Cult Icon's Guide to the Cueto Cup!
It’s exciting times for lucha libre folks. CMLL, suddenly stricken with a need to do cool shit, will see their next three streamed shows headlined by Último Guerrero and Sansón vs. Carístico and Soberano for the Gran Alternativa Trophy, Atlantis vs. Hechicero for the NWA World Historic Light Heavyweight Championship AND Cavernario vs. Volador Jr. for the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship. In the words of Keanu Reeves, WHOA! Meanwhile, The Crash is still running hot (when we can see their shows. Seriously guys, get your stream game together!), AAA is…alright they’re not doing cool stuff, but they’re still alive so points for that. Most importantly though, Lucha Underground is running hot after returning from that Grodd forsaken midseason hiatus and now has a new trick up their sleeve. They call it the Cueto Cup, a March Madness in June/July style tournament conceived by Dario Cueto that sees 32 luchador(a)s duking it out for the right to hold a decent trophy. Oh, and to get a shot at the Lucha Underground Championship against either Johnny Mundo or Rey Mysterio at Ultima Lucha Tres. As San Diego’s number one news anchor would say, kind of a big deal.
Now as you can see above, it’s such a big deal that LU has even gone out and made a printable tournament bracket of the whole damn thing. That’s both awesome and time consuming; whenever I see a tournament bracket, I just have to print one out, analyze it vigorously for a day, consult with people who may or may not be Brian Cage fans about matchups that aren’t in Cage’s bracket (sorry Caleb; if I asked you about Cage’s bracket you’d have him in the Power Glove winning every match in a combined 60 seconds. Search your feelings; you and Sami Zayn know it to be true!). You know the usual stuff! Now having done all that and even finding the time to fill the bracket out, I feel it’s only natural to share with you just how I see this whole Cueto Cup thing playing out. And so, here begins our trek through the Cueto Cup, from Block’s A, B, C and D all the way to the finals. Are you excited? You should be, unless you’re Argenis. Spoiler alert; he’s not lasting past the first round and if he’s reading this he may as well go back to polishing his Reyes del Rey sword instead of going through the rest. But enough spoilers for now; let’s get cracking. And we start with Block A.
Aerostar vs. Drago: Leave it to El Jefe to start things white hot. Not only have Aerostar and Drago had six good to great matches in the Temple during LU’s history, not only do they have a really great history together both in and out of LU, but just last week Drago betrayed Aerostar by costing his friend the Lucha Underground Trios Championships and siding with them dastardly snakes/reptiles of the Kobra Moon Brigade. Whether Drago is actually now evil or just brainwashed by Kobra remains to be seen. All we know is that Aerostar believes there’s still good in him (very Luke Skywalker, I know) and he’s likely going to try and reason with Drago, which will probably hurt his chances. Enough to have him lose? Not quite. Winner: Aerostar.
Pentagon Dark vs. Argenis: It’s the 2016 Reyes del Rey winner vs. the 2017 Reyes del Rey winner! What does that mean? Nothing; Argenis has never quite gotten it going in LU and now he’s being forced to go against Pentagon, who I reckon probably isn’t too happy considering his last LU appearance saw both of his arms getting broken. If I’m Argenis, I’m merely hoping to last five minutes and keep both of my arms away from the emergency room. Winner: Pentagon Dark.
The Mack vs. Mala Suerte: One is a guy who just had two amazing performances in back to back weeks against the LU Champion. The other is a rabbit with a mohawk. Bet your microwave on this one. Winner: The Mack.
Famous B vs. Texano: You may recall that Famous B was trying to recruit Texano to his client list before the hiatus. Dario must’ve gotten wind because now they’re fighting each other and, unless Famous can convince Texano to join the dark side OR Dr. Wagner Jr. is there to assist him, this is Texano’s to lose. And I mean the whole damn thing; it won’t shock me if he walks out with Brenda too! Winner: Texano.
Aerostar vs. Pentagon Dark: Even if Drago beats Aerostar via nefarious ways, you can’t go wrong with this match up. It’ll be fast, it’ll be fun, it’ll feature a lot of cool stunts and it’ll end with Pentagon wrecking Aerostar because nothing is stopping Pentagon. Again folks; he got both his arms broken! Did you really think Pentagon was just going to come back like it was no big deal? He’s going Kevin Durant, scorched earth on this tourney.
