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The Twenty Best Matches of Lucha Underground Season 2: Part 1 (20-11)
It’s that time again folks. This Wednesday will mark two weeks since Ultima Lucha Dos ended and Lucha Underground entered what will ultimately (and thankfully) be a month and a half hiatus before season three starts. That’s great news from the standpoint that we get more Lucha Underground far quicker than we did after the end of season one. The bad news is it gives me less time to reflect on everything that happened in season two. Hence, today is the day to start said reflection, and we’re going to start by breaking down the 20 best matches of Lucha Underground season two. I’ve got a couple twists for you with this list as well. First, it will be done in two parts, with tonight showing matches 20-11 and tomorrow showing the top ten. Secondly, this isn’t me just listing the matches based off my personal opinion. In doing this column, I decided to consult my two pals and Lucha Underground fans Matt Mortensen and Ryan “Leaf” Plant (who writes a beautiful Lucha Underground review every week over at Lords of Pain). Together the three of us voted on what we felt were the twenty best matches of the season (including honorable mentions) and ultimately the average score of our votes decided where each match would fall. Thus here we are with what I feel are the twenty best matches of what will ultimately go down as a really underrated season of Lucha Underground. Let’s take a look at what they were, beginning with some matches that just missed the cut.
Joey Ryan and the Crew vs. The Mack, Marty “The Moth” Martinez and Mariposa (Episode 11)
Arguably the most underrated match of the season, if only because everyone has since forgotten about this first round Trios Tournament bout. It wasn’t a life changer, but the built in dysfunction between each side, some nice high flying and a brilliant breakout performance by one Mr. Cisco help make this one of the most fun matches of the season. Let the record show this is also where Sexy Star finally started to stand up to the Moth’s in the post match, leading to a match that may or may not have ranked pretty high at the end of all things.
Lucha Underground Trios Championship Match
Johnny Mundo, Jack Evans and P.J. Black (c) vs. Fenix, Aerostar and Drago (Ultima Lucha Dos Part 3)
What made this match so much fun is ultimately what also keeps it out of the top twenty; the match is just a little too out of control for its own good. It also features some of the most entertaining wrestling of the season, with a great contrast between the technicos diving from anywhere and everywhere while the rudos cheated their hearts out in a second half that featured more potential DQ offenses than every other promotion combined this year. That’s not even the two best parts either, which are referee and PWG legend Rick Knox suddenly turning into an anti-chaos crusader and Angelico triumphantly returning to beat Johnny Mundo down with the greatest crutches shots of all time.
Cage vs. Johnny Mundo (Episode 14)
If we were listing matches based off their taglines, this one would be number one. You’re just not beating Cage in a Cage folks; that’s the Hamlet of match taglines if I ever saw it. Alas that’s not how we do things here. Poor Cage; he had such a good year that this match with the Wednesday Night Delight only makes the honorable mentions while his match with Taya, a grueling and uncomfortable street fight that turned Taya from a cocky ruda into the toughest woman that ever lived, didn’t make it at all. I think what ultimately works against this match is that a) it occurred the same night as the Trios Tournament Final which completely overshadowed it and b) this was less a brutal feud ender like everyone expected and more like a highly entertaining action/adventure picture. Other than that, this is an outstanding time with great performances from Mundo, Cage and a returning Taya, who arguably had the best spot of the match with a sweet crossbody off the top of the cage.
That'll do it for the honorable mentions. Now it's time for the meat and potatoes!
20. Graver Consequences for the Lucha Underground Championship
Matanza (c) vs. Mil Muertes (Episode 16)
The sequel to the season one masterpiece never quite lived up to the standards its predecessor set, which was just fine; unless you’re Francis Ford Coppola in the 1970’s you don’t just churn out a masterpiece every time. Even despite that this feud ender between LU’s two resident Godzilla’s is quite good, with enough violence for the whole family and wonderful moments like Mil punching his way out of a coffin and King Cuerno grave robbing the former Immortan post match. You want to know what the match’s biggest problem was in the end; it didn’t have Fenix. There’s just something about the heated rivalry that he and Mil have that helped elevate the first Grave Consequences to the stuff of legends. That this match didn’t quite have that element (or a death defying Flatliner through a roof, like in the first bout these two had) means it’s merely the stuff of really good shit. There’s no problem with that; you know how many times M. Night Shyamalan has wished his stuff was really good shit? That’s not a level to sneeze at.
