Lucha Underground: Aztec Warfare II Thoughts and Beyond
Ladies and gentlemen I have seen Grave Consequences, I witnessed Angelico’s dive live on the El Rey Network; hell I’ve even seen a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). But holy balls, tonight’s episode of Lucha Underground, featuring the second ever Aztec Warfare match, was like Jason Richardson’s dunk to win the 2003 Slam Dunk contest; something I (and Kenny “The Jet” Smith) had never seen before. If the season two premiere of Lucha Underground was an emotional victory of how far the promotion had come, tonight was an exhilarating, victorious statement that opened up numerous door and endless possibilities of where they can go. You could say it was like Batman v. Superman; you know, if Batman v. Superman hadn’t been treated by critics like it was the band Creed.
Of course, being a man of many words, there’s a lot more to tonight’s epic episode than just that. So without further ado, let’s go over a few thoughts from Aztec Warfare II.
1. Rey Mysterio is back! And I’m not just talking about him physically showing up in the Temple for the first time; I’m talking about Rey Mysterio actually looking like Rey Mysterio. Legendary as he may be, the last time Rey felt special to me was years ago, before injuries and mismanagement left him as just another guy in WWE. Tonight, Rey reminded me of the man I grew up watching in WCW and the early days of his WWE run. No he’ll never have the same burst he once had, but he looked liberated and crisp, and even broke out some new moves in his game like that cross arm breaker that forced King Cuerno to submit (a move that bewildered Matt Mortensen. He’s still in shock). This is the Rey Mysterio that can be a huge factor for LU. Welcome back Rey; we’ve missed you!
2. Johnny Mundo and Cage are heading to a Falls Count Anywhere match and I couldn’t be happier! If there was one thing from the first half of season one that didn’t get a definitive end in this match, Cage-Mundo/Taya was the one. We had Cage going after both Mundo and Taya throughout the match with relish, Cage getting Del Rio’d by Mundo through the office window only for Cage to get right back up and help eliminate the Wednesday Night Delight and then Mundo helping to eliminate Cage by breaking a cinder block over his head. That sound like a definite end to you? I’m not complaining; who doesn’t want to see these two fight throughout the Temple one of these days? Give them fifteen minutes, a stop sign and a bunch of other shit and this will make Cage vs. The Mack look like a Gary Marshall romantic comedy. Wow I take that back; nothing should be compared to the atrocities that are Gary Marshall romantic comedies.
3. Joey Ryan is the dumbest smart person ever. Or is he the smartest dumb person ever? Whatever the case, you had to know that he was setting himself up for humiliation the moment he handcuffed himself to the rail to avoid being pinned. Like really Joey? It’s your own fault you got punched, misted and ultimately wasted like an action movie extra. This never would’ve happened if Candice LeRae was there I tell you!
4. Famous B made it to the Temple! Alas, it was as a spectator rather than a performer, which I guess means the Famous one is indeed hanging up the boots to become LU’s Bobby Heenan. Of course, we still have no idea who is client will be considering he handed out cards to pretty much everyone. Perhaps that’s a smart idea considering who the Lucha Underground Champion is now (you’re going to want to throw as many bodies as you can at our new Immortan) but man Famous, maybe narrow the search a bit. I will say this though; his dance after El Dragon Azteca Jr. did that unbelievable senton over the turnbuckle was Ben-Hur levels of epic. Any other show and that’s the best thing ever.
5. Taya Valkyrie rules. You clearly have to if you’re the only woman in Aztec Warfare AND you’re the one who eliminated the Machine. So what if it was because of a cinder block! Am I the only one who found it interesting that Taya was the only woman in this match? I reckon the Trios Champs were left off intentionally ala Pentagon Jr. (the lesson; don't get on Catrina's bad side kids), but what about Sexy, Kobra Moon or Mariposa? Very interesting and a good sign for Taya; clearly she’s much beloved by the LU powers that be. And why wouldn’t she be?!
