Normally sports fans, a show like Ultima Lucha IV Part Two would begin with me saying there are no words. That’s not true though; there are in fact about 3,750 plus words for a show that delivered as only Ultima Lucha can. So we’re not going to waste that much time in this opening paragraph. Let’s just dive in to LU’s latest masterpiece.
The Perfect Host
First off, hats off to Aerostar for being the star of the “previously on Lucha Underground” opening montage. He had more screen time in that than Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Now to the segment. Johnny Mundo was admiring the power glove (still so very, very bad) while discussing with Taya where he’d be hanging the glove at the Mundo Dojo. It was glorious in the usual Worldwide Underground way, right down to Johnny telling Taya he loved her…in the off chance he got sacrificed. And then things got creepy. Rosa the Doll, who was being kept in Taya’s locker, started talking, flattering Taya with some really nice comments. IT WAS A TRAP! As it turns out Rosa believes Taya is the perfect host and she…proceeded to possess Taya? Attempt to? One of the two happened and my immediate thought was “this is very bad for Johnny Mundo!” And frankly isn’t it regardless of what happened later? The dude’s wife is possessed by a doll. In the words of Sonic, that’s no good.
Two Out of Three Falls Match
Fenix defeated El Dragón Azteca Jr. two falls to one
I think it’s safe to say sports fans that this was nothing close to what I expected. At times this match felt like a CMLL style match, especially in the first two falls which went about 2:30 and 1:30 respectively. At other times the match had the pace of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. By the end it felt like one of the strangest matches I had ever seen. In some ways I have a better sense of what happened at the end of Twin Peaks: The Return that what I do here.
I’m sure this reads like the match was terrible. It wasn’t. It was not as good as I hoped but by the end the two had turned it into an impressive display of methodical violence, capped off with a strong ending in Melissa Santos, unable to let go of the good in Fenix (if it’s even still there) costing Azteca the match by convincing him not to thwack Fenix with a chair (naturally, Fenix then did that to him, leading to his victory). That said it felt really disjointed. Both Eric Van Wagenen and Chris Roach talked last week on the MMM show how they wanted this to be a three hour show (you can tell that was rejected) and I get the feeling this match suffered the most from it not being so. Stuff seemed cut, the first two falls were so short that it seemed to sap the momentum out of the third fall and then the third fall itself just felt like it took too long to really get going. I get the feeling there’s a director’s cut version of this match out there that’s superb. Unfortunately we didn’t get that; what we got instead was a good match that continued its story well, but it was so strange it was tough to digest it all. Fortunately it was all uphill from here.
VIVA LA RAZA
I almost forgot sports fans; after she cost Azteca his match with Fenix, Melissa Santos was so distraught she pretty much booked it out of the Temple. That was probably a good thing considering Vampiro was slandering her relentlessly at the announcers booth, which is only a few feet away from Melissa’s spot. Would you really want to stand there for another two hours with Vamp putting you down (and rightfully so may I add)? In any event, she was gone and Antonio Cueto needed a replacement. Luckily he had one in the form of Shaul Guerrero. Yes; Shaul Guerrero, daughter of Eddie Guerrero, is now part of Lucha Underground. She came out to announce Mack to the ring, got interrupted by former guest announcer Famous B and let’s just say this ended with Shaul giving him the Three Amigos and Chavo Guerrero making an appearance to Frog Splash poor Famous. There may have even been an excuse me in all of that. Basically how you’d draw up a segment debuting Shaul Guerrero. Here’s what I didn’t expect though; Shaul Guerrero is a complete and utter superstar. I have no idea how she is in the ring (she did the Three Amigos well enough so that’s a good sign) but my Grodd on the microphone it was like watching her father in his prime years. In terms of charisma, presence, confidence and promo ability I thought she was off the charts, throwing some great lines at Famous B while also working in callbacks to her family along the way. She was absolutely incredible here. INCREDIBLE! If I didn’t want season five already, I’d really want it now just so we could see what she can do in it.
