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

Penta (also all my GIFs came out weird today)

Matches

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

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

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

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

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

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

The final death total for the season is 17.

Developments

DDTJ on the floor

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

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

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

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

Mack stopped

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

Dragon Azecta and Fenix

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

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

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

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

I’ll miss the slams

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

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

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

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

Lucha Underground Season 4 Finale tonight – will it be the series finale?

if LU can reuse images, so can I

Tonight is the last episode of Lucha Underground Season 4. It may be the final episode of the series. No one knows for certain if they’ll be back or not. Like many mysteries on this show, it’s continued existence is going may take a lot longer to be resolved.

I’m a bit exhausted with this perilous existence of Lucha Underground. Perhaps some of you are as well. I’ll save the future of the show until the end.

The matches on this two-hour episode

  • Matanza vs Johnny Mundo
  • Fenix vs Dragon Azteca Jr., best of three falls
  • the Mack vs Mil Muertes, in a death match
  • Marty the Moth (c) vs Pentagon Dark, a Cero Miedo match for the Lucha Underground championship.

That’s only four matches, which seems a little light for two hours. It may actually be the other way. On the most recent episode of The MMM Show, which I’m going to “borrow” significantly from here, Lucha Underground Executive Producer Eric Van Wagenen mentioned he actually asked El Rey if they could get a third hour for this episode. They were politely turned down, but it speaks to how much time some of these matches got. Everyone on the show – including the hosts who were in attendance – said it was a long day of filming. It’s not just the matches that’ll air: they revealed there will be another vignette montage to end the season. The idea of those vignettes, and maybe the entire last episode, is Lucha Underground will answer some questions while also opening the door for a lot more questions.

The MMM show had lots of thoughts from Van Wagenen and Lucha Underground writer Chris Roach about how the season was put together and progressed. It is a bit of a distant memory for those involved. This last episode was sent in months ago and filming finished months before that. A common thread about that production is while they’re happy with Lucha Underground Season 4 turned out, they don’t want to film another season like in such a compressed time period. Roach wishes they would’ve been able to get viewer feedback while they were on the air (this comes up in a discussion about Jake Strong), while Van Wagenen pointed at injury problems taking people out for a weekend meant people being off screen for months. Dante Fox missed all but the last tapings because of something that just took a couple weeks to be cleared up. It’s mentioned Fox would’ve probably been in Dezmond X’s spot if he had able to participate at that point, and Dezmond was in for that weekend only because it was the only time he was available. (Sort of the same: Joey Ryan was written out because he wasn’t available the last weekend and Sammy Guevera was.)

The visa issues come up again but Roach is careful to point out a lot of the big ideas they wanted to do in Season 4 did come off as planned. They wanted the Taya/Johnny wedding, the Johnny/Matanza Ultima Lucha match, and the Son of Havoc/Killshot mask match. That last one is interesting because it came off on screen as if it was something improvised only because Fox wasn’t around. Penta/Marty seems like it was also a planned destination, though Roach mentions they would’ve had Penta hold the championship longer if they had more than 22 episodes this season. He also noted that there were complaints Pentagon was booked too weak in Season 3, and then complaints he was booked too strong in Season 4, as pointing out there’s always going to be some complaints.

Speaking of complaints: Jake Strong! Chris Roach seemed aware while confused about the negative reaction to him. To me, it was people reacting similar as they did to Matanza early on – the vocal portion of the audience doesn’t like to see established characters look non-competitive against new wrestlers they haven’t embraced. It didn’t really turn around for Matanza until the story allowed him to win over fans by having good competitive matches, and Strong hasn’t had a chance to have many of those either. (They kind of acknowledged they’re saving up the first big win over Strong similarly as they did Matanza – we’re waiting a while for it because they want it to mean a lot when it happens.)  Strong coming into LU as a blank slate, essentially unchanged from xenophobic WWE character, hasn’t helped. Everyone noted Strong was a likable guy in real life, and Roach confirmed this role was always designed for Strong (and not something being saved for Kross and had Strong thrown in when Kross was doing a WWE tryout.) They noted Strong’s win over Drago & Aerostar was in part to play off a plot point – Aerostar saved a mind-controlled Drago from a Pentagon armbreak last season, so Drago did the same to save Aerostar from an ankle break this season.

Overall, this season was meant to be sort of “the Empire Strikes Back” season, where things go badly for the heroes. Strong winning is part of it. Where they go back is a question. Van Wagenen mentions the idea of a “major reboot” for Season 5 early on, but then he and Roach talk later about Season 5 kind of being the endpoint for stories they told in Season 1. (At one point, that seemed to me like the idea for Season 7.) “You can only see the same stuff with the same people” for so long.

They didn’t commit to different people coming or going for Season 5, because they don’t know if they have a Season 5. It’s not said on the podcast, to avoid spoilers, but there are obviously some people who are going to finish up with LU or already have. But I guess finishing is relative – if wrestlers are free to work on other TV shows, and the schedules match up, LU seems amenable to let people come in for short periods of time if they’re available only that way.

Some random trivia

  • This is not part of the podcast, but there’s a great Aerostar story at the end of this article on The Wrap about the vignettes on this show.
  • Big Bad Steve’s name was decided late. Like, late enough that he might have not known that was his name until they announced it on the way to the ring.
  • Reklusa was asked to dye her hair dark to fit the character better. They thought she was great.
  • There was an attempt to bring back Sexy Star this season. Sexy Star turned them down. Judging from how she’s doing a lot more wrestling lately, I’m guessing she’ll be back in Season 5 if the offer still stands.
  • The original plan was for Drago to drive the forklift, but the union said no to that.
  • The Rabbit Tribe was penciled in as winning the Trios titles the morning of Ultima Lucha taping. They changed it to the Reptile Tribe, feeling there was more they could do with the belts, the trios titles changing hands on every Ultima Lucha was being too predictable, and it would be the best way to give all three teams some sort of story.
  • Rich Swann was confirmed as being backstage at Lucha Underground at least one weekend and nearly signed to come on the show. It wasn’t Swann’s first LU connection. He tagged along with Ricochet back when he was brought to the original Temple before they started filming Season 1 to convince Ricochet to sign a deal. That finally did it for Ricochet – and it also convinced Swann, who strongly wanted to be on the show after seeing the setup. (It didn’t work out because he was under contract to someone else – WWN?)
  • The budget didn’t allow it, but Roach had an idea of a vignette for Catrina & Detective Vazquez to fill in the hinted at backstory. They’d be in the Old West, Catrina would get stabbed, Vazquez would give her half the amulet to keep her alive – and since he’s a time traveler, Aerostar would be watching from the crowd. They have a lot of Aerostar time traveler ideas.

Will they get to use those ideas? Now we’re to the not fun part.

It’s pretty clear the Lucha Underground staff sees it as a proud accomplishment to have taped the entire season within a week month. They also see it as something they’re not willing to do again. This season was about as cheap as possible because of the compressed taping schedule, so they’d need more money – from El Rey or from other investors – to do it at more measured pace. Van Wagenen talks about trying to bring in different partners, which suggests he does not expect El Rey to contribute additional money. The issue with getting more investors is trying to do that is what led to the long delay between Season 3 and Season 4 – and even then, it didn’t work out and they were left with the short taping schedule.

