taped 2014-08-19 @ Arena México
- Johnny Mundo [O] & Prince Puma [O] b Cortez Castro [X] & Mr. Cisco [X] – (9:21, top rope 450 splashes on both men) – GOOD
- Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Sexy Star [O] b Ivelisse Vélez & Son of Havoc [X] (2846-3421, casadora cradle) – OK
- Mil Muertes b Blue Demon Jr. (4:22, flatliner) – OK
- Castro, Cisco and Big Ryck all got names. Mundo rushed them, ran them off, they teased coming back with weapons, and Puma evened the odds. Cueto made it a tag match. Mundo & Puma won, but Konnan disauded Puma from getting involved with Mundo and his battles. Konnan wants Puma just to list to him. Puma remains mute.
- Big Ryck watched his partner’s match from the crowd, smoking a cigar, and walked off with after the loss.
- Sexy Star beat Son of Havoc to get revenge for last week’s tights pull. Chavo had the match won with the frog splash but tagged in Sexy to allow her to try to the ring.
- Mil Muertes was introduced. He’s got Catrina, who licks Muerte’s opponents before he faces them. She’s got a mysterious object that’s important to him. He won clean in his debut.
- Chavo ran in post match as if to save Demon from more of an attack, but instead hit Demon with a chair. Chavo took out two referees, two unidentified wrestlers and was temporary stopped by Sexy. Commentators invented a story about Chavo being Sexy’s hero/mentor. Chavo hit her with a chair shot too. Demon was stretechered out as if seriously injured.
Opening tag match was good. It was less a total move exhibition than last week, but they worked basic tag team forumla and so they had more of a story than last week’s show. Mundo & especially Puma seemed way out of Castro/Cisco’s league in this match. Maybe Cisco & Castro shouldn’t lose in their debuts, but they definitely should not have beaten those guys – and Big Ryck is being treated as the important guy.
Mixed tag match was better than I thought it would be. Sexy’s figured out enough things to do as a tecnica to make it work. Ivellise was given a minimal introduction, no more than Son of Havoc really. There was one really noticable miscommunication spot near the end that they couldn’t edit out, but otherwise it was okay. It served it’s purporse.
Main event didn’t do much for me. I’m okay with not seeing Demon for a while, but not-Mesias was not so great either. This match was more about getting over the character than having a good match and making Muertes look like a threat via clean win, but it was all kind of blah. It also totally got overshadowed by the post match angle, which an unexplained swerve.
Commentary was worse than last week and more what I was concenred about. Striker was all over place and hitting the “we’re not the WWE!” talking more frequently and more explicity than last week. Vampiro was saving absurd things. They tried to sell the seriousness of the show ending angle but it was hard to be with them at that point. Though the story of Sexy and Chavo having a meaningful relationship came out of nowhere and would’ve been a hard sell for anyone – the sudden of it all and the expectation we’d care cracked me up.
The two patterns so far are ending the show with a big angle to try and get people to come back for week two, and the show being broken down into three long segments. They had a long segement to start and a long one to end, which left a lot of commerical time in the middle half of the show. El Rey is airing a lot of house ads and probably cuodl afford to give Lucha Underground a few more minutes. It may be a Unimas issue, but it definitely breaks up the flow of watching the show live.
Things changed between tapings. We’ll see what that means for next week. They have edited things – there’s now way those matches were that short live – but they ending pushing the Chavo turn and the Demon injury angle big and didn’t hint towards the three guys starting next week.
taped 2014-09-06 @ Lucha Underground Temple, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California
Blue Demon Jr. submits Chavo Guerrero Jr. [5:15, sharpshooter w/armbar, OK]
Son of Havoc pins Sexy Star [1:32, front backbreaker “with tights pulled”, TOO SHORT TO BE RATED]
Johnny Mundo pins Prince Puma [12:31, “Fin de Mundo” rope flip moonsault tornillo , GOOD]
This format will have to change, because this show’s format doesn’t really fit the Mexico model. There’s a lot more to talk about then the matches with this one.
