Lucha Underground has been renewed for a 4th Season on El Rey

Lucha Underground has been renewed for a fourth season on El Rey. The news was announced on Twitter moments ago.

MGM (who produces the show), El Rey (who airs the show) and Lucha Libre FMV (who owns the LU trademarks) had been negotiating on a deal for months. Much like everything else with Lucha Underground, it took a lot longer to get done than anyone was hoping. There was an upcoming deadline for El Rey to renew the show or lose the exclusive rights to it, and it appears that deadline got everyone to agree now rather than risk whatever would’ve been next.

There are expected to be some budget cutbacks. Those are presumed to be coming back in a reduction of the amount and cost of the vignettes based on interviews from people who work on the show, but the exact details are unknown. The idea is they could still do some of those, and try to tell more of the stories in front of the crowd.

There’s a lot of questions left open, and I’m not talking about who Dario was on the phone with:

  • How many episodes will there be? LU has never had a consistent number and no number was announced.
  • When will taping start? LU people have said previously it’ll take about four months to go from green light to taping, which might mean a start date in March 2018. It seems a safe bet the show will continue in LA; there’s been no talk about moving it like there was in previous off seasons. EDIT: A LU press release says “production will start in early 2018.”
  • When will the show start airing? It’s taken between 3 and 6 weeks for post-production on LU in the past, so April is the absolutely earliest LU would be back on the air. It could be latter: El Rey’s strategy is to pair it with other original shows to use LU to promote them, and it may be about when those shows are ready.
  • WHO will be on the show? This is the question that’ll generate the most discussion from now until that first taping. There’s many categories of problems to deal with:
    • People out of contract who are probably not coming back (Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio, Sexy Star, others?)
    • People in contract who do not seem eager to come back (Jeff Cobb’s the name which has come up publicly) – will they have no choice? Will LU do something to make them happy
    • People who were working for AAA but left to work for the Crash (Penta, Fenix, Jack Evans, Daga) or just left (Mascarita Sagrada). LU has said – repeatedly – anyone under contract to is invited back and expected to be part of Season 4. Will AAA try to negotiate that? Will they be able to co-exist with AAA wrestlers and people in charge while being rivals elsewhere?
    • and just the general concept of new people being brought in. How much harder will it be to get US people to sign after the people on the show didn’t get any work for what’s going to be nearly two years? Can LU safely build around people from AAA without worries of visa issues or employment issues that handicapped season 3? LU people would rather deal with these problems than have no show, but it’s going to be a lot of work and some drama to get there.
  • What happens when Season 4 ends? Hope you’re ready to go all thru this again in a year’s time. There’s is part of a larger question – will Lucha Libre FMV be able to generate income out of Lucha Underground in addition the TV show so everyone will be invested in the show continuing? – but there’s nothing indicating a indefinite existence for the show right now. The next contract isn’t guaranteed and there will be another guessing game when this one is done if everything else stays the same. (The one difference is less people might be certain the show is doomed for sure next time around; if LU survived this time, then who knows how long they might keep doing it.)

That roster news will probably start shaking out first. I think there’s people who probably assumed LU was done at this point and may start agitating for a way out of their deal, and maybe even they’ll get it. Taping dates will take a while to come; don’t start worrying about tickets until 2018. I’ll continue to write an obsessive amount of this show in the meantime.

Lucha Underground 3×40: Ultima Lucha Tres – Part IV

he’s amazing

Matches

Matanza defeated El Dragon Azteca (8:27, Wrath of Gods, good)

Mil Muertes defeated Cage & Jeremiah Crane for the gauntlet of the gods

  • Cage Weapon X on Jeremiah Crane (11:33)

  • Mil Muertes Flatliner onto a chair Cage (14:04)

Prince Puma beat Johnny Mundo (c) to win the Lucha Underground Championship and keep his career (18:23, 630 senton, excellent)

Pentagon Dark defeated Prince Puma (c) to win the Lucha Underground Championship and to end Prince Puma’s career while saving his own (8:27, running package piledriver, great)

Developments

two seasons of Dragon Azteca have led up to this

Everything came to an end.

Dario Cueto’s deception of Black Lotus came to an end. Dario had long ago convinced her Dragon Azteca had killed her family, when it was Matanza all along. Lotus returned, attacking Azteca once again to set up a surprise powerbomb on Matanza. Lotus got Dario to admit he was a lair, while also suckering Lotus into an attack from Matanza. Lotus found out the truth, but her shot at revenge seemed to be at an end. Dragon Azteca didn’t fare any better. He technically won the match by being thrown thru the cage, but Dario restarted it and Matanza destroyed Azteca for most of it.

The battle over the gauntlet seems to be concluded. Dario made the three way match an elimination match. All three men were covered in blood even without the help of the super powered gauntlet. Cage finished Crane by suplexing him out of the ring thru two tables and Mil Muertes, then brought him back in for a Weapon X. Mil Muertes was able to catch Cage with a Flatliner on a chair to eliminate him. Dario presented Cage and Catrina with the gauntlet, Muertes posed, the lights went out – and King Cuerno returned to lay out Muertes. Cuerno got revenge on the man who sent him to ambulance one Ultima Lucha ago, and took the gauntlet for himself.

Taya’s documentary wrapped, and we saw it in all of it’s star wipe glory. Thumbs up.

Prince Puma’s quest to win the Lucha Underground Championship for it’s second time reached it’s destination. It didn’t come easy. Worldwide Underground got involved with referee Marty Elias was taken out. They dragged in Rick Knox to make the count, but Prince Puma kept kicking out. Angelico made a surprise return for a safe, clearing on Worldwide Underground once, and then a second time when Ricky Mundo unwisely charged with a kendo stick and was easily disarmed. Puma survived a top rope Moonlight Drive and Fin de Mundo to hit the 630 to win the title and save his career

kaboom

Dario was not done. He revealed one more match: Pentagon Dark cashing in his Gift of the Gods to face Prince Puma. Dario made it career versus career as well. Pentagon broke Puma’s arm early in the match, with Puma wrapping his arm but wrestling one armed most of the way. He still had an opening for the 630, but Vampiro pulled Pentagon out of the way. Pentagon eventually finished off Prince Puma with a running package piledriver to win the title for the first time, and to end Puma’s career. Vampiro put the belt around Pentagon’s wait, and declared the Temple was his as a dejected Puma left.

Lucha Underground concluded with a series of vignettes, similar to season 1:

  • a dejected Prince Puma walked out of the temple one last time, but not before dropping his mask on the floor.

  • King Cuerno back in his trophy room, with the gauntlet as his newest prize

  • Sexy Star, on a red carpet, was given a present by a young girl and warned “she hasn’t forgotten”. The present contained a spider, confirming it wasn’t Cortez/Veneno who resposible for them.

  • Máscarita Sagrada insisted he was not the white rabbit but told the Rabbit Tribe he could take them to him/her/it

  • Fenix & Melissa drove off in Fenix’s firebird, but Catrina had an eye on them (still with feelings for Fenix) – and Crane seemed to be watching all of them

  • In the Reptile Tribe throne room, Pindar was tied down. Daga swung a sword around and, with Kobra Moon telling him he needed only one more thing to become her king, Daga chopped off Pindar’s head. Drago, chained up, didn’t seem to like this much. Daga & Kobra Moons seem to be getting along much better.

  • Matanza is back in his cell. Rey Mysterio is also locked up, as Black Lotus has been in the past.

  • Vampiro told his master that Puma was gone forever and Pentagon was raised to new heights. His Master, a masked man, told Vampiro he did a good job and he (Pentagon?) would soon fall.