Neither Van Wagenen nor Roach had any recent conversations with the people higher up in the food chain about this show. Both work on other projects and only get information about the show when it’s in production or – for Van Wagenen – when they’re working on renewal. They got some information about Season 3 last year because they went to ComicCon, but that hasn’t happened this time around. That also means they’ve definitely not yet talked to the new El Rey Head of Programming, just announced in that position to today. The plan is for more original hours of programming on the network in new genres. Van Wagenen mentioned the show can survive as long as El Rey survives. Someone that takes El Rey into a different direction could harm that survival.

Van Wagenen always struck me as pretty optimistic about the chances of survival after Season 1 and Season 3. Some of those situations look now like they were a little bit bleaker than he let on. This time, Van Wagenen kept a neutral tone on the future. “I got no answers for you […] Good shows sometimes get canceled for business reasons. Sometimes shitty shows go on for years and years.”

It may be a while before there’s a decision. Van Wagenen mentions talks about a next season usually doesn’t start happening until about a month after they’re off the year. That’s complicated by the timing: not much is going to get done in December due to the holidays, and due to budgets for 2019 not being set until early that year. Everyone expects El Rey to have money for Lucha Underground, but they can’t act on until they have a number set. It may take even longer to find that additional investment money they’re looking for. On top of all that, they don’t want the same problem with work visa delays as this past season. They want to give themselves at least 24 weeks for the visas to get done, which is a big block of time to wait. If you add all that time up, Season 5 tapings would start in late summer at the earliest. If tonight’s not the last Lucha Underground episodes, it’s very possible it could nearly a year before you see the next one.

This is about the exact opposite of any scenario I want. I’d like Lucha Underground to have another season, especially one that sounds heavy on conclusions. I really hate the idea of another long break between seasons. I think I dislike the idea of a medium sized time where the future is left uncertain even more. At this point, I might even be willing to trade not getting any closure on the storylines for getting closure on series. I know uncertainty is not what anyone involved wants, but I’m also not sure if there’s a point to coming back if it’s going to take that long. There’s a lot of people who’ve found other ways to use their time during the previous hiatus. This season’s ratings suggests more are dropping while they’re on the air. I understand Lucha Underground is going to exist as long as enough people can make money doing it, but I’m not sure how many people will actually be waiting for Lucha Underground if tonight’s the last anyone hears about it for months.

Lucha Underground 4×21: Ultima Lucha Cuatro – Part I

some crazy people

Matches

Jeremiah Snake, Daga, Kobra Moon beat The White Rabbit, El Bunny, Paul London and XO Lishus, Sammy Guevera, Ivelisse to retain the Lucha Underground Trios Championship
(7:55, good)
* 6:05 Sammy Guevera cradle Paul London
* 7:55 Daga armbreaker XO Lishus

Taya Mundo beat Ricky Mundo
(4:01, Indian deathlock w/chinlock, ok)

Son of Havoc beat Killshot in a mask vs mask match
Killshot was unmasked as Lt. Jermaine Strickland
(14:07, SSP, great)

Status Check

Champion: Marty the Moth (1 defense)

Gift of the Gods: Jake Strong (0 defenses)

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (3 defenses)

Died This Season (15): 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), Jack Evans (sacrificed), Capitan Vazquez (disintegrated)

Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

when you’ve had enough of this spot

Killshot is Lt. Jermaine Strickland, who left his fellow soldiers behind and was wearing a mask to hide his shame. We learned all that after Son of Havoc defeated Killshot in the main event mask versus mask match. Killshot made the tactical mistake of bringing the same stretcher from the Hell of War match into the ring, and was eventually strapped in place for Son of Havoc’s winning shooting star press.

Killshot/Strickland ran into a uniformed Dante Fox on leaving the Temple. Fox gave a non-explanation/explanation of why he wasn’t around (he had a mission), while Killshot explained that this was the last Fox or the rest of would see his face. Fox dismissed Killshot with a salute, and Killshot walked out of the Temple and Lucha Underground forever.

The other matches had less permanent endings. The Reptile Tribe remain trios champions, though with some events working out in their favor. Paul London was trying to finish off Sammy Guevera when he tripped over El Bunny and Guevera took advantage to eliminate the Rabbit Tribe. The White Rabbit blamed London, but had thrown El Bunny in London’s path. The White Rabbit took out Guevera with Down The Rabbit Hole anyway, leaving Ivelisse & XO Lishus to battle 2 on 3 against the champions. That didn’t last long. The Reptile Tribe are the first team to successfully defend the trios championships at Ultima Lucha.

Taya & Ricky seemed over but not complete. Taya got revenge on Ricky in one of the more one-sided matches seen on an Ultima Lucha. It wasn’t a squash, but it was barely competitive. Ricky never felt close to winning and got put thru a table after the match. The problem for Taya is she decided to keep Rosa the doll after the match. Rosa seems like the real threat, so Taya may still be in danger.

this was not the finish

Meanwhile, Aerostar is up to – something. It’s not clear what, but his goal tonight was to restore the amulet that had been held by Catrina and Captain Velazquez Vazquez. Aerostar had already gotten Catrina’s half after her death. He met with Captain Velazquez Vazquez at her police office, mentioned giving the amulet to her father a thousand years ago, said she did well with the extra time, but now he could see the future clearly and knew he needed the amulet. Velazquez gave the amulet to Aerostar and ceased to exist. Aerostar mentioned that while she was told the amulet would only grant immortality to females, that was a lie her father had told her. That wasn’t really relevant here, so it’s obviously coming up next episode.

It was fairly obvious that Captain Velazquez Vazquez and Aerostar were never in the same room at the same time. The actress playing Velazquez Vazquez had – like Angelico – relocated to Europe in between seasons. LU edited footage from previous scenes in that office in, flashback sequences and an arm double to stitch something together. It wasn’t quite Frankenstein’s monster but the stitching were hard to miss.

The other meta note is El Rey seems pretty loose on letting profanity go now. XO got in one back in the No Mas match and again here, as did Taya in her match.

Next Week

lot of suplexes out of Taya

Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Fenix in a 2 out of 3 falls match
Mil Muertes vs the Mack in a death match
Johnny Mundo vs Matanza Cueto
Pentagon Dark vs Marty the Moth Martinez in a Cero Miedo match for the Lucha Underground Championship

Thoughts

This was a good show but didn’t feel as great as some of past Ultima Lucha shows.

I’m conflicted about the Taya match. Having a four minute one sided match makes sense from the standpoint that Ricky didn’t suddenly become a feared Lucha Underground opponent because he had the doll around. The doll didn’t make him stronger, it just made him do things he wouldn’t have had the courage to do prior, so it logical Taya would not have too big of a problem beating him. It’s just also an underwhelming situation for an Ultima Lucha match. The story is definitely not ending here – not when we already know there’s a vignette with Taya and Rosa to come – but I like bigger matches for Ultima Lucha.

