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Lucha Underground Review: On the Boulevard of Broken Arms
Well slap my ass and call me Judy; Lucha Underground really out did themselves tonight sports fans. Armed with three of the best women’s wrestlers in the world, Pentagon Dark and an intriguing Gauntlet Match concept that looked to take up most of the show, this episode promised to be at least as memorable as Aztec Warfare III was a few weeks ago. Ultimately it turned out even better than that, thanks to Pentagon Dark and the ninjas having three high quality matches (including one Match of the Year contender), a beautifully done show long story arc with a great payoff and four scenes that somehow wormed their way in and managed to leave an imprint for shows to come. In hindsight you could argue some LU shows this season could be skippable; not this one. Let me tell you why. Moses, meme like the bones in your arms depended on it.
Vamp and Pentagon Together Again!
They were destined to be two of the biggest talking points tonight, so it was no surprise LU kicked things off with Vamp and Pentagon crossing paths for the first time since Pentagon eviscerated his former master to end Ultima Lucha Dos. I must say this was a surprisingly subdue encounter; Vamp warned Pentagon that regardless of what happened tonight there would still be hell to pay, while Pentagon merely soaked it all in, did his “Cero Miedo” taunt and walked off. It was short, to the point and between what happened to Pentagon and all the creepy sounds/shit Vampiro did throughout the show it was the most normal segment both guys were involved in tonight.
Pentagon Dark defeated Doku
Ladies and gentlemen I witnessed the first five minutes of Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, I have watched the video of the Republic of Ireland national football team fans singing “Fields of Athenry” from Euro 12 numerous times; I’ve even seen a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). There are few things I’ve seen in this world though that were as electric as the first few minutes of this match. In the span of a few minutes Pentagon hit one of the greatest dropkicks in the history of the western hemisphere, Doku fired back with some offense that would make Goku shrivel up like the vulnerable man child he is; I was certain we were on our way to one of the best matches of the season at that point. It sadly didn’t quite stay that way as the match turned into a Pentagon exhibition, with him delivering some punishing offense in between quick Doku spurts before taking the match by catching a Doku elbow drop (holy fuck is that thing a beaut by the way) and breaking her arm, an occurrence that was more common tonight than a wild Rattata appearing in Pokémon’s Red, Blue and Yellow.
Here are a few arguments you could make against this match. Doku was magnificent on offense (that flying elbow is the best flying elbow since Randy Savage’s, easily) and I was disappointed that she was reduced to selling for most of the match’s second half. It makes sense that Pentagon would look the strongest in this match compared to the next three, but knowing that I think LU would’ve been better served moving Doku to the second match and having Yueri take on Pentagon to start things off. And while this didn’t bother me at all, I can only picture the hate boner Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez had watching this match. People like them who hate IG will not be one over here, especially with Pentagon being on the attack most of the match. Those points aside however this was an excellent start and it looks even better after getting to see how the rest of the evening played out. Hopefully LU is able to put these two together again one day down the road; it was that electric in the opening moments and I venture it could equal what happened later in the show if given the time.
Love Square Alert! Love Square Alert!
Turns out that Jeremiah-Catrina scene was a week late after all and holy balls was it worth the wait. So which was it; was Jeremiah already in cahoots with Catrina or would Catrina use this opportunity to woo Jeremiah to her and Mil’s side? As it turns out he was neither in cahoots with her and not really against her; in fact, if we’re to believe Catrina (and judging by Jeremiah’s actions we should) these two go a ways back and are former lovers. You read that right; Jeremiah and Catrina have apparently gone to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance together and then some. Furthermore Jeremiah still seems to be in love with Catrina (she pointed out his necklace was some sort of pendant that belonged to her) while Catrina has moved on seemingly to Mil (more on this in a moment). That explains a lot. For one it shows why Jeremiah was so anxious to get into the Temple when he first arrived while also revealing he’s pretty much using Ivelisse to get close to his one true love. There’s cold, there’s Mr. Freeze cold and then there’s that. I can’t imagine Ivelisse is going to take this well when she returns and I can’t imagine Mil is going to take any of this well at all. Remember the last time someone tried to steal Catrina away from him? Shit got dark folks. I’d like to say Mil at least has the silver lining of knowing he’s the one Catrina loves now but I’m not even convinced of that. Fenix is still around and as long as that’s the case I’m never betting against that man. Catrinix for lyfe! Or how about Fentrina? Good lord I’ve become a shipper!
