Perhaps the most important aspect of the Lucha Underground universe is the personality of Dario Cueto. He’s been around in a limited way throughout this season, but only in short vignettes. In “El Jefe Is Back,” Dario Cueto, El Jefe, is definitely, uh, back. He even brought back a fun little staple of the first season of the show, the live performances! This week, we have Chingon, Robert Rodriguez’s band, opening up the show and they add a fun vibe to the proceedings that wasn’t there during Catrina’s reign, and that’s how Dario sets himself apart as a character. As sadistic and evil as he may be, his ultimate goal is to always entertain the audience and, by extension, make money doing so. Catrina just wanted the power of the Temple for its own sake.
We open live in the Temple instead of with a vignette for the first time in a while, and Dario Cueto is in the ring. He ingratiates himself to the Believers by announcing a new Trios tournament for Angelico, Son of Havoc, and Ivelisse’s newly-won titles. He also says there will be a #1 contender match for Matanza’s title.
Pentagón Jr. shows up (in a fancy new white and gold mask, no less, though his shirt is still stained with blood) and takes exception to being excluded from Aztec Warfare. Dario bags on him and says he may not be championship material, which seems like a galactically dumb thing to say to an arm-breaking skeleton ninja who’s literally covered in the blood of his enemies. Sure enough, Pentagón grabs Dario and is about to snap his arm when Dario relents and grants him a match with Matanza later tonight. It’s on like Pentagón.
Chingon plays us in again, with Robert Rodriguez himself on lead. Our first match is Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie against The Crew. Frankly I don’t care for either of these teams and am not really invested in this, but they have a good enough match. Cage shows up at the midpoint of the match and just hangs out outside the ring, but Mundo is spooked and it ultimately costs he and Taya the victory. Cortez Castro picks up the win for his team.
In a nicely-shot vignette, Marty the Moth sits reading an old-looking book and tells us about his family, the Moth Tribe, who ruled the Aztec empire. They were known for their Aztec pride as well as their wealth, and were drawn to gold like moths to a flame. The family’s other claim to fame was the legacy of Mariposa, a fierce female warrior whose mask has been passed down from generation to generation, and of course which now resides with Marty’s sister, the latest Mariposa. We see her kicking the crap out of random masked luchadors in an alley and even snapping a few necks.
Lotus waits outside Dario’s office, guarding it, but Catrina teleports right in like she owns the place (until last week, she did!). She says the same thing she says every week, that Death is coming, this time for Matanza. Dario plays peacemaker and points out that he and Catrina have common enemies, and that if they were allied they’d be unstoppable. Catrina seems OK with this, but says—wait for it—that when the time is right, Matanza will face death. I like Catrina but she needs some new material, like, yesterday. Lotus stands outside the office, oblivious to this, because she’s very bad at guarding things.
Our Trios Title match is next, with Ivelisse, Son of Havoc, and Angelico facing off with the Disciples of Death, from whom they won the titles back two weeks ago. After a fun back and forth match, it comes down to Havoc and the purple-masked Disciple. When Catrina tries to interfere and gets a fierce kick to the head from Ivelisse, Havoc gets an opening to do a crazy dive to the outside and a shooting star press for the win. I love how they celebrate after the match, because they always seem so genuinely happy and surprised whenever they win. Their chemistry is easily one of my favorite things about the show, especially considering that they hated each other for most of the last season.
Back in Dario’s office he says he’s starstruck by his guest, who turns out to be Rey Mysterio, Jr. Dario says he was impressed to see Dragon Azteca performing in Aztec Warfare, but Mysterio corrects him and tells him that was Azteca’s son, there to avenge his father who died in the Temple. Dario has a stunned look for a second before saying he and Matanza had nothing to do with that, which is technically true because Lotus was the one who did the deed, but Dario was certainly complicit. He invites Rey and Azteca to compete in the Temple, provided they can put the past behind them.
Our next match is Sexy Star (accompanied by The Mack) facing off with Mariposa, with her brother Marty in tow. Mariposa has a cool look that effectively communicates her moth-ness, like with raggedy gross wings. I’ll say that Mariposa is the best female talent I’ve seen on the show besides Ivelisse so far, and she’s got great ring psychology and does a cool slam that finishes Sexy Star for the win. As dominant as this was, it did something of a poor job telling the story that Star was going after her former captors since it was so short and one-sided, and this match definitely could’ve used some more time. I can see the logic of establishing Mariposa as a killer, though.
Robert Rodriguez plays us in for our main event. Pentagón Jr. enters first and, being the most popular luchador on the show, gets a great ovation and a “Cero Miedo” chant from the Believers. Matanza is in next, followed by Dario, and stalks into the ring. Pentagón uses a “stick and move” strategy, landing forearms and strikes before rushing away. Even after a lungblower, though, nothing keeps Matanza down for more than a second and Pentagón seems thrown by his resilience.
Speaking of thrown, that’s what happens to Pentagón outside the ring as Matanza chucks him into chairs and the barricades outside the ring. Matanza dispatches Pentagón shockingly quickly to the audible dismay of the Believers, and Vampiro enters the ring to check on his protege. He calls for the medics, but Matanza kicks him in the head and keeps attacking Pentagón, eventually powerbombing him through the announcer’s table in a devastating spot. Pentagón is taken away in an ambulance with Vampiro riding along, as we close the show for this week.
This was a fun, though uneven, episode that is much more vignette-heavy than past weeks. My issue with it was that I’m not overly impressed with the Sexy Star/Mariposa story at this point, since it’s been so many weeks and really hasn’t gone anywhere beyond the reveal of Mariposa herself. The Taya/Mundo/Cage story is the same, where there’s been no real development except Cage and Mundo getting involved in each other’s matches and costing each other wins. We’ve established that Mundo’s afraid of Cage while Taya isn’t, but I don’t think this is going anywhere interesting.
On the other hand, the establishment of Matanza as a dominant, unstoppable champion who shows even fewer weaknesses than Mil Muertes is intriguing. When he and Muertes eventually face off, especially with the dynamics of Catrina and Dario at play, it’ll be one hell of an encounter.