Lucha Underground S2 E1: It Really Is A Darker Place
Credit El Rey

Lucha Underground has finally returned to the airwaves after about five months on the shelf. The show that seemed to appeal to hardcore wrestling fans in a big way is back and appears to be better than ever.  What would the temple be like after all these months and how will many of the hanging plot lines play out?  The season premiere answered many, but not all of these questions and left many begging for more.

The show opens with clips of Vampiro being interviewed by a doctor at a mental hospital.  It would appear that Vamp has been admitted for his strange behavior at the end of season one.  The doctor asks him a few questions and Vamp envisions beating up everyone in the room before snapping back to reality and assuring his doctor that he is better now.

Vampiro is released and Matt Striker arrives to pick him up.  He tells Vamp that the Temple is about to start running matches again, but he warns him that the Temple has now become a much darker place.  They drive off together to the Temple.

There were rumors that LU tried to grab Jim Ross to work with Striker, but both guys being play by play would have made for an odd pairing.  It looks like LU has altered the story path with Vampiro and Pentagon to be a team, for now, so that they can have their dynamic announce team back.  They were a big piece of what made the show great last year, so this will upset few. 

We cut to a scene of Catrina in Dario’s old office.  It appears that she is now the promoter of LU and has taken over the Temple.  Fenix enters and informs her he would like to cash in his Gift of the Gods title for a shot at the LU title.  She informs him that Mil Muertes says he can have a title shot next week, but he must first defend his belt against King Cuerno tonight.

She then informs him that Mil will be watching.  We cut to a shot of Mil sitting on top of his Death Throne, which is over the top of the Temple looking down on the ring.  He’s looking more evil than ever and is wearing his title belt.  It’s an awesome image.

When Striker said the Temple was a darker place it seemed a bit cornball, but after watching this scene you get a feeling it really is.  Catrina has cast a dark shadow over the entire Temple.

We quickly cut to the match between Cuerno and Fenix.  They have their usual back and forth hitting their high spots and put on for them a pretty standard match.  There is no cheating or outside assistance.  Cuerno hits a modified Piledriver, which looks insanely vicious and wins the Gift of the Gods title.  Later in the show he appears backstage talking to Catrina. 

She tells Cuerno to stick to their agreement.  He agrees to stick to the deal.  As he turns away it would appear that Cuerno is having some conflicted thoughts.  

So it would appear that Catrina gave Cuerno his title shot so that Fenix would lose the belt and in return Cuerno would not cash in on Mil.  The suggestion is that he is having second thoughts.  Cuerno won clean, but perhaps the story would have seemed more devious if he had had help from the Disciples of Death.  That way it would seem like Catrina had given him more help in a plan to screw over Fenix who has a rivalry with Mil.

Ivelisse, Angelico, and Son of Havoc arrive.  They run into Catrina in the work out area.  They tell her they want their belts back, but she informs them that they will not get a title shot tonight.  Instead they will face each other in a three-way match.  The winner meets Mil for the title in the Main Event for the title.  They seem to not have a major issue with this since it means a title shot.

Catrina comes out and in a very erotic way tells Melissa Santos to announce the next match that she has just made with the former Trios Champions.  The match is a pretty standard affair.  There are no really crazy spots, but Ivelisse takes advantage of a situation to get the pin and the win.  She now moves on for the title shot later that night.

As this all plays out the angle makes sense by the end of the night, but it still seems wrong to see the women in with the men and having the faces go at each other seems like a bad concept.  Also everyone seemed to be going at half speed, which makes sense in reality since they are a team. 

The main event immediately starts with Mil coming down from his perch.  Before he enters the ring Angelico and Son of Havoc are attacked by the Disciples of Death and are carried out of the arena.  Ivelisse is left all on her own.  The match is a short affair with Ivelisse getting in some offense, but mostly fighting for survival.  Catrina enters the ring at one point and Mil accidently spears her.  This leads to Ivelisse hitting at tornado DDT, but only gets a 2 count.

In the end Mil hits his Flatliner and gets the win.  Catrina enters the ring to give the Lick of Death.  The crowd is ready to pop for it, but suddenly she backs off and tells Mil to destroy Ivelisse.  He scoops her up to hit another vicious move when out of nowhere Prince Puma arrives.  He frees Ivelisse and with the most amazing athleticism gets her out of the ring and away from Mil.

Mil is pointing at Puma on the outside when out of nowhere Pentagon arrives.  The camera pans to Vampiro who has a strange look on his face.  Pentagon gives the sign for Zero Fear and hit’s Mil with the double knees.  He then gives the signal for his Armbreaker and proceeds to snap Mil’s arm and sends him to the outside.  The crowd was wild for this.

Although they got there in a convoluted way getting Mil versus Ivelisse was an opportunity to create an interesting match without Mil having any risk to losing his title.  It gave Mil and Catrina even more heel creditability.  Puma got to look like the hero and Pentagon got to look like a major player all in one segment.  This is what great booking is all about.  The story was advanced with all the players coming out better for it.  The season has a completely fresh feel because talent has been repositioned and a new source of evil established.

This is something the WWE struggles to do on a weekly basis in booking.  They have an impossible time advancing everyone.  They are constantly burying one guy to elevate another and further the angles they perceive to be more important.  LU should be applauded for understanding how to setup multiples moments that elevate more than just one talent at a time.  It’s also worth noting that as minor a moment as it was, Puma did an amazing job of getting Ivelisse out of the ring.  Watch that moment if you can and notice how swift he is while carrying her.

Early in the show Black Lotus was approached by three men in a truck looking for a fight club they had heard a rumor about.  This place is listed as being 375 miles away from the Temple.  She agrees to lead them there.  They are brought to a brick building with an LU mask and the words the Temple painted on the wall in white.  There they find Dario who promises them all the fighting they could want, but they need to give him 20 bucks each. 

The men seem skeptical at first, but eventually agree.  Each man puts 20 in Dario’s hand.  They try to enter the new Temple, but Dario explains they will need a key first and he promptly takes the Key from around his neck and opens the door.  The men enter and the last one asks who is fighting tonight.  Dario informs him you are.  Then promptly slams the door.  It would appear they are being fed to his Brother as yelling ensues.  Dario then counts out the 20’s.

On a week where HHH regained the WWE title and the Authority tried to assert themselves as the top dogs in wrestling again, Dario Cueto returned to show them all how it’s really done.  Dario is in recovery mode trying to build him back up to perhaps take his Temple back over.  The fact that he asked for the 20’s fully knowing that he was going to basically have these guys killed was sinister and funny at the same time.  It’s the same twisted thinking that probably has fans of the show anticipating the return of Dario to the real Temple even though he plays a villain.

This season premiere was long anticipated and it lived up to the hype.  LU has promised the introduction of several new characters this season, on their debut show they used the talents they established the previous season and it worked brilliantly.  The major question is how well can Catrina rule the Temple and will she be able to fight off a returning Dario Ceuto at some point?  Fans will have to keep tuning in to find out.