(I don’t think I get a vote, but I vote “don’t include any vignettes from Ultima Lucha 5 in the season 5 trailer”, should that be that a possibility. It’d be a lot more fun next week if I didn’t know I was getting something with Taya and the doll or the others ones I won’t mention, and it doesn’t really help anyone to have a season to anticipate Daga with a sword. For a promotionally legally concerned about giving away the in-ring results of what they’re taping, I wish they would be more concerned with not giving away the out of the ring results as well.)

The trios match was good action while it lasted, but the trios titles matches on Ultima Lucha seem to get the short straw. This was no different, feeling so edited that even I could notice it. Sammy Guevera made an impression in the short time he was actually on this series this year. The rest of this was character building for characters I have no idea if we’ll see again next season. It was at least interesting that the trios titles ended up with the Reptile Tribe, since Jeremiah Crane/Snake was definitely someone who wanted off this show before taping started and now appears to be locked in. I guess they can change trios champions again.

Killshot/Son of Havoc was a match I appreciated more for the effort then strongly liked. It’s rated as Great because I’d feel foolish putting it any lower, but it’s not one of my favorites. It’s strange to me: I’ve liked Killshot in the last couple of seasons, I really liked Shane Strickland seeing him live in between Season 3 and Season 4, and yet what he’s been doing this season hasn’t appealed to me nearly as much. The slowed down style seems fine in person but hasn’t come across as well to me on this show. When I find a few more hours, I’m going to have go thru some MLW shows or somewhere to see if it’s just the Lucha Underground presentation or something that’s not connecting with me elsewhere, or if it’s just as simple as the mask match drama being minimized when the finish is well known. This match had some impressive spots and the big kicks outs needed in a big match. It seemed not to have a lot in between at times, leaning heavily into setting the next spot up. This wasn’t as cold as last season’s ladder match with Pentagon & Son of Havoc, but the Killshot/Marty and Killshot/Fox matches from last season. I’m being tough on a match that I thought was good, and it’s more about how high a bar they’ve set.

this was a very suplex-y show, even with no Matanza

Lucha Underground 4×20: Seven to Survive

Aerostar

Matches

Jake Strong won a Seven to Survive match to become Gift of the Gods champion (33:02, good)

02:30 Dante Fox backslide Hernandez
07:15 Jake Strong anklelock PJ Black
13:10 Aerostar plancha from the top of a pallet Big Bad Steve
17:04 Jake Strong anklelock Aerostar
28:51 Dante Fox Foxcatcher King Cuerno
33:02 Jake Strong anklelock Dante Fox

Status Check

Champion: Marty the Moth (1 defense)

Gift of the Gods: Jake Strong (0 defenses)

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (2 defenses)

Died This Season (15): 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), Jack Evans (sacrificed)

Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

Dante didn’t get a lot of help being caught tonight

One match does not make a busy episode. It may have been an important one.

Jake Strong continued his dominance, remaining undefeated and winning the Gift of the Gods championship. Dante Fox came the closest to winning but lost to the anklelock. Both Fox and PJ Black had their ankles snapped by Strong. He tried to snap Aerostar’s as well, only for Cuerno to make the save. Cuerno helped Aerostar away from the ring as well, hinting at some friendship between them.

That would play into the other vignette of the night. Johnny Mundo, training on the rooftop for his match with Matanza as you do, when he was interrupted by a visitor. Aerostar told Mundo he stood no chance fighting Matanza on his own. Mundo felt he had no choice but to do so. Anyway, Aerostar wasn’t going to be a lot of help given how he got beat tonight. Aerostar wasn’t talking about himself and signaled for a friend – Drago flying in with the Gauntlet. Mundo wasn’t interested in either Drago or the gauntlet. They intimidated him into trying it on anyway, and Mundo immediately felt “like a god.” Mundo seemed thrilled with the new power. Both Drago & time traveler Aerostar seemed unsure if this was a good idea but also seemed like they had no choice.

It was left unsaid how the gauntlet got from King Cuerno’s hands to Aerostar & Drago. However, King Cuerno did hint at Aerostar hiding the gauntlet way back in episode 2.

Note that PJ Black getting his ankle snapped would seem to take him out of being involved in either Taya or Mundo’s matches in the next two weeks. Also, from a timing point of view, Matt Striker made a point to state that the “title shot must be asked for and announced in advance” concept has been permanently dropped from the Gift of the Gods championship. Strong can cash in with no advance notice, as Marty did to Pentagon Dark and Pentagon Dark did prior to Prince Puma.

Ultima Lucha 4/Remaining Matches

just doing Dante and Aero GIFs today

4×21 (Ultima Lucha 4 week 1/Halloween)
three way trios title match
Taya Mundo vs Ricky Mundo
Son of Havoc vs Killshot in a mask versus mask match

4×22 (Ultima Lucha 4 week 2/two hour special)
Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Fenix in a 2 out of 3 falls match
Mil Muertes vs the Mack in a death match
Johnny Mundo vs Matanza Cueto
Pentagon Dark vs Marty the Moth Martinez in a Cero Miedo match for the Lucha Underground Championship

Thoughts

This had one match. I thought the match was alert. I thought other show long matches were better. Even though this one had seven people, it felt more obvious they were stalling it out to make it the full hour. King Cuerno just standing and waiting for Dante Fox & Jake Strong to stop selling was designed to fit with his character, but also came across like they were trying to find a way to kill 90 seconds. It worked to get some people moreover – Steve got more of a reaction for the series of wrench spots than the much cooler stuff he’s done – but it was disappointing as a match. Multimen matches work better when they take advantage of having so many people. What this was instead was a series of moderately paced singles matches.

Dante really wasn’t getting much help getting caught

The Aerostar dive spot was great. Dante Fox looked great, even when he was killing himself again. The show opening up with clips of the Hell of War reminded me of how much momentum he had at that time. He took advantage of the new set as much as anyone has all season, and the crowd was immediately back behind him. The same crowd hated the idea of Strong beating him when it was teased early, and when it became obvious it was going to happen later. I guess the good news is the strong push of Strong has turned him into a heel that people are very into booing; I just don’t know if they’ll stick around to hope he gets beat.

Getting the gauntlet back into circulation is quietly a big deal. If you’re a person who was still watching after three seasons, there’s a good chance you had some interest in figuring out what the Order was about, what the Seven Tribes were out, what happened with that gauntlet. All that stuff has been mostly dropped this season, maybe because they couldn’t literally afford to follow up on it. Lucha Underground at it’s best was a great wrestling show that had some weird sci-fi mythology to it, and it’s had less of both of those this season. Catrina being killed off in a green screen deal didn’t live up to the heights of Cage splattering some guy’s head. Fixing the wrestling might be as ‘simple’ as getting visas started soon and settling on a roster, but there’s other things that need fixing.

