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Lucha Underground: The Fox and the Puma
I say this a lot in these reviews but gorramit I’m gonna say it again; even with all the issues associated with them today I still enjoy almost every episode of Lucha Underground. That’s not to say I think they do everything perfect, but in comparison to the people that think matches with interference means the show is automatically bad, I find myself rolling my eyes and generally having a good time regardless. Tonight was one of those LU episodes where I’m pretty sure everyone who watched it had a good time. Everything just seemed to click. The backstage scenes worked. The matches worked, with one working so well that it may have been one of the best non Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada matches I’ve seen this year. And best of all, for the people who have been unnerved by the amount of interference we’ve seen the last few weeks, LU delivered every match with no interference whatsoever! It’s as if they heard our critiques one year ago exactly and adjusted accordingly! I reckon there will be more matches with interference at some point and that’s fine by me; as long as it makes sense I’m not one to hold any storytelling technique against anyone. But even I’ll admit it was refreshing tonight, and suddenly LU seems really strong going into an episode next week that should feature at least two high quality matches. But that’s next week; first let’s talk tonight! Moses, meme it like it’s hot!
Return of the Beast
So guys…you remember that Matanza dude? The big scary monster that was once Lucha Underground champion for a long, LONG ass time? Yeah, he was finally back tonight. Looks like Dario has kept him locked in his cell ever since Rey Mysterio sent him through the roof of the Temple closet, and El Jefe won’t be letting him out soon. Why? To teach him a gorram lesson of course. And that lesson is this; Matanza may have the powers of a God, but he’s still human at the core. Kind of like a reverse of the vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Alas that means he’s got human emotions, human desires, all that pesky shit and Dario believes that sort of stuff is what led to him letting his guard down and allowing Rey Mysterio to get the better than him. Thus El Jefe offered Matanza some advice; stop caring so much about getting revenge and get back to being a world class destroyer. Otherwise, the other Aztec Gods out there may just strip Matanza of his powers. Definite food for thought for Matanza, which means he can feed his brain while he’s feeding himself. Oh yeah; Dario brought raw meat for his bro to eat. Because of course he did. I wouldn’t doubt El Jefe brought Matanza some female companions at some point too and LU just did us the courtesy of not showing us the skeletons. Now that I think of it, that’s probably where Black Lotus and her girls are! You sneaky devil El Jefe.
Fenix defeated Pindar
There were two problems with this match; it wasn’t the match that followed it and it needed about five more minutes. Otherwise it was awesome and it was awesome because (surprisingly) it turned into a Pindar showcase. I think most of expected this to be a match where Fenix flew around a lot while Pindar caught him, but instead the story turned into Fenix having to survive a reptilian onslaught, complete with athletic spin kicks, Diamante Azul style Monkey Flips, devastating elbows and a Butterfly Powerbomb style move (which I’m deeming the Reptile Bomb) that was so awesome I can’t even properly describe it. It was a risky choice to book the match this way, and I’m sure some people will be put off by Fenix not doing as much as usual. But overall Pindar was so good and Fenix plays the underdog role so well that I find it hard to complain here, aside from the fact that these two really deserved another five minutes. All in all, a very strong opener with the right guy winning. Hopefully Pindar gets to have this opportunity again, perhaps with a certain Intergalactic Maniac…
Let’s get the major highlights out of the way first sports fans; not only did Jack Evans finally speak for the first time…eons, not only did he do it with his jaw wired shut, but El Jefe totally mocked the shit out of him for doing so! There’s comedy, there’s Zack Ryder being pushed off a stage in a wheelchair, there’s Famous B vs. Mascarita Sagrada and then there’s this. Between his “The Gods are watching” speech to Matanza and him taking Jack and the rest of his pals to school, I’m damn near tempted to name Dario MVP this week. You know, the same week where LU potentially had one of their greatest matches in company history!
