Lucha Underground 4×13: “The Circle of Life”

Hernandez doing a dive is the lead GIF, a telling sign

Matches

Matanza beat Joey Wrestling
(2:53, Wrath of the Gods, ok)

Killshot beat Big Bad Steve
(7:42, Killstomp, ok)

Pentagon Dark beat Hernandez for the Lucha Underground Championship
(7:04, Fear Factor, ok)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark (5 defenses)
Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (2 defenses)
Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (0 defenses)
Died This Season (14): Jeremiah Crane (casket)*, Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed), Vibora (beheaded), Mala Suerte (sacrificed) , Saltador (sacrificed), Benji the Agent (murdered by Ricky), Angelico (implied to have been murdered by Ricky), Catrina (fell off a roof), Joey Wrestling (sacrificed)
Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

a Joey Wrestling highlight

That’s a wrap on Catrina. She’s gone this season from half alive to totally alive to totally dead. Totally alive really was her undoing: it made her an enemy of Melissa Santos for taking that life from Fenix, and gave her a sour attitude towards Mil Muertes. Catrina was in the process of breaking up with Mil for good, giving him his stone and leaving the Ice Temple, when she was confronted by Melissa. The two fought around and up the Temple, ending up on the roof. Melissa threw Catrina over the side, where Catrina grabbed onto a bar to save her from her doom. Melissa had a moment to ponder what to do next. She didn’t get a choice. Mil scared Melissa off, grabbed Catrina by the one arm still hanging from the bar, put the stone in her hand, and dropped Catrina to her death.

Melissa found Catrina’s body on the ground near the Temple. Aerostar found Melissa, and asked for a favor – Melissa’s half of the amulet for the thing she loves the most. Melissa quickly agreed. Aerostar appeared to suck the life force out of Catrina into his circular Arc Reactor thingy, traveled back ten weeks to when Catrina had sucked the life out of Fenix, and put that life back in Fenix. Aerostar brought Fenix back to the present to reunite with Melissa. Fenix looked out of it, with something strange going in with his eyes, and Aerostar warned he might not be back to normal right away. Melissa gave Aerostar her half of the amulet – the same amulet Aerostar might have been responsible in giving away in the first place.

Melissa did the ring announcing for the rest of the show, with no hint of anything had happened.

The rest of the show was much less dramatic. Joey Wrestling and Beautiful Brenda appear to be the only non-injured members of the wedding party. (Vampiro went as far as to tease that Mundo’s career may be over, which seemed like a giant stretch even on an episode where time travel and resurrections just happened.) Joey made poor use of his health, challenging Matanza to avenge his friends. Wrestling got in more offense than anyone else against the powered-up Matanza, though he was still ultimately defeated and sacrificed.

Brenda was healthy enough t second Big Bad Steve, who did not fare much better against Killshot. Killshot is a full rudo now, and has changed his style to a slower, targeted attack. Son of Havoc watched the match from the bleachers. Killshot confronted him post match. Their fight led to Killshot getting unmasked. Vampiro was emphasized how mysterious Killshot was and how no one had seen his face.

Pentagon had been scheduled to defend his title against Johnny Mundo, and was disappointed not to give Mundo a wedding gift of a broken arm. Pentagon offered an open title match challenge which was meant by previous arm break victim Hernandez. Hernandez got in some offense, but Pentagon retaining was in no real doubt. A more interesting challenge was set up afterward when King Cuerno attacked Pentagon with the belt and gave him the Thrill of the Kill on the title.

Thoughts

a big bad steve highlight

None of the matches really clicked, and all existed just as set up matches for stuff later in the season. The Wrestling/Matanza was weirdly competitive. Wrestling hasn’t been slotted in as a bottom tier guy like many of the other Matanza victims but, he’s also Joey Mercury obviously here for a one-off and no more. It didn’t even go for three minutes, so maybe I’m making too much of very little. It also could’ve been fine going no minutes – Mundo coming back for revenge against Matanza was already set up last week.

Killshot’s style fits his new personality and matches some things he’s been doing outside of Lucha Underground. It also seemed like a total waste of Big Bad Steve to be a pseudo-tecnico selling body part damage. He can do more interesting things, and so can Killshot. This was effective, just not anything interesting. The Havoc/Killshot eventual match – mask vs mask? – will probably be good but it already feels like they’re stalling that out until the end of the season.

That end of the season isn’t really that far away. There’s nine more episodes after tonight. With that in mind, it felt like a waste of time to do a Hernandez/Pentagon match. Hernandez was fine, the match was alright as everything else, but Hernandez has been on this show twice in the last three seasons. Perhaps this was another spot designed for an AAA guy who couldn’t get a work visa and Hernandez was the last minute fill in, but it’s an issue of depth of the Lucha Underground roster that Hernandez has to be propped up as a challenger. I don’t know why the Marty the Moth vignette aired with no follow up so far – he would’ve been more interesting. King Cuerno just getting the title shot tonight would’ve been something. The inevitable Jake Strong match would’ve at least paid off those squashes. This just felt like killing time in a season where there isn’t a lot less to kill. This show needed at least one actual competitive match.

I didn’t enjoy the Catrina/Melissa fight as much as people on Twitter seemed to. It was intentionally cut to hide most of the action, which is a weird thing on a wrestling show. (Melissa tossing Catrina off the roof is more Catrina falling off-screen and a cut to her hanging from the pole.) The Aerostar time travel was authentically goofy Lucha Underground, though it kind of left the viewer wondering why all of this happened anyway. I think they just needed a way to write Catrina off this season, but the narrative arc – Catrina gets her life back, starts being a jerk to Mil for no clear reason, Mil causes her death – was not a particularly satisfying one. This vignette is the reason to watch this episode, but I’m not sure it all added up to something satisfying.

