrina abandoning Mil Muertes upon elimination hints at some form of dissent between the two, and it’s an interesting direction to take their characters in. Could we be seeing these two split up?
    • Where was Dante Fox? Fox’s absence resulted in Antonio Cueto giving his spot as Trios Champion to Son of Havoc, which should create some nice tension with Killshot and The Mack. Let’s see where this goes. Also, this makes Son of Havoc a three-time Trios Champion—the most in Lucha Underground to date.
    • It feels so, so good to see King Cuerno back in Lucha Underground. He’s apparently bulked up and grown out his hair since we last saw him, which makes him luchador Jinder Mahal minus the pimples and mediocrity. I shed a tear watching him pull off the Arrow From the Depths of Hell once again.
    Overall, this was a fine effort to kickstart season four. While the Aztec Warfare match itself wasn’t as good as previous bouts, it managed to fulfill what was needed for a season opener. We got reintroduced to most of the roster, got a glimpse of this season’s new faces, teased some feuds moving forward, and got a Lucha Underground Champion that looks miles ahead of anyone at the moment. B-

    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 (6/13/18): Welcome Back to Warfare Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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