  • Dario Cueto apologized to Agent Winter about not getting the gauntlet, but he’ll fix it. Agent Winter told Dario not to worry, Dario’s getting a pass on this. Dario was surprised, but Winter explained it didn’t matter, because Dario would be dead – and shot Dario twice in the gut. Winter said new management would take care of it. Winter left, and Dario grabbed the red phone. He called someone in his dying breath, spoke in Spanish, and passed out. The person on the phone called Dario Jefe, but that’s all I got. (Twitter says Dario said “I need your help”, which sounds right.) It appears Dario Cueto may be dead, but they left it slightly open – the closing sound was a pounding heartbeat drum effect, and then silence.

The show ended with “To Be Continued”, just as the previous seasons did.

Thoughts

when it’s not your day

I don’t even know what to say here. Opener was good for what it was for. Three way match was great (and even a little better live.) Puma/Mundo was outstanding. Pentagon/Puma was thrilling. The stuff they’ve teased all year was cleared up in the last few minutes and unexpected stuff was set up. If you’ve followed this show for the last three seasons, this was everything you wanted in a finale.

Well…maybe you didn’t want Dario dead. They left an out, I hope they take the out, I can’t imaginethis show without Dario. On a night where LU gave us a thing people’ve been wanting for the last 60 or so episodes, Pentagon as champion, they teased one of the things people would least want to happen. It’s a heck of a cliff hanger. Is Dario alive? Who could replace him?

I’m not sure anyone can really replace Prince Puma. His week in, week out strong matches were a major part of season 1, and his performance tonight belongs among those. The match was Mundo was outstanding before and after the interference break (which didn’t really harm the match). Going straight from that to another match with Pentagon working with one arm ratcheted up the difficulty even more. Puma handled it fine. There’s fair reasons to have doubts about how he’ll do in WWE, but don’t forgot what you saw for the last three seasons: this man can get over as a top of promotion star given the opportunity. If WWE doesn’t get the same return out of him that Lucha Underground did, it’s says a lot more about WWE’s weaknesses than about Ricochet’s.

when it IS your day

Pentagon is an ace of a different sort. LU still stubbornly wants him to be the villain, though not a single person in that building wanted to boo him at the end of the night. He’s the charismatic king of a temple full of lunatics, and you can accomplish a lot with that. There’s no obvious next challenger lined up, and even some of the usual suspects have other stuff going on. (Mundo with Angelico, Muertes with Cuero, Fenix with Crane?), and I don’t know exactly what a season 4 title reign would bring Pentagon. But I hope it’d bring him the long, dominate reign people have been waiting for.

There’s so much to talk about, and I can’t cover it all. Matanza might be that next challenger, because he looked impressively dominant in his match. Cage put in the an athletic performance which would be far an away the best on most shows. Aneglico looked great in his return, and I’m hopeful we finally get to see that big match. The vignettes came off great, even if a couple of them – Rey, Sexy Star – made me confused knowing they left open plots for people who they might have known weren’t coming back. (They sure had decided Pindar wasn’t coming back!) On the podcast, a chat room person suggested Vampiro’s master might just be Kevin Kross’ character, and I’m interested in seeing how that plays out.

I really hope it all does. I’ve hoped that all along, but everything about this episode of Lucha Underground made you want to see more episodes of Lucha Underground. I hope Dario and the rest lives a while longer.

Lucha Underground 3×39: Ultima Lucha Tres – Part III

Drago didn’t get a lot in this match, but looked cool when he did

Matches

Sexy Star beat Taya in a last luchadora standing match (9:15, good)

The Mack, Killshot and Dante Fox beat Drago, Vibora and Pindar for the Lucha Underground Trios Championship (7:59, good, Killstomp on Pindar)

Pentagon Dark beat Son of Havoc in a ladder match for the Gift of the Gods (13:58, good)

Developments

Killshot and Dante

Última Lucha is overstuffed with matches, leaving almost no time for vignettes. That was the case again this week, with the only out of the ring bit being a short but important tease at the end of the night.

The show opened with the conclusion of the Sexy Star and Taya last luchadora standing match. It was a brawl, mostly outside of the ring. Taya bled, but still seemed in control most of the match. Sexy Star eventually threw herself and Taya thru two tables, and only Sexy Star was able to get up at the count of nine to win.

The unlikely trio of Mack, Killshot and Dante Fox are the new Lucha Underground Trios champions. Dante didn’t get along with either of his partners early on, but both he and Killshot put aside their differences as they got closer to a win. The opposite happened to the Reptile Tribe, with Pindar not following Kobra Moon’s orders. Pindar was the one swarmed and beaten to cause the title change.

Pentagon defeated Son of Havoc in their ladder match to win the Gift of the Gods title. It appeared as though Pentagon was passing up his best chances at winning by setting up more ways to harm Son of Havoc. Pentagon still managed to knock Havoc to his doom and grab his belt. Striker went out of his way to note early on that the Gift of the Gods winner has to give proper notice to Dario so he can promote the title match. That seemed directed at those who expected Havoc or (now just) Pentagon to get involved in the Puma/Mundo match.

That match was the subject of that match. Prince Puma sat in Vampiro’s dojo as Vampiro urged him to defeat Mundo next week, saving Puma’s career and winning the championship. Puma agreed and left. A mystery voice congratulated Vampiro on a job well done, confirming Vampiro had been manipulating Puma all along to some end. It’s not clear why, but Vampiro refereed to the voice as his “master”.

Thoughts

this is fun, and the only GIF I didn’t make giant by accident

Editing is a big part of Lucha Underground’s story, and a big pat of this episode. All the matches on this episode felt different live then on TV.

The main event sticks out the most. It was not a good match live. It was OK, but it was a lot of ladder construction spots that slowed the action, and no less than three different times where they redid a spot because they knew it could fixed later. They did fix that part (though even here, there’s still a lot of time spent setting up the props.) The big bumps cover up the lack of any real close calls to getting the belt; I wanted more of a competitive match and this turned into a stunt show. They salvaged it well.

They might have hurt the other two, though. Or maybe it’s the clock that hurt the Taya/Sexy Star match. In June 2016, I was not at all interested in this match. When they came out, I saw this a wonderful break, my chance to take a break from standing and craning my head around to see the action. It was around the time where they went flying into chairs where I finally gave up and realized I had to watch these two women killing each other. It felt like the did for a lot longer live than made TV, probably because there are only about 44 minutes in the day, but the episode did capture the intensity which made it memorable. Sexy Star winning was a notable source of controversy on that day, but it came across here as another match where Taya got over with a strong performance in a loss.

fun time with tables

The amped up sound effects is one of the trademarks of this show, but the one match where it felt like maybe the audio wasn’t cranked up enough was the trios title match. The people in that Temple wanted Dante and Killshot to win so bad after the Hell of War, and reacted huge when they did. Maybe it just felt louder in the building, but it came off as a big genuine moment when they won. They at least left them enough time to hold their belts together, and the match itself was better then I recalled. Vibora (the tall one) seemed to get improve just went it was a little too late too matter.

Striker going out of his way to blame Pindar for losing the match seems random, but it matches up with the equally random bit of Matt Riddle saying Steve Pain had been fired from Lucha Underground way back last December. I guess we see if Pindar makes it thru next week intact, or if there’s a guy with a sword coming for him.

