The episode of Lucha Underground I watched the other day kind of put me on a Lucha Underground kick so here’s another review of an episode from Season 1. Again we kick things off with a brief recap of what’s been going on in the Temple. This time the video package is focused on Big Ryck, Pentagon Jr., Drago and King Cuerno, so I’m guessing those are the dudes that are going to be featured in this episode.
We head to the arena where again the house band with the accordion player that stole M. Bison’s hat are pumping the crowd up. Vampiro welcomes us to the show and thanks us for “riding with El Rey,” before Striker tells us that tonight there will be a Last Luchador Standing Match between Drago and King Cuerno.
Match 1: The Crew (w/ Bael) vs. Mascarita Sagrada & Pimpinela Escarlata
Melissa Santos announces The Crew as Cortez Castro and Cisco. This irks Cisco who gets on the mic and informs her that it’s Mr. Cisco. Sagrada and Pimpinela then head out and Striker says that Pimpinela looks like the lovechild of Chavo and Liberace before correcting himself and saying Charo and Liberace. Vampiro mocks him for his blunder.
Pimpinela gets in the ring and tries to kiss Referee Rick Knox but he’s not about it. The match begins with Pimpinela dominating The Crew early on and dancing around. The Crew eventually start double teaming him to take over on offense. Pimpinela, however, takes them both down with a rope walk armdrag/headscissors combo.
As Pimpinela takes over we cut to the crowd where, Big Ryck is shown heading out. He sits on the steps, smoking his cigar and mean mugging as he watches the match.
Back in the ring, Pimpinela gets caught in the corner and eats a bunch of dropkicks and boots to the face allowing the gangbangers to take over again. Cisco hits a senton that earns him a two count before Castro gets a two count of his own off a suplex.
The Crew continue to beat down Pimpinela poorly, before they send him into the corner. Pimpinela jumps up onto the ropes as one of the Crew charges in and ends up going face first into Pimpinela’s ass. Pimpinela then makes the HOT TAG to Mascarita Sagrada who comes in and wrecks house on Cisco with headscissors and a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Cisco catches Sagrada in the face as he comes off the top for a Frankensteiner, but Sagrada comes back and takes out Bael out of the floor with a tope suicida.
Pimpinela comes back in and hits another rope walk armdrag and then kisses Cisco who takes a bump out to the floor due to the sheer power of gay panic. Pimpinela then hits a splash off the top turnbuckle to take out the members of The Crew.
Cisco and Castro immediately pop back up and head back into the ring, where they take out Mascarita Sagrada with a 3-D/Codebreaker combo (because Matt Striker loves WWE nomenclature) to pick up the win. Pimpinela, for his part, just kind of watches this happen from the floor.
After the match Big Ryck gets in the ring and hands Mr. Cisco his cigar before getting on the mic. Ryck says that he wants everyone (including The Crew) to know that he’s going to take the gold from whoever is holding the Lucha Underground Championship and that anyone who gets in his way is going to have judgement passed on them by Big Ryck.
The crowd is super annoying here with “What?” chants as Ryck is talking, but they shut up and start booing when The Crew attack their boss, putting the boots to him. Castro gets a kendo stick and hits Ryck with it to lay him out. He and Bael then hold Ryck down while Cisco BURNS RYCK’S FUCKING EYE OUT WITH HIS OWN CIGAR! Striker and Vampiro completely undersell this by just nonchalantly asking, “What’s that smell?”
I mean I’ve been watching a lot of WCW 2000 recently and have seen Vampiro set Sting on fire and attempt to do the same to The Kiss Demon, so maybe a dude getting his eye burnt out is just another day at the office for him, but Matt “I Wear Sweater Vests and Teach Children History” Striker should have been freaking the fuck out. Either way, medics and officials hit the ring as The Crew march into Dario Cueto’s office and we go to commercials. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
Winners: The Crew
The match was more or less a squash to get The Crew some heat and set up the post match angle. That being said, I love the fact that Lucha Underground features matches like this where a trio of guys dressed like they’re going to compete in CZW’s Tournament of Death take on a mini and an exotico. These sort of stylistic mismatches are some of my favorite things in wrestling. [*½]
Meanwhile in Dario Cueto’s Office…
Dario, upset with Ryck’s inability to win, pays The Crew for a job well done. They apparently are working directly for him now and call him sir.
Vampiro had a sit down interview with Cage. I don’t know what was actually said here since the sound cut out for this segment. I only hope Vamp asked him why he thought a cage was a machine.
Match 2: Super Fly vs. Pentagon Jr.
