That’s about it for 2016 TV. Maybe I’ll throw in the AAA in Chilpancingo TV. Lucha Underground will keep going by air date. I may sneak in some Retro as part of the catchup, and there’s plenty left with that. I’ve got some of those catch ups waiting to go up and will update the MOTYC stuff after.
Texano versus Cage was fun. It was a slow week to close it.
AAA (SUN) 01/01/2017Arena Neza [+LuchaTV, Kronosport]
1) Príncipe Negro & Taquero Maldito b Admantium & Balak money thrown in
2) Motocross, Royer Boy, Sky Man b Brayan, Chico Che, Rayo Star money thrown in
3) Pandemónium, Pandemónium Jr., Xibalba b Bengala, Dave The Clown, Súper Fly Local rudos cheated to win.
4) La Parka & Psycho Clown b Monsther Clown & Murder Clown
5) Joe Lider L Texano Jr., Pagano, Averno, Chessman, Hijo de Pirata Morgan [cage, mask] Monster & Murder interfered to keep Lider in, while Psycho Clown helped Texano to escape. Pagano & Lider were the last two in, and they did the one fall bit at the end like a CMLL match – only those two did an extreme style match. Pagano beat Lider, who lost his hair.
The building was full for this show. Weird to see the local rudos beat the AAA trio, but those guys are on pretty much every Neza show.
Tonight’s another busy day for Volador. He had both the CMLL semimain and the Cara Lucha main event yesterday, and he’ll have a main event NWA Weltweright Championship title defense against la Mascara in Puebla today. He’s just passed Mano Negra as the longest title reign since the mid 70s, and will reach 900 days of champion during the FantasticaMania tour. Mascara has his own title, two weight divisions up. A title change is unlikely, and it’ll be more about what kind of show they want to put on.
It’s a six match card, so it’s either going to run later than usual or some of the undercard matches will run short. The semimain, which seems to be thes pot usually cut short, otherwise looks like the second best match on the card: Atlantis, Caristico and Maximo against Cavernario, Gran Guerrero and Negro Casas. Angel de Oro, Titan and Valiente face Rey Bucanero, Terrible and Vangellys in the fourth match. The never ending Stigma/Skandalo feud is in the tercera, with Guerrero Maya, Rey Cometa, Disturbio and Sam Adonis. Arkalis, Millenium and Tiger Rojo face Arkangel, Metalico and Policeman. The show opens with Asturiano & Zaeta Roja against Rey Apocalipsis & Toro Bill, which would be good if the Batilion worked as hard on their matches as their enterances.
CMLL (SUN) 01/01/2017Arena México [CMLL, Pro Wrestling Super Blog, thecubsfan]
1) Demus 3:16, Mercurio, Pierrothito b Acero, Astral, Último Dragóncito 14:22. Rudos took 1/3. Acero replaced Stukita (probably back in Laguna)
2) Ángel de Oro, Blue Panther Jr., Guerrero Maya Jr. b Bobby Z, Pólvora, Ripper 15:52. Tecnicos took 2/3.
3) Atlantis, Marco Corleone, Stuka Jr. b Felino, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero 7:38. Tecnicos took 2/3. Rey Bucanero replaced Mr. Niebla on Tuesday.
4) Carístico, Valiente, Volador Jr. b Ephesto, Hechicero, Mephisto 10:42. Tecnicos took 2/3.
5) Máximo b Máscara Año 2000 [hair] 11:04. Maximo took 2/3.
This show was a bit like Friday’s show, with a lot of playing to the crowd and positive finishes, but not the same level of quality. There’s nothing you need to go see from this match, especially including the main event. The turnout seemed better than last Sunday, maybe approaching a usual Friday, but not so much that they ever dared give us long shots of the seats. New Year’s Day seems like it was a good drawing day all around: AAA shows in Arena Neza and Arena Lopez Mateos sold out and CaraLucha looks it did well.
