January 22, 2015 by gorillapressonline
The El Rey Network has, thus far, had a highly successful first run of Lucha Underground. Its foray into the world of professional wrestling is pulling in names like Blue Demon Jr, Chavo Guerrero, Konnan and John Morrison alongside an excellent, and varied, roster of talent.
To kick things off, head honcho Dario Cueto unveils the first ever Lucha Underground champion will be decided tonight in a match that he invented, Aztec Warfare, on his first episode of 2015.
20 Luchadors enter the ring in 90-second intervals – much like the Royal Rumble – with pin fall or submission the only way to eliminate the competition. This shows Dario Cueto‘s passion for violence, “anything goes” is surely a factor that will come into play later on.
The first to enter the ring is Fenix, followed by Jonny Mundo (AKA former WWE Superstar John Morrision).
Jonny Mundo has clashed with Dario Cueto in previous episodes, and the prize money that started the series, so it’s not surprising that he is second out of the gates.
In fact, Dario gives a sly smirk as he announces Mundo – a subtle detail in the story lines, for which LU is already becoming well-known.
The action is frantically paced, with Fenix and Mundo using parkour acrobatics to lure in the audience who are audibly fully behind this product form the get-go. El Rey have given Mundo, and its entire roster, a real chance to display their unique fighting styles and techniques to a willing audience and the variety is welcome, especially in the over-saturated, WWE world of pro-wrestling.
90 seconds quickly pass and the #3 entry is Mr Cisco, he quickly attacks Fenix with a ground and pound assault. There’s nothing pretty about Mr Cisco as the Rusty Screwdriver lives up to its moniker, delivering a ruthless attack.
Fenix returns the assault with a running head into the ropes, leaving Mundo to sweep up Mr Cisco with the stunning End of the World manoeuvre.
Mr Cisco is the first to be eliminated from the fray
No respite for Mundo, however, as Fenix sneakily tries to roll him up for a close two count, and a double superkick takes out both competitors leaving them open for the next Luchadors as easy targets.
The fourth fighter to enter the warfare is King Cuerno. This imposing Lucha is one to watch out for, and is a serious contender for this title.
Cuerno wastes no time in attacking Jonny Mundo with his Arrow from the depths of Hell rope attack – the high flying style is emblematic of his fluidity in ring.
The Lucha Underground action will please fans of the high-flying style of Eddie Gurrerro and Rey Mysterio, in particular, with the latter rumoured to be making a move to the company soon.
The fifth entrant is Son of Havoc and the bearded, masked brawler is definitely set for a fight tonight. His style may not exactly be pretty but it sure is effective.
Havoc takes out the whole ring with some acrobatics as #6 entry Pimpenella Escarlata; the exotico legend from Mexico flamboyantly enters the ring with his sights firmly set on Fenix.
#7 is the amazing Luchador Prince Puma – arguably the greatest talent on this roster, who has been making waves in the company from its very first episode. He’s also the favourite to win Aztec Warfare so all eyes will be on him from this point on (this also marks him as a huge target to the other Luchadors).
Puma and Mundo go straight for each other, the ring clearing in the process, and Puma viciously pummels Mundo on the ground.
A beautiful springboard moonsault from the rope is a wonder to behold, showcasing such an impressive agility and ring presence – he is the future of Lucha Libre, for sure.
Fenix catches Mundo off-guard and kicks him in the back of the skull, following it up with a huge over the top rope leg drop.
#8 Ivelisse is the first female competitor to enter the fray, she wastes little time in cleaning out the competition hitting Fenix with a DDT from the ropes.
Son of Havoc hits a shooting star press on Pimpenella, eliminating him in the process
Pimpenella Escarlata is the second elimination
Shortly Escarlata is knocked out, Drago enters the match as the ninth Luchador and, from the moment he enters the ring, he launches a number of effective kicks and a running backdrop DDT onto Fenix, with Mundo watching as he goes for the cover making no effort to rescue his one time tag team partner.
King Cuerno hits Ivelisse with his thrill of the hunt finisher and she is the 3rd
to be eliminated
#10 entry is Bael, another member of The Crew.
Havoc gets rocked by a Superman Punch superkick combo from Prince Puma and instantly becomes the fourth victim.
4th elimination is Son Of Havoc
Cortez Castro is the #12 entry, slowly strolling to the ring as mayhem ensues outside (Jonny Mundo and Puma work off each other brilliantly, in particular) while the rest of the action is fast and frantic.
Castro and Bael quickly join forces as they wait for the final member of The Crew to enter the tournament, which ultimately will give them a better change of winning. #13 Ricky Mandell is an all-American style wrestler and the current underdog of Lucha Underground.
Bael is the 5th elimination, leaving Cortez Castro alone to tackle Mandell
Cortez doesn’t last much longer as Jonny Mundo makes swift work of him with a running knee, as the #14 wrestler comes out – Big Ryck, the final Crew member, with none of the crew left alive.
Cortez Castro is the sixth to go
Big Ryck decimates the remaining Luchadors, eliminating Ricky Mandell after a rock bottom, followed by Cuerno getting rid of Drago. The Powerhouse is totally cleaning house.
Mandell and Drago are eliminated seventh and eight respectively
Jonny Mundo takes advantage of King Cuerno’s ego and gets the pin count.
9th elimination King Cuerno
Considering the amount of athletes in the ring, the action is refreshingly easy to follow, with so much going on that it’s impressive Matt Striker does such a great job calling this match. Sadly his broadcast colleague Vampiro has very little to offer. Striker could definitely use a more experienced co-commentator to get the best out of him as his knowledge is second to none, yet his delivery needs a little polishing, a little more pizzazz.
