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Lucha Underground: The Battle of Boyle Heights
If you had told me a week ago that this week’s Lucha Underground episode would be great, I would’ve more than likely said “Duh” and gone back to an intense game of TEW 16. What I never would’ve expected was that the show would be great despite Prince Puma-Fenix and Pentagon-Mil Muertes kinda, sorta under delivering. And yet that’s exactly what happened. Not that Puma-Fenix and Pentagon-Mil were bad; both were good and even a little bit great, albeit in a different way than any of us would’ve predicted. But both wound up being eclipsed by a final segment that needs to be seen to believed, a chaotic, out of control demolition derby that only George Miller, the Game of Thrones dudes and Monster Jam could come up with. I’d say more, but that would spoil the fun! So instead, let’s work our way though the show and get to what I’m going to call the Battle of Boyle Heights. Already trademarked it and anything. Moses, get off the message boards and meme. You can make fun of the white supremacists that can’t get laid no matter how many tiki torches they have after the column.
I Want the Power Glove! No, I WANT THE POWER GLOVE!
Spoiler alert; this opening was all about the power glove. And yes, the power glove remains so very, VERY bad. Cage actually had it off to start this scene as he was lifting weights, but he quickly made his way towards it once Catrina arrived and asked for the glove, in a continuation from last week’s final scene. Tried as she might though, Catrina couldn’t get the glove, though it wasn’t entirely clear if Cage was reluctant because the power of the glove has him by the balls or because he doesn’t trust Catrina. I’d normally say the latter, but killing Lorenzo Lamas has me questioning Cage’s motives these days. Ultimately this ended with Catrina promising to take the glove from Cage the hard way and Cage getting really psyched about this. And that was the last development of this story for the whole evening. LOL!
Cortes Castro busted again!
In a scene only notable for El Jefe’s great reaction to finding out Cortes Castro and Veneno are the same dude (seriously, he sold that shock), Joey Ryan barged into Dario’s offense and…well I just gave it away so I shouldn’t have to say it again. Dario’s solution to this problem was simple; next week Sexy Star and Veneno will go at it in a mask vs. mask match (our second Apuesta match in LU history!), where Veneno would hopefully be exposed for the fraud he is. Scratch that; he will be. Even Dario seemed pretty convinced Sexy Star would win this, and I see no reason to doubt him. Granted I also see no reason for why this match should be happening (it’s probably the least anticipated match of the season) but hey…something else had to be on the card last week, right?
Prince Puma defeated Fenix
Watching this match the first time, I thought it was nearly great minus the ending. Upon rewatch, I found it to be legitimately great, minus the ending. The thing that’s going to throw people off about this match is the fact that it’s not what you’d expect. Basically it wasn’t just these two doing dive after dive after dive like Puma and Dante Fox did a couple of weeks ago. It’s not like this is something new from Fenix and Puma; both guys have been working slower all season, either to save up their bodies or show the world they’re more than guys who just do flips. I just kind of wish they had abandoned the “less is more” strategy here in order to give us a few more “wow!” moments. Then again, Puma did do that…OH DEAR I NEARLY SAID TOO MUCH!
Anyways, the good news is that Puma and Fenix are both proving to be really good at taking things slower, so this match remained a great watch despite not featuring the flash. Puma continued to balance the line between old, beloved Puma and new and improved Darth Puma, showing off an aggressive and evil side at times. That was good because it allowed Fenix to be the plucky underdog, and every “wow!” moment in this match was courtesy of him, whether it was reversing a brainbuster into a Rana, a Code Red, a sick kick to the back of the head or a death defying moonsault onto Marty the Moth. Oh yeah; Marty the Moth made an appearance here, one that was honestly one I could’ve lived without. Not that I don’t love Marty and don’t want to see the Marty-Fenix issues continue, but I really would’ve liked to have seen Fenix-Puma go the whole distance without anything creating an asterisk over the result. Alas it’s hard to complain too much as Fenix did bring it on himself (he could’ve just avoided Marty instead of moonsaulting him off planet Earth), and LU did a nice job of protecting Fenix by having him kick out of a wicked knee/Fire Driver combo by Puma before the 630 finished him off for good. Not how I would’ve ended the match, but the story did get advanced and everything else up to that was good, albeit different than I expected.