Now onto the meat of this segment. El Jefe decided to call Worldwide Underground (save Johnny Mundo) into his office for one reason…well two if you count him mocking Jack; to put the group on full blast for failing to successfully help P.J. beat Rey Mysterio next week. For that, Dario offered both punishment and rewards. The rewards was a chance for Taya, P.J. and Jack to compete for three of the ancient Aztec Medallions (they’re back baby doll!) next week in some sort of match. The punishment; they were barred from interfering in Johnny’s match with El Dragon Azteca Jr. tonight and if they did come out, their opportunity for the Medallions would be donzo. Bravo to El Jefe for giving talent incentive not to interfere. Not sure why he wasn’t on this weeks ago but hey, better late than never. I guess the only question is whether or not Dario counts what happened afterwards as interference or not. My head says no, but El Jefe’s unpredictability says it could be anything. I guess we’ll find out next week!
Prince Puma defeated Dante Fox
Once again we’ll start with a flaw; the problem with this match was simply the fact that it didn’t go on last. And really that’s more for the benefit of the other matches than this one. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, HOLY FUCKING HELL WHAT A MATCH! I’ve seen some out of this world spot fests, I’ve seen amazing feats of athleticism; hell I’ve even seen a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). But this match was out of this world. I’m not even sure there was really a deep story to it aside from the fact that it was two of the most athletic men on planet Earth trying to prove they could go a little bit faster, fly a little bit farther and wow a little bit more than the other. From that we got things like Dante Fox turning an attempted moonsault off the apron into a Tornado DDT, the greatest Death Valley Driver in the history of Death Valley Driver’s, Puma reverting back to season one form, Tornado DDT attempts reversed into twisting brainbusters and sequence after sequence that was so good I can’t do them justice describing them. All you need to know was that this match was as close to perfect as they come, with both men looking like superstars. And that’s saying something, because Dante Fox is still a relatively new guy in the Temple. It didn’t feel that way tonight, and he was so good, so on the level with Puma that I think he may have turned the crowd to his favor in his feud with Killshot. He definitely did at least tonight, with the fans booing Killshot after he came out to rub salt in Fox’ wounds with a Double Stomp and a promise that their issues weren’t over. I have no idea how those crazy kids will top their amazing match from earlier in the season (or this match tonight) but I’ll be waiting patiently to find out. For now, let’s just bask in what, in my opinion, was the best match of season three to this point, one of the best matches in Lucha Underground history and one of the five best matches I’ve seen all year. It’s that amazing sports fans and I haven’t even brought up that Puma won, which means PUMA VS. FENIX IS THE SEMI-FINAL MATCH! We now go live to the internet's reaction.
Back at the Precinct
I just realized; this was a pretty big night for LU stories you had long forgotten about. First we had Matanza reappearing after a long absence, and here we got the return of Captain Vasquez and her never ending quest to…I’m not sure what she’s trying to do. Bring down Dario Cueto? The Aztec Gods? The mysterious Lord? Whatever it is she’s still at it, at least when she’s not trying to hold back laughter while watching Officer Reyes/Cortes Castro/Veneno get his ass kicked by Cage. Speaking of Cage, he was the focus of this discussion. Vasquez (aware that Cage has offed Councilman Delgado and that Cage is possessed by a god) wants Reyes to retrieve Cage’s power glove from him for…reasons. Reyes, who initially wanted Cage arrested, scoffed at this idea and suggested that no mortal man could take the power glove. This is where the big kicker happened; as Reyes left, Vasquez pulled out that amulet half of hers from her desk. You know, the same amulet half first introduced all the way back in the second episode of season three (aka the one where Marty and Killshot killed each other in the WMD match) and the same one that looks awfully similar to the half Catrina has. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here sports fans but the implication seemed to be simple; Vasquez will get in contact with Catrina and somehow convince her to have Mil go after Cage. And with that we now have an awesome monster feud to look forward to in the latter days of season three! Perhaps more too. How much you want to bet that LU is going to try a lesbian romance angle with Vasquez and Catrina? Think about it peeps; Catrina is in love with someone that isn’t Mil (or Jeremiah Crane), Fenix is too busy with his sights on Melissa to be pulled into this and I can’t imagine they’re pulling anyone else into this drama on such short notice (unless Ivelisse is Catrina’s one true love, which would be one hell of a twist). Combine that with the mysterious connection that Vasquez and Catrina have, and I’m going with them being secret lovers. You heard it here first!
