Lucha Underground – S2E5: The Machine

Lucha Underground – S2E5: The Machine
Date: February 24, 2016

Previously on Lucha Underground…

Johnny Mundo and Cage got in each other’s way trying to get to Mil MuertesChavo Guerrero Jr assaulted Texano putting him on the path to revenge. 

The difference between Lucha Underground and any other wrestling promotion was on full display in Wednesday’s Dario Cueto centric vignette. Cueto, still in seclusion with Black Lotus, 375 miles from Boyle Heights, stands outside the storage room where Matanza is locked up, listening to the screams of fresh new victims being demolished by the monster. Lotus, fed up with the inactivity asks how much longer they’re going to have to do this, and Cueto shoots back that she’s the one who started this war (alluding to her ill-fated quest to avenge her parents, and the fact that she struck the deathblow on El Dragon Azteca).

With parents on the mind, Cueto transitions into a monologue about his own family life. He tells Lotus about his mother, whom he believed was “el diablo.” He recounts how she used to beat him, and then one day when he couldn’t take anymore, he stood up to her. Dario admitted he wasn’t strong enough, however, and his mother got the best of him and beat him again, this time coming after him with a hot iron. Dario, looking at his prized red bull figurine throughout this, said he believed he was going to die, but then his brother grabbed the red bull figurine and bludgeoned his mother to death with it hitting her in the head over, and over, and over again until she could never hurt anyone again.

Lotus, horrified by this story, quickly moves to console Cueto, but Cueto cuts her off and explains that this is a happy memory for him, because it’s the first day he discovered how much he truly loves violence.

This scene is remarkable. First off, it’s just extremely well acted by Luis Fernandez-Gil. He hits all the beats of this right on point, transitioning from his normal cocky exterior, to a bit solemn, to sad, to truly happy having visualized this tale playing out again in his head. Second, this is the type of scene and dialogue that if another promotion wrote it, and a wrestler tried to perform it, it would come off as corny and terrible. The fact that Lucha Underground is filmed the way it is, and the fact that they employ legitimate actors as players in the show, alongside the wrestlers, is what allows this whole thing to land. And it’s a very crucial scene to the series as the whole. It’s the first real insight the viewer has gotten into what makes Dario Cueto the way he is, and it’s a sad, twisted, somewhat psychotic tale, that allows you to kind of understand how he came to be the man he is.

While we seem to be heading full steam towards Dario’s return to the temple with Matanza in tow, which I would assume will play out by the halfway mark of the season, the management of the temple under Catrina is showing serious signs of fracturing. Pentagon Jr made it clear in a vignette in which he sparred with Catrina, nearly breaking her arm before she vanished from his grasp, that he wants Prince Puma for now, but he’s coming for her and Mil Muertes soon enough. King Cuerno ended his alliance with Mil and Catrina, and attempted to cash in his Gift of the Gods title shot. Catrina delayed him another week, making him defend the GOTG title against Fenix in a ladder match next week, but inevitably, that title’s getting cashed in for a shot in the near future, regardless of who wins next week. Johnny Mundo and Cage continued their rivalry, with Mundo getting the better of Cage this week, with an assist from the debuting Taya, and while these two are not done with each other yet, the crux of their issue is still one preventing the other from getting to Mil. At the end of the day, however, all roads for everyone lead to Mil Muertes.

Tonight’s show was very wrestling heavy, with just a few filmed vignettes, and it ended up being almost too much in-ring action. Four matches is a lot to cram into one hour and as a result, no one match really gets enough time to tell a good story. But the layering of the storylines is being done very well, and their eventual payoff will probably produce some fantastic matches.

Misc Notes

    • The show opened with a Vampiro vignette (also very well performed) establishing that Vampiro is schizophrenic, and is still pulling the strings when it comes to Pentagon Jr. Vamp has emerged as arguably the best non-Cueto vignette actor.
    • P.J. Black, who fell to 0-2 in the temple this week, seems to be moving into the Jack Evans/Drago feud, the basis of this feud solely being that Jack Evans is a dick.
    • Let’s talk about Famous B. This was a tremendous reimagining of this character if they’re turning him into a bad local access television commercial guy. Think this guy:

And the Famous B hotline 423-GET-FAME does actually work, so give it a call.

  • Ratings were significantly down this week drawing just 99,000 viewers in the first run, and 161,000 over the two showings.


Match #1 – Jack Evans vs. P.J. Black

Evans stole the mic from Melissa Santos mid-introduction and introduced himself as “the dragon slayer” and said he’d make Drago his bitch.

Evans started the match by offering PJ a handshake, but then unloaded on him. Black flipped over a back drop attempt and hit a reverse roundhouse kick, then sent Evans spinning with a clothesline. Evans regained control by crotching PJ on the turnbuckle and then set up a spot where he flipped from one corner to the other only to be poked in the eye by PJ, and PJ hit a rollup, into a german suplex, into a bridge for a near fall.

Evans bounced back with a tilt-a-whirl into a standing guillotine choke, but PJ reversed it into a suplex. Evans came back with a flipping drop kick in which he flipped back onto the apron, and then a springboard corkscrew roundhouse.

At this point, Drago appeared on the balcony with nunchucks, wearing a mask resembling the bunny in Donnie Darko. Drago played with his nunchucks, and Evans became irritated, ran outside, grabbed a bottle of water and threw it at him. PJ Black took advantage of the distraction and hit Black Diamond, but only could manage a two count. Drago ran down the steps to ringside. PJ locked in a waste lock to attempt a German suplex, but Evans struggled and the two ended up near the ropes where Drago attempted to spit mist in Evans’ eyes, but hit PJ instead. Evans hit his backslide into an over the top bridge move and got the pin. Drago hit the ring afterwards and tried to nunchuck Evans, but then dropped the nunchucks. Black looked at them and pondered using them. Not much to this match.

