Lucha Underground 1×39: Ultima Lucha, Part 2

the matches

Johnny Mundo defeats Alberto el Patron (fin de mundo, 13:35, great)
Pentagon Jr. defeats Vampiro (rock bottom thru table on fire, 11:08, good)
Fenix wins the Gift of the Gods (Fire Driver on Jack Evans, 12:03, great)
Blue Demon Jr. defeats Texano Jr. (pinfall, 3:00, below average)
Mil Muertes defeats Prince Puma to win the Lucha Underground Championship (super flatliner, 17:39, excellent)

49 gifs can be seen here.

developments

A few!

Universidad de 0M

Johnny Mundo and Alberto el Patron has much more of a brawl this time around, with literal dirt being thrown in faces. After a long even fight, Mundo knocked out the referee with a kick. (No referee was calling a DQ on this show.) Alberto put Mundo in the armbar and Mundo taped, but there was no ref to count it. Mundo eventually slipped free. Alberto tried the armbar again over the ropes, but it was broken up by Melina. Mundo landed the Fin de Mundo for the win. Mundo & Melina made out in the ring until an enraged Alberto broke it up. Alberto smashed Mundo’s face into the glass window of a door (replacing the one Mack & Cage broke last week), gaining revenge for Mundo’s similar act and blooding Mundo badly. Melina tried to break it up, but instead was spanked by Alberto.

Pentagon Jr. almost beat AntiPope Vampiro very quickly, destroying him with chair shots. Vampiro rose from a stretcher to continue, and the two had an insane thumbtack and light tube filled brawl. Vampiro appeared to be imperious to pain at various points Vampiro brought a table and fire into play, but it was he who went thru it courtesy of a bloody and ripped Pentagon. Pentagon demanded his Master reveal himself as a reward for his win. Vampiro instead revealed he was Pentagon’s master all along, even unknown to Pentagon. Pentagon did not question this, and immediately bowed down at Vampiro’s feet.

The Gift of the Gods was a crazy seven person match which included a more than seven people. An obsessed Marty ran into the ring and attacked Sexy Star at one point, but tapped out to La Mistica. (Sexy Star disappeared from the match after taking Big Ryck’s urange.) DelAvar Daviari surprisingly attacked Big Ryck, possibly for Ryck’s failures of late. Fenix put an end to the craziness with a Fire Driver on Jack.

not exactly smooth, but Vampiro got in there

Blue Demon Jr. is now an aging legend, near the end of his career willing to do anything to hold on and was not residing in South Beach. The announcers pushed the idea that Demon was a guy lived off his family’s name, while Texano (Jr.) had surpassed his father. The match, made no DQ, saw Texano dominate until Mr. Cisco and Cortez Castro got involved. Chavo Guerrero ran in as if for an incredibly unlikely save, until to instead ally with Demon and attack Texano. (The announcers emphasized the symbolism of Chavo attacking Demon way back in episode 2, then helping him here.) Demon ended up with an easy iwn.

Konnan was not present for the Prince Puma/Mil Muertes match, still removed from the board after the attack in earlier episdoes. Catrina was there, but was actually used as a weapon by Prince Puma in her only physical interference in the match. The Puma match against Mil Muertes had aspects of Mil’s other post return matches, with a fair amount of brawling around ringside, but it also had a lot of in-ring fighting as well. Muertes escaped the first 630 attempt, landed the second but Muertes kicked out, and missed a third. Muerte seemed to have the win with a Flatliner, but Puma kicked out. Puma went to the top again, but was pulled off in a super Flatliner for the title change. Mil, Catrina and The Disciples of Death stood in the ring together with all the belts to end the season.

the real reason for a new Temple: need new high places to jump off of

Dragon Azteca did make it into the Temple to save Black Lotus, but it was too late. Dario Cueto walked in before Azteca could free Lotus, and noted their deal (?) meant Dragon Azteca would forfeit his life if he stepped foot in Dario’s Temple. Dario teased using the cage to free Matanza, and Dragon Azteca begged him to stop. Dario did, because it was a fake out – Black Lotus grabbed Dragon Azteca from behind and choked her one-time mentor out. Dragon Azteca told Lotus not to believe Dario, but Lotus instead gave Azteca the heart punch to the back, apparently killing Dragon Azteca. Dario freed Lotus, who now planned to leave this all behind, but Dario warned Lotus she started a war and only Dario could protect her. Lotus reluctantly agreed. Dario said they’d need a new Temple, and unlocked Matanza’s cage (with the Key) as they all perepared to flee.

The show closed with a scared Dario and Lotus cleaning out the cash, papers, and red bull from his office and leaving in a hurry. They were last scene escaping in a truck, pulling a horse carriage – where Matanza was breifly glimpsed inside.

Other characters also got individual epilogues.

  • Fenix left in a firebird (car), being stalked by King Cuerno in his truck.
  • Marty Martinez, more crazy than we’ve seen him before, threatened an apparently kidnapped Sexy Star that “you won’t like me when you meet my sister”
  • Angelico, Son of Havoc and Ivelisse vowed to win the trios championships back before driving off on motorcycles (Ivelisse and Havoc together.)
  • Aerostar and Drago shared an intense handshake before exiting the temple. Drago again appeared to turn into flame as he flew away, and Aerostar blasted off like a rocket.
  • Pentagon asked his master where they were going now, and Vampiro told him it was a dark place.
  • the white hoodie character was seen putting on the Dragon Azteca mask, and spray painting a question mark on the Lucha Underground billboard.

The season ended with the lights coming down on the Temple as Dario looked pained, then smirked.

one more for the road

thoughts

A fantastic finale. There were four strong matches, and an even stronger finale few minutes. We still don’t totally know if Dario was lying to Black Lotus, but we sure know she belives it. We even got a little hint on the behind the scenes of season 2: the Lucha Underground Temple we knew is the past, and they’ll be somewhere new next year. The question mark on the Lucha Underground sign struck people as a clear Rey Mysterio Jr. teaser during the filming. It may end up that way, but it seemed to be more about the mystery of where Lucha Underground would be next.

Michael Schiavello was the fill-in for Vampiro and did well in the role. It’s a different mix than Vampiro, but Schiavello was very prepared. He knew the characters, knew the backstory, and seemed as excited about the show as someone who’d watched the season to this point. It’d be strange, though not imposible, for Vampiro just to flip back to being Ian the Wacky Announcer after tonight’s match and Schivello would be fine in the role.

Fenix finishes Jack

I assume Hugo’s calling the two hours on his own on Unimas. I hope he made it one piece.

Puma/Muertes was an epic title match. It had a good amount of brawling into the crowds, and super natural characters, but it also felt the most like something which would fit at Wrestlemania among all the matches on this how. It’d be the main event, a pretty strong main event, and they didn’t really kick out of finishers enough to be a recent WWE match, but they did pretty much everything else. Prince Puma looked incredible in this match, and Mil’s done the best possibly the best work of his career in this run. This match might not be placed above Grave Consequences, and Puma/Mundo might be the better Puma title match, but it also might not be. I could see it either way. It’s worth rewatching easily.

