Aztec Warfare III Survival Guide
Mother of sweet things; you’d think that me, being in the writing groove already thanks to my CMLL Tuesday preview I did earlier, would be able to come up with some sort of intro to this column. Instead I’m like Marcus Brody, wandering around a foreign city desperately hoping someone there speaks English or maybe even some ancient Greek. And yes, I made that joke in the earlier column; that’s how badly my brain is locked right now. Maybe I’m already burnt out after a week from writing nonstop again; or perhaps I’m just uber excited because WE’RE ONLY THREE DAYS AWAY FROM AZTEC WARFARE III BAH GAWD MAGGLE!
Alright so I was fibbing about not getting an intro done. I own this; let’s move on to the topic at hand. Yes Lucha Underground is bringing back one of their greatest concepts this Wednesday at an earlier time than usual it feels like (spoiler alert; it’s not. Aztec Warfare’s I and II both took place on Episode 9 of their respective season, making Aztec Warfare III the latest the match has ever occurred during an LU season at Episode 11). There will be drums, there will be pre-match Aztec rituals, there will be a loud as hell crowd, there will be action, there will be surprises; hell for all we know Joey Ryan may even handcuff himself to the guardrail again like he did last year. Hey, it worked so well the first time right? One way or another Aztec Warfare III promises to be one of the most talked about events on LU’s calendar, which makes it a no brainer that I take some time two days before the show to break down everything you need to know about it. So let’s not waste any more time and dive in. And let’s dive in with some background for those diving into Lucha Underground for the first time.
What is Aztec Warfare?
Imagine the Royal Rumble, only if instead of being a 30 man over the top battle royal it was a twenty luchador(a) free for all where anything goes, the only way to eliminate people is by pinfall and submission and Roman Reigns had no chance of winning and killing your dreams (I kid! I kid!). That’s Aztec Warfare sports fans, and for the first two years it’s served as both the end of the first half of the season, a turning point as far as the main event picture goes and a place where people get handcuffed to guardrails, fall down the stairs (poor Jack Evans!) and pretty much do everything imaginable to each other.
What’s on the line?
Much like the first two Aztec Warfare matches, the Lucha Underground Championship will be defended. This is important; the title has changed hands both times in the previous matches, with the inaugural Aztec Warfare match being used to crown the first ever Lucha Underground Champion (Prince Puma) and the second seeing Fenix defending and ultimately losing the title. The odds would seem to favor a title change then right?
With that, let’s now get into the part that’s going to leave me gasping for air afterwards.
Who’s confirmed to be in the match?
The Monster Matanza Cueto (entry #1, Lucha Underground Champion, brother of LU boss “El Jefe” Dario Cueto, the most diabolical hater since the so called Beautiful).
Ivelisse (qualified by being on the winning five luchador team in the 10th episode “Ready for War”, although her status is unknown after suffering an injury because there is no Cthulhu).
Jeremiah Crane (qualified the same way as Ivelisse, his girlfriend. Super cool, super good, refers to Son of Havoc as Son of Chaos and doesn’t care if you know it).
Marty “The Moth” Martinez (qualified the same way as Ivelisse and Crane. He’s crazy, he likes yellow shirts and he’s the man the people want and need).
Mariposa (qualified the same way as Ivelisse, Crane and Marty. She’s Marty’s sister. That’s pretty much it).
The Mack (you know where this is going. Does a mean Stone Cold Steve Austin impression, is one of the most underrated performers alive, likes to cook shit in the microwave).
Son of Havoc (confirmed to be in by LU’s twitter account showing him competing in the match. The ultimate underdog, what Daniel Bryan would look like if he grew back his beard and became a motorcycle enthusiast).
Johnny Mundo (seen fighting Havoc in the same photo LU’s twitter account posted. Current LU Gift of the Gods Champion. Not a nice guy).
Drago (entering #20 after beating Fenix and Aerostar to qualify for this match. Is a legit dragon, may or may not have once been involved with a snake cult. Loves the men’s room of the LU Temple, no one knows why and WE NEED TO FIGURE THIS OUT!).
Who isn’t confirmed but will more than likely be in the match?
Mil Muertes (former Immortan turned current Immortan, second ever Lucha Underground Champion, just killed Prince Puma).
