Lucha: Underground – April 29th, 2015
Boyle Heights, California is home to a dark place of blood and sweat called simply the Temple, and inside is some of the hottest wrestling action in the world today!
This week’s episode, in the aftermath of the epic Trios Championship finals last week, focuses on the Lucha Underground Championship. Inaugural champion Prince Puma defends his title against number one contender Drago, who faces banishment from the Temple if he is not successful. We also see a new talent facing an established star, a triple threat match to settle scores, and the introduction of a new potential player.
- Dario Cueto admonishes The Crew for their ineptitude. He decides to give them some motivation to do better. He takes them to a secret room in the Temple bowels where an unseen monster is introduced by Cueto as his brother.
- Fenix vs Killshot: back and forth, fairly even contest, ends with Fenix hitting Firedriver for the pinfall.
- Dario Cueto speaks with Drago in the lavatory about his match with Puma. He then talks with the champ, offering motivation. Cueto is confronted by Hernandez, and he makes the triple threat a match to determine the number one contender.
- Four-way Match – Famous B vs Ricky Mandel vs Vinny Massaro vs Argenis: The match barely begins before Texano clears everyone (including the referee) from the ring. He grabs a microphone and calls out the man who attacked him last week.
- Outside the Temple, Dario Cueto is approached by a man calling himself Marty “The Moth” Martinez. He wants an opportunity to fight, but Cueto blows him off.
- Number One Contender Triple Threat Match – King Cuerno vs Cage vs Hernandez: Marty “The Moth” jumps into the ring and is sent packing by all three luchadores. Cage is thrown from the ring, Hernandez hits a front slam from the shoulder for the pinfall.
- Vampiro interviews the Trios Champions – Son of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico.
- Lucha Underground Championship vs Career Match – Prince Puma (c) vs Drago: referee is knocked down, Hernandez goes to tackle Puma but misses and hits Drago instead. Puma is hesitant, but at the urging of Konnan, he performs a spinning piledriver and pins Drago.
- Dario Cueto built more supernatural intrigue surrounding the Temple (as if that was lacking at all) by revealing that the yet unseen beast he keeps locked away behind bars is his brother. What kind of creature is it, and what does it say about Dario Cueto? Is he and his family not of human extract, or is his brother merely an abomination of nature or science? Whatever the case may be, The Crew now have added motivation for success when a task is put before them.
- The opening contest was an excellent exchange which solidified Fenix as a veteran talent in the organization. The announce team got over how far the tecnico has come since making his debut in the Temple and high-lighted the impressive victories he has boasted thus far. This was also a nice introduction to singles competition for Killshot, who has an impressive array of innovative maneuvers but as yet still lacks a lot of expertise. Some awkward spots aside, this was a solid match, with the stand outs being the exchange of dynamic punches and kicks between the two. I look forward to more from Killshot, including further matches with Fenix.
- Cueto’s speeches with Drago and Puma were vintage Cueto: being the rudo presence in a contest between tecnicos. He does it well, and his words were eloquently manipulative. To Drago: “You don’t have to thank me, but by the end of the night I think you will.” And to Puma: “A warrior only thinks of victory.” Great stuff. The addition of the stipulation to the triple threat match adds intrigue, but it begins to complicate the motivations of Hernandez. Is he on the side of Konnan and the champ, or is he beginning to see the appeal in befriending Cueto?
- Texano got a big pop when he cleared the ring of bodies, which makes one think that the attack from the stranger (Daivari, though we don’t know yet if he will use that name) is the start of a tecnico turn for the accomplished luchadore. Although I am not a fan of matches being used as mere segues to push rivalries, I’m doubting I will miss much sleep wondering how this match would have played out.
- The introduction of Marty “the Moth” was interesting. He sets himself up as a plucky upstart eager for a chance to prove himself, a departure from the usual pomp, ceremony, mystique and posturing displayed by most luchadores in the Temple. A former ACW and UCW title-holder, he made it far on the revival of WWE’s Tough Enough before bowing out due to injury. It will be intriguing to see how his character develops.
- The triple threat was a bit of a let-down, but that does not mean it was a bad match. There were plenty of well-orchestrated spots and power moves, which was to be expected considering the amount of pure muscle in the ring. One might even argue that because of the heightened level of high-impact players, the match was doomed to fall short of its potential not placed in the main event. The entire match was, ultimately, designed to put Hernandez over, which it did to the unfortunate expense of top tier talent like Cuerno and Cage.
- Vampiro’s interview with the Trios Champions was an fun bit of filler. The essence of the message came across loud and clear: the three luchadores still bicker and gnaw at each other on a personal level, but when it comes down to it they fight as a team. Ivelisse down-playing Angelico’s monster dare-devil spot from last week was funny, calling it the most basic wrestling move in the book – to which Havoc added, “I thought it was pretty cool.” These three will no doubt continue to provide us with exciting action in the ring that is fueled by complex and sympathetic emotion, exactly what we need.
- The main event match was arguably the singular high-lite of the week, not only on LU but in WWE and TNA as well (including the Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View). Puma, as champion, has thus far defended his title against outwardly more dominant and threatening rudos, succeeding in an underdog role. This week provided the unique opportunity to see him as the accomplished champion defending against a worthy tecnico rival, and he did not disappoint. Puma looked impressive and deserving of his top spot, and Drago was over as a warrior determinately earning the respect of his opponent. The match was fairly balanced, with Puma rightfully holding the majority of advantage. The interference of Hernandez provided a way for Drago to lose unfairly, saving a bit of face for the departing competitor, and in that respect it succeeded. Puma’s conflict of conscious played very effectively, garnering sympathy for the champ who was stuck in a very tough spot for a man of pride. The motivation behind the attack by Hernandez is the uncertain element which queers the entire spot, but hopefully all will be explained in time.
- Final note: Drago walks out of the Temple for the final time and transforms into a fire-breathing dragon. Need I say more? Awesome way to end the show, and a worthy send-off to a great competitor who will be sorely missed.
Photos courtesy of El Rey Network