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Lucha Underground – S2E7: Death Comes In Threes

Lucha Underground – S2E7: Death Comes In Threes
Date: March 9, 2016

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Previously on Lucha Underground…

Marty The Moth and his sister released Sexy StarTaya Valkyrie helped Johnny Mundo defeat CageJack Evans proclaimed himself “the dragon slayer,” Drago costed P.J. Black a match, Pentagon Jr crossed CatrinaMil Muertes destroyed Prince Puma and Pentagon, and stated he would defend his title against both. 

For seven episodes, Mil Muertes and Catrina have wrought destruction on all who oppose them, capped off is this week’s episode with arguably Mil’s most impressive victory to date — a double pin on two of his top rivals, Prince Puma, and Pentagon Jr. Yet, by the end of the show, the viewers were very much aware that the “Reign of Death” could come crashing down next week, with the Disciples of Death defending their Trios titles against Angelico, Ivelisse, and Son of Havoc, and Fenix cashing in his Gift of the Gods Championship to get his title shot with Mil Muertes.

Fenix was given the star treatment tonight with a beautifully shot profile vignette more or less telling his origin story and painting him as a lifelong underdog who has risen against all odds. He also closed the show with a Spanglish promo challenging Mil Muertes for the title next week. The Fenix/Muertes feud is, far and away, the best booked feud in the promotion’s short history, with the very basic dichotomy of life and death as the backdrop, and a series of tremendous matches between the two rivals spanning from the middle of Season 1 until now. It feels like it will finally reach its conclusion next week, and hopefully, if that is the case, they’re given enough time to do it justice.

Doubling back on the Muertes/Puma/Pentagon match, though, this was a great match (probably the best of Season 2 so far), but some will likely be put off by the double pin finish. However, I think it’s been made clear so far this season that neither Puma, nor Pentagon, are at 100% mentally. Puma, as was made clear a couple episodes earlier, is still reeling from the death of Konnan, and Pentagon is so obsessed with revenge and bloodlust, that it clouds his judgement in the ring, and often costs him matches. I think both of these characters will reach a point somewhere along the way where they have to confront these issues and will emerge the better for it. So making them look weaker now, in my mind, isn’t a huge deal.

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The main source of criticism for Lucha Underground has far and away been the intergender matches the show has put on, and specifically modeling them after legit fights instead of a lighter choreographed style of wrestling. So, when the show put Taya Valkyrie in a match with Cage in which he beat the holy hell out of her, I can imagine if you were already annoyed by this aspect of the show, your head very well may have exploded. I had a pretty strange reaction to it, personally. First, I was kind of in awe at how much punishment Taya took. That was a pretty ridiculous performance, and she deserves to be applauded, as a professional wrestler, for how many bumps she took in this thing. For instance, I can’t imagine any of the WWE or NXT women being able to pull off this type of performance with this type of opponent. That said, it is uncomfortable. Cage is a 250 pound brick house. Taya is, what, 130 pounds soaking wet. The idea of this guy bouncing her off posts, guard rails, buckle bombing her, tossing her like dead weight all over the place, putting her through tables — it feels very domestic violence-y. So I’m in the weird spot of wanting to give her a lot of credit as a performer, but also kind of saying we don’t need to see this.

Finally, I thought the Jack Evans/Drago/P.J. Black/Aerostar nunchuck showdown was one of the best shot scenes of Season 2 so far, and I like how this feud is evolving. Essentially, Evans is a dick, and Drago takes his honor very seriously, so with Jack continually mocking Drago, and calling himself “The Dragon Slayer,” Drago finally has had it. He bursts into the Lucha Underground bathroom while Jack is taking a piss, and challenges him to a fight. Evans defends his taunting via the Dragon Slayer name with a whimpered “the people call me that!” which was a great delivery. Infuriated, Drago kicks out the lights in the bathroom and tells Evans to fight him. But P.J. Black sneaks up behind Drago with the nunchucks Drago left behind several weeks ago, and attacks him. Then Evans pulls out nunchucks. Then Drago pulls out nunchucks! NUNCHUCK FIGHT! Evans and Black get the better of Drago and try to strangle him when Aerostar appears for the save to chase the rudos away. Evans is a tremendous arrogant heel. And I love the call back to the friendship of mutual respect between Drago and Aerostar.

