Boy do I really need to stop going away during weeks when Lucha Underground is having all out episodes. Due to another dog sitting gig sports fans I have found myself in a place without the El Rey Network, meaning I couldn’t watch last night’s LU live. I got a hold of the episode soon after and afterwards I was even sadder I couldn’t see it live! What a show. Last week was good but this week was even better; the Ultima Lucha card continued to take shape, the hot feuds got hotter and most importantly we had not one but two Match of the Season contenders in the former of an always moving Tornado Tag and another out of this world main event. LU could not have picked a better time to get hot yet again and I for one am over the moon about it. Now if only I could’ve seen the show live! But enough of my issues; let’s get this review going.
Taya Lives to Fight Another Day
I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news sports fans; the season four tradition of Matanza making a “SACRIFICE TO THE GAWWWWDS!” did not continue on this episode. Actually that’s probably a good thing because I’m not sure I was ready to see Taya leave forever. The Queen of Slamtown was back after weeks of recovery following Matanza ruining her wedding day and boy she was ticked (the sacrifices of Joey Wrestling and Jack Evans also appeared to play a part in her anger). She wanted Matanza and Papa Cueto was more than happy to oblige, probably because he thought it would go his way (again). It did not; instead this (like the Evans and Joey matches) was yet another competitive battle for Matanza, with Taya at times even dominating the action. She even hit the moonsault off the top; WHO DOES THAT IN ANY PROMOTION IN 2018?! It was all very well done, to the point that the only criticism I can really offer is that Taya may have done her job too well. I enjoyed her performance so much that I almost wanted to see her vs. Matanza at Ultima Lucha more than the Johnny Mundo-Matanza match LU has clearly been working on. There’s always next time I suppose, and I did get pretty excited for Johnny-Matanza after the Wednesday Night Delight returned himself to save Taya from near sacrifice, which saw Johnny hit Matanza with everything he had and still not be able to keep the monster down. With the Ultima Lucha IV card already featuring bouts like Fenix-Azteca, Big Willie-Mil, Havoc-Killshot and Pentagon-Marty, adding Mundo-Matanza to it just feels like a bonus. It’s almost too good of a show now! No wonder they added Ricky Mundo to it later.
Tornado Tag Team Match
Fenix & Mil Muertes defeated El Dragon Azteca Jr. & The Mack
You know…there is a history of great rivals turning into great tag teams. Need I remind you of Los Gringos Locos? El Hijo del Santo and Negro Casas? THE PUBLIC ENEMY?! Maybe Fenix and Mil Muertes will need more than a one match sampling size to get their names on that list but at least through one match they have proven the theory true again. And they only had to be 30% more insane than all the other people I just mentioned to pull it off!
So yeah, this match was nuts. In a way we all knew it would be considering who was in it, but it went above and beyond somehow thanks to the Tornado Tag rules and LU giving these four a boatload of time. It led to a ten minute plus match of nonstop movement and some incredible back and forth action. Watching it the first time I’m not sure I would’ve called this back and forth; like most people I thought Fenix and Mil came off as far more dominant. They did, but even still a second rewatch showed that it was a very even match up till the end. Only then did Mil and Fenix really take control for good (the main event was like this to, but more on that shortly!). Either way you view it was a blast. Azteca and Big Willie both looked great, and some of the stuff Azteca did with Fenix was so maddeningly good it makes the mind wonder just what they’re capable of come UL4. Mil Muertes continues to perplex me at how great he is in LU and how not great he is everywhere else (although his spears can use a little work). And for someone who has largely just been around for the second half of the season, Fenix undoubtedly has to be the MVP of LU season four, or at least tied with his UL3 opponent Marty “The Moth” Martinez.
The way he has embraced this darker character and created a new unique style (some high flying mixed with a lot of vicious kicks)…there’s not many people who could do it and pull it off right away and he’s done that. Hell his best work here may not have even been any one move (and he had many great ones) but the moments where he and Mil just stared at each other. The history between those two will one day sell a bestselling tell all on LU and whatever their relationship is now just adds even more to it; if I wasn’t so sure that LU was returning for season five, I would have to personally start a Kickstarter to make it happen just so we could see where Mil and Fenix (and all the other moving parts in their story) go from there. For now it was just an interesting wrinkle in an outstanding match that wowed us and most importantly made two Ultima Lucha matches even more exciting than we already found them to be. Great stuff. And oh yeah; it was still only second best on this show.
Ricky Mundo defeated Famous B
This match was my least favorite fruit; a squash. Wait, is a squash actually a fruit or a vegetable? Let me check here…it’s a fruit. GOT IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!