19. Nunchuck Match
Aerostar and Drago vs. Jack Evans and P.J. Black (Episode 20)
The spiritual sequel to last year’s Believer’s Backlash match between Drago and Hernandez, this one is somehow crazier and more fun than the lunacy that was the Trios Championship match at Ultima Lucha Dos. I chalk that up to three reasons; first, the Aerostar dive off the roof. I know he did that dive off Fenix’ shoulders at UL2 ala his famous spot at the 2015 Battle of Los Angeles, but nothing beats a roof dive in the Temple (just ask Angelico!). Secondly, those nunchucks were no joke. I went into the match expecting them to be the weakest weapon used in LU history; by the end I was convinced they were most vicious the way these four beat the shit out of each other. Thirdly and most importantly, this match contains what all us lucha crazies want the most and what Matt Mortensen wants the least; a whole lot of cocky, delusional Jack Evans from bell to bell. The man, the myth, the legend was left in the background a bit at Ultima Lucha Dos; here he’s winking you in the face more than Fred Savage’s bloody mole.
18. Gift of the Gods Championship Match
Fenix (c) vs. King Cuerno (Episode 1)
The only reason this match ended up rating so low is because the next two matches in the Fenix-Deer Antlers rivalry were superior efforts (you’ll see just how superior soon). Other than that, you couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off the season. Fenix goes absolutely crazy, Cuerno takes the most of his opportunity to rise up the card, and best of all this set up what arguably became the best in ring feud Lucha Underground’s second season produced.
17. Marty “The Moth” Martinez vs. Killshot (Episode 17)
I think some people may rank this one a little, or perhaps a lot, lower than it’s placed. I wouldn’t entirely disagree with that notion either. In the end though, this was an entertaining yet heated contest that allowed us to see new glimpses of both Killshot and Marty, two underrated performers in desperate need of something to sink their teeth into. Frankly I think this match was only a trace outline of what these two are capable of against each other and dare I say that by the time we’re doing the season three list these two will have a match near the top of the list. All they need is a little more build up, a little more time and a whole lot of violence.
16. Gift of the Gods Championship Match
Chavo Guerrero Jr. (c) vs. Cage (Episode 18)
The most pleasant surprise of season two and one of my favorite matches of the whole season. Honestly if it was just me doing this list I’d probably have the bout a bit higher; dammit Leafster and Mortensen! It’s easy to watch this match and see it as yet another example of Cage being Cage in a season where he could’ve pulled a great match out of David Flair or Canelo Casas. What makes this match though is a) the fact that LU allowed this match to be more than a one sided squash (as everyone expected) and b) Chavo Guerrero making the most of his opportunity to turn back the clock and put on one of the best performances of his entire career. It was like watching him in WCW all over again, minus that beautiful hobby horse. I didn’t think he had it in him and I’m thrilled that with Cage’s help he proved me wrong.
15. Lucha Underground Championship Match
Matanza (c) vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Dos Part 3)
The assumption here is that this match is this low on the list because Pentagon didn’t win the belt, ergo the finish sucked. I can’t speak for my other two voters but that’s not the case for me; the reason this match is low is because it was largely a one sided squash with Pentagon delivering the most diabolical beating since the so called Beautiful. Beyond that though this is a really entertaining match that showcased the best of Pentagon, a more vulnerable side of Matanza that was desperately needed and a finish that, gasp, actually accomplished what it was supposed to by getting nuclear heat on Matanza and Dario Cueto. It boggles my mind that people actually think the crowd was booing the finish when they are in fact booing the bad guys; you know, the thing that doesn’t happen enough in wrestling these days.
