Lucha Underground: No Time for Sudden Death (And Pants)
Even though Lucha Underground officially returned last week, this week’s episode could be considered the first “complete” episode since Matanza went through the roof back in January. After all, last week was just All Night Long, whereas this week featured the conclusion to Mack and Johnny Mundo’s story while also starting/continuing/concluding other stories. As much as last week was talked about, I think we’re all happy to see more than just two people this week and even more so that the show delivered in classic LU form. We had one outstanding scene, two great matches book ending the show, a Dario Cueto promo for the ages and clear cut signs of where we’re going for the rest of the season. It’s the stuff LU has done so well, only we forgot it because they were gone so long. The moral of the story; never leave us again LU. And maybe tone down the interference too, but we’ll get to that point in a moment! For now, let’s break down this bad boy. Moses, you know what to do.
The Many Masters of Prince Puma
You may recall that before LU went on break, Prince Puma was feeling the effects of Vampiro bringing him back from the dead after he lost Grave Consequences. And by feeling the effects, I mean he was pretty much experiencing flashbacks of every bad thing that’s happened to him. This was occurring here again when frenemy Rey Mysterio walked in to both check on Puma and warn him that Vamp is merely using him. Naturally Puma took the El Dragon Azteca Jr. approach to this; he didn’t listen to Rey at all, accused him and Konnan of merely using him too and claimed that no one is his master. He left, Rey got all mopey and then got to see the image of Vampiro in the mirror (they were in the fabled LU bathroom by the by) telling Rey he’d be sent straight to hell if he messed with Puma. You know, like Konnan was. I don’t know if Vamp was attempting to retcon how Konnan got killed off or if he was just threatening Rey, but either way it appears that Rey will be the next guy Puma comes across on his road to redemption. I’m down for that; did you not see them at Ultima Lucha Dos?
Sudden Death Match for the Lucha Underground Championship
Johnny Mundo (c) defeated The Mack
If last weeks’ match was all about drawing out the drama, this was about going full blown Fury Road from start to bell. That’s not to say this match was devoid of story, but it was definitely meant to be a sprint instead of the epic that last week was. I have no qualms with this; while nothing can top the drama All Night Long had, I personally found the workrate to be better between Big Willie and Johnny this time around. Maybe it was the pace or the fact that the match could end at any time, but there was a lot more excitement and a bigger sense of urgency this time around. It also helped that they wisely made Big Willie the aggressor throughout the match. He absolutely dominated Mundo with the exception of a few “wow” moves Johnny was able to pull off and I loved that LU continued the theme from last week of getting Mack so close to the mountain top only to just come up short. Big Willie walked into this feud a popular midcarder who had the skill to be a title contender but hadn’t had the marquee feud/match yet. He now has both of those now, and I won’t be shocked come season four that LU goes back to him as a title contender and maybe, just maybe, gives him the big moment everyone wants. In short, think of All Night Long/Sudden Death as Mack’s Rocky, whereas season four of LU will be Mack’s Rocky II.
As much as I enjoyed this though, I do have to point out one thing that troubled me; the interference in this match. You knew it was coming once Dario announced this match to be Falls Count Anywhere, and at least it does make sense considering how Worldwide Underground is always around when Johnny’s defending the title. But I must admit it’s starting to get old, especially when a) Mack isn’t getting the same support he was getting last week to even the odds (Sexy Star did make an appearance, but Son of Havoc was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he was on the open road again?) and b) this is happening EVERY SINGLE TIME! I’m all for making Johnny Mundo the cowardly rudo (and he excels at the roll), but I don’t think you can continue to have him win all these matches like this without it eventually making him look like the weakest dude in the Temple. At some point it would be nice to see LU put him in a position where he has to win a match cleanly and pulls it off, just to remind us that Mundo can be a credible champion when he wants to be. Perhaps I’m making a big deal out of nothing and, at least for tonight, the interference wasn’t enough to ruin how fun this bout was. I just hope they tone this down going forward.
El Jefe Hour
You could make the strong argument that Dario Cueto has been the best thing about the last two LU episodes, despite appearing in them for only ten minutes tops. This segment is proof why. El Jefe was in complete El Jefe form, throwing out some classic lines (“There’s only room for one beautiful thing in this ring Melissa!”), calling himself a Lucha Libre Genius and even burying Matanza for getting thrown through a roof by Rey Mysterio. Hot damn; even Matanza isn’t above getting shamed by El Jefe! All of this served as the backdrop for Dario’s big announcement; a 32 man tournament for the newly created “Cueto Cup”, a prize that will grant the winner a shot at the Lucha Underground Champion at Ultima Lucha Tres. On top of that, Dario also announced that Johnny Mundo would be defending the title the same night of the Cueto Cup finals against Mysterio, Rey Rey’s reward for ending Matanza. That’s certainly big stuff and it’ll be fun to see where Rey vs. Mundo and the Cueto Cup wind up, but who cares right now; this was all about Dario being awesome and all of us reaping the benefits of it. It’s great to have El Jefe back!