Mascara 2000’s return ends up a lot like Super Parka’s return a year ago: a veteran name from multiple generations in the past back around to lose an apuesta match to a regular CMLL luchador. Super Parka lost to Negro Casas to set up him up for the Volador match at H2L. I can’t imagine CMLL will do a Maximo hair match loss at H2L two straight years (or twice in a year’s time, which they almost did here), but Maximo defending his title against various Sanson & Cuatrero would be entertaining uses of time. Seems unlikely.
Mascara kicking out the finish seems totally unprofessional to me, but it’s consistent with how he’s acted thru the whole way of this feud and it’ll likely be unremarked on beyond the English language lucha fans. That sort of thing just doesn’t seem to get traction elsewhere. There’s no indication Mascara is actually done now, just I have no idea what else you’d do with him. Not sure what you could do with him anyway.
Cara Lucha (SUN) 01/01/2017Arena San Juan Pantitlan, Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, Estado de México [+LuchaTV]
1) Samael, Torito Negro, Yin Sang b Arceus, Atomic Fly, Príncipe Aéreo Torito Negro’s debut. Samael replaced Imperio Negro
2) Flama Roja, Toro Negro III, Toro Negro Jr. b Alas de Acero, Alas De Plata, Pegazus
3) Látigo & Trauma I b Corsario Negro & Gallego [Juventud y Gloria, quarterfinal] Latigo & Trauma moved onto the final.
4) Demus 3:16 & Yoruba b Sky Man & Solar I [Juventud y Gloria, quarterfinal] former rivals Demus & Yoruba won, but still aren’t friends. Skyman replaced Bandido (in Torreon instead).
5) Templario & Último Guerrero b Látigo & Trauma I [Juventud y Gloria, semifinal] Guerrero & Templario advance to the final. Templario was eliminated, but of course UG beat both Latigo and Trauma I by himself.
6) Fénix El Rey b Volador Jr., Flamita money thrown in.
Templario & Ultimo Guerrero advance to the final, where for sure Demus & Yoruba aren’t beating them. We don’t know the last quarter final, which is probably going to need an Atlantis or a Caristico to pull that off.
IWRG (SUN) 01/01/2017Arena Naucalpan [+LuchaTV]
1) Black Dragón & Cadillac b Adrenalina & Keshin Black Cadillac replaced Fireman. Keshin Black replaced Skanda.
2) Araña de Plata & Demonio Infernal b Alfa & Omega Alfa’s first match in IWRG since 2015 (though his sometimes alternate personality Barba Roja Jr. showed up on a recent FILL show.)
3) Dr. Cerebro, Oficial AK47, Oficial Fierro b Danny Casas, Dragón Fly, Veneno Rudos took 2/3. Dr. Cerbero replaced Killer Jr. (moved up.) Danny Casas & Veneno had problems leading them fighting each other after the match.
4) Máscara Año 2000 Jr., Mr. Electro, Tinieblas Jr. b Killer Jr., Negro Navarro, Pirata Morgan No Hijo de Dos Caras again, with Killer Jr. replacing him. Despite being on the losing side, Pirata challenged Electroshock to a title match, which was accepted. First Tinieblas match in IWRG since 2013.
5) Pirata Morgan Jr. L Imposible, Relámpago, Golden Magic [cage, mask, prison fatal] Imposible beats Pirata Morgan Jr., who was unmasked. Pirata Morgan Jr. was announced as Pedro Ortiz Soto, 35 years old, 15 years f a wrestler, from Mexico City.
Pirata losing was obvious as soon as they announced the match – he probably only got a few extra days with it because Killer Jr. showed back up to lose his mask first – but Imposible getting the win was a bit of a surprise. Pirata was feuding with Golden Magic, so they did a cross feud win. IWRG fans probably would’ve still booed Golden Magic.
Joe Lider lost his hair to Pagano in Neza. It was either going to be Lider or Hijo del Pirata, so the Morgans barely escaped losing two apuesta matches in a matter of hours. Joe Lider is in an apuesta match on the 17th, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work.
