Lucha Underground 3×31: The Cup Runneth Over

Puma KO

Matches

Prince Puma beat Fenix (10:27, 630 senton, great)
Pentagon Dark beat Mil Muertes (7:29, top rope double stomp, good)

Developments

It’s a week before the Cueto Cup Final (and, though it’s not mentioned yet, six weeks before Ultima Lucha 3 begins), and the tension exploded in the last moments of this episode. A lot of pieces were moved around to get there.

Fenix figured out a counter to this chain!

Pentagon Dark and Prince Puma appeared to be the two favorites coming into the tournament, and were successful in reaching the final of the tournament. Prince Puma got past Fenix, thanks in part to Marty going after Melissa. Fenix moonsaulted onto Marty, but never got in another move in what had been an even battle with Puma to that point. Vampiro strongly rooted for Puma, when he was talking at all.

Pentagon benefited from some help even before the match. Cartina, following on her promise to get the Cage from the gauntlet, tried talking him into giving it up at the start of show. Cage declined violently, attempting to spinning back hand Catrina’s head off. Catrina’s a ghost, so she just vanished to escape it. Cage wasn’t done, attacking Mil Muertes with a heavy bar bell weight. Catrina used the power of the stone to wake Mil back up and Mil fought Pentagon, but was weakened by a rib injury from the attack and Pentagon was eventually able to cut him down.

Prince Puma versus Pentagon Dark joins Rey Mysterio versus Johnny Mundo for the Lucha Underground championship next week. There will also be a third match: Sexy Star versus Veneno in a mask vs mask match. Joey Ryan found out Veneno is actually Cortez Castro some how off screen, and Dario made the match figuring Sexy Star would make short work of him and Reyes would be exposed. Hopefully we find out why Veneno would be dumb enough to do this match next week.

so many flips

That set the stage for non-wrestling main event, Rey Mysterio versus Johnny Mundo brought face to face by Dario Cueto before their title match. The segment started in predicable fashion: Johnny taunting Rey, Rey trying to get at him, Johnny’s security holding back Rey and not him, and Worldwide Underground showing up to help Johnny. It diverted from there: Dragon Azteca, The Mack and Sexy Star ran out to help Rey and attack Worldwide Underground, turning the segment into a wild brawl. Rey was still out numbered until Prince Puma also ran in – but Pentagon Dark came in right behind him. The two finalists and the two title match participants faced off in the ring, started fighting, and then Puma started attacking Rey too.

The locker room emptied from there. Mil Muertes attacked both Puma and Pentagon. Cage attacked Mil in the ring (though not with the gauntlet.) Marty came out to watch only for Fenix to send him tumbling down the stairs. Mariposa saved her brother only for Jeremiah Crane to attack her while passing thru. Dante Fox tried to chill out watching it from upstairs only for Killshot to violently go after him. The Rabbit Tribe was a little bit more successful at hanging out and watching, but everyone was fighting everyone else – Vinnie Massaro was trying to rip Joey Ryan’s eye out at one point, and Puma took out everyone with a 630 to the floor. Rey and Mundo being left along in the ring was a return to more predicable bits, with Rey taking out Mundo as the last moment on the show.

Thoughts

this looked like a murder

Lucha Underground can’t be rated by matches alone; the other stuff matters too much to not be factored in at all. This week, it wasn’t the backstage skits that mattered so much (both were fine) but the big brawl at the end that really added a lot to the show. These kind of bits aren’t unusual – AAA did one a few months ago in Tlaxaca – but this one felt more out of control and violent than when these are usually done. They did a good job of highlighting the big rivalries of the moment while throwing in some unexpected moments (Puma going after Rey). It also felt like they took something that was probably more like 10-12 minutes live and cut it together into a crazy 5 minutes; there was no slowing down, and it was clear there was even more going on than they could keep showing. This was the setup to next week and the start of the end, and both came across strong.

So did Puma & Fenix. They’ve both changed in early season one. That was a more high flying attempt at toping each other, with a rope walking bit at the end that didn’t come off just right. This was a different feeling match, harder hitting and more about both guys just clubbing each other very hard. They still flew when they needed to, but it was a great showcase for how much they’ve changed over the last couple years (and that was more than a year ago now.) I liked Dante/Puma a little bit more and I’m not sure this would’ve beat it even if it had stayed clean, but it still was pretty great and I hope we get to see it again for even longer

those stairs aren’t soft

Pentagon & Mil wasn’t on that level, but it worked for the story they were trying to tell. They’re as concerned about Mil losing his invulnerability as everyone else, so they kind of took it away from him before the match even started to give him an excuse for losing here (and had him come back and destroy people later.) Pentagon using the strategy that almost worked for Paul London – chopping Mil down with superkicks until he stays down – was a nice use of the tournament structure. Pentagon hasn’t had the most impressive wins – one win over forever loser Argenis, one win over Texano when interference back fired, one win over a hurting Muertes, only the win over Dragon as a clean win over an important person – but he’s come back from both arms broken to advance all the way to the final, and I hope they play that up stronger next week.

The spider backstory justifies Sexy Star getting the mask match, but I’d like to see just about anyone else get that match. At least they’re not even pretending we should take it seriously. The other two matches look very serious. The more time for them, the better.