Lucha Underground – Episode #33: Death vs. The Dragon
Date: June 24, 2015
Location: Lucha Underground Temple, Boyle Heights, CA
Commentators: Matt Striker, Vampiro
Previously on Lucha Underground…
Fenix wins a seven man match to capture an Aztec Medallion. Drago exploits a loophole to return to the temple and become the #1 Contender at Ultima Lucha. Catrina forces Dario Cueto to book Mil Muertes in a match with Drago for the #1 Contender spot, and calls out Matanza, Dario's brother, as no match for Mil Muertes.
We are welcomed into the temple by Los Rayobacks on the bandstand.
Matt Striker and Vampiro recap the Johnny Mundo vs. Alberto El Patron feud, and announce that Mundo/Patron has been set for Ultima Lucha.
We go to the ring with Sexy Star already standing in it. Super Fly, sans mask, is introduced as her opponent, returning to action for the first time since losing his mask to her, and having his arm broken by Pentagon Jr.
Prior to the match starting, however, we cut to a Ringside with Vampiro segment in which Vampiro interviewed Super Fly.
In the interview, Vampiro says to Super Fly that when he returned during the Sexy Star/Pentagon Jr. match, everyone thought he was returning to get revenge on the man who broke his arm, but instead he came back for revenge on the woman who took his mask. Vamp wants to know why. Super Fly (in Spanish with subtitles) says he doesn't have to explain himself to anyone, prompting an abrupt, hilarious, Vampiro facial reaction cutaway. Super Fly continues that Sexy Star stole something from him, so he wanted to steal something from her and make her experience the pain he felt, however, Vampiro stopped that by saving Sexy Star from having her arm broken by Pentagon Jr. Vampiro responds that Sexy Star didn't steal Super Fly's mask, but beat him fairly in a match that only happened because of Dario Cueto. Super Fly responds that Sexy could have just walked away from the match, and the temple altogether and none of this would have happened. Super Fly says that Dario Cueto personally made a rematch between him and Sexy Star, and warns Vampiro not to interfere. Vampiro warns Super Fly to stop worrying about him, and worry about the woman who beat him. Super Fly says he will not take it easy on her because she's a woman this time, and that he'll put her in her place. Good segment establishing the motives for the feud, continuing the involvement of Vampiro as Sexy Star's protector, and name dropping Dario Cueto as someone intrigued by all this tension.
Match #1 - Sexy Star vs. Super Fly
Fly starts by slapping Sexy across the face. Sexy comes back with a chop. After some rope running, Fly kicks Sexy to the ground and drop an elbow for a near fall. Fly tosses Sexy across the ring and lays a stiff kick into her back. Fly then whips Sexy off the ropes and connects with an awkward back elbow. He then goes for Sexy's mask briefly, before nailing another kick, then taking Sexy off the ropes and down to the mat again with a drop kick.
Vampiro interjects that Super Fly "needs to stop being a bitch and get on with life."
Fly goes for another whip off the ropes, but Sexy counters and fights back with kicks taking Super Fly off his feet. She covers for a near fall. Both get back to their feet and Super Fly takes her down with a front kick, and then delivers a kick to the head.
The pace is very methodical so far and these two aren't doing much of anything.
Another whip, another kick, another take down, another two count by Super Fly. A stiff right hand to the face by Super Fly staggers Sexy, followed by a kick to the thigh, and a headbutt. Sexy counters a right hand with a chop and an arm drag takedown, followed by a dropkick to the leg, and a cradle for a near fall.
Sexy attacks with kicks, but pauses her attack for too long, allowing Fly to get back up and nail her with a straight right fist to the face that staggers Sexy again. Super Fly follows with a big boot to the face and a mocking cover. Super Fly hits a weak death valley driver, and then a running senton for another near fall.
Sexy gets to her feet near the ropes, Super Fly charges and gets back body dropped over the top rope. Weirdly, Super Fly lands on his feet but just collapses. I couldn't quite tell if that was a botch or not, but the next move certainly was. Sexy Star climbs to the top and jumps for a flying cross body, but apparently Super Fly was too far away from her and she doesn't quite make it on the jump, instead awkwardly falling into Super Fly at the end. Awful looking spot. Both engage on the outside with Sexy jumping up to, and off the apron, into an arm drag to take Super Fly down. Fly gets back to his feet and charges, misses, but still takes Sexy down with a back elbow.