Lucha Underground 4×19: Savagery

Jake Strong embraces the spirit of Lucha Underground

Matches

Jake Strong won a Gift of the Gods seven-man battle royal (3:07, ok)
0:56 Big Bad Steve OUT (via Aerostar)
1:12 Hernandez OUT (PJ Black & King Cuerno)
1:51 PJ Black & King Cuerno OUT (Jake Strong
2:09 Aerostar OUT (Jake Strong)
3:07 Dante Fox OUT (Jake Strong)

Willie Mack beat Killshot
(2:57, n/r, DQ for Mil running in)

Jake Strong beat Johnny Mundo
(13:05, ankle lock, good)

Status Check

Champion: Marty the Moth (1 defense)
Gift of the Gods: will be one of Jake Strong, Big Bad Steve, Hernandez, PJ Black, King Cuerno, Aerostar, and Dante Fox
Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (2 defenses)
Died This Season (15): 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), Jack Evans (sacrificed)
Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

these two are destined to do headscissors spot together forever

With all the major players accounted for on Ultima Lucha already, Lucha Underground focused on the one person they’ve been treating like a big deal who has nothing to do: Jake Strong. Strong got two matches, two wins, and one vignette. We learned Strong didn’t want to be handed a title opportunity but was fine with being handed a Medalion. (Antonio awarded picked all 7 Medalion holders, as Dario has done for select people in the past.) We learned Strong is so determined to prove himself that he made a dumb decision not to eliminate anyone from a match. We learned he may be working with the Cuetos to soften up Johnny Mundo before the Ultima Lucha match. And we learned Strong may be demonically possessed, based on the weird way his voice changed while talking to Cueto.

Antonio announced the Aztec Medalions would work a lot like the last cycle. There was a surprise battle royal, where the winner would get to eliminate someone before next week. Dante Fox made his first appearance in the battle royal. The announcers noted Fox had been missing. There was no explanation of where he’d been on this show. Fox did make it the longest before being thrown out by Strong. After Strong refused to eliminate anyone – he wanted to prove he deserved the shot by beating everyone – Antonio announced next week’s match would be a seven-way elimination match. That seemed to render this week’s match completely moot, though it did inspire Antonio to give Strong more of a challenge by putting him against Johnny Mundo in the main event.

there was no point to this but it was kind of cool

Mundo battled Strong for a while, coming close to winning a couple times. He also seemed intimated by Strong during the match, and desperate in moments. The announcers suggested Mundo wasn’t 100% from the wedding attack, which is the closest thing he got to an out for losing clean. Strong went to break Mundo’s ankle after the match, only to be surprisingly confronted by Matanza. Matanza and Strong were going to have their own face off, only for Strong to back off, leaving Matanza to his Ultima Lucha opponent. There was a suggestion here that Strong & Matanza were working together, though that wasn’t really set up in the vignette of Strong & Antonio that started the show. At any rate, Matanza bashed and bloodied Johnny, and took out Taya when she tried to make the save.

One more Ultima Lucha match was made, though not exactly how it was expected. Ivelisse & XO Liscious had a rare in-ring promo, something that clearly would’ve been a vignette in past seasons. They explained there was a challenge for the Reptile Tribe to defend the trios titles against the Rabbit Tribe and Ivelisse/Liscious/Joey Ryan, only Ryan was injured by the White Rabbit’s mandible claw and he won’t be back in time for the match. They introduced their replacement partner: the returning Sammy Guevera. Guevera didn’t get anywhere before Famous B interrupted, having suffered no ill effects from last week’s beating. B pointed out that Guevara had signed a contract Infamous Inc – an inescapable seven-year contract, wink wink. The only way Guevera would be competing in a trios match at Ultima Lucha is on a Famous B team. (Famous offered to get Texano & Wagner pulled off a Tijuana house show to help out.) Guevera threw the contract in the trash, threw the trash on Famous B, and then superkicked Famous B. Those seven-year contracts don’t seem as binding as hyped.

The only other piece of business was not a long one. Old friends The Mack & Killshot had a one on one match. As long as it lasted, the ideas were The Mack was going into the Mil Muertes match more focused than ever, and Son of Havoc was doing the same sort of watching from a sniper perch that Killshot has been known to do. It didn’t last long, with Mil Muertes attacking The Mack and laying out of Havoc when he tried to make the save.

Ultima Lucha 4/Remaining Matches

4×20 (next week):
7 way elimination match for the Gift of the Gods
(Perhaps other matches, but they haven’t done the “one match, one hour” episode yet this season, and there’s not much else left to do.)

4×21 (Ultima Lucha 4 week 1/Halloween)
three way trios title match
Taya Mundo vs Ricky Mundo
Son of Havoc vs Killshot in a mask versus mask match

4×22 (Ultima Lucha 4 week 2/two hour special)
Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Fenix in a 2 out of 3 falls match
Mil Muertes vs the Mack in a death match
Johnny Mundo vs Matanza Cueto
Pentagon Dark vs Marty the Moth Martinez in a Cero Miedo match for the Lucha Underground Championship

Thoughts

good they have a bigger ring than most indies

Jack Strong/Johnny Mundo was Strong’s best match on the show. It still was missing something. Strong plays a vicious character, breaking people’s ankles regularly. Matanza seemed so much more dangerous in the minute he was beating up Mundo, even beyond the blood. Strong throwing Mundo around looked impressive, and Mundo showing fear towards him helped his character, but it still left me thinking about how I’d be a little more interested in seeing Mundo/Muertes again. Neither Strong nor Mundo are visually that much different than their WWE incarnations, but Mundo feels distanced from it and Strong still feels right of WWE TV. Wherever they’re going with that demonic voice, I wish they had started it a lot sooner and paid it off this season.

The rest of the show really wasn’t much. It’s nice they came up with an explanation for Sammy Guevera on the team (and I’d rather see him than Joey Ryan), but that skit felt like something the Lucha Underground of the last 3 seasons wouldn’t have done. Not the 7-year contract part – Son of Havoc used the same reference way back in episode 3! – but it would’ve been a cool vignette. The Mack versus Killshot made a lot of narrative sense as a match, though I couldn’t figure out how they were going to get an ending until they just didn’t have one. I guess, in a 2018 meta way, having a bad finish there made me surprised when they just ended the main event clean. The battle royal was better than the last time they did it, but utterly pointless by the outcome (outside of the fun Aerostar/Steve spots, I guess.)

Lucha Underground 4×18: “Spiders and Skeletons”

so you wanna fight Pentagon Dark?

Matches

Matanza beat Taya by disqualification
(2:35, Johnny interference, ok)

Fenix & Mil Muertes beat Willie the Mack & Dragon Azecta Jr. in tornado tag match
(9:41, Fenix Black Fire Driver Dragon Azteca + Mil Muertes Flatliner Mack, great)

Ricky Mundo beat Famous B
(1:34, reverse neckbreaker facesmash, n/r)

Pentagon Dark beat Reklusa
(9:46, package piledriver, great)

Status Check

Taya-sault

Champion: Marty the Moth (1 defense)

Gift of the Gods: Vacant.

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (2 defenses)

Died This Season (15): 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), Jack Evans (sacrificed)

Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

There were two really great superkick spots in this match. You’ll have to find the second one yourself.

