taped 2014-09-06 @ Lucha Underground Temple, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California
Blue Demon Jr. submits Chavo Guerrero Jr. [5:15, sharpshooter w/armbar, OK]
Son of Havoc pins Sexy Star [1:32, front backbreaker “with tights pulled”, TOO SHORT TO BE RATED]
Johnny Mundo pins Prince Puma [12:31, “Fin de Mundo” rope flip moonsault tornillo , GOOD]
This format will have to change, because this show’s format doesn’t really fit the Mexico model. There’s a lot more to talk about then the matches with this one.
The vignettes were kind of the stars of this show. The Sexy Star one in particular was great in getting over her character on the show. The Prince Puma introduction was a bit goofy: they’re asking you to swallow a lot of mythology at once (and the “his name is Prince Puma because his spirit animal is a Jaguar” line was so very goofy), but they and the Dario Cueto stuff felt like Hollywood presentations. They’re quite a few steps up from the set that travels from show to show elsewhere. The production quality of the out of the ring segments was a big point of emphasis going in to the show and they delivered on the first show.
The match production probably needs to be improved. Some of that is probably going to happen naturally as more episodes roll out: the crowd felt small here and the noise felt fake at times, but there looked to be a lot more people by the end of the tapings. (I hope the not-so-subtle shots of fans giving thumbs down get dropped.) The overhead camera looks good for the start of the match shot but not so useful other times. The matches were edited. I’m guessing Sexy/Cross might have been for quality issues, but it’s going to be interesting to see how that works on shows where all three matches get time and not just the main event. This is a show that probably works a lot better on the DVR, where the commercial break->2 minute skit->commercial break bit doesn’t stick out as bad. It’s the tradeoff for having an unbroken main event, which definitely seemed to be the right call. If there’s one thing I could change, it’s less pointless shots of the announcers.
The main event was obviously meant as a statement as to the kind of wrestling they’re going to present. As with the other matches, it was all in one unbroken segment, but it was many steps above. It didn’t totally click for me: maybe because it was the second tecnico/tecnico battle of the night with no clear reason to exist, maybe it felt a little bit false when the announcers were raving it as one of the best matches of the year five minutes in and the crowd was chanting for people they didn’t know existed an hour ago – there was excitement, but it felt artificial. The match itself was super athletic with both guys getting to show off what they could do, but also seemed like they’ll be able to do a lot more together once they run into each other a few more times.
Announcing was much better than I feared. I had thoughts this might be a worst of the year quality team, but they were out of the way and didn’t overpower the match. Vamp and Striker occasionally said a goofy thing and Vamp made the presentation of Konnan a bit confused (Konnan was presented as a tecnico elsewhere but Vamp treated him like a heel), but they didn’t detract from the matches and that’s all I’m asking for in 2014.
The announcing sounded like they it was redone after the show was originally taped, but a lot of the sound had that artificial quality. (Obviously, that was on purpose with Son of Havoc.) They did manage to get shots of Fenix, Pentagon and Drago in the show – they didn’t just tape something and stick it on a disk for a few weeks, this felt like a project where they tried to refine what they could after the fact and that’s a good sign going forward. That’s really what I’m taking out of this episode: it was a good starting point and now they’ve got to build from there.
EDIT: I’m typing before I’m thinking tonight, so I wanted to jump back in the post to point out it was kind of silly to do big introductions for both Sexy Star and Prince Puma and then have them both lose. They worked hard to put over Puma despite the loss and it doesn’t concern me as much since I know what’s coming, but most people don’t. Treat your stars like stars.