The opener was politically interesting too. At that point it happened, AAA was angry with Sexy Star, loved Taya, and would’ve switched that finish if they had control of those things in Lucha Underground. Lucha Underground did what they did either to show AAA doesn’t have that control or as a way to resolve Sexy Star’s feud with Worldwide Underground or maybe both, you decide. Almost exactly a year later, AAA decided they really loved Sexy Star and not so much Taya. Sexy Star is not with AAA now, but no one’s better at convincing promotions she’s worth their time and energy; no one’s better at selling the people in charge that she’s a Star. All logic says this is the last we see of Sexy Star, but all the history says it’s not.

lucha Dante Fox

Next Week

  • Cage vs Jeremiah Crane vs Mil Muertes for the gauntlet

  • El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Matanza Cueto in a cage match

  • Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma, title versus career for the Lucha Underground championship

Lucha Underground 3×38: Ultima Lucha Tres – Part II

one perfect shot

Matches

The Mack won a 13 person battle royal for a unique opportunity (3:31, OK)

  • 0:33 Vinnie Massaro out
  • 0:39 Son of Madness out
  • 1:06 Joey Ryan out
  • 1:06 Cortez Castro out
  • 1:42 Paul London out
  • 1:51 Mala Suerte out
  • 2:04 Saltador out
  • 2:30 Pimpinela Escarlata out
  • 2:30 Argenis out
  • 2:46 Máscarita Sagrada out
  • 3:17 Ricky Mundo out
  • 3:31 PJ Black out

Ivelisse beat Catrina (6:14, DDT, OK)

Fenix beat Marty Martinez in a mask vs hair match (12:25, springboard 450 splash, great)

Developments

this is mostly here for PJ’s sell

A bloody Fenix was able to finish off Marty, though he only barely survived. Fenix was cut open when Marty ripped up Fenix’s mask, exposed a turnbuckle, and dropped him face first on it. (Fenix’s face was heavily visible during moments in the match.) Fenix got in more of the offense, but was clearly wore down by the significant blood loss as the match went on. As Fenix laid on the match near passed out, Marty pulled the scissors out of his lunch box again. Marty pressed the point into Fenix’s cut and seemed to want to do something even more severe until Melissa got up to the apron and offered to run away with Marty if he would back off. That really didn’t work, but Melissa got in close enough to foul Marty. Fenix bulldozed Marty with a kick to the back of the head and finished him off with a cross rope springboard 450.

Marty attempted to flee up the stairs to escape his hair cut, but he was cut off by an unlikely enemy: Mariposa. Marty had earlier shoved his sister in the way of a Fenix dive and Mariposa had walked out on him. Mariposa returned to cut off Marty’s escape, handcuff him to the railing, and hand scissors to Melissa. Marty’s hair was cut and shaved before the show by the victorious couple went off the air.

Speaking of couples, Ivelisse and Jeremiah Crane sure aren’t one any more. The episode began with them arguing backstage, Crane having apparently told Ivelisse he was interested in someone else. Ivelisse was even not thrilled to find it was Catrina, and even less thrilled when Crane called her a bitch. Crane took a kick into and thru some lockers.

a personal inspiration

The Ivelisse/Catrina match went on as planned, with Mil Muertes only appearing at the start of the match, and leaving the rock in a box in Catrina’s corner. Catrina didn’t need that at first, she found other weapons to use. Catrina escaped from Ivelisse into Dario’s office, waited for Ivelisse to kick the door down, and smashed a bottle over Ivelisse’s head. Catrina broke two additional bottles over Ivelisse’s skull, causing her to bleed significantly the rest of the match. Ivie still was the superior fighter and rallied back. Catrina grabbed the rock in desperation, but it appeared to have no special powers in this match. It was still a rock, and Ivelisse conked Catrina with it before finishing her off with a DDT.

Ivelisse didn’t have much time to celebrate though. Crane attacked her from behind with a hammer, targeting one of her previously broken ankles with his blows. It wasn’t exactly clear if Crane did it because of his new hate for Ivelisse or his old love for Catrina. Maybe both.

The opening battle royal was mostly focused on Pimpinela’s return to the Temple. On a run of serious matches and episodes, she brought a nice bit of levity with her. The Mack won the match with a stunner on PJ Black, then was told by Dario of what he won: a trios title shot next week. That’s the good news. The bad news is Dario picked his team: Killshot and Dante Fox. Dario himself wondered if they’d be healthy enough to put a fight, or get along at all.

Thoughts

this was a pretty good shot too

No one’s more willing to bleed for the sake of an epic match than Fenix on Lucha Underground. He lost so much blood in Grave Consequences, and he must have lost more here. It wasn’t a drip, it was a steady flow. Both he and the mat seemed splattered with blood. There was a wrestling match in between the puddles. Fenix wrestled great as usual, and Marty did his best job of merging his character and his wrestling. This wasn’t the video game athletic match Fenix can do with others, but Marty was there for him enough to do the big moves, and the stuff that didn’t really rely on acrobatics (the running kicks) looked devastating. The Mariposa turn was quick and probably means almost nothing given they’ve kind of broken up and gottne back together before, but it was mostly out of the way. Melissa looked the part. The finish was over the top melodramatic, but this is a melodrama so that was fine for me. I really liked the haircut getting on air; this is easily the best the show has treated an apuesta match, and about as well as anyone does them. Striker pointed out early that Fenix had never lost an Ultima Lucha match and I wonder if that’ll be a streak of emphasis if there’s another Ultima Lucha.

Ivelisse and Catrina was better than the battle royal, even if I had them both OK. It was a totally satisfactory match for someone who’s not wrestling that much and someone who’s coming back for an injury. It just wasn’t on the level of other matches I thought were good. The crowd brawling and the bottle shots (where one will work, do three) got them around doing much stuff in the ring. I was a little distressed about how attractive I found these two women covered in blood, to be honest. If there’s a Season 4, I hope we get a better run for Ivelisse, but the attack at the end makes me a little concerned she might have been written out.

Not only was Pimpinela doing comedy, Dario contributed by saying The Mack had beaten some of the best luchadors in the Temple. I saw people jumping out of the ring after getting kissed, and the kisser falling out of the ring after an armdrag, I’m not quite sure this is the best they have to offer. Now that I know this aired, I’m disappointed Aerostar didn’t get one last in-ring appearance. I hope we see him in a vignette before Ultima Lucha is over, because the last shot of him getting his arm snapped would be kinda sad. I hope they remember Mack & Killshot started out as friends, and I suspect they will.

me making gratuitous use of slow(er) motion so you could see the shot

The episode guide preview hadn’t mentioned that trios title match specifically for either week, so I assumed it was airing the final week. Instead, as you’ll see below, we’ve got three matches for a one hour show, and three hours for a two hour show. That can’t be right. There hasn’t been much out of the ring stuff down the stretch. There usually is on the final night, and those final matches are probably getting a lot of time. Still…I guess we’ll see what plays out.

Still Left In Ultima Lucha 3

episode 104 (October 11, Ultima Lucha Week 3)

  • The Mack, Killshot, Dante Fox vs Vibora, Pindar, Drago for the Lucha Underground Trios Championship
  • Taya vs Sexy Star, last luchadora standing
  • Pentagon Dark vs Son of Havoc for the Gift of the Gods Championship in a Ladder match.

episode 105 (October 18, Ultima Lucha Week 4, the end?)

  • Cage vs Jeremiah Crane vs Mil Muertes for the gauntlet
  • El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Matanza Cueto in a cage match
  • Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma, title versus career for the Lucha Underground championship

Lucha Underground 3×37: Ultima Lucha Tres – Part I

a war

Matches

Dr. Wagner & Famous B beat Texano (4:24, Famous B inside cradle, ok)

Killshot defeated Dante Fox in the Hell of War (25:13, two falls to one, excellent)

  1. first blood: Dante Fox backdrop Killshot thru a glass panel to cause him to bleed (10:20)
  2. no DQ Killshot Storm Cradle Driver: (6:12)
  3. stretcher match: Killshot places Dante into the stretcher (8:41)

Developments

purposefully avoiding using the finishes as GIFs, you should watch the show yourself to understand these reactions

This show had one match mostly about plot developments and one almost not at all. I mean, Killshot definitely did win the feud over Dante Fox, but that wasn’t the the biggest issue in the moment.