14. Triple Threat Trios Match for the Lucha Underground Trios Championships
Ivelisse and Son of Havoc (c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr., Prince Puma and El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Joey Ryan and The Crew vs. Fenix, Jack Evans and P.J. Black (Episode 14)
From a pure wrestling standpoint this match not only topped the previous year’s Trios Tournament final, it lapped it more than Jeff Gordon in his prime. What’s the problem then? For me, this match is a tad too long, it doesn’t have an all time unforgettable spot ala Angelico’s crossbody and, while the match does attempt to tell the story of Ivelisse and Havoc overcoming the odds with Angelico (who was taken out pre-match), it doesn’t contain the emotionally rewarding ending of Ivelisse, Angelico and Havoc overcoming their issues and coming together to become champions. Overall though it’s still a highly entertaining match, with the Lucha Justice League completing their quick rise to the top and a great Ivelisse-Jack Evans sequence that totally needs to be revisited in season three. Seriously; if we don’t get Jack vs. Ivelisse at some point with the title of “baddest bitch in the building” on the line, we as the Lucha Kliq have royally screwed up.
13. Lucha Underground Championship Match
Mil Muertes (c) vs. Ivelisse (Episode 1)
For the amount of time these two were given, this might be the best story during a match in all of season two. Just think about it; in about four minutes (maybe less), Mil Muertes and Ivelisse not only convinced us that Ivelisse had a legit shot of beating the most dominant force in Lucha Underground history but did it in a way where Ivelisse looked like a megastar and Mil still came out of it just as strong as he did before. I absolutely love this match for that and that near fall Ivelisse gets after Mil spears Catrina still gets me every time. Only Pentagon vs. Vampiro and the number four match on this list have told a story better in the ring than this one, and I don’t say that lightly. Somewhere, some LU fan is reading that and going, “holy shit, if this match is that good how great must the rest be?!”.
12. Rey Mysterio Jr., Prince Puma and El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Cage, Taya and Johnny Mundo (Episode 12)
I imagine if this had been a finals match in the Trios Tournament or even a Trios Titles match built up for a few weeks this match would be higher on the list. The lack of stakes aside, this match checks off absolutely everything it needs to do. It showed us Rey still had it, it established El Dragon Azteca Jr. as a force to watch out for, it furthered the really good Cage-Mundo-Taya angle and it immediately made the Lucha Justice League team as a top stable as if they had been in Lucha Underground since the first season. Oh, and it did all of this while being one of the most exciting and unpredictable matches of the season to that point, a true sign of what lucha libre can be like when six excellent performers take the gloves off and go shoulder to the wheel.
11. Death Match
Mil Muertes vs. King Cuerno (Ultima Lucha Dos Part 2)
In many a way this match is a more expansive version of what Pentagon and Matanza gave us a week later during Ultima Lucha Dos’ grand finale. It’s very much a one sided beat down in favor of Mil, as it should be because good ole Deer Antlers a) grave robbed the former Immortan and b) propped him up against the wall in his cabin as if poor Mil was just another prized deer Cuerno bagged while hanging in the Pennsylvanian woods with Robert De Nero and Christopher Walken. Much like the first Death Match between Mil and Fenix however, this match also gives us a desperate yet resilient Cuerno, who manages to hang around all match, does some stuff that’s out of the ordinary for him and is only put down once Mil just goes full HAM and powerbombs him through everything in sight. People often lose sight of how effectively the two LU Death Matches portrayed Mil as the ultimate omega, while also showing that even with him going all out the only way to beat Fenix or Cuerno was with something truly special. That was the beauty of the first match and it certainly was the beauty of this one. And folks; Cuerno isn’t dead. If the first Death Match didn’t kill Fenix then this one didn’t kill Deer Antlers. Dude is probably just laying low, playing some Duck Hunt and waiting for the change to get his vengeance. We’ve all been there Cuerno; we’ve all been there.
That’s part one folks! Tomorrow we’ll go through 10-1 to find out what Matt, Leaf and myself voted as the best Lucha Underground match of season two. Till then, a Duck Hunt meme, only because we haven’t yet created one with King Cuerno in it. Somebody get on that dammit!
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