Lucha Underground tends to heat up leading up into Ultima Lucha. This show nearly ended up on fire.

Reklusa got one of the toughest possible in-ring debuts, facing off against an angry Pentagon Dark. Reklusa attacked early and had some moments, but the match was more notable for the tremendous amount of punishment she took from Pentagon Dark and kept going. Reklusa seemed to have an incredible durability to keep on kicking on here, though Vampiro saw more as a failing on Pentagon’s part to put her away because he was focusing too much on the fans. (The Vampiro/Pentagon stuff has gotten played up more recently.) It was actually Reklusa who paid for interacting with the crowd, with a Cero Miedo hand signal allowing Pentagon to slip in a backcracker. The running package piledriver finally put down the spider.

Pentagon Dark teased breaking Reklusa’s arm, then changed his mind. He instead found a bag of thumbtacks from underneath the win, threatning to throw the (barely covered) Reklusa onto them. Marty Martinez made the save with a barbed wire bat, eventually cutting both Pentagon and himself with the bared wire. That wasn’t all. Reklusa retrieved some gasoline from under the ring. Marty produced a lighter. He teased lighting Pentagon on fire, only to blow out the flame just as the show ended. It was a very direct reference to Pentagon doing the same with Vampiro before their own Cero Miedo match three seasons ago.

Other issues were heating up leading to Ultima Lucha. A furious Taya returned, demanding Antonio Cueto give her Matanza so she could have revenge for her wedding be destroyed. Taya also noticed Matanza sacrificed Joey Wrestling and Jack Evans in the meantime. (Striker had a scripted point about no one having seen the sacrificed people, suggesting they’re missing but not necessarily dead.) Taya for her match and a good 30 seconds of revenge before Matanza imposed her will. Taya rallied back enough to get a near fall on a moonsault. Matanza kicked out at two and seemed about to finish things with a Wrath of the Gods when Johnny Mundo revealed he’d also returned from his wedding-related injuries. Mundo surprised Matanza, put him down with the Fin de Mundo, and challenged the monster for Ultima Lucha 4.

evil really lets you do a lot of cool springboards

That wasn’t the only match set up for Ultima Lucha 4 and wasn’t the end of the post-wedding returns. Famous B appeared. He had rehabbed so hard, he was back in shape for a match. He drew the equally returning Ricky Mundo, who squashed Famous B more than Matanza squashed Taya. Ricky followed up by revealing he was the one who unleashed Matanza to break up the wedding. Ricky is sure he’ll get Johnny’s attention if Taya is no longer around, so Ricky challenged Taya for a match at Ultima Lucha. Ricky showed how far he’d go by putting Brenda in a crossface, unproven. (Big Bad Steve was namedropped but not seen.)

The only other match was an Ultima Lucha 4 preview of matches we already knew. Fenix & Mil Muertes made an unlikely team against Dragon Azteca Jr. & Willie Mack. They were also a successful team. Vampiro insisted Azteca & Mack were no challenge for Fenix & Muertes. The match made him look absolutely correct. They put up a good fight, but they were pinned at the same time by their rivals at the end. Fenix & Mil Muertes had tension at time, but worked well as a team.

Ultima Lucha 4

  • Johnny Mundo vs Matanza Cueto
  • Son of Havoc vs Killshot in a mask versus mask match
  • Pentagon Dark vs Marty the Moth Martinez in a Cero Miedo match for the Lucha Underground Championship
  • Mil Muertes vs the Mack in a Death Match
  • Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Fenix in a 2 our 3 falls match
  • Taya vs Ricky Mundo

Thoughts

the cameraman keeps rolling

Two really strong episodes of Lucha Underground in a row, what a world. People who are turned off by man versus woman violence may want to skip most of this episode, but I also can’t imagine you’re still watching this show if that’s enough to make you turn away.

The main event, on paper, is all the problems with intergender matches in one neat package. Pentagon Dark, the face in the feud, beats up a smaller (in weight if not height) Reklusa in violent fashion for a long period of time. It worked because this crowd is rabid for Pentagon, just insanely into anything he does, and he’s just impervious for things that might get a negative reaction for others. Reklusa got over for surviving and for looking good on offense when she could get it in. She gained much more for the epic performance than she did by taking the loss, especially given how much it took to finally beat her. There’s possibly an argument Pentagon gave up too much here, considering the lesser amount it’s taken to beat others, but it’s much harder to argue it’ll hurt Pentagon at all. Nothing seems to hurt him. The ending bit is a direct reference to the last Cero Miedo match was nicely done, especially since they left the viewers to figure it out.

Mil Muertes is not to be messed with

There was a lot less story going on in the tag match. It still was pretty good. The action was nonstop. Dragon Azteca & Willie Mack did better in the body of the match than they were presented at the end. It’s questionable to build up Ultima Lucha matches by making them look like mismatches. (They went strongly the other way by presenting a new more serious Ricky Mundo later.) It was just a lot of fun anyway.

The other two matches were about piece moving for Ultima Lucha. It was going to take someone Johnny Mundo level to finally be a threat to Matanza, but they gave Taya her moment beforehand. Ricky Mundo versus Taya is a weird Ultima Lucha match if you think about where those characters were even a season ago, but it’s also one that I’m sure they’ll find a way to make work.

With only 3 hours of Ultima Lucha this year, the lineup looks pretty close to full. There’s obviously something left to be resolved with the Rabbit Tribe. The Gift of the Gods belt is still out there. There’s only two episodes late, so there’s a ton of Medallion matches coming or something else is up. Maybe Jake Strong figures in that because they’ve spent a lot of time on him to leave him out. There’s a few more people – Cage & Cuerno come to mind – who are without spots even with a 1/3rd of the roster killed off. I’m more curious about the plots that were big deals in season 3 and unmentioned in season 4, and if they’ll show up once again. We haven’t heard a word about The Order since episode 1, and the gauntlet hasn’t been mentioned since soon after (though we know there’s at least one more vignette on that to come.) The matches are not a mystery, but the existence of the old mysteries are mysteries in themselves.

Four episodes to go.

Lucha Underground 4×17: “The Moth and The Butterfly”

sibling issues

Matches

Paul London, el Bunny, the White Rabbit [O] b Joey Ryan [X], Ivelisse, Xo Lishus (6:21, Down The Rabbit Hole mandible claw, ok)

Son of Havoc beat Killshot (6:36, Havoc blocked casita, good)

Marty the Moth Martines beat Mariposa to keep the Lucha Underground Championship in a no DQ match (9:11, package piledriver, great)

Status Check

Champion: Marty the Moth (1 defense)
Gift of the Gods: Vacant.
Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (2 defenses)
Died This Season (15): 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), Jack Evans (sacrificed)
Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

two for one

Last week was the first mention of Ultima Lucha 4. This was the week where it became center of the Lucha Underground universe. Marty the Moth won the Lucha Underground championship two weeks ago. This was the week where they made him into a threat.