Winner: Pentagon Dark.
The Mack vs. Texano: One big man slugfest coming up! Like the last match, this will be fun and easy to predict; Big Willie is on the rise, Texano is more over than before but still a level below and, let’s be real; Big Willie vs. Pentagon is the match we deserve and need right now. Don’t be stunned if Famous and Wagner get involved to screw Texano; he is going to steal Brenda after all! Winner: The Mack.
Block A Final
Pentagon Dark vs. The Mack: The first of what I predict to be four AMAZING Block final matches. You’ve got two awesome wrestlers in Pentagon and Mack going at it here with a lot on the line for both besides the tournament, with Pentagon looking to put his destruction at the hands of the Black Lotus Triad and El Dragon Azteca Jr. behind him while Big Willie looks to get back to the title he got oh so close to winning. It’s going to be great, heart wrenching stuff where the Temple loses their minds. In the end though, it’s still not quite Big Willie’s time, with Pentagon pulling it out to make it to the Final Four. Onto Block B! Winner: Pentagon Dark.
Cage vs. Vinnie Massaro: The good news; Vinnie made it! The bad news; he’s up against Cage and the Power Glove (it’s so bad!). I’m totally pulling for my main man to get the job done here and I think he’ll put in a great effort. But unless the pizza or chicken drumstick he brings to the ring has mystical powers too, I think we’re in for a heartbreaking defeat. Thanks a lot Cage! Winner: Cage.
Mascarita Sagrada vs. Pindar: You’re probably thinking that Pindar has got this one easily. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Yes the Lizardman (suck it Delirious) may be at least three times bigger than Sagrada and he’s proven he’s pretty good when tangling with Aerostar, but he’s also never had a singles match in LU whereas Sagrada is an experienced warrior who has won big matches. I think he surprises people here and heads off to round two, thus busting Rob Viper’s bracket and ending all hopes of the Aerostar-Pindar final he so desperately desires. Winner: Mascarita Sagrada.
Marty “The Moth” Martinez vs. Saltador: Marty! HE MADE IT! Not only that but he’s going to the next round according to my crystal ball. Saltador will give him a run for his money and maybe his psychedelic style gives him a slight edge, but ultimately Marty is so nuts that it’ll probably have little to no affect. I mean come on; there’s literally no way Marty the Moth has never done LSD. Hell he may be on it now! Would explain a ton.
Winner: Marty “The Moth” Martinez.
Fenix vs. Mariposa: Believe it or not this is a match where an upset is possible. Mariposa is Marty’s sister after all and they were having issues before the hiatus, attacking and tying each other up. It wouldn’t stun me if she pulled the upset here and we get the “War of the Moths” in round two. Then again, Fenix is a top star, it would be odd if he got knocked out so early AND there’s video evidence from the LU season three trailer that he’s about to get involved with someone Marty may or may not be stalking. That’s enough for me to play it safe. Winner: Fenix.
Cage vs. Mascarita Sagrada: I have only two questions; how long will it take Cage and will Mascarita still be alive afterwards? The Cinderella run ends with the Power Glove (which is still so very, very bad). Winner: Cage.
Marty “The Moth” Martinez vs. Fenix: An intriguing matchup considering how great Fenix is and how nuts Marty is (not to mention how good Marty does against high flyers. See: Killshot). It’ll be a grueling one and its possible Marty could steal this one by playing against a potential weakness that Fenix was revealed to have in that damned season three trailer. Again though, Fenix is a top star and it’s just hard for me to not see him going at least till the Block finals. Sorry Marty; you’re still my number one guy. I even have the black Aztec Pride shirt! Winner: Fenix.
Block B Finals
Cage vs. Fenix: How about this for a match?! It’ll be the underdog Fenix, a luchador with experience toppling unbeatable giants, going up against a machine that has run over two guys already and, in case you forgot, is in possession of a gorram Power Glove!
I don’t see any way this match isn’t completely bonkers in the best way and, to be honest, it’s a too close to call situation. I could easily see Fenix being the first guy to topple Cage in order to punch his ticket to the Final Four; ditto for Cage withstanding Fenix’ never say die attack to ultimately emerge victorious. Ultimately it came down to the flip of the ole Canadian Dollar on this one and what I learned is this; Canada loves dudes that won’t quit and doesn’t appear to care for Power Gloves. Lame. Winner: Fenix.
