Tryout: Lucha Underground

You had mentioned needing some Lucha Underground coverage for the blog. Consider this me throwing my hat in the ring for that. Here’s a review of last night’s show. Hope it’s usable for you. 

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Lucha Underground
Date: June 17, 2015
Location: Lucha Underground Temple, Boyle Heights, CA
Commentators: Matt Striker and Vampiro
Review By: Fuji Vice
Previously on Lucha Underground
We see a recap of the Alberto El Patron and Johnny Mundo feud including the events from the 5/13/15 show where Mundo cost El Patron his #1 Contender’s Match against Hernandez by putting El Patron through the window of Dario Cueto’s office. We then see Cueto setting the All Night Long Match (Iron Man Match) for the title between Prince Puma and Mundo. 
We open the show with Mexican Dubwiser on the stage playing us into the show. Matt Striker and Vampiro set the stage for All Night Long. We then cut to both competitors already in the ring. 
Match #1 – Lucha Underground Championship – All Night Long Match: Prince Puma (c) vs. Johnny Mundo. 
Konnan is absent from ringside for this match. Puma goes to shakes hands with Mundo, and Mundo forcefully shakes his hand and then gets in Puma’s face. The two start slow with some chain wrestling and counters. The crowd is silent, but you get the sense that they’re hyper-focused on what they’re watching, as opposed to silent because of the slow start. Mundo slams Puma and goes for a quick cover but Puma’s out at two. Puma bails and Mundo shoots him a rye smile. The match resets as the crowd starts chanting “Fuck ‘em up Puma, fuck ‘em up” which airs unedited, because you’ll come to learn with this show, apparently they laugh at FCC language regulations. 
Mundo kicks Puma into the turnbuckle. Puma gets to his feet. Mundo takes Puma over with a side headlock for a two count. Puma fights up and whips him to the ropes, but Mundo counters with a shoulder block. Both begin running the ropes and a series of missed moves ends with Puma connecting with a backflip into a headscissors. 
Mundo gets back to his feet and kicks Puma to the outside, Mundo runs the ropes and attempts a corkscrew dive but misses and lands on his feet. Seamlessly, Puma rolls into the ring, runs the ropes, and hits a gorgeous corkscrew dive that wipes Mundo out. 
Commercial Break
Back from commercial, Puma has Mundo on the mat and attempts a pin for a near fall without us seeing the move that planted Puma. A clock flashes on the screen showing about 33:40 left in the show. Puma stuns Mundo with a running back elbow, and hits a victory roll from a standing position for a flash pin to score the first fall of the night. 
Prince Puma 1, Johnny Mundo 0
Vampiro criticizes the referee for a fast count. Mundo restarts with a kick to the mid-section and a neckbreaker on Puma. He immediately covers for a couple near falls, and then mounts him and delivers a series of forearm shots to Puma’s head and left shoulder. Mundo has incorporated some “ground and pound” as part of heel turn in recent weeks. Mundo puts Puma in a key lock and then tosses him to the mat for another near fall. Puma fights back with a dropkick and pin for a near fall of his own. Both men seem to be taking every opportunity to make pin attempts when possible at this point in the match. 
Puma nails a ridiculous standing moonsault with a hang time on the jump that just has to been seen to be appreciated. Puma covers for another near fall. Puma chops Mundo in the corner, but Johnny whips him out. Puma jumps out of the whip onto the turnbuckle and attempts a flying crossbody, but Mundo counters with a dropkick to the stomach wiping Puma out. Mundo again goes for a cover playing up a sense of urgency being down 1-0. 
Puma turns an arm lock into a face smash and cover again for a near fall. Mundo goes to work on the arm. He then attempts to run the ropes for a move, but Puma follows right behind him and as Mundo stops in the center, Puma comes from behind and hits him with a running Diamond Cutter. Cool spot. Puma spears Mundo into the turnbuckle and kicks him in the back of the head from the apron. Puma then goes for a springboard flying crossbody but Mundo ducks. Puma rolls close to the turnbuckle and Mundo sprints over to attempt End of the World but as he starts to jump up, Puma sits up and grabs his leg and pulls him from the turnbuckle, however, Mundo uses the momentum and counters it into a bridge pin holding the second rope for leverage, which the referee does not see, and scores a fall. It’s a cool sequence, but it somewhat stretches believability. The referee never directly looks at Mundo cheating, but he also counts the fall almost directly under Mundo’s bridge meaning it’d be almost impossible for him to not realize Johnny is using the ropes for leverage just by where they are in the ring. 
Prince Puma 1, Johnny Mundo 1
Mundo immediately bails to the outside as Puma complains to the referee. 