The opener, which appeared to exist just to be something completely different, saw Famous B finally win Texano’s contract. B got a little help from Dario, who made it a real handicap match. B got a little help from the returning (and still masked) Dr. Wagner Jr., though Wagner was visually pinned by Texano before realizing B was the legal match. B got a lot of help from Brenda, who’s flirting with Texano most of the season paid off with a kiss here, and that kiss led to B rolling up Texano for the win. Texano seemed upset about the predicament to end the segment.

The Hell of War was the most ultraviolent style match in the history of Lucha Underground, even outpacing the light tubes of Cero Miedo. Dante found a pane of glass and brought it to ringside to tease a big move off the apron to cut Killshot, brought it inside later, and reversed a Killshot move to send the masked wrestler back first thru the glass to cut him. Dante pulled out barbed wire from underneath the ring during the second fall, but was driven thru it by Killshot, then dropped on his for the tie fall. Killshot seemed enroute to having the third fall won when he had Dante strapped to the stretcher, but went for a double stomp off a railing for even more punishment. This led to a few moves on the stretcher, with barely survived. Dante barely survived as well. He and Killshot fought up to the music platform, with Killshot surprising Dante with a bottle to the end, and Dante taking the plunge off the stage and thru glass to the floor. Killshot picked Dante up and placed him in the ambulance to win the match. Announcers said the feud was over, but praised Dante’s performance in the match.

Thoughts

Dante Fox is the best possible Rob Van Dam

This was incredible. The Lo Mein Pain on the ladder would be a crazy moment in a normal match. It was a normal moment in an utterly crazy match. The effort matched the spectacle Killshot and Dante Fox were two men who wanted to steal Ultima Lucha with their match and completely succeeded. The long length legdrop and the springboard into a Spanish Fly made this match memorable even outside the props. They made the most of what those props too, teasing the moments out so they meant a lot when they happened, and making them feel big when they occurred. The first fall was all chair focused, pushing the importance of cutting each other open to win the fall. The glass pane started on the floor so they could tease a big plunge into it, so they could prepare the fans for the moment when they actually did that plunge two falls later. The barbed wire had near misses, came off a big move, and went into a decisive finish. The end was definitely the end.

This match, a lot like Cero Miedo, is not for everyone. The blood is uncomfortable, the glass is uncomfortable, the barbed wire is uncomfortable, and the piece of Fox’s flesh left behind on the stretcher is super uncomfortable. I don’t want to see this style of match normally, I’m not going to be happy with the lesser imitations that are going to be done, and I hope this is not the style either man has to wrestle in the future. I won’t argue with anyone saying it was too much or maybe not that great idea, because I was considering those same ideas when it happened (and I didn’t even see what Dante laid behind live.)

 

this is a finish most day

If you’re going to do this kind of match, I prefer you make the most out of it. Dante Fox & Kilslhot made the most out of it, at least the most that can be made out of something on a third season episode of Lucha Underground, and both should be made men going forward. Killshot won and Killshot went two for two in big matches on this season, he’s got to be in store for more. Shane Strickland’s even better now, a year removed from this insanity. But this was really Dante Fox’s night, a LU version of Mick Foley’s 1998 King of the Ring performance that should follow him around forever. The last third of the season was a Dante Fox’s breakout performance, just as strong as Pentagon & Fenix in season 1. If they can come back for a Season 4, he should absolutely be on their level. They don’t even need to turn him face; that win was the turn.

(For what it’s worth, the glass appeared to be sugar when I grabbed a small bit of it from the ring after the match. I was wrong, and LU says it was tempered glass. Still cut them – and Rich Knox! – pretty well.)

As for the other match: it was weird at the time that Texano and Wagner came off as minor figures on this show. This was taped right before they were in the TripleMania title match (with Cage), and they were in a few minute comedy match. Now, it seems about normal for how they’re used on the show. Texano & Wagner as two-thirds of a trio (with Famous B or another partner) might work, and it’s not like they’re going anywhere on their own.

Dante lost his head in this one

Still To Come On Ultima Lucha 3

episode 103 (October 4, Ultima Lucha Week 2)

  • Ivelisse vs Catrina
  • a unique opportunity battle royal with Paul London, Saltador, Mala Suerte, Argenis, Cortez Castro, Son of Madness, Vinnie Massaro, The Mack, Joey Ryan, Ricky Mundo, PJ Black, Mascarita Sagrada, and Pimpinela Escarlata
  • Fenix vs Marty the Moth, mask vs hair

episode 104 (October 11, Ultima Lucha Week 3)

  • Taya vs Sexy Star, last luchadora standing
  • Pentagon Dark vs Son of Havoc for the Gift of the Gods Championship in a Ladder match.

episode 105 (October 18, Ultima Lucha Week 4, the end?)

  • (a match that hasn’t been announced)
  • Cage vs Jeremiah Crane vs Mil Muertes for the gauntlet
  • El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Matanza Cueto in a cage match
  • Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma, title versus career for the Lucha Underground championship

Lucha Underground 3×36: The Rise of the Ring Announcer

Fenix is an unheralded mixed tag wrestler

Matches

Dante Fox beat Texano (5:39, inside cradle, good)

Mariposa & Marty the Moth beat Melissa Santos & Fenix (9:18, spike pedigree on Melissa Santos, good)

Son of Havoc & Pentagon Dark won a seven way Gift of Gods match with Saltador, Paul London, Mala Suerte, Cortez Castro and Drago (6:37, Havoc SSP on London & Pentagon package piledriver on Saltador, good)

Developments

This was the final episode prior to Ultima Lucha, and a last chance to move a lot of pieces in place. There were many matches made for the showcase four episodes. Some were set up on this show. Some were just announced. I was suspicious Sexy Star/Taya was only mentioned in passing because it was really supposed to have been announced on social media and and that plan got dropped once Sexy became a non-person. Maybe not, since there were a other matches which were only acknowledged in passing during commentary or during the big rundown in the middle of the show.

this didn’t go as well for Melissa

Three more were made during the night. Famous B took over ring announcing for the night, and his premature announcement of Texano as the winner distracted him into an inside cradle. (It wasn’t clear if Famous B messed up, or purposelessly cost Texano the match. He seemed unbothered by the real outcome.) Texano tried to break Famous B for costing him another match, but Dario intervened: he needed Famous B for the rest of the night. Dario offered Texano a match with B next week, but Texano will have let Famous B manage him should he lose the currently one armed B. Meanwhile, the announcers were falling over each other to praise Dante Fox as a break out star following his recent performances.

The Gift of the Gods match ended the night. The usual medal ceremony was held in Dario’s office. We only saw Havoc and Pentagon place theirs, with Havoc vowing to get cash in right away to get that Ultima Lucha 3 spot he thought he had last year, and Pentagon vowing to break everyone’s arm. Neither man turned out to be right. The seven way was everyone for themselves, with the Rabbit Tribe willing to fight each other at times. Pentagon was dominant at the end, laying out both Saltador and Paul London. When Pentagon went to finish off Saltador with the package piledriver, Havoc landed on London with a shooting star press, and the referee counted both men down at the same time. (Seemed notable that Vampiro was sure Pentagon won, flipping his usual negativity towards his ex-protege. Striker saw it as a draw.) Dario Cueto swiftly sorted it out: there has to be one Gift of the Gods winner, so the tie breaker will be Pentagon versus Havoc in a ladder match with the belt on the line.

