Lucha Underground (January 7, 2015)

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We begin things this week with people in traditional Aztec garb (I guess) dancing about the ring while drummers drum. Dario Cueto is in the middle of the ring with the new Lucha Underground Championship. He tells us that tonight we are going to crown the first Lucha Underground Champion in a match he came up with completely on his own: AZTEC WARFARE!

We get an “AZTEC WARFARE!” chant from the crowd before Cueto explains what Aztec Warfare actually is. It’s really quite simple. The match begins with two competitors and every 90 seconds another luchador enters the match. Eliminations can come via pinfall or submission and the last man standing will be the champion. Also because he likes violence, “ANYTHING GOES!”

He tells us that because of what happened during the last episode Fenix will be the first luchador to enter Aztec Warfare before announcing that via a “random draw,” Johnny Mundo is number two. God do I love how much of a scumbag Dario Cueto is.

Match 1: Fenix vs. Johnny Mundo vs. Mr. Cisco vs. King Cuerno vs. Son of Havoc vs. Pimpinella Escarlata vs. Prince Puma vs. Ivelisse vs. Drago vs. Bael vs. Cortez Castro vs. Ricky Mandel vs. Big Ryck vs. Pentagon, Jr. vs. Super Fly vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. vs. Mascarita Sagrada vs. Sexy Star vs. El Mariachi Loco vs. Mil Muertes (w/ Catrina)
Aztec Warfare Match

As the match begins Matt Striker tells us that we’re in for some fast-paced high flying action. Fenix and Mundo then proceed to lock up and Mundo grabs a headlock. Striker is not completely wrong though and they quickly pick up the pace with Fenix getting in some cool offense in before Mundo nails him with a leg lariat and then sends him over the top rope out to the floor with a clothesline. Luckily for Fenix this is Aztec Warfare and not the Royal Rumble so it’s not an elimination.

The Aztec drummers begin drumming again apparently to signify the fact that the next luchador is heading out, and at #3 we get Mr. Cisco. Striker, being Matt Striker, declares, “This little cholo’s riding solo!” While Vampiro informs us that in his crew, Cisco is known as, “Rusty Screwdriver.” God do I hate these two…

Anyway Cisco hits the ring and throws down on both dudes and hits some sentons that Striker says Cisco calls the “Shawshank Redemption.” Apparently Mr. Cisco is a real cinephile. He doesn’t last long though as Mundo and Fenix double-team him and Mundo hits the End of the World to send Mr. Cisco back to his Criterion Collection at the crib.

With Cisco gone, Fenix and Mundo turn their attention to one another and nail each other with kicks for a double down as we go to commercial. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

Back from break both men are still down and the drummers are pounding out some beats to inform us that #4 is on their way. A buzzer sounds and we get King Cuerno. He hits the ring and unloads on Fenix and Mundo with running forearms.

Mundo ends up out on the floor and Cuerno hits him with a tope suicida that Vampiro refers to as The Arrow from the Depths of Hell because Lucha Underground is awesome. Fenix then walks the ropes like The Undertaker and nails Cuerno, who is still out on the floor, with a somersault plancha.

The drummers start their drumming again which brings out the fifth entrant, Son of Havoc. Mundo tries to throw him over the top, but Havoc some how bounces off the ropes in a ludicrous fashion and nails Mundo with a back elbow.

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Havoc then proceeds to toss Mundo out to the floor before taking out Mundo and everyone else that’s chilling out on the floor with a Flying Space Tiger Drop.

The buzzer sounds and #6 is Pimpinela Escarlata. He runs wild briefly, hitting some dropkicks to the shins before doing a ropewalk and a double armdrag on Fenix and King Cuerno. He is unable to capitalize though after getting distracted by attempting to make out with the referee and ends up getting hit from behind.

We get Prince Puma at #7. He comes in and pounds on Mundo before hitting a beautiful Lionsault for two. He charges Mundo, but Mundo manages to get his boot up. Before Mundo can do anything to follow up he gets hit from behind by Fenix who then connects with a springboard legdrop for two.

We get more drumming and Ivelisse comes in at #8. Matt Striker in his gross, gruff voice calls her a “bitch” about a dozen times while she’s in the ring. She nails Puma with a tornado DDT but gets cut off by Pimpinela who looks to kiss her. Before he does he decides that Cuerno is more to his liking and goes after him only to get laid out by Cuerno. Havoc follows with a shooting star press to eliminate the exotico.

Cuerno goes after Ivelisse but ends up on the receiving end of a series of kicks and the drummers let us know that #9 is about to hit the ring. It’s Drago. He hits the ring and dumps Fenix out to the floor before nailing Mundo with a DDT and covering for two. Cuerno catches him with an enzuigiri but Ivelisse gets involved so Cuerno nails her with the Thrill of the Hunt to eliminate her.

