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Lucha Underground Preview: The Big One
No sports fans; your eyes aren’t deceiving you (unless you looked into the eclipse yesterday. Then you may need medical attention). This is indeed a Lucha Underground preview coming from yours truly, the first LU preview I’ve done since…does the Cueto Cup bracket thing I did count? If not, then the last time was May, when I broke down All Night Long II. This is what happens when you break down a whole tournament in one column, thus leaving you little reason to preview stuff you already previewed! Alas with the Cueto Cup finishing up this week and two other matches happening alongside it, I thought it was time to dust off the old previewing gloves and bang one out in between watching Triplemania matches. So here we are folks! Are you ready to find out who wins the Cueto Cup and who walks out Lucha Underground Champion? Oh, and who keeps their mask? Yeah that’s happening too; don’t worry, I’ll explain it all in a minute. Or right now! Moses, play us in while I talk Veneno vs. Sexy Star.
Mask vs. Mask Match
Sexy Star vs. Veneno
What to Expect: So yeah…this is happening. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’d probably prefer any other match than this one to be happening on this episode. Hell why did we even need another match; surely El Jefe could’ve held this one off another week so the top two matches could’ve had all the time in the world. I guess not, and thus we’re stuck with a mask match between two people whose only interactions have been Sexy attacking Veneno after Cage turned him into mulch a lifetime ago. And sure that’s not the whole story; El Jefe is clearly trying to expose Veneno as Cortes Castro and all, but that’s not enough to make this match must see. Oh well. Our best hope here is one of two things; Veneno comes to play and we get a repeat of the surprisingly solid Sexy-Super Fly mask match we got in season one, or Sexy tears into Veneno quick and this match is shorter than Dude, Where’s My Car? Either way, the sooner this is over and the next chapter of Veneno/Sexy’s journey begins the better.
Winner: I mean it’s got to be Sexy Star, right? Everything points to her winning, from the fact that she’s a top star to Veneno being a dork to Dario even all but stating that Sexy should dominate this match last week. You could argue that all of that (not to mention the fact that Sexy unmasked in real life around the time this was filmed) might be leading to a swerve and…well I will admit that I have thought of that myself. But it’s Sexy Star in the Temple, so I’ll play it safe and say that she walks out victorious, followed by El Jefe throwing Castro into Matanza’s cage so he can join Bael and Cisco in the great Temple in the Sky. An early RIP for you Officer Reyes/Cortes Castro/Veneno; we hardly knew ye.
Cueto Cup Final
Pentagon Dark vs. Prince Puma
What to Expect: And just like that we’re away from that boring ass opener and onto the good stuff! I haven’t seen an upgrade like this since Último Guerrero turned his broken down blue sports car into a bad ass orange sports car. And La Máscara, Máximo Sexy and Psycho Clown thought they had gotten one over on the UG destroying his car. Fools; UG is like the Cal Hockley of lucha libre, if Cal actually didn’t let Jack Dawson hijack his woman, pride and sense of self worth from him.
But enough of me finding excuses to quote Titanic. Let’s break down this match and let’s start with a question; is there any way this match is anything less than fucking awesome? I know; we all thought Puma-Fenix and Mil-Pentagon would be fucking awesome and they just turned out to be kinda, sorta awesome. This is different though. Not only have Puma and Pentagon proven they can have great matches with each other (remember their eight minute barnburner in season two?) and not only are the stakes huge here with the Cueto Cup on the line but there’s the extra heft to consider in the form of each man’s connection to Vampiro. Not long ago, Pentagon was the protégé of Vamp’s before he kicked him to the curb and led Vamp on the path to corrupting Puma. In many ways this is the ultimate test for both guys; for Puma it’s a chance to prove this darker direction under Vampiro was the right choice and for Pentagon it’s a chance to prove he doesn’t really need Vampiro after all. That’s a great story dynamic to this match, and again, this match didn’t exactly need it to begin with. So barring an unforeseen injury or time constraints rearing its ugly head, I see no reason to believe this match won’t be anything less than, how was it I put it earlier? Oh yeah; fucking awesome.
