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Five-0 Street Fight: Castro vs. Ryan (A Lucha Underground Preview)
Tomorrow night’s Lucha Underground looks like it’ll feature two things; a whole lot of dead rabbits (SAVE YOURSELF PAUL LONDON!) and Dario Cueto’s new variation of the street fight called the Five-0 Street Fight. Why a Five-0 street fight? Because the two participants are cops in the LU universe, with one corrupt Officer Joey Ryan taking on LU’s Lieutenant James Gordon himself, Cortes “Officer Reyes” Castro. You’re probably looking at the participants and shrugging your shoulders. This is a big match? I get the impulse considering the cop storyline has been…well it hasn’t been the most captivating thing in LU’s three year history, not to mention it’s not like either Castro or Ryan have been lighting the world in recent memory (or at least not in LU. Ryan has thrilled many a person with his dick defying abilities elsewhere). That said I feel this is a unique match, a strong chance for both men to prove their worth and thus I’m going to preview the shit out of it. So for those of you who are tuning in for the first time Wednesday, have forgotten this whole cop story or just want to relive it all, let’s waste no more time and get right to talking about the participants. And we’ll start with the hero.
Long before he found his new identity, Cortes Castro was known to the wrestling world as another name; Ricky Reyes. Trained by legendary performers such as Antonio Inoki, Togi Makabe and Negro Casas, Reyes broke into wrestling with cult hero Rocky Romero as The Havana Pitbulls. Together the duo won seven tag team championships together (including the ROH Tag Titles once) and worked for places like ROH, CMLL, the Empire Wrestling Federation, Pro Wrestling Guerilla and countless others. But after the Pitbulls dissolved and the opportunities on the indies started drying up, Reyes started on a new path; that of a Boyle Heights Police Officer. His new job eventually collided with his old world when his superior officer Captain Vasquez ordered him to go undercover in the Lucha Underground Temple as a luchador. Thus Cortes Castro was born and boy oh boy has it been rough sledding. In his three years in the Temple, Castro has joined The Crew, watched all the other members (Bael, Big Ryck and Mr. Cisco) die, failed to make charges stick against Dario Cueto, been outed as a cop and forced to go undercover again as the masked Veneno, a run so unbelievably disastrous that you almost wonder if Bael and Cisco got the better end of the deal meeting their maker. And that doesn’t even count all the times Angelico has hit him with a dive off the roof; the point is it’s been tough to be Officer Reyes/Cortes Castro. At least tomorrow he now has a chance to get revenge on the man who snitched on him.
There’s so much to say about Joey Ryan that I could honestly sit here for the next thirty years telling you about him and it wouldn’t be enough. So here’s the important stuff; for nearly twenty years now The Sleaze Commander of Wrestling has made skin crawl in almost every promotion available, in between finding time to turn his private parts into a part of his act, propose to his girlfriend mid match and forming one of the most endearing/underrated tag teams of all time with Candice LeRae. You could say life has been good for Joey Ryan…except it hasn’t. Behind the curtain, the dick strength and all the other shenanigans, Ryan is a man who has led a double life as a corrupt police officer with mountains and mountains of alimony to pay. That second life led to Joey finding his way to the Lucha Underground Temple, first as a flamboyant but seemingly on the up and up cop investigating Dario Cueto. Eventually those alimony checks got too big for Joey to keep up with, leading him down a dark path that will forever dominate his destiny. I will now allow you all a minute to think over what of what I just described for both guys is kayfabe and what is real.
How Did We Get Here?
In case it wasn’t clear already, both Cortes Castro and Joey Ryan are/were cops working in the same precinct out of Boyle Heights. Castro initially had been working undercover by himself in LU as a member of The Crew, a street gang style stable that served as Dario Cueto’s enforces. When El Jefe disappeared at the end of season one however, Castro’s superior (and closeted hot immortal) Captain Vasquez decided that Castro would go back to the Temple with an undercover partner; Joey Ryan. Despite not liking each other, the pair actually did half decently, forming a revitalized version of The Crew with the then still living Mr. Cisco. All’s well, ends well right? NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Eventually poor Cisco found out that Castro and Ryan were cops, forcing them to arrest him and turn him into an informant against Dario. You could say that went well…if you consider Cisco being caught wearing a wire and being beaten to death with Dario’s red bull a good thing. Just like that Castro (who legitimately liked Cisco as a friend) was irrationally having Dario arrested, the case against Dario fell apart like the Wall during the final five minutes of Game of Thrones and Cisco was off to join Bael in the Great Wrestling Ring in the Sky. That or he was reincarnated as a rabbit. You could talk me into either theory really.
