Lucha Underground Review – The Gift of the Gods

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7/22/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Dario Cueto reveals The Gift of the Gods

Cueto stood in the middle of the ring and revealed “The Gift of the Gods” — a championship belt with seven Aztec medallions embedded in it. He said the owner of the belt would have the right to a championship match whenever he pleases, but added that there is a catch. Cueto said that he like to promote matches, so there will be no instant cash-ins.

Cueto continued by saying that it is still up to the belt-holder to determine when he wants his title shot, but that he’ll need to announce his intentions one week in advance. Cueto said that the holder of The Gift of the Gods will have to defend that belt until he decides to cash in. He added that once the belt is cashed in, the medallions will be redistributed, and the battle for its power will begin again.

Cueto said that at Ultima Lucha, a seven-way match will take place between the Aztec medallion holders. He invited all of the current medallion holders to the ring, and told them all to place their medallions into the belt. There was one spot left in the middle, and Cueto said that Fenix had been forced to give up his medallion due to injury.

Cueto said that Fenix’s medallion would be up for grabs in the main event of the night in a battle royal. Cueto added that when the battle royal gets down to two men, the only way to victory is by pinfall or submission. Fenix entered, and Cueto said that he was too late, but that he could enter the battle royal.

Scott’s Thoughts: Compared to TNA’s Feast or Fired, The Gift of the Gods is a brilliant twist on the Money in the Bank concept. What a fantastic payoff to the Aztec medallion storyline. Lucha Underground has some very creative people in the writing department, and Cueto is one of the absolute best characters in modern wrestling.

Fenix last defeated Marty “The Moth” Martinez in a battle royal for the final Aztec medallion

The battle royal quickly boiled down to four men — Fenix, Delavar Daivari, Marty and Famous B. The Moth and Daivari teamed up to eliminate Famous B, then targeted Fenix. Fenix hit an enziguiri on Marty, then dumped Daivari from the ring.

A referee entered the ring with the medallion, and rang the bell for the Fenix vs. Marty singles match. Marty opened up the offense with a dropkick, following up with a gorilla press slam. Fenix fought back with a springboard arm drag that sent Marty from the ring.

Fenix hit a plancha and brought Marty back inside. Marty tried for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Fenix used a very clever reversal to halt Marty’s momentum and roll him up for the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: Lucha Underground is especially good at these redemption storylines. Even though it was obvious from the start that Fenix would win the match, it was still compellingly booked — even though rest of the final four were all essentially jobbers.

Dario Cueto dishes out more “unique opportunities” for Ultima Lucha

The show opened with Cueto offering Big Ryck an Aztec medallion. Cueto asked Ryck what he values more, money or power. Ryck too the medallion, before saying “Why choose when I can have both?” Cueto reluctantly reached into his desk and handed Ryck a stack of cash to go with the medallion.

A bit later, Hernandez joined Cueto in his office. Cueto told Hernandez that he planned to start Ultima Lucha a week early, saying that the event is too big for just one week, and that Hernandez will face Drago on next week’s show. Cueto added that there would be stipulations — which Hernandez guessed would be a strap match — and said that the fans’ hatred for Hernandez had given him an idea. Cueto said he would give every fan leather belts, and give the fans permission to strike Hernandez or Drago at will, if they got too close.

Scott’s Thoughts: The concept of starting Ultima Lucha a week early is a fun one. It’s almost like they’re running the first hour of a three-hour show a week in advance. Cueto vs. Hernandez and The Mack vs. Cage have both been set for next week, which would be perfect undercard matches for a three-hour Lucha Underground event.

Prince Puma fends off Mil Muertes and The Disciples of Death

As Puma was about to speak for the first time in Lucha Underground, Mil Muertes and Katrina entered. Puma dropped his microphone and set the title belt in front of him in the ring. Mil Muertes and Katrina started to head to the ring, but The Disciples of Death entered and attacked Puma.

Puma took out the entire DoD with ease, then began fighting with Mil Muertes. Puma stared at Katrina, gave her a throat-slitting gesture, then hit a 630 senton on Mil Muertes. Puma stood tall over Mil Muertes, holding his title belt as the show went off the air.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was a fun segment to end the show. The Puma/Muertes match has been built as much as it needs to be for fans to be deeply invested, but this was a rare case of Puma delivering the beatdown, instead of receiving it.

Texano def. Johnny Mundo by disqualification

Texano landed a dropkick and a clothesline, then rolled through a sunset flip and landed a kick to the head. Texano hit a superkick, but Johnny fought back with a spinning neckbreaker off the ring apron. Johnny sent Texano flying into the barricade, then kicked him back into the barricade again.

Back in the ring, Johnny hit a running knee strike, but Texano answered with a monkey flip and a leg lariat for a near-fall. Johnny responded with a step-up enziguiri for two, following up with a side Russian legsweep. Texano avoided The End of the World, hitting an enziguiri.

As Texano set up Johnny for a powerbomb, The Crew rushed the ring and attacked Texano, causing the disqualification. Johnny and The Crew beat down on Texano, until Alberto el Patron entered and tore apart The Crew. Texano assaulted The Crew with his bullwhip, clearing the ring.

Scott’s Thoughts: A very fun match, capped off by a huge pop for el Patron as he entered to even the odds. Alberto vs. Johnny should be one hell of a match at Ultima Lucha.

The Mack def. Cage by pinfall

Cage opened up with a backbreaker, then connected with a big clothesline. Mack rolled Cage up with a sunset flip to earn the shockingly quick pinfall. Cage attacked Mack, but Mack drove Cage into the barricade. Cage returned the favor, and both men fought off the officials that showed up to try to separate them.

Cueto entered and told them that if they want to fight so badly, he would provide them with weapons and book a falls count anywhere match between the two for next week.

Scott’s Thoughts: While I appreciate that we’ll likely get a long match between the two next week, it’s disappointing to see how far down the card Cage has follen. He was red-hot in Lucha Underground a few months ago.