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Posted in: The Green Room
SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: S3E27 - Fade to Black
By Ryan Plant (73AF)
Jul 22, 2017 - 6:23:16 AM




Season 3, Episode 27
Fade to Black


Slightly later than usual this week due to my appearance on Perfect 10 Wrestling on LOPRadio, it's Sound of the Underground.

I don't like to drag this out when this is late, so let's get on with it!



A shrouded figure stands at the top of the Temple. The Billboard behind him is sprayed with the logo of one of his greatest rivals. Prince Puma remembers everything that happened to Konnan, and his descent into the darkness. That's when his new master comes in.

“You're looking for some peace and quiet up here. I think you're mistaken.”

Vampiro tells him that the championship is his purpose, and there is nothing else.

“But what if I don't win?”
“Those visions. They will consome you. They'll be nothing else.”

Speaking of the Lucha Underground Championship - Johnny Mundo and his entourage, the Worldwide Underground, walk below him. It is at this moment that his opponent tonight, PJ Black, spots him and flips the bird.

Grimacing, he tells Vampiro that he will not lose, no matter what...

“My Master.”

One of my favourite recurrent themes in Lucha Underground is Puma's flashbacks. They aided his character when he was a mute and now they continue to haunt him. It's just a unique character quirk that not many others in the Temple share. It's nice to have an opening segment this week as I feel like we haven't had it, more often than not, during the Cup.


***

El Conjunto Nueva Ola bring the jams and Matt Striker says it's appropriate. We're jamming our way through the Cup tonight as we have three huge matches tonight with Cage vs. Pindar, Dante Fox vs. Son of Havoc and Prince Puma vs. PJ Black.

Vampiro asks Melissa to take it away and of course she does! She introduces a creature from When Reptiles Ruled the Earth, the Kobra Moon-led Pindar! She slithers into the ring and watches her lizard proudly.

Speaking of proud, Melissa Santos grins as she announces Cage. What would Fenix think of that? Wink wink nudge nudge. The Machine looks aggressive as hell which is no doubt in part due to the Gauntlet.

The bell rings. Are you ready for a Monster Mash?


LUCHA UNO:
Cueto Cup – Second Round Match
Pindar vs. Cage

Justin Borden makes the mistake of asking Cage to take off the Gauntlet on his hand and this time he won't back down. Unlike the past few weeks, he absolutely refuses to take off the accessory.

SO HE STRIKES HIM DOWN!

The Machine goes to grab his opponent but that's when Borden calls for a rare DQ. He's done it again!

WINNER: Pindar


We're not used to seeing disqualifications but Borden has just provided another. You can't really blame him, he got struck with brass knuckles the other week. Of course he was going to have a problem with this being used.

Cage hits the Lucha Destroyer on Borden before staring down Pindar.

He simply leaves the ring to allow Kobra Moon to grin and raise Pindar's arm as if he had just gone through a gruelling competitive match. With that, we set up what will be a great, great match in Pindar vs. Fenix.

That's the end of that chapter! Cage is out of the tournament but at least they did this in a pretty creative way that didn't hurt either man. Eventually, someone is going to come after that Gauntlet. Until then, it seems like Cage is far too overwhelmed by its power.


***

I like that we're going straight into another match here, having been cruelly robbed of the last one. Melissa Santos introduces the first competitor of match two: Dante Fox!

Vampiro puts Fox over huge here as he announces that he has rarely been a fan of anyone, the Great Muta and The Road Warriors spring to his mind, but he IS a believer in Dante Fox.

His opponent is from the Open Road... Son of Havoc! But so is his attacker! As none other than Son of Madness attacks him with a chain. He attempts to choke Havoc with it but the fan favourite flips him over the barrier. He dives but is soon drilled into the barrier by Madness. He lines up the chain around his hand but he still manages to avoid it. That is until Havoc jumps off the railing and Madness levels him at that moment.

Fox is grinning at this development, knowing that his opponent has been truly softened tonight.

“Hold on! Hold on! Hold... on!”

Dario Cueto announces that the Cueto Cup must continue. He tells Havoc that he must either forfeit or get ready to fight. The Believers roar! Son of Havoc still chooses to fight of course! He holds his head but his heart is still in prime condition. Game on!


LUCHA DOS:
Cueto Cup – Second Round Match
Dante Fox vs. Son of Havoc

Fox takes advantage of the situation by stomping repeatedly. A kick to the face in the corner and a HUGE ELEVATED plancha puts down Havoc, now on the outside. He rolls his opponent back in for a big leg drop to the apron. He seems to injure himself by falling to the outside but he quickly rolls back in for a two count.