Lucha Underground 4×12: Till Death Do Us Part

not the tacos

Matches

Jake Strong beat Drago
(4:55, ankle lock, ok)

XO Lishous beat Jack Evans in a no mas match
(11:25, cross armbreaker, good)

Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkerie’s wedding ended in a no-contest

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark (4 defenses)

Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (2 defenses)

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (0 defenses)

Died This Season (12): Jeremiah Crane (casket)*, Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed), Vibora (beheaded), Mala Suerte (sacrificed) , Saltador (sacrificed), Benji the Agent (murdered by Ricky), Angelico (implied to have been murdered by Ricky)

Resurrected (1): Jeremiah Crane/Snake

Developments

this didn’t seem fun (but it did seem very dark)

No one died this episode, which is pretty big news the way this season has gone. It was not for lack of trying. Ricky Mundo, angry about being treated like trash by the rest of Worldwide Underground, was easy prey to his doll Rosa’s manipulations this week. Rosa convinced Ricky to release Matanza before the wedding. Ricky sat in the crowd and watched as Matanza interrupted just as the wedding was finishing. Matanza thrashed the wedding party – including surprise best man Joey (Mercury) Wrestling and unexplained bridesmaid Cheerleader Melissa. Taya bled after a headbutt. took the Wrath of the Gods and was chokeslammed thru her wedding cake. Everyone was pretty well destroyed, including Master of Ceremonies Famous B. It was unclear if Worldwide Underground figured out Ricky was responsible; they didn’t have much time to figure out much.

The one member of the group who escaped the beating was Jack Evans, only because he took his beating earlier. XO Lishous made Jack Evans say No Mas to win the match and the feud. Ivelisse & Joey Ryan got themselves involved, following up from the previous tag match in the feud. They stopped Jack from attempting to break XO’s neck, and XO won soon after. Ivelisse & XO weren’t totally convinced on trusting Joey. Jack’s injuries in that match led him to skip the wedding.

I think the wheelchair provided a helpful place to lift but still impressive

The only other match on the show was the teased Drago/Jake Strong match this week. Strong continued his undefeated streak. He also threatened to use Drago’s nunchucks to break his ankle, only for Aerostar to make the save. Drago & Aerostar together were able to just barely escape. The tease here seemed to be a tag match (or even just a 2 vs 1), though it’s seemed doubtful even that would be competitive.

(While not officially part of the show, an LU/El Rey commercial airing right after the episode concluded had a pretty big teaser for something happening at the start of the next episode. I don’t know if people watching this thru iTunes/Amazon/other means will see the same ad as well, and even talking about what they said will happen will give it away if you follow the show. It was a teaser but in practice less of a tease and more of a reveal. On the odd chance that someone’s avoiding all other LU news for the rest of the week, I’ll save talking about it until next week. )

Thoughts

Lucha Underground got as much out of the wedding as they could. They gave as much time as a showcase match (around 15 minutes including entrances), they did an early tease of an interruption so the crowd wouldn’t just be sitting waiting for it, and they finally did the attack in a way that made Matanza look impressive. This was still some comedy to this, same as the recent Matanza sacrifices, but he did also beat up seven people single handily. That’s pretty good. Famous B shined in his role and the Mundo & Taya vows were very well written. Ricky was treated so badly on this episode that Striker trying to ease Ricky into the face role in this feud was nearly credible, but Ricky did stab a man to death last week so it’s sure it’s totally believable. Still, it was a way for Ricky to get his revenge in a credible fashion since he’s not going to be beating up all these people. This was all alright for me, and I have no doubt a lot of people loved it a lot more than me.

ladder dives don’t really help much in a no mas match but nice anyway

Drago & Strong was better than the Aerostar version of this match, and close the Guevera version of this match. These are still competitive squash matches. Strong going half the season with little character and no standout match is a little bit of a problem for someone they’re focusing on so heavy.

Joey & Ivelisse interfering was a problem too. Mixed feelings coming out of one tag match really wasn’t enough to sell Joey caring to get involved, and Ivelisse deciding to be part of this was a stretch too. It was transparently a way to get to an ending while giving Jack an out for losing, which hasn’t been what Lucha Underground blowoff gimmick matches have been. The match itself was good, just lacking going anywhere new. XO repeating the same swearing spot as Sexy Star didn’t get over nearly as well this time.

Lucha Underground 4×11: Last Man Or Machine Standing

bad times for Penta

Matches

Mil Muertes beat The Mack in a haunted house match
(9:33, super flatliner, good)

Jake Strong beat Aerostar
(2:12, ankle lock submission, ok)

Pentagon Dark beat Cage in a last man standing to keep the Lucha Underground Championship
(14:20, 10 count following curb stomp thru concrete/block match, great)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark (4 defenses)
Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (2 defenses)
Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (0 defenses)
Died This Season (12): Jeremiah Crane (casket)*, Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed), Vibora (beheaded), Mala Suerte (sacrificed) , Saltador (sacrificed), Benji the Agent (murdered by Ricky), Angelico (implied to have been murdered by Ricky)
Resurrected (1): Jeremiah Crane/Snake

Developments

seconds into the match, it was clear the Mack was in deep trouble

This was a strong episode of Lucha Underground. In that, some people won very strong, and also there was a Jake Strong.

Pentagon Dark got a definitive win over Cage in the main event. Cage was slicing Penta with a beer bottle in the opening moments, and then weapon usage only continued thru them. Many tables paid the price to decide a champion. Unlike most last man standing matches, the action never seemed to slow for a count. If the other luchador could move, they were prepping for their next move should their opponent get up before 10. The ten counts seemed reasonable fast until the final one. Penta survived a Drill Claw, Cage survived a destroyer thru a table. Cage was not easy to finish: Penta had to snap to both arms, and then still curb stomped a concrete block on Cage’s head to keep him down for the count.

There won’t be much time to relax for the champ. Taya revealed to Johnny Mundo that she talked Dario Cueto into giving him a shot at the title. Taya & Johnny will get married next week, and Johnny will get his title shot the week after.

not the finish

The other big winner on the show went to Mil Muertes, who won the first ever Haunted House match handily. He utterly trashed the Mack. It might not have been a total squash but it felt like Mack got his offense only long enough to get in position for another Muertes death spot.

Mil wasn’t the only member of the team getting a W this week. Catrina, angry Melissa had failed to announcer her name during their entrance. Melissa decided to get physical. This went very poorly for Melissa, eventually knocked out by a flower vase to the back of the head. Catrina still refused to do the post-match lick of death though, as she’s refused since regaining her life.

flying death

Famous B, back in a wheelchair, took over announcing for the rest of the show. Which meant he had the distinct displeasure of introducing the man who crippled him, Jake Strong. Strong got about nothing in against Aerostar for about two minutes. He then got the anklelock, and that was all that mattered. Drago, making his dramatic return after less than one episode of being gone, stopped Strong from breaking his friend’s ankle.

