Lucha Underground Tres by Jerry Whitworth
In about two weeks, Lucha Underground will return for its third season. While having already been filmed and details of that content can be found online, I’ve purposely avoided spoilers and will only comment on what the series has provided to its viewers. Beyond the dangling plot threads introduced in the first two seasons (which will be examined later), a trailer has been released offering some insight into what is to come. Before that, lets examine the story thus far. Dario Cueto is a wealthy, well connected promoter who begins an underground fight club steeped in the traditions of Aztec culture and lucha libre. Calling this promotion Lucha Underground and basing his operations out of a building called the Temple in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, Cueto sent out a challenge across the globe for fighters to compete in his arena, notably at Triplemanía XXII in 2014 hosted by Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). In essence, if AAA is the WWE of Mexico, Triplemanía would be their WrestleMania. Claiming a love for violence, there maybe a darker purpose to Cueto’s operation as LAPD Captain Vasquez believes he may bring about the end of days and the alien being Aerostar traveled through time to the present day for the return of the seven Aztec gods. Aiding Cueto is Matanza, an Aztec god inhabiting the body of Dario’s younger brother (sacrificed for such a purpose by Dario and their father) that consumes the dead to grow stronger. Cueto also brought Black Lotus, leader of the Black Lotus Triad, into his employ by making her believe her mentor El Dragon Azteca murdered her parents leading to her taking Azteca’s life (previously, she thought the culprit was Matanza). Azteca’s death brought war on Cueto by some of the surviving seven Aztec tribes thus far materializing in the legendary Rey Mysterio Jr. and Azteca’s protege who took his surrogate father’s mask and name (and, to a lesser extent, Prince Puma joined their struggle). The death of El Dragon Azteca did not only bring some of the remaining tribes on Dario Cueto’s doorstep, but also the Los Angeles Police Department.
Noted earlier, LAPD Captain Vasquez knows Dario Cueto is a criminal and maybe the linchpin of the end of days. Due to this, she injected an undercover officer into his operations in Ricky Reyes who adopted the cover of gang member Cortez Castro becoming an enforcer for Cueto in his group the Crew. Despite witnessing firsthand Matanza murder fellow Crew member Bael, he needed hard evidence of wrong doing. Vasquez was forced to send in back-up in the form of officer Joseph Meehan who adopted the identity of sleezy wrestler Joey Ryan. The investigation by Vasquez would be placed in jeopardy by Councilman Delgado, a corrupt politician revealed to be working alongside Cueto for a mysterious benefactor. During a time period where Cueto was in hiding following the demise of El Dragon Azteca, his Temple was taken over by Catrina. A 197-year old bruja, or witch, seemingly stuck between the worlds of life and death, Catrina commands the mighty Mil Muertes. Once a child from Mexico City, 7-year old Pascual Mendoza saw his family killed by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in 1985 that consumed thousands of lives. Steeped in darkness for several days, Catrina would save the boy and see him become her personal monster Mil Muertes (commanded by a stone, a piece of rubble from the quake, the witch always carries on her person). Since coming to the Temple, Mil Muertes would be claimed by death twice and Catrina would resurrect him each time stronger than he was before. Matanza would take Mil’s second life but a conflict with the hunter King Cuerno would sidetrack Mil from yet seeking his revenge. Catrina and Cueto would be two rival forces of darkness within Lucha Underground as a third power would take shape.
A master of Eastern martial arts, Octagón combined his Mexican heritage with that of Japan to become an exceptional fighter. In time, a dark reflection emerged in Pentagón and the pair fought for nearly a decade before Octagón finally came out on top. Both mantles would be passed down leading to a renewed rivalry in Octagón Jr. and Pentagón Jr. four years ago only for the former to move on (becoming Kalisto in WWE). Without an Octagón to oppose him, Pentagón Jr. was one of the five original luchadors from AAA to migrate to Lucha Underground (alongside Fénix, Drago, Sexy Star, and Blue Demon Jr.). Once there, mostly-retired wrestler and color commentator Vampiro took notice of Pentagón and became his teacher (though, Pentagón was unaware of his master’s identity). Made both deadlier and darker, Pentagón would ruthlessly break the arms of his opponents adopting a lifestyle he called “Cero Miedo,” or “No Fear,” eventually defeating his mentor in brutal, bloodied combat (where Vampiro would reveal himself as his master). When it appeared Pentagón would ascend above all other fighters in the Temple, Matanza would emerge and break his back. In the care of Vampiro, Pentagón returned more malevolent and powerful than before adopting the new identity of Pentagón Dark. However, his power was still not enough to defeat a god and in frustration, the student turned on the teacher for failing him.