Vibora vs. Paul London: Are you ready for the second big upset of this tournament? Better question; are you shocked that the two upsets thus far have involved the snakes? I suppose it’s possible Vibora continues the hot streak of the Kobra Moon Brigade, but like Pindar he’s never worked a singles match in the Temple and he’s going against a veteran, legend (in my mind) and Dolphin Master in London. I could be way off on this, but I just get the feeling we’re all gonna be singing Jefferson Airplane by the end of this one. Winner: Paul London.
Veneno vs. Mil Muertes: I'm not going to even dignify this match up with another sentence! Winner: Mil Muertes
Jeremiah Crane vs. Killshot: I’m calling it; this will be the first round match that surprises everyone with just how good it is. Killshot is awesome, Crane is awesome, both guys are very familiar with each other due to their work outside of the Temple; there’s no reason to believe this won’t be awesome. And don’t look now, but we’re getting another upset here. Killshot is higher on the totem pole than Crane, but he’s also got unfinished business with Dante Fox and Crane seems poised for a date with a certain other dude in this bracket. Party at the Last House on the Left! Winner: Jeremiah Crane.
Joey Ryan vs. Taya: If this isn’t the funniest match of the whole damn tournament then Joey Ryan has failed. He will do every sleazy thing imaginable to get the W, and it won’t work because Taya is too good for your tricks Joey! Also, I’m calling a 67% chance that they do the Joey Ryan “dong” spot in this and it’s the grossest/funniest thing ever. Why 67%? Because I’m above going for the low hanging 69% joke. Duh! Winner: Taya.
Paul London vs. Mil Muertes: Hot take; Paul London will do much better against Mil Muertes than Veneno did. Hot take #2; it’s still not going to matter. Winner: Mil Muertes.
Jeremiah Crane vs. Taya: I get the feeling this will be both the most uncomfortable match of the tournament for some and the one that leads to Bryan Alvarez nearly stroking out on the Bryan and Vinny show. Ultimately I think Taya will fight valiantly and once again prove herself to be one of the toughest/bravest women in wrestling, but it won’t be enough to stop the obsessed, demented Crane from getting what he wants. Winner: Jeremiah Crane.
Block C Final
Mil Muertes vs. Jeremiah Crane: I can’t be the only one who sees this match coming, right? Jeremiah Crane is in love with Catrina. Catrina is with Mil, who to this point is unaware that Jeremiah and Catrina were a thing or that Jeremiah still carries a torch. He’s also unaware that Catrina is into someone that isn’t Mil or Jeremiah. There are more moving parts in this than a Stanley Kubrick film!
The point is, there’s absolutely no way Block C should end any other way than Jeremiah getting an extended shot against Mil after the former Immortan has run roughshod over Veneno and London. It’ll be a brutal, emotional affair and Jeremiah will push Mil as far as he can. Unfortunately, I don’t see it being enough. Winner: Mil Muertes.
Sexy Star vs. P.J. Black: I get the sense this will be the match people least care about in round one, considering Sexy Star is involved. The good news for those people; she’ll be out after this. They still haven’t resolved that “who is sending Sexy the tarantulas?” story and I think we get some sort of reveal that costs her the match and allows P.J. to sneak out a dirty victory. Winner: P.J. Black.
Ricky Mandel vs. Prince Puma: If Ricky Mandel wins this match, I will eat the hat I’ve never bought for “Gamblin” Matt Mortensen. Also, I will actually buy that hat. Can’t eat a hat if you don’t own it! Well you could, but it be frowned upon; who approves of someone eating another person’s hat? Let’s move on. Winner: Prince Puma.
El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Dante Fox: This could be an amazing display of high spots or it could be Dante Fox easily disposing of an Azteca who hasn’t recovered from going through the Temple bleachers. Either way Fox is winning and it’s very possible Matanza comes out to destroy Azteca afterwards. He has to rebuild his cred with El Jefe somehow. Winner: Dante Fox.
Son of Havoc vs. Luchador Sopresa: Not even Lucha Underground is safe from Luchador Sopresa! That scheming shunovabitch (points to the two Arrow fans reading this that got that reference). Who is Havoc’s surprise opponent? It wouldn’t shock me if it were a returning King Cuerno, Ivelisse (which would make sense considering their history), Wagner or Jack Evans; hell it wouldn’t shock me if it were that new guy dressed exactly like Havoc that we saw in the season three trailer. Whoever it is, I can’t see Havoc losing unless it’s a pretty big name. Remember, he was close to having an LU title shot at Ultima Lucha Tres himself only to get screwed out of it; this is his second chance and a deep run in this tournament seems like a certainty. Winner: Son of Havoc.
