Friday, January 29, 2016

Lucha Underground returns with style

This past Wednesday, Lucha Underground returned with all the flair it set up in season one for a revitalized, more focused season two on El Rey Network. The television based project has been truly unique among wrestling companies, focused solely on making what has already been called by some (including myself) as some of the very finest televised wrestling ever made. The Temple is a set unique in its own right and the cast of luchadores that populate it are some of the best professional wrestlers anywhere in the world.

Season Two picks up with the reopening of the Temple, now controlled by Catrina. Her chosen champion Mil Muertes sits in judgment over the roster, high in his throne atop the Temple, watching over the action. But he also joined the action on Wednesday night as well.

Mil Muertes sits in judgment over the temple. Image credit: Lucha Underground.
The show kicked off with Vampiro in a mental hospital, recovering from the break that brought him into an unholy war with Pentagon Jr at the end of season one. Matt Striker pulls him from his stay and invites him back to the reopened Temple, now far darker under the controls of Catrina, Mil and the Disciples of Death.

The action kicks off with Fenix defending his Gift of the Gods title in a match that came to a shocking end. In a highly competitive battle with King Cuerno, the nefarious hunter played things fair and straight, winning a clean encounter with Fenix and taking the title that offers an automatic title shot against Mil Muertes. But it seemed a fix was in, as Cuerno has cut some kind of deal with Catrina to protect Mil from the Gift of the Gods title being used against him.

The second of the evening's three matches brought the former Trios champions back, but Catrina pitted them against one another for a shot at Mil Muertes' Lucha Underground title in the main event of the evening. Angelico, Son of Havoc and Ivelisse all wanted a shot at the gold, but it was ultimately the scrappy Puerto Rican that beat her two male comrades to earn her shot against Mil.

But any thought of aid against the numbers game wasn't to come for Ivelisse. The Disciples of Death appeared and swarmed the ring, beating down Son of Havoc and Angelico and dragging them from The Temple floor. A tired Ivelisse was forced to fight the fresh Mil on her own. She fought valiantly but her size, her lost stamina and interference by Catrina were enough to allow Mil to pick up the win and retain his belt.

But Catrina wasn't done with her nemesis. She ordered Mil to decimate Ivelisse with another flatliner. Before that could happen though, Prince Puma made his return, knocking Mil away and escaping the ring with Ivelisse safe. Yet, Prince Puma did not come against the combined forces of Catrina alone.

As The Temple went insane, Pentagon Jr hit the ring and laid out Mil with a backstabber. As the chants of Cero Miedo rang down on the ring, he used his Fujiwara armbar to snap the arm of the Lucha Underground champion in the middle of the ring.

It was a show that was hard not to feel goosebumps by the hour's end. And that is the power of Lucha Underground. It's an hour of compelling television every week wrapped up by some of the best wrestling action on the planet. The action is intense and the storytelling never fails to shine through.

And even as the show came to an end, Dario Cueto and Black Lotus made their return with their own alternate Temple, one that seems designed to feed the bloodlust of Matanza. What this means for Catrina's future or the future of the true Temple will surely be revealed as the new season continues over the winter and spring.

Catch Lucha Underground every Wednesday on El Rey Network. Non-cable subscribers (like yours truly) can watch it every week through the Sling service, which also gives free replays of past episodes.

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