6/17/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
The concept of an Ironman Match has a lot of potential, but it’s not a sure thing by any stretch. Committing 60 minutes to a single match can become very boring if it features the wrong wrestlers. Additionally, the story can come down to the last few minutes, and if the finish mirrors one of the few iconic Ironman Matches, it will lose the feeling of originality.
While those are the risks, there is also the potential for great reward. Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo made their match work, and the result was a great reward for fans. Dario Cueto forced Puma to defend the belt in the build to Ultima Lucha against one of his primary challengers from the start of Lucha Underground. Contrary to their prior encounters, this match had a pure face-heel contrast with Mundo embracing the more villainous mindset.
Both wrestlers started relatively slowly and paced themselves for the first few minutes. Puma got a surprising first pin about ten minutes in with a rollup. Mundo did not panic and started to work Puma’s arm. He evened the match at one pin each by holding the ropes for leverage with the referee looking at Puma’s shoulders.
They both continued to work hard and fast and Vampiro pointed out that there were simply no rest spots in the match despite its length. They fought to the outside and Mundo cracked Puma across the head with a crowbar to drastically alter the momentum. He dragged Puma’s limp body into the ring and got a pin. He followed it with Moonlight Drive for another pin, and the End of the World for a third pin derived from the crowbar shot. It gave him a 4-1 lead- the type of dominant performance that immediately made this match feel distinct from prior matches of the same sort.
Mundo stayed in control outside the ring and attacked Puma with a ladder. After about half an hour of Mundo’s offense, Puma finally started to fight back in the crowd. Mundo resisted the rally and climbed to the stage where the house band played. He got them to start playing while he bragged about his dominance in the match.
Mundo’s time wasting made sense with his three pin lead, but it also gave Puma a chance to recover. He made it up onto the stage, hit Mundo with a guitar, and tackled him off of the stage through a stack of three tables stacked on the floor below. That allowed Puma to drag Mundo into the ring for a pin to cut the lead to 4-2.
Puma stayed on top and hit a spinning piledriver to get within one pin at 4-3. With that, Mundo started to run. He played defense with his late lead and thought that if he could avoid Puma for a few more minutes, he might be able to hang on. Instead, Alberto El Patron emerged from the crowd and attacked him as retribution for Mundo’s attack during El Patron’s #1 Contender’s match. E Patron’s attack forced Mundo back into the ring and Puma hit a springboard 450 to tie the match with four minutes to go. Alberto then cut a promo from the steps outside the ring to add depth to his rivalry with Mundo.
That left the two combatants tied with four minutes to go. They traded near falls on various pinning attempts as the urgency grew. Mundo hit a C4 for a two count in the last two minutes. Puma recovered and finally hit his 630 finisher with six seconds left to win the match and retain his title.
The match built to an absolutely thrilling final four minutes. They did quite a few things throughout the match to keep it entertaining for a full hour. The big spots created plenty of excitement throughout. They also saved Puma’s finisher for the conclusion to give it a sense of finality. Once again, Lucha Underground did something unique, special, and highly entertaining. As the weeks go by, it becomes apparent that the promotion’s success is no accident.