CMLL (SAT) 01/07/2017Arena Coliseo
1) Bengala & Leono vs Akuma & Artillero
2) Astral, Eléctrico, Stukita vs Mercurio, Pequeño Olímpico, Pierrothito
3) Estrellita, Princesa Sugehit, Sanely vs Amapola, La Comandante, Zeuxis
4) Drone, Stuka Jr., Titán vs Bobby Z, Gran Guerrero, Niebla Roja
5) Carístico, Dragón Lee, Mistico vs Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto
They’re back running these shows. Everyone but Caristico & Luciferno is headed to Japan next week and I don’t think we’re lucky enough to get that match. Black Terry & Negro Navarro being on Sabado Retro shows when they restarted was not meant to be taken literally – though maybe they’ll be around the following week when all those people are gone.
CMLL (SUN) 01/08/2017Arena México
1) Acero & Aéreo vs Pequeño Nitro & Pequeño Violencia
2) Blue Panther Jr., Pegasso, The Panther vs Nitro, Okumura, Virus
3) Ángel de Oro, Blue Panther, Stuka Jr. vs Felino, Pólvora, Rey Bucanero
4) Marco Corleone, Máximo Sexy, Titán vs La Máscara, Pierroth, Shocker
5) Atlantis, Valiente, Volador Jr. vs Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Último Guerrero
Same deal with this main event, though they might do Valiente/Gran Guerrero. CMLL is crazy like that. Not crazy enough to do any more cards like the Friday show. I’m fine with this not being on YouTube this week.
CMLL (SUN) 01/08/2017Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
1) Micro vs Destructor
2) Black Sugar & Fugaz vs Gitano & Relámpago
3) El Yaqui & Reycko vs Évola & Thunder Boy
4) El Divino, Explosivo, Javier Cruz Jr. vs Espectrúm, Infierno, Rey Trueno
5) Frezzer, Furia Roja, Omar Brunetti vs Joker, Sádico, Vaquero Jr. [Relevos Increíbles]
Main event doesn’t seem to be set up by anything in particular.
CMLL (FRI) 12/30/2016Arena México [CMLL, CultIcon, thecubsfan]
1) Hijo del Signo & Metálico b Flyer & Robin 17:24. Rudos took 1/3.
2) Pegasso, Star Jr., Tritón b Nitro, Sangre Azteca, Virus 13:52. Tecnicos took 1/3.
3) Rey Cometa b Sagrado [lightning] 7:36, Cometa winning with a standing Spanish Fly
4) Blue Panther Jr., Drone, The Panther b Kráneo, Olímpico, Ripper 14:42. Tecnicos took 2/3.
5) Ángel de Oro, Marco Corleone, Stuka Jr. b Rey Bucanero, Shocker, Terrible 12:55. Tecnicos took 1/3.
6) Carístico, Valiente, Volador Jr. b Cavernario, Felino, Negro Casas 10:58. Tecnicos took 2/3. Cavernario replaced Mr. Niebla on Tuesday.
Big looking crowd from what we could see on Claro, but they never did the big sweeping pan camera shots normal for a 10,000+ show. It didn’t look that occupied in the upper levels when we could see them, which – along with some social media searching and rash judgments based on crowd shots – suggests this was a heavy tourist crowd in for the weekend to have fun. They got a fun show: tecnicos won just about everything, and the last couple matches were especially crowd pleasing. CMLL’s ability to draw tourists is an advantage over every other promotion in the world and it helped them last night. Not much happened, but not a lot needed to happen.
It does leave CMLL in a weird situation where the worst two attendance numbers in this couple weeks stretch appear to be last Sunday’s big show and possibly this upcoming Sunday’s show. Like last week, tickets prices are more expensive for the Sunday show than usual. Tickets are 180 to 680 for Maximo/Mascara (which aren’t moving much), compared to 50 to 250 for the following Sunday. They’re also more expensive than next Friday’s CMLL card, which is a bonkers lineup. I usually save the lineups for later, but this is the biggest thing going on today.
