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The Ten Best Lucha Underground Matches of Season Two (Thus Far!)
Ladies and gentlemen, it has been accomplished; I have indeed completed the task of writing three columns in less than twenty four hours. Not my first time doing it sure, but considering I’ve had more of an urge to watch Garry Marshall rom coms recently than to write let’s call this a massive accomplishment. Gosh there’s so many people I like to thank…which is why I’m not going to do that and just dive straight into the new column. What is the new column? Well considering that tomorrow night is Lucha Underground’s fourteenth episode of a twenty six episode season two, it’s safe to say that we will have gone past the halfway point. That can mean only one thing; I can do a list of the best matches from the first half of season two. And thus, here we are with ten matches that I personally felt represent the best LU had to offer thus far during a really good second season and even a couple honorable mentions thrown in for good measure. Let me stress; this list is strictly my opinion and it’s perfectly okay for you not to share it. Just please don’t take it as the be all end all okay; I’m still having nightmares about the guy who got butthurt that I didn’t include a Rayo de Jalisco Jr. match in the mask vs. mask top ten. GET OVER IT MAN! But enough of my troubles; let’s get down to business and kick things off with the Honorable Mentions section!
Gift of the Gods Championship Match
Fenix (c) vs. King Cuerno (Episode 1)
Only in Lucha Underground would a match like this, seemingly a shoe in to be in the top ten, find itself barely on the outside looking in. I blame it on being the first match of season two. Even still, this match will be remembered for immediately establishing season two as must watch, jumpstarting what ended up being a great feud between Fenix and Cuerno and introduced the world to the most diabolical Tombstone hybrid in the history of the western hemisphere.
Lucha Underground Championship Match
Matanza (c) vs. Mil Muertes (Episode 13)
Pretty simple; this match was a tad too short to make the list. That’s pretty much the only bad thing I can say about it as it otherwise featured a Godzilla vs. Mothra like atmosphere, El Jefe and Catrina getting involved and turning the heat up tenfold and the Artist Formerly Known as Immortan Mil Muertes driving Immortan Matanza through the roof of El Jefe’s office with a Flatliner. That last move gets bonus points for the roof breaking off into a perfect rectangular hole. There’s epic, there’s a Bill Walton level of epic and then there’s that.
Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Jr. (Episode 4)
I might be underrating this one a bit, but in the end the first encounter between LU’s franchise and Prince Puma suffers from the same disease Mil-Matanza does; not enough time! Other than that this was a nice preview of the Mil-Puma-Pentagon match that was to come and offered a compelling look of what might be an all time classic between two great performers if they were given ample time.
The Top Ten
10. Trios Tournament Match
Joey Ryan and the Crew vs. The Mack, Marty “The Moth” Martinez and Mariposa (Episode 11)
We begin the actual list with a match absolutely no one probably expected to be on here. So why is it? Because it was a whole hell of a lot of fun, that’s why. We saw the continuation of the issues between Big Willie and the Moths (partners here because of El Jefe being El Jefe), some really fun action and a breakout performance from one Mr. Cisco. Remember how you long thought he was the third wheel of The Crew? You won’t be thinking that after watching him in action here.
9. No Disqualification Match
Cage vs. Taya (Episode 7)
You could make the argument that this is the most one sided match on this entire list, and that’s part of the reason it makes it on here. Cage came out of this looking like an absolute beast, running through Taya like a locomotive and overcoming interference from Johnny Mundo to finally get one up on two people who had been a thorn in his side all season. Even more impressive was Taya; she may not do a whole lot in this match but her ability to take a beating, keep getting up and almost pull out the upset win immediately established her as a Temple favorite. By far, this match is an example of how surviving can make you just as much as winning.
8. Aztec Medallion Match
Daga vs. Texano (Episode 12)
Before this match Texano was a talented performer who had never been given anything to really sink his teeth into, while Daga was a dude who outside of Mexico was as well known as Edward Furlong at a comic book convention in 2016. My how this bout changed everything for both guys; Daga quickly established himself as the lucha strong style guy many claimed him to be and Texano, finally working with someone exciting, looked like the guy who had the longest reign in history as AAA Mega Champion. Thus far, this match has been the grounded version of what Jack Evans vs. Aerostar was in season one; all that’s missing for it to be higher was bigger stakes than an Aztec Medallion (which is no small deal mind you).
7. Ladder Match for the Gift of the Gods Championship
King Cuerno (c) vs. Fenix (Episode 6)
For my money still the most unappreciated match of Lucha Underground’s second season and the most misunderstood. No it’s not the prototypical ladder match and no you won’t see numerous amazing leaps. What you’ll instead see is two men who turning a ladder match into a brawl, a strategy by the sadist Cuerno that would ultimately come back to bite him in the ass and allow Fenix to win. Perhaps the most brutal match of season two and from a storytelling perspective it remains good old Deer Antlers’ masterpiece. Go in with an open mind and you’ll be happier than Scott Thomas when he finally found Mika in Rome.
