SPOILER: Former Lucha Underground Champion Makes MLW Debut at War Chamber

lucha underground

Cesar Duran and Azteca Underground made a huge acquisition at War Chamber as a Lucha Underground villain debuted in MLW, still embracing the monster within. 

In the lead-up to MLW‘s War Chamber event, which was taped last weekend at Philadelphia’s iconic 2300 Arena, MLW CEO Court Bauer did the media rounds. For the most part, he simply hyped up the taping and its three big matches, the War Chamber, ladder match for the vacant National Openweight Championship, and the crowning of a new Opera Cup Champion. But Bauer also slipped in something else when he said, “…as well as some new faces entering the mix, like NZO and Jeff Cobb.”

Sorry, what now? Fans knew that NZO was on his way but the return of Cobb was not expected, and certainly not in the “oh, by the way, Jeff Cobb will also be there” casual way Bauer mentioned it. Cobb, who made his MLW debut in 2017, last wrestled for the promotion in 2018, losing to Jake Hager at the Intimidation Games event. Since leaving MLW, Cobb has primarily wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor, where he is a former World Television Champion.

Cobb returning to MLW seemed quite unexpected as just last month, he was wrapping up a run in the NJPW G1 Climax, but to Bauer’s word, the purveyor of Hawaiian strong style did in fact appear at the War Chamber tapings, doing so in a major and perhaps unexpected way. See, Bauer never mentioned how Cobb would be involved, just that he would be on sight. Not that it was too hard to put together though when Josef Samael and CONTRA expanded the War Chamber match from a four-on-four to a five-on-five. Alex Hammerstone‘s team was still unfilled by the time the main event came that night, and in the preceding three-plus hours, Cobb had yet to wrestle a match. It was pretty clear that Cobb would be one of the five men on Team Hammer. That said, when the clock counted down and the match started with Jacob Fatu already in the chamber as the first entrant, fans were in for quite the surprise when it wasn’t Cobb who came through the back, but rather, his alter ego, Matanza Duran (FKA Matanza Cueto).

Being held by Duran’s chain and donning the same mask and all-black suit he wore in Lucha Underground, Cobb was introduced by his new surname, one made to imply the connection between him and his (likely) storyline brother, Cesar Duran (FKA Dario Cueto), MLW’s matchmaker. However, while Cobb did enter through the back as Matanza, he quickly removed the mask and suit before coming down the ramp to wrestle in his signature singlet. As Cobb made his way into the chamber, where a tantalizing matchup against Fatu awaited, fans chanted “Cobb” and not “Matanza.”

Cesar and Matanza Duran - from Lucha Underground to MLW
From Lucha Underground to MLW: Cesar Duran (left) leads Matanza Duran (right) to the War Chamber. Credit: Marilee Gallagher

While it is unknown if Cobb will continue to wrestle in MLW as himself or his alter ego, one thing is certain: a monster by any other name is still just as dangerous. And that’s especially true when said monster is in league with Duran, who in a short time has proven himself to be just as crafty as he was in Lucha Underground.

With results from the last two rounds of Philly tapings still airing, it may be some time until we get a sense of what the company’s plans are for Cobb/Matanza. Though, the upcoming Mexico supercard, which is being co-promoted with The Crash, will likely explain a lot, not just for the character but for the rumored Azteca Underground expansion as a whole. MLW has always focused on featuring every style of wrestling, with Lucha libre in the forefront. That only looks to strengthen as Duran’s Azteca Underground continues to grow. Adding Matanza Duran to MLW is certainly a sign of that growth as Matanza was quite the fan-favorite villain in Lucha Underground even before fans knew who was under the mask. With Cobb now serving as a freed Matanza in a way, there is likely to be even more intrigue behind what Cesar Duran has up his sleeve this time.