Are you in the mood for warfare? Get ready for a dose, Aztec style. Aztec Warfare III will arrive during Lucha Underground on November 16 at 8pm ET/PT on El Rey Network. Beat that drum.
If you have never had the pleasure of watching Aztec Warfare, then you are in for a treat. It is basically the same as the Royal Rumble, except eliminations are by pinfall or submission. No over-the-top rule. This allows luchadores to fly all over the place to create a bevy of exciting moments. You can catch those good times in the Tope 10 and Tope 20 for Aztec Warfare I & II.
If you have never seen Lucha Underground before, now is a perfect time to jump in. The express explanation for the story of this match revolves around the Cueto family. Dario Cueto is the proprietor of Lucha Undergound. His brother, Matanza, debuted in last year's Aztec Warfare to win the championship and still remains champion. Dario is putting Matanza in as number one so he can get more competition. One more thing. Matanza's body is inhabited by godly powers. Literally. On to the competitors...
Who's in, Who's Out
Out: Aerostar, Argenis, Cage, Chavo Guerrero, Daga, Dante Fox, Fenix, Killshot, Prince Puma, Texano
Daga and Prince Puma are both dead, or at least it seems that way. Chavo lost a Loser Leaves Lucha match to Rey Mysterio. The others lost qualifying matches.
Injured (?): Angelico, Cortez Castro, El Dragon Azteca Jr., Ivelisse, Taya
Between real injuries and fake injuries, there is talent missing from the Temple. The severity of Taya's leg injury is unknown. Ivelisse technically earned her way in, but I highly doubt she will be able to participate after her ankle/foot injury last week. El Dragon Azteca Jr. was sent to the hospital by a Chavo Guerrero chair beatdown, but I think an adequate amount of time has passed for him to make a return. Cortez Castro recently had his arm re-broken by Matanza, although, I could see Dario throwing him in the mix for his perverse entertainment.
Angelico is the wild card. He was injured in real life and beaten with a car door in the Lucha Underground world. If Angelico is healthy, he would certainly fit the bill as a surprise entrant to tear the roof off the Temple.
In: Matanza Cueto, Drago, Jeremiah Crane, Mack, Marty Martinez, Mariposa, Rey Mysterio
Matanza will be number 1 per his brother's arrogance. Drago earned the 20th spot by outlasting Fenix and Aerostar in a three-way. Rey is in because he is Rey. Rey is not Sancho, but Rey being Rey is good enough. The Loser Leaves Lucha match was never announced as a qualifier to Aztec Warfare, however, Matt Striker said Rey was in during last week's show. The rest won a qualifying match.
Likely: Mil Muertes, Pentagon DARK, Sexy Star, Dr. Wagner Jr., Jack Evans, PJ Black, Son of Havoc
Others: Johnny Mundo, Mr. White Rabbit + 2, Black Lotus and her crew, Joey Ryan, King Cuerno, Kobra Moon, Mascarita Sagrada, Pimpinela Escarlata, Bengala, Super Fly, El Mariachi Loco, Vinny Massaro, Ricky Mandel
Johnny Mundo possesses the Gift of the Gods championship, which is his ticket to a title shot. He might be in Aztec Warfare, but he might not. I could see him taking the opportunity for a free chance at the championship, and I could equally see him sitting out to stay fresh.
King Cuerno is an interesting case. There are rumors that he missed the entire season with a back injury, but he is present in the season three trailer. Aztec Warfare is as good a time as any to join the fray once again.
Kobra Moon seems content to watch from the sidelines with threats for Drago to bring home the gold to Lord Pindar. Expect Mr. White Rabbit, but I'm not sure about his two cronies. Same for Black Lotus's crew if she makes an appearance. Officer Joey Ryan is in cahoots with Dario Cueto, so I don't expect him to be in the match against Matanza. Fisticuffs with Matanza could jeopardize his sweet deal. The rest are either fan favorites for a nice pop or jabrones that could be early entrants to warm up Matanza.
Favorites/Odds of Victory
The Field - 2%
Never say never. One of the great things about Lucha Underground is that the majority of the roster is presented as tough competitors. It would be a surprise, but it wouldn't feel out of place if someone like Angelico, King Cuerno, Son of Havoc, or Mack shocked the world.
El Dragon Azteca Jr. - 3%
Azteca is extremely talented in the ring. He is on a quest for vengeance against Matanza, so that hatred could fuel him to victory. What a better way to stick it to the Cueto family than to capture the Lucha Underground championship. However, I don't think he has a grip on his emotions yet, and that could lead to his downfall.
Drago - 5%
Being the last entrant will certainly have its advantages. Plus, Kobra Moon might provide some unsolicited assistance.
