Laredo Kid & Última Sombra vs Flamita & Mr. Elektro, Arena Coliseo Monterrey, 06/19/2016
Metaleón & Mr. Leo vs Puma King & Tiger, Salón Citlalli, Ecatepec, Estado de México, 07/31/2016
Máscara Dorada vs Flamita, Anaheim, California, 06/26/2016
Aero Boy vs Black Terry hair/mask, Autolavado VM, Tulancingo, Hidalgo, 06/10/2016
Some disappointing matches, some I really liked, one I even rated excellent. The topic of “what match would you show a promoter to sell them on [X]” comes up a fair bit on the podcast, and there’s some of those in here. If you hadn’t seen Imposible & Freelance, or Metaleon, Mr. Leo, Puma and Tiger, those matches give you a really good idea of what they’re about. (more…)
Cage defeated Texano, Dr. Wagner & Joey Ryan [X] (8:37, Texano powerbomb→Cage stealing the pin, good) in a Battle of the Bulls Semifinal
Sexy Star defeats PJ Black (6:28, ok, sunset flip into inside cradle )
The Mack b Mil Muertes, Dragon Azteca, Marty Martinez [X] in a Battle of the Bulls Semifinal (8:36, running stunner on Marty, good)
After some weeks of lots of unconventional drama, this week’s episode of Lucha Underground was more of a traditional wrestling show. A tournament, new feuds, and the back story of the Snake Tribe army. Maybe that last one isn’t so normal.
Dario had a busy, if unhappy night, setting up matches for the future. There’s a lack of contenders with Matanza unwilling to take his rematch, so Cueto took a couple steps to get Mundo some opponents. First, Sexy Star was given a match against PJ Black, where she’d get a cage match with Mundo if she won, and be denied any more shots if she lost. She won, of course, thanks to some botched interference from Jack Evans and will get that cage match at some point in the future.
Dario’s other plan to determine a challenger is a 16 person tournament called the “Battle of the Bulls.” It’s a series of four way matches, one fall to a finish, with the winners facing off in another four way for a title shot. Cage won the first semifinal to open the show, and the Mack got a bit of a surprise win in the second semifinal.
We know Angelico will be in one of the semifinals next week. Dario offered him the spot in lieu of getting him the direct shot at Mundo he wants, forcing Angelico to earn the chance instead. We know Matanza won’t be in the tournament. He originally had Dragon Azteca’s spot, but is set on facing Mysterio and Mysterio only. That’s not happening any time soon, as Mysterio is out injured after Matazna’s attack. Dario used Azteca as showcase of what could happen to Matanza if he stays focused only revenge: this was Dragon Azteca’s first match in nearly two months because he was so set on revenge against Chavo Guerrero that it got his head nearly caved in. Matanza responded to this thought by grabbing Dario’s head, bashing into it into the cage, and using the key to free himself. Matanza decided Mysterio’s protege was the next best thing to Rey and attacked him in the main event. A bloody Dario appeared to lead Matanza away with the key. The interference still cost Azteca the win, though Azteca was in the process of costing it himself by not going for a pin when he should’ve.
We also know the Texano/Cage Best of 5 is still ongoing, though it doesn’t seem to be going on right now. They’d have to sneak in match four next week to keep going, because Cage is going to be busy with this tournament final soon enough. Texano & Cage did keep the issue going by feuding in their match.
In a scene disconnected from everything else, Kobra Moon gave her side of the breakup with Drago: there was a Snake Tribe war against an enemy, one of the generals (Drago) abandoned them, and they lost badly. Kobra, sitting on a new snake throne and apparently now the Queen of her tribe, revealed two soldiers who had survived. One was a reptile, one was a dinosaur looking guy, and both are going after Drago in revenge.