Striker puts over the fact that both these guys need a win to stand out from the middle of the pack that they now find themselves in as the match gets underway. Pentagon runs Super Fly over, but gets caught with a superkick. Super Fly then hits a quebrada but Pentagon catches him with a lungblower for two.
Super Fly takes Pentagon down with a superkick but Pentagon comes back with a chop that sounds like a gunshot and sends Super Fly out to the floor. Pentagon goes out after him and hits him with an Attitude Adjustment out on the floor.
Back in the ring both men hit each other with lariats for my favorite double down spot in pro-wrestling. We get a quick shot of the mysterious Asian lady out in the crowd. She’s now wearing a Lucha Underground crew shirt for some reason.
Super Fly does a handspring into a wrist drag and tosses Pentagon across the ring. We get some more random flips from Super Fly who ends up tricking Pentagon into falling out of the ring for a space flying tiger drop.
They head back in about two seconds later and Super Fly goes for a quebrada but Pentagon blocks it by dropkicking him in the gut. He covers but only gets a two count. Pentagon then hits a Sling Blade but again only gets a two count. He then picks Super Fly up and hits a package piledriver which is enough to get the job done.
After the match Pentagon Jr. gets on the mic and talks shit about Chavo Guerrero. He’s says that he thought Chavo was a legend and someone who could help him but it turns out Chavo was just a fraud. Pentagon says that there is one man who can help him and offered to join forces with him, but because this is professional wrestling Pentagon decides that instead of telling us who this man is we would rather hear him bellow his catchphrase.
Winner: Pentagon Jr.
This was an okay match I guess, but I don’t know what Super Fly’s deal is. He did a lot of flips but hardly any of them looked like they were offensive or defensive maneuvers. Dude was just doing flips for the sake of doing flips. Every wrestling promotion needs dudes that make the real stars look good which I guess is what Super Fly’s role is here. Maybe in Mexico the dude comes off like a bigger deal but here he’s a guy in a boring mask who does flips and loses matches.
Pentagon Jr., in spite having a pretty bad win-loss record in Lucha Underground at this point is super over with the fans. That dude has it, whatever it is in pro-wrestling. [**]
Match 3: Sexy Star vs. El Mariachi Loco
El Mariachi Loco apparently worked at the Mexican restaurant down the street from the Temple but hung up his hairnet to become a luchador. Striker informs us that he wrestles for tips. Sexy Star comes out next and the match begins with El Mariachi Loco blowing Sexy a kiss.
Star takes umbrage with this and locks up. She grabs a waistlock. Loco reverses it and does some pelvic thrusts in Star’s general direction which proves to be a mistake. Sexy Star connects with a headscissors and Loco bails out to the floor.
Loco heads back in but Sexy Star catches him with a bicycle kick that briefly leaves him stunned only for him to take her down with a drop toehold. He grabs her hair while over on commentary Matt Striker tells us not to feel sorry for Sexy Star because she chooses to get in the ring and mix things up with the men. Um, Matt, isn’t that sort of heelish behavior in a wrestling match designed to make us feel sympathy for the babyface? I know you’re trying to deflect criticism about the fact that you have a man on your wrestling show beating up a woman but couldn’t you do that in a way that doesn’t go against the normal face/heel dynamic?
Anyway Loco has Sexy Star in trouble. He gets her in the corner and blasts her with a hard chop to the tits. Sexy Star blows a kiss at Loco who proceeds to charge at her. Sexy low bridges the top rope and Loco spills out to the floor causing Striker to wonder aloud, “How stupid is that guy?”
Sexy Star heads up and hits a huge cross body from the top rope out to the floor. They head back in and Sexy Star hits Loco with a flying armdrag. She is eventually caught by Loco who drops her throat-first across the top rope to take back over on offense.
Loco heads up top, but wastes too much time and ends up missing a swanton. Sexy Star grabs him with a small package off the mistake and picks up the win.
Winner: Sexy Star
Hasn’t Sexy Star’s gimmick been she’ll fight everyone and won’t back down from a fight? Didn’t she attempt to go toe to toe with Mil Muertes during Aztec Warfare? Why is she now having a hard time winning against a comedy jobber? I mean she had to win with a small package from outta nowhere for crying out loud. I would have honestly preferred a straight up squash match here with Sexy Star hitting a big move to pick up the win. [*]
Match 4: Drago vs. King Cuerno
Last Luchador Standing Match
Cuerno charges at the start but ends up eating an enziguri and getting dropkick out to the floor by Drago. Drago then goes for the kill early with a somersault plancha that drops Cuerno for a six count. They head back to the ring where Drago kills Cuerno with a Randy Orton-style hanging DDT for another six count.