Mundo/Alberto was a great hate filled match which took surprising advantage of the dirty scummy nature of the temple. (Both men could’ve used a shower about 3 minutes in.) It’s a little hurt from being a out of control brawl on a show with a lot of out of control brawling, but it felt superior to their previous match up until the finish shenanigans. Crowd reacted well to Melina’s return, but having Johnny win and then be destroyed by Alberto was very 50/50. It’s a tough spot – Johnny’ just turned, Alberto needs to get revenge if he’s a top guy, and maybe the indecisive nature of the finish will set up a rematch in season 2. I don’t know what’s the blow off stip for putting faces thru glass – maybe it’s first blood, maybe Pentagon has some scarier ideas.

get out of here, Puma

The Gift of the Gods match was last never ending chain of spots match to end the season on. Just a cacophony of moves by everyone. I think this did more for Bengali than any match he’s had so far, just looking spectacular on his giant tornillo. Aerostar has climbed to a lot of high places and jumped off them all this year. Cuerno got in his tope one more time. Jack didn’t seem to get as much time as everyone else, but he looked good in what he did. The match was built around a surprising amount of Big Ryck early on, and the urange on Sexy Star looked rough. (In real life, it’s said she was hospitalized. No idea what happened, but it looked like he didn’t do much to protect her at all on the move.) They tried to do the big guy fending off a lot of little guys bit with him, and there was some mixed success. The ending sequence with Fenix & Jack Evans was superb. This was the third different single elimination 4+ man match Fenix’s won this season (pre-Aztec Warfare & for the Medallion, plus also the three way in his debut), which feels like it should be a thing. On the tapings, they had done more teasing a Big Ryck/Davairi issue than had made the screen, and it really felt random. Marty at least is random, so his actions make as much sense as ever. Similarly, they teased Cuerno versus Fenix when the show was filmed, but only the briefest glance made air at the end of this match. The ending vignette made up for it.

Catrina betrays Mil again!

Pentagon & Vampiro was less enjoyable for me than most because I was unhappy about how much it much it was about Vampiro – like, almost all about Vampiro’s heart for continuing, for taking the shots and for being tough enough to keep going. It makes sense for Striker to call it that way, Vampiro’s been at his side for the last eight months, but the point of this felt should’ve been to make Pentagon and instead he was a lesser part of his own match. I want to see Pentagon as a top guy, not as guy falling at his knees to salute someone else. This may be the long road to get to that point, but there’s still a while to travel. The match itself was the sort of insanity seen in the Mexican hardcore feds, with Pentagon pulling out the same gouging technique he used on Arez on Vampiro’s forehead this time. Vampiro’s zombie like no-selling worked for his character in this match and definitely worked for the crowd. The match itself was as strong as it could’ve been, and stronger than would’ve been expected, but it’s also something I don’t want to see more than once a year.

Prince Puma may be Bruce Lee

Demon/Texano was the weakest match by far. All the character stuff they threw in with Blue Demon and the suit wearing Crew was great, but the problem is it’s still Blue Demon in the ring and that’s not much. A Demon & Chavo union against Texano is the least interesting teaser for season 2. Chavo & Demon being part of the on screen part of the show made a certain amount of sense for season 1, when they were potentially recognizable faces to new viewers (and new investors) regardless of what they had to offer, but a season 2 wouldn’t seem to need those sort of crutches – or, maybe the given the state of things, they need more of those.

The epilogue was fantastic. It wrapped up a lot, gave a few needed teases (we had to see a glimpse of Matanza and we did) and it did a great job of setting up mysteries for the future. CHIKARA’s done bits like this at the end of their seasons with mysteries set up, but we got a bit of conclusions and a bit of spacemen blasting off to parts unknown.

blast off

I don’t know where Aerostar is headed. I don’t where any of this is headed. I hope we see each other again when we get there.

Lucha Underground (1×38, Ultima Lucha, Part 1)

why not?

matches

Cage defeated the Mack in a falls count anywhere match (7:42, curbstomp thru a concrete block, GREAT)

Trece, Barrio Negro, Siniestro de la Muerte [O] defeated Angelico, Son of Havoc, Ivelisse [X] (c) to win the Lucha Underground Trios Championship (6:19, pinfall, OK)

Drago defeated Hernandez in a Believer’s Backlash match (8:46, top rope splash, good)

developments

I’d hate to be that wall

Black Lotus related story book-ended the show. The show began with Lotus revealed to still be in a cell, working out in preparation of freedom it doesn’t look like she’ll ever get. Dario Cueto checked up on her, and relayed quite a bit of plot. Lucha Underground isn’t the first experience his family has had with combat sports: his father made his money in underground fightning, using Matanza “the Monster” Cueto as his fighter. Dario also claimed it wasn’t Matanza who killed Lotus’ parents, but Dragon Azteca himself. (Black Lotus’s father led a triad in Hong Kong, who were at war with Dragon Azteca’s mercenaries, and set this all up for the irony of using one enemies’ daughter to kill another.) Lotus seemed like she might believe Dario’s story.

Dragon Azteca showed up at the temple to close the show, but was prevented in from a mystery man in a white hoodie. (The white hoodie guy was taller than Dragon Azteca and appeared to be light skinned.) Dragon Azteca blamed himself for Lotus being captured, White Hoodie told him Puma had freed Lotus once and could do it again, but Dragon Azteca said Puma had other things to do now. White Hoodie offered to do it himself, but Dragon Azteca insisted on doing it himself. The White Hoodie warned ‘the prophecy’ said Dragon Azteca would die if he entered the temple. Dragon Azteca said he may die, but “El Dragon Azteca” would never die.

A lot less plot in the matches, which were just good matches where people won or didn’t win. There’s nothing you need to know from Cage and Mack, besides Mack has a good Stone Cold impression. There’s nothing you’d be surprised by in Hernandez and Drago: the lumberjacks all refused to attack Drago and very enthusiastically attacked an overwhelmed Hernandez. Angelico made his big leap in the trios title match, but the match turned on the stone. Catrina used the mystical power of the stone to raise her team from death (or semi-consciousness), and she used the physical aspect of it being a STONE to whack Ivelisse in the head to set up the win.

Ultima Lucha matches remaining

Angelico flies

Prince Puma (c) faces Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground championship
Alberto del Rio versus Johnny Mundo
Fenix vs Sexy Star vs Aerostar vs Big Ryck vs Jack Evans vs King Cuerno vs Bengala for the Gift of the Gods
Pentagon Jr. vs Vampiro in a Cero Miedo match
Texano Jr. versus Blue Demon Jr.
(they also taped a battle royal; the commercial for next week indicated it’ll air.)

thoughts

Hernandez takes a shot back at the internet

Cage dropped down a little bit after his really big start. Most of that has come on the two losses to the Mack. This win, and how it came about, should raise him right back up and maybe bring Mack with him. Both guys looked outstanding, destroying each other and any door that happened to be in the way. The beer bash was hilarious and the cinderblock finish looked brutal, and this was a really good start to UltimaLucha.

LU is not most wrestling promotions, so this may be a vast coincidence, but the original story of LU letting Hernandez amicable leaving the promotion after season one made complete sense. Hernandez had a title program, lost to a midcard, and really didn’t have any direction left for him in Season 2. This didn’t have to be it, but it wouldn’t cause any problems if it was it. But then everything had to get messed up.

It’s pretty cruel the match where Angelico, Son of Havoc and Ivelisse won the trios titles also may have ended their reign. Ivelisse still hadn’t gained any mobility back at this point – in real time, she just starting wrestling again this past week – and even limping over to face off against Catrina look like immense struggle. The tornado rules allowed the Angelico dive to happen organically, but it also made this match a harder to take seriously competitive. (The numbers didn’t feel as overwhelming in the ladder match, for whatever reason. It felt like it hard more form to it.)

Hernandez had a really bad day

The Disciples sharp new masks looked great. Striker really emphasized the power of the stone, telling us how Catrina raising the stone raised them up, and Catrina dropping the stone made them drop. He said all this, but we mostly just saw Catrina during it. I don’t mind looking at Catrina, but it was very odd we didn’t see the Disciples actually doing those things (which seemed to be actually happening, but off camera.) I do enjoy the stone as a punching people device.

