Lucha Underground S02E20: The Contenders

Lucha Underground S02E20: The Contenders

By Big Red Machine
From June 08, 2016

Lucha Underground S02E20: The Contenders

The Contenders

BLACK LOTUS & DARIO CUETO IN DARIO’S OFFICE- we have our first match for Ultima Lucha II!
She told Dario about what happened last week with Dragon Azteca Jr. She tells him that if she finds out that he has been lying to her about Dragon Azteca killing her parents, he will have to answer to her and to the entire Black Lotus Triad. Dario assures her he is telling the truth and tells her he will give her the chance to defeat Drago Azteca Jr. in personal combat at Ultima Lucha II and take his mask back to the Black Lotus Triad.

The announcers tell us about a whole bunch of matches. Some are for tonight, some are for next week, and I think one of them might have been for Ultima Lucha but I’m not sure. One of them has some sort of stipulation that I don’t understand. Something about the winning team facing each other for some sort of prize. The point is that Matt Striker either didn’t explain it well or was talking way too fast.

They brawled on the outside and Striker told us that the referee was being lenient and had not yet started counting. About three seconds later, the referee counted “six” and Striker just kept going like he hadn’t just said something that was proven completely incorrect. I don’t know if this was Striker screwing up or they edited some stuff out or what, but either way it made Striker look like an idiot. Then, about five seconds later, he counted them out and called for the bell while Striker tried to show us how lenient the referee was by saying that he “started his count over twice.” This must have been an editing issue, but it resulted in a two minute match that both men seemed totally exhausted after that went to a count-out with a lot of wacky continuity problems.
They kept fighting for a bit after the match, but they were apparently exhausted so it was slow and unexciting. Killshot got his dog tags back, but then Marty stole them again.

MR. CISQO’S INTERROGATION- Captain Vasquez gives him a choice. Either she puts him away for a very long time, or he wears a wire to help them get evidence on Dario. He is initially reluctant, but then asks what she is trying to put Dario away for. She gives the usual stuff you probably could have guessed: drug-running, money-smuggling, murders… and then she says that she thinks Dario is the “lynchpin” “to the end of days.” Well… that sure took a left turn into even-crazier-town.

NUNCHUCKS MATCH: Jack Evans & P.J. Black vs. Drago & Aerostar- 6/10… but weird.
So there are nunchucks around the ring… but they’re not, like, sitting out on tables or tied to the ropes or whatever. They’re hanging from cables from the ceiling… but they’re still way up in the air. What the f*ck is the point of that? In order to get the first pair, the heels had to climb the stairs, then have Jack get on P.J.’s shoulders in order to pull them down. At that point why even bother trying to get them?
Drago blew mist in Jack’s face. Call me neurotic, Melissa announced this match as a match in which “nunchucks are legal.” That means you should still be able to get DQed for other things, right? Drago then came off the top rope for a diving arm drag which he transitioned into his signature wacky roll-up for the very anti-climactic and nunchuck-less pin.
This match was certainly fun (aside from the finish), but it was very weird to watch. They did a lot of creative things to make it more than just the “hitting each other with nunchucks” that you expect, but at the same time, Jack’s character adds a levity things that seemed just as out of place in a grudge match with nunchucks as the finish did.

PRE-MAIN EVENT SEGMENT- Pentagon Jr.’s spot in this match was supposed to go to Chavo Guerero Jr., but Pentagon came out in his wheel chair and thanked Chavo for (paraphrasing) “being the only one who helped me.” I have no idea what he is talking about. Then, once Chavo’s back was turned, Pentagon Jr. got up from his wheelchair and told Chavo that he would destroy him. What an ungrateful asshole! Then he hit Chavo with some moves and then broke his arm. After a commercial break, Dario came out to both remind us that it was Matanza who broke Pentagon Jr.’s back and also to tell Pentagon Jr. that he can have Chavo’s spot in this match. This was all very wacky. Why not just book Pentagon Jr. in this match in the first place and frame it with the story that he is out for revenge and/or redemption against Matanza.

