Lucha Underground Review: Bagel Bites and the Sulking Jack!
If you loved season one of Lucha Underground (and what a coincidence, everybody did) then you’ll love tonight’s episode LU offered up. This was in many ways a classic example of what LU used to give throughout its lauded first season, with three strong yet very different matches, a whole lot of El Jefe and an episode long arc that culminated in a huge set up for next week’s main event. It may not have had anything as eye poppingly awesome as Killshot vs. Marty from last week, but overall this was an exceptional LU episode and probably the best one yet in season three. And the first two episodes were good to great! But enough hyping it up, let’s get to it! Moses, meme it! MEME IT NOW!
Rey and Azteca Training
This wasn’t a surprising start considering they played up the Pentagon-Azteca story in the intro, but it was surprising where it went. Azteca and Rey were training and chatting as they’re wont to do and Azteca, predictably, went on about wanting to get payback on Pentagon for breaking his arm. Not to be outdone on the predictability scale, Rey reminded his protégé that there’s bigger fish to fry and that Pentagon would be disposed of by another one of his enemies. I’m pretty sure that would’ve convinced the youngster if Chavo Guererro hadn’t suddenly appeared and provoked Azteca into unsuccessfully attacking him. Rey tried to defuse the situation, but all it seemed to do was give Azteca another person to impulsively go after and Chavo a reason to have beef with his old buddy. More to come on this soon!
Lucha Underground Championship Match
Matanza (c) defeated The Mack
This was a really good match that almost got overshadowed by El Jefe in the pre match festivities, where he ran down Son of Havoc and accused him of recovering at home with the help of his mother. Classic El Jefe!
The brilliance of this was that both men, despite getting only five minutes or so by my count, maximized their minutes and delivered an exciting, well paced match. The contrast was great too; when Big Willie was on offense things moved fast with a few dives thrown in. When Matanza took control in the middle section it became all power and hard hitting slams, and I think it did well to continue giving Matanza an aura of a diabolical monster while also making Big Willie, like Son of Havoc, look like someone capable of toppling the monster. I don’t think we should just dismiss that these matches are getting more competitive just for the hell of it either. We haven’t heard anything yet to suggest this but I’m slowly starting to think Bryan Alvarez’ theory that El Jefe is unknowingly running Matanza into the ground with all these matches is correct. Either way a more vulnerable but still dominant Matanza is welcome, or at least more matches like this are. Must be that damn Dial of Doom!
Bagel Bites Along the Open Road
I don’t know if this was the best scene in Lucha Underground history but it was definitely the funniest. Why? Because we got to see El Jefe proved correct when we saw Son of Havoc hanging out at his home, with his mother indeed nursing him back to health! Not only that, but she was doing it with Bagel Bites in a moment of product placement so over the top that it topped Alan Wake and that Friends episode about Pottery Barn. It was that good. In between all of that, we also learned that Mascarita Sagrada and Havoc have buddied up to eat said Bagel Bites and then launch a strike against Famous B, Dr. Wagner Jr. and Beautiful Brenda, whose commercials they watched while waiting for their pizza bagels to be finished. And I haven’t even mentioned Mascarita giving the finger or Mrs. Havoc letting us know that her real name is Edna Havoc! Seriously, if you weren’t on the floor after this segment then you have no soul. You are Matanza I say!
Mundo Rage Quits on El Jefe
Pretty much the same thing we saw from episode one; Johnny Mundo wants a Lucha Underground Championship match, El Jefe won’t give it to him. This time however Mundo has had enough and walks out, which would be fine except he had a Trios Title shot later in the night. Good thing Taya came into the office with him and, a little too eagerly, took his place in said match. I thought that was odd at the time but as the main event will tell you, things are pretty tense in Worldwide Underground right now.
Cage defeated Texano
This is going to be another one of those really good Cage matches that falls through the cracks because Cage has these types of bouts at least twice a month. I was mightily impressed here, and I mainly was because they decided to wrestle it strictly as a power style match. Both Cage and Texano went for a bunch of punishing, high impact moves throughout, with some high flying and a huge submission moves sprinkled in. Maybe I was the only one but this really worked for me and I thought it was easily the most impressive LU match Texano has had since his collision with Daga last season. And the best part is we should be getting more of the same here, as El Jefe revealed that the Ultimate Opportunity can only be gotten once Cage or Texano wins three matches against each other. That’s right; the Best of Five series is back and honestly I can’t think of two guys better for it than these two. Both of these guys are more than capable of switching things up for the other matches and, while some may have hesitation because of his shoddy LU past, Texano is a guy who I think will click well with the ultra talented Machine. In fact, of the two guys Texano will probably benefit from this Best of Five the most. All he’s ever needed in the Temple was a scenario where he could show off his exceptional ability that he showcases often in AAA. This is that chance, and I’ll be stunned if his reputation hasn’t improved by the end of this series.
