I’m generally not one who is down on Lucha Underground episodes sports fans. But I’ll tell you; going into the main event tonight I was not feeling this LU showing at all. Besides an intriguing opening scene we had a Gift of the Gods segment that felt rushed (despite featuring a great return), a disappointingly short second match and a promo segment that may have gone a little too far in the wrong direction of meta. It just wasn’t doing anything for me. Luckily the main event did, as Jake Strong and Johnny Mundo tore the house down to give this show a strong ending; the post match helped too. So while LU didn’t quite extend their streak of all around knockout episodes, they didn’t extend their streak of really strong matches. So on that front all is good heading into Ultima Lucha Cuatro. And with that, let’s give this show a second look!
The Strong Way
This is not a drill sports fans; this was our first LU backstage scene in…two weeks? Three weeks? I’VE LOST COUNT! It was all about Antonio Cueto offering “The Savage” Jake Strong an automatic spot in the Ultima Lucha main event alongside Marty “The Moth” Martinez and Pentagon Dark. Anyone else would’ve been over the moon about this…but in the start of a recurring theme tonight, Jake Strong was no ordinary man. He turned down Papa El Jefe’s offer, instead opting for a shot at the Gift of the Gods Championship instead. Yes he could do that because Antonio was just giving Aztec Medallions away; this is what happens when you wait too long. Strong ended the meeting by making it clear that the Temple was his now, which seemed like the usual big talk from someone full of himself…except this seemed more sinister. I don’t know what it was; maybe it was the laugh, the look in his face or just the vibe of the whole scene, but there seemed to be something more going on with Jake Strong here than him simply being a cocky son of a bitch. This should be a scene to keep in mind as we close in on the end.
Seven Way Battle Royal
Jake Strong defeated Aerostar, Big Bad Steve, Dante Fox, Hernandez, Jake Strong, King Cuerno and PJ Black
Remember how I said Papa El Jefe was just giving Aztec Medallions away? Yeah, the pre-match activities here confirmed that. It was presented as Antonio rewarding it to guys he deemed worthy of facing for the Gift of the Gods, but even that couldn’t stop this whole thing from feeling like LU ran out of the time and this was the best solution they could come up with. At least it gave us an entertaining match for next week and the return of Dante Fox, although the former was still in doubt as Papa El Jefe once again had to give us a Battle Royal where the winner picked who got eliminated from the match, just like the first Gift of the Gods match this year. It was fine (and almost good when Aerostar and Big Bad Steve got some moments together) before Jake Strong predictably won, before unpredictably giving the seven way a reprieve by telling Antonio he wanted to destroy all six luchadores again next week. Oh, he also wanted more competition tonight, which led to Papa El Jefe giving him Johnny Mundo in the main event tonight. That’s good. The way getting there? I’m not so sure, especially since LU kind of wasted the Dante Fox return on this. That man went through glass for you LU! GLASS!
The Mack defeated Killshot
My reaction when I saw this match was happening tonight.
My reaction when this match was used as a vehicle to build towards Mack-Mil and Killshot-Havoc.
In LU’s defense it made all the sense in the world for Mil Muertes to attack Big Willie; they are fighting in a Death Match after all. It also made sense for Havoc to come out and make the save, and I was happy LU just left it at that and didn’t do the “impromptu tag team match playa!” move Teddy Long would’ve done. It’s just sad that we didn’t really get to see Big Willie and Killshot go at it. Their brief sequences together were quite good and I’m pretty sure a full match between these two would’ve been killer. We’ll just have to wait to see it I suppose; hell maybe LU will do something with them, Mil and Havoc next week. Even still it saddened me we didn’t get to see more.
