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‘LUCHA UNDERGROUND S01E01 – WELCOME TO THE TEMPLE’ Recap + Review – Mundo vs. Puma, Cueto’s 100,000 Dollar Prize

COMMENTATORS: Matt Striker & Vampiro
VIEWING METHOD: Tubi

Lucha Underground was a show I always wanted to watch more of, but I couldn’t afford El Rey for long enough stretches to really get into it. Now it’s all up on Tubi so I want to power through as much as I can before they lose the rights so let’s get to it with the first-ever episode that sets the stage for the…weirdness this show would entail.

LINEUP

  • Blue Demon Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. (**)
  • Sexy Star vs. Son of Havoc (NR)
  • Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma (***1/2)

*****

-A luchador saves a rando from an assault then sits him down to tell him the tale of Aztec Warriors, lucha libre, and Dario Cueto announcing the formation of Lucha Underground at the 2014 TripleMania event. 

-After some brief words from Striker & Vampiro Melissa Santos introduces promoter Dario Cueto, wearing a big key around his neck and carrying a briefcase full of money, to the ring. Cueto says this is not a stadium for children can cheer for heroes, this is HIS temple where traditions like violence are honored. The luchador who impresses him the most will get a signing bonus: 100,000 dollars (and hopefully the briefcase too, it looks pretty nice). 

Blue Demon Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. 

Demon and Guerrero trade holds to start, Guerrero flips out of a headscissors attempt and they reset. They lock knuckles, Demon bridges back to his feet and stomps the hands. Guerrero brings Demon to the canvas with a snapmare and controls things with a side headlock. Guerrero rolls under a clothesline attempt and connects with a hip toss, Demon responds with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a baseball slide. Guerrero charges, Demon counters into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, opting for a chinlock instead of a lateral press. Guerrero tries a float over, Demon catches him, Guerrero counters into a DDT for the 1…2…Demon kicks out. Guerrero uses his leg strength to send Demon to the floor, following up with a slingshot splash. Demon knocks Guerrero off the buckles and connects with a slam, Guerrero dodges a senton and covers for the 1…2…Demon kicks out. Guerrero traps Demon in a hanging triangle choke, Demon counters with a super bomb and locks in a crab/wristlock combo for submission for the tap!

Blue Demon Jr. defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. via submission (5:17)

  • Lucha Underground kicks things off with a match between members of two of lucha libre’s most famous families. Really cool nod to the history of lucha libre and I liked the match as well. They kept it short and to the point. The atmosphere and grime of the Temple f*cking rules so much. (**)

Dario Cueto meets with AAA legend Konnan in his office. Konnan hypes up his protege who’s from “this Barrio”, Cueto mentions that he has signed the hot free agent “Johnny Mundo” but only to teach him a lesson as he’s only after fame and money. Cueto then offers Konnan a big ol’ stack of money to help teach Mundo a lesson in respect.

Johnny Mundo, aka John Morrison/Nitro, is shown working out as Striker mentions that it’ll be his first match in three years. Mundo’s opponent for later tonight, Prince Puma, is hyped up via vignette narrated by Konnan. Puma is from Los Angeles but his bloodline traces all the way back to the Aztecs and lucha libre is in his blood.

Sexy Star gets a vignette after her entrance, talking about how she fights for all the women in the world and how finding her mask saved her life.

Sexy Star vs. Son of Havoc (aka Matt Cross)

Havoc gets on the mic and says he’s not fighting a woman, telling Star to get herself counted out so she can live and fight another day. Star leaves the ring and the ref starts his count, Star rolls in as Havoc turns his back and goes on the attack. Havoc throws Star around and drops her with a shoulder tackle. Havoc misses a Lionsault, Star connects with a hurricanrana, Havoc counters a wheelbarrow with a faceplant. Havoc catches a float over attempt, Star escapes and sends him into the corner. Star cracks Havoc in the jaw and catches him with a flying crossbody for the 1…2…Havoc kicks out and counters a bulldog with a backbreaker for the 1…2…3.

Son of Havoc defeated Sexy Star via pinfall (1:45)

  • All that hype for Sexy Star and she got punked out in less than two minutes? That’s one way to go about it, I guess. Weird. (NR)

Dario Cueto confronts Chavo Guerrero Jr. backstage, admonishing him for tapping out to Blue Demon Jr. and disgracing his family lineage. Cueto says that since Guerrero couldn’t finish the job that next week he’ll bring in someone who can but once he arrives he will not be able to be stopped. Cueto concludes with the line “one thousand deaths might be coming for us all” which RULES. Guerrero stays silent and refuses eye contact the whole time.

Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma [w/ Konnan]

Mundo knocks Puma down with a shoulderblock, Puma instantly kips up and Mundo can’t do anything other than smile. Mundo rolls through an armbar and reverses, bringing Puma to his knees. Puma backflips but Mundo keeps control, bringing him to the canvas with a double leg takedown for a two-count. Puma backflips over a legsweep attempt and connects with a dropkick, Mundo quickly kips up and they stare one another down. Puma connects with a backflip headscissors and a dropkick that sends Mundo to the floor. Puma teases taking flight but does a back handspring instead, taunting Mundo as the crowd chants “THIS IS AWESOME”. Mundo hangs Puma out to dry across the top rope and catches him charging with an elbow, following up with a spinning kick. Puma bails to the floor, Mundo rolls him back in but takes too much time soaking in the crowd adulation, allowing Puma to recover and connect with a springboard dropkick. Puma follows up with a springboard senton, Mundo escapes out of a double arm submission and counters into a toehold. Puma gets to his feet and escapes with an enzuigiri that sends Mundo FLYING to the floor. Puma flips to the apron, hops over another sweep attempt, and catches Mundo with a superkick. They fight to the commentary team table, trading blows as Striker & Vampiro hover. Mundo parkours off the table and launches Puma face-first into the ringpost! Mundo rolls Puma in and covers for the 1…2…not yet. 

Puma flips out of a suplex attempt and connects with a spinning kick, both men stunned. Puma goes back on the offense, connecting with rapid-fire strikes and a springboard crossbody for the 1…2…Mundo kicks out. Puma goes for a standing moonsault, Mundo moves, Puma lands on his feet and hits a standing shooting star press instead for the 1…2…MUNDO KICKS OUT. Mundo drives Puma into the corner and wails on him with rights followed by a lariats both arm and leg. Mundo cracks Puma with a running knee strike for the 1…2…Puma isn’t done yet. Mundo signals for the “End of the World” (Starship Pain), Puma rolls him up with a schoolboy for the 1…2…Mundo kicks out. Puma catches Mundo with an elbow, Mundo responds with a springboard kick for the 1…2…Puma has some life left in him. Mundo rolls through a sunset flip, connecting with another knee strike. Puma slides to the apron and surprises Mundo with a springboard meteora for the 1…2…Mundo kicks out! Puma misses a springboard 450, Mundo connects with Moonlight Drive (flipping neckbreaker) for the 1…2…PUMA KICKS OUT. Mundo connects with a standing Spanish Fly followed by the End of the World for the 1…2…3!

Johnny Mundo defeated Prince Puma via pinfall (12:32)

  • Great main event. Puma immediately put his name on the map with his showing here, showing off his absurd athleticism. Mundo looked great here as well, definitely better than most of his prior WWE run, and cemented himself as the biggest star in the new company with that win. I dug this a lot. (***1/2)

Mundo and Puma show some post-match sportsmanship, raising each other’s arms in victory. Dario Cueto emerges from his office and angrily heads to the ring, mic and briefcase in hand. Cueto congratulates Mundo for earning the $100,000. Mundo tries to collect, Cueto slams it shut and refuses to hand it over, leaving Mundo and Puma open to a surprise attack from two guys I don’t know led by who I think is WWECW’s Ezekiel Jackson. Jackson damn near puts Mundo through the canvas with a chokeslam, Cueto says he’s been scouting the best fighters in the world and the men behind him WORK FOR HIM. Cueto welcomes everyone to Lucha Underground as credits roll.

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS

The first episode of Lucha Underground does a good job of laying the groundwork for the type of pro wrestling show it is presenting, from the in-ring style to the cinema-like backstage segments and the overall aesthetics of the Temple. I f*cking LOVE the Temple being so gross and grimy that you can see the dirt on everything from the canvas to the wrestlers themselves. The show also introduced a great villain in Dario Cueto, a cool spin on the “authority figure” trope in pro wrestling. The only real downer of the show was the hyping up of Sexy Star only to have her lose so quickly and decisively, that kind of felt like a slap in the face. That aside though this was a damn good way to begin a new company and wrestling show, and MAN OH MAN I can’t wait to continue.

  • FAVORITE MATCH: Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma
  • FAVORITE MOMENT: Dario Cueto dresses down Chavo Guerrero Jr. and teases the coming of Mil Muertes.

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