Lucha Underground 4×9: A Match Made In Heaven

Aerostar wastes no time

Matches

Matanza b Mala Suerte (0:43, Wrath of the God, NR)

Joey Ryan & Jack Evans vs XO Liscious & Ivelisse (6:51, modified gogoplata, ok)

Dragon Azteca b Mariposa (3:06, casadora cradle, ok)

Johnny Mundo, Taya, PJ Black, Aeorstar b Kobra Moon, Daga, Drago, Jeremiah Snake (8:43, Fin de Mundo, good)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark (3 defenses)
Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (1 defense)
Trios Champions: Killshot, the Mack, Son of Havoc (2 defenses)
Died This Season (9): Jeremiah Crane (casket)*, Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed), Vibora (beheaded), Mala Suerte (sacrificed)
Resurrected (1): Jeremiah Crane

Developments

convoluted but interesting

Most of the news in the show was wrapped around the main event atomicos. That 4v4 match was not quite like it had been set up last week. Vibora is confirmed dead, which Kobra Moon applauded as “cold-blooded” move. It’s not really clear what dead means on this show since his replacement was the suddenly resurrected Jeremiah Crane. He’s now known as Jeremiah Snake. Johnny Mundo was not expecting that, but did see the issue everyone figured last week: Ricky Mundo actually wrestling in this match would certainly mean a loss. Ricky was benched (just as he was in last year’s atomicos), and Aerostar was introduced as the unlikely replacement. That set up Worldwide Underground as the técnicos in this match, and Aerostar helped the team get the win. Johnny repaid Aerostar by using his one wish to free Drago from Kobra Moon’s control. Moon left Drago behind, and Aerostar unchained his confused ex-friend.

(There’s some loose ends tied up here, but only never spelled out: Crane/Snake was in the casket in the Reptile Tribe throne room, and Mundo never attacked Drago because he was planning on freeing him.)

Taya was very unhappy by Johnny’s wish decision. They had fought a war against the Reptiles, risked Johnny freedom, and ended up getting nothing out of it. Mundo explained his own wish was something Kobra Moon could not give him, but Taya could. PJ Black pulled a ring box out of his tights and Johnny used it to propose to Taya. She said yes, he said “oh yeah!” and carried her around on his shoulder as familiar music played. Backstage, Ricky Mundo seemed to be taking this news badly – except the “till death due us part” line.

Jack on point

Not a lot of huge news on the rest of show. Mariposa teased seducing Antonio Cueto for a Gift of the Gods title shot but offered him money instead, maybe $20,000 worth. Cueto accepted the cash, and it might have been his preferred option. Mariposa wanting the Gift of the Gods title match was a little peculiar given how strongly she believed her brother Marty should be going after Penta instead, but the match didn’t really last long enough to consider it. As long as Dragon Azteca Jr. defends his title against people who never win on this show, he stands a good shot of actually making it intact to Ultima Lucha 4.

The problem for Dragon Azteca is the people who don’t win on this show are a vanishing breed. They’re not winning, they’re just vanishing. Mala Suerte was the bottom dweller to be sacrificed to the gods. He had the distinction of being chosen for his fate not directly by Antonio, but by Rabbit Tribe leader Paul London. Antonio told the London to pick one person for the match, and London offered up Suerte for losing last week. Saltador desperately wanted to helped his friend both in the match and before he was sacrificed, but London wouldn’t allow him.

The other match on the show was a tag match continuing the XO Liscious/Jack Evans beef, with Ivelisse & Joey Ryan as partners. The announcers were stuck on Ivelisse & Liscious not working together smoothly, though it didn’t get anywhere except for their loss. XO got trapped in Jack’s choke, would not give up, and passed out instead. The referee stopped the match, which didn’t stop Jack from applying the choke. Joey Ryan uncharacteristically attempted to talk Jack down. It took Ivelisse kicking Jack to actually get it done. Ryan was still upset with Jack after, and that might be the other unlikely técnico turn of the night.

Thoughts

a tight 450 from a good angle

About a half hour into this show, when Kobra Moon announced the Vibora replacement was Jeremiah Crane with a new jacket and a sillier name, I was forced to evaluate my relationship with Lucha Underground. Or what this show was in that moment. “Jeremiah Snake” seemed like a comedy gimmick a wrestler would do on an indie show where no one was really getting so they decided to have fun instead. It was silly, yet not nearly as silly as dubbing in Hanna Barbara sound effects as Mala Suerte’s offense. The Dragon Azteca/Mariposa match, a three minute special where the crowd reacted like the wrestlers had gone ten meaningful minutes (and maybe actually did in their version) was silly in it’s own way. This show must be working for someone. I don’t like abandoning things halfway thru, but watching them do “Jeremiah Snake” felt like it was going to be time to leave the show to people who were still enjoying after the next dozen or so episodes.

Luckily, Aerostar came out as the surprise Worldwide Underground member. Aerostar didn’t save things as much as Fenix did in Azteca Warfare, but he was nice breath of fresh air and a reason why I liked this show to start with. The rest of the match was enjoyable, easily match I liked on the show the most, and it restored a little faith in this process. The post-match wasn’t my favorite – the Drago story ending seemed incidental after how long it went, and doing an extended homage to an 80s WWF angle (complete with referencing it in the show title) is an odd way to go for a lucha libre show – but at least it felt like things happened, and things I was not interested in were no longer happening.

Still, most of this show was doing stuff I wasn’t interested in seeing. The Evans/Ryan vs Licious/Ivelisse match served a purpose I understood, and I’m sure they’ll have something creative for the blowoff match, but this match was just a match. I’m not sure why crooked cop Joey Ryan is now a good guy, or why he’s here at all. (I am increasingly sure there’s more four-match shows this season because a fourth match is most cost-effective than a vignette, and that’s leading to a lot of people walking around with unclear motivations.)

one more tornillo

I do not understand why the Mariposa/Dragon Azteca match was what it was, something out of the WWE Attitude era of three minutes and rushed finishers for reactions. The crowd seemed to react to a lot more than we were seeing, so maybe there’s a cut of that action that’s actually worthwhile to see.

I definitely do not understand this Matanza concept. Even if this is just something to side drain him until whoever his real next opponent is free to face him, an invulnerable monster sacrificing people to the gods should be a fearsome thing. It’s instead now a comedy bit, with sound effects to get amuse someone while the people actually involved in the match are trying to act like it’s a scarier moment. I don’t understand the point of the big Key vignette if Matanza was going to be in a match with Fred Flintstone sound effects a few weeks later. I don’t understand the point of the big White Rabbit vignette if the Rabbit Trine are exactly the same characters they were before, and the White Rabbit doesn’t seem to have anything to do with it. While I’m thinking of it, I don’t really understand where the overarching plot with Agent Winter, the gauntlet, the tribes, the Order, the guy in the limo, has gone since the second episode of this season.

Lucha Underground has thirteen episodes, fourteen hours left. Maybe they can pull it together. I’m not exactly confident that a wedding broken up by Ricky Mundo is going to be what I’m looking for, but maybe a lot of stuff will get paid off in the second half of the season and make more care a bit more about what’s going to happen next. Right now, I feel just slightly less confused and disoriented than the newly freely Drago, and neither of us need to be slaves to this show.

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