#10 is Bael who Striker refers to as, and I quote, “a real b-boy from the streets who knows how to throw hands.” God I hate Matt Striker so much. We get some insane dives out to the floor by Fenix and Drago to pop the crowd and clear the ring for a bit, while back inside, Havoc gets eliminated by Puma.

#11 is Cortez Castro. He heads down and he and Bael double-team Puma for awhile, stomping on him until the next competitor heads to the ring. Ricky Mandel is #12 and as he slowly struts down to the ring Vampiro tries to tell us the dude is running.

Back in the ring Puma destroys Bael with a really slick sequence of maneuvers. He hits a Northern Lights Suplex that he transitions into a jackhammer that he follows with a standing shooting star press to eliminate the second member of the crew. Shortly thereafter Mundo eliminates Castro with a shining wizard.

Big Ryck comes out at #13 and in one of the greatest spots of the match as he walks past the eliminated Bael and Cortez Castro he piefaces them for letting him down. Ryck wrecks Mandel with a Rock Bottom to eliminate him from the match and then hurks Drago up for a gorilla press slam, but Cuerno’s like, “Yo, I’m feuding with him can I eliminate him?”

Big Ryck tosses Drago onto Cuerno’s shoulders and Cuerno hits a Thrill of the Hunt to eliminate Drago. He doesn’t have long to enjoy this victory over his rival though since Mundo comes up from behind and gets him with a crucifix for the pin.

Pentagon Jr. is #14. As he makes his way down to the ring, Mundo and Puma team up and drop Big Ryck with stereo superkicks. Pentagon comes in though and takes them both out, destroying Puma with a powerbomb onto his knee. He then sends Fenix off the ropes, tosses him high into the air and catches him on the way back down for a brutal looking powerbomb.

Super Fly is in at #15, but Ryck catches him and whips him into the ropes. Fly is like, “F that,” and just dives over the top rope and takes out all the dudes chilling out on the floor. Ryck then clears the ring and pounds on Mundo much to the delight of Vampiro.

#16 is Chavo Guerrero who comes down to the ring with a steel chair. He enters the ring and immediately blasts Super Fly in the head with it to eliminate him. Chavo is such a scumfuck that he then immediately blasts the one guy he’d kind of been aligned with, Pentagon Jr., in the dome with another chairshot to eliminate him as well. The drummers begin banging on their drums again and #17 makes their entrance. It’s Mascarita Sagrada but before he gets in the ring we go to commercials. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

Back from commercials Mascarita Sagrada is in the ring and running wild. He sends Chavo out to the floor with a headscissors but gets cut off by Fenix who chops him down. Sagrada comes back with a rana that sends Fenix over the top and out to the floor. Sagrada then goes for a dive but gets caught mid-air with a dropkick.

Sexy Star, who looks hot as fuck decked out in a Ms. Marvel inspired outfit, comes out at #18 and makes a beeline for Chavo. She and Chavo go at it and after Chavo ends up out on the floor, Sexy nails him with a somersault senton from the apron.

Back in the ring we get a showdown that I had no idea I wanted but now need to see more of as Mascarita Sagrada takes it to Big Ryck. This isn’t goofy, “hahaha look at that little guy,” WWE Juniors Division shit. Ryck is trying to merc Sagrada who keeps outquicking him and embarrassing the big man. Sagrada keeps motioning for Ryck to bring it, but Striker of course has to bury this by calling Sagrada a “marshmallow.” Eventually Ryck has had enough of this and just destroys Sagrada with a clothesline before pinning him.

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El Mariachi Loco is the #19 entrant and even he gets an opportunity to look like a world beater, leveling Fenix with an enzuigiri before tossing Mundo with a ropewalk armdrag. He then proceeds to dance so Ryck murders him. The drums begin to pound which brings out #20, Mil Muertes, along with professional face-licker, Catrina.

Mil runs wild on on everyone and then ruins Mariachi’s shit with a Flatliner and covers to eliminate him. We then get a staredown between Big Ryck and Muertes. They take turns attempting to shoulder block each other but neither man budges. Everyone else left in the match then comes back and starts ganging up on the two behemoths.

We get some pin attempts but Chavo keeps breaking them up so he can get the glory himself, but everyone starts spamming finishers and after an End of the World from Mundo, a standing Shooting Star Press from Puma and a 450° Splash from Fenix, Fenix (and Chavo) cover Big Ryck for three and eliminate him from the match.

Almost immediately Chavo blasts Fenix in the dome with a chair to eliminate him and suddenly the ring is clear save for Chavo and Sexy Star. Sexy rips off her gloves as Vampiro tells Chavo not to be a “beeyotch,” because these announcers are the dirt worst. Sexy Star goes after Chavo, beating on him for all she’s worth. Chavo ends up catching her mid-air and then slams her onto the chair.

