Lucha Underground: Winter Has Come
When Lucha Underground ended season three last week with an unbelievable conclusion to Ultima Lucha Tres, I realized something; I wasn’t ready for this all to be over. That goes for whether LU is just on a break before season four starts up or if Ultima Lucha Tres turned out to be the swan song. I was so over the moon about the episode, how LU had paid off so many storylines that lasted so many seasons, that I was so saddened that I wouldn’t be able to come back next week and see what the follow up was. But then I got to thinking; what if I could? What if there was a way to continue LU; you know, without them having to film it all because El Rey, MGM and the rest of the higher ups are too busy playing financial chicken to make it happen? Thus, a few days after UL3 I got into contact with my good friend Ryan, better known to Lucha Underground fans as Leaf (you can find him on Twitter at @LeafLOP if you didn’t know him already). Like me, Leafster is a huge LU fan who covers the show every week with his Sound of the Underground column. Also like me, he wasn’t ready to just let LU go quietly into the night. And that’s why a week later, after a lot of planning and Facebook discussions, Leafster and I have found a way to give you a brand new Lucha Underground review every Wednesday night.
I’ll explain; for the next forty weeks (or however long it takes till LU is back), I will be reviewing a season four Lucha Underground episode that Leaf and I put together during the week. Think of it as myself playing the Chris DeJoseph role, Leaf playing the Chris Roach role, and a mysterious third person who doesn’t exist playing the role of that other dude the Masks, Mats and Mayhem guys make fun of; we book the show, I review the show, rinse and repeat. It’s dawned on myself (and probably Leaf as well) that this is very silly. In the words of Dave Chappelle, so the fuck what? I miss Lucha Underground, I’m not ready to stop talking about Lucha Underground, and even if it is just to kill time, I can’t think of a better way to kill time then reviewing what I think (and hope) a potential season four will look like. Hence, tonight you’re getting a review of the “first episode” of Lucha Underground’s fourth season, featuring several twists, even more turns, and at least two moments that will have Rob Viper wishing Leaf and I were booking the show (and probably several more where he wishes Leaf and I weren’t). Whether you take it as what could be, what could’ve been or something else entirely is up to you; I just hope you enjoy tonight and enjoy it in the weeks to come. And with that, let’s get started! Moses, it’s still real to me so meme dammit!
And just like that the return of LU has taken me from pure excitement to “I must now walk into oncoming traffic.” Basically folks, Dario Cueto is dead. I mean how else can you explain why there’s a grave with his name on it in the middle of what I can only assume is Northern California or somewhere in Spain because it’s snowing out. How very The Great Silence of LU with that touch. I assume there will be something made about whoever this mystery person is that left a rose on Dario’s grave but who cares; EL JEFE IS DEAD! Dicks out for El Jefe or whatever that phrase was for when the gorilla died. The only redeemable part of this whole thing was the fact that Dario’s gravestone featured his middle name (Santiago), his title (El Jefe) and the fact that he was indeed “Kind of a Big Deal.” Highest of comedy. It’s just a shame that it has to come at the expense of Dario’s life, something that is most definitely over and won’t be revealed as an OH MY GRODD CULT YOU ALMOST SAID TOO MUCH!
The Most Diabolical Hater in Wrestling Meets Johnny Mundo
Alas we can’t mourn El Jefe forever, mainly because we have to get back to the Temple. But is it really? Can we really call it a Temple now that Dario is the (non) living embodiment of Creed’s hilarious “One Last Breath” and that slime ball known as Agent Winter is running it? In any event the most evil man in the history of wrestling is now in charge of LU and he clearly wasted no time sapping the life out of Dario’s office. The only thing missing was the windows being boarded up by steel so to prevent guys from going through it. At least one constant remains the same; Johnny Mundo is still in this office bitching about opportunities he wants. He and Winter haggled for a few moments before Mundo got the two things he wanted; a Trios titles match for his Worldwide Underground comrades and, most importantly, a match with Pentagon Dark in the main event for the Lucha Underground Championship. Hey, it’s not like Prince Puma is around to get his automatic rematch and it only makes sense LU would want to start things off with a bang. I was just hoping that bang would involve more Dario, less Winter and more of the Red Bull. Oh yeah; the Red Bull is out of the office now. Have I mentioned how much the Agent Winter era sucks?!
