(You can save this until after you get through the story, but if you have not yet seen the trailer for Lucha Underground Season 4 or read my Ultimate Breakdown of the Lucha Underground Season 4 Trailer – do both before you leave the site!)
A few months ago, I decided that my swan song for my personal blog (before I joined Lucha Central) would be a five part series counting down the 100 Best Lucha Underground matches throughout the show’s three season run. It raised some eyebrows, including from X-Pac of all people; how could you do a Best of series for a show that’s only had three seasons? But I needed to do it, a) because I wanted something huge to close out my “independent” writing career, b) because I wanted something LU related to write about while impatiently waiting for season four to come about and c) I freaking love Lucha Underground. For all it’s controversies and so on, the LU has been the one place where I can watch wrestling every week and see, onscreen, a 100% effort from the guys and girls in front of and behind the camera to make it the best wrestling show in the world. Thus the series was a celebration of that effort and now I’ve decided to bring the series here to Lucha Central. For the next five weeks, right up till one week before Lucha Underground returns for season four, you will get to read my thoughts on what I feel are the 100 Best Matches in the History of Lucha Underground. (You should also be sure to leave YOUR thoughts below as well.  I’m sure there are a lot of opinions out there quite different than mine.) I hope you enjoy, because the journey starts now.

 

100. Jack Evans vs. Sexy Star (Season 3, The Open Road to Revenge)

Most people don’t think highly of Sexy Star, as a performer. Everyone other than Sammy Guevara (just kidding) loves Jack Evans as a performer. What happened when they met in a Gift of the Gods Title match? A match no one was looking forward to became a quietly enjoyable 9 minute romp that upstaged a main event featuring Pentagon Dark vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. Most of the credit goes to Evans. Sexy Star does a few things and luckily doesn’t injure anyone intentionally or otherwise. But it’s The Man, The Myth, The Legend’s cockiness and top notch selling of Sexy’s offense that makes this match memorable. Or at least memorable enough to be the 100th best LU match in history.

99. Jeremiah Crane vs. Taya (Season 3, A Fenix to the Flame)

I don’t want to say that Jeremiah Crane had the best Cueto Cup…but yeah, he had the best Cueto Cup. So much so that this match is actually the least of the three he had, which is fine because did you see his other two matches in this tournament?! Frankly this match has less to do with him and is more about being a spiritual sequel to Taya’s semi-classic season two bout with Cage; Crane pummels, Taya shows amazing grit and determination fighting back and ultimately only comes up short because the dastardly Sexy Star had to interfere in a subversion of roles (the normally heroic Sexy comes off as a jerk while Taya looks pretty bad ass nearly beating Crane despite Sexy’s interference). Frankly the only thing missing was a baseball bat. Too soon? Or not soon enough?!

98. Cortez Castro, Joey Ryan, Mr. Cisco vs. Mariposa, Marty “The Moth” Martinez, The Mack (Season 2, Bird of War)

If we were giving these matches movie titles, this one would be called Mr. Cisco’s Finest Hour. He’ll appear frequently on this list but, where he was largely a supporting player in some of LU’s biggest bouts, here he’s the star. Not only does Cisco get the bulk of the offense for his team, but his energy and surprisingly athleticism whipped the crowd into a frenzy and, as such, led to Castro, Ryan, The Moth’s and Big Willie getting into the action as well. It’s neither the flashiest nor the strongest match you’ll ever see. But its heart, much like Cisco’s performance, is huge and this match brings a smile to my face every time I see it. It’s too bad poor Cisco didn’t get a big singles match to show what he was truly capable of before Dario offed him during part two of Ultima Lucha Dos. Then again, maybe it worked out and Cisco got reincarnated as a bad ass rabbit or something; you just never know.