He continues the assault now as the Believers try to will Havoc on. Fox whips him to the ropes and hits a big pump kick to the outside. He goes to the well once more with another plancha but Havoc avoids. What about a hurricanrana attempt? He avoids that too! That's when Havoc wheelbarrows his foe into the fencing and laughs! That's the Son of Havoc we know!

Back in the ring, the tecnico's double stomp misses but his pump kick doesn't. 1...2... No! Striker's descriptive “open-fuelled wanderer of the Open Road” soon goes to meet his opponent who has now taken to the top rope, he is kicked down before being Senton Bombed! That was two! Vampiro is marking out here and so am I; Dante's hangtime in the air is just something to behold.

When both men rise to their feet, they try to slug it out in the middle of that ring. It's a handspring cutter that gives Havoc another two count though! He keeps up the handspring offense with a back elbow. The moment he drops that tactic and lifts Fox onto his shoulders, it spells trouble, as Fox reverses a fireman's carry into a roll-up. Not quite. Fox is back in the game here as he monkey flips Havoc off the turnbuckle for yet another two count.

We have another slugfest here as both men trade blows on the apron. Havoc gets Fox on his shoulders again, which has not proven to be a good move so far. Fox fights him off but he is soon put back into that position for a Death Valley Driver onto the Temple Floor! Viva La Revolucha indeed! Havoc takes his opponent back into the ring for a double stomp to the back and a standing moonsault. Was that it?! One! Two! No!

Vampiro is worried now. How far will they take this?! We might have an answer now as Havoc misses his Shooting Star Press off the top and the One Man Army takes advantage with the Fox Catcher for 1, 2 and 3! He got him!

WINNER: Dante Fox


Despite a valiant effort, Havoc could not shake off his injuries and Fox prevailed here. He smirks at his accomplishment before leaving the fans to cheer their fallen warrior.

If this was a decent match which fell shy of ten minutes, I'd love to see what these two men could do in twenty, without an injury angle too! Again, I must praise Lucha for finding another way to have one man advance whilst keeping the loser strong through their story. Brilliant.


***

PJ Black makes his way backstage as we hear Mundo talking about some form of plans.

“Hey Jonathan, my match is up in two minutes man. What news couldn't wait?”
“PJ, I'd like you to meet the future of the Worldwide Underground...”

With that, a tubby man in black shades and a red shirt rises from the bench.

“PJ. Huge fan, huuuuuuge fan. Seen all your work. Amazing stuff. The thing you do? I'll never know. Amazing.”

Mundo introduces this man Benjamin as being there for Worldwide Underground's representation.

He tells all of them that the splendor of Heaven would not compare to Johnny Monday.

“Mundo...”

After being corrected, he tells the other members that they are good too.

“Maybe not you...” He tells Mandel.

He tells them all that they need to be on cereal boxes, billboards, and for that they need someone to represent them. He tells PJ that if he does his job tonight, then Mundo and the Worldwide Underground will own Lucha Underground.

At that moment, Johnny Mundo tells PJ that he's up and that they need to talk strategy with Benji. They apparently discuss the likes of Dario Cueto as we cut back to the ring.

I don't know what I just saw and I don't know if I liked it or not. I think I know where it's going just by Benjamin telling the others that they don't compare to Johnny Mundo. With the documentary and now this, the title reign has gone further to Johnny Mundo's head and I think the other members will soon turn against the leader. We might see the seeds planted tonight if Black fails to win his match.

I think I would have liked this more if it wasn't for that background music. I get what they tried to do with that lovely Hollywood score but if that wasn't the cheesiest thing I've ever heard, I don't know what is...



***

We're back ringside and with about twenty minutes running time left, we should have ourselves a long, plentiful Main Event. We haven't really had that during the Cup yet! Striker and Vampiro put over next week's matches: Mack vs. Texano and Drago vs. Pentagon Dark before taking it away to Melissa one more time.

She introduces Cape Town's “Darewolf” PJ Black who gloats all the way down the steps and all the way across the ring. Matt Striker's commentary is interesting here as he openly admits that PJ has not lived up to his potential and that he knows he could be so good but the Worldwide Underground stuff has stopped him from really showing what he can do. There's that foreshadowing again.

On the subject of shadows, Santos introduces Prince Puma! He struts down in his all black attire now with his red mask, still with his happy-go-lucky theme I must add as the crowd cheers him on relentlessly. We come back from break to a “Let's Go Puma” chant and the start of this final match.


