Lucha Underground (January 28, 2015)

lucha-underground-logo

We open on a sunset-lit gymnasium. Cage, looking jacked as fuck, is doing curls when Dario Cueto opens. Cueto tells him, “I like a man who takes the bull by the horns, but, you my friend, you take the bull by the huevos,” and gives him a championship match against Prince Puma tonight.

Cage tells him that he will win the title tonight because he’s a machine. This week his declaration of being a machine is paired with a hard zoom on his eyes like something out of a 1970s kung fu movie. This owns so hard.

Time from Lucha Underground!

Meanwhile in the Arena…

The house band hypes the crowd up while the announcers talk about the big main event that’s been signed. They then toss it to the ring for the first match of the evening.

Match 1: Mil Muertes (w/ Catrina) vs. Fenix

Mil Muertes heads out with Catrina. I normally don’t think that Vampiro’s all that good on commentary but he’s right on the money here when he refers to her as, “ferociously sexy.”

The match gets underway and Fenix takes Mil Muertes down for a couple of roll-ups. Mil just shrugs Fenix off and proceeds to no-sell Fenix’s strikes. Mil Muertes eventually tires of Fenix’s shit and just wrecks house on him. He tosses Fenix into the corner with a belly to belly suplex as Vampiro declares Fenix to be “a mystical being who won’t go down and when he does he gets back up.” Good to know.

Mil unloads on Fenix with punches before getting a two count off a DDT. Fenix comes back and goes for a handspring elbow but Mil catches him and ruins his shit with a German Suplex for another two count. Striker talks about how Mil Muertes “heaving gut,” is doing so because of the anger and rage seething within him rather than the fact that he likes to unwind after his matches with a few beers and some burgers.

Mil Muertes hits the spear for another two count as the crowd does dueling chants of “Let’s go Fenix!” and “Fenix sucks!” In what universe does Fenix suck? I don’t understand people sometimes.

Fenix heads up but Mil slams him off the top and covers for two. Mil Muertes then puts Fenix up on the top rope and connects with a nice looking superplex, but Fenix wraps his legs around the bigger man and rolls him up for a sneaky three count to pick up the win.

Winner: Fenix

This was a pretty good power vs. speed match. It was a bit short, but because of the ending, I’m pretty sure we’ll get a feud between these two in the weeks to come which should be pretty decent. If they do go through with this kudos to Lucha Underground for having balls to have the embodiment of Life feud with the embodiment of Death. [**]

Hype!

We get a hype video about Cage. He’s walking somewhere when the dumbest men on the planet randomly decide to attack him. The smash him in the head with bottles and hit him with crates and shit, but he no-sells everything and just mercs the shit out of them. HE’S A MACHINE!!!

Match 2: Argenis, Super Fly & Aerostar vs. Mr. Cisco, Cortez Castro & Bael

The ring announcer makes sure to emphasize the “Mister” in Mr. Cisco’s name this week as she announces The Crew ahead of their match with the random collection of luchadors consisting of Aerostar, Super Fly and Argenis.

Super Fly starts things off by clearing the ring and hitting the Crew with the first big move of the match, a moonsault off the ringpost out to the floor. Back in the ring, however, Castro and Cisco take over on offense and trade off on working over Super Fly for awhile.

Fly eventually escapes and gets to his corner to tag Argenis in. He gets two off a backdrop suplex on Bael while Matt Striker randomly recites Biblical verses because he’s terrible at his job. Aerostar comes in and hits Cisco with a flying headscissors for two. Aerostar then climbs up onto Argenis’ shoulders while Argenis stands on the middle ropes and hits Cisco with a crossbody off Argenis’ shoulders for a two count.

Cisco fights back against the masked men and sends Super Fly out to the floor with a big backdrop. The Crew triple team Aerostar in the corner to take back over on offense. Cisco hits a curb stomp and Cortez drops a knee earning himself a near fall.