The 14th Luchador to enter the match, Pentagon Jr, wastes no time in joining the chaos, attacking everyone in sight, leaving just Big Ryck and himself still standing.
An impressive move-set from Pentagon Jr follows, as he takes out Prince Puma with a powerbomb onto his knee which looks absolutely brutal.
Super Fly enters the tournament as the 15th entrant.
Big Ryck stands out from the other Luchadors, his size and strength are well-utilised in this match, and he breaks the high flying action and slows the pace down enough to allow viewers to savour the high spots.
Chavo Guerrero Jr enters late as #16 and quickly takes care of Super Fly and Pentagon Jr with chair shots making them eliminations 10 and 11 respectively.
10th Elimination Super Fly, followed by Pentagon Jnr
Chavo continues to decimate the roster with the chair, as Ryck and Fenix square off in the ring allowing the 17th entrant, Mascarita Sagrada, to enter.
Sagrada and Fenix have a wonderful exchange, with Sagrada’s fluidity combining nicely with Fenix‘s style – such flourishes keep this match exciting even at the 30 minute mark. In fact, this episode would be a great entry point for new fans as it gives glimpses of the different styles on display without throwing newbies in too deeply.
Entry #18 is the AAA female superstar Sexy Star and her hyper energetic style is perfect as she throws down with the Luchas hitting just, if not twice, as hard.
The tiny Mascarita escapes the giant Big Ryck, deftly dodging and rolling from his assault as Sexy Star has her targets set on Chavo at ringside.
Mascarita Sagrada cannot escape Big Ryck‘s attacks forever, though, and falls valiantly becoming the 12th man (or midget) evicted.
12th elimination is Mascarita Sagrada
The nineteenth ntrant is El Mariachi Loco, and as he enters the ring a beautiful corkscrew arm-drag from the top rope onto Mundo impresses, as does his exchange with Fenix, which is wonderful. This is what sets LU apart from the other, similar, federations that an mainstream English audience may be more used to and hopefully it will be a gateway into all the excellent wrestling that is available from around the world.
The final Luchador to enter the Aztec Warfare is Mil Muertes, signalling that a thousand deaths are coming, while the first two competitors, Jonny Mundo and Fenix, are still fighting strong after nearly 40 minutes in the match.
With all the remaining Luchadores in the ring one of these superstars will soon be crowned the inaugural Lucha Underground champion.
Mil Muertes makes a name for himself in the match hitting the flat-liner on El Mariachi Loco after delivering a stiff punch to the jaw, after which Muertes wastes no time in covering him for the pin.
El Mariachi Loco is the 13th man out
Big Ryck and Muertes now have huge targets on their heads, as the remaining Luchadors all single them out – a great strategy in these style of matches, so much so that it’s surprising it has taken this long to happen.
Chavo Guerrero steals the pin on Big Ryck after Puma hits a standing shooting star press, and as he goes for the cover Fenix hits a massive 450 onto Chavo and Ryck.
Big Ryck is the 14th eviction
Chavo quickly reintroduces the chair and takes out the first entrant Fenix, getting the pin and closing the margin on the title in record time.
Fenix is the 15th elimination after a whopping 43 minutes in ring
The animosity between Sexy Star and Chavo is rekindled after a three week feud, as Chavo refuses to fight her one on one and uses a chair as a weapon, placing it on her face as she is laid out on the mat. He heads for the top rope, but luckily for Sexy Star Blue Demon Jr rushes to her rescue, gaining a little bit of revenge on Chavo in the process.
Sexy Star retrieves the chair and levels him with a shot before scooping up the pin.
Chavo Guerrero Jr eliminated at #16.
Things certainly aren’t over for this threesome and it is bound to continue in the Lucha Underground for some time.
The final four Luchadors left standing are: Prince Puma, Sexy Star, Mil Muertes and Jonny Mundo. With minutes to go, Sexy Star gets drilled with a spear from Muertes, shaving it down to three.
Sexy Star is the #17th elimination
Catrina gets involved at ringside and hits an ensigury as thanks from Mundo. Two consecutive 450s from Mundo and Puma see off Muertes and deny his shot at the title.
Mil Muertes is #18 to bite the dust
The final two remaining Luchas are both worthy champions, the seasoned Mundo and the impressive newcomer Prince Puma. Puma, in particular, is worth keeping an eye on as his physique, athletic prowess and daredevil stunts position him head and shoulders above most of the roster and, as the remaining minutes of the match show, he has a very bright future in professional wrestling.
In the promotion’s short history, Puma and Mundo have been allies, opponents and friends, and whoever is crowned champion, both have plenty left to offer the LU fans.
Puma hits a gorgeous Spanish Fly from the top rope, getting a close two count, Mundo quickly returns with his End of the World manoeuvre but again to no avail – exhilarating action to close the show.
Puma finally hits the 630 Splash and becomes the first ever Lucha Underground heavyweight champion.
This is an excellent way for LU to come back after the holiday hiatus, the format held up nicely filling in what was essentially a 60 minute block of pure wrestling.
Lots of story lines have been woven into this Royal Rumble-style match, which never once dragged or felt forced in spite of its considerable run-time.
The match not only crowned the champion but set its roster up nicely for the future, while simultaneously whetting our appetites for what’s to come.
If LU play their cards right, this could soon be the must-watch pro-wrestling event of the fans’ week.
Lucha Underground is broadcast on Wednesdays on the El Rey Network