Lucha Underground – S2E2: The Dark & The Mysterious

Lucha Underground – S2E2: The Dark & The Mysterious
Date: February 3, 2016

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(Note: There’s a bit of a format change to the review this week, I’ll talk about it briefly at the end)

Previously on Lucha Underground…

Catrina took over day-to-day operations in the Temple. King Cuerno captured the Gift of the Gods Championship from Fenix. Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, and Angelico were pitted against each other in a Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match designed to shatter their team unity, in which, Ivelisse won. In a clear FU by the show to everyone who voices concern about inter-gender matches (this reviewer included), Mil Muertes defeated Ivelisse to retain the Lucha Underground Championship. Mil also attempted to destroy Ivelisse, but she was saved by Prince Puma, while Puma’s new ally, Pentagon Jr, snuck up on Mil, jumped him, and broke his arm. Oh, and Dario Cueto fed three jabronis to Matanza

“Every mere mortal craves power” says Catrina in tonight’s opening montage for “The Dark & The Mysterious,” and this statement seems to be the rapidly evolving theme of Lucha Underground’s second season. Two weeks into the season we have seen a number of would-be challengers throw shade at Mil Muertes, who returned to his Shao Kahn-esque throne in a handcrafted leather sling, just a week after Pentagon Jr broke his arm.

Pentagon, along with the former champion Prince Puma, and their fragile alliance, took center stage tonight, and what we learned by the end of the episode is that they both want Mil Muertes, but neither one can stomach sitting idly by and watching someone that is not them get that opportunity.

The nature of the relationship of the two, whom had seemingly coordinated to thwart Mil Muertes last week, became clear in the show’s opening vignette where Pentagon interrupted Puma during a set of curls in Lucha Underground’s worse than Clubber Lang’s basement dungeon in Rocky III gym, and thanked Puma for helping him sacrifice Mil Muertes’ arm to his master. Pentagon said he looked forward to sacrificing the Disciples of Death, with Puma, to his master in tonight’s main event. Then Pentagon said he would sacrifice Puma afterwards. Then Pentagon laughed in Puma’s face. And that’s pretty much everything you need to know about why fans of this show love Pentagon. Puma, of course, took exception to this, and the two sparred in a choreographed filmed fight before Puma gained an advantage with a flip kick to Pentagon’s face before driving him into a locker.

Later in the show’s main event, the story of the match became the fragile trust between the two. Puma and Pentagon would get attacked by DoD, fight back, then one would do something the other didn’t like and they’d get in each other’s faces, then DoD would pounce again, and so on, until Sinestro de la Muerte wiped out Barrio Negro with a somersault dive aimed at Pentagon, and Puma hit a death valley driver and a 630 splash on Trece, just in time for Pentagon to blind tag himself in and steal the pin. That proved to be the last straw, and the tension built up between the two all through the match came to a boil over the blind tag. Puma got in Pentagon’s face, and Pentagon spun him, and hit a backstabber on Puma, then set him up for the armbar he’s used to break so many arms. Puma, however, became the first wrestler to escape the hold, and Pentagon fled the ring. And like that, their alliance was history.

Pentagon and Puma weren’t the only two looking to conquer Mil’s throne, though. Johnny Mundo, who stole a victory from Killshot (more on him in the Matches section), called out Mil in a post match promo only to be interrupted by “The Machine” Cage, who played the babyface, entering from the crowd, and telling Mil he was ready to break him in half. Mundo took exception to the interruption, so Cage reminded him that he had whipped his ass in Season 1, and challenged Mundo to a fight on the spot. Johnny bailed, but as Cage turned his attention to Mil, Johnny returned to the ring to attack Cage, only to be splattered by a vicious linebacker quality shoulder tackle. Again, two more would-be challengers to Mil Muertes sidetracked because they can’t stand each other’s ambition.