The strap match is now obviously the end for Hernandez, but it didn’t seem as clear as a ending for him as I had pictured. He still got to look strong, he still got to escape Drago’s cradle, he could’ve come back pointing out he had the numbers way against him (and maybe that inspires him to start a trio or something.) It still does work as an end, and it worked as the match. The lumberjacks did not hold back at all, didn’t seem nervous, and appeared totally dedicated to their job of strapping Hernandez just as hard as they possible could. I don’t know if this match was Hernandez’s idea or someone else’s idea, but Hernandez seemed to pretty much regret the idea after just the first time out. It was some good relief in the match and it set up Drago’s comeback well. I don’t think that match works nearly as well without the lumberjacks out there and maybe that’s a first time ever thing for a lumberjack strap match.

Progression, even sometimes confusing progression, is a welcome sight. I’m not sure who the white hoodie man is, but I’m guessing he’ll end up being the new Dragon Azteca by the time next week is up. Saying the Cueto’s were involved in underground fighting actually weirdly grounds Matanza and this whole storyline more to reality (or at least comic back reality?) more than it has in the past. That’s a good thing. They moved the story far enough along that it feels like they get a good conclusion out of it, though I also suspect it’s something intended to carry into season 2.

Hernandez has to get out of this temple!

Lucha Underground 1×37: PenUltimaLucha

Prince Puma

matches

Texano Jr. defeated Johnny Mundo (5:50, DQ when the Crew ran in, GOOD)
The Mack defeated Cage (0:42, corner sunset flip, OK)
Fenix regained his Aztec Medallion (OK)

  • Ricky Mandell eliminated (0:42, thrown by Famous B)
  • Argenis eliminated (0:53, thrown by Famous B)
  • Killshot eliminated (1:50, shoved off the top by DelAvar Daivari)
  • Vincenzo Massaro eliminated (2:34, stunner by DelAvar Daivari)
  • Super Fly eliminated (2:47, monkey flip by Mascarita Sagrada)
  • Mascarita Sagrada eliminated (2:47, self elimination)
  • Famous B eliminated (3:30, slid out by DelAvar Daivari & Marty Martinez)
  • DelAvar Daivari eliminated (4:01, by Fenix)
  • Fenix pinned Marty Martinez (“huracanrana” 7:09)

17 gifs from the show

developments

Famous B wrecking people

The mystery of the medallions was finally explained on this show. Dario Cueto explained the seven medallion holders would fight at Ultima Lucha for a new belt, the Gift of the Gods. The holder of the belt can challenge for the Lucha Underground championship at any time, though they must inform Dario to give him at least a week to promote it. (“No cash-ins.”) The belt can be defended and the title shot can change hands. The medallions come back off the belt once it’s used, and begin being handed out again to repeat the process.

Six luchadors stepped in to attach their medallions to the belt. (Magnets!) Jack Evans, Aerostar, King Cuerno, Sexy Star, Bengala and Big Ryck all placed their medallions on the belt. Ryck was given his Medallion earlier in the show, as part of Dario trying to patch up their relationship. (Big Ryck also took some money.) Fenix was not there, with Dario happily noting Fenix had been destroyed by Mil Muertes.

Dario announced a battle royal (with the final two going to pinfall/submission) to determine the new holder of the Medallion. Fenix came out before Dario went any farther. He did not get the Medallion back, but did get placed in the battle royal – which he won, against some of the lower ranked LU competitors. No one quite explained why Fenix was late.

Dario had a busy night. He explained Ultima Lucha would in fact begin next week. (The August 5th show remains two hours; they’re expanding it.) Cage versus the Mack will be added to that show in falls count anywhere match, after Mack’s flash pin over Cage led to them brawling around the arena and laying out security. Dario promised to put any stray item he had laying around at ringside so they could use it too.

the CGI on this show is so life like

That wasn’t all for Dario: he informed Hernandez that the Lucha Underground fans on Twitter hated him. Hernandez wasn’t concerned until Dario decided to let those fans participate. Next week’s match will be a lumberjack strap match with the fans as lumberjacks (“Believer’s Backlash”.) Hernandez main concern was Dario having good insurance, suggested he wouldn’t be afraid to fight back.

The opener of the show was a competitive match between Texano & Johnny Mundo. Texano looks to have a chance to win until Mr. Cisco and Cortez Castro ran into attack him. Alberto made a surprising save, wanting to get after Alberto himself. Alberto and Texano were left alone in the wrong and had a testy staring contest before Alberto left.

The show was to end with a Prince Puma promo. Of course, that didn’t happen – Catrina and Mil Muertes interrupted before Puma said one word. They were the distraction to a Disciples of Death attack, but Puma fought them out and challenged Muertes to take him on right now. Muertes did, but Puma also took him out and landed the 630 senton to end the show. Striker pushed the idea of Konnan not being around; it’s unclear if he’ll be back for the title match.

Ultima Lucha Card (07/29 & 08/05)

Fenix launches himself into a tope con giro
  1. Prince Puma (c) versus Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground championship
  2. Aerostar vs Jack Evans vs Bengala vs Big Ryck vs Sexy Star vs Fenix vs King Cuerno for the Gift of the Gods championship
  3. Johnny Mundo versus Alberto el Patron
  4. Angelico, Son of Havoc and Ivelisse (c) versus the Disciples of Death for the Lucha Underground Trios championship
  5. Vampiro versus Pentagon Jr. in a Cero Miedo match
  6. Hernandez versus Drago in a Believer’s Backlash match
  7. Blue Demon Jr. versus Texano
  8. the Mack versus Cage in a falls count anywhere match

The Mack/Cage was explicitly said to be taking place next week. They were less clear on the other ones, but they’re listed in the preview for next week. It probably will not be announced, but there will also be a ‘everyone who doesn’t have a match’ battle royal along the way.

thoughts

springboard kick on target

If the last one was kind of simple, this one was extremely busy. New belt, new match, new stipulation, new extra hour to the finale. There were matches too. Texano/Mundo was really fun while it lasted and something I’d enjoy seeing again down the road. They mixed well together, with Texano looking the best he’s been as a face and Mundo’s rudo antics working. They gave the Alberto/Texano staredown a moment to make sure everyone saw, and understood they weren’t still friends, which was nice. It’s like them going over the UltimaLucha card one more time, just giving time to make sure everyone knew what’s going and what’s coming up.

The battle royal had some good moments and some not as good. We got to see the alternate universe where Famous B was one of the top guys in the promotion, and it was not bad. It’s surprising to see Marty get the spotlight at the end instead Killshot or Daivari. It didn’t quite work out with the finish at the end (which looked like it was originally something much more complex, and even the cover up cradle they did should’ve been retried.)

Big Ryck getting a medallion like he did felt like they just ran out of time. Fenix got a big win after his long absence seemingly just to re-establish him as an important figure after his long absence. Big Ryck hasn’t been gone, but – as Dario noted – he hasn’t been a big figure since those early episodes. Ryck’s just been winning a lot of matches for Dario’s opponents.

I didn’t like doing the Prince Puma promo fakeout. It acknowledges how weird it is that he never talks, which doesn’t seem like something they’re going to ever address. They needed an excuse to do the fight and didn’t want to do the faceoff, but it’s a bait and switch. (And since the Mack/Cage match was a bit of a nonmatch, it was the second one on the show where they also had a DQ.)

Vinny made the GIFs!

It’s probably not as much an issue for most people, but I hope there’s an explanation of why Fenix was late and had to be in the battle royal (besides “they wanted to do a battle royal”.) That seems like too inexplicable to be ignored, and they usually go somewhere with those sorts of things.

The Mack/Cage post match brawl was good, but probably suffers a little bit by having the bad timing to come a couple days after Undertaker & Brock did a similar deal. (I think there’s a good chance Cage & Mack have a better match.)

The whole idea of the Aztec Medallions/Gift of the Gods title is interesting and opens up possibilities for the future. There are very clearly defined ways to get a title shot in Lucha Underground, and this opens up a new one without needing Puma to get beat or laid out to do so.