WINNING TEAM FIGHTS EACH OTHER NEXT WEEK FOR A LUCHA UNDERGROUND TITLE SHOT AT ULTIMA LUCHA II: Price Puma, The Mack, Son of Havoc, Sexy Star, El Texano Jr., & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Johnny Mundo, Taya, Ivelisse, King Cuerno, Fenix, & Pentagon Jr.- 6.5/10
This match was a spotfest. No real story. Just them building excitement based on giving you cool match-ups and a completely pointless train of dives towards the finish (although the finish does seem to set up for Rey vs. Prince Puma at Ultima Lucha, but there was almost certainly a better way to build to that which plays off the finish of last week’s Lucha Underground Trios Titles match.
That spot where Taya ran in to try to help Mundo against El Texano Jr. made her look pathetic. She runs in and starts using slap-fight strikes like a small child would. El Texano Jr. completely no-sells this and pie-faces her down. She gets up and does it again and he no-sells it again, then grabs her by the air, shoves her face into Mundo’s crotch, and then knocks her down with one chop and she sells it by crawling all the way back to her corner. It was completely credulity-defying that this is the same woman who was wrestling earlier in this match. She can be an ineffective heel who gets humiliated, or she can be a real competitor. Not both. Choose one.
Also, there was no follow-up whatsoever on Mundo jumping Fenix and taking his spot on Jack and P.J.’s team.

CATRINA IS IN KING CUERNO’S TROPHY ROOM- she uses the magical stone to bring Mil Muertes back to life. I guess he is interfering in next week’s #1 contendership match to take out King Cuerno. And that’s not a complaint. In some other promotions, doing something like this that telegraphs interference would be frustrating to me as a fan (think this week’s Bullet Club promo on ROH TV or any of the numerous segments we get like that from WWE or TNA), but in Lucha Underground, I am perfectly fine with it. Happier, ever. If Mil is going to show up at The Temple next week, you should explain how he came to life and got out of the trophy room before that happens.

This was a very weird show. I don’t think Ultima Lucha II had ever been mentioned before tonight (and I have absolutely no idea when it is), but then we get to tonight’s show and it’s all about setting things up for Ultima Lucha II. Worst among these was the wacky six-person tag with the #1 contendership stips. I am fine with the teams feeling random, the participation of the various wrestlers in the match felt completely random as well. Prince Puma, Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, Taya, King Cuerno… what have any of these people done to earn this opportunity? Chavo, too now that I think about it. And you could make an argument against Sexy Star and El Texano Jr. as well. And then you have The Mack and Fenix who maybe you could argue deserve a shot, but they have been complete and total background characters for a long time. It’s not that there aren’t stories that you can tell with some of these guys getting title shots… it’s just that they haven’t done anything to start focusing on those stories yet, and now we’re one week away from crowning a #1 contender. The only story they have really focused on is Pentagon Jr.’s road to redemption, but even that has been pretty weak. His back gets broken, then we get a few vignettes of Vampiro torturing him, and now he’s back again, sowing no ill effects of the injury, either physically or psychologically, and twenty minutes later he is just one step away from a title match. It seems rushed, and not only that, but rushed very clumsily.

1. Vampiro says that one thing he loves about the Temple is that the action gets so close to the crowd that the fans are able to touch the wrestlers.
Can we please not encourage this? This would be bad enough coming from anyone, but coming from a guy who famous had to fight a fan that attacked a wrestler in the middle of a match… COME ON! Have some f*cking common sense!

2. Matt Striker tries to sell us on how “unique” Taya is. Being Matt Striker, he offers no evidence except to claim that she has some sort of nebulous “violent streak.”
Look. I like Taya as much as the next fan, but let’s not pretend that she is something new and different when she clearly isn’t. She’s a solid worker, yes. But we’ve seen plenty of those. She’s a talented blonde with an awesome rack. We’ve seen that before. She’s not even the only one in the wrestling business right now. She’s not even the only talented blonde Canadian with an awesome rack on a televised wrestling show every week right now. Nor is she the only talented blonde with an awesome rack trained by Lance Storm on TV every week. She’s not unique… and there’s nothing wrong with that… so why kill your credibility with a pointless and obvious lie?

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