King Cuerno, better known as El Hijo del Fantasma, is a luchador of Mexican origin currently performing in Lucha Underground. Under the Fantasma moniker and mask, he has wrestled extensively across Mexico and currently is signed with AAA, when not with Lucha Underground. While several other luchadores like Fenix and Pentagon Jr. decided to carry over their characters from Mexico, Fantasma opted, instead, to create an entirely new gimmick under which he could perform in Lucha Underground.
The Fantasma mask was carried down from his father, and, though a bona fide superstar in AAA, the chance to erect a new persona was the challenge to succeed entirely on his own merit.
The King Cuerno gimmick is that of a master hunter from the Mexican countryside. Cuerno’s mask and tights designs feature antler patterns, a call to the English translation of cuerno, meaning horn.
He dons a massive buck helm and hide cape to the ring and has, on more than one occasion, been shown wearing a collared rancher’s shirt with the pattern from his tights and a cowboy hat in backstage segments to further establish his character. Beyond the aesthetics of the character, Cuerno has built a move set tailored to the hunt.
His often-hyped Arrow of Death spear through the ropes is a devastating signature maneuver, and his more recent Thrill of the Kill is an absolutely brutal modified piledriver that has finished more than its share of opponents. Most notable in his in-ring work is his knack for employing a classic style of grappling as opposed to the soaring style of his lucha counterparts. Cuerno sets himself apart with mat-based tactics and furthers the lore of his character with his intense commitment to the role.
Though it took no time at all for Cuerno to become a star in the eyes of fans, his actual record in the Temple is not that of one of LU’s top performers. Much of Season One for the Master Hunter was spent in programs with top talents Drago and Fenix. After trading wins and losses, Drago was exiled from the Temple at the hands of the hunter, who then turned his attention to Fenix. Fenix and Cuerno engaged in a handful of high-intensity battles, culminating in an epic ladder match for the Gift of the Gods Championship.
It is undoubtedly a highlight of Lucha Underground’s first season and requires at least one viewing. Though Fenix went over, Cuerno’s impressive work ethic and in-ring ability was cemented in the Temple. Peppered in between was a brief feud with Johnny Mundo, which concluded in one of LU’s few cage matches, another can’t-miss epic affair. Consistently pitted against high-profile stars, Cuerno has not often been put over, but instead secured his position as a top worker for the promotion.
For a quick comparison, think of Dolph Ziggler of WWE fame. Two stellar heel gimmicks, both men have seldom stood in the limelight; they’re far more likely to work intensely to make their opponents look like gold.
As we look to Season 3, I hazard fellow Cuerno fanatics to pump the brakes. Many new faces will find their way into the Temple, and after the vicious slaughtering at the hands of Mil Muertes, it’s highly unlikely Cuerno will be the luchador reserved for a massive push. That said, for those who cherish well-worked matches over titles won, he will definitely been heavily relied on to put over new talent and authenticate some pushes. It’s a bit frustrating to see such a top star in Mexico treated more like a hand in the Temple, though with such outstanding consistency and mastery of technical wrestling, the role he maintains seems like the best fit for him at this time.