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Lucha Underground recap (March 23, 2016): Aztec Warfare II

Rey Mysterio Jr. makes his in-ring debut in a show-long spectacle. The landscape of Lucha Underground is once again poised to shift.

This week's recap is somewhat unique and calls for a different sort of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is the second-ever Aztec Warfare match, which resembles the Royal Rumble, except that eliminations come via pinfall or submission. Like this year's Royal Rumble, Fénix's freshly-won Lucha Underground title will be on the line. He will enter first and Mil Muertes will enter last.

As a result, we won't be getting a lot of breaks in the recap below, but I'll try to keep Aztec Warfare's Stray Observations and What We Learned sections in handy paragraph-by-paragraph bullet point form. Enjoy!


Fade in.

Fénix makes his way through the locker room, but Pentagón Jr. shows up to skeletonly say tonight is the night he finally takes the title. The lights go out and manifestation of death Catrina shows up to tell Pentagón he knows NOTHING about the darkness. Then things get a little trippy.

The lights sort of ... shift. And Pentagón and Catrina appear to enter some sort of Phantom Zone plane of existence. Catrina says she doesn't even know why he's here, since he didn't receive an invitation to Aztec Warfare. He lost his privilege the moment he put his hands on her.

He says she doesn't scare her and she can't tell him what to do. Only his Master can tell him what to do. Because he has CERO MIEDO. Catrina says that's just because he doesn't know TRUE fear.

Oh, Fénix is in the Phantom Zone with them. She says tonight, Mil Muertes takes his title back. Fénix and Pentagón have a truly badass staredown as they walk their separate ways.


AND IT'S ON. Aztec drummers and dancers are here to get us COMPLETELY ENGORGED WITH HYPENESS as Matt Striker and Vampiro welcome us to Aztec Warfare. And sure enough, they confirm that Pentagón Jr. did NOT receive an invitation. DANNNGGGG and/or HMMMMMM


Matanza wins Aztec Warfare II over Fénix, Rey Mysterio, King Cuerno, Argenis, Johnny Mundo, Joey Ryan, Prince Puma, Jack Evans, Taya, They Call Him Cage, Mascarita Sagrada, Marty "The Moth" Martinez, Drago, The Mack, Chavo Guerrero, PJ Black, Dragón Azteca Jr., Texano and Mil Muertes

Stray observations: Fénix, of course, draws No. 1 and the second entrant (by random drawing) is from San Diego, California. IT'S REY MYSTERIO, the king of lucha libre! The Temple crowd absolutely loses its mind. Wonderful moment there, for sure. Definitely the best entrance in Lucha Underground history.

They do a respect hug to start off and then have 90 seconds of a perfect Fénix vs. Mysterio match before King Cuerno is in at No. 3. In short order he hits an Arrow from the Depths of Hell on Fénix. Rey then hits an awesome sliding splash to the outside as Argenis makes his return at No. 4.

Welp, bye, Argenis. About 80 seconds after making his entrance, Argenis is pinned following a frog splash by Rey. Fénix hits a step-up tornillo onto Cuerno as Johnny Mundo is in at No. 5.

Mundo and Fénix mix it up in the ring as Joey Ryan makes his entrance at No. 6, making a big show of brandishing his Aztec Warfare invitation. He of course won said invitation by winning a four-way match against The Crew and Killshot.  He gets to ringside and then ... HANDCUFFS HIMSELF TO THE BARRICADE. He yells, "PIN ME NOW." That's brilliant. As he hangs around ringside, the one and only FAMOUS B appears in the Temple for the first time this season -- in a suit -- to hand Ryan a card.

And Prince Puma is the No. 7 entrant, immediately making an impression with a big dive. People keep popping Joey in the face as they walk by, which is great. No. 8 is Jack Evans, the dragon slayer. These entries are coming real fast. As Evans comes down the stairs, Cuerno taps out to a Fénix armbar. Thanks for playing, King.

Everyone gangs up on Evans, so he and Mundo form an uneasy alliance and wait for the next entrant ... which is Taya! That's good for Evans and Mundo! The rudos take control as Puma tweaks his knee on the outside. No. 10 is They Call Him Cage, who of course cleans house on the Mundo faction immediately.

Famous B continues to hand out cards at ringside while Mundo and They Call Him Cage brawl on the outside. Mundo sends his rival through the office glass and proves that THE MACHINE BLEEDS.

No. 11 is Mascarita Sagrada, making his grand return! They Call Him Cage decks Mundo for his insolence, allowing Puma to get the pin and eliminate Mundo. No. 12 is Marty "the Moth" Martinez, who is looking as damp and creepy as ever. His new character as creepy bastard is totally wonderful and his gimmick and in-ring heeling are next-level right now.

No. 13 is the one and only Drago, who of course makes a beeline right for Jack Evans. Evans MISSES a flying space tiger drop but lands on his feet, then dodges the mist from Drago, which hits Joey right in the face. Ryan getting beat up even more for not being in the match is such wonderful booking.

Sagrada hits a headscissors on Martinez, then Rey drops a top-rope splash. A double pin from Sagrada and Mysterio eliminates Martinez. No. 14 is The Mack, who Stunners Martinez on the outside for good measure, because he hates him. Mack and They Call Him Cage go toe to toe as Sagrada and Puma beat up Joey some more on the outside.