Bael in to hit Aerostar with a snap suplex for another two count. Over on commentary Vampiro compares this to Dynamite Kid and I think Chris Benoit, only they edited out Benoit’s name because they are not idiots. Back to Cortez who proceeds to stomp away on Aerostar while yelling at the crowd. Bael comes back in and slows things down with a chinlock. He grinds the masked man down until Aerostar springboards out of the corner and connects with an elbow to escape.

He then makes the HOT TAG to Argenis who comes in and cleans house, taking the members of the Crew down with headscissors and then drops Mr. Cisco on his head with a sunset flip powerbomb that earns him a near fall. Argenis goes for a dropkick but misses and Cisco catapults him into a kick from Cortez. Bael then comes off the top rope with a double stomp for two.

Argenis then brings Aerostar back in with a springboard splash for two before things completely break down in a parade of dives. Super Fly goes for a dive, but Bael trips him up. It matters little though since Argenis just hits a dive instead. Things come to a head when Cisco heads up top. Aerostar goes up after him and hits a hurricanrana off the top turnbuckle to send Cisco into the pile of bodies out on the floor. Aerostar then adds to the heap of humanity with a springboard flip dive onto everyone.

Back in the ring Aerostar and Cisco go toe to toe with a chop fest before we get some rope running and reversals. Aerostar ends up eating a combination 3D/Codebreaker from Cisco and Cortez and Cortez covers giving The Crew a decisive win.

Winners: The Crew

This was a really good match that married the high flying flips n’ shit of lucha libre, to the more grounded American style of pro-wrestling. This is probably the match I’d show someone asking why they should watch Lucha Underground if they don’t care about lucha libre at all. There’s enough familiarity here while at the same time being something completely different.

More immediately, I think this match did a good job of cementing The Crew as something more than generic, interchangeable gangbangers. They are a unit that works together and should be feared. I’m always in awe of how good Lucha Underground is at building their talent up. I feel like everyone on the roster is like one or two episodes of build away from believably being in contention for championship and that’s an amazing feat. [****]

Earlier Today…

Earlier today Vampiro sat down with Konnan and Puma for an interview. Vampiro tries to ask Puma a series of questions, but each time he does, Konnan jumps in to answer them. Vampiro eventually gets fed up with this and calls out Konnan for his shit. He talks about how Konnan was sure to get in the ring when Puma won the belt in order to steal the moment.

Konnan gets pissed off by this and stands up which leads to Vampiro also standing up and gesticulating wildly and declaring that he’ll fight Konnan anytime. Puma tries to get between them to prevent the two middle aged fucks from throwing down on one another backstage.

This was a much better use of Vampiro than color commentator. I also like how real this felt. Neither guy here is really a face or a heel, they’re just two dudes who don’t like each other for whatever reason.

Match 3: Prince Puma (w/ Konnan) vs. Cage
Lucha Underground Championship Match

Puma’s out first. Normally I dislike when the champion comes out before a challenger but it’s quickly revealed that this order existed so Puma could dive on Cage as he made his way down to the ring. Puma stays on him, trying to put him away quick. He hits a rana in the ring and then then goes for a springboard back elbow, but Cage no-sells it.

Cage then hurls him into the corner before nailing him with a back drop that Vampiro reacts to as though he’s never seen a back body drop in his life. “WHOA! He spun him around in mid-air dog!” This innovative maneuver earns Cage a two count.

Cage hits a neckbreaker and then chokes Puma out on the ropes. Puma manages to roll Cage up for two. He tries for a rana only for Cage to reverse it into an Alabama Slam for a two count of his own. Cage goes for a powerslam but Puma reverses it into a tornado DDT. Puma follows with a springboard clothesline for two.

Cage comes back with a double underhook suplex but Puma hits him with a springboard meteora for a two count. Cage fires back with a forearm and the two men head up top. Cage goes for a delayed superplex but Puma counters out of it with a kick to Cage’s face. Puma then comes off the top with a cross body only for Cage to catch him and drive him into the mat with a Jackhammer for two.