There was a lot going on this episode, which means I’m just getting around to the weekly murder. Taya revealed Mundo’s title shot at their wedding shower. Ricky Mundo appeared not to be invited to the shower. Benji, the Worldwide Underground agent who hasn’t been seen since late season 3 (and didn’t seem to get the usual “previously” reintroduction), was invited but arrived late and was stopped outside. Benji taunted Ricky about everything. That was not a good idea. Only Ricky seemed to hear Rosa’s command to murder Benji, but Ricky definitely heard it, and murdered Benji with a pen. Benji seemed to have some vague narrative purpose about splitting up the Worldwide Underground that went nowhere, and now we’ll never know why he existed at all.

The episode did give us one explanation for something that had not made any sense. A conversation between Dragon Azteca Jr & Melissa Santos revealed Melissa was really broken up by Fenix’s death but had been purposefully hiding it when she’s in front of the crowd. That segment did nothing more than mention that fact, remind us that Melissa had (and was wearing) the half of the amulet given to her by Catrina, and maybe hint at a Dragon Azteca/Melissa relationship.

Thoughts

sure why not

I genuinely liked this episode of Lucha Underground. It was very Lucha Underground, and it also had some great wrestling. It was so over the top that it became more hilarious than serious, but at least it got a positive emotion out of me. It’s not a particularly positive sign that Lucha Underground has to lean so heavily into extreme and deathmatch tropes to have big matches, but that’s not something new.

Feuds ending was definite winners and losers helps a lot, in a wider wrestling world where that’s uncommon. Cage looked really good, pushed Penta far enough where this win felt like it definitely meant something (much more than the previous title match), but Penta was definitely the better man. The Mack was absolutely right to be scared of Mil Muertes, because Mil Muertes came off as a scary and dangerous guy in dominating him. Both guys come off as bigger deals going into the next one. Mil’s destruction (and some of the bumps Mack ended up taking) was impressive. The main event falls count anywhere match was as over the top as Benji’s murder, but it felt like something fully committed to and that would only happen on this show. I’d easily recommend it.

The Jake Strong/Aerostar match didn’t amount to much, but it was entertaining on a meta level. They were so aware of how it’d look on Lucha Underground to have the luchador be used as enhancement talent to the white ex-WWE that they gave Aerostar pretty much the entire match before the finish. It still didn’t work, Strong and Aerostar did not bring out the best in each other. I have no interest in seeing Strong/Drago either. Strong should be in competitive matches by now, and Aerostar and Drago shouldn’t be used easy stepping stones – but most the quick guys to beat have been eliminated now by their own making. Striker did hammer home that Strong is a supposed to be a rudo now, which hasn’t been clear before. Strong still doesn’t feel like he belongs on this show at all.

Lucha Underground 4×10: A Snake Scorned

bad things happen to Rick O’Sheas on this show

Matches

Matanza beat Saltador
(0:40, Wrath of the Gods, NA)

Dragon Azteca Jr. beat Killshot to win the Gift of the Gods Trios championship
(6:51, DDTJ, good) – second defense

Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake beat Killshot, Son of Havoc, The Mack to win trios championship
(8:53, Snake double underhook shoulderbreaker Havoc, good) – ninth champions

Status Check

Kobra Moon as a weapon

Champion: Pentagon Dark (3 defenses)

Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (2 defenses)

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (0 defenses)

Died This Season (10): Jeremiah Crane (casket)*, Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed), Vibora (beheaded), Mala Suerte (sacrificed) , Saltador (sacrificed)

Resurrected (1): Jeremiah Crane

Developments

Killshot double stomp

It’s a rare Lucha Underground episode which includes two different titles on the line. Tonight appears to have been a first time ever where one person was involved in title matches for two different titles on the same episode. It could’ve been the greatest night ever for Killshot. It instead went very badly.

It really wasn’t Killshot’s choice to be in two title matches. He was only going to get a shot at Dragon Azteca for the Gift of the Gods title. The trios championship defense was added after Kobra Moon demanded the rematch her team never got after losing at Ultima Lucha 3. (All the members of that title-winning team being dead or out of the Tribe didn’t seem important.) Antonio mocked the idea at first but appreciated Kobra Moon fighting for it and granted the trios title match for tonight.

That gave Killshot a second title match, which didn’t make his partners too happy. Mack & Havoc slightly leaned on Killshot to abandon the singles title match, which aggravated an already angry Killshot. He explained his anger at Son of Havoc was for being handed a title, not earning it, and his anger at Mack for taking Havoc’s side. Killshot ended up angry at himself when he lost the Gift of the Gods match to Dragon Azteca cleanly. Killshot seemed to kick out right at three on Azteca’s flashy DDT, but the announcers didn’t make much of a fuss about it.

Killshot didn’t appear at the start of trios title match, which was suddenly announced as being tornado rules. It worked out fine, Killshot showed up right about when it would’ve been his turn to be in the match. The lack of team cohesion was the bigger problem: Havoc hit Killshot by mistake with a tope, and Killshot very much on purpose tripped up Havoc when he went for the shooting star press. Jeremiah Snake took advantage for the win, bringing the trios titles back to the Reptile Tribe. Killshot mocked and double stomped Havoc after the match.

It seemed like Mack was still trying to play it neutral post-match. A later bit in Antonio’s office revealed Mack was done teaming with Killshot, and wanted a match with him. Antonio refused because he’d already set up a match for Mack next week. (Maybe that’s why the two title matches had to happen this week?) Catrina demanded a Mil Muertes/Mack match, and it would be the first ever Haunted House match. Mack was scared of Muertes before, and now just seemed eager to fight anyone.

maybe it wasn’t time to do a headstand

Everything else was subplots setting up future bits. Cage & Pentagon Dark fought around the arena as a prelude to a last man standing match they’ll have next week. Big falls were teased, not yet delivered. A priest (“Father Rick O’Shea”) in the audience, shown a half dozen times during the episode, thanked Pentagon Dark for saving him from an accidental Cage attack. Pentagon broke his arm in a transparent attempt at a viral moment.