97. Johnny Mundo vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (Season 3, The Cueto Cup)

For all I know this match is much higher if it doesn’t end with Dario Cueto costing Rey the match, a polarizing move that made sense in the bigger picture but wasn’t exactly popular in the short term. Prior to that however, this was precisely what everyone expected from a match between two high profile stars that had been built up so well in the weeks leading up. It’s also further proof for us disgruntled wrestling fans out there who have been telling people that Rey Mysterio never lost it prior to his Royal Rumble return. Of course everyone will continue to insist that the Royal Rumble appearance was the best shape Rey had been in in years (wrong) and that it was the beginning of his renaissance (WRONG!) but hey; we in the know know better.

96. Matanza vs. Mil Muertes (Season 2, Monster Meets Monster)

In some ways this is more angle than match, but man is it one hell of an angle. At this point Matanza was on the way to establishing himself as the LU’s new dominant monster, but squashing Pentagon and Fenix wasn’t enough; he had to go through LU’s old monster Mil Muertes to prove he was the man. So they brawled and brawled and brawled before reaching the roof, followed by…well watch the clip and see for yourself. Like I said, it’s more angle then match but while it lasts it’s riveting and the ending perfectly sets up the sequel, which may or may not have involved someone punching their way out of a coffin.

95. Fenix vs. Johnny Mundo (Season 2, Phoenix, Dragon and the Spaceman)

Can you believe this is the only time Fenix and Mundo have wrestled one on one in the Temple? I anticipate that not only will LU get around to booking the rematch in season four but it’ll surpass this effort, which is pretty damn good in its own right. Really it’s a match about two performers who are in a work in progress; Mundo had not yet reached critical mass with his over the top rudo while Fenix was still in the process of transitioning from great young high flyer to HOLY CRAP HE MIGHT BE THE BEST IN THE WORLD! Even still, the match is a great example of how far both guys had come and expertly builds into the fantastic Trios Title Match both men would be involved in just three shows later at Ultima Lucha Dos Part Three.

94. Cortez Castro vs. Joey Ryan (Season 3, Career Opportunities)

Ah the LU PD storyline; it’s given us MMM favorite Carmen Perez, corrupt cop Joey Ryan in the role he was born to play, the Missing Wall and frankly a lot of confused looks. But for all the headaches the angle has sometimes produced, you can’t hate it when it was largely responsible for building to this underrated season three gem. Really it’s the match both men had waited their entire LU runs for; the always reliable Ryan had been stuck mostly doing comedy spots during his tenure while Castro’s big opportunities had been early on with The Crew in trios action. Here they both get the chance to cut loose and do just that, using every cop related prop in this 5-0 Street Fight (for an Aztec Medallion by the by), escalating the violence properly before Castro emerged victorious. It’s a lot of fun, and proof that Castro and Ryan will be more than capable when the next big match comes. I’m thinking Ryan vs. Marty The Moth in a King of Sleaze match…on second thought, maybe not!

93. El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Johnny Mundo (Season 3, The Hunger Inside)

El Dragon Azteca Jr. is like a slightly more exciting Texano; he hasn’t really wowed in LU as much as some of us would’ve hoped, but every once and awhile he’ll have a match where he reminds you there’s some serious potential. Of course then he’ll have matches like that Cage Match with Matanza where he reminds you why he’s not further along, but hey, this isn’t the 100 Most Disappointing LU Matches List now is it?! This is an example of good Azteca and peak Mundo, with the former working inspired in honor of his mentor Rey Mysterio while Mundo looks to gain momentum heading into his big match with Mysterio two weeks later. The result is some spirited action, a surprising (and welcome) lack of Worldwide Underground interference and an exciting conclusion that sees Mundo mix it up with Mysterio’s son Dominic. Need I say more?

92. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (Season 3, Loser Leaves Lucha)

This career vs. career match is less of a Lucha Underground match and more of an old school, WWE style match by two longtime friends/rivals who were molded working for Vince McMahon. That’s maybe not the most exciting style of match and it does take a bit to get used to, but it’s a fun watch overall and it becomes electric once Chavo Guerrero Sr. comes out and momentarily gets Mysterio DQ’d to the shock of everyone. Chavo Guerrero Jr. has wrestled elsewhere since and I daresay he’ll wrestle in LU again before all is said and done. But if not, this was a fitting swan song to an underrated career, and it’s an even better final appearance for his father, who sadly died only a few months later.