The fight at the end was fun. Mil Muertes is the killer, but the one big change they’ve made with Mil v2.0 is Catrina’s more obviously the one running the show. She’s not his valet, he’s her weapon.

Lucha Underground 1×36: The Beginning of the End

Marty es loco

matches

Bengala b DelAvar Daivari (rolling german suplex, 3:31, OK) for the fourth Aztec Medallion
King Cuerno b Killshot (suspended Dragon sleeper, 6:07, OK) for the fifth Aztec Medallion
Sexy Star b Super Fly (La Mistica, 0:32, OK) for the sixth Aztec Medallion
Sexy Star b Marty Martinez (La Mistica, 2:20, OK) to retain the sixth Aztec Medallion

all the gifs from the show can be found here

developments

arrow from hell

Six Medallions have been given out: Fenix, Jack Evans, Aerostar, Bengala, King Cuerno, Sexy Star. One remains.

Sexy caught Super Fly in the submission super quick and out of nowhere. Super Fly immediately disappeared to nowhere. Marty stormed out, grabbing the microphone away from a startled Melissa and the medallion away from Sexy Star. Marty explained the medallion should belong to him, because it was a moth medallion, a symbol of his tribe. (The Moth Tribe.) Sexy beat him too in a longer match.

Pentagon doesn’t want medallions. he wants Vampiro. Vampiro responded, again trying ot say he was past all of this. Pentagon appeared to taunt “Ian”, who said Ian wouldn’t wrestle him – but Vampiro would. Vampiro surprised Pentagon with a chokeslam to accept the match.

Delavar Daivari again asked for Big Ryck’s help, and it back fired again.

The main event was supposed to be a one on one face off between Prince Puma and Mil Muertes, but Catrina doen’t respect the laws of Cueto or physics. She signaled the Disciples to help Muerte attack Puma. Konnan made the save with his cane, but Muertes put him down. Konnan was stuffed in a coffin (which still had a dent in it) and Muertes gave Puma the flatliner to end the show.

Current Card for Ultima Lucha

I don’t even know what this is.
  • Alberto el Patron vs Johnny Mundo
  • Texano Jr. vs Blue Demon Jr.
  • Angelico & Ivelisse & Son of Havoc vs Disciples of Death for the Trios Championship
  • Drago vs Hernandez
  • Vamprio vs Pentagon Jr.
  • Prince Puma (c) vs Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground championship

(Obviously, we’re still missing something with the Medallions.)

thoughts

keep your eyes on the tiger

Nothing bad on this show (unless you’re a Super Fly fan), but this also might be one you can skip by and just watch a minute recap of the show. Things happened, but mostly in checklist fashion. There wasn’t a lot of depth or a great match, but pieces being moved around the chessman to put everyone in their place for the final episodes.

The Pentagon Jr./Vampiro was the most satisfying moment of the show. It was definitely edited from what had occurred, but the intensity still came thru. (The Pentagon/Dario backstage skit was pretty great too.) Puma/Muertes was a typical build up angle for a title match. None of the four matches were anything you need to see. It was good to see Cuerno in action but his match with Killshot never clicked for me. Bengala is a little better than a random mask now, but really needs some sort of background feature. Sexy Star won some matches, that was fine.

the other story

don’t touch Catrina

Hernandez and TNA probably should’ve read his LU contract a bit closer. PWInsider says Hernandez is currently prohibited from appearing in TNA in any form and the weeks worth of segments already taped with Hernandez have to be cut out, because he’s actually still under exclusive LU contract. The story (which appears to be informed mostly by the TNA side) claims TNA offered LU a payment to get Hernandez out of his contract, but LU said no. That’s weird, but pales in comparison to TNA not checking to make sure Hernandez was clear to work with them before putting him on TV for months. TNA probably didn’t go directly to LU as to surprise them about the jump, but that seems to have backfired horribly.

I’d guess this would go all away if the worst happened and Lucha Underground was turned down for a second season and ceased to be. The worst situation for Hernandez is for the show to to be in limbo, still holding out hope for being renewed for the next few months even as it doesn’t actually get turned down. This is a reminder that it’s also the worst situation for everyone else on the show.

Lucha Underground 1×35: Fuel to the Fire

the Mack should be the new Surfer Sting – my proof

matches

The Mack beat Cage (4:00, cradle, GOOD)
Mil Muertes beat Son of Havoc (7:08, flatliner, GOOD)
Johnny Mundo [O], Hernandez, Jack Evans, Super Fly beat Alberto el Patron, Aerostar, Sexy Star [X], Drago (9:25, tights pull cradle, GREAT)

all the gifs from the show

developments

Ivelisse had my reaction

The big story of the show was not in any matches, but some segments which surrounded them. The show opened with Pentagon back at the dojo from his personality vignette, asking his (off screen, voice modulated) mentor what he should do next. The mentor encouraged Pentagon, and Pentagon decided his next sacrifice must be Ian Hodgkinson. A sit down interview with Ian – Vampiro to you and me – and Pentagon aired later on. Vamp apologized for getting involved, but Pentagon didn’t seem so interested in that or in naming him mentor. Pentagon instead called Vampiro a coward for backing down and not fighting him, even though Vampiro was once like Pentagon. Vampiro insisted he’s no longer that man, that those days were in his past, but Pentagon insisted Vampiro was just fearful while Pentagon had no fear. Pentagon got in Vampiro’s face before storming off.

As the show was wrapping up, Pentagon came thru the crowd behind the announcers and laid out Vampiro with a kick. Pentagon left, and returned with a can marked Gasoline, dumping the liquid all over Vampiro. Pentagon teased setting Vampiro on fire, but instead warned Vampiro that he had only one more week to accept the challenge, or this would await him. The show ended with Pentagon snuffing the flame.

The rest of the show was not as crazy intense, but issues continue to progress towards Lucha Underground. Catrina confronted Son of Havoc backstage to warn/taunt him about Mil Muertes and was about to lick him when Ivelisse interrupted. Ivelisse threatened Catrina and swung, the lights went out, Catrina disappeared, and Son of Havoc ended up on top of Ivelisse right as Angelico walked in. Angelico asked if they were back together. They are most definitely not. The dysfunctional trios champions, with Ivelisse back on crutches, supported Havoc during his match. Havoc fought Mil at least as well as Drago and Fenix have in recent weeks, but that’s still a losing effort. Catrina made a move on Angelico, which again caused Ivelisse to get involved. Angelico watched that confrontation, and not the Disciples of Death sneaking up on him. That trio laid out Angelico while Catrina got the better of Ivelisse. Son of Havoc made the save for his partners with a big dive, but Mil Muertes finished him when Havoc returned to the ring.

how is this even possible?

The main event featured four sets of rivals – Alberto/Johnny, Sexy Star/Super Fly, Aerostar/Jack and Drago/Hernandez – with that last one being officially added to Ultima Lucha. It also featured a whole lot of action in the main event, with Aerostar looking impressive early, getting stuck in the ring by the rudos for a long stretch, and then making the tag to his team. Johnny ran from Alberto at almost every chance, though he did break up Alberto’s armbar on Jack with a Fin de Mundo. Johnny also won by rolling thru a Sexy Star cradle and pinning her with a tights pull, so it was a(nother) good day to be Johnny Mundo.