The other match was made just as quick. Cage seems to be mind controlled by the gauntlet pretty quick to us, but Dario is concerned it’s not happening fast enough or at all, and that’s why he stole it back last week. (Maybe Delgado’s death shook him up?) Dario’s got approval from his associates for a Cage, Mil Muertes and Jeremiah Crane three way match. He figures Muertes & Crane will be sucked into the gauntlet’s power much quicker. If Cage still wins, they’ll try “ascension” on him anyway, And if that fails, Dario’s okay with Limo Guy just destroying cage. Yes, Limo Guy made a cameo for the first time in months (and we saw Agent Winter again.) All the match announcements made it fell like a big show, but that overarching plot coming back in made it feel like a show coming to a head. Or an end.

king me legdrop

The other matches for Ultima Lucha mentioned include Killshot vs Dante Fox in the Hell of War, a best of three fall match with different stipulations in each fall. Ivelisse versus Catrina is on after all. (This was done in a post-edited voice over; I believe they didn’t know if Ivelisse was going to be able to go until just a bit before the match, and that’s why they dropped mentioning it for so long.) Finally, El Dragon Azteca Jr. made a typically unwise decision and will face Matanza in a cage match. Azteca’s going for revenge on Rey Mysterio, and that mention of revenge was the only time Rey’s name came up on the show.

The middle match was the debut of Melissa Santos, teaming with Fenix against Mariposa and Marty Martinez. An opening show vignette showed Fenix training Melissa, had them flirt, and revealed Melissa still hasn’t seen Fenix with his mask off. Melissa did kinda reveal Marty’s plan is not going to work, she insists she’s into Fenix with or without the mask, but Fenix doesn’t quite believe the same. Fenix also didn’t really believe he wanted Melissa to wrestle here, keeping her out of the match for most of the way. (Fenix’s unwillingness to see women hurt also extended to Mariposa temporarily, though he got over it.) Fenix finally tagged Melissa in for a run of double teams, but she was trapped in the ring when the butterflies took out Fenix and tied him to the ropes. They finished Melissa easy. Marty went to fork Melissa in the head, only for Fenix to break free in time to put a stop to it.

Thoughts

This was a really good episode. All the matches were good, if nothing outstanding, and they did a strong job of building up Ultima Lucha as an epic event with really important stakes.

Texano/Dante was the usual Texano level good match with a few neat Fox spots until the cheap ending. At least the distraction finally leads to a conclusion to that. The announcers were in on Dante as hard as anyone since Pentagon’s first armbreaking rise. It’s sudden, but it’s deserved. On the other hand, I think LU might pick gimmicks on which professions best lend themselves to extended word play and references, and the idea of another War themed match seems like it might be rough after how they ran the puns into the ground with the last one.

“jumper” jumping

LU made Melissa come off as a big deal, they laid out her spots to make her look impressive (and shot them in a way to protect her) and used her to ramp up emotions of the Marty/Fenix match even more. The fans are so into Melissa that I was half surprised no fan tried to rush the ring for the save; good thing they don’t tape in Mexico. This show is crazy enough that Marty actually forking Melissa didn’t even seem impossible. Marty isn’t naturally a great base for Fenix’s trickier offense, but they’ve built his danger up enough that the the emotions are going to carry the action.

The seven way match was almost only a series of one on ones. They kept the pace high that way and it was good action, even if it meant a lot of people selling on the outside. It was really good action while it lasted, and it just lacked some bigger moments for me to rate it higher. There wasn’t the Mala Suerte/Cortez Castro sequence or team up I was so hoping for, but they did give us a whole lot of Saltador looking awesome. Most of his (various) character time on this show has been about blending or losing badly, but he was impressive given the chance. The finishing draw came off perfectly on TV. It’s a little forced to get there, but it does helpfully give them a reason not to cash into the title match immediately.

Dante rolling

Ultima Lucha 3

episode 102 (September 27, Ultima Lucha Week 1)

  • Texano vs Famous B, Texano must join Infamous Inc. if he loses.

  • Killshot vs Dante Fox, in the Hell of War

episode 103 (October 4, Ultima Lucha Week 2)

  • (a match that hasn’t been announced)

  • Fenix vs Marty the Moth, mask vs hair

  • Ivelisse vs Catrina

episode 104 (October 11, Ultima Lucha Week 3)

  • Taya vs Sexy Star, last luchadora standing

  • Pentagon Dark vs Son of Havoc for the Gift of the Gods Championship in a Ladder match.

episode 105 (October 18, Ultima Lucha Week 4, the end?)

  • (a match that hasn’t been announced)

  • Cage vs Jeremiah Crane vs Mil Muertes for the gauntlet

  • El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Matanza Cueto in a cage match

  • Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma, title versus career for the Lucha Underground championship

Lucha Underground 3×35: Cien

Azteca tornillo

Matches

Johnny Mundo, Taya, PJ Black and Marty Martinez beat Prince Puma, Sexy Star, Cage, Fenix (5:36, Johnny Mundo fin de Mundo Prince Puma, OK)

Pentagon Dark beat Dragon Azteca for an Aztec Medallion (6:33, package piledriver, good)

Matanza beat Rey Mysterio (10:46, wrath of the gods, good)

Developments

Matanza ended Rey Mysterio. Mysterio fought, never gave up, and made some rallies, but Matanza physically dominated him for most of the match. Mysterio did not even really come close, there was never a moment where it felt like he was really going to win. Matanza looked as invulnerable as in his first appearances. Striker did try to explain Dario’s last big appearance with Rey, pushing the idea that Dario was jealous Rey was a bigger lucha libre star than he. (It still doesn’t explain why he would’ve put him in that match if he felt that way, but it’s something to run with.) Mysterio may have gotten his foot on the ropes if not for Dario shoving it away, but it might have been a favor to save Mysterio from more fruitless fighting. It didn’t save Mysterio from more destruction, with Dario directing Matanza to use a chair and the post to destroy Rey’s throat. Matanza carried Rey off at the end, and that might be the last we ever see of him.

Marty’s head is no longer attached to his body

Dragon Azteca might have attempted to make the save, if Matanza didn’t destroy him minutes earlier. Pentagon beat Azteca cleanly to win the final Aztec Medallion, then went to break Azteca’s arm once again. Matanza interrupted, leading to a tense situation with Pentagon. Pentagon bumped shoulders with Matanza while leaving, and Dario got Matanza to calm down enough to attack Azteca again. Pentagon moves onto the Gift of the Gods match. Azteca might move onto avenging his mentor, though that would seem like a totally foolish thing to do.

Speaking of foolish things to do, Prince Puma picked Cage, Sexy Star, and Fenix as his partners for the atomicos match. Picking Fenix led Johnny to bench Ricky Mandell (who’s changed his name to Ricky Mundo to unsuccessfully impress Worldwide Underground) for Marty Martinez. Sexy Star as a bad idea is obvious, and she spent most of the match with Taya. Cage had no rival on the opposite side, but was far more interested in his gauntlet than this match. Striker attempted to explain Cage was on the team because he hated Johnny Mundo too, but Cage didn’t seem to have any thoughts outside of his power glove. That became a problem when Jeremiah Crane snuck to ringside to steal the gauntlet. Cage took off after him, and the superior teamwork of the Worldwide Underground got Mundo one more win over Puma before the Ultima Lucha 3 match.