Lucha Underground Trios Championship Match
Dante Fox, Killshot, The Mack (c) defeated Jack Evans, PJ Black and Ricky Mundo
So there are several things to talk about before the match itself. First, Winter introduced himself to the crowd (ala Dario in season one) and was greeted as coldly as Joel Schumacher at a Batman convention. Second, and most importantly, Vampiro is GONE. Not in a “he’s off the meds and absolutely bat shit crazy” way; I mean he’s physically not there, and evidently hasn’t been seen since he sent Prince Puma on a cross country hike to Florida at Ultima Lucha Tres. I guess Bestia is trying to get him into ring shape or something? Whatever the case, Vamp is gone and Michael Schiavello (he of Ultima Lucha Uno fame) is back alongside Striker. Am I wrong for wishing it had been Striker replaced instead? I’d be remised if I didn’t point out to those celebrating Vamp’s departure right now that he’ll definitely be back and this absence is pretty much the same as Olicity’s through season five; a brief reprieve. Of course that’s not going to stop us from going live to Rob Viper’s reaction to said news.
Aside from that good (or bad news), this match was 100% the right way to kick off the in ring action to LU, season four. I mean sure, Ricky Mundo still doesn’t do a whole lot besides get his ass kicked (though he did deliver a nice Mundo esq low blow, but everyone else was in top form. PJ looked every bit as good here as he did during his strong run in season three. Jack Evans may have lost the whiteboard, but his trash talking game was back and my goodness is he a joy in the ring, whether he’s flying around or doing his comedy bits (for my money, the best part in this match was when Evans countered a Mack stunner, bragged about being “Unstunnable (is that even a word)” and then eating a stunner anyway. I’m still laughing as we speak). And holy hell are Fox, Killshot and Big Willie sublime together. I mean we knew they would be; did you not see Hell of War? But the way these guys were able to work so great together as a unit while Killshot and Fox still teased tension between the two was something else. I’m not quite sure where these three are going yet (there’s potential still for Killshot-Fox to be revisited, and Killshot giving Mack his own dog tags before the match might lead to something where he’s in the middle), but for now they’re precisely what the doctor ordered for the trios titles. Unfortunately they aren’t quite done with the reptiles, who made their presence felt after the match courtesy of a Daga sneak attack. My only thoughts on this are a) thank Grodd Daga is back on camera again, b) he couldn’t have used the sword instead of the kendo stick during that sneak attack and c) man I hope someone taught Vibora to wrestle in between seasons. He’s basically the only weak link in this field of six based off his performances in season three; if he’s improved like his Johnny Mundo training videos suggest then The Unit vs. The Reptiles may be the best thing since Charlie Morton’s performance in Game 7 of the ALDS. And yes, I did just name the Fox/Killshot/Big Willie team The Unit. Did you have a better idea? I didn’t think so.
Dissension in the Underground
Remember how there were times in season three where it looked like PJ Black wanted to give Johnny lip, only for him to then back off? Welp, things finally came to a head here as Mundo and Taya “greeted” Jack, PJ and Ricky as they made it back to the locker room. I say “greeted” because it was more or less a passive aggressive put down by Mundo, who couldn’t understand why his team failed to take advantage of an opportunity he got them. Of course Jack was then quick to point out that Mundo hadn’t exactly been on a roll recently either, which led to near fisticuffs and Ricky Mundo turning in a blubbery mess. The good news for Johnny; Taya managed to diffuse the situation enough that PJ and Jack walked away without attacking him. The bad news; I’m pretty sure they just walked out the building, meaning Johnny’s only help in the main event is Taya and Ricky, the LU equivalent of Moist from Dr. Horrible. When you’re looking for the moment where it went all wrong for the Wednesday Night Delight, this is it. Well, unless you’re counting his loss to Puma. I dare say that may have been where shit hit the fan.