The Rabbit Tribe is down to just being Paul London. London insisted to Antonio Cueto that Saltador would do better against Matanza than Mala Suerte did. Saltador did not, despite wearing a lucky rabbit’s foot. (Wasn’t this group horrified by that concept previously?) There were no cartoon sound effects or much to do about Matanza in this match. It was more about making it clear Paul London had gotten his men sacrificed by design and was pleased about it working, though it’s totally unclear what that design might be.

Aerostar caught up with Drago on the roof top. Drago’s been in hiding since being freed, ashamed of what he did while under Kobra Moon’s control. Aerostar tried to convince Drago it wasn’t his fault. Drago could not forgive himself and decided he needed to leave the Temple for the time being. Aerostar told Drago they would meet again. Drago wasn’t sure as he flew off, but Aerostar’s a time traveler so he might know something.

To open the show, Antonio Cueto got an invite to the Taya/Johnny wedding. He didn’t express confidence about that marriage lasting. We’ll be seeing more about that wedding to come.

Thoughts

Dragon Azteca > Sin Cara

Hey, they got rid of the trios champions I was sick of seeing together, this week can’t be that bad. Havoc/Killshot might end up being good, but getting there took up half a season with a storyline that required you to just accept a major character change for no explained reason (and quickly swept under the rug another character vanishing with no explanation.) At least it’s maybe better from here? The two matches they had tonight were better. Killshot/Azteca was the strong Azteca performance that he needs to start stacking to get people to take him seriously, helped by being given much more time than last week’s blip. They had some good chemistry, built well to the finish, and made Azteca surviving the double stomp feel like it meant something. If Azteca has a few more of these, he’ll get something out of this reign even if it’s not the big title.

The trios title match got better as it went along. Though they gave no reals reason for it to be tornado rules, it did allow the match to flow thru unending sequence of people just coming in and out. Snake & Moon did the same double team headscissors here to the outside as they did last week, and then had a whole bunch more unexpected double teams. It doesn’t really make sense they’d be so good working together early, but it made the match fun. This felt like it a had a little more to it than the atomicos last week, even if the finish took away a bit from it too. The priority was on making sure Killshot came off as the rudo in all of this over the titles. It’s not a great use of the trios titles, but I suspect there’s another crazy Killshot gimmick match coming.

Everything else was fine. The Cage/Penta brawl was weirdly more exciting than the Cage/Penta title match. Hopefully they can find this groove again next week. Matanza squashes are happening too often for nothing to be happening with them. They made it work this time by at least having something going on with Paul London in the background. Antonio wearing a wacky Halloween hat to announce the Haunted House match was something spectacularly goofy that wouldn’t have worked with Dario and maybe didn’t actually work here either. This Haunted House match seems likely to be a response to WWE’s House of Horror’s disasterpiece. I’m fearfully expecting the goofiness next week to be much worse than Antonio’s hat.

Lucha Underground 4×9: A Match Made In Heaven

Aerostar wastes no time

Matches

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

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

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

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

Status Check

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

Developments

convoluted but interesting

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

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

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

Jack on point

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

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

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

Thoughts

a tight 450 from a good angle

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

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

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

one more tornillo

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

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

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

Lucha Underground 4×8: The Ranks of the Reptiles

that’s why they call him Saltador?

Matches

Daga beat PJ Black (7:28, headscissors + wrist clutch submission, good)

Son of Havoc, Killshot, the Mack (c) defeated Paul London, Saltador, Mala Suerte Lucha Underground Trios Championship (7:20, Killshot pin after The Mack frog splash Mala Suerte, good)

Cage & King Cuerno beat Penta (5:45, Drill Claw, ok)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark (3 defenses)
Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (0)
Trios Champions: Killshot, the Mack, Son of Havoc (2)
Died This Season (8): Jeremiah Crane (casket), Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed), Vibora (beheaded)

Happenings

still a sucker for spinning forearms

Oh, there were happenings.

Daga beat PJ Black surprisingly clean for this Reptile Tribe/Worldwide Underground feud. The Reptile Tribe made up for it by trying to destroy Black after the match. Johnny Mundo, Taya, and (less helpfully) Ricky Mundo made the save. Kobra Moon used the moment to challenge Mundo to a 4v4 match for the following episode, where Mundo would have to join the Reptile Tribe if they win, and Moon granting Mundo one queen’s wish if WU won. Johnny agreed, perhaps not really realizing he was betting his freedom on Ricky avoiding a pinfall loss next week. Matt Striker was careful to note Moon has been on a run of converting unwilling participants into Tribe members, with Daga & Drago both being added over the last two seasons.

Maybe Johnny realized his mistake later. A show ending vignette showed an Indian Jones styled Johnny Mundo & Taya sneaking into the Reptile Tribe throne room. They explained Daga & Kobra Moon had been tricked into attending a non-existant Serpent Ball. That left a still chained Drago and Vibora, who still caught Mundo & Taya by surprise. The Worldwide Underground couple were barely able to put down the big man with the help of Taya’s baseball bat, and Taya finishes off Vibora with the sword. She really finishes him off, with Vibora becoming the second member of the Reptile Tribe to be beheaded. (There was a coffin in the throne room, presumably with Pindar still inside.) It’s going to be tough for Reptile Tribe to be in a 4v4 match next week when they have only three living members, though people still seem to affect this show from beyond the grave.

Speaking of! Former ghost Catrina decided to haunt the Mack early in the night. The Mack was hoping Mil Muertes attacking him last week would be the end of it, and Catrina assured him Mil wasn’t finished. Catrina left Mack with a vision of death: Big Ryck (the Mack’s cousin)’s skull inside his locker. This definitely disturbed the Mack in the moment, though it did not stop him from retaining the trios titles. Neither did the tension in the trios champions. Killshot tagging himself in and taking the pin before the Mack could (assuming he would’ve) caused more issues with the team. Funnily enough, the Big Ryck video showed at the start of the show had Ryck stating to the Mack that wrestling was only about making money, something the Mack didn’t seem to believe then or now.

Penta versus everyone

It was a tough battle for who made the most foolish decision on the night, though both decisions were keeping with the characters of the people who made them. Dragon Azteca Jr., new Gift of the Gods champion, declared both that he’d defend the title against anyone who challenged him and that he’d wait until Ultima Lucha 4 to cash in it. This is a much smaller season, but I don’t like Dragon Azteca’s chances of ever cashing it in now.