Texano didn’t wrestle on the show, but did appear before the live crowd to explain his actions from last week. In a mostly English language promo, Texano explained he wasn’t a good guy, but he was definitely a Mexican. Texano says he couldn’t be trusted – even by his own brother – but he was loyal to the Mexican people, and he was offended by how Chavo Guerrero disrespected the Mexican wrestlers (even if he still didn’t like them.) Texano challenged Chavo to fight, saying that even if Chavo had one broken leg, he wanted to break the other. Texano got the Crew instead, and Demon making the save. Cisco strangely threw in a chair to Demon, who smacked Texano in the head. The three beat up Texano, as the announcers were generally baffled about what had happened. Striker “speculated” that Demon was angry Texano trying to take his place as representing Mexico and fighting Chavo, though both announcers repeatedly acknowledged this was a strange turn of events. Demon challenged Texano to a match for Ultima Lucha.

Angelico as Shaggy from Scooby Doo

To start the show, the Mack/Cage battle was closer than it has been in the past, with Mack having his best singles outing so far. Mack caught Cage with an inside cradle with all of Mack’s weight on top for the surprise win.

A Prince Puma/Mil Muertes face to face confrontation was advertised for next week.

Ultima Lucha lineup So Far

Aerostar is the best
  • Alberto el Patron vs Johnny Mundo
  • Prince Puma (c) vs Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground Championship
  • Drago vs Hernandez

Demon/Texano was challenged for, but not officially announced. You don’t need 20/20 vision to figure out some other matches coming, but we’ll wait for the show to catch up..

thoughts

One of the better episodes of television they’ve done. There are shows with better matches than the main event and this one didn’t have any payoff like the trios tournament final, but this was so strong as far as building towards an upcoming big show while delivering in every match and skit. I think some of – probably most of us? – thought Pentagon being used to give Sexy Star a rivalry win was not a great use of Pentagon. No one was thinking about Pentagon’s win/loss record against Sexy Star at the end of the show, they were thinking Pentagon is the greatest/scariest man alive. The “old veteran pulled out of retirement to fight one last time” storyline is one of the easiest storylines to do right, and Lucha Underground has done it perfectly. The main event that preceded it gave you a lot of match, and left you wanting to see Alberto finally get his hands on Johnny Mundo. Mil Muertes continues to be an unbeatable machine, on a different level than anyone he faces. He could not look any stronger going into the title match.

The Jack Evans physics engine

The one iffy moment of the show was the Texano segment. The original plan appeared to be Chavo versus Texano (or some variation with Demon involved) at Ultima Lucha, but Chavo really did get hurt last week and they did not believe Chavo was going to be back in time for the show. This also took place closer to the finale than it appears – they’re a little out of order at the moment – which meant everyone who was going to mean something was already penciled in for an Ultima Lucha match and there wasn’t time to make someone new. I’m not sure, haven’t been told, but looking at the playing board, the best options were either turning Demon, or bringing back the Texano/DelAvar feud. We’d seen the latter, might as well try the former.

The announcers calling out the sudden and hard to understand change of perspective of Demon helped the segment (much better than pretending nothing strange was happening), but this still came across so fast and abrupt that it was hard to really care. The whole segment was done as well as it could be given what that they had to get across – Texano did much better in his promo than I would’ve expected, Demon threw himself into the heel character – it was just a big reversal in a short time. The Demon/Chavo vignette last week was a good start to this direction, but there really needed to be 2/3 weeks more of those to prepare it better.

tough crowd!

Cage & Mack probably gets overlooked from everything that happened after, but it was a really good match that seemed a lot longer than I have it timed. It was a nice mix with everything else; you can guess that things probably aren’t done between the two, but there wasn’t much you had to absorb and retain. There was a lot going on, adding some simple makes it easier to follow.

This was a nice one. I’m not sure how much it’d mean to people who don’t follow the show, because it’s a lot of building on what’s happened over the last month or more, but it was a great one for people who’ve been watching all along.

Lucha Underground 1×34: Gold and Guerreros

leg to the face

matches

Texano Jr. beats Delavar Davari (6:09, powerbomb)
Hernandez DQ Drago (6:57, DQ for belt choke)
Alberto submit Marty (0:54, Destiny armbar)
Prince Puma pinned Chavo Guerrero (4:54, 630 senton)

All the gifs from the show are here.

developments

The show was built around Chavo’s title challenge. He asked for it from Dario earlier in the night. Dario offered Chavo anything he wanted in appreciation for his earlier help, and Chavo really took Dario up on it: no DQ, Crew at ringside, and Puma would lose the title if Konnan interfered in anyway. Catrina and Mil Muertes confronted both luchadors, threatening to beat the winner at Ultima Lucha. Prince Puma seemed a little more disturbed than Chavo, but Konnan warned Puma not to let Catrina play mind games. Konnan was busy himself, recruiting an off screen character to get revenge on Chavo on behalf of Mexico and Blue Demon.

It all built to a big main event, but it didn’t turn out to be much of one. Chavo pulled his hamstring bending over for Puma’s roll over backdrop escape. He was pretty much incapable of going on, so the Crew jumped in and did spots with Puma for about 90 seconds before laying Puma out for the frog splash. Chavo very slowly climbed the ropes, while Konnan signaled for help – which turned out to beTexano, laying out all therudos and allowing Puma to get in his 630senton.Texano declared HE wa Mexico.

Heranndez dropping Draog easily

The show ended with Chavo in the locker room, still in pain. Blue Demon confronted him, mostly to mock Chavo’s failure while promising not to attack an injured man. Chavo took the moment to get in Demon’s head, saying Texano was the real Mexico rep and Blue Demon was a washed up guy who lived in Miami. Demon did not take this well.

Texano had a busy show, seemingly ending his feud with Davari via clean win. Texano charged Davari, but Davari got some help from Big Ryck in fighting back. Ryck again didn’t look totally thrilled with Davari ordering him around. A Ryck lasso punch missed, Texano superkicked him off the apron, then beat Davari with the powerbomb.

Hernandez and Drago met, following up on the recent fights. This one ended as an echo of the last, with Hernandez taking a belt from a fan, strapping Drago with it, then choking him out to get DQed. Hernandez declared dragon’s weren’t real and fans are dumb for cheering for him.

to be fair, it didn’t seem like he was using the belt right

Alberto quickly squashed Marty the Moth. Striker speculated that Dario is trying to run Marty off by feeding him to the top guys. Alberto was aggressive in the match, then declared Mundo had woken up his evil side. Alberto said he’d damage Mundo’s face much like Mundo tried to do him by putting him thru the glass.

Ultima Lucha Card so far

  • Prince Puma (c) vs Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground championship
  • Johnny Mundo vs Alberto el Patron

thoughts

There’s been better shows. There was nothing bad on the show, but there wasn’t anything great either. There’s a little bit of things being played out a slower to peak on Ultima Lucha, and obviously the main event had some really bad luck.

Texano/Davairi was the best match of their feud, but also hopefully the last. Announcing have a lot of words to pound home Texano as the working man’s hero. I’s still such a leap since how he was introduced with nothing other than the necessities of the plot to explain it. They’re playing the Ryck/Davari issues much quieter.

seventh defense for Puma

Drago/Hernandez didn’t seem to have much chemistry. Drago probably should’ve been more ticked off than Texano, given how much more Hernandez has cost him, but it felt just like another Hernandez match.

Alberto/Marty was a really good squash, and Alberto’s promo was strong.

Chavo/Puma didn’t seem like a thrilling idea, but it really never had a chance. They edited so it just kept going, and the announcers tried to ignore the injury for the most part. (The Demon/Chavo skit was clearly an after the fact addition.) Just a bad fluke.

Next week’s episode looks much better.