As Matanza reigned supreme within the Temple, a poorly conceived plan by officers Reyes and Meehan to have Crew member Mr. Cisco wear a wire to get Dario Cueto on tape admitting to a crime ended with Cueto bashing Cisco’s head in with a bull statue (the same one Matanza employed to kill his and Dario’s mother). Cueto would be arrested and taken into custody leaving the future of Lucha Underground in question. The alliance between Rey Mysterio Jr., Dragon Azteca Jr., and Prince Puma would fall apart as Mysterio left Puma in the dark about the conflict with Cueto and Azteca sought revenge for his mentor’s death. Mysterio and Puma would meet in the ring to see which man was the better fighter with the former emerging victorious. When Azteca sought out Cueto in vengeance, Cueto betrayed Black Lotus and revealed she killed their father figure. Azteca put his mystical mask on the line in a battle with Lotus in the ring only for their bout to be interrupted by the emerging Pentagón Dark who broke both of their arms. Other evils persist in the Temple such as Marty “the Moth” Martinez and his sister Mariposa. Descendants of one of the seven Aztec tribes, the siblings are exceedingly wealthy, cruel, and bizarre. Marty would kidnap luchadora Sexy Star where she would be tortured by Mariposa before escaping with some help from fellow fighter the Mack. While Star and Mariposa developed an intense rivalry, Marty would target Killshot, a retired veteran marksman and special operations soldier. Carrying the dog tags of his fallen fellow soldiers, Killshot would have his treasured possession stolen by Marty leading to many battles (their rivalry seemingly yet done). While not within the ballpark of Dario Cueto, Catrina, Pentagón Dark, and Mariposa and Marty the Moth, another notable ill within Lucha Underground is the Worldwide Underground.
While a highly skilled fighter, Johnny Mundo nonetheless faced stiff competition against the likes of Prince Puma, Cage, and Alberto El Patrón which saw him adopt a significantly more devious nature in combat. The while, competitor Jack Evans quickly worked his way up the ranks in Lucha Underground culminating in a rivalry with Drago, a dragon from Hell taken humanoid form. Along the way, he would forge an alliance with the “Darewolf” PJ Black as Drago’s alien friend Aerostar returned from his intergalactic journeys to help his serpentine ally. Mundo would himself align with fellow wrestler Taya before joining Evans and Black to form the Worldwide Underground whose underhanded tactics made enemies of the likes of Cage, Fénix, Drago, Aerostar, Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio Jr., El Dragon Azteca Jr., Son of Havoc, Angélico, and Ivelisse. Eventually drawing such a myriad of foes came to be their undoing resulting in their loss of the Lucha Underground Trios Championship. Another villain in the form of the mysterious Kobra Moon would arrive on the scene where she developed a fascination with world-traveled combatant Daga. Other notable foes include Chavo Guerrero Jr. (of the infamous Guerrero family known to lie, cheat, and steal) and wrestler-turned-agent Famous B with his client the veteran fighter Dr. Wagner Jr. Now, lets get into the trailer of season three.
A number of new characters are introduced for the trailer. First up is AR Fox. When Lucha Underground was just starting up, they tried to negotiate with the promotion Evolve to have stars Ricochet, AR Fox, and Rich Swann appear in the series but could only manage to afford picking up one of the men in Ricochet (who emerged in the series as Prince Puma, the show’s primary protagonist). Since that time, Fox would part ways with Evolve and it appears he has finally negotiated to come to LU (while Swann went to WWE). In the trailer, Fox is shown to be jogging and sporting dog tags which could indicate he will share a backstory with Killshot (as a flash may have indicated Killshot was stalking Fox). The third season appears to also be gaining Paul London, known to WWE fans for his time as the tag team partner of Brian Kendrick. If the trailer is any indication, London seems to be in either a managerial or perhaps mentor role to two unknown masked wrestlers. Seen only briefly, it appears the Worldwide Underground will be gaining a yet known fifth member. Dario Cueto and Councilman Delgado are briefly shown to be sharing a gaze with a man in a suit seated in a limousine begging the question if this is the mysterious benefactor both men appear to be indebted toward. Lucha Underground also appears to have acquired the Callihan Death Machine in Sami Callihan (known to WWE fans as Solomon Crowe) who is shown separately fighting a now red-haired Ivelisse and Cage (with Mil Muertes in the background). Finally, Son of Havoc is shown having a bar fight with a seeming oversized doppelgänger of himself. Now, lets see what plot points can be taken from the trailer.