CMLL (FRI) 01/06/2017Arena México
1) Estrellita, La Vaquerita, Marcela vs Amapola, Dalys, Zeuxis
2) Rey Cometa vs Cavernario
3) Blue Panther, Blue Panther Jr., The Panther vs Negro Casas, Puma, Tiger
4) Volador Jr. vs Mephisto
5) La Máscara & Rush vs Marco Corleone & Máximo Sexy
6) Valiente vs Último Guerrero
7) Atlantis, Carístico, Mistico vs Euforia, Gran Guerrero, Niebla Roja
Informa said this show, on Three King’s Day, would have rematches from the best of 2016. I didn’t believe them. They aired the promo last night hyping those matches. Still didn’t believe them. I am looking at the actual lineup right now. Still a little unsure! No, really, this is a card unlike any thing CMLL has done. Three singles match on a non-tournament show, seven matches entirely, just a show where they did all star matches instead of just trying to fill dates for undercard wrestlers, this is unlike anything I’ve seen out of CMLL ever. It’s going to be one of the best Friday night shows CMLL runs all in 2017; only Anniversario and Dos Leyendas have a sure bet to beat it. I have no idea if this is a one off holiday idea, or if it’s the annual attempt to experiential in the first quarter of the year before giving up the rest of the time, or if it’s something more. I just really hope next Sunday does well because I want more like this.
(To beat up the poor dead horse a little more, this is a much better card than either of the two Sunday holiday shows at a cheaper price.)
I’d suspect those singles matches will be one fall matches just to fit them all in. Or they’ll be effectively one fall matches. Not going to be too bothered by Casas, Puma & Tiger not getting their tag title shot because I’d rather see the Panther rematch again. I’d rather see Cometa/Cavevernario again too and I’d hope they’d set up a title match. They probably won’t: this’ll be the last Friday show before the FantasticaMania crew head to Japan. Those FantasticaMania lineups will come out early this same morning, so Friday’s going to be a busy day.
Maybe connected to all of this, maybe not: Leo Riano’s column talks about hopes for 2017, and mentions Sofia Alonso is now in charge of CMLL marketing. I’m guessing Paco Alonso’s daughter, but it’s not said.) He hopes she’ll be part of “modernizing” the company. (This is not the same Alonso/Lutteroth family member who’s been part of their cultural projects.) I’m not sure how much to make of this, because titles for children of business owners sometimes can be pretty important sounding and not amount to all that much, but Paco Alonso passing administration of his lucha libre company down to his children sounds like a logical end game. We just don’t know when it would happen. Maybe just one more thing to keep an eye on in 2017.
Maximo says he’s nervous going into Sunday’s match with Mascara 2000. He notes the Dinamitas wrestled a very different style than he did today, and hopes his cardio will give him an edge. CMLL has not said if Sunday’s show will be streaming. NJPW says they’ll have it streaming, and CMLL’s streamed every time NJPW has so far. I suspect CMLL is concerned that the stream will hurt attendance and isn’t going to advertise it, but it’ll still be broadcast tomorrow.
What happened: Nothing really. There were a lot of tourists in attendance and they worked a very tourist friendly show with no angles. Maybe the only thing that happened was the CMLL promo announcing Cavernario/Cometa, Último Guerrero/Valiente, Mephisto/Volador and Casas/Tiger/Puma vs the Panthers for next week. That’s way too good to be true.
What was good: I liked the main event and the lightning match was good too. This was a generally easy to watch show.
Where can I watch it: I’ve likely put up the links to the matches on Twitter by the time you see this, though the second match was messed up by some stream issues.(more…)
CMLL (TUE) 12/27/2016Arena Coliseo Guadalajara [Martes de Glamour]
1) Star Black & Vaquero Jr. b Carlo Roggi & Linterna Tecnicos took 2/3. Star Black replaced Magico.
2) Cancerbero, Joker, Raziel b Magnum, Marvel, Star Jr. Rudos took 1/3. Marvel’s first match since September.
3) El Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón b Blue Panther Jr., Esfinge, Pegasso Rudos took 1/3.
4) Kráneo, Pólvora, Ripper b Drone, Stuka Jr., Tritón Rudos took 2/3.
5) Carístico, Marco Corleone, Volador Jr. b La Máscara, Shocker, Terrible Tecnicos took 2/3.
No angles in Guadalajara or Arena Mexico on Tuesdays this week. That’s strange, even for CMLL.
No real stories coming into tonight’s show either. Caristico’s on the show, but Ultimo Guerrero is not. The women did their cage match followup this past Tuesday, and Maximo and Mascara 2000 are held off until their match on Sunday.