One more plot moved slightly alone: Officer Cortez, with an arm in a sling, reported back to the captain that his cover was blown. The captain has figured out enough about Joey not to trust him to be in their alone, so she pulled a mask out of her drawer and encouraged Cortez to go back while hiding his identity. Sneaking a guy who’s been seen under a mask to hide his identity seems so unlikely to work in Lucha Underground, but I guess it’s worth a shot. I just want to know why Captain Vazquez had a mask sitting in her desk.
I don’t think I have all that many. Both tournament matches were all right. The first one was more all over the place and didn’t settle in for quite some time, with most of the focus on Texano & Cage. I liked the second one a bit more, though it was still nothing super memorable. The Mack is getting some attention suddenly, having finished third at Aztec Warfare, moving to the final here, and being Sexy Star’s one friend. He’s not normally a contender, but he could work as a challenger against Sexy or Mundo at the moment.
Sexy Star/PJ Black was a pile of whatever. It was fine, I guess. Sexy’s supposed to be resilient, taking all the offense from PJ but refining to give up. In practice, it comes off as she’s just giving up selling at points, popping back to life perfectly fine to get in her offense. Sexy can’t seem to win or lose by herself; it’s weird they she could beat Muertes but they had to do the Jack interference to protect PJ. I’m really done with Sexy Star singles matches. There’s so many more interesting people they could be spending time on instead of her. There was no way she was losing this match, but there’s no interest in having her beat Mundo. Even if I liked her wrestling, there’s so many other people to see.
The Kobra Moon ex plainer looked great, but she came off stilted. Maybe it was something with the editing, because there were many different camera switches and transition bits during it. For what it’s worth, the Snake Tribe friends are new people to the program, not ditched wrestlers being recycled. The Dario/Matanza was really well done. Matanza attacking his brother made sense but was a surprise when it happened, and they left Dario’s status unclear until he popped up in the main event. I guess Matanza will find someone else to play with while he’s waiting for Rey, but they’re keeping him far away from the title for the moment.
Recapped: 12/06/2016 What happened: Ephesto pulled Guerrero’s mask to set up a DQ. Pequeño Violencia was hurt or in no condition to wrestle or something, and CMLL was so angry at him that let him go back to the ring a second time.
In the wrap up, JCR very slightly teased big shows yet to come for this year, but it was such a small thing that it could’ve just been a generic mention with nothing in mind. Maybe this sentence is just proof I watched the entire thing.
What was good: The fourth match, with the Panthers, Drone and the Nuevo Dinamitas, was great.
Where can I watch it: It’s on CMLL’s channel.(more…)
What happened:Valiente beat Último Guerrero, twice, to set up a title shot next week.
What was good: Every single match was rated OK, which is not a positive show and not a really great help to you. Most were towards the upwards level of OK, flawed but with some value. Third match was the best match of the night for me.
Where can I watch it:It’s on CMLL’s channel.(more…)
What happened: Pagano beat Psycho Clown in his home town. Perros beat the Traidor Clowns, only for the Traidor Clowns to beat up them and security post match.
What was good: Nothing. Maybe the main event was the best match of the night, but that was an extended handicap match. Getting thru this show has been a chore for a while now and maybe the good thing is next week is the final episode of the year.
Where can I watch it: It’s on AAA’s channel.(more…)
Watching good matches instead of boring matches is a more fun who knew. The IWRG stuff doesn’t quite fit as good matches, unfortunately. Even when the matchups look good, the production problems are just killer. I hope they’re getting a good viewership out of being AYM or some cash. We’re used to it by now, but jumping back in it reminds me how bad it’s hurting their product.
What happened: Último Guerrero cheated to defeat Carístico in the main event, and they teased a mask/hair match. Both teams cheated a little bit in the women’s match, and they set up a rematch next week. Máximo cheated to defeat Mascara Año 2000 (for no good reason, he’d gotten in his finishing kiss) too. Nothing in particular was set up there, maybe because they were already doing two mic segments.
All these feuds coming up at once suggest there’s a big show coming. It’s possible they could hold them all off until the holidays, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise if they did some of this sooner. Último Guerrero is often back home around Christmas week, so that may be one getting done a little quicker.
