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Lucha Underground Review: Bulls in the Heather
Ding dong; the polarizing Lucha Underground episodes are over! Well at least for now. Tonight marked the conclusion of the Sexy Star-Johnny Mundo rivalry and the Battle of the Bulls tournament, and while both were solid neither one lived up to the excellence of the matches we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Luckily the show was stolen by Kobra Moon and her reptile pals again, as well as Jeremiah Crane and Catrina in a couple of backstage segments that remind you that LU is more than what just happens in the squared circle. But let’s not waste time; I want to get clear of this Sexy-Mundo stuff and onto next week ASAP. Moses, you know what time it is.
Battle of the Bulls Finals: Winner is Number One Contender for the Lucha Underground Championship
The Mack defeated P.J. Black, Jeremiah Crane and Cage
This was a good match that would’ve been a great match with one simple tweak; switching around the order of which Cage and Jeremiah got eliminated. All four guys were very good as expected, but the action was it its best when Cage was just going nuts and good Grodd did he go nuts. Hell there was one point he was doing moves on top of another man’s shoulders; I still can’t believe that actually happened. Combine that with all the other freakishly athletic things the man always seems to do and he was without question the MVP of this match. It just felt to me that the energy just wasn’t the same after Texano came out to screw him right before the first commercial break. Hindsight is 20/20, but I would’ve moved his sequences to the second third of the match and allowed for Jeremiah to get more shit in the first third before getting eliminated. At least Texano coming out to railroad the man he’s battling for the right to become an ancient Aztec God made perfect sense and overall there was still plenty of stuff from Mack, Jeremiah and P.J. to keep you entertained. As for the result, I still think Jeremiah vs. Mundo would’ve been the most interesting match to come out of this, but you can’t deny Big Willie winning made sense given the current story lines. On top of that everyone wanted to see him win anyway and unless you’re Vince McMahon that’s never a bad thing. So big ups to Big Willie and it’ll be interesting to see when he gets his shot against Mundo. And yes, spoiler alert, it will be against Mundo. I suppose I just saved you one decent fifteen minute cage match huh?
Snake Wars: Return to the Men's Room
Last week Lucha Underground left me confused about the whole Sexy Star/tarantula thing; this week they left me confused by coming back immediately from commercial to quickly wrap up the Battle of the Bulls finals. Why was this? As it turns out it was because LU needed time to catch up with Fenix and Aerostar, who were looking for Drago in, wait for it, the gorram men’s room. I can’t wait to learn that the men’s room is the source of some Buffy the Vampire Slayer style Hellmouth in season five, explaining why everyone and everything has to be in there. Really the only surprise was that we didn’t have Aerostar and Fenix opening a stall door to find Vinnie in there eating chocolate chip cookies. I guess he really did find another bathroom after all.
Anyways, in the midst of their search Aerostar and Fenix came across Kobra Moon, who declared Drago had come home to her. Because they’re not dumb Aerostar and Fenix didn’t believe the snake queen’s propaganda. Unfortunately not believing Kobra means lizards and dinosaurs are coming to get you, and so Pindar and Vibora were quickly there to brawl with our heroes in what turned out to be a pretty bad ass action sequence. Well at least for everyone but Fenix; that guy got owned more than my Batman Bobblehead. Aerostar hung in there pretty well though, and it was only when Kobra got involved in the proceedings did the Intergalactic Maniac crumble to the floor next to his partner. Kobra then assured our fallen heroes that next time it would be Drago leaving them for dead; only I was too busy still thinking about how awesome this segment was to care. Say what you will about Kobra in the ring and the uncertainty of Vibora in the ring, but I can’t think of what LU could’ve done to make these three look any more diabolical than they have the past three weeks. All that’s left is a Lucha Underground Trios match with Drago betraying his pals and I may have to move the Snake Tribe past Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc in the Greatest Trios Teams to Ever Live power rankings. You have no idea how much it pained me to write that by the way.
Celebrating Big Willie’s Win!
Here we had your standard Sexy/Mack interaction scene, complete with hugs, secret handshakes, motivational speeches and Sexy telling Mack how much an honor it be to defend the title against him once she won it. Oh Sexy; so naïve! We did get the shot of the tarantula crawling around the locker room again though, so that’s definitely continuing. Also, was I the only one thinking that Big Willie was going to be the one behind that after this segment? Maybe it’s the years of being a wrestling fan influencing me but I was preparing myself for Mack to come out during the main, act like he was going to help Sexy before simultaneously leaving one half of the LU fandom looking like this…
…and the other looking like this.
El Jefe Returns, Gets Overshadowed Anyway!