The death of Cisco, the failure to apprehend El Jefe for longer than a minute and yes, those damn alimony/child support notices, caused Joey Ryan to betray the BHPD and reveal to Dario the whole shebang; that Cortes Castro was a cop and the police were trying to build a case against Dario. This is where the biggest shock of the story occurs sports fans; El Jefe didn’t kill Castro! Shocking right? After what he had done to both Bael and Cisco you’d think Dario would’ve gone for The Crew hat trick and offed Castro as well. Instead he merely had Castro’s arm broken by Matanza and sent Castro on his way, forcing him and Vasquez to develop the Veneno persona in order for Castro to get back into the Temple. Eventually Ryan figured out that Castro was under the mask and exposed him during a mask match with Sexy Star. Castro got his revenge a week later by attacking Ryan after a match and one confrontation with El Jefe later, Castro now has this street fight against Ryan. That my friends is the story of the Boyle Heights PD and Lucha Underground. Well, not counting the whole thing with Vasquez, Catrina, Cage and the Power Glove, but that’s a whole other story for a whole other time man!
What to Expect
I can tell you one thing for certain will occur in this match; many props will be used. I’m not even just saying that because there’s a picture out there showing Castro spraying what appears to be Pepper Spray into Joey Ryan’s eyes. This is Lucha Underground sports fans, the same place that just a week ago had a “Boyle Heights Biker’s Brawl” match that featured a tool box and two motorcycles surrounding the ring. If they were gonna throw everything out for that match, there’s no way they won’t do the same thing here for the Five-0 Street Fight. I’d expect we’ll see night sticks, batons, handcuffs, more than one can of pepper spray/mace, at least one police uniform and maybe even a squad car. If they can get a bike in there, they can get a squad car. Just don’t start the siren on that boy; everyone will start looking up at the Temple steps to see if Commissioner Big Poppa Pump is making his LU debut.
But what about the match itself? What can we expect from two guys who, if we’re being honest, haven’t had a solo standout moment yet in the Temple? On the one hand, the match is such a complete unknown that I can see it going either way, be it very good or very bad (or quite possibly somewhere in between). But I will say this; neither Castro nor Joey Ryan are slouches in the ring by any stretch. The problem is that neither guy has been given a major singles showcase yet; all of Castro’s best moments came with The Crew while Ryan’s been limited to short matches that haven’t gotten enough time to show he’s more than his reputation. LU loves to give guys opportunities to strut their stuff and show people another side of themselves (look at what Son of Havoc and Son of Madness did last week in the most underrated match of the season), so I’ll go out on a limb here and say these guys get more time than expected and do more than expected. If you think about it it’s not really that big a stretch to reach that conclusion either; Ryan can work splendidly when called upon and Castro has years of pedigree to show how solid a worker he is. All they need is the chance they’re getting here. Let’s see if they make the most of it.
It feels like this match should be Castro’s big moment, which is why I was originally going to pick him. But here’s the problem; regardless of the result, Castro is pretty much doomed. If he loses, Dario is going to have him killed. If he wins, same thing; the only reason El Jefe would spare Castro at this point is if he got Castro to turn, and that ship sailed the moment Cisco died. Throw in how Joey Ryan just fits into things better going forward, not to mention that Captain Vasquez seems to be getting more involved with Catrina than Castro these days, and I think LU surprises us with a big rudo victory. Joey Ryan takes this one deep into the match, followed by Castro being dragged to Matanza’s cell by Dario so he can join Bael and Cisco up in that Great Ring in the Sky. It’s been one hell of a run Castro/Officer Reyes/Veneno/whatever your name is. But all good things must come to an end. Unless you’re Dr. Wagner Jr., then you just unmask and woo all the hot super models for the next twenty years anyway.
That’s the preview sports fans! I’m off to do other stuff. It happens. Till we meet again, check out my buddy Leafster’s interview with Cortes Castro and support your fellow wrestling fan. Oh, and THIS!