91. Son of Havoc vs. Son of Madness (Season 3, Havoc Running Wild)

Oh look; another match that will get five different reactions from five different people. And sure, maybe it wasn’t the best idea for LU to go the Spider-Man meme route and do a program with two guys who looked exactly like each other doing battle. But I liked this feud and I really, really liked this conclusion. Son of Havoc has always been a worker beloved for his athletic ability and underdog qualities, but he’s also a guy who can fight with the best when put in the correct situation. And this was said situation against Madness, a bigger, more vicious doppelganger of Havoc who showed surprising athleticism and fight of his own than I ever expected. Throw in the stakes, with Havoc fighting to keep his identity separate from the former mysterious motorcycle gang he once belonged to with Madness, and this is quite the underrated match that probably would be more appreciated if Madness had dressed differently. But hey, what’s a biker gang if you’re not all wearing the same gear? You think they were dressing differently in Sons of Anarchy? No sir!

90. Johnny Mundo vs. Texano (Season 1, PenUltima Lucha)

Ah Texano; the poster child for workers who look good on paper and then constantly make you wonder where it all went wrong. Like Azteca, he’s also the poster child for putting it together for one match to give you hope before disappearing right back into the void of disappointment. After a slightly underwhelming feud with Alberto El Patron and a feud with DelAvar Daivari so bad that, like Jupiter Ascending, we’re all trying to forget it, Texano did just that with this sneaky good match with Johnny Mundo prior to Ultima Lucha Uno. It’s nothing flashy but it’s just overall really well worked; Texano actually comes across as a three dimensional worker, Mundo is as impressive as ever and best of all, each man’s story (Texano’s feud with The Crew/Blue Demon Jr. and Mundo’s feud with Alberto) are advanced with a well done post match interference angle. We even got to see the past issues between Alberto and Texano touched on. A success across the board, which makes it all the more frustrating that Texano has only had three or four moments of inspiration since then. No wonder Famous B is trying to fix him!

89. Pentagon Dark vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (Season 3, Wheel of Misfortune)

I’m probably underrating it a bit because Pentagon lost (he shouldn’t have) and because, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a relatively meaningless match considering the lack of stakes. But taken just on workrate this is pretty swell, with Pentagon continuing his new darker trend following the transformation to Pentagon Dark and Mysterio proving his epic performance with Prince Puma wasn’t a fluke. If only LU had actually given us this match again with more meaning or if, you know, they had let Pentagon win! I’m not one who thinks Pentagon was mishandled but come on; going 0-2 after the new transformation is a little much. And I say that as someone who supports LU’s policy of having the new people lose their first match.

88. Sexy Star vs. Taya (Season 3, Ultima Lucha Tres Part Three)

What a journey this match took in the year between it was filmed and aired? Cubsfan puts it best in his review; at the time the match occurred, AAA loved Taya and loathed Sexy Star for walking out on them. When it finally aired, Taya and AAA were on the outs while Sexy had become the most loathed wrestler since Alberto El Patron. Somehow I think the controversy helped the match; by the time it aired fans wanted to see Sexy Star get beaten up and many wanted to see Taya do that after Sexy swooped in and stole her spot (and belt) from AAA. Luckily that’s what we got; Taya goes into full bad ass mode, Sexy keeps up and we wind up with a better than expected street fight. The only mistake is that Taya should’ve won, but that’s with revisionist history in mind, something no one at LU could’ve foreseen when this match was first thought up. In the end, Taya is so good that the loss doesn’t hurt her, and Sexy Star got to get a win before she disappeared into the never, hopefully to never be seen again.