Commercial Break
We return with Mundo still on the floor. The clock shows 28:24 remaining. Striker asks Vampiro for his thoughts and Vampiro says “I am so happy that he cheated” further showing why Vampiro rules. Vamp follows up with “I’m sorry, bro, but this is war.” 
Both men are back in the ring and we restart with Puma going for a schoolboy for a near fall. Mundo jumps on Puma with some punches and kicks and then turns a standing backbreaker into a Russian leg sweep for a near fall. Mundo hits a Shining Wizard for another near fall. Mundo sets Puma on the turnbuckle and attempts a superplex which is blocked. Both start fighting on the turnbuckle from a half standing position. Both headbutt each other at the same time and knock each other off the turnbuckle to the apron, but with both still standing. Puma then jumps from his side of the turnbuckle, over the turnbuckle, onto Johnny’s shoulders, and hits a hurricanrana to the floor. Striker points out there are no countouts or DQs in this match. Johnny starts crawling under the ring, but Puma pulls him out. As Johnny is being pulled out, he brings with him a wooden crate, a steel chair, and a crowbar. Puma goes to work on Mundo and hits an uppercut, but Mundo counters with a knee to the gut. Mundo attempts to power bomb Puma into the wooden crate, but Puma slides out the back and picks Mundo up in a fireman’s carry and hits a Michinoku driver into the wooden crate! Puma gets to his feet and plays to the crowd a little. As he refocuses on Mundo, Johnny hits him in the stomach with the crowbar. Then winds up and hits Puma in the face with the crowbar! This looked great. Puma sells being knocked out. Mundo picks Puma up and rolls him into the ring for a pin. 
Prince Puma 1, Johnny Mundo 2
Puma is on dream street. After the ref checks him for a second, Mundo grabs Puma and hits Moonlight Drive for another pin. 
Prince Puma 1, Johnny Mundo 3
Mundo starts laughing. Puma looks dead. The ref briefly checks Puma again, Mundo hits a springboard enziguri which plants Puma near the turnbuckle, and then hits End of the World for another pin. 
Prince Puma 1, Johnny Mundo 4
The scripting of this is great. After all, Mundo hit Puma full-on in the head with a crowbar. He should be able to keep pinning him. Somewhat satisfied, Mundo starts flexing and yells to someone at ringside to bring him some water as Puma lay on the mat. Mundo takes a water break, and then throws the bottle of water at Puma. Puma starts pulling himself up on the turnbuckle. Mundo measures him for a splash, but Puma counters with an elbow. Mundo charges again and Puma connects with a kick. Puma rolls out of the corner and hits a jumping DDT. 
Mundo rolls out to the apron, Puma comes over and engages him. Mundo knees Puma in the head as Puma goes for a shoulder to the mid-section. Mundo pulls Puma backwards across the middle rope into a neck breaker position and jumps hitting a neck breaker to the floor that bounces Puma off the apron. Awesome move. 
Commercial break
Mundo pulls a ladder from under the ring with about 20 minutes left in the match. Mundo charges Puma with the ladder and hits him in the head with the top of it. Mundo then takes the ladder to the back of the temple, on what would be the hard camera side where the band plays, and sets it up against the stands. Mundo starts pulling out tables setting two up next to each other near the back of the temple. Mundo starts beating Puma towards the back of the temple and slings him into a wall. Mundo places Puma on the tables and climbs the ladder into the stands. As Johnny gets into the stands, Puma leaps off the table and scales the wall. Both guys start fighting into the crowd, who are eating it up. 
Puma suplexes Johnny onto the floor base of the stands which makes a sickening thud. With Mundo down, Puma makes his way out of the crowd towards the ring and grabs more tables. He puts two tables on top of Mundo’s two tables. Four tables, stacked, are now in the entrance way at the back of the temple by the bandstand. Puma returns to the crowd and tries to suplex Mundo from the stands onto the tables but Mundo blocks and superkicks Puma from the stands to the floor, narrowly missing the tables. Johnny uses his parkour skills to ride the ladder leaning up against the stands to the bandstand platform and grabs a mic. 
Mundo cuts a promo on the score of the match and demands that Mexican Dubwiser play him a song. The band happily obliges and Mundo stands on the bandstand drinking water and posing as the clock shows about 13 minutes remaining. Puma starts climbing the ladder to the bandstand which Mundo sees. Johnny grabs a 2×4 and swings it at Puma, but Puma grabs it and smacks Mundo square on the back of the head with the 2×4. Puma reaches the bandstand, grabs a guitar, and goes full Jeff Jarrett smashing it over Mundo’s head. He then SPEARS MUNDO OFF THE BANDSTAND THROUGH THE FOUR TABLES!
Striker screams “Holy Shit!” on basic cable. 