Stay on target Cult. The story of this whole bout was Famous B ending his retirement to become an active performer again (inspired by the beat down he received at the Johnny-Taya wedding), which led to Ricky Mundo and the doll coming out to set up a match. The battle of the season one jobbers then descended into Ricky pummeling Famous until he put him away with a neckbreaker driver. And then the fun started as Ricky revealed to Taya that it was he who set Matanza loose on their wedding night. Good thing Taya was already halfway back to Slamtown when he said this; otherwise Ricky and the doll might’ve been sacrificed to every member of the Temple. That will have to wait till Ultima Lucha IV though as Ricky made a formal challenge in the post match before trying to rip Beautiful Brenda to shreds with a Crossface of all moves. On the one hand, that is definitely the least exciting match on the card because Ricky Mundo is, well, still Ricky Mundo. The dude can play a good psycho (his attack on Beautiful Brenda highlighted this) but even still this the most ring time I’ve ever seen the dude get in the Temple. On the other hand Taya has a history of pulling out good matches with mediocre opponents at Ultima Lucha’s (remember her match with Sexy Star at UL3) and, in Ricky’s defense, he looked pretty good in this squash. Granted he didn’t do much outside of his cool finisher and a bunch of basic stuff and the most impressive part of the match was Famous B’s Pele kick, a reminder that Famous is quietly a really good worker to go along with his great mic skills. Even still I did at least see something with Ricky in this match (which is more than I can say for most of his run) and him being in there with Taya gives me hope they can do something cool. Throw in the fact that LU has done well building to this match (Ricky’s motivation to get rid of Taya so Johnny Mundo would finally respect him was a nice additional story beat) and I’d call this a success. Well at least up to the part where Ricky kissed the doll. That was just weird, and I say this as a dude whose favorite part of LU is Aerostar traveling to the future to watch the world die.
Pentagon Dark defeated Reklusa
Last week LU delivered another great example of how, when done correctly, intergender wrestling can be excellent. What do you know; they did it again this week! Even more impressive is that Pentagon-Reklusa was the exact opposite in many ways of Marty-Mariposa. The latter last week was a pummeling sort of brutality, a wrestling version of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” if you will. This week was “Creeping Death”; it began with a big moment (Reklusa’s crossbody as Pentagon made his entrance) and then just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, right until Pentagon finally closed it out with his second Package Piledriver of the night. It was off the charts. Between this and the Black Lotus Triad gauntlet from season three, I’m about ready to name Pentagon the best male intergender wrestler alive. Maybe it’s because he’s so over he’s practically Teflon at this point but he’s able to not only keep himself insanely popular while straddling the line of “going too far” in these types of matches, but he’s amazing at making his opponents look like absolute bad asses. He did so with Doku, Yueri and Hitokiri last season and he did it with Reklusa tonight. In fairness Reklusa helped herself quite a bit too by showing off some insane athleticism (the rana to the floor? THE SUICIDE TORNADO DDT?! That’s some Fenix shit right there) and the ability to just keep going. All In and a long stay in Impact showed that she had the charisma to be a star; tonight confirmed that Reklusa has the wrestling chops to be a mega star. This was exquisite work and if WWE doesn’t already have her in their grasps as reported then they be do well to bring her aboard.
Of course the match was only part of it as we had to get some more Marty-Pentagon build in during the post match. Shockingly LU nailed this too, with Pentagon taking his eye off the prize long enough (he declined his usual arm break to try and powerbomb Reklusa through thumbtacks) for Marty to come in and pulverize him with a Barbed Wire Baseball bat. That would’ve more than sufficed except this is LU; everything must go one level higher, which is why the show went off the air with Reklusa pouring gasoline on Pentagon as Marty teased lighting him on fire. If this sounds familiar it’s because it was almost a shot for shot remake of what Pentagon nearly did to Vampiro all the way back in season one (both Vamp and Striker went out of their way to play up the Pentagon-Vampiro relationship big time in this match, more than they have the rest of the season). It didn’t come off as big as the season one angle, but that’s largely because Pentagon-Vampiro was the hottest thing since Sunkist Orange Soda. Otherwise it was really well done; it played off the old angle, it made perfect sense considering a) we’re building to a Cero Miedo match and b) Marty is so crazy he probably would’ve done this anyway and it added (pun fully intended) more fuel to the fire of an already strong rivalry. I really liked the pairing of Pentagon and Marty as the final two of Aztec Warfare IV but even I couldn’t foresee them building this feud to what it is now. It should prove to be a compelling and dramatic Ultima Lucha main event. At least for right now it proved to be a thrilling conclusion to a thrilling show after an awesome match. I’m not sure I’m ready to put it ahead of Marty-Mariposa from last week (that match has really left an impression on me) but Pentagon-Reklusa was easily one of the best bouts of season four, further proof of why Pentagon is LU’s one true ace and another coming out party for a woman who is going to be a superstar.
There you have it sports fans. I’m off to spend my day watching Chuck, with a preview of CMLL’s Super Viernes thrown in at some point. Till then!
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