The Mack defeated Mil Muertes
This match felt like it took place eons ago now! What a match it was, even if it somehow wound up being the…fourth best thing on this show? Don’t worry sports fans, we’re getting there. First this match, which was everything I expected the opener to be and then some. On a night where there were a lot of weapons used, this match did a hell of a job differentiating itself from the rest. Oh the weapons were put to use; Big Willie and Mil used everything from trash cans to bricks to ice picks to Mil Muertes’ favorite weapon, the coffin. Even an ax was nearly used at one point! But at the core the match remained the grounded story it was telling coming in, one about a really talented dude trying to confront his fear of an unstoppable monster. And through his underrated athleticism and heart, that’s exactly what The Mack did in earning the biggest win of his Lucha Underground career. This match would’ve been something even if Mil Muertes had won but in so many ways it needed Mack to win in order to reach its full potential. That’s exactly what happened and I cannot commend Mack, Mil and the LU team enough for nailing that story as much as they did. This was a terrific match that would’ve been a standout on any other show, with a standout post match moment where Mack trapped Mil in a coffin. This is now Mil’s third trip into one of those; he escaped the last two times but had Catrina to help him do so. Now he doesn’t…but then again, as we’ll get to, there are always other ways back in the Temple.
Johnny Mundo defeated Matanza
I shit you not when I say this sports fans; this is one of the most creative matches I have ever seen in my life. It very well may have been the most ambitious match LU has ever done, and this is a promotion that has done everything. Frankly, this match was in many ways not even a wrestling match. What it was, at least to me, was a chess match combined with a car chase, only if there were no cars. The whole match revolved around the power glove. Johnny Mundo used it early to gain the edge, but Matanza eventually removed the glove from Mundo’s arm and took over. For awhile it was domination, with a few brief Mundo flurries in between…and then it became about when/if Mundo could get to the gauntlet. He tried repeatedly to get to it, only for Matanza to thwart him every time. Matanza himself passed over using the glove twice, and when he finally picked up decided against using it in order to fling it to the very top of the Temple. That’s when the chase really picked up, with Matanza chasing Mundo all throughout the Temple as Mundo worked his way towards the glove. He finally got it…and proceeded to get El Dragon Azteca Jr.’d when Matanza slammed him through the roof leading to the Temple entrance. For Azteca that was the end…for this match it was the end of Act II! Mundo immediately emerged from the entrance with the glove in tow, Matanza cowered in fear and the match hit high gear with Mundo taking control. In the end Papa Cueto could only watch on as Matanza, despite hitting Wrath of the Gods, succumbed to Mundo and the power glove, which was already bad but reached its peak of bad assery in this bout. Right Lucas?
Now I will say this much; if you were coming into LU cold this match may not work as well due to all the storytelling going into it. If you did know about all of it though…holy shit this made total sense. The fact that it was so different just made things better too. Perhaps a straight up Matanza-Mundo singles match would’ve been more traditionally pleasing but the uniqueness of this match really impressed me. It legit was a chase and a battle of wits, and ultimately Mundo won the chase the battle by getting the glove first and most importantly using the glove. LU didn’t make a big deal about Matanza not using the glove but he passed over using it so much that you couldn’t help but feel it would cost him and boy did it ever in the end. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. In terms of in ring work this would probably be the third best match on the show, but in terms of storytelling and execution from Mundo, Matanza and even Papa Cueto (selling all the emotion while watching it from up above) was just flawless. I loved this match and it was fitting that Matanza, for all his brute strength and invincibility, would close his LU run by being outsmarted, outrun and having the tables turned completely against him. Wait, did I just say this was it for Matanza? Dammit Cult; you’re giving stuff away so soon!
The Right Thing
The match may have been over, but the night wasn’t done for the Wednesday Night Delight! Johnny Mundo was walking back to the locker room when he came across Aerostar, who wanted the glove back. You know where this is going…actually you don’t cause Johnny did give the glove back!
That’s right; Johnny gave the glove back and with minimal protest! He was wary at first given how useful the gauntlet had been to him, but he changed his tune the moment Aerostar told him the glove would lead to his mind deteriorating to the point where a god could take over his body. And well, the only one in control of Johnny Mundo’s body is Johnny Mundo! And so Johnny did the right thing and handed the power glove by to Aerostar, who thanked him and said Johnny was a good dude. And you know what; Johnny is a good dude, no matter how much he wants to deny it. You think Cage would’ve given the glove up if Aerostar asked nicely? Or anyone else? Good play by Johnny; of course nothing worked out for him or Aerostar afterwards but hey, the thought was nice. Dammit I almost gave more shit away! We’re so close to the end Cult; just keep it together for two more matches!