“Sexy Star” defeated Argenis
I’m gonna be frank; when LU first announced this match I was in complete disbelief that they had actually brought Sexy Star back. Except they clearly didn’t because that wasn’t Sexy Star who worked this match. I mean she wore the gear, was introduced as Sexy Star and the whole nine yards but come on; not counting what happened after this match, the only way this could be Sexy is if she suddenly went with long dark hair, grew a few inches and became a significantly better worker. Whoever it was (and I have a pretty good idea), she didn’t take long to rid herself of Argenis, who tried as per usual but ended up falling victim quickly after “Sexy” distracted the ref, pulled of Argenis’ mask and rolled him up. The old Arena Mexico finish if you will. It wasn’t a whole lot, but it didn’t have to be considering this match (depending on what you believe) was all about establishing Sexy as this terrible new rudo or this new girl that’s replaced her. They did just that, and the promo afterwards did even more so. And there’s the rub; not only did “Sexy Star” shed her entire persona but she changed her name…to Sexy Lady. You know, only the name that was once used by an AAA luchadora who punked actual Sexy Star so bad that she’s one mistake away from being Bill Buckner’s neighbor in Idaho. I’m not 100% sure I’m right on this, but if I am, well done LU! That is some grade A trolling of Sexy right there, and would’ve been the best part of this whole thing if the next part didn’t happen.
Yup, That Was Definitely Not Sexy Star
You gotta love how these LU peeps can travel from the Temple to some other location in record time. Maybe Aerostar is giving them free lifts on his time travel express? Anyways, we came back from break and there’s Sexy Star…I mean Sexy Lady in some dingy place that makes the Temple look like the Plaza Hotel. She spends a good deal of time laughing, places both the Argenis mask (which she still had) and the Sexy Star mask she wore up on a wall and then walked away. Oh yeah; there was also a shot of a whole lot of tarantulas seeping out of a coffin found on the floor. You read that right! So there you have it sports fans; Sexy Lady may not be the actual Sexy Lady, but whoever she is she a) was responsible for sending actual Sexy Star the army of spiders, b) likes masks and c) KILLED SEXY STAR AND LEFT HER REMAINS IN A COFFIN FULL OF TARANTULAS! There’s cold blooded and then there’s that. Honestly, the only thing that would’ve made this funnier is if all they showed of Sexy’s remains was a severed arm. I guess that would’ve been too on the nose.
Lucha Underground Championship Match
Pentagon Dark (c) defeated Johnny Mundo
I was actually nervous going into this match, if only because I’ve seen the two matches they had in AAA and was left with the same feeling I had when I was The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Of course then I remembered those matches were in AAA (the place where greatness goes to die), this match was in LU and then sat back and watched the best season opening match in LU history. That’s right; it was even better than Ivelisse-Mil, a match that still has me convinced Ivelisse is winning every time I watch it. The story saw Pentagon dominate the match early (as he should’ve), Mundo taking advantage after Pentagon hurt his hand when he missed a punch on the outside and the action eventually descending into a back and forth with more near falls than a big time Cavernario match. The even bigger development (as I hinted earlier) was that there was no PJ or Jack. I told you they left! Their absence hurt Mundo greatly here, as Taya ended up getting knocked down by Mundo towards the latter stages and Ricky…well let’s just he ended up joining the Boulevard of Broken Arms for a second time when he tried to get involved. All that and more conspired against Mundo and in the end he met the same fate as Puma; a Package Piledriver that kept him down for the one, two, three. I’m sure there’s no chance that he’ll hear from PJ and Jack about this in the weeks to come.