Super Fly gets back in the ring. Sexy Star climbs the turnbuckle and connects with a flying cross body, but Super Fly just pushes her off despite her nailing the move. This match is really weird and awkward. Fly misses a splash. Sexy misses a splash and gets lifted on to the apron. Sexy climbs the turnbuckle again, and again awkwardly attempts some move that's botched, this time with her jumping off, landing on her feet, and then trying to save the move by turning it into an arm drag. Sexy follows up with kicks, then hits a leg drop into a cover for a near fall. Sexy comes back with a back elbow, chop, and a suplex into a bridge for another near fall. Super Fly gets back into it nailing Sexy, coming off the ropes, with a kick to the stomach. Super Fly then hits a double powerbomb, sitting down on the second one, and scoring the pin out of nowhere, and in extremely anticlimactic fashion.
Winner: Super Fly
Reaction: This was awful. Never moving past the basic move set of kicks and chops killed the crowd, but they could have salvaged it if they were actually telling a decent story in the ring, like Super Fly methodically dismantling Sexy Star out of revenge. Every time it looked like the match would go that way, though, Sexy Star would rally back. So I don't really understand what the point of this was. And the few high spots these two did attempt were all botched. Truthfully one of the worst LU matches I've seen to date.
Immediately after the bell, Super Fly continues to put the boots to Sexy Star, then goes for her mask. Sexy resists, so Super Fly just tosses her out of the ring.
Matt Striker teases a third Aztec Medallion match featuring Cage, Aerostar, Pentagon Jr, Marty The Moth Martinez, and The Mack.
We come back to a Drago training vignette with the caption "Drago Prepares For The Battle...Tonight"
The introductions are started for the Five Way Aztec Medallion Match. Pentagon Jr is out first and he snatches the mic from Melissa Santos forcefully, sending her fleeing the ring. In Spanish he cuts a promo saying he's not interested in winning a medallion for his master, but instead wants to offer his master something greater. He says he's interested in destroying the man who took from him his greatest sacrifice, and then calls out Vampiro. Pentagon demands Vampiro confront him in the ring right now. Vamp, seated at the announcing desk, doesn't flinch, so Pentagon jumps out of the ring and walks over to him. Vamp tries to beg off, so Pentagon grabs him by his shirt collar. Vamp and Pentagon get face to face. Vamp starts taking his shirt off like he's going to fight, but a referee jumps down to separate the two. Pentagon Jr. then walks off. Striker throws it to commercial, saying we'll come back with just a four-way match as Vamp sits at the table stewing about the encounter. I found it odd that Pentagon would provoke a fight, and then walk away at the sight of a single referee. Oh well. A Vampiro/Pentagon Jr. feud is an odd use of one of LU's best performers in Pentagon Jr, but Vamp is super over with the LU crowd, so it probably will actually help Pentagon's character. I can't say I have high expectations for the match, though, if that's where this leads. Vamp is in pretty rough shape. But maybe the crowd can make it.
We're back, as Striker shows concern for Vampiro who is still fuming. Our remaining four competitors are in the ring.
Match #2 - Aztec Medallion Match - Fatal Four-way: Cage vs. Aerostar vs. Marty Martinez vs. The Mack
The Mack goes after Cage immediately. Remember, Cage stole The Mack's spot in the trios team with Daivari and Big Ryck by attacking The Mack. Marty walks over to Aerostar, puts his arm around him, and the two stand in the middle of the ring pointing and laughing at the other two fighting. Marty's a great character, I'd love to see more of him. Aerostar tires of this, and goes for a schoolboy for a nearfall on Marty. Aerostar nails a hurricanrana on Marty, then drives two knees into his throat near the turnbuckle. The Mack rocks Cage with a kick to the head in the other corner. Cage shakes it off and hits a big boot, then a german suplex, which Mack no sells. Mack comes right back at Cage with a clothesline taking him out of the ring.
Vampiro finally speaks, apologizing to the crowd for losing focus during the last segment. Mack and Cage fight over by the announce table. Aerostar is still kicking Marty in the corner. Aerostar leaves Marty to attempt a dive on Cage and Mack, but Marty interrupts it with a clothesline taking Aerostar down. Marty then steals Aerostar's spot, nailing a suicide dive over the top onto Cage and Mack. Marty finds the camera and screams "Aztec Pride!" into it. Aerostar hits a crazy triple jump springboard dive to the outside taking out Marty and Mack.
Cage gets back in the ring. Aerostar attempts a springboard cross body onto him, but is caught. Cage does barbell curls with Aerostar's body then hits a fallaway slam tossing Aerostar over his head, over the top rope, and into Marty and Mack. Very cool spot. Cage grabs Marty and pulls him on the apron and then suplexs him into the ring, covering for a near fall.
