7/5 Moore’s Lucha Underground TV Review: The continuation of the Cueto Cup first round, Dante Fox vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr, Prince Puma vs. Ricky Mandel, Sexy Star vs. PJ Black

By John Moore

Lucha Underground TV on El Rey Network
Taped May 7-8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California at The Temple

This week’s intro teaser focused initially on the strange relationship between Killshot and Dante Fox (AR Fox). The scene then recapped Rey Mysterio trying to stop Prince Puma from accepting the influence of Vampiro. They then went to the scene where Son of Havoc’s doppelganger, Son of Madness, was introduced. This week’s episode was titled “Left for dead” which was written on a burnt paper that Dante Fox gave to Killshot…

In the next cinematic Dante Fox was shown jogging on the bridge overseeing the Los Angeles River. Fox ran towards the area where the temple was as we heard a heartbeat with Dante Fox looking distressed. We then cut to a flashback where Dante Fox was in some bunker or something while Killshot was shooting up the terrorists that we saw in his reintroduction vignette. Fox yelled for someone to help him. Fox was shown being tortured by the terrorists where they told him that Killshot escaped imprisonment and left “YOU” (Dante Fox) for dead. The terrorists said that they would find Killshot and kill him, all the while slapping Dante on the face. They were speaking in another language and some subtitles were shown fading in the middle of the screen for dramatic effect. The terrorists promised to kill Fox if they don’t find Killshot.

The terrorists were recording a video where they were about to behead Fox. Fox was saved by a mystery man. This was a US soldier. The screen would constantly cut to Dante Fox jogging and distressed from the flashback. Fox was jogging towards the Temple in Boyle Heights. Killshot was standing atop of the temple, or at least a cognitive illusion of him, who pointed the gun fingers at Fox…

Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary with Sergio Arau still as the house band for the night. Melissa Santos introduced the next matches for the Cueto Cup…

1. “The Darewolf” PJ Black vs. Sexy Star in a first round Cueto Cup match. Black did crotch chops and drew “Culero” chants. Sexy Star came to the ring in a nice Lucha Sailor Moon-esque costume. Black tried to start a test of strength with the shorter luchadora (Sexy Star is about the size of Alexa Bliss if you want a comparison). PJ Black single handedly slammed down sexy star and worked on Star’s left arm. Sexy Star escaped the wristlock with a huracanrana. Sexy Star flipped Black over with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Sexy Star then hit hit black with an armdrag. Star went into the dragon submission but Black stood his ground and converted it into a vertical suplex.

Star crotched Black on the top rope and gave him some hard slaps. Star popped up to the top rope and hit Black with a frankensteiner. Black went high risk again but Star pushed him to ringside. Star then hit Black with a long distance crossbody. Star hit Black with a crossbody in the ring for the nearfall. Taya Valkyrie came out and tripped the leg of Sexy Star to allow Black to gain the advantage. Taya distracted the referee and threw brass knuckles at PJ Black. Sexy Star beat down Black and picked up the knuckle dusters herself. Star hit Black with the power of the punch in front of the referee for the disqualification.

PJ Black defeated Sexy Star via DQ in 4:15 to advance in the Cueto Cup Tournament.

Sexy Star looked disappointed as Taya laughed at Star. Striker clarified that usually Dario Cueto is a fan of No-DQ matches but he did tell the referees to enforce the rules during this tournament strictly. Sexy Star gave referee Justin Borden the power of the punch with the knuckle dusters. Sexy Star then went after Taya who skipped away. Striker pointed out how two Worldwide Underground members have advanced in the Cueto Cup… [C]

John’s Thoughts: It’s night and day with Sexy Star from Season 1 to where she’s at in Season 3 as far as ability. She’s a great wrestler and works well with everyone except Johnny Mundo for some reason. Sexy Star is amazing! Interesting note, backstage on the day this match was taped, Sexy Star was really emotional due to this being taped after her great “No Mas” match and all of the wonderful response she got through social media and at the temple. She was probably inspired during this match and good for her for putting on yet another good in ring effort. The finish was fine. A bit old school in the heel stuff, but it does put more heat on Mundo’s underlings who need it.

