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    Friday, June 22, 2018

    Good Lucha Things (6/20/18): This is Pentagon Dark's Yard Now

    Last week’s Aztec Warfare match served to put one man above everyone else—the Lucha Underground Champion, Pentagon Dark.

    This week’s episode served to really, really hammer that point home.

    Pentagon Dark’s successful title defense against Matanza Cueto was significant, not just because it put him on a pedestal, but also because it was Lucha Underground history in the making. To date, we had never seen the Monster beaten one-on-one, let alone beaten cleanly—but that’s exactly what happened here. The two put on a nice sprint of a main event, with Matanza’s usual domination cut short by a flurry of offense from the champion. This was a nice follow-up to their previous match at Ultima Lucha Dos, with Pentagon proving that he could beat Matanza if no shenanigans happened.

    If you still had doubts from last week, then make no mistake now—Pentagon Dark is this show’s main man. He’s the guy picking up the reigns from Prince Puma, the Temple’s previous heart and soul, as the show’s centerpiece attraction. Honestly, there isn’t a better choice—he’s one of the best wrestlers on the roster, and fans have been ready for Pentagon Dark’s rise going all the way back to season two. It took them a while to pull the trigger, but we’re finally here, at least.

    Despite finally having reached the summit, though, it seems that there’s something brewing with Pentagon Dark, Vampiro, and that mysterious master. I’m intrigued by Vampiro’s slight annoyance at how Pentagon Dark seems to be catering to the fans more, saying that he needs to stick to the darkness like he’s done before. It’s actually a subtle change in how Pentagon Dark has been portrayed this season – he’s a little more interactive with the Believers now, notably with his signature taunt of cero miedo. Compare that to before when he would just come out, break someone’s arm, and leave, and you can see where Vampiro is coming from. Whether this leads to Vampiro taking action again remains to be seen, but they’re definitely planting some seeds here.

    Where does this leave the Monster, though, now that that air of invincibility is gone? The post-match angle with Antonio Cueto helps him save face a little bit, if only to tease where Matanza is headed this season. We’ve long known that the mysterious key has some sort of rejuvenating effect on the Monster, and Antonio’s distance from the match compared to his son Dario may have made the difference. Whereas Dario was always ringside for Matanza’s matches to cheer and rally his brother on, Antonio took a more distant, cold approach as he watched his son from afar. Dario and Antonio treat Matanza differently, and this was made all the more obvious as we saw Antonio berate Matanza and call him spoiled after the match. We saw Matanza cower in fear—something he’s never done before—which indicates that life isn’t about to get any easier now that Dario’s gone. It’s an interesting direction to take Matanza’s character, considering that he’s served as the role of end boss for so long.

    Enter the Savage

    The other main highlight from this week’s episode was the in-ring debut of a familiar face—The Savage, Jake Strong. Is he related to Roderick in any way?

    Strong’s debut as a member of Infamous Inc. went as well as you’d expect, with the big guy coming within a hair of capturing the Trios Championship for his team. He looked good in the limited time he saw in the ring, showcasing some of his signature moves, and was presented as a credible threat. The post-match attack on his teammates and Famous B, who cost them the match, gave Strong’s character some no-nonsense urgency—he’s here to capture success, and God forbid you get in his way.

    What stands out about Strong is just how big he is compared to everyone else—at 6’7”, he’s easily the most imposing guy in Lucha Underground. He’s going to tower over resident powerhouses like Vibora, Mil Muertes, and Cage, which should make for some interesting matchups down the line. I’m looking forward to seeing how Strong integrates into the Temple, especially how he’ll stack up against some of the more mystical elements of the show.

    Quick Hits:

    • Right beside Jake Strong, we also saw two new faces make their Lucha Underground debuts. Sammy Guevara stood out as someone who could make an impact moving forward, as he proved that he could go toe-to-toe with some of the Temple’s finest. I’m less optimistic on Big Bad Steve’s chances as he didn’t really stand out in this match, though his physique and size does remind you of someone we were watching last season. Hint: he’s the guy who got his head chopped off at Ultima Lucha Tres.
    • The Aztec Medallions are back early this season, which is always a good source of drama as everyone fights for a chance to win the Gift of the Gods Championship. El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Drago put on a fun, fast-paced match for the first medallion, with Azteca picking up the victory. It’s refreshing to see Azteca pick up a win, and makes me optimistic that he’ll finally fulfill his potential this season after spending much of last season as Rey Mysterio’s sidekick.
    • Meanwhile, the Worldwide Underground pay the Reptile Tribe back after last week’s shenanigans, with Johnny Mundo and Taya beating down Drago and Kobra Moon after Drago's match against Azteca.
    • The opening segment with King Cuerno revealing that he had given away the gauntlet ties in nicely to that trailer we got, where Cuerno seemed to be handing the mysterious object over to Aero Star. That fits the bill on how Cuerno doesn’t know when or where the item was hidden, much to the chagrin of Catrina.
    • Speaking of everyone’s favorite ghost lady, she seems to have set her sights on Fenix once again. Catrina’s request for a Grave Consequences match between Fenix and Mil Muertes will apparently give her that life force back if Fenix is defeated, which we know she's been after for some time now.
    • That Grave Consequences match takes on an added danger, though, as Jeremiah Crane requested to be inserted into the match. Instead, it’ll be a Three Way to the Grave match next week, as Crane seeks to impress Catrina once again. Hey, if Crane ends up getting locked in a casket, does that also result in Catrina getting that life back? The things we do for love, folks.

    Overall, this felt like a step up from last week’s premiere and more akin to the packed Lucha Underground episodes of seasons past. We had a pair of solid matches capped off by a fun main event, a strong debut, and some important plot points moving forward. Next week should be even more fun, as we’ve got Grave Consequences coming up—and those always deliver. 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 (6/20/18): This is Pentagon Dark's Yard Now Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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