New champion Marty has a new look. The Azteca Pride shirt is gone, with a moth cape replacing him. Reklusa – named as such here – seconded him during a promo and spent his match crawling along the apron. Marty, when he wasn’t drowned out by Cero Miedo chants, declared he was getting revenge on all who had wronged him. This included the first, and likely only, mention of Sexy Star this season: Marty claimed Reklusa had been stalking Sexy Star for a year (all those spiders) and beat Star up outside her house so bad that only Sexy Star’s mask remained. Marty said he was thankful for Mariposa strongly encouraging him to get back on his feet after getting his arm broken by Pentagon Dark and wanted to reward his “beautiful sister” by giving her a title shot. This actually seemed more like Marty getting revenge what Mariposa has done to him in the past, like helping get his hair cut last season. (Marty getting revenge on Melissa was teased but moved on from quickly.) It was the exact crazy & brutal match you’d expect from these characters. Mariposa made a chair assisted rally, but Reklusa broke up a Butterfly Effect attempt (match was made No DQ) and Marty made the 0M sign before winning with a package piledriver. As a further message to the next person he wanted revenge on, Pentagon Dark, Marty challenged him to a Cero Miedo match and broke his sister’s arm in Pentagon fashion. Pentagon ran Marty off and accepted the stipulation.

Of special note – enough that there was an obvious commentary redub here – Matt Striker brought up that Vampiro has not wrestled since the last Cero Miedo match and Vampiro implied he was still hurting from that match. That was a fairly obvious indicator Vamp’s going to be more than a guy sitting at a desk sometime soon.

It wasn’t the only one very obvious indicator of a reactivated character. The introductions to the Killshot versus Son of Havoc included the first mentions of Dante Fox since the opening episode. The context here was “maybe Dante Fox was right and Killshot was a non-team-player jerk all along” but the message seemed to be “expect to see Dante Fox again.” Havoc took a back and forth match by blocking a casita into a cradle of his own, though that in no way stopped Killshot from continuing to fight. Killshot used his own dog tags – the ones he cared so deeply about to fight Marty a season ago – as objects to load up his punches to Havoc after the match. Killshot unmasked Havoc, which gave Antonio Cueto an idea: a mask versus mask between the two at Ultima Lucha. The big concept is the masks represent who these men have become, but they also obscure who these men were – and so whoever’s exposed may have a lot of angry people from their past coming after them. (Then again, being masked sure didn’t stop Killshot from being tracked down by Dante. Guess not everyone is Dante Fox.)

The other two segments set up things for the future, though less clear endpoints. The Rabbit Tribe 2.0 debuted with a win over Joey Ryan and company. As set up last week, Ryan was the target of The White Rabbit. The White Rabbit did not even tag in until they were left one on one, brushed off Ryan’s superkicks, tossed him with a suplex, put on a white glove, and easily finished Ryan with a mandible claw (Down the Rabbit Hole.) The white glove was left bloody and Ryan convoluted on the mat.

Melissa caught up with Aerostar; Drago being the one with who’s ankle was broken last week has allowed Aerostar to be around to explain this plot. Aerostar believes Fenix’s life essence was mixed with Catrina’s dark aura, and Fenix still has that bit Catrina stuck in him. Melissa asked if there was a solution. Aerostar did not believe so, saying he’d been in the end and saw nothing. Melissa asked him which end and Aerostar clarified “the end of everything.” A character talking about the end of everything with this series always feels like it could have some extra meaning.

Ultima Lucha 4

a preview of things to come?

(officially a two-week show, encompassing episodes 21 and 22)

  • Mil Muertes vs the Mack in a Death Match
  • Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Fenix, two out of three falls
  • Pentagon Dark vs Marty the Moth Martinez (c) for the Lucha Underground Championship in a Cero Miedo match
  • Killshot vs Son of Havoc, mask vs mask

Thoughts

they moved that table a bunch with her head (or shoulder)

This was a much-improved episode over recent weeks. Everything had a purpose and accomplished it well. If only it came about ten episodes sooner.

The opening trios was the best example of that. It was a strong introduction to the new Rabbit Tribe, with white-face-painted Paul London changing his style, El Bunny looking impressive and The White Tribe being treated like a monster on the finish. The match itself was more coherent than the last week’s one; there was a story they were trying to tell and they did well with it. The problem is, they did an introduction with six episodes left. Maybe we’ll get one or two more Rabbit Tribe matches – though it wasn’t even clear against who – and this feels like something that won’t have the space to go anywhere until next season. If/when there is a next season.

Killshot/Son Of Havoc was an improvement over Killshot/Big Bad Steve. Killshot’s new methodical targeted style plays better off a guy who speeds it up when he has the chance. It felt like the first match of a feud, where a fluke roll-up reversal finishes but doesn’t really end it. The mask match is coming at the right time from the storytelling aspect – they’ve been feuding from episode 1! – but it feels like they could do more in the ring if they had the time. Maybe we’ll also get one more match from them.

Mariposa/Marty was the right match at the right time. It didn’t seem like it’d be a great idea from the start, because Mariposa hasn’t been a sympathetic character and isn’t so much smaller than Marty that she automatically seems like one in this situation. Getting blood early helped a lot to give a rooting interest, and Marty looking so dominant in a brutal match worked well too. Mariposa burying Marty under an ending streaming of chairs was a great moment. They got the emotion along with the wrestling in this match and it made a big difference. Marty probably should be winning cleanly over someone who almost never wins on this show, but I guess they needed to establish a reason for Reklusa to exist. Marty using the package piledriver and breaking Mariposa’s arm put the attention back on him, and that helped in the end. Marty’s history of big Lucha Underground matches says Cero Miedo is probably going to a spectacle, and they’ve done the right thing to make people care about it by making Pentagon the challenger.

Lucha Underground 4×16: Kill Mil

i get the same sense of dread watching this

Matches

Matanza beat Jack Evans
(1:23, Wrath of the Gods, n/r)

Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Crane (c) beat Joey Ryan, Ivelisse, XO Lishus to keep the Lucha Underground Trios Championship
(5:23, Daga submit Joey Ryan, ok)

Drago & Aerostar vs Jack Swagger in a nunchuck match
Jake Strong b Drago & Aerostar
(8:27, anklelock on Drago, ok)

Pentagon Dark beat Mil Muertes, Dragon Azteca, King Cuerno to earn a Lucha Underground championship match at Ultima Lucha 4
(5:10, Mexican Destroyer on Mil Muertes ok)

Status Check

Aerostar doing Aerostar things

Champion: Marty the Moth (0 defenses)

Gift of the Gods: Vacant.

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (2 defenses)

Died This Season (15): 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), Jack Evans

Resurrected (2): Jeremiah Crane/Snake, Fenix

Developments

insert snarky caption about this show

Pentagon Dark earned himself a Lucha Underground championship match at Ultima Lucha by winning a four-way match. He beat Mil Muertes, who had already taken two stunners from the returning The Mack. Mack hung around to challenge Muertes to a death match at Ultima Lucha 4, declaring he was no longer scared of Muertes. Dragon Azteca Jr. was also in the match but got into a fight with Fenix after the zombie grabbed Melissa again. King Cuerno also participated. Marty will appear on the next episode to talk about this match.