It was time for a Michael Schiavello Rey-Mundo video package. Rey and Mundo were shown doing workouts in their respective training spots. Rey talked about wanting to be champion to represent the best champions in the world as well as show respect to Prince Puma who made the title prestigious as the inaugural champion. Rey was jogging in the streets of LA and training with the local children. Mundo was shown talking down Rey. Mundo said he’s the best because he has the title. He told Rey to suck it. Mundo was doing cardio kickboxing while bragging about his body. Rey said Lucha Libre was for the people and he identifies with the people. Rey said he’s just like the people who do have to come from behind in their daily life. Rey said if he can give hope to not give up, that’s what makes it worth it and why he fights. Mundo talked about chicks digging abs. Mundo said Rey was in his world. Schiavello gave some more hype for Rey vs. Mundo before they cut back to the Temple action… [C]

John’s Thoughts: I don’t have to repeat myself every week. These Schiavello video packages are great and allow Rey and Mundo to cut better promos than they would have if given a live mic. Rey shined in this week’s iteration when he cut a promo that endeared him to the common man.

2. Son of Havoc vs. Son of Madness in a first round Cueto Cup match. Son of Havoc is former Tough Enough contestant Matt Cross. Melissa Santos sold confusion at reading the notes on Madness. Madness is Havoc’s doppelganger, except he’s a lot paler and has more chest hair. Havoc and Madness brawled on the steps. Vampiro hypothesized that this might be some sort of motorcycle gang war. Havoc gained the upper hand by slamming Madness against the balcony walls. Madness gained the upper hand with a forearm back in the ring. Havoc tripped Madness and missed a plancha. Havoc caught Madness with a kick. Havoc went for a trust fall but was tripped.

Madness threw Havoc against the walls of Dario’s office. Madness worked on Havoc on the outside. Havoc gained the advantage in the ring. Madness caught Havoc during his signature handstand flip. They then traded dodging. Havoc was backtossed to the apron and Madness kicked him down. Madness did a tope around the turnbuckle, similar to how Sami Sayn does the DDT through under the bottom ropes. Madness took Havoc back into the ring to put the boots to him in the corner. Havoc flipped up and gave Madness strikes. Havoc hit his handspring elbow and springboard crossbody.

Havoc went to the top rope but Madness recovered. Madness powered Havoc in the corner and hit a double stomp over the top of the head. Madness hit havoc with a suplex leading to the nearfall. Havoc did his signature shoulder bounce back on the ropes into the cutter which gave him a nearfall on his side. Havoc went up top for his shooting star but Madness recovered to meet him on the top rope to attempt a Superplex. Havoc fought out and gave Madness a headbutt. Madness went for the superplex again but Havoc maintained control. Havoc slammed Madness’s head on the top rope. Havoc hit Madness with a tope suicida. Havoc went to the top rope and missed the shooting star but landed on his feet. Madness tried to steal the win with the tights but to no avail. Havoc won with a schoolboy.

Son of Havoc defeated Son of Madness via pinfall in 8:41 to advance in the Cueto Cup Tournament.

Madness took down Havoc with a pump kick as Havoc celebrated his win. Madness walked away with both his and Havoc’s jacket… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Via the power of the internet, I believe Madness is a PWG wrestler by the wrestling name of Johnny Goodtime. Speaking of good times, that was a good match. The whole doppelganger thing confuses me. At first I thought it was going to be more mystic, but Striker and Vampiro made it more about biker gangs. I know Havoc is a parody of Sons of Anarchy, but I’m not sure if this is the way to go with him that would catch attention.

Prince Puma came to the ring in street clothes (black denim jeans, a black hoodie, and red t-shirt). Ricky Mandel came out cosplaying as Johnny Mundo. He looks like X-Pac as Striker agreed with a few weeks ago. He also channeled Gillberg by selling the discomfort of Johnny Mundo’s dry ice intro. Mandel grabbed a microphone and told Puma that he’s about to get an early exit in the Cueto Cup. Mandel said he was going to take Puma to slamtown…

3. Prince Puma vs. Ricky Mandel in a first round Cueto Cup match. Puma was all business and gave Mandel a high pump kick during his promo. Puma then hit a series of suplexes on Mandel. Mandel kicked out of a Puma pin attempt. Puma went for a bennadryller (a.k.a. detonation kick). Mandel went for a fameasser but settled for a superkick which Puma nosold. Puma came back with another pump kick. Puma hit Mandel with a spinning michinoku driver to pick up the victory.

Prince Puma defeated Ricky Mandel via pinfall in 1:13 to advance in the Cueto Cup Tournament.

Puma had a sad/unhappy look in his face. Vampiro stood up to give Puma a thumbs up. Puma did his Ricochet flip on the emblem in the center of the ring.

John’s Thoughts: Lucha Underground benefits huge by putting everyone in this tournament because it forces them to get the most out of their jobber squad. Mandel to me has been the best of the jobbers and he kinda reminds me of Heath Slater by the way he plays the job role (Worldwide Underground did remind me of 3MB which Mundo has to separate himself from). This was the perfect setting for Puma who got to show off a more serious and less flippy offense to reflect the darker character he is portraying under the tutelage of Vampiro.

