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Lucha Underground Review: The New Gods are Coming
Another week, another Lucha Underground in the books. And, in an opinion that will prove to be polarizing in our dearly beloved lucha community, I enjoyed tonight’s episode more than last week. I know; how could I possibly enjoy this show, which featured two good matches and one overbooked main event, over a show last week that featured three excellent contests? While that’s true, this week’s LU featured something last week’s show didn’t; an exciting in Temple debut, a desperately needed title change and a couple of backstage scenes that were so good you may consider them series changing. In fact, one of them was. Add them altogether and that’s enough to move this one ahead of last week’s great episode. I know, I’m strange; it happens! We’ll deal with it later. For now let’s review; Moses, get the meme!
Sexy in the Office
Man the title for this segment is far more suggestive than I thought. Ah whatever. The show began with Sexy Star walking into El Jefe’s office, declaring she was cashing in her Gift of the Gods Championship for a shot at Matanza next week. El Jefe enjoyed to no end telling Sexy she’d have to defend the title against Johnny Mundo first, and I think he enjoyed even more Sexy no selling that proclamation and all but declaring Mundo as a warm up match. Say what you will about Sexy, but her no sells in these segments are gold. Not to be outdone, Dario informed Sexy that she wouldn’t have the help of Fenix, Aerostar and Drago, as the trios champs were banned from ringside. Oh yeah, and if they did appear, it would mean curtains for them in the Temple (a slight foreshadow to a decision made later in the show). Sexy was undaunted by that too, but it was pretty clear to me at that point that Sexy’s reign was (SPOILER ALERT!) done like dinner. You don’t have the stakes raised by El Jefe and then overcome it!
Marty “The Moth” Martinez defeated Ivelisse
As expected, this was much better and far more entertaining than Ivelisse vs. Mariposa from a few weeks ago. Marty deserves large credit for that; as you’d expect he quickly got heat on the match by just being a creepy bastard (to both Ivelisse and Melissa Santos may I add) and all it took from there was to build it until the inevitable Ivelisse comeback, which of course looked great because Ivelisse is great. I was a little surprised to see Marty win the match cleanly without a distraction from Ivelisse’s new squeeze but it turns out LU was merely saving The Artist Formerly Known as Sami Callihan for after the match. And boy was that something! Not to take shots at NXT, but there’s no way anyone in their right mind can say Callihan is already a hundred times better as Jeremiah than he was as Solomon Crowe. He was absolutely electric here making the save for Ivelisse and was then even better at turning from the heroic technico into the scumbag boyfriend rudo afterwards when Ivelisse got hot at him for making the save. It was great work to establish him and a really nice cap to what was an above average opener. All I want to know now is how soon till we get Marty vs. Jeremiah? The people want it; THE PEOPLE NEED IT!
BAH GAWD! THAT’S PAUL LONDON’S MUSIC!
Finally; thankfully we got a glimpse of Paul London in his white jacket and top hat, talking about how he was lost but found himself in his tribe. And…that was it, besides more flashes of the wild, that damn white rabbit and a reminder that London and his pals will be coming soon. DAMMIT ALL! I’ll forgive this one a little bit more because we actually got to see London and because they can’t be holding these guys off much longer. But I swear; if we don’t get a scene featuring London with the checkers dude and the mohawked rabbit next week (followed by them debuting at Aztec Warfare III) then I am hunting Carson Palmer down and holding him hostage till DeJoseph gives me what I want. That’s right Chris; I know your weakness and I will exploit it for personal gain (just kidding. OR AM I?!).
A Lover’s Quarrel
I guess LU was throwing me a bone for not giving me more Paul London because they instantly gave me more Jeremiah! He caught up to a still annoyed Ivelisse as she was leaving and informed her that Dario had indeed signed him to an LU contract. Welcome aboard good sir! This made Ivelisse even more frustrated and it took a bit of prodding and nonexistent sayings from Jeremiah (“The couple that slays together stays together”. Classic Jer!) before she begrudgingly accepted the situation. She did warn past life Sami however that if El Jefe put them against each she wouldn’t hesitate to kick Jeremiah’s ass. If I were a betting man, I’d put all my money on that happening down the road.