The four-way match itself was set up by a long and verbose Antonio Cueto letter, which seemed peculiar. Antonio Cueto was around and could’ve just set up the match himself. He did set up one later. When Jack Evans complains about XO Lishus being allowed in the Temple including an aside about how Jack would’ve taken care of Matanza if he was at the wedding, Cueto gave Jack a chance for it to happen tonight. Jack tried to run from Matanza, but could not escape. He could land the 630 senton, but couldn’t put away Matanza and was the latest sacrifice. These wins are progressively becoming more competitive for Matanza once again, though this still lasted less than two minutes.

The trios title match did include a brief reference to the Ivelisse/Crane issue. (It happened in the midst of a long bit of redone Matt Striker audio where Vamprio was not heard – given what they leave in of Vampiro, what could they possibly be taking out?) The story that really overshadowed the match was the arrival of Rabbit Tribe 2.0. We’ve been introduced to El Bunny and The White Rabbit in those vignettes, but this was the first time the crowd saw them. They stayed out of the match, with London & Bunny attacking the losing challengers after the match. The White Rabbit seemed to inform Joey Ryan that he would be their first target.

Jake Strong overcame two on one offense, mist, and lots of nunchucks to submit Aerostar. Drago attacked afterward and got his ankle broken.

Última Lucha 4 lineup so far

Kobra Moon and KeMonito have a lot of the same offense

Official

  • Pentagon Dark vs Marty the Moth (c) for the Lucha Underground Championship
  • the Mack vs Mil Muertes in a death match

Likely (or in the preceding few episodes)

  • Fenix vs Dragon Azteca Jr.
  • Killshot vs Son of Havoc
  • a Gift of the Gods match
  • Something with the Snake Tribe & the Rabbit Tribe and/or Joey Ryan

Thoughts

Dragon Azteca has had enough of this announcing

Another episode where none of the matches were great – the trios title was closest to being good, though it never got to a high gear. Most everything was short shifted, with the promise that eventually we’ll get blowoff matches and this will all be worth it. I don’t know.

In a situation where anyone beyond the most diehard Lucha Underground fans was still watching this show, people would be up in arms about how Drago & Aerostar were booked on this show. On this season, really: Drago got to be a slave for a while, got to do nothing to free himself, said he was leaving for a while, came back one week later, and engaged in a feud with Jake Strong that ended with Drago’s ankle getting broken. Aerostar should’ve let Drago remain a slave, Drago would be a trios champion with two working feet right now.

This match made Jake Strong look like his last name, which is really good if you care about Jake Strong at all. I do not. He’s just a guy who wins a lot with a mild catchphrase, just about the same character development than Big Bad Steve has gotten. He’s probably been disadvantage greatly because Lucha Underground just isn’t doing many vignettes this year (remember when Kobra Moon got a jewelry thief intro that’s gone nowhere?) but he’s just really being presented as Jack Swagger with a new name. If you didn’t care about Jake Swagger already and weren’t sympathetic to his lack of opportunity in WWE, he’s just a guy who wins a whole lot. Jake Swagger doesn’t fit the Lucha Underground mold, and it was going to take some work to convince viewers that he belongs. They’ve done none of the work.

It’s not even like the flipping the result would’ve been better. Aerostar & Drago doing everything they could to just barely beat Strong would not have looked much better. It still would’ve been demoting cult favorites to enhancement talent level. They were aware enough about how this finish would look to make sure to give Aerostar & Drago many big spots, but it had the effect of Aerostar & Drago doing everything they could do and still losing totally clean.

LU really awkwardly put together the Joey Ryan/XO Lishus/Ivelisse trio to have them lose in their first match and then get destroyed. Joey Ryan getting targeted by the new Rabbit Tribe looks like a direction past that. The show has done a little work on Ryan’s técnico turn, but it’s an odd one of the three to pick. El Bunny looked good.

I’ll miss Jack Evans. He didn’t have as much bad luck as Angelico, but it wasn’t far off. He got himself over without every really winning all that much. He was great at light comedy on a show that tends to take itself very seriously. I tend to believe all these sacrifices are going to be reversed, and maybe he’ll reverse his own beliefs on coming back for another season.

The main event was billed as a dream match, a PPV quality match, that went about five minutes of TV time. About one minute of that was on Fenix/Azteca and Mack/Muertes. It didn’t quite become a PPV match. The usage of King Cuerno this season remains bizarre. Mack/Muertes seemed pretty definitely over last time. Mack being scared didn’t seem to play into the result. The fans seemed really into Mack so it’ll be fine, but this didn’t feel like the direction they were headed after that cage match. The idea of a deathmatch meaning something important and unique in a season where 1/3rd of the roster has been killed off (and some have come back to life) is an even tougher sell.

Lucha Underground 4×15: The Hunted

nastier than a tweet

Matches

Fenix beat Aerostar
(6:16, Fenix Valagueza powerbomb – Black Fire Driver, good)

Marty the Moth beat Dragon Azteca Jr. (c) beat to win the Gift of the Gods Championship
(4:47, double underhook DDT, ok)

Pentagon Dark defeated Mil Muertes and King Cuerno to keep the Lucha Underground Championship
(6:01, package piledriver, good)

Marty Martinez defeated Pentagon Dark to keep the Lucha Underground Championship
(3:33, double underhook DDT package piledriver, ok)

Status Check

Horuz over the top

Champion: Marty the Moth (0 defenses)

Gift of the Gods: Vacant.

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (1 defense)

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

this seemed not fun

This has been a pretty pitiful season for Marty the Moth Martinez. Pentagon broke his arm in Aztec Warfare to start the season. Marty’s only been seen in two vignettes in the thirteen episodes since that time. It turned around in one show. Marty had the greatest night of his career, ending it as Lucha Underground champion.

It helps to have things break your way. Marty got unexpected luck early. Fenix destroyed Aerostar and confronted Melissa post-match. Dragon Azteca decided to get in the middle and paid for it. Fenix ended up dropping him on the floor with his valagueza powerbomb – dubbed the Black Fire Driver by Matt Striker – and Azteca was really in no condition to defend his title.

Azteca insisted on doing it anyway, especially when Antonio Cueto said he was going to just rule it as a forfeit. Azteca put up a fight and got in one moment of hope, but eventually lost cleanly to Marty’s double underhook DDT.

how dumb are you King Cuerno

Pentagon Dark survived the double challenge of Mil Muerte and King Cuerno to keep his title, only to be immediately attacked. The strange amount of time remaining gave a hint as to what was happening next. Antonio Cueto appeared to state Marty persuaded him that the “one week notice” rule on the Gift of the Gods championship was a dumb idea, and he was waving it going forward. (This was the other thing Marty bought last week.) Cueto ordered the match started with Marty against a beat up Pentagon.