Lucha Underground Trios Championship
Kobra Moon, Pindar and Vibora defeated Aerostar, Drago and Fenix
From a work rate standpoint, this was a match of two parts; when Aerostar and Pindar weren’t in the ring and when they were. When it was the former, the match was a little slow. When it was the latter, the action was quick and awesome, almost as if Aerostar and this Pindar had worked together numerous times before (spoiler alert; they had). Ultimately the funny mini match between the two was background noise for the true story of the match, which was Drago “going to the dark side” to betray Fenix and Aerostar (mostly Aerostar, who he sprayed with mist) and officially join up with the reptiles. I say he went bad in quotation marks because I’m not sure this is a full blown turn; remember that he was being held captive by Kobra Moon and the gang not too long ago, and his alliance with them now may have more to do with brainwashing them him legitimately turning bad. I can’t say for sure where we go from here, other than I think Fenix will choose to go out on his own while Aerostar tries to free his friend from Kobra’s spell. Either way the former King of Trios winners are no more and it’s sad for everyone other than Drago, who somehow walked into this match as a Trios Champion and walked out as a Trios Champion. I haven’t seen betrayal work out so well since that guy who killed his father to join up with the evil emperor in the first Scorpion King.
No Time for Pants
This may have been the funniest segment in the history of the western hemisphere. I shit you not. First we had Johnny Mundo, wearing nothing but a towel after showering, chatting it up with Ricky Mandel in a scene that had more romantic subtext than that reunion scene between Messala and Judah in Ben-Hur. Then we had Taya coming in, berating Johnny for taking such a long shower and then saying she had bad news, which Johnny seemed to think involved Jack Evans and him dying from some sort of injury (finally explaining why Jack has been MIA). It was at that point Taya informed Johnny of his match with Mysterio, followed by Johnny sending Ricky to start the car and confiding in Taya he’d have to train harder than he ever had in his dojo. At least I think he said that; I was too busy geeking over Johnny’s overacting to notice everything. Finally, Johnny started to walk away, leading to Taya asking if the Wednesday Night Delight was actually going to dress before leaving. And that’s where it happened folks; that is where Johnny Mundo uttered the greatest thing he will ever utter, the “this is not over, BEARS!” of Lucha Underground’s run. He stood there, looking as serious as humanly possible, and uttered with complete sincerity, “No time for pants.”
My Grodd; the feels, the laughter, the Wiseauean levels of greatness that came from that line. Not one bit of it was meant to be serious or anything less than silly in any way, which is precisely what made it the funniest thing I’ve seen all week and the best thing I saw in this episode. And that was with two really good matches (including one Mundo was in) book ending the show, with an awesome Dario Cueto promo sprinkled in. I don’t care what happens with Lucha Underground going forward; the show can continue to be awesome, it can tank, it can get canceled after this season or it can go on forever. Whatever happens, it was all worth it just so we could hear Johnny Mundo utter the phrase “no time for pants.” This will be talked about for years to come. Or maybe it’ll just be me talking about it for years to come. Either way I loved it and I don’t care who knows it. Let’s move on.
Boyle Heights Street Fight
Prince Puma defeated Mil Muertes
By the time this match was over, there was more debris in the ring than a NASCAR wreck at Talladega. I’m honestly surprised there wasn’t more considering all the action we got in the twelve minutes these guys tangled for. I don’t think anyone is surprised with what we got; Mil came across as a complete bulldozer, Puma wrestled like his very existence depended on the match (this worked great considering the story has been Puma not wanting to beat Mil, but NEEDING, all caps, to beat Mil) and ultimately it led to some really great wrestling. Better than their past matches? I’m not sure anything they’ve done has yet to top their Ultima Lucha match (that diddy gets better every time I see it), but it was up there, it had spots that were better than the stuff they’ve pulled off in other matches (how about that rolling senton coast to coast by Puma?!) and this was so great that I dare say Matt Striker finally has a point when he says this rivalry is one of the best in LU history (even if it’s not touching Mil-Fenix). Even the ending worked, with Puma still showing flashes of what’s held him back by not immediately covering Mil after the 630, Catrina making her presence felt and Vampiro giving Puma the ultimate trump card in the form of LU’s deadliest brick. Finally Puma has his revenge on Mil, which makes you wonder what the next step for him is. As we covered earlier, they teased him in Rey in the opening scene and Striker made it a point to mention both Mil and Puma were in the Cueto Cup, which means Puma is back in play for the LU title. Whatever path they take (and I reckon they may take both), Puma is on the road to redemption and this match served as a reminder that LU is truly in the full swing of things (minus a few flaws) after coming back from the unexpected hiatus.
That’s game sports fans. There’s no time for farewells (or pants) as I’m off to read the Death of WCW before catching some zzz’s. Life is good ain’t it? Till then, GET THE BRICKS! How else could we end this after a brick made a surprise cameo at the end?