PJ Black beat Sexy Star (4:23, DQ for brass knucks punch to the face, ok)
Son of Havoc defeats Son of Madness (8:44, Son of Havoc inside cradle, ok)
Prince Puma beat Ricky Mandel (1:15, reverse DDT into a Michinoku Driver, no rated)
Dante Fox beat El Dragon Azteca Jr. (9:01, Foxctacher, good)
This did turn out to be the suspected Dante Fox focused episode. Dante’s version of what happened in Afghanistan has Killshot escaping being captured, but leaving Fox behind. Fox could hear Killshot leaving, and it’s not clear even if his tale if Killshot knew his friend was even still there. Their Afghans took out their anger by beating Dante and were going to behead him before other soldiers rescued him. Dante being bitter about his experience makes sense, and the vignette shows he’s still traumatized by it. His actions seem to have some justification, though neither man is clearly the bad guy in the feud.
The vignette did end with Killshot making gun motions at Dante from atop the Lucha Underground Temple. That, and last week’s ending, obviously foreshadowed the main event Dragon Azteca/Dante Fox match ending with a distraction. It did, but that backstory was a fakeout – it was actually Worldwide Underground providing the distraction, attacking Rey Mysterio as he was watching Dragon Azteca return to the Temple. Azteca’s horrible luck continued as trying to help out his mentor again caused him to take a loss.
Other matches were a bit more predictable. Sexy Star lost another match to another bit of Worldwide Underground involvement: this time it was Taya throwing knucks to PJ Black. Sexy got them herself, but was caught using them for the DQ. Prince Puma never had to take off his jacket to defeat Ricky Mandel (who’s glasses remained on for the short fight.)
In between the matches, both Azteca and Puma told Rey they’d like to face him at Ultima Lucha 3 for the title, though Puma was a lot less nice about it. Puma also posed towards Vampiro at the end, so he’s clearly not taken any of Rey’s advice. There was also the weekly Mundo/Rey vignette, this time with both guys talking about each other.
The only other first round match was kind of predictable too: the debuting Son of Madness joined many others by getting off to an 0-1 start against Son of Havoc. Havoc and the announcers went from having no idea who this clone was to knowing everything about the backstory between them: Havoc had committed some crime against their common bike gang and Madness was here to collect. Madness didn’t seem as sure as this as Vampiro was, as sometimes he’d try to beat up Havoc and sometimes he’d just want to win the match. It was an odd experience. Madness lost, but did walk off with both jackets anyway.
Three second round matches were announced for next week: Paul London vs Mil Muertes & Jeremiah Crane vs Taya from the C (Week 3) block, and Fenix versus Marty the Moth from the B (Week 2) Block. The remaining quarterfinals matches, which will air over the following two weeks, are Drago/Pentagon and Mack/Texano from A block, Cage/Pindar as the other B Block match and PJ Black/Prince Puma and Dante Fox/Son of Havoc from this D block.
And so ends the four weeks first round. It’ll probably still be tournament heavy the next few weeks, they’ve got eight matches to fit in three weeks, but sprinkling in other matches will help with the variety a bit. The format of these first round matches changed a little bit: it seemed like there was less vignette time this week and it allowed them to have two long matches instead of just one. The pattern that didn’t chance is they gave a lot of time to a match and then got out of a finish with a distraction once again.
That’s the problem with these shows, now that we can look back at all of them. The first round matches were mostly either heavily favorites people winning as expected, or matches which could’ve gone either way where the winner just happens to be the person who’s rival didn’t get involved this round. Crane/Killshot was last week’s toss up, and ended with that distraction. Black/Star & Azteca/Fox both fit this week, and both just ended because other people got involved. Aerostar/Drago seems like the only meaningful match that escaped that sort of interference finish. It feels like Lucha Underground is already stating to move towards setting up Ultima Lucha and these finishes are less about protecting people and more about getting people in the places they need to be 11 episodes from now, but the repetitiveness of how they’ve gotten there hurts.
It affected the main event for me. In some ways, Azteca/Fox was better than Crane/Killshot last week, and it was at least it’s equal in making a couple of people presented as third tier characters so far feel like they could have a chance against top guys. The finish did the opposite, making their own match background to someone else’s issue – and issue which probably doesn’t really need the help, since they’re already showing a lot of Mundo & Rey each and every week. (I wonder if the idea for interference here predated the idea for the Road To… style vignettes. They didn’t need both.) Fox looked outside, better than he did in his earlier match with Killshot, and it’s good that he’s moving on. It also just seems likely he’s going just as far as Killshot lets him.
The Madness/Havoc match got some time and did some moves and it just didn’t work for reasons hard to articulate. The visual of one guy facing his bigger, hairer clone didn’t look great. Vampiro artificially knowing everything here felt oppressive: going from not knowing who Havoc was facing to being a thousand percent confident that this is an old biker gang grudge felt transparent like the writer getting over his own story. It’s not like it couldn’t be true, but Vampiro was forcing the details of a story that he should not have known that much about, and that didn’t seem to being told in the ring. If you want revenge on someone, usually you’re not trying too pull the tights to get the win. Son of Havoc getting something to do is a good idea but this didn’t feel like it was it.
PJ Black was much more game for facing Sexy Star this time around, selling big and showing off on offense. Maybe it was because the outcome was different and he was more motivated; guess we’ll see next round with Puma. Ricky Mandel did his Worldwide Underground Intern gimmick well and it was a great week to have a moody Prince Puma around.