Pentagon Dark (the GOAT, the man of the hour the man of the power, the hit maker, the record breaker, insert Dusty Rhodes quote here).
Sexy Star (first ever luchadora to compete in Lucha Underground, former Gift of the Gods Champion, the bane of the hardcore lucha libre fans existence).
Mascarita Sagrada (little dude, super cool, master of the bowling ball, inherited Rick Martel's "Arrogance" perfume).
Rey Mysterio Jr. (legend, top star, a mortal lock for this match. LeBron leaving Cleveland in 2010 wasn’t as much of a sure thing).
Jack Evans (invented modern lucha libre, slays dragons, baddest bitch in the building, star destroyer, FIFA Champion, the Shawn Michaels of the Sky Blondes, member of Worldwide Underground. Only half of what I just said was correct).
P.J. Black (possible werewolf, definite Darewolf, member of Worldwide Underground, may or may not have been a member of this group called Nexus in a past life).
Taya (Johnny Mundo’s master, member of Worldwide Underground, slayer of hearts, hater of Apache’s, and I don’t mean the Native Americans).
Who could be in this match but probably won’t be?
Dr. Wagner Jr. (legend. Seriously; ask him).
Joey Ryan (dirty undercover cop who has child’s support to pay, currently on my bad side for his failure to bring Candice LeRae into the Temple).
El Dragon Azteca Jr. (apprentice of Mysterio, super talented youngster, last seen getting destroyed by Chavo in the locker room, leading Mysterio to go full Captain Kirk in Wrath of Khan).
Black Lotus (ninja, hates El Dragon Azteca Jr., may now hate Dario Cueto and Matanza again, definitely hates Pentagon for breaking his arm, coming back from Hong Kong with ninjas. Definitely will be involved even if she’s not in this match).
Ninjas (everything I just said about Black Lotus).
Paul London (greatest man that ever lived, leader of Rabbit Tribe, may show up, probably won’t and now I’m depressed).
Checker Board Dude and Mohawked Rabbit (see Paul London).
Kobra Moon (part of the Snake Tribe, possibly killed Daga, will definitely be involved after confronting Drago about his past with her tribe).
Pindar (Snake Lord, may be involved, probably won’t be).
The Lord (in your dreams Cult).
Rickey Mandel (season one jobber, lover of creepy photos).
Vinnie Massaro (the master of the bathroom, lover of chicken wings and pizza, champion of all our hearts).
Who will definitely not be in this match?
Prince Puma (dead).
Daga (possibly dead, likely only mostly dead).
King Cuerno (not dead, just really, REALLY sore still).
Angelico (injured by the cowardly Worldwide Underground, missed by LU fans like how the sun misses the flower).
Cortes Castro (broken arm. Get well soon!)
Fenix (first ever Lucha Underground Triple Crown Champion, current Trios Champion with Dragon and Aerostar, eliminated after losing triple threat match to Drago).
Aerostar (one third of the current Lucha Underground Trios Champions with Fenix and Drago, eliminated the same way Fenix was, the hero we deserve but do not need right now).
Cage (machine, Terminator, eliminated after losing five on five match, feuding with Texano over the rights to become possessed by an evil god that may or may not turn them into something like this).
Texano (everything I said about Cage minus being a Terminator and a machine).
Killshot (former soldier who may or may not have left his best pal behind during the war, eliminated the same way Cage and Texano were).
Dante Fox (pissed off former best pal of Killshot who definitely believes he was left behind by his best pal during the war. Eliminated his own team from this match by attacking Killshot and costing them the match).
Argenis (eliminated the same way the other four guys were, brother of Carístico, wishes he was more like Carístico. Don’t we all?).
Chavo Guerrero Jr. (retired).
Who are the favorites?
I know what you’re thinking; seriously Cult, you practically just listed ever single wrestler to ever walk this mortal coil. How can you possibly list any favorites here? Good question. While there’s definitely a few people I would say have better chances than winning than the rest of the field, even they have some flaws and potential things looming that could potentially derail their quest for gold. So with that in mind allow me to present to you the favorites the way I see it, as well as the arguments against them.