Melissa made her own foolish act, going nuts on crazy Marty with slaps after he got too close to her once again. Fenix fought Marty off after the match, but it only led to more danger next week. Dario decided Melissa will have her first match next week, teaming with Fenix to face Mariposa & Marty.

Crane stealing the gauntlet also seemed like a foolish idea. He did it to impress Catrina (which felt like we missed something; how did he know she wanted it?) Catrina acted impressed just long enough for Mil Muertes to attack Crane from behind. Catrina had the gauntlet but only for a moment before Cage grabbed her. Catrina dropped the gauntlet and watched the three men all brawl. Someone else did not: Dario Cueto snuck in and took the gauntlet back for himself.

Rest of The Season guide
announced matches; w/minor spoilers to tell you which episode has what

episode 101 (September 20):

  • Mariposa & Marty the Martinez vs Fenix & Melissa Santos

episode 102 (September 27, Ultima Lucha Week 1)

  • nothing announced yet

episode 103 (October 4, Ultima Lucha Week 2)

  • Fenix vs Marty the Moth, mask vs hair

episode 104 (October 11, Ultima Lucha Week 3)

  • Taya vs Sexy Star, falls count anywhere

episode 105 (October 18, Ultima Lucha Week 4, the end?)

  • Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma, title versus career for the Lucha Underground championship

Matches teased but not Dario official:

  • Gift of the Gods match (Paul London, Mala Suerte, Saltador, Son of Havoc, Cortez Castro, The Mack, Pentagon Dark)
  • Ivelisse vs Catrina – announced at the start, not mentioned since Ivelisse was injured
  • Mil Muertes vs Cage vs Jeremiah Crane, probably for the gauntlet
  • Killshot vs Dante Fox
  • the Mack and partners vs the Reptile Tribe for the Trios championship??
  • that Famous B/Texano story is probably still happening
  • Dario’s probably going to book Matanza

Thoughts

this does not seem like a fun ride

Nothing super this week, but pretty good for a show that is mostly moving people into place for the big show. I think the Anniversary number talked them into giving a bigger show than we might have otherwise gotten at this point in the cycle.

That really was the end of Rey Mysterio. There may yet be a vignette next week, Matanza carrying Rey off felt like a more definite send off might still appear. It’d be a send off though: this was the last match Rey Mysterio had in this bunch of tapings, and he wasn’t around for the next. Mundo beat Rey with a bunch of shenanigans, but it was Pentagon Dark (long ago this season) and Matanza who got the big wins over him. And this was a big win; Rey got rag dolled for most of this match, and Matanza looked more dominant against him than he did against the Rabbit Tribe. It was so one sided that I didn’t actually enjoy as much as the more competitive matches, but they told the story they wanted really well. Long conversations about how much Rey meant to this show and if he’ll be missed in a season 4 (if there is a season 4) are for another day; he was really selfless at what he needed to do in this one.

Pentagon Dark/Dragon Azteca felt like Pentagon Dark/Prince Puma, where it was warming into a really good match but never really got there before it suddenly ended. Even as Pentagon was landing the package piledriver, I was thinking about how odd they’d burn a finisher kickout there and then it turned out there was no kickout at all. I think it’s less surprising it ended up this way given how Azteca has been used on this show – and the Twitter would’ve melted down if Pentagon took another loss – but left a lot more for another match another day. The Gift of the Gods match is pretty straight forward: the Rabbit Tribe aren’t winning, Cortez isn’t winning, and if the Mack is really involved in the trios title, it leaves only Son of Havoc and Pentagon. Penta, with his threat of winning a title or breaking Dario’s arm, seems like the favorite, but that old plot thread and Son of Havoc having the chance to main event Ultima Lucha 3 and losing it is still hanging out there.

pretty sure Rey’s training of Dragon Azteca involved teaching headscissors and fancy DDTs

The Atomicos match leading into Ultima Lucha is a staple, but I remember the two previous ones more fondly than this one. It wasn’t just the Sexy Star thing, it was just not given a lot of time to development until the storylines took over the match. The Worldwide Underground haven’t gotten to be a team as much the second half of the tournament because of the focus on singles match, but Mundo & PJ had some good team spots and I would like to see that PJ Black/Fenix match some day. The Cage/Mil/Crane stuff all flows together, but the suddenness of Crane being bolted on this feels like maybe they were keeping him in the waiting room for some other issue that we never saw develop.

 

Lucha Underground 3×34: Career Opportunities

still my favorite camera angle

Matches

Drago beat The Mack for an Aztec Medallion (4:43, Dragon’s Tail, good)
Cortez Castro defeated Joey Ryan (13:02, fireman’s carry bomb onto riot shields, good)
Matanza beat Saltador Paul London & Mala Suerte (4:40, Wrath of the Gods on Saltador, ok)

Developments

An old issue was wrapped up, a new one was started, and a couple existing ones were made bigger, but the focus was mostly on lining up the pieces for Lucha Underground.

The big news came in a showdown between Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo. Puma was there to reveal his team for an atomicos match next week, but never got to it before Mundo interrupted. Mundo successfully baited a confident Puma into putting his mask on the line in their title match at Ultima Lucha 3. Dario put a stop to it – not because he didn’t like it, but because he already has a mask on the line (Fenix) and he didn’t want to seem like he was running out of ideas. Dario proposed putting Puma’s career on the line instead, and Puma agreed.

Dario was busy on the show. He also informed Rey of his match with Matanza next week’s, but told him to leave the building before Matanza’s match tonight. Rey didn’t like being ordered around, but relented when Dario threatened to fire Dragon Azteca if Rey didn’t bail. Matanza was in a bit more trouble than usual against the Rabbit Tribe, with the trio using confetti eggs to set up a London Shooting Star Press, but Matanza kicked out of that and destroyed them all. Rey threatened to end the Cuetos next week, but it’s hard to see how he’s going to pull that off – he holds that pin over Matanza, but only after a lot of people got in shots on Matanza.

check mate

Since Rey left, Dragon Azteca will still be with Lucha Underground to face Pentagon Dark for the final Aztec Medallion next week. Two more were given out on this show. Cortez Castro beat Joey Ryan to get one and possibly finally shut up (ex?) partner for a while. Drago won the other medallion, defeating The Mack with distraction help from Kobra Moon. The Mack attack attacked both of them post match, only for Pindar & Vibora to go after him. The Mack could use a couple of friends.

Rest of The Season guide

announced matches
episode 100 (September 13):

  • Rey Mysterio vs Matanza
  • Johnny Mundo, PJ Black, Taya, Ricky Mandel vs Prince Puma, ?, ??, ??
  • Dragon Azteca vs Pentagon Dark for the final Aztec Medallion

episode 101 (September 20):

  • nothing yet

episode 102 (September 27, Ultima Lucha Week 1)

  • nothing yet

episode 103 (October 4, Ultima Lucha Week 2)

  • Fenix vs Marty the Moth, mask vs hair

episode 104 (October 11, Ultima Lucha Week 3)

  • nothing yet

episode 105 (October 18, Ultima Lucha Week 4)

  • Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma, title versus career for the Lucha Underground championship

Matches teased but not Dario official:

  • Gift of the Gods match (Paul London, Mala Suerte, Saltador, Son of Havoc, Cortez Castro, The Mack, either Dragon Azteca or Pentagon Dark)
  • Mil Muertes vs Cage
  • Taya vs Sexy Star
  • Killshot vs Dante Fox
  • Ivelisse vs Catrina – announced at the start, not mentioned since Ivelisse was injured
  • the Mack and partners vs the Reptile Tribe for the Trios championship?
  • That Famous B/Texano thing is probably still happening

There’s things that are going to change; it’d be hard to have Ultima Lucha with Pentagon or Dragon Azteca not being involved. Matanza and Rey have a match next week but not the actual Ultima Lucha shows. Jeremiah Crane is out there as an important name who doesn’t have a spot. There were no vignettes on this show, perhaps they’ll have a bunch to start putting some of those matches down in pen next week.