Marty had control most of the short match, but Pentagon caught him with the Mexican Destroyer. Marty smartly rolled out before he could be pinned. Marty also apparently made his own luck: a previously unseen woman crawled into the ring and surprised Pentagon with a Canadian Destroyer. (It’s Chelesa Green, who was not given a name.) Marty hit his double underhook DDT, and shockingly ended Pentagon’s reign.

Small detail: this week, Striker acknowledged Mil Muertes was on his own. He did while seemingly going out of this way to not mention Catrina by name.

In the only unrelated segment of the night, Paul London was granted an audience with the White Rabbit. London noted how long it took to get noticed and mentioned sacrificing Saltador & Mala Surete. The White Rabbit paid no attention to any of that, only noting London was down two teammates and suggesting himself and El Bunny fill in. London agreed to take them back to the Temple.

Marty’s cash-in means the Gift of the Gods title is now vacant. The usual end of season Medalion scramble should begin shortly. We should also expect to start hearing matches for Ultima Lucha 4 (just 6 episodes away) at any time. It sure appeared a couple were set up on this show.

Thoughts

Aerostar flies

This episode was all in service of telling the story of Marty scheming his way to a championship. The matches were a bit sacrificed to tell that story. They’re always shortchanged on a four-match show. They were designed not to be much in two of them, with similar “the champion is too hurt to put up a challenge” stories being told. It worked if you got into the Marty win, and it came so out of nowhere (even with the pieces laid out last week) that it was memorable. I’m not sure I’m excited about a Marty title run, but it’s understandable they’d want to give it a try after his strong work in his feud with Fenix and Killshot last season. It just also feels part of the erratic nature of this season for someone to be gone for two-thirds of it and end up as champion.

Dark Fenix, as we’re no doubt supposed to think of him, really stood out in his match with Aerostar. I’m still not convinced that a rudo Fenix is the best use of him, but he’s really good at the sinister zombie act he’s doing, and it does freshen him up after basically being the same character for the entire run so far. (There’s few characters from the initial run of episodes who haven’t been changed or disappeared for a stretch.) Fenix & Aerostar probably could’ve done much more given the time, but they made the most out of what they had and the bigger match is the one with Azteca.

not nice to meet you

Mil/Cuerno/Pentagon took the hardest hit from the storyline requirements. Marty/Azteca could’ve been better, but those three guys are among the best luchadors who’ve been on the promotion and it felt too hurried to be a big-time match. It was reminiscent of the Cage & Matanza matches that didn’t quite live up to their potential.

The other two matches weren’t much. Pentagon got more offense, though both shared the same couple of hope spots by the champions before they got beat. Marty got a little more help with Pentagon – Penta is historically weak to women doing Canadian Destroyers – but they were notable for the outcome and not a lot that happened in them.

Lucha Underground 4×14: Pet Cemetery

DDTs for everyone

Matches

Dragon Azteca Jr. (c) beat Ivelisse to keep the Gift of the Gods Championship
third defense
(7:12, legdrop, good)

Mil Muertes went to a draw with King Cuerno in a #1 contenders match
(5:09, DDQ, ok)

Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake (c) beat Fenix, Drago, Aerostar to keep the Lucha Underground Trios Championship
first defense
(9:12, Crane double underhook shoulderbreaker Aerostar, good)

Status Check

Champion: Pentagon Dark (5 defenses)

Gift of the Gods: Dragon Azteca (3 defenses)

Trios Champions: Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Jeremiah Snake) (1 defense)

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

all code red

Fenix is back, but he’s not Fenix. The episode title is a nod to a 1989 movie with a similar plot: Fenix has returned to life in an eviler version of himself. He’s not quite one of the murderous characters from that movie, but he does kill his team’s chances of winning the trios championship. Fenix seems particularly upset towards the people who brought him back. Aerostar receives a surprise superkick and the valagueza into a powerbomb that Striker is (also) calling the Fire Driver to set up the loss. Melissa simply is shoved down, though that angers the fans much more. Dragon Azteca Jr. quickly swoops in to take Melissa to safety while Fenix lurches off.

That’s a match coming down the road, though there’s a lot of matches being set up this week. Jake Strong appears before the match to challenge Fenix, Aerostar, and Drago to a 1 v 3 match should they win the titles. They didn’t, but that issue isn’t done. Earlier, Ivelisse tried and failed to win the Gift of the Gods title from Azteca. She still did well enough for XO Lishius to invite her to join a trio with Joey Ryan. That new odd threesome threw out their own challenge for the trios championship.

Finally, King Cuerno was looking for a path to get the match against Pentagon Dark he set up last week. Antonio Cueto appeared ringside to offer him a #1 contenders match. The good news for Cuerno is this was a rare Antonio Cueto in-arena visit which didn’t lead to a Matanza appearance. The bad news is Cuerno got Mil Muertes instead, and the two brawled their way into knocking the referee going down for a draw. Cueto pulled a move from WWE, and made a three-way title match for next week.

There’s one match that wasn’t totally clear. The show ended with the overdue return of Marty the Moth. He visited Antonio, dropping bills on his desk to ask for a Gift of the Gods shot. It was the same amount Mariposa had asked, and Antonio agreed to it. Marty then produced more money for Antonio for one more thing – and that’s where the show ended.

Thoughts

Dragon Azteca Jr. is definitely the luchador most likely to be angry at me if we ever meet in real life

A decent episode. It couldn’t live up to it’s match quality possibilities because two of the matches were compromised by the storylines they needed to set up, but at least there’s a clear match they’re setting from those finishes and those matches will probably be good. If you squint right, you can start to see some Ultima Lucha programs being set up; they’re only 6 more episodes away.

Dragon Azteca and Ivelisse was the only match to get a normal finish, and they built some good drama to that finish. The dive into the rail was a surprise was of setting up some big near falls, and Ivelisse’s Code Red (perfect name with her new look) and the DDT earlier looked great. It was strange to see Azteca win with a legdrop he’s never won before, but it didn’t take away from the match. The fans didn’t seem as in to Ivelisse as they’ve been in the past. They were quiet in general on the show, but it was a sign about how much momentum the injuries have cost her.

this is an easy dive for Aerostar

Didn’t like the Muertes/Cuerno match as much, because it was such a weak out in a promotion where a lot has been let go lately. Marty is the toughest referee to recover so quickly from being knocked down by both men; normally there’d be time for a second referee to show up. What they did was to push the idea of them being equal, which meant just a lot of standing and trading punches in practice. Hopefully, there can be more variety next week.

The trios title match was a good as long it lasted. Kobra Moon sat most of the match out, but her teammates worked well as bases and opponents for the flying challengers. Drago looked great. I had forgotten how good Fenix and Daga were together, as they haven’t had a chance to face each other much even when being in the same places the last couple of years. Fenix played his new character well, doing enough to establish his character and not be all slow pauses while making it abundantly clear that he’s a different guy. I don’t know if turning one of the most popular characters on the show evil is really in the best interest of the show, but I’ll give it a little bit of rope to see if they’re working on a long-term reversal. The match with Dragon Azteca/Fenix should be good. Most of the matches they’re setting up here should be better the matches then they’re doing here.