Pentagon Dark defeated Yueri
This was far more evenly matched that the opener; Pentagon was presented as starting to wear a bit after that first match and Yueri exploited it by using her athleticism to get to Pentagon early, a stark contrast from Doku (who was full speed ahead all the time). Eventually Pentagon was able to work his way back by focusing on Yueri’s leg (for a moment I thought he was going to break that instead of her arm), some back and forth ensued and, in a great spot, Pentagon was able to catch a Yueri senton attempt, turn it into a Package Piledriver and break her arm like a Kit Kat Bar. Great stuff. The only complaint here is that this didn’t have the electric moments of the first match, something I think would’ve been the case if they had flipped Doku and Yueri and let Doku have this match with Pentagon. That’s a nitpick though; Yueri was more than passable, the match was far more even than the first and you could sense a natural progression between the matches that made you feel good about the next two matches.
Only in Lucha Underground can you have Matanza going full rage quit and it not be the best thing about the show. Here he was trying to punch the walls of his cell to death (a nice homage to Lotus doing the same in season one) when El Jefe arrived and informed his bro he would be winning his Lucha Underground Championship back next week. Good news right? NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Turns out Matanza has moved on from the LU title the same way Oliver Queen has moved on from Felicity Smoak. He’s done with it; what he wants instead is Rey Mysterio, the man who cost him the belt at Aztec Warfare III. And if you or El Jefe didn’t understand that via him saying it, the bloody question mark on Matanza’s wall made it crystal clear. I think I speak for everyone when I say this was fantastic, it makes perfect sense Matanza would want Rey rather than the title and good Grodd El Jefe better give it to him. I saw the face Dario was making there and it’s a face I’ve only seen him make when a certain Lord is involved. Better get Rey out of the emergency room quickly Dario!
Hitokiri defeated Pentagon Dark
What do you get when you have a show long story culminate in a match involving one of the best luchadors alive and perhaps the best female wrestler on the planet today? A gorram masterpiece, that’s what. The funny thing is that this match was pretty much the last one on steroids; Hitokiri took control early with some great offense, Pentagon turned the tide midway and it ultimately came down to a back and forth yet again. The difference is that Pentagon wrestled this match like a possessed, homicidal maniac trying to pummel Hitokiri into mulch while Hitokiri did things that even her talented counterparts wouldn’t do. There were awe inspiring Hitokiri moonsaults, tosses into the stands, chair shots, slams onto concrete, Pentagon nearly strangling Hitokiri to death with chords, Vampiro turning into a Hannibal Lector cosplayer and Hitokiri pulling an Angelico and diving off the roof, a move made so great not just by the dive but by Pentagon catching her and selling it as perfectly as humanly possible.
Ultimately that ended up being the second biggest shock of this match, following Hitokiri actually winning the match following a Canadian Destroyer a few minutes later. I was honestly expecting Pentagon to at least make it to Lotus unscathed and perhaps beat all four members of the Triad. If he were to lose to anyone though, Hitokiri was the right person both from a talent standpoint (it’s no coincidence LU put her here and put her over) and a story standpoint. Lest we forget, a Hitokiri loss here means Pentagon goes on to face a Black Lotus who’s more than likely without the aid of her three pals due to broken arms (and yes, Pentagon would’ve Kit Kat’d Hitokiri’s arm just as he did the other two). There’s no way anyone would’ve believed Lotus could last two seconds, let alone two minutes, with Pentagon, so Hitokiri winning and incapacitating him proved to be the right way to end this spectacular affair. This is still a great match even if it had taken place separately from the other two bouts, but the fact that it followed them and played into the arc is what makes this a Match of the Year contender. And yet we weren’t done.