This was a good show, arguably the best of the season, although some will be soured by the visuals of the Cage/Taya match. With Fenix/Mil and the Trios title next week, and Aztec Warfare the week after, business is about to pick up on LU. The road to Ultima Lucha last season produced some of the best weekly wrestling shows I’ve seen in a long time. So if you haven’t fully jumped in on this season, next week may be the time to start paying close attention.

Misc Notes

  • The Mack may be the nicest character in Lucha Underground, as he tried to pep talk a shaken Sexy Star in a vignette before his match. Just keeping him as the one, nice, normal guy in this world of crazies is a good role for him.
  • Vampiro continually framing matches solely from the point of view of Pentagon Jr — “Not only can Pentagon fulfill his destiny, but he has a chance at immortality…” — is a fun detail to keep the Vamp/Pentagon story simmering on the backburner
  • Famous B Week 3: He’s added a wizard hat, a wand, and a female sidekick. I have no idea where this is going, but I’m fine with one of these every week. The awkward pause ending alone was worth it.
  • Vampiro (on the Temple faithful): “If half these people are Prince Puma’s (being from Boyle Heights) family, I’d hate to see what he looks like under that mask.” Shoot comments, Maggle!
  • I do miss the insane amount of cleavage Catrina used to show in Season 1. From what I understand, they de-emphasized it in Season 2 because it was actually being censored on the Spanish language broadcast for being too obscene for Saturday afternoon TV. But, then, Lucha Underground never got a Spanish language network to carry the show this year, so everyone lost on the deal (but most of all us).
  • Ivelisse put her team’s jobs on the line to get the Trios title match next week. Havoc noted Ivelisse is still his ex-girlfriend.
  • Two weeks until Aztec Warfare II!
  • Per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Lucha Underground is close to finalizing a deal with Netflix which would get Season 1 up on the service relatively soon. Season 2 would follow after it has concluded.
  • Ratings News: Lucha Underground hit a season low with 136,000 combined viewers (95k First Run, 41k replay). I do wonder if the iTunes addition might have a negative impact on the El Rey ratings. Normally you wouldn’t think so, but El Rey is SD in most markets, and if you’re a diehard who watches this show and can get it in 1080p HD each week (and own it), some may have opted for that.

Matches

Match #1 – Marty ‘The Moth’ Martinez vs. The Mack

I’ve said it before, but Marty is a great creep. His standing up on Melissa Santos, sniffing and flapping during her intro, is perfectly awful.

Mack bullrushed the ring and laid into Marty to start the match, unloading on him before taking him over to a turnbuckle for head smashes. He did ten of them, and walked away, but Marty kept smashing his head into the buckle repeatedly, by himself, and then psychotically laughed at a confused Mack. Mack responded with a big clothesline, and a single leg dropkick that sent Marty outside. Mack set up a dive, but Marty jumped back in the ring and hit an enziguri sending Mack to the outside. Then the Moth hit an over the top rope suicide dive to wipe Mack out. Marty got him back in the ring for a near fall.

Marty went for a turnbuckle springboard bulldog, but I think he botched the move, so Mack sold an eye rake and fell down, Marty ran down the apron to the turnbuckle, and missed a flying headbutt from the top. Mack popped up and hit a German suplex and a T-Bone suplex. Mack went up to the top rope, when the lights went out and weird xylophone music started to play. Out walked Marty’s sister, the Mariposa, a luchadora in a homemade moth costume. The lights popped back on, and Marty grabbed a distracted Mack and threw him off the top rope. Then Marty hit a middle-rope curb stomp for the pin. Afterwards, Marty introduced his sister. Then the two of them stalked a cowering Sexy Star before Mariposa kicked her in the head. The crowd didn’t really know how to react to this segment.

Winner: Marty Martinez via pinfall
Rating: *1/2

Match #2 – No Disqualification –  Cage vs. Taya Valkyrie

The match was originally billed as Mundo vs. Cage, but Taya came out and said that Johnny had already kicked Cage’s ass, so now it was her turn.

Taya slapped Cage, and Cage shrugged and then planted her with a huge clothesline. Cage picked Taya up and did barbell curls with her body before putting her in a fireman’s and popping her from that into a powerslam. Cage picked her up on his shoulders in an inverted fireman’s and spun her out for a neckbreaker slam for a near fall.

Cage set Taya up for a powerbomb, but Taya hit a lowblow and a dropkick, followed by a tornado DDT, and double knees to Cage’s face as he was slumped in the turnbuckle. Taya got a nearfall.