Lucha Underground 1×33: Death vs. the Dragon

going out of the ring not nearly as hard as catching this dive

matches

Super Fly defeated Sexy Star (6:34, double powerbomb) [ok]
Aerostar [O] defeated Cage, Marty Martinez [X], the Mack (9:04, springboard splash) [good]
Mil Muertes defeated Drago (8:51, flatliner), will get the title shot at Ultima Lucha

Many more GIF with bad aspect ratios are available here.

developments

Alberto el Patron versus Johnny Mundo was announced for Ultima Lucha. Neither man (nor Dario) appeared on the show, though they did show clips to explain why they were doing this match.

greo roman triple jump tope con giro

Super Fly had a sit down interview with Vampiro, which turned out to be most testy one of those yet. Super Fly was unapologetic about costing Sexy Star the match with Pentagon Jr., feeling he took much more from him by taking his mask. Super Fly specifically called out Vampiro for getting involved and saving Sexy from Pentagon’s attack. Super Fly was wearing a pad on his injured arm, but Sexy Star didn’t (or couldn’t) take advantage. Super Fly survived Sexy Star’s casita – the move which had caused him his mask – and beat her cleanly with the double powerbomb in an event match. Super Fly continued to attack Sexy after the match.

Pentagon too was angry about Vampiro interfering in his attack on Sexy Star. Pentagon was supposed to be in a five way for an Aztec Medallion, but instead ripped the microphone away from a scared Melissa Santos, declared his mentor wouldn’t be impressed by a medallion, and demanded retribution from the man who cost him his greatest sacrifice. Pentagon challenged Vampiro and got in his face. Vampiro again did the slow tease towards fighting, with a referee getting in the way this time. Pentagon Jr. was sent to the back.

The match continued on as a four way. Mack and Cage fought early and often,. Marty surprisingly held his own, but lost to Aerostar. Aerostar joins Jack Evans and Fenix as medallion holders.

things just got painful

Angelico, Son of Havoc and Ivelisse were training and arguing when Catrina confronted them. She teased licking Ivelisse, and made it clear the trios champions were in her sights. The Disciples of Death materialized behind the champs, knocking them out and disappearing again.

Prior to the main event, Hernandez rushed the ring and beat up Drago with a belt. It seemed a bit random, but Striker instantly knew Hernandez was angry about Drago winning the title shot match last week instead of him. Of course, Hernandez had caught Drago his last title match.

Drago was hurt at the start of the match, but didn’t seem a bit bothered by that attack as the match went on. It might have been because Mil was hurting him in other ways. Drago was competitive, though this tended towards Mil’s destruction of Fenix in their last match. Not on as big a scale, but still something like 75/25 for Mil. Mil escaped the Dragon’s Lair cradle, and beat Drago with the Flatliner for the clean win. Prince Puma walked out as if to face off with Mil much the same way he had with Drago, but Konnan stopped his protege from actually getting close to the ring.

Also, in another universe elsewhere on the dial, Hernandez returned to TNA.

Ultima Lucha lineup so far

pretty large frog

in an effort to avoid unconscious spoilers, I’m only listing official matches

  • Prince Puma (c) vs Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground championship
  • Johnny Mundo versus Alberto el Patron

thoughts

A solid show overall. There was some good matches and some guys who are lesser played getting some focus.

Sexy Star/Super Fly was better than Sexy Star/Pentagon Jr., maybe because they were asking less out of it. Sexy’s dive to the floor looked really shake and might have shook up Super Fly. Super Fly was solid in the match and in the prematch interview, though he still comes off a supporting character in other people’s storylines and not one with a specific personality of his own. It’s strange to see Sexy Star beat Pentagon Jr. once and pretty much a second time and then have her lose to Super Fly. Maybe it points to a rethinking of the character between tapings, though the post match attack made it clear this wasn’t supposed to be it for them.

Vampiro may not be a personal favorite, but it’s impossible to miss deny how the place goes bonkers every time he teases fighting Pentagon Jr. It really comes thru on the show.  The fans still love Pentagon Jr., they just really want to see Vampiro and they’re doing a great job of teasing it happening.

Drago nearly taken flight

Four way was exciting fun. Cage & Mack were great throwing around and destroying each other. Marty worked surprisingly well with Aerostar (or they edited it surprisingly well) and Aerostar’s win was done in a way where it made sense. It was strange to see Marty, previously treated like a goofball fan, battling even with a guy who was destroying everyone when he debuted in the promotion. There really needs to be a “Marty’s kind of an idiot, but he’s also has a background of a [whatever]” explainer to give him some credibility, because it just feels like a big character leap otherwise.

As alluded to prior, they switched around the episode order this month. (Not the last time it’s happening, either.) Originally, Drago lost his title shot one week after getting it. Moving All Night Long to the week in makes it less a sudden change from Drago’s big moment to Drago being eaten up by Mil Muertes. Drago wasn’t squashed, but he was sacrificed a bit to continue Mil’s monster build for the finale. They did such a great job of building Drago up as a star two weeks ago that it felt too soon for him not to be one again. Match was good, but I just never really believed Drago was going to win, even when he used his trademark cradle. Mil kind of let him get pulled in by the crowd chants a bit here – there was a table spot for no reason but people chanting for a table for no reason – and it could’ve used Drago putting up more of a fight. In some ways, the four way was better because it didn’t feel like an inevitable (and a little sad) conclusion. Nice change of pace by having the run-in happen prior to the match for once.

thing that’s not about this episode, but about the show

the end

Hernandez showing up in TNA is not itself a hugely meaningful event. The WON mentions Hernandez would’ve had to be let go from Lucha Underground to be working the All Elite shows, and figures it must be the same for the TNA ones. (The WON says LU/AAA guys can’t work All Elite, which would have to be a new rule since Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero have been on All Elite shows for months.) I’ll avoid spoilers and just say his character can leave without disrupting anything after the finale. But Hernandez getting out of his deal is another data point, just like Ricochet returning to Dragon Gate (being positioned as a short term deal) is another data point.

The real hugely meaningful deal is it’s June 24, there are only six more episodes of this TV show left, and still no one’s come and said the show is not officially renewed. It’s been two months since the last taping, two months of people saying the news of renewal was really close, and two months of nothing publicly happening. (This seems like a particular problem for AAA, who’s equally overdue on announcing anything about TripleMania and have said nothing about that as well.) I can wait for news about the renewal to happen, but people who are relying on wrestling (or TV) to get paid can’t. A big decision’s got to be made soon, or other people will continue making their own little decisions.

Lucha Underground 1×32: All Night Long

matches

Prince Puma (c) beat Johnny Mundo [5-4] in an “All Night Long” Iron Man match (38:33)
– Puma casadora cradle (5:19)

Puma 1, Mundo 0
  • Mundo back bridge cradle w/ropes (9:20)
Puma 1, Mundo 1
  • Mundo pinfall after crowbar to the head (13:58)
Puma 1, Mundo 2
  • Mundo Moonlight Drive (14:31)
Puma 1, Mundo 3
  • Mundo Fin de Mundo (15:28)
Puma 1, Mundo 4
  • Prince Puma pinfall after spearing Mundo off the stage thru four tables (28:23)
Puma 2, Mundo 4
  • Prince Puma spinning Michinoku Driver (30:06)
Puma 3, Mundo 4
  • Prince Puma springboard 450 splash (34:07)
Puma 4, Mundo 4
  • Prince Puma 630 senton (38:26)
Puma 5, Mundo 4

other gifs can be found here

developments

Not much! They were completely sincere about it being a one match show. There were no other matches, there were no vignettes, there were no trips to Dario. Dario wasn’t seen, but it was suggested he would get involved should this end in a tie.

It did not, though it might have if a certain San Luis Potosi native kept talking. Johnny Mundo attempted to run out the clock by running away from Puma. Alberto el Patron returned to cut off Mundo and beat him from one side of the building to the other (literally) and threw him back in to set up Puma’s tying pinfall. Alberto declared he was not done with Mundo and coming after Puma next. Alberto left the two with four minutes left. Mundo had a couple close near falls, but Puma landed his 630 senton for a pin with about 7 seconds left, and neither guy was able to move as time ran out.