Principe Diamante also re-debuted as a member of the main roster. He’d been around before as a mini, and still looks like a tall mini, but a tall mini who won the Mr. CMLL contest. There’s always suspicions the bodybuilding contest may be as predetermined as everything else. Suddenly getting booked regularly (when CMLL seems to be scheduling shows weeks in advance) seems a sign of some plan, but losing in his debut suggests there’s not one.
What was good: One of the matches without an angle! I really loved the Casas/Angel de Oro match for a nine minute showcase. The second match was good as well.
Where can I watch it:I’ll have it up later. After drama earlier, there was no particular geoblocking problem on Claro. I’m not really sure that we fixed it. It could’ve just been the social media person being wrong because they have been before. It worked, that’s all that really matters.(more…)
Pentagon Dark b Doku (6:10, ref stop broken arm, OK)
Pentagon Dark b Yorei (7:10, ref stop broken arm, good)
Hitokiri b Pentagon Dark b (12:46, Far East Destroyer, good)
(Black Lotus vs Pentagon Dark never really starts.)
Pentagon Dark’s battle against the Black Lotus Triad took up the entire hour. (Helpfully, the introduction recapped the build up to this feud and nothing else.) Pentagon faced the three new women one by one. Doku tried to strike with Pentagon, and quickly paid the price. Pentagon brutally destroyed her for a long period of time before Doku was able to mount a comeback. Doku landed a famous elbow drop, but went for it again and was caught in the armbreaker.
Yorei found more success with speed and traditional moves, then even beat an off balance Pentagon around the ringside area. (She tried to use the ring bell on him, with comically soft results.) Pentagon was able to turn it around once they got back in the ring, smiling Yorei made one more charge, but was caught right in position for the package piledriver. She was done, but Pentagon made sure to break her arm too.
Hitokiri had the best plan, sneaking in behind Pentagon, dropkicking him out of the ring, and then taking him out first with a moonsault, and then a tope. This was the most back and forth of the matches, the longest, and maybe most violent. Hitokiri even dove off Dario’s office (the first woman to do so, which might be a bigger trophy than winning the title in Lucha Underground.) Pentagon tried to break her arm, but instead was beaten by Hitokiri’s Far East Destroyer for the second time.
The final match, with Black Lotus, never really took place. Lotus decked the referee before he could call for the bell. Yorei & Doku returned to help Lotus and Hitokiri break Pentagon’s arm. Pentagon was too worn down to fight back. As soon as they did, Dragon Azteca appeared on the stairs. Azteca came to the ring and, despite their antagonistic history, Azteca & Lotus didn’t fight. Lotus took the Triad away while Azteca grabbed Pentagon’s good arm, and broke that too. Pentagon broke both Azteca and Lotus’ arms at Ultima Lucha 2, and they both broke his arms tonight. Vampiro, who’s been thrilled by the violence (in general and to Pentagon Jr. in particular) was very pleased by the outcome.
That wasn’t the last of Vampiro. The show closed with a shot of Prince Puma waking up in a half opened casket, with a demonic Vampiro looking over him. Vampiro told Puma to come with him as the show ended.
There were no other matches on the show, but a couple of other vignettes. Catrina ran into Jeremiah Crane, who seemed hopeful Ivelisse would return in time to face Catrina as Ultima Lucha 3. Catrina wasn’t there to really talk about that, but the necklace Crane’s been wearing (one that’s been unremarked upon until this point.) Catrina claimed the stone in the necklace was from her Stone, and “his flesh” was here for her; he was still in love with Catrina. Catrina declared she was in love with someone else. She could’ve meant Mil Muertes or Fenix by that, and she could’ve meant some ancestor of Crane was in love with her. As with most Catrina segments, the truth wasn’t really clear, but it was accurate enough to leave Crane uncomfortable.