Pentagon DARK - 7%
Pentagon has the toughness necessary for victory, but he lacks the mental focus and concentration to be a serious threat. His odds also go down, since he should have a target on his back from being an arm-breaking jackass. And don't forget Vampiro at ringside along with the ninja clan looking for retribution.
Sexy Star - 8%
Sexy Star lacks the explosiveness and power to be an elimination machine. What she does have in her favor is that she is a survivor. As with the Royal Rumble, Aztec Warfare is all about surviving. I could easily envision Sexy Star sneaking into the nitty-gritty. It's anyone's game from there.
Johnny Mundo - 13%
I would put Mundo's odds much higher if he didn't already have the Gift of the Gods. Having that championship shot in his back pocket could act as an excuse to quit when the going gets tough.
Mil Muertes - 17%
Beating Prince Puma is no easy task. That match undoubtedly took a toll on Mil's body. It could have an impact on his stamina for Aztec Warfare. Catrina has resurrection power for Mil, but does she have magical massage skills? It will be interesting to see how well Mil has recuperated from Grave Consequences last week.
Matanza Cueto - 20%
If Matanza can stay ahead of the numbers game, I would boost his odds up to 70%. However, if too many luchadores get in the ring at the same time, they could team up to overpower Matanza for elimination. Also, with tons of bodies flying around, Matanza would be more susceptible to a sneaky rollup.
Rey Mysterio - 25%
Rey knows what it takes to win a match of this magnitude. He lasted 62 minutes in his 2006 Royal Rumble win. Last year, he entered Aztec Warfare in the two spot and finished as runner-up in his Lucha Underground debut. Now that Rey has acclimated to the freak show in the Temple, his veteran savvy will carry him that much further.
Kyle Decker - It's tough to call the winner of a match where we don't know that many of the competitors. We know Matanza is in it but I don't think he wins. I don't think that Drago, Rey Mysterio (though it's definitely possible), Marty the Moth, Mariposa, Jeremiah, nor Mack will win.
My pick is going to Sexy Star. I think the Temple will shift from the darkness of Matanza to the light of Sexy Star. Then they can run Johnny Mundo, who is the Gift of the Gods champion, against Sexy Star for the title. I definitely think Sexy will win the title at one point and a seismic shift in Aztec Warfare is as good a spot as any.
Manolo Has Pizzazz - Rey Mysterio will be riding high after finally shedding the albatross known as his long-time foe, Chavo Guerrero. Rey is in the Temple to do big things, and winning the Lucha Underground championship could be the start of that. It is time for Rey to become king.
Sean Rueter - We've had one técnico champ and a couple flavors of rudo. It's time for an arm-breaking tweener. Actually, I think it may be a year too late to pull the trigger on Pentagon, but I think there's a lot to be fun with a champ everyone hates. And having good and bad guys/gals gunning for him would probably shoot him right back up the popularity charts.
Kyle - I'm going with PJ Black and Jack Evans to put on a show. I expect them to find themselves in a position to work as a team to stay alive. Both men are extremely athletically gifted and can put on quite the performance.
Manolo - El Dragon Azteca Jr. is due for a breakout performance. He has shown plenty of flash but has yet to have the chance to become a star. I think he'll have the most memorable spot of the match and a handful of eliminations.
Sean - LU's spent the time to build him up this far, so I expect them to use Aztec Warfare as a way to further push the White Rabbit clan and their leader. Whatever they call him, Paul London deserves a chance to show television audiences why he and Brian Kendrick were SmackDown tag champs for almost a year back in el dia.
Kyle - I want to see Johnny Mundo win the title, though I think there's a chance he'll sit this out and wait to cash it in the Gift of the Gods title. Johnny has been true to Lucha Underground from the beginning and is the most deserving of a run at the top. While his technico run was good, his rudo run has been great. If Johnny is in, he'll be the one I'm rooting on until the end.
Manolo - I'm rooting for the Mack. He is electrifying each time he makes an appearance. He would be perfect to freshen up the main event scene. Every title defense would be an entertaining affair. Imagine matches against Pentagon DARK, Mil Muertes, Johnny Mundo, and his friend, Sexy Star.
Sean - Manolo stole my answer, but then Mack is my answer to a lot of questions (which often leads to funny looks from the Missus). Outside of Sexy's bud Willie, I've really enjoyed everything Son of Havoc's ever done in the Temple, and his work alongside Mascarita Sagrada against Team Famous B this year has been really special. Let's reward the hard travelin' beard-o with a shocking title win!
What are your predictions? Who will be in the final four? Who is going to win? Who will be the Dumbest Ass? Who will steal the show? Who are you rooting for? Until the drums beat, let Matt Striker put you in the mood.
Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!