The vignettes were kind of the stars of this show. The Sexy Star one in particular was great in getting over her character on the show. The Prince Puma introduction was a bit goofy: they’re asking you to swallow a lot of mythology at once (and the “his name is Prince Puma because his spirit animal is a Jaguar” line was so very goofy), but they and the Dario Cueto stuff felt like Hollywood presentations. They’re quite a few steps up from the set that travels from show to show elsewhere. The production quality of the out of the ring segments was a big point of emphasis going in to the show and they delivered on the first show.
The match production probably needs to be improved. Some of that is probably going to happen naturally as more episodes roll out: the crowd felt small here and the noise felt fake at times, but there looked to be a lot more people by the end of the tapings. (I hope the not-so-subtle shots of fans giving thumbs down get dropped.) The overhead camera looks good for the start of the match shot but not so useful other times. The matches were edited. I’m guessing Sexy/Cross might have been for quality issues, but it’s going to be interesting to see how that works on shows where all three matches get time and not just the main event. This is a show that probably works a lot better on the DVR, where the commercial break->2 minute skit->commercial break bit doesn’t stick out as bad. It’s the tradeoff for having an unbroken main event, which definitely seemed to be the right call. If there’s one thing I could change, it’s less pointless shots of the announcers.
The main event was obviously meant as a statement as to the kind of wrestling they’re going to present. As with the other matches, it was all in one unbroken segment, but it was many steps above. It didn’t totally click for me: maybe because it was the second tecnico/tecnico battle of the night with no clear reason to exist, maybe it felt a little bit false when the announcers were raving it as one of the best matches of the year five minutes in and the crowd was chanting for people they didn’t know existed an hour ago – there was excitement, but it felt artificial. The match itself was super athletic with both guys getting to show off what they could do, but also seemed like they’ll be able to do a lot more together once they run into each other a few more times.
Announcing was much better than I feared. I had thoughts this might be a worst of the year quality team, but they were out of the way and didn’t overpower the match. Vamp and Striker occasionally said a goofy thing and Vamp made the presentation of Konnan a bit confused (Konnan was presented as a tecnico elsewhere but Vamp treated him like a heel), but they didn’t detract from the matches and that’s all I’m asking for in 2014.
The announcing sounded like they it was redone after the show was originally taped, but a lot of the sound had that artificial quality. (Obviously, that was on purpose with Son of Havoc.) They did manage to get shots of Fenix, Pentagon and Drago in the show – they didn’t just tape something and stick it on a disk for a few weeks, this felt like a project where they tried to refine what they could after the fact and that’s a good sign going forward. That’s really what I’m taking out of this episode: it was a good starting point and now they’ve got to build from there.
EDIT: I’m typing before I’m thinking tonight, so I wanted to jump back in the post to point out it was kind of silly to do big introductions for both Sexy Star and Prince Puma and then have them both lose. They worked hard to put over Puma despite the loss and it doesn’t concern me as much since I know what’s coming, but most people don’t. Treat your stars like stars.
In this final part
Jerry Estrada vs. Ultraman (3/2/84)
Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84)
Hijo del Santo, Cachorro Mendoza y Chamaco Valaguez vs. Jerry Estrada, Fuerza Guerrera y Talisman (3/9/84)
Lizmark vs. El Satanico (April 1984)
In this group (only 3)
El Faraón, Herodes y Mocho Cota vs. Lizmark, Ringo Mendoza y Tony Salazar
Solar, Ultraman y Super Astro vs. Sergio El Hermoso, Bello Greco y Rudy Reyna
Enrique Vera vs. Dos Caras (2/26/84)
It should be noted that the GIFs – always! – don’t necessarily reflect the quality of the match but just a moment I thought was interesting (and would translate well enough to the format.) I point this out because Vera/Dos was not a match of planchas, whatever the GIFs say.
Again, part of this project is you have to buy the DVDs, so I won’t be giving links to any of this. You’re also supposed to post your thoughts (which I’m doing, just not in the right place) and rank them all (which will require me finishing 8 more DVDs at a slightly faster clip.
This batch includes
Atlantis vs. El Satanico (1984)
Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (1/27/84)
Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (2/3/84)
Atlantis y Lizmark vs. El Egipcio y El Faraón (2/17/84)