We did briefly see Dario Cueto, attempting to make the obvious match from Aztec Warfare 3: his brother Matanza getting a title rematch against Johnny Mundo. Matanza loudly bellowed he didn’t want that, much to Dario’s confusion. Matanza wants revenge on Mysterio instead, revaling he’d bloodied his fists by pound the wall, and used the blood to draw a question mask. Dario was freaked out. It was that kind of episode.
Matt Striker: “It’s violent, it’s disturbing – and Vamp, it is awesome.”
Vampiro: “I’m so happy.”
Vampiro’s occupied and delighted all episode by the violence. Both just the existence of the violence, and that it happens to be his old estranged student Pentagon. We’re meant to be a little concerned by his behavior. Striker’s the voice of the writers, and his line was more a mission statement of what we were supposed to feel. I was most of the way there. It was definitely violent and it was definitely disturbing.
Near the end of the show, I wrote about how this episode would likely be more polarizing than even Sexy Star winning. I got some push back on that, and it’s not with out merit. If you’ve found yourself uncomfortable with men on women violence, you probably have not made it to episode #80 of this series. (Though, I’d expect – just like with the Sexy Star win – those who did give up on this show to react to this as validation for their decision.) Those who are left have made either no issue with it at all on a scripted television show, or have decided the overall positives of the show outweigh the negatives. I think I started out in the first category and moved to the second somewhere along the line, and then felt myself moving past that a bit tonight.
I know these are all trained skilled professionals. I know the women would and probably have taken the same level of punishment in matches against other women as they took from Pentagon. The rational part of my brain knows Pentagon and Doku performed an excellent looking superkick spot, and still the irrational part is not all entertained by seeing that man kick that woman very hard. This is a ruthlessly rational website, and yet that’s not the part of the brain that’s winning this argument.
The match with Yorei was the most resembling a normal wrestling match (and, thanks the comedic bell shot, definitely the least violent.) The opener with Doku, and large portions of the fight with Hitokiri, were disturbing and meant to be so. The best art leaves you a little disquieted. It’s a too much to call an episode of Lucha Underground art, but they definitely wanted to get feelings out of people and they surely succeeded.
One bit I’m sure they wanted to get out is Pentagon, at least up until the end of this episode, was meant to be the bad guy in all of this. Striker had the unenviable task of trying to portray the rabid Temple crowd as secretly trolling Pentagon by loudly chanting his catch phrase. I’m not sure a single person bought into it, but it was obviously a way to prepare the audience for both Black Lotus and Dragon Azteca getting their revenge without making them into the bad guys. (This might be the first time Azteca has actually succeeded at something since the trios title win!) This was Pentagon’s past catching up to him, and hopefully he’s reborn without baggage when he comes back. The Puma/Vampiro skit suggests he (or we) won’t be that lucky.
In a more strictly wrestling perspective, Pentagon took the loss and had his arms broken, and he still seems more over than when he started the night. The deadliest man has been crippled twice in two seasons and still comes across as ferocious in the process. And, while all three women did fine for themselves (and looked more gifted than “the best athlete in Lucha Underground, Sexy Star”), Hitokiri shined brightest. She’s obviously a superstar, they realized it enough to make sure she was the one who didn’t get her arm broken, and I hope they do whatever they can to get her back for Season 4. (Sadly, it’s one match an out for Season 3.)
I liked the Crane/Catrina segment, if only to look forward everyone else trying to make head or tails out of it. If El Rey had the budget for these things, they ought to cut together a special of Catrina’s scenes with in between explainers to help people out with the plot. (Or, maybe a fan should do it, if it was possible to do those sort of things on YouTube without getting a takedown notice.) Matanza came across menacing in his promo, though the bloody hands might be some unfortunate foreshadowing. The Puma/Vampiro bit to end was a nice bit of weirdness, and probably an intentional call back to Catrina/Mil reawakening scene in episode 1. Coming back from the dead has it’s consequences.