Lucha Underground Review: Running with the Bulls
Let’s get one thing straight here sports fans; it’s impossible to follow up a show featuring three bad ass ninjas. You just can’t do it, regardless of who you are. Lucha Underground is ultimately no exception. Last week’s episode, which featured a MOTY candidate, more electricity than a Pikachu, broken arm after broken arm and an episode long build to glorious comeuppance, was an all timer and tonight’s show wasn’t going to beat it unless it pretty much did the same thing. It didn’t and thus here we are. Even still the show, minus perhaps the second match of the night, was still very good. Turns out this Battle of the Bulls tourney may be a big winner, as is more things for Angelico to do, whatever the Snake Tribe is up to and the near end of El Jefe. Oh I almost said too much. Let’s keep that info on the DL for now while we go through the rest of the show. Moses, dry your eyes and meme like your life depends on it.
ANGELICO IN THE HOUSE!
I guess Johnny Mundo was partying at the Palace of Wisdom because my boy Angelico was allowed back into the Temple this week. He wanted Mundo, El Jefe seemed too scared by Mundo’s “shark” lawyer (who may or may not be an actual shark because this is Lucha Underground) and it was only after Angelico tried to threaten Dario with lawsuits of his own and assault did they come to a compromise. Next week Angelico will take part in the mysterious Battle of the Bulls tournament, revealed here to be a sixteen luchador tourney comprised of fatal four way matches, where the winner gets a shot against Mundo. In short, Angelico wins the whole thing and he gets to take Mundo to the Roof of Pain (get it? Because Angelico likes roofs!). That’s some nice negotiating skills by the best in the Temple, all while he came off like the huge star he was cutting off El Jefe’s balls. Maybe the most notable thing though was the near violence he put on Dario, which ended up being a prelude for the diabolical things awaiting El Jefe in the near distant future.
Battle of the Bulls Four Match
Cage defeated Texano, Joey Ryan and Dr. Wagner Jr.
First off; well done Cage finally punishing Famous B for interrupting Melissa’s intro of Dr. Wagner Jr. You can tell that romance is meant to be from that alone. As for the match you can put this one alongside Famous B-Mascarita Sagrada and Pentagon-Doku in the “best opening matches of season three” discussion. I figured this would at least be good when I saw the four guys in it, but I anticipated that maybe LU would decide to focus a little too much on the Cage-Texano feud, while making Wagner the third wheel and Ryan a comedy act. That wasn’t the case; Cage-Texano did get time but so did Wagner and Ryan. I thought this was the best either guy has looked in ring side joining LU, with Ryan especially branching out to look more like a bad ass than he ever was. Them getting the time while Cage and Texano continued to impress (seriously; when has Cage had a bad match in LU) elevated this big time, and I thought all four guys did a good job convincing us anyone could win. Ultimately the ending, to my surprise, saw Cage stealing the win away from Texano by pinning Ryan after Texano hit him with a sitout powerbomb. In retrospect I’ve got no qualms with this; the two didn’t need to be involved in this finish, but it does keep the rivalry going in case they have a few weeks off again and Texano does have motivation now to screw Cage in the grand finale of the tournament. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets cheered for doing that either. How about that? If you had told me Texano could potentially be more over than Cage midway through season three, I’d have assumed Matanza had eaten Cage and Texano was more popular by default.
El Jefe Motivates Sexy Again
Pretty simple segment, with El Jefe trying to relate to Sexy once again and then booking Sexy vs. P.J. Black for this evening. The catch; if Sexy loses she cannot wrestle for the Lucha Underground Championship ever again, whereas if she won she’d get Mundo in a Steel Cage for the title. Predictable stuff. I‘d say the even bigger thing from this scene was Sexy warning Dario that, despite him escaping his troubled past (which he brought up during his earlier pep talk), a troubled future could still await him. It didn’t seem like much then but boy oh boy did it seem (Mike Francesca voice) YOOOGE twenty minutes later. Don’t worry; we’re getting to it.
We have our answer to how you can still be an undercover cop when the person you’re spying on has figured you out. All it takes apparently is a new identity and you’re good. That’s what Captain Vasquez, now firmly on Team Cortes/Reyes after realizing that Joey Ryan was no good, recommended Cortes do by offering him a mask. Now that’s what I call Double Secret Undercover Luchador. I suppose this means that Cortes/Reyes will be adopting a new name once he returns, which I guess means that Cortes Castro is now no more. Holy crap; everyone on the Crew is dead in a manner of speaking! What a fall from grace huh? Once upon a time those three were kings in the Temple; now one is digesting in Matanza’s stomach, another is buried under El Jefe’s office and the last one now needs to come up with a new identity to avoid the same fate (note that if you count Big Ryck as a member of the group it gets worse; his skull is currently part of Mil Muertes’ thrown that Catrina is keeping in a warehouse somewhere). I can’t wait till ESPN does a 30 for 30 on The Crew. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.