The main event is Carsitico, Valiente and Volador Jr. versus Cavernario, Felino and Negro Casas. That could be a pretty good match, the best on the show, depending on how serious they take it. CMLL pushes the now decade old issue between Caristico & Casas as the selling point. TGR unites to fight Angel de Oro, Marco Corleone and Stuka in the semimain match. The Panther brothers team with Drone to face the remaining Invasors – Kraneo, Olimpico and Ripper – in the fourth match. CMLL’s ignored the Caristico/Histeria mask match so far, but maybe he’ll show up with that mask tonight.
Rey Cometa versus Sagrado is the lightning match. Like the main event, that will be good if they go for it. Pegasso, Star Jr. & Triton face Nitro, Sangre Azteca and Virus, which probably won’t be good. It’s kind of amazing Virus is still so motivated compared to other guys stuck in the same role as him. Flyer & Robin are supposed to take on Metalico & Hijo del Signo in the opener, but Signo’s was pulled from his last show so he’s not a certainty.
The show airs at 8:30pm on ClaroSports.com, as normal. I’m not sure if I’m going to be around to watch it or even record it, but I should have a recap sometime over the weekend.
In Arena Aficion on Tuesday, La Hechicera & Super Fly defeated Big Mami & Joe Lider, which somehow set up a cage match with all four on 01/17. Maybe more people will be added because a four person cage match is odd, though that’s how they’re advertising it today. Hechicera works some AAA spots shows (though seemed to be fewer this year) and would be the likely loser if no one else was added.
AAA’s poll for best tecnico of the year has Psycho Clown, Texano Jr. (who never turned tecnico but just woke up one day and was one), La Parka and Aerostar. I would command you to go vote for Aerostar to mess with the results, but Psycho’s running away with it.
CultIcon and TKD review last night’s Lucha Underground.
AAA TV (FRI) 02/10/2017Gimnasio Benito Juárez, Cuautitlán, Estadio de México
1) Bengala, Lanzeloth, Máscara de Bronce vs Hijo de Pirata Morgan, Mocho Cota Jr., Soul Rocker
2) Dinastía & Octagoncito vs Mini Abismo Negro & Mini Psycho
3) Aerostar & Argenis vs Carta Brava Jr. & Súper Fly
4) El Apache, Faby Apache, Mary Apache vs Averno, Chessman, Ricky Marvin
5) Daga & Pentagón Jr. vs El Mesías & Pagano
6) Angélico, La Parka, Psycho Clown vs Dave The Clown, Monsther Clown, Murder Clown
Edit: this taping was later moved to 02/11.
Air date: 02/18 and 02/25, or thereabouts
What can you say about this AAA lineup that can’t be said about any other one? The main feuds are still the same. There’s still no sure fire great matches, but the undercard matches might be ok. There’s still people who aren’t intersting and it’s still the same people. Not much is changing.
Maybe that’s the story. The old AAA frustration is how they would do a lot at the big shows and not a lot inbetween. Maybe the newer AAA is doing the same, but the only big show is TripleMania. Wagner versus Psycho was announced a year ahead of time, and they might have been able to do the same with the Apaches and OGT. They’ve not moved that feud along an centimeter since TripleMania. The mystery person diversion was dropped on the last two tapings, like so many other AAA mysteries, so perhaps nothing is coming from that. They’re now doing the trios match they advertised in October in February, and maybe they’ll get around to a title match in March. That doesn’t leave much time (at least by AAA pace) to start another feud. It’s a 18 month build to Faby and Mary vs Averno and Chessman, or Faby vs Tirantes, or some such, only it’ll be more like a three month build with 15 months of running in place. Even if the destination was attractive, the journey is not.
The third match is related to the cage match at Guerra de Titanes and the apuesta match at Rey de Reyes. AAA has me rooting for Argenis vs Carta not because it’s the best match, but because it’ll be an actual surprise. Not a good idea to root for those things, but Carta being in the match might finally solve the Carta Brava identity controversy.