Thoughts

Drago DDT

I didn’t get much out of this one and that was so much different than reactions I was reading that I wonder if it was me and not the show.

I think I’m least off from everyone on the Mack/Drago match, in that it’s hard not to have the same opinion on it: the few minutes they went were fine, wish they went a lot longer, another cheap distraction finish felt like the Cueto Cup was back, maybe it’s not great they didn’t go long if that was going to be the ending. The upside was they at least seemed to set up a direction for the Mack, who hasn’t had one since the Mundo matches. The Reptiles haven’t had much to do either, so it’s more just interesting figuring out who could be the Mack’s partners. He’s friends with Sexy Star, but she’s got Taya. He’s friends (or at least was at one point) with Killshot, but he’s got Dante Fox.

The Matanza/Rabbit Tribe is entirely dependent on how much time you’ve got for the Rabbit Tribe antics. I had a minimal amount of time. I was surprised how much they got on Matanza, even if it was 3 on 1. I expected them to be tossed around and destroyed impressively and quickly, and it took a while to get there. Everyone gets something in and the Rabbit Tribe had a lot of fun, but setting up a match the level of Rey/Matanza didn’t seem the right place for it – something more like Argenis/Fenix would’ve worked for me.

the spot whined about below

The police brawl played a lot more to the gimmick than last week’s biker brawl, but it felt to me like them just going from one pre-arranged scenery spot to another. Neither man is as exciting as Son of Havoc can be, but also neither man was all that much trying to win, instead just running through every cop joke spot they could think of. It felt too artificial at times, like when the riot gear guys suddenly stopped standing around the ring and got into a tight circle around Joey Ryan for no real reason (except the next spot was them getting spectacularly taken out.) I checked out around the time when a tazer shot to the groin was sold for the length of a crowd cut and was the set up for a donut toss, but it wasn’t getting me much before that. It wasn’t as fun or inventive as the Máscarita/Famous B brawl either, it just felt like stuff to me. And that’s to me – this match seemed to be way over with other people, so don’t let my disregard totally turn you away. I understand Cortez & Ryan did more and worked harder, but I still kind of enjoyed Mack & Drago more (at least up until the finish.)

The in-ring segments were fine. Except, the Dario/Rey one felt like one that was written up to be a Dario’s Office vignette, only they suddenly realized Rey wasn’t going to be available to film it so they reworked it as an in-ring skit. I have more I want to say about the main event, but not until it happens – I think I need to start writing a post about all the stuff I want to write but can’t for altering how you watch episodes. Let me just point out for context that when this was being taped (way back in early June 2016), the same stories about Ricochet leaving LU existed and this is an intentional wink at them. I may have not gotten into this episode, but I’ll at least say they had a pretty idea where they were going.

Lucha Underground 3×33: Havoc Running Wild

same

Matches

Son of Madness beat Máscarita Sagrada (2:10, brainbuster, OK)

Marty beat Argenis (5:04, double underhook facecrusher, good)

Joey Ryan beat Sexy Star (5:29, kick, ok)

Son of Havoc beat Son of Madness (13:09, shooting star press, good)

Developments

Haveoc nearly wont he match a minute in

It’s the home stretch to Ultima Lucha and it’s easy to imagine a checklist of tasks to accomplish before those shows start this week. Announce matches for the year end run of shows? Check. Make some progress towards a Gift of the Gods match? Check. Brew up an insta-feud for any of your top people who don’t have an opponent yet? Check there too. Wrap up the feuds which haven’t really connected? Check and check.

This week’s show focused on two of those less spectacular feuds. The Son of Havoc/Son of Madness bit got wrapped up with out any more info on any invisible cults for the being. Madness faced and defeated Máscarita Sagrada to get back the jacket Havoc gave him after they beat Famous B & Dr. Wagner, then Havoc and Madness brawled to set up a Biker’s Brawl main event for an Aztec Medallion. (Paul London rescued/kidnapped Máscarita during this.) That was easily Madness’ best showing on the show, highlighted by his willingness to take some really painful looking falls. Havoc put him down with a bottle shot to the head and finished with a SSP. Havoc got his jacket back, picked up the Medaillion, and Striker was very definite that this feud was over.

The other issue fitting into this category, Son of Havoc and Cortez Castro, moved along at a rapid pace. Cortez attacked Joey Ryan after their match, then stormed into Dario’s office to take care of him next. Dario managed to sucker Cortez into a police themed brawl next week for another Medallion.

I”m going to miss this camera shot

Earlier, Striker (in something dubbed in) pushed the idea that Dario is now purposefully stirring things up between Sagrada/Madness/Havoc. Dario setting up Cortez/Ryan seemed more about Cueto escaping a confrontation. Striker still might be onto something, Dario is acting different and even acknowledged it: he told Matanza he was wrong to dissuade him from getting revenge on Rey Mysterio, because Rey had given him a 619 last week. (Dario costing Rey the match first was omitted.) Dario gave Matanza a match versus Rey in two weeks, as the main event of the 100th episode of this show.

The announcers confirmed Prince Puma versus Johnny Mundo as the main event Ultima Lucha 3 to start the show. One more match was added along the way: after Marty savagely beat and unmasked Argenis, he challenged Fenix to put up his own mask on the line at Ultima Lucha. Melissa didn’t seem to think this was a great idea, but Fenix attacked Marty and agreed to a mask vs hair match.

The other match on the show happened to be a Joey Ryan versus Sexy Star match. This is where Cortez attacked Joey, but Sexy also had a guest: Taya, sarcastically rooting for Sexy Star. Sexy took out Taya, but was distracted into the very rare Joey Ryan win. The commentary, taped over a year ago, of course did not reference any of the events this week. Neither did the social media – I mean, they went out of their way not to reference Sexy Star at all, never promoting her as appearing on the show and avoiding mentioning her in this match. It’ll be worth watching to see if it’s just something until the heat dies down or a permanent change; she’s still got a few more appearances left season.

Rest of The Season announced matches

episode 99: Joey Ryan vs Cortez Castro for an Aztec Medallion
episode 100: Rey Mysterio vs Matanza
episode 101: nothing yet
Ultima Lucha 3 (102-105): Johnny Mundo (c) vs Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground championship, Fenix vs Marty the Moth, mask vs hair, Ivelisse vs Catrina?

Stuff teased to the point where it’s clearly happening but hasn’t been announced yet: Gift of the Gods match (Paul London, Mala Suerte, Saltador, Son of Havoc, either Joey Ryan or Cortez Castro, two more spots), Mil Muertes vs Cage, Taya vs Sexy Star, Killshot vs Dante Fox

Thoughts

this looked like it sucked

Not my favorite show but I didn’t hate it as much as last week.

Joey Ryan seemed to work as well with Sexy Star as anyone on this show; maybe it was editing, maybe I’m just talking myself into it because he’s wrestled women so much, but it seemed to be a better showcase of what Sexy Star can do in a match. Unfortuantely, this was a week where we already saw what Sexy Star could do in one match and I’m not really interested in seeing any more of her. I’m putting an OK here, and could argue for higher, but evaluations of the quality of a match are completely useless at time: either you’re a Sexy Star True Believer who will want to watch this match whatever I saw about it, or you’re in the group of people who aren’t going to want to spend a moment’s time on Sexy Star no matter the quality. People’ve decided as soon as they saw her.

