Lucha Underground Review: Episode 31 (Dragon Days)
[This column is dedicated to the legendary American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, who has sadly passed away today at the age of 69. He was one of the most charismatic, captivating performers of all time, and everyone who has ever been involved in wrestling, from the fans like myself to the performers we watch every week here on Lucha Underground, have been influenced by this wonderful, wonderful man. Goodbye Dream; we love you and we will miss you forever. May you dance forever beyond the gates of Valhalla]
If last week's Lucha Underground episode was a cool off (it wasn't), last night's episode was what the kids like to call BONKERS GOOD! Yes, even though Super Fly and Famous B ended up getting sent to the showers before their match even began (more time for Famous B and his J.O.B. Squad poker game I suppose), the LU provided three solid matches, one excellent return and the greatest Dario Cueto performance yet. Yes, that good! But jeez, if I talk more about it here, I'll spoil the review. Let's get funky like a monkey and start this bad boy. ON WITH THE SHOW!
Lucha Underground Episode 31: Dragon Days
Drago Has Wings/Vampiro Apologizes
Can I be the five thousandth person to state how awesome those Drago segments were last night? Holy cow; I'm betting we're going to find out that Robert Rodriguez directed those himself, they were so tight. I particularly loved the long shot of Drago leaning against the LU sign as the sun beamed down. That's a great shot for anything frankly. No sooner did good ole Drago fly off the Temple roof with his wings did we go inside the Temple to see Vampiro apologizing for his actions last week. To which I say; BOOOO! No apologies necessary Vamp. One, you saved Sexy Star from getting her arm broken and two, IT WAS BLOODY AWESOME SEEING YOU IN THE RING AGAIN! If I can take a Lord of the Rings quote, you bow to no one Vamp, really. If anybody should be apologizing, it's Dario Cueto for not booking you vs. Pentagon Jr five seconds after last week's episode. For shame El Jefe! For shame!
Chavo Guerrero Jr defeats Blue Demon Jr
Told you it was going to be Chavo. Look at me being able to see the future! This match came up after Dario Cueto finally revealed plans for the Ultima Lucha show, and then forced the returning Blue Demon to earn his spot on the show against a returning Chavo. As someone who thought their first encounter back on LU's debut episode was hit or miss, this was a much better contest. Chavo really brought the aggression, Demon (looking mighty sharp in his suit by the way) fought valiantly as the underdog, and the Crew was very appropriately Crew like. It'll be interesting to see if this is the end of this long running feud, or if Demon is going to seek revenge against these three. A word of advice for Chavo though; associating with the Crew is probably not a good idea. You know what happened to the last guy right? El Jefe is probably keeping what's left of Bael in the fridge for whenever Matanza gets hungry. Which if I had to guess is fairly often.
That's What You Get When You Trust Chavo!
Looks like Dario wasn't kidding when he said he'd put Black Lotus next to Matanza. Hey, I have no sympathy for her. You don't trust Chavo! Haven't years of evidence available to all of us made that point? Better yet, why on earth would you ever believe a guy who's best friend was at one point a fucking hobby horse?! Stupid. Although I will say that Chavo's assumption that Mexico isn't coming after him anymore is likely 115% wrong. So you beat up Blue Demon Jr? Somehow I don't think that would throw Psycho and Murder Clown off at all if they wanted a piece of you. By the way, I'm still going to maintain that something is going to happen between Lotus and Matanza. There will be bonding! You heard it here first.
Drago Confronts Cueto
I LOVED this segment. Absolutely loved it. And not just because of Cueto being Cueto; I actually thought Drago was far more compelling here than El Jefe. The desperation, the rage, the strength and weakness of emotion he displayed here was excellent I thought, the perfect way to humanize a wrestler that, last we saw, was potentially an actual dragon. Of course, it wouldn't be a Dario Cueto segment if he didn't allow Drago back in with a catch. The Dragon could enter into the #1 contenders match later that night (a match featuring past opponents of Prince Puma, which Drago obviously was), if and only if he agreed to be banished forever if AND give up his mask if he lost. Stakes were raised and O Brother, Where Art Thou lines were quoted following that proclamation.
