Lucha Underground: Internal Affairs
You can tell we’re closing in on Ultima Lucha Tres in the Lucha Underground universe. Last week’s episode was all about putting the pieces into motion for the big show while finishing up feuds that had been deemed not important enough to make the big show. This week was more of the same, down to the feud ending match people weren’t getting excited for exceeding all sorts of expectations. That’s right sports fans; Cortes Castro vs. Joey Ryan delivered in a big way, giving LU another awesome match for the second week in a row while also delivering some key story development, a new angle and two solid matches in between. I’m not sure it’s enough to wipe the bad taste some still have over the Cueto Cup final, but it’s a start for sure. And naturally I have to be here to tell you how it all worked out. So let’s begin. Moses, get on your bike and meme!
Match for an Aztec Medallion
Drago defeated The Mack
Going in I thought this match would be all about continuing whatever is going on between Drago and Aerostar; instead Aerostar was nowhere to be seen and this match turned into setting up The Mack vs. The Reptiles. What an interesting mix, one that guarantees to get more interesting when Big Willie brings in…whoever he brings in to be his partners against the group. All that set up meant last time for this match though, which was really the only thing holding it back from being very good. I don’t know if Mack and Drago have ever met before in singles action, but this match should guarantee they do so again. They meshed well, they cut a really good pace; quite frankly I thought we were on our way to an unexpectedly awesome match thirty seconds in when Drago and Mack were going a hundred miles per hour. It’s a shame they didn’t get more time to work their magic, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was fun and, luckily, these two will be meeting again soon in trios action at least.
The Big 100
Is there anything better than El Jefe promo time? Well aside from the match that followed this one I mean. Dario was out and excited as usual, this time to announce next week’s special 100th episode card. We learned there will be three matches with high potential; Pentagon Dark vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr. for the last Aztec Medallion, an Atomicos Match between Worldwide Underground (Johnny Mundo, Taya, P.J. Black and Ricky Mandel) and a team of Prince Puma’s choosing and (as we learned last week) Rey Mysterio vs. Matanza. I’d say this is a runaway candidate for best show of the year, but the Cueto Cup Finals a few weeks ago looked that way and people are still sore over it. In any event, Cueto called Mysterio out and attempted to send him home so he didn’t interfere in Matanza’s three on one handicap match later in the show. Rey teased doing it but ultimately declined…until El Jefe revealed his trump card; if Mysterio didn’t leave right then and there, he’d lose his match against Matanza next week and Azteca, who I may remind you is still Rey’s disgruntled protégé, would be canned. Fired. Erased from existence if you will (and that’s possible. Have you seen how LU fires dudes?). That got Mysterio to back off, but not before promising that he’d end Matanza next week and after that he’d be coming for El Jefe. Big mistake Rey; you know how many people have come at the king and missed? In fact, didn’t you JUST do that yourself? I’m not saying I can see the future, but I wouldn’t want to be Rey next week.
The Five-0 Street Fight for an Aztec Medallion
Cortes Castro defeated Joey Ryan
Don’t I look good for giving this match a spotlight right now! I’m not sure anyone went into this one thinking it be great; at best they may have thought it would be on the level of Son of Havoc vs. Son of Madness from last week, a match I thought was great but many thought was really good. Looking back now, that match had nothing on this one. For starters, Ryan and Castro actually played to the stipulation, whereas Havoc and Madness just had a regular above average street fight. Every bit of cop gear lying about was used, from shields to night sticks to batons to donuts to coffee to yes, even the gorram cop car LU somehow managed to fit into the building. With all of that in play, all Castro and Ryan needed to do was stick to the story (Castro the street fighter trying to get revenge on the cowardly, corrupt cop Ryan) and everything would work out. They did and it did; at no point was this match not uproariously entertaining. It’s everything you wished Dax Shephard’s CHPS movie could’ve been.