LUCHA TRES:
Cueto Cup – Second Round Match
PJ Black vs. Prince Puma

There's actually some dueling chants here as both men chain wrestle to start. It's a very English start to the match as Vampiro correctly identifies, with hammerlocks being reversed into wristlocks and takedowns. A punch to the face from Puma changes everything though as now it's a real fight. Both men flip over one another here before an Eddy Gordo style leg-sweep from Black tries to catch Puma out. It doesn't.

A monkey flip still has Puma landing on his feet and so does a headscissor takedown. Puma tries the same move on Black who simply rolls out of the ring. The Worldwide Underground member prepares himself for a counter but Puma doesn't dive out of the ring, he simply backflips into his trademark fake-out. This is just wonderful so far.

Black runs back into the ring and hits a shoulder tackle but Puma kips-up straight away. He catches a sprinting Black and turns it into a tilt and whirl backbreaker before stamping on PJ's face. He continues to strike and shoulder thrust his foe. The franchise of Lucha Underground gets a word from Marty Elias for stamping on the ear as this new dark Puma now starts to hammer away in the corner. Vampiro puts over this form of Prince Puma because as we know, he is the one behind it. It is at this point that Black comes back though!

The Worldwide Underground member turns a Reverse Suplex into a Dragon Sleeper! When Puma refuses to fade, he strikes the back of the neck and turns a different suplex into a sat-up double wristlock, complete with a knee to the back. When his opponent gets to his feet, Black goes for a backslide pin for two. Almost! He goes for another submission, this time wrenching one of Puma's arms between his and trapping one of his legs in the same manner. When the Prince shows signs of breaking the hold, he turns it into another cover! That's still not enough to put away the first ever Lucha Underground Champion though.

He continues to take it to Puma, throwing him into the corner. When he darts at his adversary though, he is dropped onto the rung himself and is 619'd through the corner! A gigantic forearm from Prince Puma gets him back into the game here! Both men head to either side of the ring to buy some time before Prince Puma kicks Black in the back of the head. A roll-through DDT followed by a standing Shooting Star Press gets just two for Vampiro's protégé.

Puma is rocked by a forearm from Black but returns one of his own. He goes for a tilt-a-whirl guillotine choke but doesn't manage to fully lock this in, allowing PJ to suplex him. That's one, two, no! Puma flips Black for his own cover. 1...2... Neither! Out of nowhere, Puma hits a cutter before lifting his opponent for a cradle drop! That's another two! Puma hits an amazing array of forearms and kicks with backwards rolls inbetween before PJ Black hits his own lifted cutter and a shoulder breaker! YET ANOTHER TWO COUNT!

The Believers think this is awesome and I can only agree as both men exchange hands, knees, spinning kicks, everything! It breaks down into a good old fashion fist fight complete with the boo/yay exchange before both men resort to kicks again. A spinning kick to the jaw leads to a Northern Lights Suplex from Puma, rolled-through into another suplex. Yet, you know where I'm going here, that's another two count!

The momentum has changed now. A rope-assisted kick and a moonsault off those same ropes fail to put Prince Puma away. Both men take to the corner now. Black tries to stay on the top rope for dear life but a kick to the face from the apron and a Rewind-Rana get... say it with me: a two count! Prince Puma wastes no time as he is the one who ascends the top rope now but he is joined by a forearm-bearing PJ Black.

Some of the Believers are now chanting for the Worldwide Underground member now but an insane Top-Rope Standing Frankensteiner from Prince Puma gets... TWO AND A HALF?! That was close! Puma pounds the mat repeatedly. He cannot believe this. A stupendous front dropkick sends PJ right into the corner before the 630 Splash FINALLY gets the win for him! Striker calls it an amazing match and I, along with all of those Believers, have to agree!

WINNER: Prince Puma


Prince Puma soaks in the “That Was Awesome” chants before leaving the ring. As Striker and Vampiro plug the brackets before wishing us goodnight, we cut backstage. Before I cover that though, let's just talk about this stunning match.

Where was the Worldwide Underground interference? Where were the low blows? How about the weapons? We had none of that and I am SO GLAD. We got a tremendous main event here and I am hoping that the lack of interference leads to PJ Black slowly turning against the Worldwide Underground now as we've seen what he can do by himself. I am even predicting that his friends being too busy with the agent is going to be the catalyst to start this off.