The main event had the other foolish choice. It was a pick your tag partner match with Cage & Pentagon Dark. Cage surprisingly picked King Cuerno. Penta unsurprisingly picked no one at all and decided to fight 1 on 2. This worked for a while, and then it definitely did not work. King Cuerno was a team player, laying out Pentagon with the Thrill of the Kill but backing off (and out of the match) when asked by Cage. Cage then got to win with his own Drill Claw, and is likely headed to a title rematch with Penta.

Thoughts

This show was more enjoyable the less you took the plot seriously. It was also helped by only having three matches, though one match was only barely there.

I liked the bulk of the trios title match. I disliked the finish entirely. I hate the “one teammate ‘steals’ the win from another teammate” trope. They’ve been done to death. They’re usually dumb. Why are you mad that you won? In what way does it matter who gets the pin? If the announcers always harping on how important is to hurry to get a pin, isn’t the person who hurries to get the pin a great teammate instead of a bad one? It was worse in this case. The Rabbit Tribe lost every match, got a cool vignette, continued to lose every match. Why should I care? Why should the White Rabbit just not show up and murder them all? Meanwhile, Killshot was one of my favorite characters at the end of the last season, and I liked Havoc and the Mack too. This story hasn’t been bad enough for me to give up on them, but it hasn’t helped them either and I am desperate for them to get onto whatever comes next. This set up seemed like an easy way to move on to that next thing. It didn’t happen, and they keep running in place. We’re stuck waiting for Mil to find a couple of partners, I guess.

Killshot double stomp; the underneath camera is so much better than the overhead one.

PJ Black/Daga was good, even if feeling outside the usual Lucha Underground style. They’re not usually so submission based. Daga looked good at it. PJ was a little off in ways cameras couldn’t hide – the missed moonsault was missing before Daga even moved – but it worked for me overall. Kobra seemed to be trying to do something different with her voice. I’m not sure it worked. I’m not sure the closing death worked either, but it was amusingly over the top.

Penta not picking a partner is completely consistent with the character and also a sort of problem with having a competitive match. I was waiting for someone to run out and appoint themselves as one until it just turned into a one-sided match, and that was the idea. I’m hoping King Cuerno helping out Cage has some meaning and isn’t just random, but I don’t feel as safe that it’s going somewhere as I once did with this show.\

Lucha Underground 4×7: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Dezmond X

Matches

Jake Strong beat Sammy Guevera (4:02, Strong Lock ankle lock, ok)

Matanza beat Vinnie Matanza (1:11, Wrath of the Gods, ok)

Dragon Azteca, Dezmond X, King Cuerno beat Ivellise, Son of Havoc, the Mack (6:14, Thrill of the Hunt on Havoc, ok)

Dragon Azteca beat Dezmond X and King Cuervo (11:29, casadora bomb, good)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark

Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca

Trios Champions: Killshot, the Mack, Son of Havoc

Died This Season (7): Jeremiah Crane (casket), Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits), Vinnie Massaro (sacrificed), Pizza Guy (sacrificed)
for the purposes of this bit, Angelico will not counted until someone actually confirms he’s dead

Developments

just a GIF of Vinne running

In an otherwise terrible night for Lucha Underground underdogs, one of the biggest ones finally got a win on his own. Dragon Azteca has spent the last two seasons charging headfirst into unwinnable battles and being beaten up by people trying to get to Rey Mysterio, finally excelled in a situation where no personal beefs were on the line. Azteca simply was on the winning side of matches three times in a row and, for that, he’s Gift of the Gods champion.

It wasn’t a straightforward victory. The one thing we’re learning about Antonio Cueto is he doesn’t like to do anything exactly like it was done by Dario the last three seasons. That’s meant random twists thrown in for the sake of twists. This week’s twist was the six-way match Gift of the Gods would not be a six-way match. Instead, Dario ordered a trios match, with the winning team facing off for the title. He gave Ivelisse & Son of Havoc the option to pick a third partner, and they quickly agreed on the Mack. Maybe they didn’t pick well given they lost and all. Killshot watched the match from afar, seemingly proven right that The Mack should’ve pinned Son of Havoc in the Medallion match since Havoc was the one who cost them all the match here. Mil Muertes, still angry about being left out, attacked the losers after the match. Killshot got involved, though it seemed like he was more there to get a cheap shot on Havoc than to stop Mil. Mil stopped him too. Havoc, Mack, and Killshot appear to be trios champions at this point only because no other trio has gotten around to launching a challenge, and that’ll probably change soon enough.

Azteca, Cuerno, and Dezmond all advanced to the three-way final, which was one pin to a finish. This was the coming out party for Dezmond (wearing “Xavier” trunks), but he still took his first loss to Azteca’s casadora bomb. Azteca may sit on the title for a while; his history going up against Pentagon Dark hasn’t exactly been good.

Azteca armdrag

Other underdogs did not fare well. Jake Strong completed running thru his one-time trios partners by beating Sammy Guevera. Strong took Guevera’s jacket post-match. Brenda was not with Sammy, so it’s unclear if he’s still part of Infamous Inc. The good news is Famous B won’t be losing his leg and maybe we’ll see him soon.

Antonio Cueto had Vinnie Massaro in the ring for a match. Antonio explained that his first instinct, upon taking over Lucha Underground and realizing Massaro was under contract, was to fire him. Instead, Antonio gave Vinnie a last meal – a pineapple topped pizza, not meeting Vinnie’s approval – and sacrificed both him and the pizza guy to the gods.

The episode ended with a check in on Marty the Moth, still with his arm taped up after being broken in the opening episode by Pentagon Dark. Marty’s been dreaming of making a necklace of Pentagon’s teeth, but a demanding Mariposa set him straight. She explained she betrayed Marty back at Ultima Lucha 3 because he lacked focus by going after Melissa Santos, and lacks focus now to be going after Pentagon’s teeth instead of his title. Mariposa is oddly convinced Marty is the one to lead their tribe to glory and tells Marty to focus on the title. Marty believes this is a good idea. I’m less sure.

thoughts

Cuerno getting caught in the wrong place

Dezmond X the character is symbolic of the issues of Season 4. He’s got a name that took seems like it took a half a second to come up with, his backstory is he has no backstory, and he was wrestling in gear with on there “Xavier” while Striker openly wondered what X stood for. Nothing about that presentation is Dezmond’s fault; it’s probably just another problem caused by the need to get this taping done quick, the inability to get Mexico work visas in general, and a likely desperate need to find some people right away to fill out spots. These are the same complaints since this season was announced, which feel repetitive to continue to bring up and also completely inescapable when watching the season.