6. Jack Evans is the tough as hell. I know; I can’t believe I’m saying this either. Jack Evans, the break dance master, the FIFA Champ (allegedly), the man the myth the legend is also a tough guy? It can’t be. And yet it is now, considering the man fell down some stairs, got hip tossed from the crowd to the floor, fell down some stairs, took a powerbomb to the wooden stands, fell down some stairs, was hit with a Canadian Destroyer so hard that I thought his head almost went through the ring and DID I MENTION HE FELL DOWN THE FRIGGIN TEMPLE STAIRS?! Taya Valkyrie can’t believe how much he got his ass kicked tonight. Thus my hat goes off to Jack; he took a beating, he kept going and he somehow lived to tell about it after. At least I think he did. Can we have Angelico check to see if Evans is still alive? Better yet, can we check to see why Angelico wasn’t in this match? That was literally the one flaw of this match. Dammit now I'm depressed.
7. El Dragon Azteca Jr. is going to be a stud. You got to feel bad for the Artist Formerly Known as the Due in the White Hoodie; he had his big coming out party in this match, only for it to be overshadowed by you know what. Even still, man is this guy good. He’s got the hops, he’s got the really cool look (let the record show that I approve of the green. Very Lizard like) and it was pretty clear from Matt and Vampiro (who sold Azteca’s debut perfectly) that he’s going to be a big deal going forward. Also note that he was one of only two guys who actually semi held his own against the new Eater of Worlds at the end. That’s right; I’m calling him Eater of Worlds. Bray Wyatt can have the name back when he’s not booked like the band aid threw away.
8. Mil Muertes is no longer Immortan Mil Muertes. Sorry Beast King; it was a great run, but your quick elimination and the arrival of the most diabolical hater since…well you has led to you losing the crown of redeemer. No longer will you be able to carry us to the gates of Valhalla, shiny and chrome. What a sad moment.
9. Pentagon Jr. vs. Mil Muertes is going to be the best thing ever. Alright it’s not all bad for Mil. Sure he’s no longer the Immortan, but he’s now going to have the chance to feud with the LU’s hottest star for season two’s second half. You can’t get much better than that. And yes, this will be the hottest feud by a mile; have you seen Pentagon and Mil in action? I guarantee these bouts are going to be on the level of Fenix-Mil, perhaps even higher considering that both Vampiro and Catrina will be involved. And how about that interaction between those two there? The anger, the hatred, the sexual tension (alright, maybe not that last one); that’s a power struggle right there that you only read about in conspiracy thriller scripts.
10. El Jefe and Matanza rule the world. There will be a lot of great things remembered about Aztec Warfare II; at the end of the day though, the two moments that will stand out the most will be a) Dario Cueto’s grand return to the Temple (which got a huge pop as expected) and b) the utter annihilation of the remaining Aztec Warfare competitors at the hands of Immortan Matanza. That’s right, the monster is indeed our new redeemer, and I don’t know who can deny that after what we just saw tonight. In ten minutes, Matanza went from a mythical question mark to the most dominant force in wrestling this side of Brock Lesnar. In fact, are we sure he’s not related to Lesnar?! In any event, his arsenal of suplexes were breathtaking (especially a German Suplex to Big Willie Mack that might’ve been the most violent thing I’ve seen in wrestling this year), his ability to do a standing shooting star press had me jumping out of my seat and good lord we could be here all night with me describing just how epic this performance was. There was every reason to believe that the expectations surrounding Matanza were so high that both Lucha Underground and the performer would never be able to live up to them. And yet here we sit with Matanza as both Lucha Underground’s new World Champion and the most over rudo in the company. All from ten minutes of work! Seriously, someone just let Chris DeJoseph and his staff take home that throne already, because they’re freaking kings.
Of course, their work isn’t done yet. Many questions sprouted from Aztec Warfare that will need to be answered; what’s next for Mysterio and his protégé; how does Fenix (you know, only the former Lucha Underground Champion) bounce back after losing his title; what’s the next step in escalation for Pentagon and Mil; what happens to Puma; the list goes on and on. And of course, the ultimate question now becomes who will be the man or woman to dethrone Matanza? Is there anyone? It’s that last part where I find myself just completely captivated, and why I found the performance of Matanza and his victory to be so compelling. Unstoppable villains are cool (see Mil Muertes); unstoppable villains who are eventually defeated by an underdog hero are even better. Lucha Underground has now set up a scenario where Matanza’s defeat is going to be the biggest thing in the history of the western hemisphere, regardless of when he’s beaten or who beats him. Strap in folks; we’re about to take a journey that has me more excited that Batman v. Superman (critics be damned). I have no idea what will happen and neither do you. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!
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