The Big Reveal
Alas, all the Jeremiah and Paul London stuff couldn’t compare to what El Jefe and Councilman Delgado were up to in the Lord’s limo right near where Ivelisse and Jeremiah drove off. After informing Dario that the Lord had ascended (or was it descended?), Delgado handed El Jefe this box. And that’s when one of the bigger game changers in Lucha Underground history happened; El Jefe revealed that he would be using whatever was in the box to take the evil god possessing Matanza out of his brother and into the new host. And who might that new host be? Dario was kind enough to point out he had two candidates…two men who were competing against each other in a Best of Five series.
In the words of Keanu Reeves, WHOA! I’m going to need a little bit more time to think about this before I comment on it because there is legit so many things to cover, such as what this means for the best of five, what it means for Matanza going forward, what it means for Cage and Texano and what it tells you about how diabolical Dario Cueto really is. The bottom line for right now folks is that this is a massive happening that just occurred and one that has huge ramifications for numerous luchadors in and out of the ring in Lucha Underground. This is why we keep coming back to the show; just when you think you know the answers, LU goes all “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and changes the questions. This was a stunning, unforgettable moment in the show from where I stand.
Best of Five Series for the Right to Be Matanza 2.0.: Match Three
Texano defeated Cage
It would’ve been incredibly difficult for this match not to be interesting considering what we all just witnessed a few minutes prior. Thankfully the match was excellent even without taking the added stakes into consideration and once again improved on its predecessor. The funny thing is that I don’t think they really did things much different from the last match, at least pace or move wise. Both guys got their usual stuff in and moved things along as well as they could. Why did it work better than matches one and two then; because they booked it very much in the same way a sports series would go (hence why Striker and Vampiro, who is quietly becoming one of the best color guys in wrestling, kept bringing up sports early on). Cage was great and got all his shit in, but he also added a layer of cockiness into his performance that we haven’t seen since season one. He got a little too arrogant in this match with his covers (there were several times Striker pointed him out half assing them) and it definitely came across that he was a little too complacent. In other words he was booked perfectly, just like Texano was as the aggressive, balls to the wall, nothing left to lose underdog just trying to survive. The dynamic worked and you can tell it’s really starting to get the crowd behind Texano. As I’ve told you, all he’s needed is something to sink his teeth into and maybe this comeback angle is that. I’m not sure where they’re going with this series in terms of the outcome (I can still easily see Cage winning the next match) and I’m honestly not sure I’m ready. The segment prior to this ramped up the ramifications for the winner of this series and the audience is thus far the only who knows; Texano and Cage are completely in the dark. It definitely makes you want to see what’s next while also dreading what comes next.
Having worked his way back to the office, El Jefe was busy admiring that box of his (in a definite nod to the briefcase from Pulp Fiction), when Rey walked in looking for that favor we were all anticipating. And man did he take El Jefe on a roller coaster of emotion. First he said he might be leaving the Temple, which made Dario make this face.
Then Rey turned it around and started talking about the disease that is Chavo Guerrero Jr., how he didn’t trust him and how he couldn’t waste time in Lucha Underground focusing on him when there were bigger fish to fry. So Rey asked El Jefe for this favor; a match with Chavo next week in what he dubbed a Loser Leaves Lucha match, which is pretty self explanatory. As you can imagine, El Jefe’s frown was immediately turned upside down.
Immediately the boss agreed and was only prevented from going on a soliloquy on how much he enjoyed this match by Rey, who compared Chavo to a sick dog that needed to be put down for its own good. I don’t know what’s up with Rey suddenly getting all dark and everything but he needs to keep going; I haven’t heard him this good on the mic since…ever! Even better than his mic work is the fact that we’re getting this match between these two. I maybe would’ve liked it to have been further down the road to keep Rey and Chavo away from the young guys, but the big reveal earlier means Rey is going to be needed to battle the forces of darkness sooner than later and this match allows him to do it. It also should allow Chavo to take the gloves off and deliver another performance like he did with Cage last season. If he can’t get up for this match than Chavo in ring is pretty much a lost cause. Even Shocker would pull himself up to have one last good day in this scenario…wait that’s a lie. Shocker would probably pull something and then drag us all down with the match, kicking and screaming.
