Lucha Underground 4×22: Ultima Lucha Cuatro – Part II

Penta (also all my GIFs came out weird today)

Matches

Fenix beat Dragon Azteca Jr. in a best of three falls match
(13:45, good)

2:20: Black Fire Driver
1:41: DDTJ
9:45: Black Fire Driver

the Mack beat Mil Muertes in a death match
(12:51, brick to the head + stunner, great)

Johnny Mundo beat Matanza in a sacrifice match
(11:55, Gauntlet punch, good)

Pentagon Dark beat Marty the Moth to win the Lucha Underground Championship
(12:26, package piledriver thru chairs, excellent)

Jake Strong beat Pentagon Dark to win the Lucha Underground Championship
(0:35, anklelock, n/r)

The final death total for the season is 17.

Developments

DDTJ on the floor

It was both a dark ending for Lucha Underground season 4 and a literal Dark ending. There were positive moments for the odd troupe of luchadors who fought in this temple, but even those usually turned bad later on. Things took a turn for the worse at the end, with the only hope coming from an unlikely source.

The big news first: Marty the Moth isn’t Lucha Underground Champion. Neither is Pentagon Dark, though he was champion for about 6 minutes. Season 4 concludes with Jake Strong holding the Lucha Underground championship. Marty and Pentagon’s Cero Miedo was as hellacious as anticipated. Marty was bleeding in moments, Pentagon wasn’t far behind, and the amount of blood from both men was high. Marty was eventually sent thru a glass pane, then given a package piledriver thru chairs for the win. Penta went to break Marty’s arm, and that’s where things started to spiral.

Reklusa made the save for her man, only for Vampiro to walk in the ring to scare her away. Reklusa helped Marty away while Vampiro made a show of giving his old protege the belt. Vampiro then punched Pentagon in the face, which seemed a bit rude. The two people who fought in the first Cero Miedo match fought again in the wreckage of the second. Penta started to get the best of Vamp, despite the battle he just had, only for a masked man to run in and catch him with a chair. He removed to remove one mask to reveal one that looked inspired by Penta’s mask. (It also had a hexagon on it – LU trademarks have a Hexagon Black, though that name was never actually said aloud.) Vampiro declared this man was his secret mentor, as teased long ago. Vampiro helped hold Penta for a Hexagon shooting star press off the balcony, and then a Red Arrow from the corner.

Jake Strong then came out to cash in the Gift of the Gods, with Vamprio and Hexagon leaving. (Vampiro was directing Hexagon here.) Pentagon got in no offense, with Strong quickly putting on the anklelock. The match lasted only as long as it did because Pentagon would not give up, even with his ankle broken, and it only ended with the referee stopping the match. That was not the end of the story for Jake Strong, but we’ll pick up that thread later.

Mack stopped

Each match had their own dramatics. The Mack & Mil Muertes had the least, but it was still a pretty meaningful ending. Mil Muertes brought caskets with “DEATH MATCH” spraypainted on them and had one of them filled with the same sort of weapons from their cage match. The Mack was unafraid of Mil this time, and battled much more evenly. It was a brick, a reoccurring weapon in Mack matches, that gave him the edge over Mil. A few stunners later, Mack pinned Muertes. Mack rolled Muertes into a casket, drunk some beers, and closed the casket. That’s happened to Mil before, but he’s always had Catrina around to bring him back. Catrina isn’t around now.

Melissa also wasn’t around after the opener. She inadvertently cost Dragon Azteca Jr. the three falls match by pleading for peace between them. Azteca paused from hitting to Fenix with a chair to look at her. Fenix did not pause, hit Azteca with a chair, and hit him with the Black Fire Driver for the win. A distraught Melissa walked out of the Temple, not even really bothering to announce the finish. The way it was done, there’s at least a chance that Melissa’s distraction wasn’t that accidental, but it would require an explanation of why she’s doing it.

(Striker made sure to note Fenix is undefeated at Ultima Lucha, while Mil lost for the first time at this event.)

The rest of the show required a ring announcer. Antonio Cueto announced he’d actually be working for months on signing someone, and he happened to have just finished the deal. Shaul Guerrero, the daughter of Eddie & Vicki Guerrero, made her debut in the promotion as the replacement ring announcer. That drew the ire of usual replacement ring announcer Famous B, who claimed not to know who this woman was. Shaul introduced herself and her family, and her uncle Chavo Jr. returned to help take out Famous B. Shaul did three amigo suplexes and Chavo added the frog splash.

