Fenix beat Pindar in a Cueto Cup quarterfinal (5:17, top rope double stomp, good)
Prince Puma beat Dante Fox in a Cueto Cup quarterfinal (10:55, 630 splash, excellent)
Johnny Mundo beat Dragon Azteca Jr. (8:53, Fin de Mundo, great)
(This is another episode way way more GIFs than I could use; you can see them all here.)
The big news was at the end. Johnny Mundo defeated Dragon Azteca cleanly, then went to break his neck with a chair. Rey Mysterio made the save. Mysterio and Azteca got Mundo to back off and left, but Mundo snuck back – he noticed Rey’s family was sitting in the front row. Mundo and Dominic got into a war of words and Mundo called security on Rey’s son. Rey ran back out, and right into an ambush by the rest of Worldwide Underground. (They’d been banned from the match, but now the match was definitely over.) Worldwide Underground held Rey for a belt shot – but Johnny hit Dominic, with his buddies making Rey watch. Their match is now three episodes away.
Taya, Jack and PJ accepted that ban from the match because they were offered a spot in a 3v3 Azteca Medallion match next week by Dario Cueto. I’m not sure what or if Dario promised the same to other people, but there was a noticeable lack of in match interference on the show.
That meant Fenix didn’t have to deal with Marty or Mariposa in his match, and he was able to win and move to the semifinals with Melissa cheering him on. Pindar put up a competitive fight but ended up being no match. As Striker pointed out, Fenix was able to get a little bit of revenge for the Reptile Tribe winning the trios titles. We did catch the Moth later, stalking Melissa in the parking lot again as she and Fenix flirted. Marty’s decided he could break those two off if he could just take Fenix’s mask away.
There was similarly no interference in the Puma/Fox match, an incredible battle that had the crowd cheering for both men who currently posses questionable ethics. Dante Fox lost but was so over by the end that the crowd didn’t much care for Killshot attacking Dante after the fact for some revenge. Killshot confirmed it wasn’t over between them.
Fenix and Prince Puma will face in the semifinals (in two episodes). They leave these matches for next week:
- Pentagon Dark vs Texano in a Cueto Cup semifinal
- Mil Muertes vs Jeremiah Crane in a Cueto Cup semifinal
- PJ Black, Jack Evans, Taya vs TBA for 3 Aztec Medallions
The show featured a couple more plot check-ins. Matanza appears to be physically healthy as his fall thru the upper level, but Dario has some questions about his mental health. Dario feels his brother hunger for revenge on Rey led him to be weak minded enough to be thwarted again by Mysterio, and more failure will cause the Gods to cast Matanza aside or even destroy him.
Meanwhile, Captain Vazquez has noticed Councilman Delgado is very much dead and knows Cage did it, but she’s more focused on getting the gauntlet than the man himself. Officer Reyes/Cortez Castro/Veneno wants no part of that idea, saying no man alive could get that gauntlet off of Cage right now. Vazquez seemed to have a plan as she looked at her half locket.
This was one of the best Lucha Underground episodes ever. Prince Puma versus Dante Fox might be the best non-stipulation match they’ve had on this show; I’m only not saying it absolute because I may have forgotten something, but it’s way up there.
The Lucha Underground taping situation makes the show unlike any other wrestling show. They don’t have the luxury of hearing criticism and adjusting their course, because these shows were taped months (over a year now!) before anyone saw them. This is one of those episodes that felt strangely like it broke thru the time barrier, as if they in 2016 traveled forward in time to 2017, heard people complaining about all the interference in recent episodes, and went back to 2016 to very specifically fix it. In reality, I think they must do a good bit of self-criticism (and maybe listening to some Temple regulars) to figure this stuff out. A big part of why this episode worked was that neccesary correction, that purposeful decision to keep the run-ins out of the matches. They still got the same stuff over – and the Mundo/Mysterio build was better for the way they had done it instead of Worldwide Underground just costing someone a match – but they did it while getting out of the way of the matches.
This was a great week to get out of the way of the matches! Pindar/Fenix was good and Pindar/Fenix was clearly the third best match on the show. I had a little bit higher hopes for it and it didn’t breakout Pindar (that went to someone else!) but got to show a lot more than he had leading into this point. He was finally a luchador who could do some nice stuff, not just Reptile Goon #2, and that’s important progress. He also meshed as well with Fenix as expected, and the double knee drop at the end looked devastating. There’s definitely more there if they go back to it, and I hope they do.
Johnny Mundo/Dragon Azteca was even more successful. It hearkened back to those first season Mundo vs X showcase matches, where someone new-ish would push Mundo for about 8 minutes in a fun match before he could put them down. Mundo’s more aggressive as a rudo and controlled a lot of the first few minutes, but Azteca pulled off super move after super move in rallying back. I don’t know that they ever quite got the point where Mundo ever felt truly in trouble, but Azteca showed more in this match than any one prior to it. The post match angle with Dominic was really well done; they probably didn’t need to spend more time on building that Rey/Mundo match, but this was the most effective thing they’ve done.
One of the most memorable moments of this episode was one of the few things which didn’t go well. The Temple crowd was so loud all show long, but so quiet when Killshot came out and dropped their guy Dante Fox. Because Dante really was the Lucha Underground Temple’s guy at that point. It’s tough to credit this as a breakout performance when Fox is breaking out every single match he’s in of late, but he looked every bit as good as Prince Puma in this match. And Prince Puma looked every bit as good anyone in the world this match. This was incredible fast and fluid and dangerous and impressive all at once, a match that you have to see to believe. It was just under 11 minutes, flew by, and packed in twice as much stuff in that time. Fox was so unbelievably good that he turned both the fans and the announcers away from the intended story (Dark Puma’s darkness is making him impossible to beat) into just rooting for Dante Fox to pull off the impossible upset. They really shouldn’t have been surprised as the reaction to Killshot, the last few moments of this match was Dante Fox heroically to keep going in the face of incredible punishment. Maybe the really great thing is they didn’t give Dante Fox the win quite yet, because a big part of the future should be Dante finally getting these sorts of wins.
The other vignettes were fine. The comedy around Jack being unable to talk with his mouth wired show was good (if a little hurt because he actually had his mouth wired shut.) I’m glad they finally got some plots touched on. The downbeat note is the reveal of three Medallions being given out next week. Nothing says the season is starting to wind down than Medallions being quickly handed in time to have a Gift of the Gods match as part of Ultima Lucha 3. The reality is there’s still plenty of episodes left, but I don’t even want to think about the end after a show like this.