1) Matanza. The Champion himself gets on here as he should; the man has held the title since Aztec Warfare II and, while being tested, has only truly found himself in danger twice against Pentagon and Puma. He has to be a favorite. That said he does have a bit working against him. Quietly LU has been showing Matanza steadily wearing down since he won the title last season, all while El Jefe continues to push him harder and harder. That last fact could be intentional by the way if you believe Dario is going to be transferring the god inside Matanza out of him and into a new host such as Cage or Texano. Combine that with the fact that Matanza will have to deal with nineteen other luchador(a)s and there’s no better time for him to lose than here.
2) Mil Muertes. He’s pretty much always a favorite anyway but his status as potential winner was elevated following that Grave Consequences III victory over Prince Puma last week. You could also make the argument that he also took Matanza to the limit (though I’m not sure he did in the same way Puma and Pentagon did), which strengthens his odds if the two monsters come face to face. If I had to guess, Mil will come close to victory but ultimately will be put down by whoever he’s feuding with next, including Puma if he somehow rises from the grave again. Don’t be surprised if he becomes the defacto rudo to gang up on if Matanza somehow falls early.
3) Pentagon Dark. If the internet had its way Pentagon would be walking out of this match with more gold than Flavor Flave. Alas he’s pretty much a favorite based on his popularity alone, despite coming in with pins over Mysterio (the only guy to beat Rey during his LU run thus far) and breaking the arm of Cortes Castro a few weeks ago. He’ll make a good run, he’ll get the fans fired up and he’ll get close, but ultimately it’s still not quite the time yet. If I was rich, I’d put a sizeable amount of money on either Azteca or Black Lotus and her ninjas returning to dish out some revenge that is best served cold while the internet responds in kind.
4) Rey Mysterio Jr. A safe pick considering his status and the fact that he’s coming hot after sending Chavo Guerrero to the retirement home. Here’s the thing though; LU has shown a ton of restraint in how they push long time legends and bigger names. Blue Demon Jr. and Chavo were midcarders who only briefly went into the upper midcard. Alberto El Parton was a main eventer but was kept away from the title. Dr. Wagner Jr. has thus far been feuding with Mascarita Sagrada. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rey Mysterio is pushed the same way and is used to put someone over here instead of getting the win.
5) Sexy Star. I can hear the howls of pain coming from the internet just as I type this. Maybe it’s just because no one else has really been established or maybe it’s because she just lost the Gift of the Gods Championship a few weeks ago (a loss that puts her right above Mundo in the favorites category for me) but Sexy has a shot folks. The debate will be whether or not she deserves to win it and whether her winning the Lucha Underground Championship, which would make her the first ever women’s world champion for a televised wrestling promotion and the third women’s world champion of all time after Kimber Lee and Nicole Matthews, has been built up enough. It’s an argument you can make, and I’ll just leave at that before pitchforks and torches are thrown at me!
So there you have it folks; you have the background, you have the stakes, you have the participants and potential participants and the favorites. Now it’s time for the $64,000 question; who will win Aztec Warfare III? My answer is simple; no clue! This is why I’m going to play the safest card of all and go with the winner being a complete and utter surprise. And frankly that makes sense. Like I said all five favorites either have story arcs that seem to be leading away from the LU title (Matanza, Pentagon) or don’t seem to be good fits for the title as of now (Mil, Rey, Sexy). That leads me to believe we’ll be getting another surprise winner ala last year, when Matanza entered in at the #21 spot and then wrecked the entire LU roster on the way to victory. Who will the surprise be? Great question. Maybe it’s the Lord finally debuting, even if that would reek as a repeat of last year. Maybe someone gets a fluke, upset win. Maybe the injury to Ivelisse opens the door for someone to take her place and make a Cinderella run. Maybe Dario Cueto decides to enter the thing himself, wins the whole thing and his carried out of the Temple by the Believers rudo style. I’m ready for anything, which is why I’m flat out going to chicken out of making this pick here. That’s the thing about Lucha Underground folks; just when you think you know the answers, they change the questions. No event does that quite like Aztec Warfare III and I’m guessing that’s what we’ll see here again.
We’re done here sports fans. Hope you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ll be back later to review tonight’s CMLL. Till then, a little less DUCHOVNY and a little more SUMMER!