Johnny Mundo didn’t have any personal backup – he had asked Taya to assist with Matanza, but she turned out to be otherwise occupied. Mundo instead had the Gauntlet. Antonio seemed frightened when Mundo appeared with it, and (new gear) Matanza immediately identified it as a problem. The match became a battle over control of the glove, with Matanza trying to keep it off Johnny’s wrist. Matanza tossed it to the floor early, Mundo later evaded Matanza and got to the gauntlet again, but Matanza knocked him down before he could put it on. Matanza tossed the glove to a high place in the Temple, on top of the entrance doors, and Mundo fought and leaped and used Matanza’s shoulders to get up there. Matanza climbed up after Mundo, chokeslamming him thru the roof just as Mundo got the glove back on. That glove made a difference. While everyone believed the match to be over, Mundo appeared from behind the entrance doors with the glove in hand. Matanza wasn’t able to get the glove off this time, and Mundo battered him around with super powered punches to finish him off. Johnny Mundo wasn’t sacrified to the Gods this night. Neither really was Matanza. Not that it would end too well for him.

Things got hairy from there. Aerostar was able to convince Mundo to give the gauntlet back. Aerostar explained that Mundo’s body would be taken over by a god if he held to the gaunelet, and Mundo had worked too hard for that body to give it up. Mundo instead went to celebrate with Taya, where he probably could’ve used that gauntlet. He found Taya, but Taya wasn’t home. Taya had been amazed that Rosa (Ricky’s doll) was talking on it’s own, and got sucked into looking at it. That was a bad call. Rosa apparently was another God all along, and escaped the doll’s body to take over Taya’s. The possessed Taya attacked Johnny, leaving him laying after a big choke to end their portion of this season.

(There’s an implication here that the doll could’ve possessed Ricky at any time, and decided he wasn’t strong enough.)

Aerostar didn’t have the gauntlet long. He met King Cuerno and Dragon Azteca. Cuerno seemed to want to put it back in hiding, while Dragon Azteca was insistent they needed to strike now before the Gods got stronger. Aerostar reluctancly gave the glove to Azteca, telling him to make it quick. Azteca said, “she meant to”. She was the returning Black Lotus! She confronted Matanza somewhere dark inside the Temple, still looking for revenge over Matanza killing her parents before the series began. Lotus killed Matanza, using the power of the glove to literally pull Matanza’s heart out of his body. I don’t think he’s coming back from that one. Black Lotus thanked Dragon Azteca and left him with the bloody guauntlet, vanishing. He didn’t have a moment to act before he was knocked down from behind by Jake Strong. Strong, wearing the Lucha Underground belt, broke Dragon Azteca’s ankle and used the gauntlet to do a bloody version of his usual pose.

Strong was next seen enterting the limo – yes, the limo which hasn’t been seen this season. Antonio Cueto was there. Agent Winter was there. Hexagon Black was there. Winter revealed the all of the Gods were now in human form. We know now that Taya has a god, Strong might have had one too, and Hexagon had a weird enough voice that he may be one as well. This is where Strong got in. Winter asked about the blood, and Strong revealed it was Matanza. Antonio was sadder than you’d think, given his behavior, but an unseen voice said Matanza would be honored for his sacrifice for the Order, but they’d need a new host for that God now. That voice was the Limo Guy, who revealed himself to be ex-WWE’s Wade Barrett, who checked if there was any more bad news. He got none, and declared it was now time to take over the wrold.

One segment remained, a flash back to episode one of the season. Antonio closed the casket on Dario Cueto and limped away. A moment and a flash later, Aerostar appeared. With the Amulet. Aerostar put it on Dario’s neck and said: “come with me.” The last moment of the show was Dario Cueto muttering “Aerostar”, then sitting up in his own casket yelping “what the f-” as the season ended.