The Disciples of Death defeated Bengala, Mascarita Sagrada and Pimpinela Escarlata
This match was what I imagine a bad Quentin Tarantino film to be like; a glorious mess. There was a tad bit of sloppiness I thought here, especially from the Skeletor Army, who seemed like they were teaming together for the first time ever (pretty sure they were actually). All in all though, this was a fun bout. Pimpinela was entertaining as ever, the lick of death from Catrina to Pimpinela was excellent, and overall the match served its purpose of making the Skeletor Army look strong. Give them a little time, and I think we'll see them gel. Oh, and how about Bengala?! Dude looks like he could be a potential force in the ring, even if I'm still not sure whether it's Ricky Marvin or the CMLL guy under the mask. Put him and Jack Evans together, and you're either going to get a top twenty LU match ever or the greatest break dancing contest to ever take place in a wrestling ring.
So this segment. No big deal at all. Just El Jefe letting us know he looks great in sunglasses, how much he appreciates Johnny Mundo, and that next week Mundo will be facing Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground Championship in a 60 MINUTE IRON MAN MATCH!!! That's right, next week's LU episode is going to have Puma and Mundo going at it for the whole episode next week, in a match that is most likely going to be one of the five best matches of the year. There are no more words that can adequately describe the epicness of this. We now go live to the internet's reaction.
#1 Contenders Fatal Four Way for the Lucha Underground Championship
Drago defeated Cage, King Cuerno and Hernandez
As you can guess by the competitors listed for this bout, it was a pretty solid main event. Good old Deer Antlers was excellent again, particularly when he had those stare downs with Cage. I haven't seen that much tension since Richard Castle and Kate Beckett "will they, won't they?" dance from seasons 1-4. If Cage vs. The Mack wasn't already set in stone, Cuerno-Cage is definitely something I can get behind. And how about Cage? He was absolutely brilliant again if I may be so bold. He was doing any and everything out there. Power moves? There was Cage. A standing moonsault? Cage. How about a moonsault to the outside? Try the man from the 559. Or why not a DOUBLE JUMP MOONSAULT?! Yup, Cage did that too. And you wonder why Kevin Owens should fear him. When can we have Cage vs. Mil Muertes again?
Of course, the real story of this match was Drago, who came out to the ring to one of the biggest pops the Temple has produced yet. While I think Cage and Cuerno at times stole the show from the dragonheart, he was still his usual, unique self, and appeared to not have lost a step since his last appearance. I also loved how there was focus on his history with both Cuerno and Hernandez, who if you recall is the reason Drago was forced to vacate the premises in the first place. Put it all together, and I was happy to see him walk away with the victory, even if it was obvious. Seriously, did anyone think Drago was going to be banished and lose his mask on top of it? There's a greater chance of Jurassic World being better than Jurassic Park.
Drago is #1 contender...AND it's gone
So much for Drago finally getting back on the horse. No sooner did he win, Catrina was appearing in El Jefe's office, strangling him with Matanza's key and pretty much assaulting him into making Mil co-number one contender with Drago. Hey, I'm alright with it. Drago vs. Mil Muertes should be a barnburner of a match, especially with a shot at the title on the line. Also, as much as I love El Jefe, he kind of had this coming. We all knew that someone was going to try to strangle Cueto eventually, so I guess it's good they got it out of the way now. And how about Catrina knowing about Matanza? I'm getting the feeling another dream match is about to be checked off here people. Could Mil possibly win the title from Puma, leaving Cueto with no alternative but to free Matanza in order to save LU from the beast king himself? It could happen. It could happen.
That's it guys. Man this was a tough one to write, especially in the wake of the horrible news today. I'll be back at some point, though it may not be till late tonight/early tomorrow. Till then, watch all the Dusty Rhodes stuff you can, send your thoughts, prayers and whatever to his family and watch some Lucha Underground to take your mind off this sad event. We'll miss you Dream!