Warning: Spoilers for Season 4, Episode 1 follow below:
Lucha Underground returned in spectacular fashion tonight, with Season 4’s debut episode picking up right where Season 3 left off.
The show started with a brief recap of Season 3’s storylines, namely the Gauntlet of the Gods Triple Threat match conclusion, where the Gauntlet ended up in the possession of King Cuerno after he poached it from Mil Muertes. Some other scenes covered in the recap were the rising of Pentagon Dark as Lucha Underground Champion and Dario Cueto’s demise at the hands of Agent Winter.
We open the show with scene depicting a elderly gentlemen walking with a cane, side-by-side, with Agent Winter. They both stop short of Dario’s casket, revealing that Dario did indeed die in the last season. The elder man is revealed to be Antonio Cueto, father of Dario and Matanza Cueto, who has assumed full control of Lucha Underground.
Agent Winter has notified Antonio that Dario was shot down by gangbangers, who operated on a hit placed on Dario’s head. Antonio, however, seems indifferent of his son’s demise, noting that the new Temple location is to be placed in a new warehouse that was used previously to run shows but currently only stores beers.
Back in the newly-designed Temple, Melissa Santos announces a 10-Bell Salute for Dario Cueto, only for Antonio to interrupt the proceedings and seize control of the ring. Antonio determines that things were going to change in the Temple and announces his first match: an Aztec Warfare match for the Lucha Underground Championship!
For those who have never seen this type of match before, the match starts with two men, with a new competitor entering after every 90 seconds. The match continues that way until 20 competitors have entered the match. Competitors can be eliminated by pinfall or submissions.
Before the match even begins, Antonio brings out Killshot and the Mack, 2/3 of the Lucha Underground Trios Champions. Noting that the 3rd partner, Dante Fox, is not present, Antonio deemed that the 3rd competitor, Son of Havoc, would replace Fox in the team and become a champion. The match begins with all 3 competitors battling each other.
The match overtakes the entire show, seeing familiar faces, such as Johnny Mundo, Fenix, Mil Muertes and others, make a grand return to the battleground. There were also some interesting returns, such as Chavo Guerrero, Daga and even Hernandez, who had moments in earlier seasons. The surprise entrances in this match were Mr. Pectacular (the former Jesse Godderz in Impact Wrestling) and Tommy Dreamer, who seemed excited at the prospect of entering the ever violent Temple and even brought thumbtacks!
Some storylines were also started in this match as well. One such feud could be between Mundo’s Worldwide Underground stable against Kobra Moon and her soldiers after Vibora attacked Mundo after Daga’s elimination by Mundo. Also of note, Mil Muerte’s valet, Catrina, walked out on her soldier after his quick elimination by Fenix and Mundo’s understudy, Ricky Mundo, is carrying a dilapidated doll to the ring, coincidentally replacing Angelico in the match.
Ultimately, the match’s MVP was none other than the defending champion, Pentagon Dark, who entered the match at #6 and lasted all the way to the end, eliminating 9 out of 20 competitors and lastly defeating Marty “the Moth” Martinez to retain the coveted Aztec gold and becoming the first to defend the title in Aztec Warfare!
Pentagon had little time to celebrate, however, as Antonio Cueto came out to congratulate the champion before announcing that his next title defense will be against Antonio’s only son, “The Monster” Matanza Cueto!
This was a great start to Season 4 in terms of a re-introduction for all the characters, as well as the establishment for seemingly new mainstays in Antonio Cueto and his new Temple. The quick eliminations, however, bring down the pacing of the match and there were moments where the match seemed to even lull at times. While an entertaining match, this was unfortunately the weakest of the 4 Aztec Warfare matches we’ve seen. However, given, that the show is starting to re-establish itself and given its handling of stories, it’s a safe assumption that this match may have served as fuel for future plans.
As of now, we still do not know Antonio’s end-game for the Temple but we do know Matanza Cueto may play a role in these plans.
Time will tell but for now, it’s great to be back in the Temple once again!
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Image Credit: Lucha Underground