Jeremiah Crane beat Mil Muertes (1:55, kick to the head, not rated)
Angelico & Son of Havoc beat Jack Evans, PJ Black (5:43, twisting 450 splash, ok)
Texano  beat Cage  (2:15, powerbomb, not rated)
Cage  beat Texano  (13:39, Drill Claw, great)
Cage is the winner of the best of five series between himself and Texano. It was a much different feeling victory than the two Cage had gotten before, with Cage having to fight uphill to clinch in the fifth match. Cage first lost a quick fourth match, a bit by fluke. A turnbuckle pad came off as Cage pulled Texano out of the corner, and Texano later caused Cage to fall face first on the steel. Cage bled and had concussion like symptoms and Texano was able to beat him swiftly with a powerbomb. Dario surprised both men by ordering them to have their fifth match right away, in a no DQ match. The two brawled around the ring, into the crowd, and with a chair – both men taking an unprotected shot to the skull – with Texano getting in most of the offense and Cage looking unusually vulnerable. Cage survived, finally defeating Texano with a brutal Drill Claw.
Dario might have made the fifth match tonight because he was so excited to have a winner. He was interrupted looking into the mystery box earlier in the show, and had Cage come in his office to receive that prize after the match. Cage wasn’t unimpressed to find out he had been fighting for a mystery box, and unimpressed when Dario revealed the titular Gauntlet was the prize. Cage tried to walk out without it – “I’m not that much of a Renaissance fair guy” – but Dario pleaded with him to try it on. Cage gave it a shot, the gauntlet lit up with a power, Cage used it to lift Dario up in a choke lift, and decided he was going to keep it after all. Once he wasn’t dying, Dario seemed pleased with the outcome.
Texano probably had second thoughts after the loss. Not just in the way he lost, but that he passed up a chance to get Famous B and Brenda in his corner for his match. Famous B offered his services, pointing out the crowd wasn’t behind Texano and believing he could change that. Texano wanted B to get lost, but seemed to believe a little bit of what he was saying.
The opener, Mil Muertes versus Jeremiah Crane, ended up as a backdrop for a return. Prince Puma made his first appearance in the Temple since Mil put him in the casket by hitting Muertes with a cane to give Crane a quick win. (An undeserved one too, since Mil was dominating it.) Prince Puma did his usual flips into a pose after the match, but posed facing Vampiro instead of on the logo. Vampiro had been out of sorts during the match, so he knew it was coming. We did too: the show actually started with a new darker Prince Puma in Vampiro’s dojo, pledging to make Vampiro his new maestro.
The middle match turned out to be less notable for storylines than for real drama. PJ Black & Jack Evans defeated Son of Havoc & Angelico in a match that never really got going, and seemed to have a section of the rudos beating up Son of Havoc edited out. The bigger problem took place about four minutes in, when Angelico went for a springboard knee, crushed Jack and landed awkwardly. Angelico’s elbow was obviously messed up by the landing, and the others just went to a finish as quick as possible. What wasn’t as obvious right away was Jack’s jaw was injured on that same spot, if I have the story right. He still finished the match, but you can see him point to it right after. Both men will appear again on this season – through the magic of taping out of order, a mute Jack has already been on this show this year – but there’s a lot less Angelico going forward.
We go forward, because we have no choice. And going forward, we’ve got two matches for next week. The Mack versus Johnny Mundo will take place, as well as Sexy Star versus Mariposa. Sexy Star had a present delivered to her, via a chatty and Mundo-obessesed Ricky Mandell, which of course turned out to be another spider. Sexy’s convinced it’s Mariposa behind this, so she got the match.
The potentially biggest news happened in a late commercial break. The January 11th show is now the midseason finale. And that’s all we know about that.
That last thing first. When you’re a type who thinks they’ve got a lot of it figured out, something you’re not at all expecting really sticks out. I feel like I know a lot about Lucha Underground, but had no idea they were doing a midseason finale. Which sure sounds like a midseason break. Which sounds not great, both in that I really want my Lucha Underground right now and that I wonder a bit about my Lucha Underground going forward.
The series has taken time off before. They held off the first Aztec Warfare for a couple weeks, but that was a case where they specifically didn’t want to burn new shows on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. There’s no major holidays coming up on Wednesdays in January that I can come up with. LU knew of that hiatus in advance, they had Dario mention it in a promo taped on the show months before it happened. There doesn’t seem to be the same mention here, and LU people have specifically talked about airing all 40 episodes in a row.
I have a good sense of what’s airing over the next three episodes. If I’m right, there’s a happening at the end of episode 19 and episode 20 is a special episode. You could definitely look at them, squint a little, and see 19 as a break point and 20 as a hot one to have people anticipating for a little while. Still, there’s been no sign this was coming. The way this was mentioned outside of the show, in El Rey commercial, suggests this wasn’t something LU planned themselves. They’ve taped 40 episodes, 21 left to air after this finale. They’ll air the shows eventually. This is curious and a little bit concerning. It’s not “sound the alarms” concerning, but definitely “fingers on chin, looking pensive” concerned.
That news overshadowed the show for me, and maybe only me, but it was a decent show to overshadow. Crane/Mil was disappointingly short (and you’d think a guy who thinks he had the answers would’ve known that already, but nah.) The tag match was the match I was least looking forward to on the season, and one where I thought they might just cut it out given what happened. It sucks seeing two of your favorites going down. Jack’s around more than Angelico, and Angelico chasing down Mundo had such promise. Guess we’ll need patience for that too.
The first Cage/Texano wasn’t much either, and this was not looking like a good in-ring show at that point. They redeemed it quite a bit by the main event. Striker was pushing the idea of this being a great best of five, which is his job but in no way felt true. The fifth match alone didn’t bring up everything else. If they found a way to start the fifth match with the same wounded Cage as we saw here, I don’t think anyone would’ve missed much of the other four matches. Still, this match was a lot of fun, in both guys getting to use the full Temple playground to work a different fight than the ones they had done up to this point. They did well working off the Cage injury story to make him the sympathetic face, though his reaction to the power glove suggests they’re going back the other direction. That’s a wait and see, but weird (ironic?) that Cage won a power up in a match where he looked underpowered.
A lot of what Famous B said about Texano in Lucha Underground – “You’re not just translating to the audience, you’re not connecting with them…they don’t care about you, they’re not invested in you” – rang true, even if it’s also like something some dork might have said in blog somewhere. Where Texano has delivered is in his big singles matches: he was really good Alberto, and he was really good here. I’m not sure Famous B is the right guy to get people invested in you, since it doesn’t seem like it’s working out too well for Dr. Wagner, but making it clear they’re still going somewhere with Texano after his lose was a good idea.
The turnbuckle bit in the fourth match was great. Not just because they smoothly snuck it in, but because Vampiro’s forced confusion about what had just happen. I don’t if Vampiro actually came up with the idea for that spot, but never had a man sounded more like he wanted you to notice something he was pretending he didn’t notice.
This was not the my most favorite episode of this show, but I guess I got to appreciate them while I still can.