87. Fenix vs. Prince Puma (Season 3, The Cup Runneth Over)

The thing about Lucha Underground is that, sometimes, they can subvert your expectations for certain matches. This Fenix-Puma match in season three, a Cueto Cup semi-finals match, was one of those bouts; in fact I’d argue it was a culmination in a series of matches Puma and Fenix had during season three that was unlike what you’d expect from them. It’s no secret that both guys are known for their flying, yet their season three work was notable for them doing less flying in search of putting together better rounded overall performances. This match was the peak of that and the complete opposite of the sprint they had in season one. But while that match was more exciting and, in my opinion better, there’s no doubt there’s a certain substance to the work here that the first bout didn’t have. There’s flying yes, but there’s also hard hitting, back and forth style action that fits Puma’s slow walk towards darkness as well as Fenix’ own hardships with Marty “The Moth” Martinez. So while it’s not what you’d expect, it’s still a rewarding experience that shows the growth in both men and does advance both Puma’s dark storyline and the Fenix-Moth issues thanks to Marty’s distraction. Honestly, I almost wonder if this match would age better if it wasn’t followed by the greatest brawl in wrestling history that closed the episode. Remember that? The rest of these matches are lucky that wasn’t a match; it would be up in the top ten just for Dario celebrating triumphantly while they chaos engulfed him.

86. Alberto El Patron vs. Texano (Season 1, The Art of War)

No match on this list has aged worse than this one. And how could it not; we’ve already described Texano’s shortcomings and these days Alberto El Patron is so loathed that I’m pretty sure there’s more people protesting his potential returns to AAA, LU and WWE than there are protesting President Trump. Alright, maybe I’m being a little over the top but you get the point; no one likes these two guys much these days (except my pal Eve, who loves Texano) and thus there’s no reason to really remember this match. A shame because, despite the recent past and the fact that this feud was just kind of there, it’s actually pretty good. I’m not sure the chemistry Texano and Patron had in AAA completely transitioned into LU, but they come as close as possible with this bull rope match, which establishes Texano as a decent brawler (notice how all his best matches feature that) and solidified Patron as a force to be reckoned with in the Temple. If only Texano had actually gotten momentum coming out of this and Patron hadn’t thrown all the momentum away to go become the most loathed wrestler since New Japan tried to turn Captain Fookin New Japan into Bone Soldier.

85. Mariposa & Marty “The Moth” Martinez vs. Fenix & Melissa Santos (Season 3, The Rise of the Ring Announcer)

LU has had to pull off some crazy shit in their day; I’m not sure if there was ever a match more challenging than this one though. First, these four had to put a bow on a red hot angle between Fenix and Marty before their big hair match at Ultima Lucha Tres. Secondly, they had to construct a match that featured Melissa Santos, the best ring announcer in the world today (in my opinion) but a performer who hadn’t wrestled in several years. Somehow LU pulled off the impossible and made this match not only good but captivating; Fenix and the Moths are brilliant and Melissa is both well protected and pretty electric with the few spots she can do. The fact that LU is also ballsy enough to give Marty and Mariposa the win over Melissa helps too, as it only adds fuel to the fire for what would end up being a classic match a few weeks later. It might be more impressive as a piece of booking than a match, but it’s still quite the accomplishment whichever way you slice it.

84. Aerostar vs. Johnny Mundo (Season 1, Fight to the Death)

For every Texano or El Dragon Azteca Jr. that has ability but can’t harness it into something special, there’s Aerostar; a guy who has the ability, has established himself as an exciting, popular luchador but who hasn’t quite gotten the shot to break out yet. This match wasn’t one of those break out moments, but it was a highly underrated effort on one of the best shows Lucha Underground has ever broadcast. No one expected Aerostar, fresh off losing a best of five series to Drago, to have a shot at the newly turned Johnny Mundo, which makes it all the more satisfying when Aerostar puts up a competitive fight. It doesn’t hurt either that Mundo’s transition to rudo is a complete success, with the Wednesday Night Delight toning down the high flying in favor of a ground and pound style attack and an overdose of overconfidence. Frankly this is the perfect not quite squash match; the newly turned rudo is allowed to dominate and look strong, but shows enough vulnerability that the plucky technico gets some good work in and looks strong himself. It’s also further proof that Mundo, as you’ve probably realized by now, really does work well with everyone on the roster. Well except Sexy Star, but we’ll give him a pass there.