Thoughts

Dragon Azecta and Fenix

Wow. This was not the strongest Ultima Lucha from an in-ring point. One match was good while still being a little disappointing, one was great more for being a spectacle, and one match worked from the they’re telling but would seem preposterous to anyone watching it out of context. The vignettes at the end were the best they’ve done of those, bringing together story points from this season and ones that seemed to have been abandoned. (Still wondering where Mysterio is though.) The peak of it was finding a way to bring back Dario Cueto in a way that did not walk back his death – he really died, Antonio is not Dario in a bad disguise – while also keeping true to the mythology of the series. They’d been starting the plot mechanisms to get Dario back alive from episode 2, from as soon as Catrina goes on her own quest of rebirth and loses her half of the amulet along the way. It’s complete sci-fi silliness, but it made sense in the story they told. It also, not so accidentally, sets up Dario Cueto to be the real hero of Lucha Underground in season 5, Dario Cueto saving the world. When I wrote about Lucha Underground this morning, I wasn’t skeptical they had any stories left I’d really be interesting in seeing play out. I’d really like to see Dario go for revenge against the people who murdered him and betrayed him.

The matches ended up being kind of secondary. None were bad, all were good, it didn’t rank up with the high standards of Ultima Lucha 1 & 3. The Shaul Guerrero thing sort of annoyed me in the moment. The segment was executed well and she did a great job of ring announcing (Melissa ought-to-be-worried level of great.) They gave her introduction a lot of time right after a three fall match where there first two falls seemed likely edited for time. Shaul Guerrero isn’t as important to this season or this episode as getting to see the Fenix/Azecta story play out, and I’d rather see the time being allocated differently.

With the editing, Fenix/Azteca was not the fast moving action match I anticipated. The first two falls were akin to a CMLL match in their briefness. They might have been selling unseen damage for those two falls to cause them to slow down in the third fall, but it became a little too much about setting up huge table breaking spots once Antonio added the falls count anywhere stipulation. Those big table spots looked impressive, even when the tables didn’t coopoerate, but I wanted something a little bit more complete.

This version of Mil Muertes/Mack was a lot more competitive match than their last meaning, which gave it something closer to completeness I was missing in the previous match. LU could’ve done to more explain why it was suddenly a closer battle – all we got was Mack staying he wasn’t scared anymore – but at least it wasn’t two versions of Taya vs Ricky. The weapons and blood help cover up Mil’s current weakness. He also just didn’t look as limited in this match, maybe just having a better laid out match for what he can do here than he usually gets in Mexico. Mack worked hard and pushed himself – the corner to corner dropkick wasn’t perfect but the effort was great, and he’s made the Flatliner looked great. I really wasn’t expected Mack to win, and that shock took the match up for it.

I’ll miss the slams

Mundo/Matanza was a storyline driven match which is probably not all that great out of content and worked perfectly within the story they told. The gauntlet chase threatened to overpower the match, but they mixed in enough other action to keep it going. Matanza narrowly beat out Melissa Santos for best Ultima Lucha gear. There’s matches on this show I’ve liked more than this, but he played a slightly different role than usual pretty well. It seemed as if the big parkour spot didn’t work as they expected, but they still had the drama. The first kickout of the Wraith of the Gods feels like it should’ve been a bigger deal than how it played out as just another sign of the gauntlet’s power. The gauntlet itself worked, so maybe it didn’t need to be more.

Pentagon Dark & Marty the Moth may have been the most brutal match they’ve done. Marty just kills himself in every one of these big matches. He bled a tremendous amount and took the sort of chair shots that no one’s really doing anymore. Probably for good reason. Killshot/Fox was a more insane match, but this wone seemed equal in destroying the people involved. Arez is no longer the person who took the worst beating Pentagon had to offer. It was a match to be amazed by if not exactly admired.

The post match seemed rushed to get where they needed to get at the end of the season while keeping Pentagon strong. Jake Strong as champion is not exactly an entertaining prospect given his performances this season. It’s at least slightly mitigated understanding the visual they wanted at the end – the Order has the gauntlet, the title, all the power – but I wish it was being done with someone more compelling than Jake Strong. Hexagon’s flips looked impressive but he looked so much smaller than Vampiro, Pentagon, and Strong that it hurt the first impression. He probably needed to do something ugly too, not just some flips.

They did get me with this story. I thought I was going to be ok letting this all go after this season. I kind of get the sense how it’s going to play out if they want to do a big resolution in Season 5, but they got me to the point where I actually want to see it happen. I’m not sure this season was a success, but the ending was.

2 thoughts to “Lucha Underground 4×22: Ultima Lucha Cuatro – Part II”

  1. Assuming there will be a season 5. The producer was not nearly as confident in a recent interview and with a new El Rey president plus last week’s episode did only 62,000 viewers. Don’t hold your breath for a season 5 so quickly if at all.

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