Cero Miedo Match for the Lucha Underground Championship
Pentagon Dark defeated Marty “The Moth” Martinez
It’s a shame I’ve used too many gifs/memes already because this match would be an ideal spot for Batman to appear. Sadly he’ll have to wait for bigger things. That said, holy shit this match. I liked the previous match better for its creativity but I’ll be damned if this bout wasn’t everything I wanted it to be and more. It was the WMD match, the first Cero Miedo match, Fenix vs. Marty and Killshot vs. Dante Fox all rolled into a fifteen minute package of complete and utter destruction. The only thing they didn’t use was fire and the weapons from the Mil-Mack match because I assume LU wisely removed those from the premises. It was brutal, it was glorious, it was Pentagon at his death match peak and it was Marty at his peak period. Say what you will about LU’s fourth season, but the one thing you can’t criticize is how Marty “The Moth” Martinez made every single thing he did count. He was the co-MVP of Aztec Warfare IV. His one night run to the LU title was one of the most captivating episodes of the season. His match with Mariposa was a show stealer. He introduced us to Reklusa, who is friggin awesome and it saddens me we won’t see her in the Temple again. The buildup to this match with Pentagon couldn’t have been better and then this match…holy shit dude. That’s not to take anything away from Pentagon; he was an absolute rock star from open to close. But this was Marty’s masterpiece, the coda to an outstanding season and one of the better LU title reigns in the show’s history. Well done Marty; I hope your season five is as captivating as this season with many more matches like this. This was sensation, and a perfect capper to season four…only it wasn’t the end.
Lucha Underground Championship Match
Jake Strong defeated Pentagon Dark
First off…is anyone surprised by this? Even if no one was thinking about it going into this episode (and come on, we all were), Strong cashing in on Pentagon or Marty seemed likely the moment the two started putting each other through glass. Hell I’m kind of shocked Strong wasn’t out there on a lounge chair watching it all, waiting for the match to end before making his move. So that wasn’t shocking. What was shocking was how we got there. First we had Reklusa come in to keep Marty from getting his arm broken, which prompted Vampiro of all people to leave the booth and scare her off. No sooner did he enter the ring was I thinking “VAMP MASTER ALERT, VAMP MASTER ALERT!” Sure enough, after Vamp tried to blindside Pentagon with a strike that led to a brawl, that master (Hexagon Black as played by AAA star Australian Suicide) made his way down and proceeded to own Pentagon with a Shooting Star Press off a balcony and a Corkscrew Shooting Star Press in the ring. Once more (you open the door?) Jake Strong probably was in great position to beat Pentagon anyway, but Hexagon and Vampiro provided the last bit of motivation he needed to come out and become the eleventh Lucha Underground Champion in history. He’s quite pleased about it too.
Obviously this match was really short and nothing noteworthy, but even still there were some nice little things LU did here. First, they perfectly played off how Pentagon defeated Prince Puma at Ultima Lucha Tres by having him regain his title, only to lose it immediately as Puma did (while suffering a broken bone no less). More importantly, Pentagon never submitted to Strong. Strong did win the title via stoppage and did break Pentagon’s ankle, but despite all that Pentagon never gave up, and he was still conscious for a few seconds after the ankle break. That tells you how much LU values Pentagon and how far out of their way they went to keep him looking strong. The guy went through a Cero Miedo match, got beat down by Vampiro and Hexagon, had his ankle broken by Strong and STILL never surrendered; he merely, as JR would say, passed out from the pain. Truly, Pentagon is the one true ace of Lucha Underground and this right here proved it. I look forward to seeing his return and pilgrimage back to getting his revenge on Strong, Hexagon and Vamp. Yet another reason why we need season five. And yet, there’s one reason bigger.
The End Tag to End All End Tags…Again
Are you ready for a run of disbelieving gifs?!
Sports fans, there’s so much going on here that to spend paragraph upon paragraph describing this closing scene, the greatest closing scene LU has ever done (and that is not something I state lightly!), for the next several hours. So let’s just bullet point it and then break it all down from there.
-In one of the last scenes shown from the trailer, Aerostar, El Dragón Azteca Jr. and King Cuerno met up to discuss the power glove. Cuerno wanted to send it back in time; Azteca wanted to use it to strike now and give them an advantage. Aerostar sided with Azteca, telling him to “make it quick.” Azteca assured him “she would” before leaving, while Cuerno looked down into a vent on the floor.