Gift of the Gods Championship
Johnny Mundo defeated Sexy Star
Here’s the bad news folks; this match was nowhere near as good as the Sexy-Jack Evans match despite the fact that the effort was there and the wrestling overall (aside from a botched neckbreaker where Sexy fell too early) wasn’t bad. It was clear from the start that these two just didn’t click, nor did the match click with the crowd aside from a few moments where Mundo was able to effectively build heat to get Sexy some cheers. Luckily it seemed LU recognized this would be a grind and made it easier by overbooking it to high heaven. We got a heavy dose of Jack and P.J. interfering (Taya was still MIA with injury and the fourth Worldwide Underground member still doesn’t exist), which led to a whole lot of ref bumps, triple teaming and a hopeless situation until Big Willie Mack (who wasn’t banned from ringside) arrived and delivered the best sequences of the match. Seriously, he was hotter than the centerfold of a Rudo Can’t Fail magazine, stunning everyone (including one where he caught a diving Evans in mid air, by far the most underrated moment of the night) and singlehandedly turning the tide, making it seem like Sexy could pull it out. In the end Evans and P.J. were able to subdue him though and Mundo ultimately was able to cheat just enough to pull out the victory, prove me a prophet and get that title he so desired. Thus I’m not going to complain too much. Was the match messy and overbooked? Yes it was. That said, people would’ve bitched if Sexy and Mundo had wrestled a clean match for twenty minutes so there was no good scenario for LU either way. Sexy and Mundo did the best they could, Mack, Evans and Black got in some cool moments and ultimately the right person won the match. When the rest of the night works as well as it did, I’m okay with this match accomplishing only that.
Vampiro Digs Deeper into Puma's Head
Two straight weeks of Vampiro/Prince Puma interactions! I guess Vamp is getting tired of only killing it at the booth (seriously; he’s gotten so good I can’t believe it. I actually think Striker may be holding him back at this point). The vet congratulated Puma on his victory last week but pointed out that the job isn’t done, pointing to how Mil had been responsible for killing Konnan. Puma quickly reminded him that Vampiro and Konnan weren’t best buds themselves but Vamp turned that around, reminding Puma that this wasn’t about him; it’s about Puma getting back to the level he was once at. And part of that, according to Vampiro, is Puma doing to Mil what Mil did to Konnan; bury him in a coffin. Basically we’re getting Grave Consequences III between Puma and Mil sports fans. Soak it in.
And yet while that will be the talking point moving forward, it’s the Vampiro/Puma relationship that continues to fascinate me. It’s clear that Puma still doesn’t trust Vamp, but he’s inching closer and closer to doing so, almost as if Vampiro is breaking down that wall between them piece by piece. It’s an intriguing story, made more so by the fact that you have to imagine Vamp still has an ulterior motive that involves Pentagon in some shape or form. That’s why I cannot wait to see this Grave Consequences match, aside from the fact that it’ll be a likely masterpiece between two masters of lucha. Is Vampiro counting on Puma to win, thus proving him right and allowing the youngster to seek more guidance in him? Or is the plan to have Puma come up short and take whatever remains of the broken luchador and breathe new life in him? If nothing else, the big reveal and this segment tonight are huge reasons to keep an eye on the master plans Lucha Underground is working towards.
That’s the show folks. I’ll be back a little later with a preview of CMLL’s first Dias de Muertos show this Friday and I’ll hopefully have an article tomorrow that features more thoughts on the big segment from tonight’s show. Stay tuned! Till we meet again, something something DUCHOVNY! What, I ran out of Spider-Man memes.