6. Last Luchador Standing
Fenix vs. King Cuerno (Episode 3)
The first match may have been the jolt of excitement to kick start LU’s second season and the ladder match may have been the violent tone poem that settled an excellent feud. In the end however, the best match between Cuerno and Fenix was their second match, a violent and compelling Last Luchador Standing match that once more saw Cuerno force Fenix to beat him at his own game and Fenix, as he’s prone to do, rising to the challenge. Still features one of the greatest spots of the season in Deer Antlers riding a ladder all the way off El Jefe’s roof and through a table below.
5. Triple Threat Match for the Lucha Underground Championship
Mil Muertes (c) vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Prince Puma (Episode 7)
Here lies the match that took season two and turned it from good to HOLY CRAP I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK! Building off Pentagon breaking Mil’s arm in Episode One and the tension between Puma and Pentagon from that point on, this match tied everything up into one violent bow and produced an absolute classic. Pentagon continued his trend of being dominant and just coming up short due to his own arrogance. Prince Puma did things in this match that reminded us that real life superheroes are still a thing. Most importantly though was that the then Immortan, fresh off a several week vacation, reminded the world that he was the most diabolical hater since the so called Beautiful. A hell of a start to the end of season two’s Act I.
4. Lucha Underground Championship Match
Mil Muertes (c) vs. Ivelisse (Episode 1)
Without question the match that featured the best story told thus far this season. I still can’t get over how well this was booked; in six short minutes, Ivelisse not only made everyone in the Temple (or watching at home) believe she could hang with Mil thanks to her MMA background but she made us believe she could actually win! I still get chills watching that roll up she got on Mil, and I’m pretty sure the Temple would’ve exploded if she had gotten the win. In the end Mil retained and got his arm broken by Pentagon for his troubles (in an absolutely electric ending mind you), but the moment of Ivelisse’s almost win still remains. It may not have had a thousand great moves and it may haunt Dave Meltzer’s dreams forever, but Ivelisse-Mil was as compelling a story as anything LU has done ever and has set the stage for just how special the moment will be when a woman finally does pin a man to win the Lucha Underground Championship.
3. Lucha Underground Championship Match
Mil Muertes (c) vs. Fenix (Episode 8)
The final chapter (to this point) of Lucha Underground’s best rivalry was as beautiful a match as one could’ve imagined, and no one had to go in a casket or through a roof for it to happen! In many ways though Mil and Fenix told just as compelling a story here as they did during Grave Consequences and their highly underrated Death Match. There were the usual tropes like Mil’s viciousness, Fenix’s refusal to die, Catrina’s mysterious motivations (made even more mysterious by an excellent pre match scene between her and Fenix) and then there were new ones like Fenix ripping Mil’s mask, a moment that recast the diabolical Immortan into the most vulnerable state he had ever been in. All of that combined with one of the greatest end sequences wrestling has seen in the past decade are enough to get this match into the top three and make it hard for me to see it falling out of the top five, regardless of how the rest of the season goes.
2. Trios Tournament Match
Rey Mysterio, Prince Puma and El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Cage, Johnny Mundo and Taya
I’ve actually surprised myself here putting this bout all the way up at two; though it did take place in the Trios Tournament and had stakes, there wasn’t an overriding story going into this bout aside from the issues between Cage, Mundo and Taya (put together as a Trio because, as you’d expect, El Jefe being El Jefe). So why did this come in at number two? At the end of the day, this match was so much fun and did such a good job at what it needed to do that you can’t help but rank it high. Everyone came out of this looking great; Cage was a machine as per usual, Mundo continued to prove he’s the best cowardly rudo in lucha today, Taya put on another tough, gritty performance, Puma was electrifying, Azteca came of age and Mysterio, the lucha legend that he is, turned back the clock and delivered one his best performances in years. Thus, even without a defining story (an aspect that does separate this match from the phenomenal Trios Tourney final from season one), this match belongs at the top of the list. If you’re looking to introduce someone to the LU, this may be the way to go.
1. Aztec Warfare II (Episode 9)
In my opinion the sequel to Aztec Warfare was even better than the original. How could it not be; Rey Mysterio debuted. Jack Evans fell down the Temple stairs and sold his ass off. Argenis (ARGENIS!) had a few minutes of solid action. Aerostar returned to the Temple! Cage got thrown through a window and still continued on before finally getting put down by a cinder block. Pentagon Jr. was held out of the match, but made his presence felt by costing Immortan Mil a chance to regain his title (an issue I look forward to being resolved once Pentagon returns from being broken). And best of all, El Jefe himself returned armed with Matanza, who made the most dominating debut in the history of the western hemisphere. It may not end up as the number one match when season two is all said and done, but to this point Aztec Warfare II is the season’s masterpiece, a bonkers, Fury Road esq action extravaganza that gave us surprises, thrills and the dawning of a dark new age in the Temple.
And with that the buzzer has sounded. That’ll do everyone; I’ll be back soon with a review of tomorrow’s Lucha Underground episode and a preview of Friday’s CMLL show sometime before or after that. Till then, how about another lucha libre film picture? Those things just slay me.
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