Puma got the first pinfall, but Mundo built a big early lead after smacking Puma with a crowbar (pulled from under the win) and hitting big moves on Puma as Puma was unable to recover. The long gap between pinfalls was spent in the aisle, in the bleachers, and even up on the band’s stand – with Puma spearing Mundo off onto four tables which had been set up earlier. Puma fared slightly better on the fall, and was eventually able to drag Mundo back to the ring, where he got the second and third pinfall. Mundo ran, Alberto came in, and you’ve already read the rest.

Puma defends the title next at Ultima Lucha against the winner of next week’s Drago versus Mil Muertes match.

thoughts

This was a really good match, among the best in the history of the show. I didn’t find it one of the best – Aztec Warfare had more story, Grave Consequences felt more epic – but this was pretty enjoyable. The difficulty was needing to stretch it for 42 minutes mean they had a slower first ~18 minutes than you’d expect out of them (when most of the matches are 17 minutes themselves.) An Iron Man match is more often seen on PPV, and it’s tougher to stay with when there are commercials breaking up the action every few minutes. These commercials seemed weighed more heavily towards the first half of the show, which allowed the big unbroken stretch at the end but further exacerbated the slower than normal start. I think this match is going to feel stronger when seen unbroken (by which I mean DVR or uVideos and definitely not some other source.)

The big spots were really good. The crowbar spot looked brutal. The crowd fighting was as chaotic as usual. The fall thru four tables should be part of every Season 1 recap package. Alberto brought the rage (and it was interesting that even though Mundo turned, Puma and Mundo still had a level of respect – at least to start.) The high points of the match itself were laid out nicely, there was just a lot of match to lay them out over.

One positive that didn’t pop up to me until writing the recap: plenty of matches on Lucha Underground have ended by pinfall without someone hitting their finish. There are a lot of moves that can ‘work’ for 3. A WWE Iron Man feels weird when ‘other’ moves can are suddenly collecting pinfalls, but it felt completely normal for both guys to be using other spots to win.

Matt Striker has gotten criticism for his lack of intensity in critical situations. That was not a problem here, as he did well getting over the urgency of the last few minutes of the match. Even his compulsion to drop references worked out well here, putting over the near falls as past championship winners.

Lucha Underground 1×31: The Desolation of Drago

Drago’s got new wings

the matches

Chavo Guerrero Jr. b Blue Demon in a no disqualification match (3:04, frog splash)
The Disciples of Death b Pimpinela Escarlata [X], Mascarita Sagrada, Bengala (6:55, press into a face first powerbomb)
Drago b Cuerno [X], Hernadnez, Cage, earning a shot at the Lucha Underground Championship on Ultima Lucha (10:34, mist->Dragon’s Tail cradle)
Drago would’ve had to give up his mask and remained banned if he had lost.

developments

Lots of things progressing at once. The big news was the announcement of Ultima Lucha, a yearly show, to take place eight weeks from now. (That’s August 5.) The main event of Ultima Lucha will be a heavyweight title match. Dario wanted someone who had come close to winning but failed to get another shot, so he had invitational #1 contenders match for all those who had lost to Prince Puma. That includes Cage (episode 14 & 22), Cuerno (episode 24), Hernandez (episode 31) and Fenix (episode 12), only Dario noted Mil Muertes put Fenix in “an early grave” and so it’d just be the other three.

Or not, as Drago (with a new look) was lurking around the arena building prior to the show and stormed in after the announcement. He confronted Dario, pointing out that he had said anyone who had faced Puma and lost could be in the match, and he had done that himself (episode 27). Dario gave credit to Drago for finding the loophole and made a deal: Drago’s in the match and gets the title shot (and unbanned) if he wins. Drago’s back to being banned if he loses, and also must unmask. Drago accepted with little hesitation.

the end (nice pose)

Drago was the underdog in the four way match, the smallest guy in a long four way single elimination match. Drago also old rival Cuerno to deal with, as well Hernandez, who cost him the Puma match. Cuerno and Cage worked together a lot during the match, but always had a tension as if they wanted to figure out which one of them was better. They never quite got a chance to come to blows without the others interrupting. Killshot watched the second half of the match from the balcony, with Cuerno making the bow shot motion in his direction before his Flecha del Infierno dive. The dive caught mostly Cage, with Hernandez bailing. Drago gave Hernandez a sunset flip powerbomb off the apron, then finished things with Cuerno by first blowing mist in his eyes and then wrapping him up with the Dragon’s Tail cradle. Drago earned the shot for eight weeks from now and faced off with Prince Puma to end the show.

That was a little presumptuous: Prince Puma may not be the champion in eight weeks. He didn’t appear to know it, but Puma’s got a title challenger next week: Johnny Mundo. Mundo questioned Dario about why he wasn’t in the #1 contenders match, and Dario explained it was because Dario wanted Mundo to be champion at Ultima Lucha. The whole thing with the key stealing and black eye was old news to Dario – “I look good in sunglasses” – and he’s now on Team Johnny. Johnny putting Alberto thru Dario’s window opened up Dario’s eyes, and Dario wants to see Mundo with the title. Dario also had a new first time ever idea: next week’s show will have only one match, Johnny vs Puma, and the person who can get the most falls by the end of the hour will be the champion. (So, an Iron Man match.) Johnny was OK with this.

That wasn’t the end of the title picture complications. Dario observed Drago’s win from his office, but was interrupted by an aggrieved Catrina. She demanded to know why Mil Muertes hadn’t been included in the match. Dario pleaded he didn’t think Muertes was interested. Catrina, using Dario’s key necklace chain to choke out Cueto, declared that everyone – mortal & inmortal – wants that title. Dario, looking to make it right before he was made unconscious, quickly give Mil a title shot for two weeks from now. Catrina relented, declaring Mil Muertes would win – he’s the strongest, even stronger than Dario’s monster. Catrina vanished, leaving Dario shocked about her magic powers and her knowledge of Matanza.)

(to summarize

06/17 (ep 32, All Night Long): Johnny Mundo vs Prince Puma, iron man match for the Lucha Underground Championship
06/24 (ep 33, ?): Drago vs Mil Muertes for the title shot at Ultma Lucha
08/05 (ep 39, Ultima Lucha): champion vs challenger
)

welcome Bengala

The heavyweight belt might not be Cartina’s only attempt at winning gold. Her Disciples of Death trio – and they appear to be HER Disciples, not Mil’s – won their debut match over the trio of Pimpinela Escarlata, Mascarita Sagrada, and the debuting Bengala. Pimpi and Mascarita were making their returns after being beat up by the crew (way back in ep 17) and Bengala was explained to be a replacement partner for the currently injured Sexy Star. Bengala looked good in his first match, but Pimpinela took the loss. The Disciples – Barrio Negro, Trece, and Sinestro de la Muerte – carry their victim on their hands much like they did with Fenix last week, then flip them over on their face.

The show opening match actually featured the returning Blue Demon Jr. He returned in a suit, and recieved a immediate surprise no disqualification match against Chavo Guerrero Jr., who had Cortez & Cisco frequently interfering on his behalf. Demon had control early, but lost to the numbers. Chavo later checked in on Black Lotus, who was indeed caged across the way from Matanza. Lotus was angry with Chavo for betraying her, though Chavo felt she shouldn’t be surprised.

In a thing I forgot until now: Vampiro apologized for running in last week, but said he had no choice but to save Sexy Star.

recording keeping notes

They changed the episode order! This was the first half of the March 22nd taping. They’re now jumping to the second taping of the April 12 taping. That one was announced as airing in out of order – but meaning it was supposed to air much later, like episode 36. It’s being moved a month up and everything else is being bumped back a week. I don’t think anyone but me and the other geeks who keep track of these things will notice, because it seems pretty seamless. It also makes one thing work a little better, but I’ll explain that down the line.