Mack is back in, he hits a running drop kick on Cage, then a sling blade. Cage rolls out. Mack thinks about a dive, but Aerostar pops up on the apron and hits a springboard dropkick taking Mack down. Aerostar heads back to the apron and hits a springboard senton on Mack for a near fall. After some back and forth, Mack gains an advantage with a Samoan drop on Aerostar, followed by a kip up into a standing moonsault for a near fall that's broken up by Marty. Aerostar rolls out, Marty and Mack engage.
Marty doubles over Mack with an elbow to the gut, and then bounces off the ropes and hits him in the face with a crane kick. Marty covers for a near fall. Cage grabs Aerostar on the outside and back body drops him onto the apron. Marty attempts another cover on Mack for a near fall. After a series of attempts and countered moves, Marty jumps from the apron to the second rope and springboards into an arm drag on Mack. He then follows it with a running dropkick and covers again for a near fall. Marty comes off the ropes and Mack finally gets back in it by popping him up and nailing him with a forearm (bullhammer).
Cage jumps back in the ring behind Mack and levels Mack with a discus clothesline for a near fall. Cage then grabs Marty in the rack position and turns it into a neckbreaker for a near fall. Aerostar runs back in and attempts a head scissors on Cage, but Cage just tosses him off halfway through the move in a cool looking sequence. Cage goes for the discus clothes line on Aerostar, but misses. Aerostar counters with two drop kicks that stagger Cage. Marty gets to his feet and teams with Aerostar on a double drop kick which sends Cage into the ropes. They send Cage off with a double whip, but Cage breaks their clothesline and counters with a double clothesline. Cage is then pulled outside by Mack, but Cage throws him into the ring post. Cage pulls Mack up onto the apron and attempts something from the fireman's carry position, but Mack gets down, grabs Cage and nails an exploder suplex onto the apron! Holy shit! Mack climbs to the second rope, facing the outside and hits a frog splash on Cage, who is laying on the outside.
In the ring, Marty is climbing the turnbuckle with Aerostar scrambling to his feet. Marty takes time to play to the crowd and Aerostar runs across and kicks him into a seated position on the turnbuckle. Aerostar then runs to a turnbuckle directly connected to the one Marty is on, runs across to Marty walking the middle rope and hits a hurricanrana off the top to take Marty down. Aerostar then heads to the apron and hits a springboard splash for the pin.
Reaction: Perfectly acceptable spot-based match. I like the goofiness of the Marty The Moth character. I do think Cage is being a little underutilized by being thrown into matches like this, only to lose. Mack was probably the star of the match, but Aerostar gets the win and the medallion meaning he, along with Fenix, and Jack Evans have three of the seven.
We see a teaser for the main event, Drago vs. Mil Muertes.
We come back to a video package of our Trios Champions in training. Son of Havoc and Ivelisse are sparring with boxing gloves. Angelico is working out. Son of Havoc tags Ivelisse after she makes a mistake in sparring, prompting a fight which Angelico tries to smooth over. Ivelisse tells Havoc if she ever hits him like that again, "God..."
"Oh sweetheart, God can't help you." Out walks Catrina from the shadows. Catrina gets right in Ivelisse's face in a seductive manner and tells her that sooner or later death will come to all three of them. As soon as she says this, the Disciples of Death, complete with CGI static electricity, appear behind them and attack all three dropping them. We then cut to a smirking Catrina who holds out her hand. It's taken by Mil Muertes, dressed for battle, who leads her towards the ring for the main event. Not a bad way to establish the Disciples of Death as challengers for the Trios titles, but the CGI electricity was pretty hokey, even for LU.
Drago enters the ring and is immediately attacked by Hernandez who begins whipping him with his belt. Well...that was...unexpected. Hernandez starts choking Drago out with the belt. Hernandez leaves Drago laying, and we go to commercial with Drago's fate for the match in doubt.
Drago has pulled himself up in the corner and signaled he wants to fight. Mil Muertes is announced.
Match #3 - #1 Contender's Match: Drago vs. Mil Muertes w/ Catrina
Mil spears Drago into the corner. Mil whips Drago across to the other turnbuckle and goes for a running spear, but Drago moves. Drago attempts a german suplex, but Mil fights out with elbows. Mil reverses into a waste lock, Drago counters out with Sliced Bread #2 and pounces with kicks, but Mil is no-selling everything and takes Drago down with an overhead belly to belly. Mil then plants Drago with a clothesline and starts pummeling Drago. Mil bends Drago across the ropes with a chinlock, then tosses him into the corner and pummels him with clotheslines. Mil attempts a press slam, but Drago fights out and counters with a series of kicks. Drago runs at Mil, but Mil attempts and misses a tilt-a-whirl out of which Drago hits his feet, runs to the ropes, and comes back with a headscissors sending Mil into the corner. Drago charges but gets a foot to the chest. Mil then unloads with a massive spear driving Drago into the canvas. The crowd chants "Get the coffin!" Mil picks Drago's body up and connects with a DDT for a near fall. Mil drives knees into Drago's spine and attempts another cover for a near fall. Mil starts chopping Drago up against the ropes, then whips him, out of which Drago spins over top of of Mil. Mil charges and Drago hits an enziguri which stuns Mil as he falls through the ropes to the outside. Drago then leaps to the top and hits a flying cross body onto Mil on the outside.