The Weight of the Cage
If there’s one thing I learned from this scene, it was that Mil Muertes is very strong and very loud when he’s working out. Seriously; it looked like a scene out Jurassic Park in Sexy Star’s part of the locker room thanks to all of Mil’s punching and grunting. Unfortunately for Mil is workout ended with Cage nailing him with a weight twice and then dropping it right on top of Mil as Catrina looked on with a blank stare. This is what happens when you try to take the power glove away from someone; the next thing you know you’re looking down at your man as a weight is crushing him right before he’s supposed to go out and face Pentagon Dark. Catrina was able to get Mil revived with the stone and gave one of her convincing pep talks, but…well we’ll get to it in a moment. Needless to say that Catrina probably won’t have to motivate Mil to take back the power glove (which yes, in case you’ve been wondering since the opening, is still so bad) and we now have an awesome hoss fight to look forward to. Mil vs. Cage; Zombie vs. Machine; Immortan vs. Power Glove. It’s like LU combined The Terminator, every George A. Romero film ever, Mad Max and The Wizard all into one match! Well done guys.
Pentagon Dark defeated Mil Muertes
Much like the first hotly anticipated match of the night, this didn’t go as planned. Why? That damn Cage sneak attack. Despite being revived with the stone, Mil still had serious damage to his ribs and spent the whole match selling it while Pentagon targeted Mil’s midsection with an assortment of kicks. Not that this was a bad thing; in fact I thought it was the best part of the match thanks to Mil’s outstanding selling. Unfortunately it led to the match going a lot shorter than it should have, with Pentagon hitting Mil with a double stomp for the win after thwarting Catrina with a swift kick to the face. That was actually the worst part of the match; not the kick mind you, but Matt Striker then being Matt Striker afterwards. Can we find a way to replace this guy for season four or something? That and time constraints aside, this was still quite good and Mil’s performance was particularly great thanks to his selling. Like the first match though, it just wasn’t the classic we all expected, which makes it understandable why some will be disappointed. At least we have the finals we all wanted though. Pentagon vs. Puma. I expect Vampiro to go through at least five different personalities before that one is over.
The Battle of Boyle Heights
As an android in an underrated Ridley Scott movie once said, big things have small begins. If ever something proved that statement true it was LU’s closing segment, which all started with El Jefe in the ring gloating about how much he loved his luchadors talking shit about each other. Classic El Jefe! He then brought out Rey Mysterio and Johnny Mundo, the latter who was surrounded by security guards (including former Tough Enough contender Eric “No I’m not related to Bill” Watts). Mundo launched a few great insults at Rey (“Did Dominic get his height from his mom?”) and then went old school on Rey by suggesting Dominic wasn’t his son. Somewhere, Eddie Guerrero laughed his ass off at this. That set Rey off and the two brawled for a few minutes before Worldwide Underground came out to seemingly end the show on an unhappy note. And then…you know what, I’m going to let my main man Martin Lawrence sum it up.
It started out slow, with Sexy Star, El Dragon Azteca Jr. and The Mack coming out to defend Rey against Worldwide Underground and their security. Okay, that made sense; those three are either friends with Rey or had recent issues with Mundo and his gang. But then Prince Puma came out, followed by Pentagon, followed by Mil Muertes, followed by Cage! And just like that the locker room emptied and we bore witness to one of the greatest things Lucha Underground has done in its entire existence. When I say all hell broke loose, all hell broke loose. Enemies brawled with enemies and people they had never come across in their Temple stay. Pentagon tied up Puma with wire chords around the ring post and choked him out. Fenix got a little bit of revenge on Marty the Moth. Killshot and Dante Fox had a brawl in the upper section. Taya and Sexy beat each other with chairs. Mil and Cage gave us a preview of their epic hoss fight to come. Jeremiah Crane made an appearance. Puma did a 630 Splash onto at least ten people.
All of this and more was awesome, yet there were somehow three things that ended up standing out the most. First, the surprise appearance of Vinnie Massaro, who came out to elbow Joey Ryan all the way back to the precinct. Second, Paul London, Mala Suerte and Saltador scaling the roof of El Jefe’s office and calling play by play of the action with carrots, because of course they would. And finally, there was Dario, so brilliant during the lead up to this, smiling his ass off like he had just shed several ancient Aztec Gods off his back. And I was smiling right there with him. I can understand this not grabbing you if you’re the kind of person who isn’t a fan of all out brawls, one of wrestling’s tried and true tropes. But my Grodd did I love this. It was chaotic, it was fun, it was out of control, it somehow managed to make a bunch of feuds even more important while also making sure guys and gals didn’t just interact with their enemies and…fuck I don’t know what else to say. It was out of this world good, one of the best things LU has ever done, and it single handedly turned a show that was “good, but not great” into a great show. I can’t wait for Rey vs. Mundo next week; I can’t wait for the next nine shows; for the love of all things Aerostar better get to my house quick and take me to next week. Awesome. Just awesome.
And I’m spent. I’ll be back tomorrow kids with some more LU writing, as well as a preview for Friday’s CMLL show. Till then, THIS!