It also appears the Super Fly/Famous B match taped for this show won’t air. It can’t air next week since that’s all one match and Super Fly has a different match on episode 34. It could always be inserted down the line. If not, I think it’s the first match taped to air that hasn’t aired and wasn’t just retaped. This had enough else going on that it was fine skipping it.

thoughts

don’t get in Cuerno’s sights

Heavy on the setup, with really just one notable match on the show. Demon & Chavo was almost more an angle than a match, but it was a better visual angle than it would’ve been as a match. (It was better than the first match they had.)

The trios match was said to be rough at the tapings. There were definitely some moments where the match seemed to lose the crowd, but it generally came of fine. Doing so much comedy in their debut match was a tough way to introduce the Disciples, but they did beat a team the crowd was into and cared about. Bengala wasn’t especially showcased in his debut, but his dive looked great and he’ll get bigger chances down the line. Striker seemed to be able to match new names with faces (or masks) in this match, but didn’t really explain how to tell them apart to the crowd. They have slightly different styled and colored masks (and one’s wearing a shirt, probably to cover up a tattoo), but nothing that would connect them to their names.

The four way was Good, just missing something more to take it to the level of the better Lucha Underground matches. Maybe having the actual Cage/Cuerno throw down they kept teasing but never really delivered would’ve helped to get that big feel. It was a lot of four way action, lots of brief two man sequences with someone else breaking it up, and not very long one on one matches. It meant their were lots of action, but never a long build to anything. Killshot’s appearance came out of nowhere and just felt like a way to make sure he was seen after being off a few weeks. Drago’s new gear (big wings, better mask, scales) was as if out of a Hollywood movie. I wish the announcers had sold the idea of Super Fly also losing his mask in an impromptu mask match challenge, at least getting some mileage out of that and how that sort of thing has happened before and could happen again to Drago.

The Dario office segments should get special mention. Dario sucking up to Johnny Mundo was the greatest thing ever, and his bit at the end with Catrina was really good. I’ve gone from believing “this show is great, but there’s no way it’ll receive mainstream recognition because it’s pro wrestling” to “like, there’s got to be even some techinical award – costuming or set design or whatever – it can be nominated for so people can be recognized.” That Drago outfit was incredible.

Seven shows, eight hours left – in this season. Dario said Ultima Lucha is an annual event and I’m going to hold him to that.

Drago wins.

Lucha Underground 1×30: Submit to the Master

Jack Evans will not high five you.

matches

Jack Evans beat Argenis for the 2nd Azteca Medallion match (6:07, backslide bridge)
Angelico, Ivelisse, Son of Havoc [O] beat Big Ryck, Cage, Delavar Daivari [X] to retain the Lucha Underground trios championships (7:38, shooting star press]
Pentagon Jr. defeated Sexy Star in a Lucha Underground championship match (9:34, modified tapatia)

all the gifs from the show

developments

not quite last rites for Jack

A busy show for Chavo, who remains only out for his own best interest. He sold Black Lotus out to Dario Cueto at the first chance, in exchange for protection (the remaining members of the Crew) and some other unsaid reward. Chavo and the Crew were eventually able to subdue Lotus in the locker room and take her to Dario, with Dario threatening to put her in a cage across from Matanza. We never found out her ultimate fate on the show. We did find out that Dario Cueto not only knows Dragon Azteca, but knows Dragon Azteca would not ‘dare’ to set foot in the Temple. (He actually did, kidnapping Lotus to kickstart this plot.)

Black Lotus wasn’t alone in having lockeroom fights. Daivari told Big Ryck that he was able to talk Dario into giving a team of his choice a trios title shot tonight. Ryck suggested his cousin the Mack as the third man, but Cage interrupted to nominate himself. Cage & Mack had issues at the end of the 7 way match and fought again here, with Cage getting the better of it and leaving both Mack and a row of lockers laid out. Daivari stopped Ryck from getting involved, but it didn’t look like he really needed to – Ryck seemed willing to let harm come to his family before it came to his money. It was the champions who had drama during the match, with Havoc and Angelico not wanting to tag out and neither wanting to tag the still hobbled Ivelisse. Ivelisse spent a portion of the match sitting in the crowd, angry she wasn’t allowed in or heard. As Daivari ordered Ryck around late (demanding a tag by saying “I pay you, give him to me”), Ivelisse jumped up on the apron to provide a distraction and Texano hit the ring to lasso punch Big Ryck. Angelico & Havoc got their acts together just enough to quickly beat Daivari and keep the titles.

The show was scheduled to lead off with an Argenis versus Jack Evans match, only Dario found a man returning from a broken am and a man who lost in his debut too boring of a matchup for his show. He decided to make it interesting by putting the second of his seven Aztec Medallions on the line. Jack won in a competitive match.

this is how I”m going to imagine all locker room fights going from now on

The main event was a submission match between Pentagon Jr. & Sexy Star. Star seemed to take most of it, despite the announcers pointing out her relative lack of viable submission moves and Vampiro being more uncomfortable with women fighting men (or at least Sexy Star fighting Pentagon Jr.) than in previous match ups. Sexy Star seemed on the cusp of an earned but still surprising victory when Super Fly returned. Super Fly at first signaled he was going to help Sexy against the man who broke his arm, but instead betrayed the woman who took her mask. Super Fly dropped Sexy with a powerbomb, then set her up for Pentagon’s 3 Up 3 Down Driver and a modified tapatia for the win. Pentagon went to break Sexy’s arm, only for Vampiro to rush the ring and break the save. (He’d teased doing it before, when Melissa’s arm was almost broken.) Sexy escaped. Pentagon and Vampiro faced off, with Pentagon seemingly asking Vampiro to take a shot. Vampiro was cheered heavily by the crowd, but refused to fight and walked out. In the lockerroom, Vampiro’s negative thoughts raced thru his head, and caused him to break the mirror with multiple headbutts.

thoughts

Angelico takes care of everything

Last comes first: there’s a pretty obvious schism between many fans of the show, who would like to see Pentagon Jr. destroy everyone and everything, and the people putting the show together, who believe Sexy Star is an emerging empowerment icon for women (with Striker explicitily making the Rousey comparison during the match.) The people making the shows are the ones who get to make those decisions, but this was just strange to see in action. Sexy Star was a decided underdog in the first Pentagon Jr. match, getting a pinfall victory that seemed to surprise everyone involved. The odds were even more stacked against Sexy Star this time around, and yet she seemed to take most of the match. Pentagon got in spots, including some vicious superkicks, and it was no squash. Just, there was a clear winning side and it wasn’t the armbreaking ax murder. It didn’t work for me and it didn’t seem to work for the people I usually follow when watching these things, but maybe there’s a (more female?) audience out there which bought into it. Even then, even if it gets Sexy Star over, it feels like a waste of Pentagon Jr.’s potential. The show very quickly transitioned Pentagon Jr. out of the Sexy Star feud to Vampiro, but the vignette to close made it clear that’ll be a lot about the non-Pentagon Jr. person as well.

double bicep splash

On the flip side, Lucha Underground has gotten more out of Argenis than any promotion before. Maybe after. He looked good against Jack. This wasn’t quite as good as the match with Aerostar, but neither man had to kill each other. Jack as over the top heel is working out well.

Trios title match was a bit disappointing for fans of the champions. The storylines just prevented the match from really getting going until it was just about over, and it ended up as a chapter in the (less interesting) Texano/Daivari feud, with some subtle hints of Big Ryck problems down the line. I kind of liked the Mack/Cage fight more than I liked the match.

Dragon Azteca was more explicitly set up as the polar opposite to Dario. And also a fool for trusting a Guerrero.

bending in half for the win