Cuerno rolls out to the floor to recover and Drago goes for a dive but Cuerno catches him and wrecks his shit on the floor with a Bubba Bomb. The referee gets up to seven but then Cuerno randomly blasts Drago in the gut to break up the count and send him back into the ring where Cuerno wrecks Drago with a mess of suplexes and a brainbuster.
The referee gets up to eight before Cuerno again kicks Drago in the head to break up the count. Drago gets back to his feet and comes back with a floatover neckbreaker. He then comes off the ropes but Cuerno pulls the ref down in front of him so Drago throws on the breaks. He then hits the ropes again and springs off the referee’s back and headscissors Cuerno down. While Cuerno is on the apron, Drago runs and leaps over the top rope and connects with another headscissors that sends both men to the floor.
Back in the ring Cuerno kicks Drago around and hits a legdrop that gets another count of six or seven before Drago gets back to his feet. Cuerno tosses him out to the floor and puts him down with a tope suicida. Cuerno then goes under the ring and pulls out a table.
Drago fights back with strikes but Cuerno rams his head into the ringpost repeatedly and lays him out on the table. Drago gets back up and he and Cuerno fight on the ring apron. Drago looks for a Spanish Fly off the apron, but Cuerno hooks his arm on the top rope to prevent it. He then pounds on Drago and hurks him up. THRILL OF THE HUNT OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE!
The referee begins to count but only gets up to eight before Drago gets back to his hands and knees. Cuerno is absolutely livid and screams, “WHAT?!” before kneeing Drago in the head and sending him back into the ring.
Cuerno kicks Drago a couple times and then sends him into the corner with a standing dropkick. He follows with a running dropkick that leaves Drago out of it. Cuerno then heads out to the floor and gets a length of rope out from under the ring. He proceeds to tie Drago to the ringpost and then has the referee count. Drago is unable to stand on account of being tied to the post and Cuerno is declared the winner much to the dismay of the crowd who boo him (or maybe the shitty finish). Cuerno then puts his deer head hat on Drago to a chorus of boos as the show goes off the air.
Winner: King Cuerno
I’m not a huge fan of Last Man/Luchador Standing Matches or Texas Death Matches or whatever you want to call these things for the same reason I don’t really like football. There will be small bursts of action followed by a lot of standing around. Like all matches of this sort a large portion of it ended up being guys lying down while the referee counted. This was made even worse since they started doing eight counts almost immediately rather than doing the thing where guys pop up early on and only after wearing their opponent down start getting eight and nine counts.
Also I wasn’t that keen on the finish to the match since it didn’t really seem in character for Cuerno. Since his debut he’s been portrayed as this patient, master hunter guy, so to have him lose his cool and resort to John Cena scumfuckery with a rope didn’t really work for me. There were ways to protect Drago and still have Cuerno go over without him cheating to win but they took the easy way out and I don’t think it really work.
That being said both guys worked hard and the stuff leading up to the table spot was pretty good, but overall this was kind of a disappointing main event. [**]
This was probably the worst episode of Lucha Underground I’ve seen up to this point which is not to say it’s a bad hour of wrestling since it’s not. It just feels a lot less essential than previous episodes have. In a way it kind of reminds me of the NXT TV formula of a handful of matches that are either squashes to help build a wrestler up or short matches to further an angle and then a main event that’s “good wrestling.”
This week’s episode seemed to focus almost entirely on what I suppose comprises Lucha Underground’s mid-card. I have no problem with this at all (though I do wish they at least touched on what Puma’s status was after getting attacked last week) and in fact wished other shows would sometimes do this sort of thing. It builds up the guys lower on the card and makes the main event guys seem even more special when they do compete, but that’s neither here nor there.
While I like the concept of a show dedicated to mid-carders (it’s one of the reason’s I’m about 10 episodes away from having reviewed the entire run of WWE Saturday Morning Slam) the execution was a bit lacking mostly because the main event kind of fell short for me. This isn’t meant as a slight on either Drago or Cuerno who have routinely been great on Lucha Underground, murdering themselves for my enjoyment. I just found it to be kind of lacking.
Part of my problem with it could be because of my general dislike of Texas Death Matches/Last Man Standing Matches since taking away near falls and pin attempts kind of removes a lot of what makes a wrestling match exciting. I think Drago and Cuerno did a decent job even with the limiting stipulation but it wasn’t enough and moreover the ending of the match didn’t really resolve anything, I don’t know.
As I said above, this isn’t a bad wrestling show it’s only bad when compared to other episodes of Lucha Underground.