Winner: I had this match for the Cueto Cup final and I had Prince Puma taking home the trophy. I’ve seen nothing to suggest any other result than that thus far, so I’ll stick with it and go with Puma to head to the Ultima Lucha Tres main event. Never fear Pentagon fans, all…a million of you; there are still other avenues he can take to get into the title picture and it was made clear in that scene where he threatened to break every bone in El Jefe’s body if he didn’t walk out LU Champion at UL3. He’s not going anywhere; he’s just also not winning this match. Double edged sword I suppose.
Lucha Underground Championship Match
Johnny Mundo (c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
What to Expect: So this is a pretty big match, huh? I’m sure some will scoff at this being a WWE retreat type of match and, sure, even I was a little skeptical of this match when El Jefe first announced it weeks ago. But holy hell has the build up to this match been awesome? It’s had a little bit of everything, from those awesome Michael Schiavello narrated video packages to Mundo and Worldwide Underground targeting El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Mysterio’s son Domenic, all culminating in last week’s epic all out locker room brawl that started with these two. I fail to see any way LU could’ve built this match up any better than they have, and my hats off to DeJoseph and the writing team for turning a match I was sort of interested in into a match I’m really interested. I think the last time that happened was John Cena vs. Randy Orton, TLC 2013. And now suddenly I’m scared about how good this match will be again!
And to be honest, there are two reasons to be worried about this match. First, there’s the ever looming threat of Worldwide Underground interference. I still remain understanding of why LU keeps bringing that group out (the objective is clearly to make Johnny Mundo look like the biggest coward alive), but I think even the most diehard LU fan will admit it’s gotten kind of old and that a Mundo title match without interference would be quite nice. Then there’s Matanza. You know, Dario’s monster brother that he keeps locked in the basement? Yeah, he’s still around, he has a score to settle with Rey and what better way to kick that feud off again then by having Matanza come in and cost him the match, thus riling everyone up all the same? Both of those possibilities are huge, which means this match could suffer if you’re a person who looks at interference like a dangerous insect that needs to be squashed quickly. Alright, alright, I’m officially done with the Titanic jokes.
Aside from those two concerns though, I have to say that this match looks like the kind of bout that can and will be a surefire hit. All the drama over interference has overshadowed the fact that Johnny Mundo has transformed into one of the best rudos in the business, both from a character and workrate standpoint. Meanwhile Rey Mysterio has been rejuvenated in LU, combining the storytelling lessons he learned with WWE with a renewed athleticism that recalls some of his work from his early days of AAA, ECW and WCW. These are two men who have expertly played their parts going into this match and can tell a story using a numerous amount of styles; high flying, brawling, spot based, psychology based, you name it. There’s very little reason to believe, interference or no interference, that this match isn’t going to be excellent for however much time they’re given. It won’t be easy, especially following the Puma-Pentagon match which is sure to thrill. But the way LU has been promoting this match all week combined with the build up and the pedigree of these two men fills me with enough confidence that they can deliver something that, like Puma-Pentagon, will be fucking awesome.
Winner: There is no wrong choice whichever way LU chooses to go. If we assume (like I am) that Prince Puma is winning the Cueto Cup, both Mundo and Rey make sense as his opponents, with Rey giving Puma a chance to avenge his Ultima Lucha Dos loss while Mundo gives us a call back to the first ever feud in LU history. So what makes me think Johnny Mundo is going to walk out with the gold? Matanza. Even if he doesn’t interfere in this match, the Rey-Matanza stuff was left open for a reason and they’re not going to put the belt on Rey with that unresolved. So I’ll go with Mundo retaining and, hold onto your butts, I’m going with him to win cleanly. Maybe he’ll tell Worldwide Underground not to interfere, maybe Dario will ban them from ringside…hell maybe they just won’t come out. But I say Mundo does this on his own, gets the win and afterwards Matanza reappears and lays out Rey, setting that bad boy up for Ultima Lucha Tres.
Aaaaaaaaand scene. That’s all for now folks, but I’ll be back in…literally a few minutes with part two of my 25 Greatest Matches of Triplemania History series. This is what happens when you write that column first but then post this one first…did I say that right? In any event, you’ll be reading that soon. Till then, THIS!