Johnny Mundo defeated El Dragon Azteca Jr.
If this match had been on any other episode of LU, we’d be talking about it as one of the better matches of season three. Instead it falls in the shadow of Fox-Puma and even the aftermath of this bout (don’t worry; we’ll get to it). It’s a shame because these two worked really hard. Azteca was clearly looking to make the most of his biggest opportunity since his season two match with Prince Puma and there were times where he did just that, most notably when he did a tope con hilo over the gorram turnbuckle. I haven’t seen one of those since Angelico was around! For his part Mundo kept things simple, throwing in a few flashy moves while mostly sticking to slowing the pace down and playing the ground in pound. I maybe would’ve given them a few more minutes instead of abruptly ending things with Mundo crotching Azteca and hitting the End of the World, but that’s a minor quibble. Overall the match did exactly what it needed to do; it reminded us that Azteca can be an otherworldly talent when he gets the opportunity and that Mundo doesn’t need all the interference help he usually gets to win. I was worried LU was just going to continue to have him escape these matches due to interference till he lost the belt, so it’s a welcome surprise to see him get a clean win. Frankly I think him winning clean tonight may even make him more hateable; he doesn’t have to cheat to win, but he does anyway. How very Bill Belichick of him.
Now part of the reason this match didn’t get more time was because LU had bigger fish to fry in the form of the Mundo-Rey Mysterio feud. Mundo was looking to Pilmanize Azteca in the post match, only for Mysterio to come out and send Mundo to the back. All’s well, ends well right? WRONG! In a surprise twist, Rey Mysterio’s family was actually there! That’s right; Angie, Dominic, Dominic’s girlfriend. They were all there to support Rey, the first time Angie and Dominic have been on TV since Eddie Guerrero was making some very weird claims in 2005. Rey celebrated with them briefly, but then left to go backstage, prompting Mundo to come back out. He jawed with Dominic (who came off very well in the trash talk department) long enough to lure Rey back out, which revealed that this whole thing was (Admiral Akbar voice) A TRAP! No sooner did Rey return were Jack, P.J., Taya and Ricky there to beat him down and hold him up as Mundo grabbed the title belt…to hit Dominic! Yes, they swerved us all into thinking he’d hit Rey, only for Mundo to go for the son instead. To say this was anything short of brilliant doesn’t do it justice. Not only did this get a lot of heat in the Temple, not only did it add more heat to a match that has already been built up tremendously, but it finally added a little something personal to it. I mean sure, Rey and Johnny weren’t exactly dining at Nobu together before this, but the animosity they had was largely based around the title. Now that Johnny’s attacked Dominic in front of Rey and his wife?! Its personal now sports fans. I was wondering what else LU could do to build up to this match and now we have the answer. A terrific angle to cap off a really good main event and an angle that also made it forgivable that Puma-Fox didn’t close. Just barely though!
Do I Want to Know What Marty Was Doing Behind That Car?
Our LU end tag was pretty simple this week; Melissa was leaving the arena the same time as Fenix, they decided to walk to Melissa’s car together and somehow Fenix ended up getting roped into giving Melissa a piggyback ride. I swear, this all happened! Naturally Marty the Moth, wonderful creeper that he is, watched the whole thing and seemed to hone in on one particular subject Melissa asked Fenix about; his mask. You may remember from their singles match a few weeks ago that Marty subtly (or not so subtly) went after Fenix’ mask like a hawk. Now its clear why; in his never ending quest to get Melissa to love him, Marty is going to attempt to take Fenix’ mask and expose him as the ugly dude Marty believes him to be. On the one hand, Mart is out of his mind. On the other, LU has desperately needed more Apuesta matches since they started up (by my count, Sexy Star vs. Super Fly has been the only one) and Fenix vs. Marty sounds like an excellent idea to me. Thus I’m taking this segment to be the second hint that we’re on our way there.
That’s game sports fans. I will now disappear into a world of NHL 17 and How I Met Your Mother. Or maybe another show; I’ve reached season eight and things are starting to get depressing. Till I crawl my way out of all that, THIS!