P.J. Black vs. Prince Puma: It’ll be a wild, it’ll be fun and it’ll be Prince Puma standing tall while Johnny Mundo looks on with dread. On the bright side, at least he’ll have time for pants. Winner: Prince Puma.
Dante Fox vs. Son of Havoc: In a Block that will feature Azteca vs. Dante Fox and P.J. vs. Puma, this match will somehow wind up being the craziest of them all. That’s what happens when you get an athletic marvel with a death wish in Fox and a beloved high flyer in Havoc and put them together. I expect numerous spots that leave us in awe, but in the end Havoc has a journey to continue and Fox has unfinished business with Killshot still waiting. Winner: Son of Havoc.
Block D Final
Prince Puma vs. Son of Havoc: Just to remind you; if my predictions are correct, we’re getting an Elite 8 of Pentagon vs. Big Willie, Cage vs. Fenix, Mil vs. Jeremiah and now Puma vs. Havoc. If you don’t believe in the Cueto Cup now, you sure as hell will when we get to those four matches. Like, how can we even predict which one of those will be the best? That’s like choosing the best song on No Control; every tune is a contender!
Like the other matches, there’s also a good story that will be told here. Havoc will no doubt be looking to regain the UL3 title match he had and lost. Puma will be continuing his quest to find his mojo, while also slipping further and further into the darkness as Vampiro’s influence continues to grow on him. It’ll make for an interesting clash and I get the feeling we may see Son of Havoc get more cheers than Puma, something that I don’t believe has happened to the Boyle Heights sensation since LU started. Ultimately it won’t matter; whether via Vampiro’s help or his own abilities, Prince Puma’s road to redemption will continue. Winner: Prince Puma.
So that’s how the Block’s will play out sports fans, which gives us a Final Four of Pentagon Dark vs. Mil Muertes (Block A vs. Block C) and Fenix vs. Prince Puma. Both of those matches are potential epics with some history; Pentagon and Mil feuded during the early part of season two (Pentagon even cost Mil a shot of victory in Aztec Warfare II, something Mil no doubt remembers), while Fenix and Puma had a very underrated season one match that saw Puma successfully defend his LU title for the first time. Best of all it guarantees a great finals regardless of the result; Pentagon vs. Fenix would be awesome, Pentagon vs. Puma would be awesome, Mil vs. Fenix would be out of this world and Mil vs. Puma would be awesome, especially since they’ve been feuding all season (and that’s just from a work rate standpoint; those potential matches look even better when you combine LU and out of LU history into the mix).
And with that comes the moment of truth; what will the Finals of the Cueto Cup be and who’s walking out with the trophy and the title shot at Ultima Lucha Tres? Luckily I have the answer there too. While each of these potential matches is a winner, the biggest winner out of them to me is Pentagon vs. Puma. It’s a match we’ve only seen twice (and both matches were short), it’s a match that features the extra dimension of Pentagon taking on the man now controlled by his own master and it’s a match where both guys aren’t just looking for the title shot/trophy but also looking to reclaim something. Oh, and it’s the match that I personally think everyone wants to see (although that could just be me). So with that, my prediction is that Pentagon Dark will defeat Mil Muertes, Prince Puma will defeat Fenix, and they will collide in the finals where Prince Puma will become the first winner of the Cueto Cup. I’m sure some people will be upset Pentagon isn’t pulling it out, but the Puma story has been such a focal point of the season that it’s hard for me to believe they aren’t taking that to its rightful conclusion, especially since Puma’s potential opponents in that LU title match are guys he has major history with. Plus, I don’t think I need to remind you that LU is a place full of twists and turns; Pentagon can lose this match and still find a way to play a role in the title picture come Ultima Lucha Tres. He just won’t do it via victory in the Cueto Cup is all.
And with that I am spent. Hope you enjoyed this really, REALLY long break down of the Cueto Cup and I appreciate you all hanging in there with me. In the meantime I’m off to have lunch and prepare myself for reviewing tonight’s LU episode. Till then, THIS!