The title picture, and the rivalries that surround it, weren’t the sole focus of tonight’s episode, though. We got our first follow-up to Sexy Star’s kidnapping at the hands of Marty The Moth from the end of Season 1. Six months after Ultima Lucha, Sexy Star is apparently: a) still wearing her ring gear from Ultima Lucha, b) has been moved from a dungeon where she was tied in a cocoon-like fashion with rope, into a picturesque suburban house where she’s shackled to a chair, and c) somewhat severely bruised around her abdomen suggesting she’s been tortured to some degree. Marty, as creeptastic as ever, appeared on screen dressed as the long lost fourth member of the Mean Street Posse, wearing a nice, clean, polo shirt, tucked into slacks, with a cardigan around his neck, giving off all the vibes of an 80s movie rapist. Marty told Sexy, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it transformed into a beautiful butterfly,” before showing her a moth he brought her as a present. Then he said he’d soon be releasing her back to the temple, but him and his sister would be joining her. This is amazingly bizarre, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

We also saw teaser vignettes for ‘The Darewolf’ P.J. Black (who trended on Twitter tonight!), and Kobra Moon (who I believe is Cheerleader Melissa/Raisha Saaed who is Thunder Rosa as pointed out in the comments by labystl). The Darewolf vignette was in the same vein as the Cage vignette from last season. Black states the premise of his character, he’s an adrenaline junkie who confronts his obstacles with the ferocity of a wolf, and then he’s attacked by bikers outside a motel, who pull off their helmets to reveal luchador masks, who then start doing ninja moves (because this is Lucha Underground and bikers, luchadors, and ninjas are one and the same). One of them tries to stab P.J. with a knife, but he thwarts the attack, and lays both out. Kobra Moon’s teaser was a little more basic. She describes all the characteristics she has in common with a snake in a voice over (dangerous, venomous, etc), while taking down masked assailants in a dark alley. Both looked nice, but neither were upper echelon in terms of the vignettes LU has put out in the past.

Lastly, and certainly not least, we saw our first glimpse of Rey Mysterio Jr in a vignette at the end of the show. In the intro to tonight’s show, we were reminded of the events of Ultima Lucha where Black Lotus killed El Dragon Azteca after Dario Cueto convinced her that Azteca, not Matanza, killed her parents. The very end of that finale saw a hooded figure (whom had assisted Azteca all throughout Season 1), take Azteca’s mask and spray paint a question mark on the Lucha Underground sign atop the temple.

Tonight, we learned that the hooded man was El Dragon Azteca’s son, and in an off-screen voice over, before the big reveal of Mysterio’s face, Rey says that he was always supposed to take the mantle of El Dragon Azteca when the time came, but now it is the son who must do this task. As for Rey, he says he’s happy with the mask he chose, and then he’s revealed showing a simple smirk.

All in all this was a very heavy character development show. A lot of seeds were planted tonight. We’re seeing the chess pieces form around Mil Muertes with no real indication yet on who will be the one who ultimately takes him down. Meanwhile, most of those who would take him down can’t seem to get out of each other’s way long enough to do so, as both Puma/Pentagon, and Mundo/Cage, feuds were set up tonight. The Sexy Star/Marty storyline remains fascinating in its weirdness, and the slow plod of the El Dragon Azteca/Dario Cueto storyline added what should be a somewhat significant element with the involvement of Rey Mysterio. All of the wrestling was solid, but there was no real stand out match. This was a very enjoyable, but very unspectacular episode of the Lucha Underground, but it’s also one that bears the burden of setting a lot things in motion to pay off in future episodes.

Misc. Notes

-During the main event tonight, Matt Striker made a point to say that Prince Puma no longer had a mentor. I wonder if this means Konnan has been shut out of Season 2. I do recall hearing him say on a previous episode of MLW Radio that he wasn’t really doing much with LU.

-Striker also questioned Vampiro twice about his…protege…Pentagon. Vampiro’s responses both times were that he didn’t want to talk about Pentagon, and had nothing to do with him because Pentagon nearly drove him insane, but did add that Pentagon took the path of darkness to the light, which he now follows. Ok, so two points on this. First, he’s clearly lying, because Pentagon’s ruthless as ever. He sure as hell doesn’t follow the path of light. And second, Pentagon, by his own admission is still sacrificing to his master. So we’ll have to see what the game is here.

-Speaking of Pentagon, he debuted a very cool mask tonight with the Perros Del Mal red claw-slash across the face of the mask. His gear and mask look fantastic. Lucha Underground needs to find a way to market this stuff ASAP.

