Friday, June 15, 2018

Lucha Underground "El Jefe" Review

Ah, Lucha Underground is back. This year, I'm only watching four wrestling companies and Lucha is one of them. I've been hype for this return for a long time.

When we last left off, Mil Muertes won the Gauntlet of the Gods, but it was stolen by a returning King Cuerno. The Mack won the Trios Title with former enemies Killshot and Dante Fox. Pentagon Dark won the Gift of the Gods Title and cashed in to dethrone Prince Puma. Meanwhile, the incredible Dario Cueto was shot and killed after losing the gauntlet. He attempted to make a phone call as he died to end the season.

Season four picked up with Dario in a casket and the man who killed him, Winter, talking with someone who we revealed to be Antonio Cueto, Dario's father. Antonio is now in charge of Lucha Underground, but they must move to a new Temple. It's revealed that Antonio put out the hit on his son, and it was him who Dario tried calling with his dying breath. Antonio took the key from Dario's neck and closed the casket.

To the new Temple, there was a ten bell salute for Dario. It was interrupted by Antonio announcing it was his Temple. He threw the photo of his son out of the ring. Antonio said he invented Aztec Warfare, which is what Pentagon Dark will defend his title in tonight.

Aztec Warfare IV
For those who forgot, this is a Royal Rumble style match with eliminations only coming by pinfall or submission. The three previous ones were won by Prince Puma (****1/4), Matanza Cueto (****1/2), and Sexy Star (****). Killshot and The Mack were in the ring following a commercial. With Dante Fox MIA, Antonio announced these two were starting the match and whoever drew number three would be their new Trios Championship partner! It's Son of Havoc! He's the new Dante Fox. Killshot was clearly upset with this. I appreciated Antonio's calm "ring the bell," a complete opposite of his son. Shorter intervals than previous years, at least that's how it felt. Sleazy Joey Ryan was #4, who handcuffed himself to the ropes. The debuting Mr. Pectacular came in at #5. During that interval, Killshot rolled up his buddy Mack to eliminate him. The pop for Lucha Underground Champion Pentagon Dark entering at #6 was nuts. Killshot tried rolling up Son of Havoc too, but took a Package Piledriver and SSP from Havoc to get eliminated. Pentagon dominated, elimination Ryan, Mr. Pectacular, and Tommy freaking Dreamer. Havoc got rid of Mariposa. Pentagon also eliminated Vinnie Massaro (who had a pizza delivered and took a Pentagon Driver onto it), the returning Hernandez, and Son of Havoc. 

#11 Johnny Mundo changed that up a bit and they went at it. #12 was supposed to be Angelico, but he didn't show and was replaced by Ricky Mundo, who came out with some creepy doll. The Mundos double teamed the champion but couldn't eliminate him. Ricky was mesmerized by the doll and tried eliminating Johnny, but fell to Moonlight Drive. #13 was Fenix. He brought some of the best high flying stuff I've ever seen. Jeremiah Crane entered next and brought a chair into play. At #15, Jeremiah's rival Mil Muertes entered. Catrina looked incredible. Mil dominated, until everyone teamed up to cut him down to size and eliminated him. A disappointed Catrina walked away from Mil. The returning Daga was next, brought out by Kobra Moon. I'm glad he's back. Chavo came in at #17. Pentagon Driver got rid of Crane, while a Chavo Brainbuster surprisingly eliminated Fenix. End of the World sent Daga packing. At #18, we got King Cuerno to a huge pop. Dragon Azteca Jr. entered at #19. They both were great in their initial offense. Kobra Moon returned, upset that Mundo eliminated Daga, and sent out Vibora to attack Mundo. The final entrant was Marty Martinez. 

With Mundo out cold, Marty pinned him. Dragon ate a chair shot from Chavo and frog splash from Cuerno to get eliminated. It was down to Pentagon, Cuerno, Mart, and Chavo. Cuerno seemed to have Pentagon on the ropes, but Chavo cheap shotted him and beat him with a Gory Bomb. Superkick from Pentagon got rid of Chavo, leaving it down to Pentagon and Marty. Their back and forth was great, with Marty scoring several near falls. Some of the offense he used was stuff I've never seen from him. Pentagon did manage to retain in the end, beating Marty at 31:33. This was the worst Aztec Warfare match so far, but it wasn't bad at all. They still hit on some good points and set up things going forward (Marty as a major player, Mundo/Kobra Moon, Cuerno/Chavo, Catrina walking out on Mil, etc.) There were cool spots and nice surprise entrants. It also worked to book Pentagon so strong, with about eight eliminations. However, it never felt as exciting or interesting as the first three and seemed compressed and rushed. [***1/2]

Post-match, Pentagon broke Marty's arm. Antonio Cueto then announced that Pentagon would face Matanza in a title match next week.

Overall: 7/10. Season four is off to a good start. The Aztec Warfare match mostly worked and Antonio Cueto is making for some intriguing television. Several angles were moved forward or setup, which is what you want from a premiere.