Lucha Underground 8/23/2017 Review: The Cueto Cup

We’ve got a huge night ahead of us tonight on Lucha Underground. Not only do Pentagon Dark and Prince Puma square off in the finals of the Cueto Cup, but our main event will see Johnny Mundo defending the LU Championship against Rey Mysterio.

But first, as promised by Dario Cueto last week to embarrass the man under the spider mask, we kick off the show with Veneno vs Sexy Star in a Mask vs Mask match. Considering how important her mask is to her (it marks her escape from abuse, as Matt Striker explained), Sexy Star comes out the gate fighting fierce deadset on keeping her mask. After just a couple minutes, the fierce fighting seemed to be for naught as Joey Ryan hits the right and tears off Veneno’s mask to cause the DQ. Confirming Cueto and Ryan’s suspicions, Veneno was in fact Cortez “Reyes” Castro. The two continue fighting on the outside. Castro goes to put Ryan through a table, but Ryan low blows him and escapes with the mask in hand.

This is one of the moments where Lucha Underground ceased being a wrestling show and was strictly a television show; a dramatic soap opera if you will. I love how Lucha Underground can flip back and forth between the two subgenres at will. In this case in particular, the finish of the match was screwy and unsatisfying as a wrestling show, but as a soap opera, it produced a whole lot of intrigue. Where does their precinct beef go from here? Will Ryan and Castro take this to the ring? What kind of backstage chaos could erupt between the two? There’s so much storyline interest that I can forgive the show robbing us of an actual match. Wrestling-wise, the finish may have been unsatisfying, but story-wise, it was a clever twist that leaves you asking for more.

Back from the break, Mundo enters Cueto’s office with title in hand alongside his agent. Mundo accuses Cueto of not appreciating Mundo or his services. He threatens to wrestle elsewhere until Cueto promises that no unfair shenanigans will take place tonight as everyone (including Worldwide Underground) is banned from ringside for the main event. Mundo reluctantly agrees, but promises he will take his services and his title elsewhere if any funny business happens tonight.

Next, after 10 weeks of non-stop tournament action, The Cueto Cup concludes in a match between Pentagon Dark and Prince Puma. This is the moment the show went back to being a wrestling show and boy, this was some damn good wrestling. From the very start, this is a hard hitting match-up. We get some high flying action as well, but more often than not, the two were throwing some hamfisted blows. Nearly three years of animosity from past feuds between the two takes center stage for the match. With kicks and fists of fury, the stakes felt raised and the match was entertaining. We know from their past matches that the two can do no wrong against each other and their latest encounter emphasized that. Between the two high profile matches that took place tonight, this was the better one. This one ended with a stunning sequence. Pentagon went for the Package Piledriver, but got reversed into a Fireman’s Carry position, only for Pentagon to roll out of it. The two make their way to the top rope and after jocking for position, Puma hits one whopper of a hurricanrana. With one signal to Vampiro, Puma hits a 630 Splash for the win.

After the break, Dario Cueto awards Puma with the tournament cup trophy and confirms that Ultima Lucha Tres’s main event will be Puma wrestling for the Lucha Underground Championship against the winner of Rey Mysterio vs Johnny Mundo. Which, after over a month’s worth of build-up, kicks off immediately after Puma’s coronation. Thanks to how high their feud has escalated in the last few weeks, it starts off like bare knuckle fight. Then, a little halfway into it, things slow down when we see our first rest hold. Then, the pace picks up when we see a few big high spots, like a modified Canadian Destroyer. The finish comes when Mysterio hurricanranas Mundo into the ref, knocking him out. While the ref is down, Mundo kicks Mysterio in the groin, then hits a backbreaker (reminiscent to Roderick Strong’s End of Heartache). He then grabs the championship and goes to clobber Mysterio, but Mysterio’s son Dominic makes the save and football tackles the champion. As security pulls his son away, Mysterio hits a 619 and a frog splash just in time for the ref to awaken. Right before the ref could hit the 3-count, Dario Cueto pulls the ref out of the ring. Cueto and Mysterio exchange words during a “This is bullshit!” chant until Mysterio hits Cueto with a 619. As the ref checks on an unconscious Cueto, Mundo hits Mysterio with the title behind the ref’s back, then nails him with The End of the World to retain the title. The shows ends as the crowd chant “This is bullshit!”

I agree.

I’m not gonna lie. I really gave into the hype after more than a month’s worth of Mysterio vs Mundo promo packages. Maybe my expectations were too high for the match, but I was disappointed. The match itself wasn’t all that great. It wasn’t bad, but it felt like a WWE-lite match that wasn’t executed in the best possible way. Hell, this two had a much better WWE-lite match when they wrestled each other in WWE over five years ago. Even with the Lucha atmosphere, this match kind of pales by comparison. The finish didn’t help matters either. For all the hype surrounding this match, for it to end in such a screwy way, it’s just a deflating feeling. It’s not disappointing in that it made me hate the heels and want to see them get their comeuppance. Not disappointing in that I want to see what happens next. Disappointing in that I have to contemplate if I even want to tune in next week. What a downer way to end a promising episode.

 

Joe Anthony Myrick

A photographer/journalist working out of Detroit.

wambamitsjam has 55 posts and counting.See all posts by wambamitsjam

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