No. 15 is Chavo Guerrero. Meanwhile, Drago is powerbombing Evans onto the bleachers and Taya is getting tossed around. There's so much happening. Guerrero forces Sagrada to submit to a camel clutch, which is some great heeling. Cage goes for the kill on Taya, but gets SMASHES IN THE HEAD BY A CINDERBLOCK by Mundo, allowing Taya to get the pin and eliminate the machine from the five five nine.

No. 16 is THE DAREWORLF PJ Black, who goes right after Drago in the bleachers. No. 17 is Aero Star, who is competing in a match for the first time this season. The tag teams get dual eliminations, as Black pins Drago with a brainbuster at the same time Aero Star pins Evans with a Canadian Destroyer. (A Stellar Destroyer? A Celestial Destroyer?)

Making his big debut at No. 18 is Dragón Azteca Jr. He does a pretty good job of cleaning house, but No. 19, Texano, does an even better job, clearing the ring by swinging his magical bullrope. Texano hits a massive sitout powerbomb on PJ Black, who just can't buy a break in Lucha Underground, as he gets pinned and eliminated.

Mil Muertes and Catrina make their entrance at No. 20, but YOU DON'T SCORN PENTAGÓN JR. Pentagón jumps Muertes from behind before he can enter the ring, beating him relentlessly with a chair and then throwing him in the ring. Mysterio hits a splash and he and Puma double-pin Muertes, ELIMINATING MIL MUERTES! Holy crap!

Catrina is, of course, furious. She screams at Vampiro, telling him to get over here. Vampiro, confused, obliges. She orders Vampiro to leave as ... the clock continues to count down? Striker says it's a technical malfunction. Catrina slaps Vampiro as the buzzer sounds.

And who should appear at the top of the stairs but DARIO CUETO. HE'S BACK, MOTHERLUCHAS. The crowd goes bonkers and for good reason. He reintroduces himself and says this is HIS Temple! He says he's in charge now and is El Jefe once again. He says there is ONE MORE ENTRANT: his brother, Matanza Cueto, the monster.

Everyone in the ring is baffled as Matanza climbs into the ring. Everyone jumps him but he shrugs them all off. He immediately slams and pins Fénix, guaranteeing a new champion. He then no-sells a Stunner and MURDERS Mack with a German suplex, pinning and eliminating him. He then does the same to Aero Star.

Texano tries to magical bullrope choke Matanza to death, but gets powerbombed and pinned for his troubles. Everyone else stays away, but then Matanza locks eyes with Joey Ryan, handcuffed to the barricade all by his lonesome. Joey rightfully panics and tries to flee, but Matanza just breaks the barricade apart with his bare hands and rolls Ryan into the ring. He hits a trio of frightfully impressive rolling deadlift gutwrench suplexes to eliminate Joey.

The remaining participants make rough plans to attack Matanza at once, but Chavo opts to kick everyone in the breadbasket and roll Dragón Azteca into the ring. Azteca tells Matanza to bring it on. NO DON'T DO THAT, KID. A spinning chokeslam later and Azteca is outta here.

Chavito tries to make a deal with Dario and align with Matanza, but Dario orders Matanza to kill and he eliminates Guerrero with a standing moonsault. It's down to Matanza, Puma and Mysterio.

Puma and Mysterio team up and rock Matanza, but you can't beat a monster that easily. Puma gets eliminated with a German and it's all up to Rey Rey. Matanza catches a 619, but Rey hits another one and goes for the kill. Matanza catches Rey coming off the top rope and plants him, pinning him to become the new Lucha Underground champion.

What we learned: Well, as much as people love to see Dario back, having Matanza blow through everyone and pin Rey Mysterio and Prince Puma with ease is a GREAT way to get him serious heel heat right off the bat. Indeed, the crowd reactions were almost of "Undertaker Guy" proportions. People were shocked Rey would get defeated like that in his debut, by this monster, no less.

Catrina running afoul of Pentagón Jr. (or vice versa) served as her undoing, as it led to Muertes blowing his best shot at the title. With Catrina's army already depleted, it sure looks like she's lost her hold on the Temple for good. We'll have to see where the Catrina/Dario power struggle goes next week and if we get any answers, supernatural or otherwise, to that storyline.

Mysterio and Azteca were poised to make an impact (and one could argue their mere presence has done so), but they ran into Matanza, just like everyone else.

Famous B finally arrived in the Temple, but not as part of the in-ring action, which is quite surprising to those of us who have anxiously been awaiting his debut.

The Cage/Mundo/Taya business is really heating up and almost surely heading toward a violent end. Ditto Marty and Mack.

Black and Evans still have serious beef with Drago and Aero Star. I happen to know some things and without spoiling anything, trust me: you're really going to like where this is going. Really Really.

Like the best Royal Rumbles, Aztec Warfare II really helped advance a lot of storylines, but the most important one is that Matanza is here and he is a true monster. It's unclear how anyone else might have a hope in hell of defeating this guy, but it will be a lot of fun to see what happens next week as the entire Temple deals with the fallout.


And that'll do it for this week. I think enough happened, don't you?

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