Chavo heads up top so he can finish her off with a frog splash but Blue Demon Jr. makes his return and shoves Chavo off the ropes. He distracts Chavo long enough for Sexy Star to recover and nail Chavo with his own chair to eliminate him. Blue Demon Jr. yells something at Chavo in Spanish and we’re down to our final four: Sexy Star, Prince Puma, Johnny Mundo, and Mil Muertes. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We’re back and after a brief staredown, Sexy Star charges at Muertes. Muertes grabs here by the hair and is about to wreck her shit but Puma and Mundo blast him with stereo kicks. Sexy Star recovers and, instead of helping Puma and Mundo take out Muertes she goes after them.

Muertes gets back to his feet and spears Sexy Star into oblivion and covers to eliminate her from the match. Mundo goes after Muertes and pounds on him in the corner, but Puma hits Mundo with a Zig Zag and then goes after Muertes himself.

Puma gets sent out to the apron by Muertes and tries to kick the big man through the ropes, but Muertes catches his leg and then grabs Puma’s other leg so he is hung up on hte ropes. Mundo then leaps over Muertes and murders Puma was a splash in a brutal looking spot.

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Back in the ring Mundo fights with Muertes and both men end up on the top turnbuckle. Puma comes back and heads up top with the other two and together he and Mundo superplex Mil Muertes.

Puma goes on offense, but Catrina interferes, distracting Puma. Muertes almost runs into Catrina on a blind charge when Puma moves but he’s able to put on the breaks. Mundo goes for a Disaster Kick on Muertes but he ends up blasting Catrina instead.

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Muertes cannot believe what went down and Mundo tries to plead innocence but Muertes is not buying it and begins to Hulk Up.

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Muertes grabs a pleading Mundo by the neck, but before he can merc the former MNM member Puma comes flying in with a Meteora on Mil Muertes. Mundo and Puma then hit sequential 450 splashes and cover Muertes together to eliminate him from the match.

In a nice callback to the main event of the first episode of Lucha Underground, we’re down to Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo. Puma drills Mundo with a spinning kick to the head and covers for two, but Mundo rolls through into the Canadian Maple Leaf.

Puma manages to fight to the ropes, which I don’t think is a rope break here since it’s “ANYTHING GOES!” but Mundo releases the hold anyway, I guess since he’s an honorable man or something.

We get some more back and forth and then end up fighting up to the top rope. Puma hits an insane Spanish Fly and covers but only gets two. Puma goes up again but Mundo cuts him off with and inverted rana that he follows with the End of the World. ONE! TWO! NO!

Puma somehow manages to kick out and Johnny Mundo is beside himself. Both men head back up top. Mundo gets crotched and falls to the mat. Puma slowly stands and nails Mundo with the 630 splash. He covers Mundo to become the first Lucha Underground Champion.

Mundo shakes hands with Puma in a show of respect and they hug as Konnan comes down and gets in the ring to celebrate with Prince Puma as the show ends.

Winner: Prince Puma

This was an absolutely fantastic match. A lot of companies have tried to copy the Royal Rumble and alter it slightly to make it their own but rarely does it work. Hell, half the time the actual Royal Rumble ends up being a bunch of cool spots in between long periods of guys just hanging around by the ropes waiting for the next guy to come in and do whatever it is they’re supposed to do, but this match eliminated the dead periods and amped up the action by allowing guys to go out to the floor without being eliminated.

I also thought that they did a very good job of using the match to not just crown a champion, but also further a bunch of the existing storylines that were going on coming into this match. And though I do complain about them often, Striker and Vampiro did a good job of making even the guys that were clearly just warm bodies to throw in the ring seem like they had a shot at winning the entire thing.

Having Prince Puma win the entire thing seemed like the right call to make. Some other wrestling companies (cough cough TNA cough cough) would have put the strap on Mundo because he’s the “big name former WWE guy,” but Prince Puma is the better all around athlete and probably the most interesting character LU’s got at the moment so going forward they’ll be able to do more with him. [****½]

Final Thoughts

This is literally a one match show, so there’s not much else for me to say that I haven’t already said about the match itself. Dario Cueto continues to be the best heel authority figure in professional wrestling if not of all time then certainly of present day. I loved how he introduced Aztec Warfare as a match he came up with entirely on his own before basically describing a Royal Rumble match and how passive aggressive he was when he announced that Johnny Mundo was #2 purely by chance.

The match itself was fantastic in its pacing and I thought it did a good job of spotlighting the various ongoing feuds that had been building prior to this match as well as planting seeds for new rivalries (I can’t be the only one who wants a Mascarita Sagrada feud with Big Ryck after this episode can I?)

Definitely check this one out if you like Royal Rumbles but wished they had more dudes doing flips and shit instead of just standing around by the ropes.

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