Prince Puma in some ways was a victim of his own success here. He was absolutely phenomenal and yet I'm here gushing about Black because he showed so many styles of wrestling, from English chain wrestling to some insane Lucha Libre, that I'm really beginning to think that he is the complete athlete in this Temple. I want to see what else he can do and that tells me that this match has really worked in putting over the Worldwide Underground member.



***

As the credits roll, we hear the sound of a phone ringing repeatedly.

“Yes, yes, I understand.” Dario looks bored to death.

He tells the man on the other end of the receiver that PJ Black is here.

“You wanted to see me?”

It is at this point that Dario Cueto informs PJ Black that in spite of him now being eliminated from the Tournament, he is willing to give him another shot. This is because of the seventeen phone calls from a certain Mr. Cooke.

“Seventeen? The match only finished five minutes ago.”

The phone rings once more and the agitated Dario refuses to answer it.

“Persistent man...”

He tells PJ that he cannot re-enter him in the Cueto Cup Tournament, but he agrees with Mr. Cooke's idea that next week, he will take on the current #1 Contender: Rey Mysterio.

“Really?”

He grins as Dario tells him that the Believers will continue to learn what the Darewolf is about next week.

As PJ leaves the office, Cueto's mobile rings this time:

“How the hell?”

I'm not even going to question the logic of how Cooke's name is stored in his iPhone as Dario throws his own device into the bin.

After seeing what Black could do this week against Mysterio, I'm excited, but also hesitant because I would not be surprised if there is interference. I hadn't been against all of the interference in the Temple at first as I get the type of champion Mundo is, but after watching tonight's main event go off without a hitch, I am now one of those same fans who sees what Lucha has lost with this reign. We need more clean finishes again.

Tonight was brilliant and hopefully next week will be too. I definitely think we're getting that slow-burn tecnico turn from PJ here.



TEMPLE GOD

19th July – PJ Black

12th July – Marty “The Moth” Martinez (2)
5th July – Dante Fox
28th June – Jeremiah Crane (2)
21st June – Marty “The Moth” Martinez
14th June – Cage (3)
7th June – Prince Puma (2)
31st May – Johnny Mundo (4) and The Mack (3)
11th January – Dragon Azteca Jr.
4th January – Johnny Mundo (3)
28th December – Cage (2)
21st December – The Mack (2)
14th December – Jeremiah Crane
7th December – The Mack
30th November – Vampiro
23rd November – Johnny Mundo (2)
16th November – Sexy Star
9th November – Mil Muertes
2nd November - Rey Mysterio Jr. (2)
26th October - Johnny Mundo
19th October - Drago
12th October - Chavo Guerrero Jr.
5th October - Cage
28th September - Prince Puma
21st September - Jack Evans
14th September - Killshot
7th September - Rey Mysterio Jr.

Damn you Lucha.

Damn you Lucha Underground for giving me no choice but to give this award to someone else who lost a match. Though the likes of Dante Fox and Prince Puma were impressive tonight, this really felt like a game-changing night for PJ Black. He featured in three segments, had the show named after him (thank you Mr. Cooke) and managed to keep up with Prince Puma which is something that barely anyone else can do!

I almost went with joint-winners here as Puma was also heavily focused and picked up the win, but with Black getting another singles opportunity next week, this really felt like the birth of PJ. Plus, if I can help it, I don't want to do that all of the time as it takes away from the truly deserved double-win of Mundo and Mack in their All Night Long draw.

Even in defeat, the Darewolf deserved this.


FINAL THOUGHTS

With the thrown-out match to begin the show and a pre-match attack to start off the second bout, you could be forgiven for thinking that this show was going to turn into another shenanigan-frenzied affair.

It didn't.

What we got was a great underdog effort from Son of Havoc and perhaps the birth of a new rising star in the Temple.

With another set of three matches next week, we may see another great effort from the Darewolf, and that's what I want to touch upon this week:

Will the Worldwide Underground interfere? Will PJ like it if they do? Will he be mad that they didn't interfere this week or was he pleased that he got to make a statement by himself? Will Azteca defend his mentor? There's a lot to speculate about here. Last week's comments section was booming, and I'd love for that to be the same. Remember though, you can always catch me on Twitter below as well.

Until next week, don't stop believing and thank you for reading.







WANT TO GO DEEPER UNDERGROUND?



The Lordsofpain Columns forum is very much like Lucha Underground – anyone can appear at any point, and they all have a story to tell.

This week, it's the finals of our very own Cueto Cup as Oliver and Skulduggery battle it out to be the Columns Forum Classic winner!

It's all going down HERE:

http://www.lordsofpain.tv/forumdisplay.php/21-Competitions

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