Puma fights back, catching Cage with a high knee in the corner. Puma tries for a 619, but Cage catches him and levels him with a powerslam. Cage then comes off the middle rope with a moonsault that earns him a two count.

Cage hurks him up for a powerbomb but Puma slides out of it and catches him with a European uppercut. He follows with some kicks before Cage catches him with a standing spinebuster. Cage follows with a pair of powerbombs. He gets Puma up for a third, but Puma rolls out of it and connects with a dropkick that has both men down.

Cage is back up first. He alley-oops Puma into the corner and then hits an F5 for two. Cage goes for a pump handle slam, but Puma escapes and drills Cage with an enzuigiri before chucking him with a Northern Lights Suplex. Cage rolls over into a choke but Puma rolls through into a vertical suplex for a two count. I don’t know how good an idea it is to let Puma chuck around Lucha Underground’s strong man like that, but it looked cool.

Puma gets Cage down and heads up for the 630 Splash, but Cage gets back to his feet and shoves the referee into the ropes, crotching Puma in the process. Cage has apparently had enough at this point and proceeds to add insult to injury by just booting Puma in the dick to draw the DQ.

Cage is not done with Puma though and beats on him some more, laying him out with Weapon X and tossing the referee. Konnan hits the ring to try to make the save breaking his cane over Cage’s back. Cage no-sells this and then picks up the championship belt and blasts Konnan in the face with it. Cage then proceeds to rip the goddamn belt in half with his bare hands. HE’S A MACHINE!

Lucha Underground 20150128 - 001.gif

Cage leaves and medics rush out to help Konnan who is busted open while Prince Puma holds the pieces of the broken belt in is hands and looks distraught.

Winner: Prince Puma

This was a solid match with a really cool contrast in styles. I’m okay with the non-finish since it plays into the storyline and really established Cage as a heel who gives zero fucks; someone who is the antithesis of what lucha libre is about.

The post-match stuff with Cage bloodying Konnan up and tearing the Lucha Underground Championship belt asunder further cemented Cage as a complete and total asshole that no one will want to cheer for. Kudos to Matt Striker for referencing the Superstar Billy Graham feud with Bob Backlund as well. I do have one minor gripe though and that’s the fact that pretty much since episode 1, Konnan’s been portrayed as a less than honorable fellow. Sure he tried to be a hero here, but up to that point he’s kind of been a shifty dude that we, the viewers, know that Puma can’t trust. I probably would have felt more sympathy for him if they hadn’t aired the interview thing with Vampiro on this same episode. [***]

Meanwhile in Dario Cueto’s Office…

We cut to Dario Cueto’s office to find him looking through the blinds at the mayhem happening out in the Temple. The mysterious Asian woman shows up and tells him that she’s looking for someone with a debt to pay.

Cueto gets defensive and says that it’s not him because he always pays his debts. She tells him that the person is apparently in the Temple so Dario tells her she is welcome to ask around and asks her if she has a name for this person.

She says, “Matanza,” which makes Dario look nervous, but he tells her he doesn’t know the name. The woman then vanishes from the office with an honest to god “WOOOSH!” sound effect to end the show.

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty solid episode overall. It laid the groundwork for a feud between life and death, established The Crew as a force to be reckoned with, and continued to develop Cage as a machine. The in-ring stuff was very good and the backstage segments continue to be excellent. As is often the case with this show, some of the zanier elements will probably turn off wrestling purists, but for people who can deal with magical Asian women and machine men no-selling bottles getting busted over their heads it’s an entertaining hour of professional wrestling.

It’s not all perfect though. The commentary is uneven at best. Striker is generally okay, but often tries to get too smart which kind of makes his commentary unnatural. Vampiro, as a color commentator is not good at all, but this week proved himself to be a very good backstage interview guy. I’d be happier if they only used him in this capacity.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s