PictureGate and Azteca-Chavo Drama in Office de El Jefe
Quite a few developments here folks. El Jefe was seen getting two packages here, one that contained a Famous B 423-GET-FAME hat and another that contained pictures of…frankly I’m not sure. We actually got a good look at the pics and I’m still not entirely sure what the pictures showed! Whatever it was El Jefe tried to dispose of them and ultimately would succeed when Ricky Mandel came in asking for a match. I wasn’t even sure Ricky was alive prior to this and now I’m not sure he will be afterwards depending on what those photos were that he ended up taking from El Jefe. Hell I’m not even sure why he wanted them! Dammit Ricky, this is not how I saw your return going! In between all of that we saw Azteca barge into El Jefe’s office and show off to ask for a match against Pentagon. So much for Rey Rey’s pep talk! El Jefe wanted to put Azteca against Black Lotus again, but with her in the wind (i.e. Hong Kong) he ultimately relented and gave Azteca the match for next week. Or at least it looked like he did before Chavo came in after Mandel to talk with Dario. They cut away before we could hear what about, but it became quite apparent before the end of the show what the plan was. Don’t worry; we’ll get to it later!
Lucha Underground Trios Championship Match
Fenix, Aerostar and Drago (c) defeated Jack Evans, P.J. Black and Taya
If you thought this was going to be a match with a lot of flips…you’d be right, but there was more to it than that. As it turns out Johnny Mundo isn’t the only member of Worldwide Underground having issues, as it appears the whole team is on the verge of imploding. While Taya and P.J. Black looked to definitely be on the same page tonight, Jack Evans wasn’t. In fact Jack wasn’t like he usually is at all; there was no talking, no insults, no arrogance…alright there was some arrogance but not nearly as much as you’d think. In his place was a new Jack Evans who shall now be known as Sulking Jack. And boy did he sulk and boy did he make sulking highly entertaining (note that it appears this may have taken place while Jack was recovering from a broken jaw. If it was, bravo to him and LU for working around it!).
It also led to Worldwide Underground falling apart, as Jack and P.J. struggled to get along so much that eventually Jack sat down on the floor and refused to take part in any bit of the match. I told you he sulked! I’m not sure if this was just something between P.J. and Jack for this one night or if Mundo’s absence left the group wandering in the wilderness but that friction ultimately led to their downfall. Even with all of that going on however this match ended up working out quite well. I loved the opening mat work exchange from Drago and Taya, and the sequences between P.J. and Aerostar were great with a capital G. Their sequences were the most exciting non Marty-Killshot stuff we’ve seen in season three thus far, and the closing sequence that saw Aerostar hurricanrana P.J. in mid flight (among other things) was out of this world even for someone like the Intergalactic Maniac. With those two killing it, Taya carrying herself well as usual and Drago and Fenix having just enough moments to keep up it ultimately didn’t matter that Jack was basically a non factor outside of his character work. It’ll be interesting to see now where the Worldwide Underground goes from here. Jack wasn’t on the same page with his pals even after Mundo came out post match to beat down the champs, and he didn’t come to their aid when Sexy Star intervened to save the day for the technicos. That Atomicos match is coming between these two sides and while Sulking Jack is the gift that keeps on giving to us, it’s not going to help Worldwide Underground win against the Trios Champs and the Gift of the Gods Champ.
El Jefe and Rey
If there’s one thing you’ve got to love about Lucha Underground, it’s their ability to build up a story throughout the night and then add an extra kick to it leading into next week. We saw them start the show re-establishing Azteca’s desire to go after Pentagon while setting up beef between Rey/Azteca and Chavo, we saw Azteca ignore his trainer’s advice from that first segment in order to get a shot at Pentagon and then we got this. Rey came into El Jefe’s office and pretty much asked Dario to take Azteca-Pentagon off the books. Turns out it was already off the books, as El Jefe had instead changed the match to Chavo-Azteca (explaining Chavo’s need to talk to Dario earlier), with the winner getting to face Pentagon. This didn’t work well for Rey and you can understand why; both Chavo and Pentagon serve as distractions to what Rey and Azteca are working towards and both present different issues, whether it be potential broken arms or old school Guerrero manipulation. So El Jefe decided to throw Rey a bone…by making him the Special Guest Referee for next week’s match!
In the words of Special Agent Dale Cooper, that’s some brilliant work. Chavo and Azteca is already a big time match because the match should be solid and both men have reason to go after Pentagon due to him breaking both their arms at the end of season two. Adding Rey in makes it even better and forces Mysterio to make a choice as a character. He can either help Azteca win and remain in his protégé’s favor (while also sending him straight to Pentagon and a match that could have severe consequences), or he can help Chavo win and alienate himself from Azteca, who we’ve clearly seen isn’t the most level headed dude to set foot in the Temple. It’s a move that makes sense because it fits El Jefe’s twisted sense of humor and because from a kayfabe perspective it contains huge ramifications and consequences for either action Mysterio chooses. That’s some exceptional booking right there and it was exceptionally executed by El Jefe and Mysterio. I was already excited for Chavo-Azteca at any point during the season and I’m even more so now!
That’s a wrap! I’ll be in tomorrow to preview a big CMLL Super Viernes this Friday. Till then, how about a Bagel Bites meme? What, we’ve already had enough Sulking Jack for one evening!