Dezmond X the wrestler feels an immense void for Lucha Underground. One of the elements which made the last three seasons of Lucha Underground great is Prince Puma being an exciting wrestler capable of incredible things. Dezmond X is not Prince Puma, at least not yet, but his performance in the main even three-way match came the closest to recapturing the feeling of watching those Prince Puma matches. That match was definitely designed to get everyone involved over, but Dezmond’s big spots stole it. The balcony dive was a classic Lucha Underground moment in a season in search of them, and it was among quite a few highlights. Cuerno & Azteca were good too, only X really made you want to see more of him. It’s a shame there are the presentation issues now because he should’ve already been coming across as a big deal. Maybe they’ll fix it as they go along.

Sammy moonsault

In contrast, it feels like LU is going way too, uh, strong with Jake Strong. It’s not even strictly the matches, though his match with Sammy felt like a squash plus a ladder dive. Striker is laying it on a little thick with his praise. The fans in the building going along with his chant quickly seem like it fooled LU into believing everyone was ready for him. Being in a self-contained pocket universe which hasn’t interacted with the larger narrative has made it feel even more artificial.

I’m not sure if Lucha Underground will have any enhancement level workers left by the end of the season. (It’s really good for the Rabbit Tribe to have a storyline now, it’s bad news for people without one. Joey Ryan should not show up to work.) I’m also not sure if these are all permanent. These deaths are being treated so casually that I can’t believe they’re forever deaths – and I also can’t believe LU would kill of Massaro without having something more planned. There was also a lot of comedy in a segment seemingly meant to be taken deadily seriously, so maybe that’s not the right way to take it.

Lucha Underground 4×6: Break the Machine

the spin makes it hurt more

Matches

Dezmond X beat Paul London (4:14, bodyscsissors cradle, ok) for an Aztec Medallion
The Mack won a battle royal over King Cuerno, Ivelisse, Dezmond X, Dragon Azteca, Mil Muertes, Son of Havoc (2:01, ok)
Vibora beat Johnny Mundo (8:51, twisting chokeslam, good)
Pentagon Dark beat Brian Cage to keep the Lucha Underground championship (6:46, package piledriver, good)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark
Gift of the Gods: vacant
Aztec Medallions: Dragon Azteca Jr., King Cuerno, Ivelisse, the Mack, Son of Havoc, Mil Muertes, Dezmond X
Trios Champions: Killshot, the Mack, Son of Havoc
Died This Season (6): Jeremiah Crane (casket), Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits)

Happenings

Dezmond headscissors

This was not a big week of shakeups on Lucha Underground, but everything else seemed a little bit off from normal.

Take the opener. Paul London and the Rabbit Tribe were off – apparently a darker Rabbit Tribe after last week’s murder – and figured to beat the Dezmond X. Instead, X won cleanly and earned the final Medallion. Antonio Cueto proceeded directly to the ceremony of placing all the Medallions in the belt directly after, something that hasn’t been seen in-arena for a while. (During this, Matt Striker mentioned that some of the luchadors had been hearing about this belt since they were young, which doesn’t seem to fit with Dario coming up with the idea three seasons ago.) All seven luchadors where assembled in the ring when Antonio explained he didn’t like the number seven and ordered an immediate battle royal. The winner would get to pick one person to be eliminated from next week’s title match. Mil Muertes destroyed everyone until Havoc and Mack teamed up to send him out, so, after Havoc eliminated himself to give Mack the victory, the Mack wisely decided to eliminate Muertes. Muertes proceeded to destroy everyone for this offense except for Mack. Mack’s in the Gift of the Gods match next week and has a beating from Mil coming at some point.

The title match also felt a little bit off. It was not much longer than the Penta/Mantaza match, with Penta just getting in the right position to kick off for his Destroyer/package piledriver melody. That was enough to put down the Machine for the win, but not enough to put Cage done for the arm break. Cage ended up giving Penta a F5 on the belt, and the title match hasn’t ended this feud.

The Reptile Tribe versus Worldwide Underground feud is not close to over. The Vibora/Johnny Mundo match saw Taya, Kobra Moon, PJ Black, Drago, Daga and Ricky Mundo all get involved and brawl even after the match was over. In between, Vibora beat Mundo relatively clean in by far his longest match in this promotion. That didn’t get anyone closer to settling it.

The only vignette tonight saw XO Licious having some Flashdance fantasies post workout, without realizing Jack Evans was stalking him. Ricky Mundo found Jack, upset he wasn’t part of the previous brawl. Jack was annoyed about Ricky and his creepy doll Rosa. Jack walked off, and Rosa suggested doing to Jack what they did to Angelico. It’s still unclear what that is, but it doesn’t seem like they bought him a first-class flight to Europe and one of those neck pillows.

Thoughts

Mundo diving into nothingness

This was an OK show. It was hurt a little bit because Penta & Cage wasn’t the epic that some Lucha Underground title matches have been, and that’s becoming a pattern with Penta title matches this season. The post-match was a tease for more, and maybe they were saving something back for whenever that’ll be happening.

Dezmond X(avier)’s lack of creativity in character was surpassed in the ring, where he got to show some cool offense with newly evil Paul London. The Rabbit Tribe doing not a lot more besides London in a black outfit seemed a little let down after last week’s bit. Maybe they’ll get to it later, and maybe they didn’t want London to lose in a bigger match quite yet. Mil being taken out of the Gift of Gods match was transparently that way, something where Mil isn’t going to be challenging soon but they didn’t want him to take another loss. They’re definitely setting up a Mack/Muertes feud, and that’s not a pairing I would’ve expected.

The battle royal wasn’t much of a match and the Medallion presentation ate up a lot of time on a show with a hurried main event. It makes sense for the overall picture because it gave an opening for Striker to explain/re-explain some ideas about the tribes and the Medallions. If they’re going heavy on the series lore, this show could use a bit more of that. Someone must’ve thought the show needed some late changes; there was a lot of Striker commentary obviously redone after the fact, and the crowd booing Cage after his attack sounded faker than usual.