Commercial Break
We see replays (a rarity for Lucha Underground) of the table spot. With about 11 minutes left, both men lay in the wreckage of the tables, with Mundo busted open. Puma gets to his feet and starts dragging a lifeless Mundo back to the ring. After about a minute, Puma gets him in the ring and scores a pin. 
Prince Puma 2, Johnny Mundo 4
Puma and Mundo are both on their knees trading ‘Boo/Yay’ punches. They get to their feet and do the same. They both run the ropes and clothesline each other at the same time. Johnny goes for a springboard enziguri but misses. Puma counters the miss with one of his own and picks Johnny up in a fireman’s carry. Puma hits a GTS, and then a spinning tombstone piledriver for a pin. 
Prince Puma 3, Johnny Mundo 4
Striker overloads on sports comeback metaphors. Puma whips Mundo to the ropes but Mundo bails. Puma tells him to get back in the ring, but Mundo stalls. Puma starts chasing him and Mundo starts running around the temple. Puma almost catches Mundo near the ring, but Mundo takes off again. Puma sells exhaustion, while the announcers sell Mundo running out the clock. Mundo runs over to the announcers and uses them as a shield for a moment. Johnny rolls back in the ring and goes to punch Puma as Puma gets back in, but Puma blocks and connects with a kick that plants Johnny by the turnbuckle. Puma goes for the 630 splash, but misses. Mundo rolls out of the ring again and starts walking up the temple steps. As Johnny gets to the top, he raises his arms, only to be blindsided by Alberto El Patron. The temple goes apeshit as El Patron beats on Mundo and kicks Johnny down the temple stairs. He runs him into a wall and then into the announcer table prompting stereo “Oh shit!” from Striker and Vampiro. El Patron DDTs him on the floor. The clock shows 4:45 remaining. El Patron rolls Mundo into the ring. Puma hits a 450 splash for a pin. 
Prince Puma 4, Johnny Mundo 4
El Patron grabs the mic. He tells Mundo they are far from even. El Patron tells him if he wins the title tonight, to be ready, because El Patron is going to kick his ass. El Patron then tells Puma if he wins, to be ready, because he’s coming for the Lucha Underground title. 
We’re down to 3:20 left in the match. Puma and Mundo are both standing. Mundo drives Puma into the turnbuckle and unloads a series of strikes. Puma counters a whip out into a small package for a near fall. Mundo comes out of the pin with a bridge for a near fall.  Puma comes out of that pin with a sunset flip for a near fall. Mundo reverses this into a rollup for a near fall, Mundo connects with a Shining Wizard for a near fall. 2:25 left. Mundo turns a Puma rope attack into C4 for a near fall. The crowd is losing its mind at the pace. Mundo sets Puma up on the turnbuckle with 1:15 left. Mundo goes for a hurricanrana off the top, but Puma slides through his legs, and Mundo lands thighs first on the top rope and just flips to the ground. Ouch. Under a minute to go now. Both men get to their feet, Puma runs out of the corner with a drop kick which launches Johnny towards a turnbuckle. Puma ascends to the top and hits the 630 splash for a pin with eight seconds left. 
Prince Puma 5, Johnny Mundo 4
Time expires. 
Winner: Prince Puma
Rating: ****1/2
Striker sells Puma as having launched himself into the stratosphere of this industry. Mundo sells heartbreak. 
Final Thoughts: This was an incredible match for a couple reasons. The psychology was off the charts. They set a methodical pace early with some solid wrestling, they did an excellent job selling Mundo’s advantage with the crowbar spot and selling Puma as being buried. There were several times Puma was cut off just as it looked like he’d get back into the match. They built up to the big table spot. They built anxiety during Mundo’s run out the clock segment of the match. And then the final 2-3 minutes melted down the crowd that watched it live. The other reason this was so great, was it felt different than almost any other match we’ve seen on Lucha Underground this year. It wasn’t a spot fest, it felt like a real fight. There were certainly athletic moves in the Lucha style, but they did as good a job at storytelling and selling as I’ve seen so far in Lucha Underground, with maybe the exception of the Fenix vs. Mil Muertes Grave Consequences match. This probably won’t be match of the year, but it’s in the discussion. 
So Puma is set to defend his title at Ultimo Lucha, Lucha Underground’s Clash of the Champions style finale that will end this season. We will find out his challenger when Mil Muertes fights Drago for the #1 Contender spot, which I believe is next week. 
Author Note: If this gets posted, this may be just a one off, or if people enjoyed this review, may be a regular thing. If I do provide more LU content, I probably would like to do a Lucha Underground Catchup posting the moments from the first season that are worth watching, and if the clips are on YouTube, maybe providing links to those as well.