Season 3 — Episode 32: “The Cueto Cup”
An anticipated and loaded episode of Lucha Underground proverbially came in like a lion and went out like a lamb in many ways. After building towards several story arcs, the outcomes were somewhat inconclusive.
Something hyped since the mid-season return, the title match for the Lucha Underground Championship, culminated with a finish seemingly straight out of late-’90s Monday night wrestling television. The authority figure even got involved to cost the babyface the match. There was also the dreaded and groan-inducing ref bump that has long plagued finishes for decades.
With the help of Dario Cueto, Johnny Mundo retained his title in the match against Rey Mysterio. Dominic, the son of Mysterio, also interfered at one point in getting his revenge on Mundo for attacking him on a previous episode. Dominic ran in and took down Mundo before at least a dozen security guards rushed the ring.
Dominic ran out of The Temple with security in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, Mysterio made a comeback and covered Mundo on a pinning attempt. Like he was a member of the NWO in 1998, Cueto grabbed the referee by the leg and pulled him outside the ring to break up the count.
Also invoking memories of 1998, the match turned into a scene similar to Vince McMahon feuding with Steve Austin. Cueto punched Mysterio, and Mysterio gave him a 619 in return. Mysterio being distracted by his impromptu fight with Cueto allowed Mundo to waylay Mysterio with a belt shot.
Mundo executed a split-legged corkscrew moonsault to finish off Mysterio for the pinfall. The match itself was really good and highly entertaining, but the finish was lame. It was really lame. Especially after spending weeks building up the match to get the audience highly invested, only to pay that off in such a screwy manner.
Granted, Mysterio did save face and his son even got his own revenge for an injustice. Lucha Underground is also a TV show more so than a wrestling promotion, so more traditional wrestling logic does not necessarily apply. Regardless, a match they spent months hyping ended without a clean pinfall.
On the flip side was the finals of the Cueto Cup. Before the title match, Prince Puma won the Cueto Cup when he cleanly pinned Pentagon Dark in an exciting match. The win supposedly grants Puma a title shot. Pentagon looked stoic in defeat, and glared at Puma like their issues remain unsettled.
Puma and Pentagon had a really good match in the style of Lucha Underground where the line between heroes and villains is blurred. Not only is the line blurred, at times it is altered entirely. Nonetheless, the show still relies on defined protagonists.
During both the title match and the Cueto Cup finals, the announcers tried to maintain a hometown hero narrative to identify the protagonist. Matt Striker on commentary maintained the continuing narrative that Puma is a native of Boyle Heights. Ricochet, of course, is actually from Paducah, Kentucky — but he portrays a fictional character on a TV show so there’s a poetic license.
Stretching that poetic license was Vampiro insisting that Rey Mysterio was coming home to The Temple like he was a returning hometown hero. Mysterio is clearly not a hometown hero at The Temple. At least with Prince Puma, the narrative continually existed over several seasons.
Maybe the idea of Lucha Underground and El Rey Network being the home of Rey Mysterio would be more convincing if recent rumors about Mysterio’s future whereabouts weren’t ever present. The disconnect is probably due to taping the shows so far in advance.
The same disconnect somewhat exists with Prince Puma, since the person that portrays the character is seemingly not returning for another season. That should not matter since Lucha Underground is just a fictional TV show more so than a wrestling promotion, but it is still a wrestling show watched by wrestling fans.
Many wrestling fans will likely know Mysterio’s home is not The Temple in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. The area code for that region is also not 619, which is the name for Mysterio’s finisher that pays homage to San Diego.
Then there was the blatant bait-and-switch. Dario Cueto on the previous episode booked a mask vs. mask match for this show. The mask match — or the lack thereof — opened the show. The segment was more of an angle than a match.
Sexy Star vs. Veneno ended in a no contest
The match ended before it ever really got going when Joey Ryan ran down to ringside and unmasked Veneno. Just as Ryan suspected on the previous episode, Veneno was indeed Cortez Castro.
Sexy Star acted bewildered at this turn of events. She did get a few seconds of offense before Ryan ran down to unmask Castro. After the unmasking, Castro jumped out of the ring to attack Ryan. Castro was peppering him with strikes before he went for a piledriver on the announce desk. Ryan hit Castro with a low blow and fled the scene.
In a scene from Dario Cueto’s office, Johnny Mundo barged in with Benjamin Cooke. The agent began cutting a promo on Cueto. Mundo then threatened to leave the promotion.
They were apparently worried about outside interference in the title match. However, they still wanted the Worldwide Underground at ringside. The irony is interference would later allow Mundo to retain.
Cueto eased Mundo’s mind by stroking his ego. Cueto gave him some encouraging words, and then decreed that no one on the roster could interfere. If anyone on the roster interfered, Cueto said he would personally fire them. That was another bit of irony, as the interference later included someone not actually on the roster. Cueto himself would also involve himself physically in the title match.
Before the championship match, the finals of the Cueto Cup decided a new number one contender.
Prince Puma defeated Pentagon Dark to win the Cueto Cup
They exchanged strikes and kicks at the outset until Puma soon went airborne with a flip dive to the outside. Back in the ring, Pentagon cut off Puma. They began trading near falls. They also traded Canadian Destroyers. In the closing moments, Pentagon went for a package piledriver. Puma escaped and eventually set up for his 630 senton bomb to score the pinfall.
After the match, Vampiro left the broadcast booth to enter the ring. During the match, he was openly rooting for Puma. Vampiro raised the hand of Puma in victory, further establishing the narrative that Vampiro is a mentor figure to Puma.
Dario Cueto presented Puma with the Cueto Cup trophy. Cueto announced that Puma would face the Lucha Underground Champion at Ultima Lucha Tres. There wasn’t time to celebrate further, as the show rushed into the main event by order of Cueto.
Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo defeated Rey Mysterio to retain his title
Striking exchanges gave way to flying as the match began. Mysterio did a hurricanrana on the outside before flying back into the ring with a springboard crossbody for a two count. Mundo countered with a super gutbuster. Mysterio fought back until Mundo thumbed him in the eye. Mundo then got his first near fall off a springboard enzuigiri.
Mundo grounded Mysterio with a chicken wing. Mysterio escaped — only to get sent crashing to the outside. Mundo followed by crashing and burning on a flip dive. Mysterio then sent him flying with a tilt-a-whirl into a headscissors.
Back in the ring, Mundo cut off Mysterio and tore at his mask. Mysterio was trapped in the tree-of-woe when Mundo attempted a baseball slide dropkick. Mysterio raised up and Mundo crotched himself on the ring post. Moments later, Mysterio executed a Canadian Destroyer for a near fall.
Mysterio trapped Mundo in the octopus stretch, and then Mysterio attempted a 619. Mundo countered with a backbreaker for a two count. Mundo attempted his finishing move, but Mysterio countered for a split-legged moonsault for a near fall.
A ref bump set up the finishing sequences. Mundo speared the referee, then fouled Mysterio with a blatant low blow. He dropped Mysterio into a falling backbreaker before retrieving the title belt.
Dominic rushed to the ring to take the belt from Mundo. He squared off with Mundo and shot in on him with a double-leg takedown. As security chased Dominic, Mysterio delivered a 619 and followed with a springboard into a splash. A groggy referee went to make the count.
Suddenly, Dario Cueto pulled the ref out of the ring to break up the count. Cueto punched Mysterio, and Mysterio fired up on him to set up a 619. Mundo hit Mysterio from behind with the title belt. Mundo then executed his End of the World finisher (split-legged corkscrew moonsault) for the pinfall.