Angelico in a main event seems like such a positive thing, execpt it’s fairly obvious he’s not going to get to do most of what he can do. Maybe he’s got a secret comedy side?
Dave being in the main event is fairly ridiculous. He is easily the worst guy on the whole show. Any one of the rudos in the opening match would do better in that spot. You could take any indie guy in that spot and they would do the same or better, because that’s what AAA has done. It’s also the same problem with Parka Negra: AAA’s done nothing to make people care about them, they’re just dropped into top matches without explanation. No one is getting over that way unless they’re an incredible worker, and that’s not Dave.
Maybe AAA believes they can annoint anyone a star by just putting them on TV. They could point to Pagano, who is clearly their 2016 success story, but Pagano got a cool introduction, time to talk, and an indie rep. The people they’ve introduced since have not gotten any of that. The biggest challenge AAA has in 2017 is to make new stars to replace those they’ve lost, and ust placing people in main events is not enough.
On that note, and noticing Johnny Mundo is not around after Guerra de Titanes, Petagon has to win that title match. Not only win, but win clean, and win dominantly. (Go watch his AAW title win, where he beat up Callihan’s entire crew by himself before winning without any controversy, and steal all that.) Pentagón is the rare modern lucha protagonist who the crowd won’t boo for being successful, and AAA must take advantage of it when they can. Mundo will be fine if he’s gone for months anyway. Same thing at the top here” Psycho has to start beating everyone not named Wagner, or they’re wasting a year of build. AAA needs to be more afraid of missing star making chances than losing people.
Cage is the winner of the best of five series between himself and Texano. It was a much different feeling victory than the two Cage had gotten before, with Cage having to fight uphill to clinch in the fifth match. Cage first lost a quick fourth match, a bit by fluke. A turnbuckle pad came off as Cage pulled Texano out of the corner, and Texano later caused Cage to fall face first on the steel. Cage bled and had concussion like symptoms and Texano was able to beat him swiftly with a powerbomb. Dario surprised both men by ordering them to have their fifth match right away, in a no DQ match. The two brawled around the ring, into the crowd, and with a chair – both men taking an unprotected shot to the skull – with Texano getting in most of the offense and Cage looking unusually vulnerable. Cage survived, finally defeating Texano with a brutal Drill Claw.
Dario might have made the fifth match tonight because he was so excited to have a winner. He was interrupted looking into the mystery box earlier in the show, and had Cage come in his office to receive that prize after the match. Cage wasn’t unimpressed to find out he had been fighting for a mystery box, and unimpressed when Dario revealed the titular Gauntlet was the prize. Cage tried to walk out without it – “I’m not that much of a Renaissance fair guy” – but Dario pleaded with him to try it on. Cage gave it a shot, the gauntlet lit up with a power, Cage used it to lift Dario up in a choke lift, and decided he was going to keep it after all. Once he wasn’t dying, Dario seemed pleased with the outcome.
Texano probably had second thoughts after the loss. Not just in the way he lost, but that he passed up a chance to get Famous B and Brenda in his corner for his match. Famous B offered his services, pointing out the crowd wasn’t behind Texano and believing he could change that. Texano wanted B to get lost, but seemed to believe a little bit of what he was saying.
The opener, Mil Muertes versus Jeremiah Crane, ended up as a backdrop for a return. Prince Puma made his first appearance in the Temple since Mil put him in the casket by hitting Muertes with a cane to give Crane a quick win. (An undeserved one too, since Mil was dominating it.) Prince Puma did his usual flips into a pose after the match, but posed facing Vampiro instead of on the logo. Vampiro had been out of sorts during the match, so he knew it was coming. We did too: the show actually started with a new darker Prince Puma in Vampiro’s dojo, pledging to make Vampiro his new maestro.
The middle match turned out to be less notable for storylines than for real drama. PJ Black & Jack Evans defeated Son of Havoc & Angelico in a match that never really got going, and seemed to have a section of the rudos beating up Son of Havoc edited out. The bigger problem took place about four minutes in, when Angelico went for a springboard knee, crushed Jack and landed awkwardly. Angelico’s elbow was obviously messed up by the landing, and the others just went to a finish as quick as possible. What wasn’t as obvious right away was Jack’s jaw was injured on that same spot, if I have the story right. He still finished the match, but you can see him point to it right after. Both men will appear again on this season – through the magic of taping out of order, a mute Jack has already been on this show this year – but there’s a lot less Angelico going forward.