Winner: Jack Evans via pinfall
Rating: 1/2*

Match #2 – King Cuerno vs. Killshot

Killshot hit an enziguri and a springboard dropkick early to chase Cuerno from the ring, then a standing corkscrew plancha to the outside. The two traded forearms before Killshot hit a running kick to Cuerno’s face. Killshot jumped back in the ring and attempted a flip to the outside, but Cuerno ducked, Killshot flipped over him, and Cuerno hit a superkick. Then Cuerno jumped in the ring and hit the Arrow From The Depth Of Hell tope.

Back in the ring, Cuerno hit an enziguri, but Killshot came back with a jumping front kick. Killshot attempted a superplex, but Cuerno reversed him into a power slam position on the apron. Killshot escaped that and went for a running neckbreaker from the apron to the floor, but botched it and looked really bad. Both made it back in the ring and traded forearms, punches, and chops and Killshot hit another jumping front kick, but Cuerno responded with a single leg dropkick. Killshot went for a springboard moonsault and Cuerno kicked him in the stomach.

Cuerno went for a tombstone, but Killshot reversed it into a reverse codebreaker. Killshot went up top and missed a corkscrew senton. Cuerno hit Thrill of the Hunt for the pin. Immediately after winning, Cuerno continued to work over Killshot and tried to hit Thrill of the Kill (package tombstone piledriver), but Fenix made the save. Ok match. Killshot’s a strange wrestler. He’s clearly a talented athlete and can do moves but there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to anything he does, so I’m not quite sure if he’s actually a good wrestler. The commentary was tilted very heavily towards putting him over despite the loss, ultimately reaffirming my belief that he’s earmarked for a Son of Havoc like rise from jobber to star over the course of the season.

Winner: King Cuerno via pinfall
Rating: *1/2

Match #3 – Gauntlet Match: Texano vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr & The Crew

Mr. Cisco started first and immediately ate a superkick and was pinned.

Cortez Castro hit the ring next. Texano took him down with chops and kicks and hit combo chops into clotheslines in the corner. Castro fought back with an enziguri and a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Texano hit a neckbreaker, but Castro ducked a clothesline and hit a neckbreaker of his own. Castro continued to cut off Texano’s offense until Texano hit a middle rope jumping leg drop for a near fall. Castro fought back with discus forearms, but Texano shook them off and took him down with a pop-up powerbomb for the win.

Chavo jumped in and immediately blindsided Texano and put the boots to him, then pounded him on the ground. Texano fought back with right hands and took control with a clothesline. Texano hit a superkick, then a running forearm, and stomped Chavo into the corner. After a back body drop, Chavo fled the ring and Texano chased after him and pulled him up on the apron. Cisco ran interference with the ref, and as Texano tried to suplex Chavo back into the ring, Castro hooked Texano’s leg, Chavo fell into a pinning position, and scored the win, as Castro hooked Texano’s leg in his bullrope so Texano could kick out.

Winners: Chavo Guerrero Jr & The Crew via pinfall
Rating: *

Match #4 – Johnny Mundo vs. Cage

Mundo opened by slapping Cage, but Cage bullrushed him into a corner and unloaded. Both exchanged ground & pound punches from the mounted position on the mat. Mundo hit a Pele kick, but Cage no sold it and took control with a clothesline, then hit a hip toss backbreaker, and a reverse Angle slam.

At this point Matt Striker did a horrifyingly terrible Mike Tyson impression.

Cage set Mundo on the top rope, but Mundo slid down the post and kicked Cage off the ropes and he fell to the outside. Mundo hit a step-up, springboard corkscrew plancha over the post onto Cage. Mundo continued by throwing Cage into the barricade.

Mundo toyed with a fan swiping at his hat, then got Cage back in the ring for some more mounted punches, before applying a chinlock. Cage powered up and set Mundo up for a pumphandle slam, but Mundo flipped out, hit the ropes, and cut him off with a single leg dropkick.

Cage finally got back in the match with a backdrop, a series of clotheslines, and an Alabama Slam for a near fall. Cage went for a clothesline, but Mundo reversed into a Miz-like backbreaker/neckdrop combo. Mundo set up for End of the World, but took too long and Cage clubbed him from behind. Cage set Mundo on the top rope again and superkicked Mundo through his legs, then hit a front face slam from the electric chair position, with a roll through for a near fall.

Mundo regained himself and went for a series of rollups, then Moonlight Drive, but Cage reversed it into a fireman’s carry and hit a F5 for another near fall. Mundo rolled out to the apron and Cage attempted to suplex him back into the ring, but Mundo rolled out of it and hit a springboard enziguri, followed by a Shining Wizard. Mundo went for End of the World, but missed. Cage hit a discus clothesline that knocked Mundo out. Then Cage taunted Mil Muertes before hitting Weapon X.

At this point Taya ran out making her Lucha Underground debut. She slid a pipe under the ring ropes, and ran to the other side to distract the referee. Cage checked on the situation and Mundo grabbed the pipe and leveled Cage with it to score the pin. After the match, Mundo and Taya stomped Cage and slapped him several times. Taya hit double knees to Cage’s face in the corner, then Mundo finally hit End of the World. Ok match that never really got into that second gear. Taya’s debut was kind of anticlimactic. There was no real set up to it, the announcers just said “Oh, it’s Taya.”

Winner: Johnny Mundo via pinfall
Rating: **1/2

Review Note: These reviews have been late the last couple weeks due to inconsistent posting of the show by Xfinity’s Online OnDemand. That will probably continue, so most likely these will be up on Friday, but if they drop earlier, hey, it’s a bonus.