That said it could’ve been worse for Mundo. After the match, Pentagon noticed Ricky was being taken out by medical personal, Taya was still out cold and OH MY GRODD GET OUT OF THE RING JOHNNY! He did just that…only to walk into the path of Angelico (who is so over I’m stunned Pentagon didn’t break his arm for stealing away fans), who through Mundo back in the ring. Pentagon was about to break the arm when Winter emerged from the office and tried to talk sense into Pentagon. It made sense; after all Winter is a big fan of Pentagon (remember how he raved about him to Dario?) and he is the boss. Alas Pentagon had no time for Winter, took hold of his arm (when Winter was doing the Cero Miedo taunt) and then broke it as the Temple roof somehow stayed upright while the crowd exploded. I was certain LU couldn’t have made this scene more perfect if they tried and yet they did. Between his victory over Mundo and the destruction of Winter’s arm, Pentagon pretty much re-established that he is the top dog of LU and the ultimate renegade anti-hero. The only question now is whether Winter (and by extension his mysterious lord) lets it slide, or if this turns into a situation like in season one where El Jefe unleashed the dogs on Johnny Mundo for not playing ball. And all of this doesn’t even take into account that Vampiro and Bestia are out there looking to take a pound of flesh from Pentagon as well. The point is; it truly is Pentagon’s Temple now and this main event (plus everything else from UL3) set up all the potential players looking to take him down. Tremendous stuff, AND IT SOMEHOW WASN’T THE BEST PART OF THE SHOW!!! Poor Godfey; even when he’s having his best career moment since I Love the 90’s, he can’t win.
How Many Ways Are There to Say HOLY SHIT!
The LU end tag strikes again sports fans; just when you think we couldn’t have anything better than what we’ve already seen, LU reveals that Dario Cueto in fact still alive!
Sneaky LU; I knew you weren’t going to dispose of him so easily. I mean sure, there’s some mysterious dude out in the cold freezing his ass off at Dario’s fake grave, but we can worry about him five or six episodes from now, right? Plus, El Jefe being alive wasn’t the only big reveal in this scene. We learned that Dario is in a coma (understandable; he was shot twice, Pulp Fiction style after all) and is being kept safe in some sort of underground esq hospital lair that is being run by Dario’s father. And wouldn’t you know it but LU actually revealed who Dario’s father was! I would’ve thought LU would’ve kept that one under wraps, but I guess the decision to show El Jefe being alive meant they’d have to show why, and that’s why we’re getting Senor El Jefe. That and how could they not unveil the identity when it turned out to be this guy.
That’s right; Dario Cueto’s father is BLACK FUCKING TERRY, aka Negro Navarro’s wrestling soul mate, Black Terry Jr.’s father, potentially Guerrero Maya Jr.’s father (though probably not) and one of the greatest luchadors to ever walk this mortal coil. I’m not sure how Lucha Underground convinced him to take this role but it’s perfect; Terry is both old enough to be Dario’s father and can actually deliver in the ring if LU wants him to (and I’m guessing they will). It’s such a perfect match that it feels like something that could only be thought up during a conversation between myself and Kevin Kleinrock; that good! And best of all it leads to even more speculation and development. How was Black Terry Cueto able to save Dario when, presumably, he was all the way in Spain or Mexico? Do Winter and the Lord know Dario’s alive (I’m guessing not)? And how long will El Jefe be in the coma for? I’m sure we’ll get all those answers in time, but I’d argue we’ve already got the most important ones. Dario is alive. Black Terry is his super cool dad. And along with Pentagon vs. the World, we have (unless I’m seriously misreading things) the other big story to carry LU throughout season four; Dario Cueto’s odyssey to take back the Lucha Underground Temple.
There you have it sports fans. I’ll be back soon, perhaps tomorrow if I feel up for previewing CMLL’s Friday show. If not then I’ll definitely be back by Saturday at the latest, and you can expect to see me every Wednesday night with a review of a “brand new” Lucha Underground episode until further notice. Till we meet again, THIS!