All Arms Broken
I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure Black Lotus and Pentagon never happened, on account of an enraged Lotus taking Marty Elias out almost instantly. Turns out Lotus was less interested in winning anything anyway and more intent on making sure Pentagon was the third person to have his arm broken tonight. Let’s just say she accomplished that goal, though I’m pretty sure I’ll remember the arm breaking itself less than the fear in Pentagon’s eyes as Lotus prepared to break it. That was even better than the Hitokiri match I tell you; the only thing I can compare it to was the “what have I done?” face Alec Guinness made at the end of The Bridge on the River Kwai. Pentagon was a carbon copy of that, right down to the fear and the realization that he had made the biggest mistake of his life.
And yet because it’s Lucha Underground and there’s no point in breaking three arms when you can break four, Pentagon was subjected to realizing he had made the biggest mistake of his life once more just a few moments later. Why? Because El Dragon Azteca Jr., finally all better from the Wrath of Chavo attack, returned to the Temple, put aside his issues with Black Lotus for the evening and proceeded to break Pentagon’s other arm! Yes, by all accounts, Pentagon has no arms. He’s basically that dude from that Monty Python movie.
I anticipate some people will not like this and much like every time these same people complain about Pentagon losing I care very little. The breaking of the arms makes total sense; Pentagon broke both Lotus and Azteca’s arms and unlike Ricky Mandel, Famous B and Vinnie Massaro before them (search your feelings Vinnie, you know it to be true!) both decided to actually do something about it and get revenge. That’s great and logical storytelling about karma and the consequences of Pentagon’s actions towards them and especially Vampiro (who was shown and heard enjoying all of this) coming back to bite him in the ass. On top of that Pentagon had just been through three grueling matches, looked like a beast throughout (this was the closest he’s gotten to Cero Miedo match Pentagon since the Cero Miedo match I’d argue) and literally had to be worn down in order for it to come to this. That too is good storytelling that protects Pentagon and more than likely now will have fans clamoring for him to come back and get revenge on both Azteca and Lotus. I’m telling you folks, the overall arc to this was absolutely perfect and even more so than Ultima Lucha Dos was the true beginning of Pentagon Dark. The Temple’s biggest star has always been so close and always seems to find something standing in the way between him and glory. I would bank that this moment right here is the last low point for some time and the beginning to Pentagon’s rise to ultimate glory. You heard it here first sports fans.
We haven’t talked enough about Vampiro tonight, mainly because I’m not sure I want to relive how much enjoyed all three matches. It was that creepy. But one man’s creepy is another man’s best night ever and Pentagon getting wrecked definitely put Vamp in a partying mood. And evidently a party for Vamp involves dressing up like the unholy pope and bringing Prince Puma back from the dead, clad in the old school yellow mask and everything. I’ll be honest; I’m not surprised at all. You remember the look Vampiro gave after Puma lost Grave Consequences? Better yet, did you really think Prince Puma was dead and gone forever?! There’s no way LU’s biggest star not named Pentagon is being killed off midway through the season, so it was just a matter of time before Vampiro or someone brought the kid back. I guess Vamp was in the mood tonight after the fall of Pentagon. The good news is now we can look forward to Vamp not quoting bad Puff Daddy songs and he and Puma partaking in those gothic Rocky montages we all enjoyed him and Pentagon doing last year. It’s gonna be great! As great as tonight’s episode? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
We’re done here sports fans. I’m going to go stare at a wall like Wilson Fisk for the rest of the evening and contemplate what I’m doing with my life. Till I’m done with that, DUCHOVNY is taking the night off so you can see this gem!