Lucha Goes Meta
This…this was bizarre sports fans. It all began with Ivelisse and XO Lishus coming out to announce that they would be taking on the Reptile Tribe and the Rabbit Tribe at Ultima Lucha Cuatro for the LU Trios Championships. As it should be. Unfortunately Joey Ryan is too injured to join the after the White Rabbit stuck his fingers down his throat, so the duo sought out a new partner in Sammy Guevara. Awesome stuff…and then it got weird. Famous B appeared and suddenly LU was openly spoofing their own seven season deals by having Famous say Guevara was under contract with Infamous Inc. for another seven years (he even mentioned that Guevara would have to team with Dr. Wagner Jr. and Texano, which I admittedly did laugh at). In the end Guevara would have none of it, diving onto Famous, tossing the very large contract Famous brought out with him into the garbage and then beating Famous with said garbage can. All of that was entertaining. The meta stuff…honestly I could’ve lived without it. I don’t know if it was too on the nose or too meta (something I usually enjoy) but I just thought it was a little too over the top, much like I thought MLW doing a similar storyline with Fenix and Pentagon was as well. Perhaps I’ll feel better about it all when Famous and Guevara are having a hilarious fun match in season five, but aside from adding Guevara onto an already fun Ivelisse/XO Lishus unit this was kind of lame. And I hardly ever use that word with LU.
Jake Strong defeated Johnny Mundo
Grodd bless LU; just when you think the episode is a hopeless case of iffy decisions and matches that are too short, along comes a main event like this. This match was very much like the first Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Mundo match from season one; it wasn’t pure lucha but it was damn good wrestling. It was also, to the relief of many I’m sure, the most competitive match Jake Strong has had in the Temple, even more so than the numchuk match from a few weeks back. He still came across as an absolute beast and there were times, especially in the beginning, where you wondered if LU would actually have him run over Mundo for the full fifteen minutes. Instead Johnny rallied with some inspired escape sequences (him luring Strong into the stands and then jumping rail to rail to get away was fun) and then an awesome sunset flip powerbomb from the stands and onto the floor. From there it was some well paced, back and forth style action that recalled their strong match on RAW from eight years ago, all until Mundo’s leg finally gave out and Strong was able to make him tap with the ankle lock. My Grodd those ankle lock spots; the way Strong was able to keep the hold on despite Mundo’s escape attempts and the way Mundo was at times able to escape (I LOVED the spot where he low blowed Strong to get out) was top notch stuff. It may not be something appreciated by people who prefer lucha style, but I thought it was great, great stuff.
We weren’t done after this match either. Strong was initially going to snap Mundo’s ankle in the post match, but then decided against it when Matanza came out. Strong instead left Mundo for dead (another interesting wrinkle considering Strong wasn’t exactly friendly with Matanza’s father earlier) and the monster proceeded to wreck Mundo. And I mean wreck; by the time this was done Johnny was bleeding more than Fenix in a big match. Taya ran out to make the save (I’m guessing PJ Black’s absence was because he was stuck in the shower like Marty Scurll at the end of All In) and all that did was lead to her eating a Wrath of the Gods herself. All in all, not a very good night for the Worldwide Underground. It was however a good night for whatever LU was building to with this main event. On the Matanza-Mundo front this attack was perfectly done and should add more heat for their match come Ultima Lucha. And for Strong, it was a second straight good performance in a big match and another interesting wrinkle to go along with the show’s opening scene. Something is going on there sports fans. I don’t know if Strong is somehow associated with Vampiro (is he perhaps the mystery master we saw at the end of season three? That would explain Strong’s obsession with breaking limbs) or if he’s maybe connected to Agent Winter and the order somehow, but the way he acted with Antonio Cueto earlier in the show and then Matanza at the end…I’ve seen enough wrestling to know it’s leading somewhere. We’ll find out soon enough I suppose. For now let’s just enjoy the fact that this main event was great, the post match angle was great and all of it singlehandedly raised up this show after a questionable two thirds.
There you have it sports fans. I’m off to go play the new Spider-Man video game, but I shall return tomorrow for some more Blue Panther Week and a CMLL preview. TILL THEN!
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