The Matches

Johnny Mundo vs. Killshot
This was probably the best match on the show, and it told a really nice story. Killshot looks like he’s being set up to parallel Son of Havoc’s story arc from Season 1, where he’s the loser who comes close week after week before finally having his big moment that makes him. And I think it will work just as well as it did with Havoc if they invest enough time earning the moment, because he won over the crowd in this match. Killshot took control early with kicks, and hit a standing moonsault from the ring, over the top, onto Mundo outside the ring. Then he made the mistake of celebrating a little too much and Mundo crushed him with a vicious spear on the outside that nearly ended the match. Mundo took control and taunted Killshot as he beat him, but Killshot cut him off with a RKO. Mundo put him back down with a C4 and went to end the match, but Killshot executed a fantastic sequence where he dropkicked Mundo’s legs, crotching him on the ropes, superkicked him, draping DDT’d him, and then hit a 450 splash for a very, very close near fall that was a very credible false finish. The two traded knee strikes, and Mundo bumped the ref, then caught Killshot with a mulekick lowblow when Killshot went for a leapfrog, and Mundo planted him with a springboard enziguri, and hit End of the World for the win.

Winner: Johnny Mundo via pinfall
Rating:
***

P.J. Black vs. The Mack

Vampiro on P.J. Black: “I don’t even know who this dude is.”

There wasn’t much to this match. They traded arm drags. They traded leg sweeps. They traded chops. Mack took control briefly with a leg lariat and a forearm smash, then hit a very nice Samoan drop into a standing moonsault sequence.  They traded chops again. P.J. flipped out of a German suplex and nailed a spinning sit-down slam that Striker called “Black to the Future,” before hitting a springboard moonsault, and teasing a 450 splash that Mack rolled away from. Then the match just ended when P.J. went for a springboard and Mack countered it into a stunner for the pin.

P.J. losing his debut, especially after his vignette tonight, would normally be odd, but there’s precedent. LU did the same thing to Jack Evans in Season 1 when he lost his debut to Aerostar. I get the sense they want to establish that even though you may know these guys from around the globe, the temple is a different animal, and it’s such tough competition, they have to work their way up. P.J. will be fine, as he’ll build upward from this loss.

Winner: The Mack via pinfall.
Rating: **

Handicap Tag Match: Pentagon Jr & Prince Puma vs. The Disciples of Death

I covered a lot of this earlier in the review. The basic premise was Pentagon and Puma would do fine until one couldn’t trust the other then the Disciples would rally.

The Disciples jumped Pentagon and Puma from the start, but they fought out of it. Pentagon hit a somersault dive onto all three of them outside the ring, but Puma one-upped him with a springboard shooting star press onto the three. Then they yelled at each other for the game of oneupmanship, and the DoD rallied. Sinestro de la Muerte hit a springboard dropkick on Puma and a side suplex, and the Disciples worked Puma over before he fought off a double team from Sinesto and Barrio Negro. Pentagon decided to just jump in the match with no tag at this point, and hit a round of sling blades, and a round of chops on all three DoD. Puma went for a missile dropkick that nearly hit Pentagon, and Pentagon freaked out about that, again the two confronting each other. Again the DoD took control. Trece hit a draping DDT on Puma, and Barrio Negro hit a somersault dive on Pentagon on the outside. However, Sinestro tried his own dive and missed Pentagon, wiping out Barrio, and Puma fought off Trece with a death valley driver, and a 630 splash which would have scored him the pin, but Pentagon jumped up on the apron, blind tagged himself in, and stole the pin.

Winners: Pentagon Jr & Prince Puma via pinfall
Rating: **3/4

A Quick Word About The Review
I appreciate the kind feedback I’ve received regarding these reviews, and I do enjoy writing them, but I kind of found the play-by-play style recap of the matches a little excessive. I will continue to pay specific attention to the matches in the review, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re reading the review, you’ve watched the show, so I don’t think I need to recap the matches move for move anymore.  My intention will be to focus more on the stuff that strikes me as interesting and less on a straight play-by-play recap of the match.

I also want this to be more ‘review,’ less ‘recap.’ Lucha Underground plays like a TV show, so I’m going to review it more in the style of a TV show.

Let me know if you like/hate the format change.