Sexy Star defeated P.J. Black
I’m not really sure what to say here because at this point both sides of the Sexy Star spectrum have made up their minds. You either love the girl or you despise her and thus will feel the way you do about her matches accordingly, including this one. Overall I thought this was just fine. There’s obviously not much Sexy can offer as an in ring talent, but she hit the character beats she always does and was over. If that was enough for Hulk Hogan then that’s enough for her to get by in this match, and luckily she had a very game opponent in P.J. Black. I thought he was tremendous here once he got going, and his portrayal as the cocky, dismissive rudo who didn’t take Sexy seriously is part of the reason the crowd was able to get into this match. It perplexing to me how both P.J. and Jack Evans were able to click with Sexy and get so much out of her while Johnny Mundo has gotten very little. I guess he’ll have a third chance now when he and Sexy go at it in the cage, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. I honestly just want Mundo to move on to different things at this point; not because the match will suck (though my hopes aren’t high) but because neither side of the Sexy Star spectrum will be tolerable. If she does well in any area, the people who hate her won’t recognize it. If she sucks, the people who love her won’t recognize it. There is no middle ground anymore and thus no way to rationally discuss the situation. So let’s just remove her from the main event scene, get her somewhere where people can tolerate her and move on. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
SNAKES?! YOU SAY SNAKES?!
Good Grodd there was a lot more happening on this show that I thought watching it. Only now are we getting to the segment I was most excited for this evening. It lived up to the hype, though I must say I was hoping for some flashbacks to the Snake Tribe in the old days. What good is an origin story if I don’t get to see Kobra Moon seducing and then killing unworthy peasants or Pindar ripping the flesh off Daga’s bones? That’s like Batman Begins without Christian Bael screaming “WHERE WERE THE OTHER DRUGS GOING?!”
That minor quibble aside this gave us everything else we wanted. We learned Kobra Moon is the female Thulsa Doom, that the Snake Tribe used to be awesome thanks to its three awesome generals (Pindar, someone who’s name I couldn’t make out and Drago), that they lost the Great War only because Drago deserted them and how Kobra and her two surviving manservant’s must now bring Drago back. Oh I almost forgot; Kobra’s pals are a GORRAM LIZARD AND A VELOCIRAPTOR! Just like that Kobra has brought a Spider-Man and Jurassic Park villain to the Temple and I am all for it! Hey if we can have an ancient alien, a dragon, a zombie and whatever the hell Matt Striker is in the Temple then we can most definitely have a lizard and dinosaur involved. I think we can all agree on that, as well as this being Kobra Moon’s finest moment in the Temple and the beginning of a really cool trios team. Seriously; I’d be floored if Kobra, Curt Connors and Blue the Raptor aren’t taking the belts off Fenix, Drago and Aerostar within two months.
It’s time to get real; my heart nearly stopped at one point during this scene because I legit thought El Jefe may be dead. Holy Grodd did LU get me worried when Matanza slammed Dario into those cell bars and El Jefe went limp like Shane in the final scene of Shane. You may be wondering how we got to this point and well it only takes watching last week’s show to understand. Matanza wanted Rey, but Dario would have none of it, still wanting Matanza to go after the Lucha Underground Championship. He attempted to reason with his brother (by comparing Matanza going after revenge to El Dragon Azteca Jr.’s numerous failed quests for revenge) and then kaboom. It all worked out in the end but I was two seconds away from grabbing a paper bag and turning into DAAAAAAAAAMN BRENDA afterwards. I didn’t even care that Matanza stole the key I was so concerned for El Jefe’s well being. Boy did that turn out to be big in the end.
Battle of the Bulls Match
The Mack defeated Marty “The Moth” Martinez, El Dragon Azteca Jr. and Mil Muertes
I can tell I’m going to love this Battle of the Bulls tournament based off the two matches tonight. I’m not sure this one was quite as good as the opener (it started off a little slower for me) but it picked up speed as we went along and by the end. The thing this match had that the first didn’t thanks to Cage and Texano’s story was multiple stories. Mil Muertes wanted to kill everyone and pretty much did (how about that spear on Marty to the floor that took out both Azteca and Big Willie?!). Marty once again looked fearless standing toe to toe with a monster, even though he didn’t get nearly the offense on Mil he got on Matanza (seriously LU; who do I need to kidnap to get a Marty-Matanza or Marty-Mil feud?!). Big Willie was Big Willie. And El Dragon Azteca came back in a big way and eventually became the story of the match, electrifying the crowd and ultimately still showing the immaturity that plagued him throughout his pre-hospital LU run. Charlie Sheen could’ve have blown as much of an opportunity as Azteca did tonight.
Seriously sports fans, this is a big deal. People will forget this because Matanza ran in at the end and pummeled Azteca into mulch, but the kid actually had the match won after a 450 splash and decided not to pin Mil. If he had, he wins the match before Matanza comes out. Instead he got greedy, got cocky and got owned before a very much alive El Jefe was able to stop Matanza. How Dario did that ten minutes after his bro revolted on him is a mystery but who cares; he got it done and most importantly is alive! It’s definitely something to look out for, as will be Azteca’s reaction to getting semi-hosed. Ultimately his loss was Big Willie’s gain, as he managed to fight off Marty after a brief scuffle and hit a ridiculously cool stunner to advance to the finals. Good for Big Willie; he’s an exceptional performer, a guy who has been getting a bigger look at the main event spot recently and I wouldn’t put it past him to win this thing in the end. That’s the best part of this Battle of the Bulls thus far; the first match felt like it could’ve been won by all four guys and this match was the same, down to the fact than an underdog actually won. I wouldn’t be surprised if next week we get another surprise winner to go along with Angelico making it to the end. And yes, Angelico will be in the final four. He’s Angelico, the tamer of rooftops and a man so great that Negro Casas once bowed down to him. I may or may not have made that last point up.
And scene. Hoped you enjoyed folks. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the film JFK, preview CMLL’s Friday show and maybe even talk some Arrow season five. I’m branching out as it were. Till whichever one of those happens first, all hail the great DUCHOVNY!