-Matanza was in his chambers when HOLY SHIT IT’S BLACK LOTUS! Turns out she was the “she” Azteca was referring to, and armed with the power glove she ended Matanza by pulling his heart out with it. Her revenge complete, Lotus made peace with Azteca and left him the glove. It was at that point things went south, as a suit wearing Jake Strong (LU title around his waist) attacked Azteca from behind, declared the gauntlet didn’t belong to Azteca and proceeded to break his ankle. Strong then took the power glove and did his taunt with it, another scene from the trailer.
-Johnny Mundo found Taya in the locker room and was already to celebrate. Instead Taya proceeded to nearly choke Johnny out, telling him his wife was gone and that she was now a god. That’s right; Rosa has possessed Taya and Rosa was apparently an Aztec God THE WHOLE TIME! In other words, Dario Cueto gave Ricky Mundo those pictures in season three to bring him to the Island of the Dolls, where he would naturally bring Rosa back and thus bring the god into the Temple to find a host. Have I mentioned I love this show?
-THE LIMO HAS RETURNED! Antonio, Agent Winter and Hexagon Black (what?!) were all sitting there while the Lord hung out in the shadows. Winter declared that all the gods had taken human form (Strong, Taya, Hexagon?) and Hexagon further noted that now that they had the LU Championship and gauntlet, they could destroy the seven tribes. Strong then arrived and revealed Matanza was dead, which surprisingly seemed to sting Papa Cueto. The Lord declared they would find a new host with Matanza gone (so I guess not all the gods are in human form) and then came out of the shadows and HOLY SHIT I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS! WADE BARRETT IS THE LORD! Lord Barrett asked if there was any more bad news, and upon learning there wasn’t, went full Brain and declared it was time to take over the world.
-Finally, we cut back to months ago at Dario Cueto’s funeral, where Papa Cueto is shown taking the key off Dario. Papa Cueto left…and then things came up Aerostar. The busiest man in LU appeared with the amulet, put around Dario’s neck and simply said “come with me.” And just like that, El Jefe rose up, alive, to ask Aerostar just what the f**k was going on.
Sports fans, this hasn’t been the easiest season of Lucha Underground. The budget cuts to the show were at times glaring, Jake Strong being pushed wasn’t popular and even though I enjoyed the season on the whole, before tonight you could clearly tell this was inferior to season’s 1, 2 and 3. But this…this sports fans justified the whole season. That is how friggin good the final scene was. Angles like Black Lotus’ revenge on Matanza paid off in droves. We learned the identity of the Lord and my Grodd, you cannot do much better than the charismatic force of nature that is Wade “Gorram” Barrett. Jake Strong’s role was finally defined. Johnny Mundo vs. Taya was set up in what is sure to be one of the most emotional angles Lucha Underground will ever do. Aerostar’s search to put the amulet together was revealed to be a season long story arch that was told brilliantly without any even noticing. But most importantly, Lucha Underground established an endgame while also bringing back El Jefe, Dario Cueto himself, from the dead. HE HAS RISEN DAMMIT!
And more than ever, that and what is coming makes season five something that needs to happen. The battle lines have been drawn sports fans; in one corner you have Aerostar (who by the power of LU’s backstage scenes has become the second most important technico on this show besides Pentagon), Cuerno, Azteca, Drago, Pentagon and all seven Aztec Tribes having to band together. In the other corner you have Lord Barrett, Strong, Taya, Hexagon, Vampiro due to Hexagon’s involvement, Agent Winter and Grodd knows who else, a group that coincidentally is made up largely of former WWE/North American stars fans have been quick to eye roll about for taking spots from luchadores on this show. LU has effectively co-opted a real life thing into part of an Infinity War style story and my Grodd if it isn’t beautiful. And in the middle of it all will be El Jefe, the ultimate anti-hero back from the dead, gunning for the men who had him killed. I think in some way I always knew Dario would be back, but it didn’t stop me from cheering like hell when I saw the final scene. What an ending. This scene didn’t just rule, it legitimately turned a good season into a borderline great one in just five minutes and has me dying to see season five. But much like I thought when season three ended…if this is indeed the end, then my Grodd what a way to go. This was a masterpiece.
And with that sports fans I have no more to say. I may have more to say on LU in a few days, but even then I don’t know. What I do know is I’ll be back tomorrow with a review of Lucha Capital and a preview of CMLL’s Friday show. TILL THEN, sleep.
Please change disks to continue…