83. Matanza vs. Son of Havoc (Season 3, Wheel of Misfortune)

Hey, it’s that match made when Dario broke out the Wheel of Randomness! Good times. Some will say this is Son of Havoc’s shining moment as a singles wrestler and, while I wouldn’t go that far, it was an excellent Kickstarter to season three. The contrast between the two is great; Matanza as the indestructible monster vs. the beloved, never say die underdog in Havoc is a great story anyway you describe it and they do a good job of essaying it. Havoc gets to show off a lot more than you’d expect and crucially Matanza shows some vulnerability, something he struggled to do even when he was in competitive matches Mil Muertes, Cage and Pentagon Dark. It’s not the peak of either guy, but it’s a fun match with a classic story that served to help get Havoc some momentum after a disappointing conclusion to his season two.

82. Angelico vs. Johnny Mundo (Season 1, Uno! Dos! Tres!)

You know how you can tell the quality of LU matches are strong; because there’s some people out there who will argue this match is one of the best in LU history. And we’re only at number 82! At the time both men were kind of at a crossroads; Mundo had just finished feuding with King Cuerno and was in between programs, while Angelico was just about be forced into a trios team with Son of Havoc and Ivelisse, a three way union that would produce some of the greatest moments in LU history. Even still, this proves to be a killer fast paced battle, with Mundo once more adapting to his opponent (he’s so good at that, isn’t he?) while Angelico shows off his unique ability of high flying and devastating strikes. It’s amazing this is one of Angelico’s few killer singles matches in LU, which goes to show you he’s been injured quite a bit. Here’s hoping that doesn’t continue so we can see the long teased rematch between these two. Also, here’s hoping that, like this match, it occurs on my birthday! It’s like LU knew exactly what I wanted.

81. Dante Fox, Killshot, The Mack vs. Drago, Pindar, Vibora (Season 3, Ultima Lucha Tres Part Three)

To this point, all three Ultima Lucha events have been so loaded that even some really great matches get overlooked. Fox, Killshot and Big Willie vs. The Snakes suffers from that due to it being a thrown together unit against a team that, let’s face it, hadn’t really done much to that point. But there’s so much going on here that it’s impossible to ignore. You’ve got the Trios Titles needing a kick in the ass after being pushed into the background during the Cueto Cup. You’ve got The Mack, who willed himself into just coming up short for the Lucha Underground Championship, finally trying to get some gold. Oh, and there’s also that tiny factor of Dante Fox and Killshot being forced to team together just two shows removed from them trying to kill each other in a match that you’re definitely going to be reading about later in this series. So what happens? The two put aside their issues and fight, scratch and claw their way through the pain. Drago continues to give into the manipulation of Kobra Moon. Pindar fights like he’s trying to keep his head. Big Willie bursts with energy. And ultimately the makeshift team featuring two enemies and a peacemaker come together to overcome reptiles, hostility and a whole lot pain to win the Trios Titles. It’s a great story, and that’s before you factor in the stunners, the selling and them gorram flips.

That’s 100-81! As you can see, some of the matches aren’t easily accessed on YouTube so if you want to see the matches not featured, I suggest you go watch the matches on Netflix or you can find the seasons at iTunes or Amazon Video – links are below. They aren’t hard to find last I checked. In any event, join me next Lucha Underground Wednesday here on LuchaCentral.com for 80-61. Till then, THIS!

 

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Find the build to many of these matches, full matches and more on the Official Lucha Underground YouTube Page and get Ready for Season 4 by getting caught up on seasons 1, 2, and 3:
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Want more Lucha Underground related content here on Lucha Central?  Check out The Best of MMM Show videos here, exclusively on LuchaCentral.com for interviews with:
Executive Producer – Eric Van Wagnen
Writer/Producer – Chris Roach
Senior Official – Marty Elias
Luchadora – Kobra Moon
Commentator – Matt Striker

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