For the first time since Matanza nearly killed him we got a glimpse of El Jefe; unfortunately he was a supporting character to Jeremiah and Catrina. For starters we got Dario and Jeremiah finalizing a match for next week, followed by Jeremiah climbing up a chair and removing a ceiling board to retrieve something he “left there as a kid.” If you’re making the same face Xander did when he turned around to find Anya topless, don’t worry; El Jefe was making the same face. Jeremiah then proceeded out of the office with this object (which was either Ouija board or the missing Ten Commandments stone) and confronted Catrina, who appeared out of air just to make first time viewers even more confused. We got back and forth chit chat before Jeremiah revealed the match he set up with El Jefe was against Mil Muertes next week, so Jeremiah could make sure he could have Catrina all to himself after he ended the Immortan (who he insultingly referred to as Pasqual Mendoza, Mil’s human form). Oh Jer; you’re cool and all, but unless you’ve got some tricks we haven’t seen yet this will probably be ending poorly for you. That said I can’t wait to see it, especially with how The Artist Formerly Known as Sami Callihan has been performing since entering the Temple. Again I ask; HOW THE HELL DID NXT NOT MAKE IT WORK WITH THIS GUY?!
Cage Match for the Lucha Underground Championship
Johnny Mundo (c) defeated Sexy Star
Not that I hadn’t figured it out already, but tonight revealed part of why some people won’t accept Sexy Star in any shape or form. That part is Matt Striker. I may have to write about this in more depth one day but I’ll just come out and say right now that the only (and I mean only) thing about LU that bugs me is Striker. He was excellent in season one and good for season two, but now in season three he’s become insufferable, especially with the Sexy Star stuff. I get that he’s supposed to be putting her over and certainly some fans would be wise to remember that, but the fact that he tries to spew hyperbole that makes no sense so much has contributed greatly to why those who can’t stand Sexy can’t stand her. It was more of the same tonight, although in fairness, his grand line about Sexy standing up for lucha libre by protecting her identity after she was unmasked wasn’t his fault (that blame goes to Sexy, who undercut this moment by unmasking voluntarily months later). Perhaps I’m mistaken but I’d bet that if you a) toned Striker’s rhetoric down or b) put someone else in there with Vampiro (who surpassed Striker as a commentator eons ago) a lot of the “problems” people have with Sexy Star and maybe the show in general would go away. I know Bryan Alvarez would feel better…or at least he would till the next intergender match happened. Then he’d get like this again.
Now what of this match? Honestly I thought it was pretty good and easily the best match these two have had. Granted that wasn’t a high bar to clear and there were still some things in this match that made it abundantly clear that it’s for the best both are moving on. But there was also some really fun stuff, like Sexy forcing Mundo to chase her on the ropes in a Spider-Man/parkour like sequence, Sexy’s off the cage crossbody (better than you’d expect), Mundo doing several DVD’s into the cage and, most importantly, that end sequence where Mundo unmasked Sexy in order to create separation for the pin. Certainly you can’t erase Sexy unmasking herself voluntarily a month later and Striker’s gaffe of a line (which again, in this instance wasn’t on him), but it doesn’t change the fact that a) it was a really clever way for Mundo to retain the title without a run in (which was the finish we all expected) and b) it did effectively present Johnny Mundo as a scumbag rudo who would even spit in the face of lucha libre conventions to win. Sexy Star’s actions afterwards don’t change that sports fans. Why I’m trying to explain that is a mystery to me because, as I’ve said repeatedly, even the most intelligent of lucha fans have already made up their minds here one way or another and will continue to disappear up their own asses to see things their way. All I can say is that this match, much like everything in this feud aside from the first Mundo-Sexy match, was an imperfect but good cage match that was over with the crowd and probably was better if you had the commentary muted. Even better, it thankfully means we don’t have to deal with these two wrestling again for a long while. I’m not sure if I’m more excited for Mack-Mundo because it’s a good match waiting to happen or because people will actually go into it open minded! Well at least till Striker opens his mouth again.
A Dragon in Chains
Cage matches are swell but even they come second to Kobra Moon these days. We were back in the snake lair to see Drago chained to a pillar and being taunted by Kobra, who I guess is refusing to feed Drago. That’s cold; even El Jefe seemed to feed Black Lotus when he imprisoned her. I guess the story is that Drago still won’t bow to Kobra, so she won’t feed him till he does, which makes Drago so mad that he finally fulfills his destiny of breathing fire in rage after Kobra…went back to the men’s room? I’m not sure where she went. I can tell you where this angle is going though and I like the direction. I don’t know if Drago eventually buys into what Kobra’s selling or if she, Pindar and Vibora make him a reluctant accomplice, but Drago is totally screwing over Aerostar and Fenix to get the trios titles to the Snake Tribe. We’ve seen it in WWE recently and we’re going to see it here; people love well done angles of technicos being forced into a rudo group and eventually buying in, only to reveal they were just waiting for the right spot to get revenge. I guarantee that’s what will happen here and I for one am all aboard. Then again I would be anyway because of this Snake Tribe. They’ve been around two weeks and already I feel like their one of the coolest things in recent memory. If only LU could’ve gotten people to buy into Sexy Star as easy as this trio.
That’s a wrap folks. I shall return tomorrow to break down CMLL Super Viernes, break down CMLL’s big Sunday show that will see Zeuxis shave and unmask every other luchadora in CMLL (spoiler alert) and may be do a column on the great Blue Panther. Depends on how much time I have. Till then, MOAR SCULLY!