Vibora’s been a Johnny Mundo project during the “off season.” It wasn’t a big surprise this match took place, so they could do it for ‘real’. All the interference meant these two were wrestling for less than the time would indicate, but Vibora did look a lot better than the last time we saw him. I mean, he could barely put one foot in front of another last time, so the bar wasn’t high, but he was able to flip over the bar. It’s mostly Vibora on offense, and selling is going to be the bigger challenge but destroying people is kind of what he should be doing. He was able to take Mundo’s reverse huracanrana, and I don’t think that would’ve happened last year. Vibora’s still not smooth and I don’t need a big singles run for him, but he’s got more to offer to the role now than just being tall. I wish they had a better angle of Mundo’s dive onto Kobra Moon, because it seemed like she was destroyed but we couldn’t really tell. Street clothes Daga was cooler than expected, and Drago no longer wearing the slave chain around his neck suggested to me that these reptiles are meant to be the técnicos.

Lucha Underground 4×5: Sacrificio

adios

Matches

Matanza beat Cortez Castro (0:16, Wrath of the Gods, n/r)
Ivelisse beat Joey Ryan for an Azteca Medallion (5:35, code Red, ok)
Killshot beat Son of Havoc and the Mack for Azteca Medallions (9:24, stunner on Killshot, good)
Mil Muertes beat Cage for an Azteca Medallion (7:15, flatliner, great)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark
Gift of the Gods: vacant
Aztec Medallions: Dragon Azteca, King Cuerno, Ivelisse, the Mack, Son of Havoc, Mil Muertes, one more
Trios Champions: Killshot, the Mack, Son of Havoc
Died This Season (6): Jeremiah Crane (casket), Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed), Cortez Castro (sacrificed), Máscarita Sagrada (murdered by Rabbits)

Happenings

Elias is lucky to be in one piece

A classic Medallion moving episode, where more than half of the little gold things got handed out in an hour. It feels like an Ultima Lucha must be coming up, but the season isn’t quite that short. The big match featured two big men, Cage & Mil Muertes, having their first singles match. It was a hazardous match for referees, with all three of the Temple’s regular refs being taken out in short order. (Rich Knox landed hard on one shoulder off a Mil Muertes chokeslam, which could be the cause of the broken collarbone he mentioned during the season.) The match was dangerous for Cage too since Penta hid in the crowd under a King Cuerno match to attack the man who’d sneak attacked him. Cage missed a chance to get into the title shot match – but that seems to matter not at all since Penta offered a title match next week to settle the matter. That seems to be exactly the opposite of what Antonio was going for last week, and we’ll see if that’s picked up.

Mil Muertes got the win and the Medallion and an angsty relationship with Catrina. Catrina’s still in red following last week’s transformation and refused to Lick of Death Cage. Instead, she seemed to motion that death was coming for Mil. Something’s gone broken in that relationship and it’s not clear what.

Speaking of things gone wrong: Killshot is still angry with the world. There didn’t seem to be any great reason for so far this season, so at least tonight’s match gave him one. Antonio Cueto made the inevitable three-way match between the trios champions for two Medallions. Cueto explained only the person who didn’t get the pin would not get a Medallion. (He actually said they would leave empty-handed, but Killshot still had a trios belt in hand anyway.) It wasn’t clear how this would add to the match, and everyone just fought for themselves despite Killshot trying to get the Mack to work together against Havoc. The setup did finally play a role in the finish, where the Mack had a choice of pinning Killshot or Havoc and picked Killshot, denying his friend a Medallion. Killshot seemed to have just enough of both these guys after that stunt.

pounce

The other in-ring action was straightforward. Ivelisse picked up her own Medallion with a win over Joey Ryan, leaving one more to distribute. Cortez Castro made the mistake of returning to the Temple with his cover blown. Matanza sacrificed Castro out of existence, giving Antonio Cueto one less problem to deal with.

There seems to be a new problem on the horizon. Máscarita Sagrada made good on last week’s promise to take the Rabbit Tribe to the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit looks a lot of like Killer Kross sitting in a throne of thorns, with a laughing mini sidekick. Paul London asked for guidance, and the White Rabbit asked for London to kill the man who brought him there. London considered this for a moment, then bludgeoned Máscarita to death with a staff. Máscarita seemed completely unbothered by a man ordering his death and didn’t react at all while London was standing behind him contemplating murder. The Rabbit Tribe have a tendency to see things happening that the rest of us don’t see, so perhaps there’s more to be told to Sagrada’s story. At least for now, he appears true and well dead.

Thoughts

flying Mack

This was a better episode. I just didn’t get into a lot and don’t think I have a lot to say. I think I liked the episode overall but there were details that seemed frustrating in the moment. The first third or so of the show didn’t do much for me.

Making Castro a Matanza sacrifice was a logical move, his character had reached an endpoint after being revealed as a cop and getting revenge on Ryan. The match itself was even quicker than last week and had nothing to it.

Ivelisse and Joey Ryan had more to it. They tried to make it an Ivelisse showcase because she hasn’t been around – both her offense and her ability to take a punch to the face and keep going. The Joey Ryan character is just not interesting right now, just a one-note character who looks interesting in a group of people but isn’t someone I want to see in singles matches. Like Cortez, he doesn’t seem to have a character point to being on this show now.

The trios title champions are really suffering from a vignette explaining what we’re supposed to be thinking here. Or why we’re supposed to be thinking the way they want. Killshot is being presented as the bad guy, but Killshot is also clearly right when he tells the Mack to work together to beat Son of Havoc, a man they’re just being forced to team with. Killshot is clearly wronged when the Mack chooses to pin his good friend at the end of the match, and Havoc & the Mack should be expecting him to be angry about missing a title shot opportunity. The action was good, the storytelling is not there.

Cage is strong

Cage/Mil was fun destruction while it lasted, which felt about half as long as it did. It probably would’ve been annoying to go 15 and have Penta interference end it (even as good as that interference was done), so maybe it’s best to save the bigger match for a day where they could settle it themselves. Penta granting Cage a shot after the loss fits Penta’s no fear character but also diminishes the importance of winning the Aztec Medallions, the thing the show was built around. It also makes the bit last week about Antonio refusing to give Cage a title shot for attacking Penta dumb if that’s exactly the thing that’s going to happen. There’s still time next episode to explain this, but it’s not my favorite plot.

