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Lucha: Underground – July 8th, 2015

From The Temple in Boyle Heights, California comes the premiere showcase of lucha libre on television today.

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With Ultima Lucha right around the corner, more matches are added to the card and story-lines really begin to pick up intensity. Tonight, Alberto El Patron and Johnny Mundo captain teams of four, which collide in Tag Team Atomico for the main event. Also, Cage and The Mack, Son of Havoc and number one contender Mil Muertes, Texano, Blue Demon, the Disciples and the Crew. Although absent from in-ring action, the malevolent presence of Pentagon Jr. lurks throughout the program, as he obsessively pursues and provokes Vampiro.

THE RUN-DOWN:

  • Show opens on Pentagon Jr in his dojo, praying to his gods. He vows to deliver a sacrifice; the man known as Ian Hodgkinson.
  • The Mack vs Cage: Cage goes for a big boot, Mack slides underneath and schoolboys for the upset pin-fall.
  • In the locker room, Catrina warns Son of Havoc that “a thousand deaths” is coming for him tonight.
  • Vampiro interviews Pentagon Jr: Vampiro apologizes and Pentagon sandbags. Pentagon instigates, calls Vampiro a coward and pathetic, but Vampiro stands his ground and doesn’t lose his cool (relatively speaking).
  • Mil Muertes (with Catrina) vs Son of Havoc (with Ivelisse and Angelico): Disciples of Death attack Angelico and Catrina attacks Ivelisse. Son of Havoc makes the save for his teammates but gets caught by Muertes with spear and Flat-liner for the pin and the win.
  • Texano cuts promo in the ring. He calls out Chavo Guerrero to a fight at Ultima Lucha, but is attacked by the Crew. Blue Demon Jr. clears the ring, but then hits Texano with a steel chair. He claims that he is Mexico and challenges Texano to a fight at Ultima.
  • Tag Team Atomico – Alberto El Patron, Sexy Star, Aerostar & Drago vs Johnny Mundo, Superfly, Hernandez & Jack Evans: lots of quick exchanges, chaos, interference and high spots. In the end, Mundo reverses a top rope cross body from Sexy Star and holds onto the tights to steal the victory for his team.
  • As Matt Striker signs off, Pentagon Jr sneaks up through the crowd and attacks Vampiro at the announce table. He beats the veteran down and dowses him with gasoline. He threatens Vampiro, telling him that if he doesn’t accept his challenge at Ultima Lucha, his family will watch him burn. Vampiro has one week to comply.

ANALYSIS:

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  • The beef between Mack and Cage, which began when Cage took Big Ryck’s cousin out in the locker to gain a spot in a trios tag team title match, has given these two largely talented yet underused talents a chance to shine together. The match was quick-paced and full of action, not characteristic of a clash between heavyweights. This had the feeling of a first match in a series, as it was largely one-sided. Cage has a host of power moves and acrobatics in his arsenal, and he used only a small percentage of them.

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  • Vampiro did a great job of pointing out that since arriving in Lucha, the machine Cage has only been pinned once, and it was a result of foul play. This made the surprise roll-up pin scored by Mack a real upset and a shot in the arm for the relative new-comer. Cage will no doubt seek retribution, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see these two building towards a rubber match at Ultima.

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  • Mil Muertes is on an extremely strong roll since making his return to the Temple, not only earning victories but going above and beyond to cause pain and inflict injury and destruction on his opponents. Son of Havoc did not lose too much face with this loss, as he gave Muertes a run for his money and played hero to his fellow team members.

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  • This match served dual purposes of building the dominance of the number one contender, as well as further setting up a Trios Championship match at Ultima between the Disciples of Death and the reigning tecnico champs. Hopefully Ivelisse will be able to perform free of crutches at the big event, but either way it will be a battle.

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  • Texano’s promo aided the young former AAA Champion in connecting with the crowd. Although his English is a bit muddled (why he didn’t simply speak Spanish, I’m not sure), he got across his patriotism, his pride, and his loyalty. Interestingly, he did this while simultaneously saying that he “can’t be trusted”, he is a cheat and he enjoys inflicting pain. Either way, he has won the Temple fans over with his love of Mexico. It was apparent how well he got over when Blue Demon, a veteran and national hero, attacked him and received unanimous boos from the crowd. Demon and Texano will no doubt now square off at Ultima in a battle for the honour of the country of Mexico.

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  • The atomico tag team match was beautifully conceived, choreographed, booked and executed. Each participant in the chaotic contest had their own motivation, their own target, their own desire, and everyone took their opportunity to progress his or her own story-line. The spots flowed smoothly from one to another – for the most part. Once or twice Hernandez was caught awkwardly with nothing to do but watch a tecnico pull off their high spot, instead of trying to interfere.

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  • Drago also took a dangerous top rope corkscrew plancha to the floor and landed on what looked like his head. The key narrative driving the match was the blood feud between Johnny Mundo and El Patron. Mundo played the cowardly opportunist masterfully, though it bordered on over the top. Getting the pin on Sexy Star after a simple reversal may have made Star appear the weak link on her team, but by having Mundo hook the tights and steal the pin she saved a bit of face. Overall, a wonderful, action-packed main event.

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  • Pentagon Jr. has become the most exciting rudo to watch on Lucha. From his mysterious spiritual mission to his sadism to his high-octane intensity and connection to the crowd, he has created an aura of danger and volatility which evokes a powerful reaction. The attack at the episode’s conclusion left Striker silent and the audience stunned.

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  • Thus far, Vampiro has played the part of a man at war with his inner demons and the darkness of his past with conviction; one really gets a sense that a volcano of passion and fury lay just beneath the surface of the tattooed veteran. The fans desperately want Vampiro to run wild with his old dark side, and Pentagon wants to fight, but to this point Ian Hodgkinson has been able to be the bigger man. Perhaps with this latest assault, not to mention the threats on his life and his family, we will finally see the return of Vampiro at Ultima Lucha.

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  • Curiously absent from this episode was Dario Cueto. He was missed.

Photographs copyright El Rey Network.

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