Taya went outside and grabbed a led pipe, but when she went to use it, Cage caught her arm, grabbed her, and powerbombed her into the guard rail, then powerbombed her into the ring post. Cage followed with another powerbomb, and then a buckle bomb. Cage went outside and set up two tables on the floor, then grabbed Taya and suplexed her from the middle rope to the floor, with both crashing through the tables.

Cage ripped down his singlet and threw Taya back in the ring. He set her up for Weapon X, when Johnny Mundo ran in and hit Cage in the head with the led pipe. Mundo threw Taya on top for the cover, and added his own weight, but Cage kicked out. Mundo jumped out of the ring and grabbed some cinder blocks and beer bottles from under the ring. Mundo tried to powerbomb Cage onto the cinder block, but Cage reversed it into an Alabama slam. Cage set Mundo up for a curb stomp through the cinder block, but Taya jumped on Cage’s back to stop it. Mundo grabbed beer bottles and broke them over Cage’s head, but Cage no sold them, so Mundo tossed Taya to Cage and ran. Cage hit Weapon X on Taya, on the broken beer bottle glass for the pin.

Winner: Cage via pinfall
Rating: **1/4

Match #3 – Lucha Underground Championship – Triple Threat – Mil Muertes (c) vs. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Jr.

Puma and Pentagon teamed up to attack Muertes, but Mil broke their double team with a double clothesline. Mil powerbombed Puma in the center of the ring, and then took Pentagon down with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Mil worked over Pentagon in the corner with clotheslines, then flung Puma into the same corner and worked both over with corner clotheslines. Mil tossed Puma across the ring and Pentagon out of the ring. Mil whipped Puma to the ropes, Puma came back, ducked a clothesline, and kept going, hitting a tope into a DDT on Pentagon on the outside.

Mil grabbed Puma and pulled him on to the apron. Puma fought back briefly, but Mil knocked him down with a forearm and wiped Puma out with a plancha. Mil took Puma into the crowd to fight, but Puma fought back with a superkick, and escaped to the stairs, then walked the rail down to the floor and hit a hurricanrana on Pentagon. Mil emerged from the crowd and decked Puma with a straight right hand.

Puma and Pentagon double-teamed Mil, then Pentagon hit a side suplex on Puma on the apron. Mil came back and rammed Pentagon head first into the post, then threw Pentagon back in the ring. Mil powerbombed Pentagon in the center and covered for a near fall. Mil followed with a DDT for another near fall. Pentagon fought back with two sling blades that sent Mil to the outside.

What happened next was nuts as Pentagon and Puma got into a dive-off.

  • Pentagon hit a somersault dive on Mil
  • Puma hit a swanton dive on Mil
  • Pentagon hit another somersault dive on Mil
  • Puma hit a corkscrew moonsault dive on Mil.

With Mil down, Puma charged Pentagon, but Pentagon lifted Puma up onto the railing and into the crowd. Pentagon followed and the two fought through the crowd with Puma whipping Pentagon with a fan’s Pentagon mask. Pentagon hit an Attitude Adjustment on Puma in the stands then ran back towards the ring and hit a flying cross body from the railing onto Mil. Mil fought back and rammed Pentagon into the ring apron, then tossed him into the floor chairs. Mil went to toss him into the railing, but Pentagon caught himself and superkicked Mil. Puma appeared on the railing and hit a shooting star press from the railing wiping both guys out. Puma threw Pentagon in the ring and hit a spinning front kick, then a 630 splash for a near fall that was broken up by Mil Muertes.

Puma worked over Mil, but Mil countered with a powerslam for a near fall. Mil set Puma up for a flatliner, but Pentagon superkicked Mil leading to a Pentagon/Puma superkick party on Mil. With Mil down, Pentagon hit a backstabber on Puma, then a pumphandle slam/leg drop combo into a pin for a near fall. Pentagon grabbed Puma and hit a package piledriver, but rather than pin Puma, Pentagon set Puma up for an armbar and Mil speared Pentagon out of his shoes, then leveled Puma with a spear. Mil grabbed both Pentagon and Puma by the throat, hit a double flatliner on both, and pinned both men with a hand on each chest for the win.

A tremendous match. Despite the dominant way in which Mil won, all three of these guys looked great.

Catrina hit both Pentagon and Puma with the lick of death afterwards.

Fenix appeared on the stairs and cut his Spanglish promo saying he’s cashing in his Gift of the Gods Championship for a shot at Mil Muertes next week.

Winner: Mil Muertes via pinfall
Rating: ****