Cage beat Vinnie Massaro
(3:29, Drill Claw, ok)
Marty the Moth beat Saltador
(7:25, double underhook inverted powerslam face crusher, OK but interesting)
Pindar beat Máscarita Sagrada
(5:55, Pain Killer, good)
Fenix beat Mariposa
(5:32, Fire Driver, good)
Lucha Underground is now halfway through the first round of the Cueto Cup and the format has definitely been established:
4 matches, all from the same group
1 Rey Mysterio/Johnny Mundo video package building to their match
heavy focus on a singular storyline (one that was setup before the hiatus)
Last week was Cage’s episode. This week was all about the relationships between Marty, Mariposa, Fenix and Melissa Santos. Fenix and Melissa are flirting with each other. Marty is serial killer levels of obsessed with Melissa; she’s not aware how bad it is. Mariposa relished the idea she might get to have a match with her brother and doesn’t seem to like him, but seems to see him as a tool in whatever long term plan she’s got.
Mariposa’s plan didn’t work here; Fenix beat her in a match that was back and forth but never felt like the former champion was in danger of losing. Marty attacked Fenix afterwards, which the announcers was believed to be about them being next round opponents but was probably more about Marty’s jealousy. Marty himself defeated Saltador, then returned to his lair to reveal an altar of Melissa photos, a piece of Melissa’s hair stashed away, and an extra photo being kept in Marty’s pants.
The other two matches were without as much incident. The Rabbit Tribe still believes Máscarita Sagrada to be their god. He doesn’t share their belief, and it didn’t help him much against Pindar of the Snake Tribe (though he got in a lot before losing. Cage also advance by defeating Vinnie Massaro. Vinnie got in a surprising amount of offense before deciding to mess with Cage’s glove and angering him. There seemed to be some definite backslide in that plot line this week: Cage was able to remove the glove (Delgado believed Cage could not last week, though perhaps that was just a bad assumption) and Cage’s post match gloved punches to Vinnie’s head bloodied him, but did not blast his head to pieces. Vinnie was battered as usual, but lives to fight another day. Just not in this cup.
The other pattern in this first round Cup matches is they’re giving everyone at least some time, and giving chances for the obvious first round losers to still get some attention in a loss. Vinnie got nearly 4 minutes, Sagrada got about 8, the other two were in between. There hasn’t been an upset yet, but those out of the tournament are getting to showcase their personalities in the ring in a way that’s going to help when Saltador is back teaming with the Rabbit Tribe or Mariposa is part of a group instead of an individual.
These matches also just felt more successful than last week. The Rabbit Tribe matches are good examples: Mala Suerte showed off his skills, but had trouble connecting it to his persona. Saltador did a whole bunch of weird and strange mat wrestling matches that fit better with a strange guy in checkered outfit. At this level, it’s not about establishing finishers for credibility, it’s about just making the guys more identifiable next time they come on screen.
Vinnie became identifiable as the guy who will totally kill himself in his one squash a season. He got in the snoring elbow, he got in more offense than anyone thought, but – just like in the Pentagon match – he took a few huge bumps to put over his opponent big. Getting dumped all the way to the floor looked devastating. I’d like to see him more often, but I’d also like to see him one piece.
Pindar is the best guy on the roster to have a match with Máscarita Sagrada. No one’s going to be a better base for his moves, and do his best to make it look good. This was the best Máscarita Sagrada has looked in a match on this show, even considering the Believer’s Backlash is going to be much more remembered. It’s probably the best he’ll look unless they bring in a mini rudo to work with him.
The Mariposa character is inconsistent – she was introduced as just about the baddest woman in the world, but she’s definitely never been booked that way for long and her acting scared of superkicks played against that even harder. (If it was supposed to be a ploy to distract Fenix, it wasn’t done well enough.) It also pushed to questions of man on woman violence to the forefront of a show trying to background those concerns as much as possible. They may have done all that to make it clear Fenix isn’t a jerk for fighting a woman, but one of the larger premises of the show is everyone’s equal in the Lucha Underground ring and those two thoughts don’t mesh. The action of the match was really good, one of Mariposa’s best matches here, and the story they told around those elements was fine enough, but the context made it less enjoyable.
The Marty stuff would feel over the top if I didn’t just see Lorenzo Lamas’ eyeball on the floor last week. He’s going all in the character – which is almost not even needed, since the crowd seems to be reacting to him that way without having even seen the vignettes. But at least it’s a direction for their second round match, the only one so far that has an obvious issue.