Argenis was in his usual set up role, being the mask técnico who gets bet to set up a match with a much bigger técnico. He got much more offense in this time, which probably is directly related to him being willing to bleed a whole lot to get over this angle. Marty’s opponents are doing a lot of bleeding to set up this feud, and it’s a good stab (sorry) at making him look like more of a threat to Fenix in a feud where no one would expect him to actually win. Blood made an Argenis match more dramatic, so it’d probably do a lot for the apuesta one.

a rare LU Argenis highlight

This show was the first one where Son of Madness seemed to be defined as a wrestler at all, and it also appeared to be the last episode for him. They got the most out of the one night deal: he got a finisher over in the opener, and he got back to in the main event to give Havoc some to kick out off. Madness doesn’t have the athletic ability of Havoc (few do) but he was willing to battle and willing to take punishment. They did a good job of making it feel like a brawl, feel different than a normal match, and the camera work was added to that feeling.

It still was missing something and I’m not sure I’d recommend it strongly if it turned up on YouTube. I still didn’t like two clones wrestling. They don’t look the same, but they look close enough to being the same in a frantic fight where it was a little difficult to follow the action some of the time. (Maybe they should’ve made Madness a color swapped version of Havoc? Maybe it wasn’t as much a headache on the HD version?) The announcers also put a lampshade on an problem here: this bikers match is no different than the police match, no different than many matches, expect they happened to park a couple bikes around the end. This was a feud which didn’t connect being put to bed in a generic fashion.

 

Lucha Underground 3×32: The Cueto Cup

this destroyer is good only because of Prince Puma’s sell

Matches

Sexy Star and Veneno went to a no finish in a mask versus mask match (0:51, whatever)

Prince Puma beat Pentagon Dark to win the Cueto Cup (9:34, 630 senton, good)

Johnny Mundo beat Rey Mysterio to retain the Lucha Underground championship (18:04, fin de mundo, good)

Developments

bad times for Mundo

Johnny Mundo is still Lucha Underground champion. Dario Cueto banned all people on the “roster” from participating. The concept of a set “roster” in Lucha Underground is hard to fathom, given the owner didn’t even know who Veneno was last week and Matt Striker referenced Super Fly disappearing from the show. In this case, that very special word choice meant Dominic could show up to get some revenge on Mundo before being chased away by security, and that Dario himself pulled out the ref to cost Rey the match. They wasted no time with Rey getting his revenge, but Mysterio landing the 619 on Cueto left him open for a Mundo belt shot, and Mundo landed the find the Mundo a moment later. Striker sold this as a travesty.

Prince Puma defeated Pentagon Jr. in a competitive match to win the Cueto Cup. Vampiro celebrated with Puma after the match, making their private alliance very public. Vampiro rooted for Puma during the match. By virtue of these outcomes, Prince Puma will face Johnny Mundo for the championship as the main event of Ultima Lucha 3.

The Sexy Star/Veneno match barely got going before Joey Ryan ran out, and ripped off Veneno’s mask. The announcers focused on Veneno being exposed as Ricky Reyes, and not about a DQ being called. Referee Justin Borden was busy with Sexy Star and didn’t see the mask being removed. Borden  did appear to very quickly (thru editing) count Reyes out, and that’s likely how the result that occured in the building. Striker, in an obviously post edited line for TV, instead said the match was thrown out. His later lines talking about Veneno/Reyes as if he had lost the match and his real identity needed to be announced were left in. Reyes beat up Ryan, but Ryan got in a foul and escaped with the Veneno match.

Thoughts

nice reversal into the backbreaker

Lucha Underground usually delivers on big shows. They failed tonight.

The Sexy Star/Veneno segment was outrageously terrible, just a thumb to the eye of the viewer. There was no reason for it to be a mask match, just like there wasn’t really any reason for Johnny’s whiny heel agent to call Sexy Star’s title reign terrible. They know why they did what they did, but it came off like they were still ticked off about the reactions to Sexy Star’s title reign and the Sexy Star/Super Fly and decided to take it out on everyone else. They delivered a “mask vs mask” match which was among the most ill considered segments, up there with the Angelico/Ivelisse match. At least with that one, they realized what they had enough to try and tone it down in editing (didn’t work). This one could’ve been fixed easier. It would’ve been only a few minutes instead of an aggravating bit if they edited out the mask vs mask stipulation, but instead we were treated to a booking tantrum in the place of actually good wrestling.

(This was the first time Dario Cueto was acting way out of character; the Dario Cueto of the last three seasons would’ve have let a mask/mask match end without a finish, and he would’ve humiliated Cortez himself. It also made no sense for Joey Ryan to go out of the way disrupt this match when he and Dario were the ones who came up with it. This didn’t make any sense.)

Pentagon & Puma was good, and would’ve been a nice treat as a random match in the middle of the season. They got in a lot of big spots, the crowd was totally into it, and they got a decent amount of time. The match was good, and probably would appreciated even stronger out of context. There were problems with it in context; it didn’t feel like a big match, a tournament final at all. Finisher kick outs are over done in general, but this was definitely the time for guys surviving something beyond what they normally do, and what we got instead was the normal build up to a normal finish. Puma winning clean and as fairly as season one with the 630 senton didn’t really fit the long and incessant story they’ve been telling about Puma falling under Vampiro’s spell. There needed to be something underhanded, something that compromised him or justified his new outlook, like using the cement block on Mil Muertes, but he instead just won the same way he would’ve won before the skinny jeans, and the angry man who’d been breaking everyone’s arms quietly walked away. It felt wrong.

(Striker and Vampiro had a very bad night, but this also feels like one of those things where complaints only get them to push back harder. Lucha Underground is intensely loyal to people who were with them from the start and I don’t expect any change if there’s a season 4, but I also think they’d be crazy to keep going with these two.)

backcracker

The title match was a really solid match between two guys who work together well. Mundo comes off as a champion here and Rey put in a really strong effort for his biggest match on the show so far. It went a bit long; it probably would’ve helped both matches if they took a few minutes out of the middle of this one and tacked it on the end of the Cueto Cup. The production wasn’t at their usual level; both big Mysterio dives were shot in ways where it was hard to see what was going on, at least on the SD version I get. And then that finish.

Nothing about it made sense. Nothing about earlier made sense: why would Johnny Mundo want interference banned when he wins all his matches by interference and none of the técnicos ever interfere in his match? Why would Dario ban Worldwide Underground if he wants Rey to lose? Why would Dario scheduled Rey in the first place in the title match if he didn’t want him to win the title, and then wait 15 minutes to cost him it? Why did he lecture Matanza about letting go of his hunger for revenge on Rey and then attack Rey? I’m sure some of those things will be answered in the next few weeks, but I’m guessing not a lot of it will.  The answers to those questions are going to have to overwhelmingly satisfying to make up for the very unsatisfying finish to a match that’s been built to for months. And it’s going to have to make up for the usual heel owner bit, making Dario a lot less interesting in the process. There was nothing they were building towards, nothing they were paying off with this finish, just the usual played out swerve for the sake of doing a swerve.

(And, this is another reason that Sexy Star/Veneno match was so dumb. If you know Mundo/Rey is going to have a disappointing finish, the last thing you need is another terrible ending earlier in the show.)

The storytelling on this show was bad. The work in the matches was generally really good, and people defending this show will point to that work as a reason not to trash this show. There’s also the reasoning to wait and see how this will pay off. I’m in no danger of not watching the last handful of episodes here, but we’ve waiting nearly three months for this and the pay off really wasn’t worth it. This show has done a great job of elevating the wrestler’s performances with their story telling on other shows, but they let them down on this show.

how this show felt