We go forward, because we have no choice. And going forward, we’ve got two matches for next week. The Mack versus Johnny Mundo will take place, as well as Sexy Star versus Mariposa. Sexy Star had a present delivered to her, via a chatty and Mundo-obessesed Ricky Mandell, which of course turned out to be another spider. Sexy’s convinced it’s Mariposa behind this, so she got the match.
The potentially biggest news happened in a late commercial break. The January 11th show is now the midseason finale. And that’s all we know about that.
That last thing first. When you’re a type who thinks they’ve got a lot of it figured out, something you’re not at all expecting really sticks out. I feel like I know a lot about Lucha Underground, but had no idea they were doing a midseason finale. Which sure sounds like a midseason break. Which sounds not great, both in that I really want my Lucha Underground right now and that I wonder a bit about my Lucha Underground going forward.
The series has taken time off before. They held off the first Aztec Warfare for a couple weeks, but that was a case where they specifically didn’t want to burn new shows on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. There’s no major holidays coming up on Wednesdays in January that I can come up with. LU knew of that hiatus in advance, they had Dario mention it in a promo taped on the show months before it happened. There doesn’t seem to be the same mention here, and LU people have specifically talked about airing all 40 episodes in a row.
I have a good sense of what’s airing over the next three episodes. If I’m right, there’s a happening at the end of episode 19 and episode 20 is a special episode. You could definitely look at them, squint a little, and see 19 as a break point and 20 as a hot one to have people anticipating for a little while. Still, there’s been no sign this was coming. The way this was mentioned outside of the show, in El Rey commercial, suggests this wasn’t something LU planned themselves. They’ve taped 40 episodes, 21 left to air after this finale. They’ll air the shows eventually. This is curious and a little bit concerning. It’s not “sound the alarms” concerning, but definitely “fingers on chin, looking pensive” concerned.
That news overshadowed the show for me, and maybe only me, but it was a decent show to overshadow. Crane/Mil was disappointingly short (and you’d think a guy who thinks he had the answers would’ve known that already, but nah.) The tag match was the match I was least looking forward to on the season, and one where I thought they might just cut it out given what happened. It sucks seeing two of your favorites going down. Jack’s around more than Angelico, and Angelico chasing down Mundo had such promise. Guess we’ll need patience for that too.
The first Cage/Texano wasn’t much either, and this was not looking like a good in-ring show at that point. They redeemed it quite a bit by the main event. Striker was pushing the idea of this being a great best of five, which is his job but in no way felt true. The fifth match alone didn’t bring up everything else. If they found a way to start the fifth match with the same wounded Cage as we saw here, I don’t think anyone would’ve missed much of the other four matches. Still, this match was a lot of fun, in both guys getting to use the full Temple playground to work a different fight than the ones they had done up to this point. They did well working off the Cage injury story to make him the sympathetic face, though his reaction to the power glove suggests they’re going back the other direction. That’s a wait and see, but weird (ironic?) that Cage won a power up in a match where he looked underpowered.
A lot of what Famous B said about Texano in Lucha Underground – “You’re not just translating to the audience, you’re not connecting with them…they don’t care about you, they’re not invested in you” – rang true, even if it’s also like something some dork might have said in blog somewhere. Where Texano has delivered is in his big singles matches: he was really good Alberto, and he was really good here. I’m not sure Famous B is the right guy to get people invested in you, since it doesn’t seem like it’s working out too well for Dr. Wagner, but making it clear they’re still going somewhere with Texano after his lose was a good idea.
The turnbuckle bit in the fourth match was great. Not just because they smoothly snuck it in, but because Vampiro’s forced confusion about what had just happen. I don’t if Vampiro actually came up with the idea for that spot, but never had a man sounded more like he wanted you to notice something he was pretending he didn’t notice.
This was not the my most favorite episode of this show, but I guess I got to appreciate them while I still can.