Everyone’s favorite human watermelon, El Dragon Azteca Jr, was shown getting ready for his match as he shook hands with Rey Mysterio Jr. Azteca said Rey should be training. Rey said he wasn’t going to miss Azteca’s big comeback. Rey said he wants to see Azteca win tonight. Azteca said he will win and will face Rey at Ultima Lucha Tres. Prince Puma walked in and told Rey to beat the cabron Johnny Mundo. Puma said he wants his ultima lucha rematch against Rey and this time he won’t lose. Rey put his arm on Azteca’s shoulder and told him to take it one match at a time…

Vampiro hyped Paul London vs. Mil Muertes for next week. Striker hyped Jeremiah Crane vs. Taya as well as Marty the Moth vs. Fenix…

4. El Dragon Azteca Jr. (w/Rey Mysterio Jr.) vs. Dante Fox in a first round Cueto Cup match. Dante Fox was already in the ring. Striker said Fox was his personal favorite to win the tournament. Azteca got a full entrance wearing that dumb parrot thing headdress. Did the headdress always have random dreadlocks? Marty Elias was the referee for the match.

Azteca dodged Fox’s strikes to start off. Azteca gave Fox a chop in the corner. Azteca was put on the apron. Azteca gave Fox a rake to the head with the top rope. Azteca gave Fox an armdrag to sent Fox outside. Fox hit Azteca with a strong Suicide Dive and followed up with a quick top rope senton. Fox gave Azteca a guillotine legdrop on the apron leading to a nearfall in the ring. Fox gave Azteca a clothesline in the corner and hit him with a wrecking ball dropkick. Fox received a kick to the back of the head to send him outside. Fox met Azteca on the top rope. Azteca went for a tornado DDT but it was blocked.

Fox flipped away when he went for a moonsault but the flip looked nice. Azteca came back on the outside with a running huracanrana. Azteca gave Dante Fox an Irish Whip into the barricade. Azteca hit Fox with an enziguri combination and a pressure legdrop. Rey slapped the mat to lead an Azteca chant. Azteca went high risk but Fox bounced back with a nice seated Spanish Fly. Fox got a two count off of that move. Azteca and Fox traded elbows. Fox dominated with a kick. Azteca took Fox down by returning the favor with a Spanish Fly.

Azteca went for a sunset flip but they took each other out by hitting consecutive basement front dropkicks on each other. Azteca crawled to Rey and said he was injured. Taya tripped Rey off the apron. Rey gave Taya the boot, Black the drop toehold, and sent Mandel into the turnbuckle. Mundo took advantage and gave Rey a powerbomb on the ring apron. The Worldwide Underground (sans Jack Evans) put the boots to Rey. Dragon Azteca gave everyone outside a suicide dive. Azteca springboarded into a superkick from Fox. Fox hit the brainbuster suplex to pick up the win.

Dante Fox defeated El Dragon Azteca Jr via pinfall in 9:04 to advance in the Cueto Cup Tournament.

Fox celebrated his win in the ring. Jack Evans joined the Worldwide Underground at ringside selling a broken jaw. Rey went to check on Azteca as the Underground taunted Rey from outside…

John’s Thoughts: There were a bit too many moving pieces outside of the ring, but I do understand that they are trying to protect Azteca while moving Fox on in the tournament. Fox is the person I would have put over since there is more upside with him at this point since Azteca needs to be rebuilt. The match was a fun spotfest. Azteca continues to impress when given a chance to wrestle singles matches. Fox is just amazing. He might be up there with Ricochet as far as athleticism is concerned. He does have to work on his facial reactions because he looked very cartoony in that department in this episode.

Season 3.5 (a.k.a. The Cueto Cup saga) continues to be progressive in every single segment which is good for the direction of the narrative. At one point it looked like either the writers were trying too hard or had run out of ideas. They are settling down with the foundation they laid out and it’s starting to behoove them to work on and forward what they already have rather than try to come up with new stories and characters. The stuff between Fox and Killshot is going to be fun. I can’t wait to see what happens when the meet up in the ring. The Dark Puma saga is also intriguing. The mid-card stuff like Drago and Jeremiah Crane also contains intrigue. The sport-like build towards Rey vs. Mundo is also way better than Mundo doing his 3MB-esque antics. Overall, a good episode and Season 3.5 has been good so far. I’ll have more thoughts in my All-Access Audio Review and subsequent Hit List.


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