The Rabbit Tribe stuff was suitable weird for them, and a grandiose payoff to something that’d been teased for a couple seasons. The blood splashing Paul London’s face was a bit much, but it’s true to Lucha Underground. I’m not sure how this is going to payoff back in the ring, but I’m at least interested in seeing what happens next.

Lucha Underground 4×4: Pain, Love and Sacrifice to the Gods

this always looks great, even with a weird yellow light treatment

Matches

Jake Savage beat Big Bad Strong Steve (2:07, anklelock, ok)

Taya & Johnny Mundo beat Daga & Kobra Moon (6:22, Taya curbstomp Kobra Moon, good)

Matanza defeated Mr. Pec-tacular (0:47, Wrath of the Gods, ok )

King Cuerno beat Chavo Guerrero for an Aztec Medallion (9:52, Thrill of the Kill, ok)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark

Gift of the Gods: vacant

Aztec Medallions: Dragon Azteca, King Cuerno, the winner of Mil Muertes/Cage + 4 TBD

Trios Champions: Killshot, the Mack, Son of Havoc

Died This Season: Jeremiah Crane (casket), Fenix (casket/lifeforce absorbed), Mr. Pec-tacular (sacrificed)

Happenings

flecha negra

After three episodes of big events, the fourth episode of the season was smaller in scale, mostly setting up things for later. As usual for these sort of Lucha Underground episodes, the Aztec Medallions were back in play.

King Cuerno won a Medallion over Chavo Guerrero, in a match which seemed to exist for the announcers to tell us Chavo was one of the best of all time, but also evil and that meant Cuerno was now a good guy. It was more notable for the office vignette which set it up. Antonio Cueto would like the Gauntlet back for the Order. Cuerno’s story is it was stolen from him. Antonio in no way believes this story but can’t do anything about it for this moment. Instead, he tries bribery. Cuerno’s offered not just a medallion match against the man who beat him in Aztec Warfare, but the specific medallion which represents his tribe. Cage interrupts the meeting to ask for a title shot of his own. Antonio’s not big on getting a title match just by attacking the champion and tells Cage he’ll have to earn it, starting with a Medallion match with Mil Muertes next week. Antonio says Muerte’s tribe’s medallion will be on the line, which is also shown to the camera.

Both the Cuerno (Deer?) and Muertes (Death?) tribes & medallions had been guessed at by people watching the show. This appears to be the first time the show has outright stated those last two ones. That means off referenced about seven tribes are:

  • Deer (or something like that): King Cuerno
  • Rabbit: Paul London, Mala Suerte, Saltador
  • Moth: Mariposa & Marty
  • Reptile: Kobra Moon, Daga, Drago, Vibora
  • Eagle: Dragon Azteca Jr.
  • Jaguar: no known active currently members in LU
  • Death (or something like that): Mil Muertes, Catrina
shibata style

In other show mythology, a vignette with Catrina served as a coda to the three-way Grave Consequences match from last week. Catrina sucked the lifeforce out of Fenix with a kiss, then dropped off her half of the immortality amulet with Melissa as a reminder. Melissa has no idea what it is, but the show did a good job reminding us of the amulet’s meaning in the previously vignettes. They also showed a brief clip from a season 1 (!) episode where Catrina outright said stealing Fenix’s lifeforce was her goal – this plan seemed to come suddenly the last few weeks, but they’d laid a seed for it years ago. Catrina’s lifeforce absorption came with an outfit change into a red dress. I think it’s the outfit she was wearing in the western poster that hinted at her old age in an episode long ago, but I can’t remember which one to check.

On top of all that, Matanza is now sacrificing people to the gods by having the lights go off, a special effect noise play, and the person being disappeared when the lights came back up. Mr. Pectacular was the first victim, getting in no effective offense against the newly charged up monster.

Big Bad Steve didn’t fare any better against Jake Strong, losing an uncompetitive match and getting his ankle broken. Strong stole part of Steve’s gear too. Brenda was with Steve but Famous B was not – Matt Striker said B was in danger of getting his leg amputated because of the damage from Strong’s anklelock. They asked that people send well wishes to 1-423-Get-Fame

Maybe the most normal thing on the show was the feud between the Hollywood types and the snake people. Kobra Moon’s first in-ring action since season 2 ended in a loss, though it wasn’t without interference. PJ Black cracked her with a kick to the head to set up Taya’s curbstomp. The victory was short-lived, as Vibora was able to take out three present members of Worldwide Underground in revenge. Kobra Moon vowed Johnny Mundo would bow before her.

Thoughts

a new take on the headscissors escape into something idea

This episode had some things for people who are into the Lucha Underground lore, but it didn’t really have much in memorable matches.

Both the Matanza and Strong matches were not much. Matanza is much better at doing an impressive squash at this point. The sacrifice bit was unimpressive; I was preparing myself for something gory, something in the more over the top LU fashion that would get everyone’s who already given up on the show mad at it. It was just the lights out trick instead. Strong needs a direction and a better connection with the LU storylines then beating up people vaguely allied with Famous B. He also needs a better camera angle on his gutwrench suplex, since that was his one impressive spot.

I wasn’t really feeling long Chavo Guerrero matches in 2015. Three more years haven’t improved the situation. The match had a purpose of reminding people who hadn’t seen Cuerno wrestling a real match since season 2 of what he can do and that it’s ok to cheer for him. It still felt more long than good. Lucha Underground Twitter teased this might be it for Chavo for now, which didn’t seem connected to anything mentioned on the show. I hope they know what they’re talking about.

timber

The mixed tag was the best match on the show. Daga got a lot of time for once and made a good impact with it. It didn’t make him by any means, but he’s another guy no one’s seen on this show for nearly two seasons and it at least reminded those people he might be part of good matches. (He also told Mundo “Welcome to Snake Town!”) We’re kind of owed a Mundo/Daga match from AAA and they did enough to make me want to hear it here. Kobra Moon seemed protected early – tagging in, doing the Lita headscissors on Mundo and tagging right back didn’t give me great hope – but she did more later and ended up looking better than she had in the past. (There were some edits though, even I could pick it up for once.) The big surprise was they did a mixed tag match without making a big deal about it for once. Vibora was put over super strong in this match. I still have no idea who I’m supposed to be rooting for in this feud. At least the action’s good.