What I liked most about it though was that Castro and Ryan were able to balance the light hearted stuff with some honest to Grodd great brawling. For example; early in the match Joey Ryan went full Pro Wrestling Guerilla by sticking his hand up Castro’s ass (somewhere, Tommasso Ciampa smiled proudly), only for Castro to counter immediately by ramming Ryan into a police shield. Later, the two took turns trying to nail each other will ball bats and sledgehammers before finding their way on top of the squad car, where Ryan nailed Castro with a Rock Bottom. And then, in what has to be the highlight two minutes of the whole shebang, Castro poured hot coffee down Ryan’s pants (WCW reference #1), used a taser on Ryan’s balls (WCW reference #2) and capped it all off by Superplexing Ryan off the announcer’s table and to the floor. That’s the kind of balance that made the match special. At times it was uproariously funny, only for transition into some awesome wrestling a second later. Maybe people expected this match to be better than most thought, but I don’t think anyone thought this match would have that balance. Bravo to both men for finding it and for concluding a not always exciting feud in such a satisfying manner. And though both men were great, I must single out Cortes Castro/Ricky Reyes here. There’s few people entertaining than Joey Ryan and this match showed just how charismatic and underrated he is. But Castro has been an unsung hero of LU’s since day one and a guy, much like the late Mr. Cisco, who deserved a match like this to remind people just how good and reliable he has been throughout his career. I’m thrilled he took the opportunity and made the most of it. Well done to him, well done to Ryan and well done to LU. This was one hell of a match.
Three on One Handicap Match
Matanza defeated Mala Suerte, Paul London, Saltador
This match sums up exactly why I love Lucha Underground. I expected it to go thirty seconds before Matanza turned all three rabbits into mulch; instead London and the gang gave us five competitive minutes of action. Or as competitive as it gets against Matanza. I’m sure some people will find flaw in that it took Matanza so long to put the rabbits away, but I’d remind those people of two points; a) Matanza hasn’t wrestled a match since episode 20 of this season and probably had some ring rust and b) despite the rabbits being competitive, it never felt like Matanza wasn’t in control. As such, Matanza came off as dominant while London, Mala Suerte and Saltador came off as fighters, hanging in there much longer than humanly possible and even getting a near moment of glory when London hit Matanza with that awe inspiring shooting star press. This is exactly the kind of thing that LU has always excelled at and continued to do so here. A well worked, well booked main event in my book.
The Biggest Mistake of Prince Puma’s Life?
Gotta love the bait and switch by LU in this closing segment. What was supposed to be Prince Puma announcing who his partners were for the Atomicos match next week turned into Johnny Mundo coming out and successfully goading Puma into putting something on the line for their Ultima Lucha Tres match. Originally Mundo wanted it to be title vs. mask, which would’ve been something if Puma had lost and then been outed as that guy who just won Battle of Los Angeles. But Dario Cueto wasn’t having that, mainly because there’s already a mask on the line at Ultima Lucha Tres and El Jefe isn’t going to be accused of being someone who recycles ideas so quickly (there’s a joke in there somewhere!). So Dario offered up another option; instead of putting the mask on the line, Prince Puma would put his career on the line.
Puma thought this over for a moment, watched as Vampiro desperately waved his arms in a “no Puma, you’re crazy if you take this match” way, and then kneed Mundo in the face and accepted. I think I made the same face Vampiro did when this happened. Come on Puma; not that I don’t think you can beat Mundo (in fact, I reckon he probably will), but putting your career on the line? That’s a big risk to take, especially since there will be a Gift of the Gods challenger by then who, in theory, could have himself entered into the match one week before Ultima Lucha Tres Part 4 and stack the odds even further against you. I can only conclude that Puma is so confident he can win that he took this despite the risk, or Puma truly believes what Vampiro is selling him; that without the title Puma is destined for insanity, so he might as well put everything on the line. I don’t know; I just know that this does add a whole lot of stakes to what was already a pretty huge match and that Prince Puma is probably doomed. And by that, I mean he’s losing this match and showing up on WWE TV next year as Enzo’s sidekick because that is just how things work out these days.
We’re done here sports fans. I’m off to watch Jack Bauer stop nuclear explosions because I have no life. Till we meet again, THIS!