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Lucha Underground: Cueto Cup Elite Eight Power Rankings

The Cueto Cup has been chock full of violence. The tournament’s namesake, Dario Cueto, is most likely grinning with glee at the ferocious physicality. I know I am, and you probably are too. One more round until we get down to the nitty-gritty. The quarterfinal matchups are as follows: Pentagon DARK vs Texano, Mil Muertes vs Jeremiah Crane, Pindar vs Fenix, and Prince Puma vs Dante Fox.

How do these luchadores rank? I’m glad I forced you to ask yourself that question by reading it. Allow me to break it down.

8. Pindar

Having trouble handling a mini and winning by disqualification against a machine doesn't look very impressive on Pindar's tournament resume. Nor has it answered questions about his aptitude in the ring. His wrestling prowess is still unknown. Hopefully I can at least get this question answered. Is Pindar an armadillo?

7. Jeremiah Crane

Jeremiah Crane is a slugger. He will be a difficult out. His downfall could be related to the idea that his focus is more on controlling Catrina's love rather than winning the Cueto Cup. Is he susceptible to mind games from the sultry spirit lady?

6. Texano

Texano owes his success so far to Famous B. A free win, then a water squirt. Not that he couldn't have gotten here on his own, but Texano should show some gratitude. The final eight level has been his peak so far in the Temple. Texano would be wise to accept aid from a wily manager.

5. Dante Fox

Dante Fox has had the toughest path (wins over El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Son of Havoc) to the quarterfinals as the breakthrough star of the Cueto Cup, and it will only get tougher against Prince Puma. Luckily for Fox, he has been the recipient of good fortune through the benefit of Worldwide Underground distraction and a maddening pre-match pummeling. I don't foresee Fox gaining that advantage this time. Puma does not appear to have any intruders creeping in the shadows ready to pounce.

4. Fenix

Defeating the Moth siblings is no easy venture. Fenix deserves props for that. However, will his fork tender forehead stimulate the senses of lizard-man Pindar as a power boost? Also, did Mariposa expose a game plan for Kobra Moon? Will Melissa Santos be a liability?

3. Pentagon DARK

Pentagon DARK is a brute. Brains is not his strong point. That shouldn't be an issue in a matchup with Texano, who also wrestles more with brute force than brains. You have your brains, but it's energy and desire that make you win tournaments. Pentagon definitely has enough energy and desire to make up for other deficiencies.

2. Mil Muertes

Mil Muertes plowed through the first two rounds. Jeremiah Crane's style fits the mold as another victim of plowing. Mil needs a Mr. Plow jacket, especially when he gets kinky with Catrina. Matanza is the only luchador to out-slug Mil. Crane certainly is tough, but he is only human. I hope Mil busts out the Miltusi when he wins.

1. Prince Puma

On a rooftop in the moonlight, Puma stated with conviction, "I will not lose no matter what." I believe him. If he had a confidence problem after his Ultima Lucha outcomes, it should be gone by now. Puma already has victories over the top competitors still standing. With his current motivation and determination, a loss would shock me.

Additional thoughts from the Boyle Heights beat.

Best second round match

Taya vs Jeremiah Crane. Even though these two aren't hosses in stature, they fought like hosses in spirit. This was a better hoss fight than some certified hosses have put on. If anyone asks what a slobberknocker is, I would point them to this match.

Biggest second round surprise

Aerostar saving Drago. That good deed caught me by surprise. Drago turned fink and deserved to be served by an even bigger fink in Pentagon DARK. But Aerostar showed his good nature by trying to salvage a departed friendship. Alas, a broken arm was Aerostar’s reward.

Most anticipated quarterfinals bout

Prince Puma vs Dante Fox. The dream match I didn't know I wanted until after round one was complete. Fox is a dynamo. Puma has been his usual spectacular self. Together, they should bring the Believers to a fever pitch and blow the rough off the Temple.

Upset special

Texano over Pentagon DARK. I predict Famous B will keep the train rolling for Texano. Choo! Choo! I'm not sure how, but B has a variety of methods of influence. The aftermath scenario I'm most intrigued to see is Pentagon setting up the Beautiful Brenda for an arm break. What would Texano's reaction be?

Other thoughts

The booking of Fenix vs Pindar will be interesting. I feel like they booked themselves into a no-win situation. With Aerostar having his arm broken by Pentagon DARK, Fenix will be all alone to face the Reptile Tribe. Does Fenix overcome the entire tribe to make them look foolish and kill their momentum? If Fenix wins a clean one-on-one contest, then why are Kobra Moon and her cronies keeping it fair? There has been interference and outside distractions all through the tournament. Fenix winning by DQ sounds like a dud of an outcome. Pindar in the final four also feels like a dud in terms of star power. I'm curious to see how Lucha Underground navigates the situation.

Will a new star get made? Pentagon DARK, Mil Muertes, Fenix, and Prince Puma are already stars in the Temple. A win for Jeremiah Crane or Dante Fox would legitimize them as upper-echelon talent. Texano beating Pentagon would be a major stepping stone on his story path of becoming famous. A clean win for Pindar would be huge, but it is safe to assume that isn't going to happen clean. Cheating to win won't boost his standing in my eyes.

How do you rank the final eight competitors? Which was your favorite match in round two? Do you see any upsets on the horizon? Any other thoughts? Join us as the Cueto Cup continues Wednesday at 8pm ET/PT on El Rey Network.

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