Both men get back to their feet, and Mil blocks a punch from Drago and just starts double hand choking him, then throws him into the ring post, then tosses him into a row of chairs at ringside. Mil goes crazy tearing up chairs and hitting Drago with them. Drago begins to pull himself out of the chair wreckage, but Mil runs across and spears him into a chair. Mil bounces Drago face first off a chair then throws him into the ring. Mil grabs Drago by the throat and backs him into a corner, then throws him back through the ropes, takes him over to the announce table and powerbombs Drago on table. Mil tosses Drago back into the ring, takes him back into the corner, whips him to the opposite corner and charges again, but Drago slides through the ropes and hits a pele kick to stun Mil. Drago then hits a springboard DDT that takes Mil off his feet. Drago then goes for a springboard into his roll through Dragon Slayer maneuver, but Mil powers out through the roll and just starts pummeling him in the back. Mil stalks Drago for a second, then pulls him up. Drago goes for a punch which Mil blocks, counters with a punch of his own, and then pulls him into the Flatliner for the pin. Catrina administers the lick of death after the match.
Winner: Mil Muertes
Reaction: I didn't get the Hernandez interference at all. It's hard to say Hernandez cost Drago the match when Mil Muertes has basically become Bane since being resurrected, and is pretty much unstoppable anyway. If the idea was to start a Hernandez/Drago program, this could have been done a better way. The match was fine for being a glorified squash, because there was enough excitement in it to keep it interesting, and it was the story that needed to be told to set up the stakes for Ultima Lucha. Puma/Muertes is your money match. You now have the champion who's beaten everyone versus the unstoppable force.
After the match, Mil Muertes and Catrina pose in the ring, but then Prince Puma and Konnan walk out onto the temple stairs for a staredown with Muertes and Catrina, as Striker hypes the Ultima Lucha main event.
Final Thoughts: By LU standards, kind of a weak show. The Sexy Star/Super Fly match was just horrendous and put a damper on the rest of the show. The other two matches were fine, but nothing special. The picture for Ultima Lucha became clearer as we have two official matches, Puma/Muertes and Mundo/El Patron, and clues as to where we may be headed (Drago/Hernandez, Vampiro/Pentagon Jr, Havoc, Ivelisse, and Angelico/Disciples of Death, some type of match involving the Aztec Medallion winners).
In regards to Puma/Muertes: it should be a great match, and how it goes in four weeks does present some interesting possibilities in terms of how Lucha Underground ends Season 1, and what it may come back to at the start of a Season 2.
If Puma retains at Ultima Lucha, the story of the season really becomes Puma taking on all the top challengers in the promotion and rising above them all, ending the season by beating perhaps his greatest challenger. That scenario firmly establishes Puma as the face of Lucha Underground. It also means that they will likely have to go out and find a high profile wrestler on the open market to come in and be Puma’s primary rival in a Season 2, because it would be hard to maintain interest re-running all the same feuds next year.
The other scenario, and perhaps more interesting one, may be if Muertes ends the season as champion. The obvious move for Muertes, as champion, would be dealing with the inevitable resurrection of Fenix and the blow off match to their feud, now centered on the title, as the tentpole for a Season 2. And that would be great, because the Fenix/Muertes matches have been brutal and awesome.
But the other possible move involving Muertes, has to do with the tease of issues the past of couple of weeks between Catrina and Dario Cueto, including Catrina flat out telling Cueto that not even Matanza is a match for Mil Muertes. That offers the possibility that Matanza debuts in Season 2 as the primary challenger to a Muertes reign. The Matanza thing is a very crucial element of Lucha Underground that the show needs to land on correctly, given how much they've invested in it. When you have someone EAT THE FACE OFF A WRESTLER, it inevitably sets a certain level of expectation that is damn near impossible to meet. If they cast the right wrestler for the role, and he looks the part, it could be great. If they cast Kurrgan in a luchador mask, that’s the type of thing that could kill a promotion (although, it would probably be so ridiculous, I wouldn’t be able to stop laughing at that being the payoff).
The great thing is no matter where Lucha Underground lands on its Ultima Lucha main event, it has great options both ways. And that's the sign of really quality long-term booking.