The season three trailer included a number of moments which could indicate upcoming storylines for the series. One such element makes it appear the rivalry between Sexy Star and Mariposa will continue while Marty the Moth was shown bound mirroring his kidnapping of Star in the previous season. There seems to be an emerging romance between Fénix and ring announcer Melissa Santos (who was targeted in the past by the advances of Marty the Moth). Black Lotus appears to be bringing her organization to Lucha Underground as she was shown with several ninjas (Lotus had threatened Dario Cueto if he lied about her parents’ deaths, she would turn the Triad on him and the intervention of Pentagón Dark may have cost her the mystical mask of the Dragon Azteca tribe). Regarding El Dragon Azteca Jr., it appears he will be attacked by Chavo Guerrero Jr. In the first season, Chavo would betray El Dragon Azteca who offered him protection from Mexico should he protect Black Lotus in the Temple only for the Guerrero to align with Cueto. In a manner of speaking, Chavo is almost as guilty of Azteca’s death as Lotus and Cueto which could see Azteca’s protege seek vengeance (or at least answers). Kobra Moon appears to be gaining a significant storyline as she’s shown sitting upon a golden cobra throne in a temple with followers bowing at her feet. Daga is shown dragging and swinging a sword in what maybe Moon’s temple. Moon and her followers also appear to be targeting the Lucha Underground Trios Champions in Fénix, Aerostar, and Drago as Drago is shown held captive in her temple. Catrina is shown callously cradling an injured El Siniestro de la Muerte, the final remnant of her Disciples Of Death. Angélico is shown screaming and bloodied where, as mentioned, his former trio partners are also targeted in the trailer as Ivelisse faces Sami Callihan and Son of Havoc fights his oversized doppelgänger. Finally, Vampiro and Prince Puma are shown together as the former’s bloodied hand claws at the latter’s throat. Toward the end of the second season, Puma appeared to be giving into his rage and frustration (as his former manager Konnan tried pushing him toward being more ruthless before his death at the hands of the Disciples Of Death). It’s possible Puma’s loss to Rey Mysterio Jr. could lead the youth to seek the aid of Vampiro in becoming stronger. Although, it could also be that Puma might seek Vampiro’s council in dealing with Pentagón Dark whose might maybe only second to Matanza. The growing darkness within Lucha Underground could very well indicate the end of days.
From a real world standpoint, the third season of Lucha Underground could be something of an ending for the series (though, not necessarily a total finale). The show employs talent through contracted work either with the performer or through the performer’s promotion (as noted, Ricochet is on loan from Evolve and many of the Latino talent hail from AAA). Reportedly, since the success of Lucha Underground, WWE has been trying to woo members of its roster (LU co-executive producer Chris DeJoseph at one point claiming WWE wanted to shut the series down by signing its entire roster for their developmental brand NXT, though this is undoubtedly an exaggeration). WWE would manage to secure Alberto El Patrón (better known as Alberto Del Rio) one year ago by working out an arrangement with the cash strapped AAA (a company whose money troubles are so bad, several members of its upper talent has left including Sexy Star and Flamita/Fireball/Octagón Jr. II, who wrestles on LU as Night Claw). Its been reported Ricochet becomes a free agent from LU as soon as its third season airs its final episode and rumor has it WWE is high on signing him after his success in the series and overseas in New Japan Pro Wrestling. WWE would also undergo a brand split recently which has created a vacuum for new talent that could lead to a massive exodus from Lucha Underground. Rumor has it the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr. and Johnny Mundo (formerly John Morrison in WWE) are on WWE’s radar to re-sign but LU employs several former WWE talents (such as Chavo Guerrero Jr., Paul London, PJ Black/Justin Gabriel, DelAvar Daivari, Ivelisse/Sofia Cortez, Cage/Kris Logan, Black Lotus/Savannah, Son Of Havoc/Matt Cross, and Sami Callihan/Solomon Crowe). This doesn’t even begin to go into WWE’s emerging cruiserweight division which has already netted performers from AAA’s rival promotion CMLL in Máscara Dorada (as Gran Metalik) and La Sombra (Andrade “Cien” Almas) as there’s speculation Volador Jr. and Rush are being sought. Reportedly, WWE has already approached Angélico and Jack Evans only to be turned down leading to speculation who else may have been negotiated with and could leave after the final episode of season three airs. In other words, if the apocalypse isn’t coming to season three, it will undoubtedly be a missed opportunity.
Since the start of Lucha Underground, there’s been talk of the seven Aztec tribes and their significance in lucha libre. Seven Aztec tribes, seven golden Aztec medallions for the Gift of the Gods championship, and seven Aztec gods returning to Earth. The power of these tribes seems to be tied to the magical masks the champion for each of these tribes wear. Prince Puma was the first known descendant as the likes of El Dragon Azteca Jr. (with Rey Mysterio Jr.), Mariposa (with Marty the Moth), and Night Claw have emerged. The trailer for season three of Lucha Underground could certainly lead to some speculation that Kobra Moon maybe another descendant. Given the prominence of masked wrestlers, only time will tell if those like Mil Muertes, Pentagón Dark, Fénix, Sexy Star, King Cuerno, or Dr. Wagner Jr. could be the other two remaining tribe members (unless Matanza, vessel for an Aztec god, is the body of a descendant). Mysterio has mentioned El Dragon Azteca and Dario Cueto’s father aligned to create an arena where the seven tribe’s descendants could fight and in Azteca’s death, Mysterio wishes to align the tribes himself. Dario Cueto has said the holder of the Gift of the Gods championship, home to the seven Aztec medallions, offers immortality. The space faring and time-traveling Aerostar was instructed that in a thousand years (our present day), gods would return in the form of man and one hero must unite the tribes. What secrets will the union of the seven tribes unlock and what part does Cueto and Matanza have to play in it? Immortality. Prophecy. The end of days. Ancient gods resurrected. Lucha Underground: Season Three. September 7, 2016.