PRINCE PUMA & REY MYSTERIO JR. IN THE BATHROOM - Now this is the LU that I know and love. Prince Puma hears voices in his head. They talk to him. He understands. These specific voices appear to be the ones Catrina mentioned when she warned him about what happens when you come back from the dead. Among other things, he saw an image of Vampiro. And I am mean Vampiro Vamprio, the Sith Lord, not Ian Vampiro, the announcer who takes his medication to prevent him from becoming the other Vampiro. Prince Puma was about to break the mirror in the bathroom, just like Ian Vampiro did when he stopped taking his meds... but Rey grabbed his arm to stop him, and asked him if he was okay. THIS is the sort of thing that makes LU special.
Rey is worried about Prince Puma. He thinks he is getting too close to Vampiro. He warns Prince Puma that Vamp is just using him, to which Prince Puma responds "Like you? Like Konnan?" Rey tells Prince Puma that Vampiro "is not you your master," and Prince Puma turns to Rey and pointedly responds "and neither are you" before walking away (which we are shown with a Dutch Tilt, which is commonly used to portray a sort of psychological uneasiness).
Once Prince Puma is gone, Vampiro (meaning Vampiro Vampiro) shows up in the mirror, standing behind Rey and warns him to stay away from Prince Puma or else "just like his last master, I'll send you straight to hell." Rey turns around... and Vampiro isn't there... and now we're looking at Rey with a Dutch Tilt. And he starts hearing Vampiro's warning in his head, over and over... and then Rey puts his fist through the mirror. WONDERFUL!
And then we get the establishing shots of LA and then we go inside the arena with the jovial music playing and Vampiro- Ian Vampiro- being his usual happy but intense self, ready to call a night of Lucha Underground action, betraying no sign that he was just an crazy psychopath using magic to threaten to murder someone. And maybe that's because he wasn't and it was all inside Rey's head. Or maybe not.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH WITH NO TIME LIMIT FOR THE LUCHA UNDERGROUND TITLE:
Johnny Mundo(c) vs. The Mack- 7/10
Before the match Dario came out and made this a Falls Count Anywhere match, with the reasoning being that Johnny had the advantage last week (I guess because he got to pick the stip). I really didn't like this for several reasons:
1. Why are we doing something to ostensibly give the babyface the advantage? (and 1b. how, exactly, does making this match Falls Count Anywhere give The Mack the advantage over Parkour expert Johnny Mundo?)
2. If this is supposed to be the continuation of last week's match, then it should keep the same rules.
3. Johnny got to pick the stip in their last match because he beat Mack in a match to earn that right. Now The Mack is just getting that same reward handed to him for absolutely no reason.
The match itself was great for the time it got, but the whole thing felt kind of pointless. It was the same idea was last week's match: Mundo retains title due to interference from his friends, except this time Taya was in the decisive role instead of Ricky Mandel and for some reason Son of Havoc didn't show up to help out The Mack. I guess on one level it's good that it felt like a continuation of last week's story, but on another level... what was the point of having a continuation?
(Ironically, the only way this would make any sense to me was if they knew they were going to go on hiatus and had planned for the All Night Long draw to be the cliff-hanger but then the hiatus got moved forward by an episode and they didn't have time to change things... except we know that's not what happened because the hiatus was not part of their plan- or even something they knew would be happening when they were filming this.)
DARIO CUETO MAKES AN "EARTH-SHATTER ANNOUNCEMENT" - Dario says that LU has "revolutionized the entire underground fighting industry," which goes to prove that I am correct in the issue that I bring up in Stupid Announcer Quote #2, and Matt Striker is, predictably, a moron.
Anyway, Dario goes on about how awesome LU is and about how awesome he is for making LU so awesome. If Vince McMahon ever sees this promo he'll need to put on suicide watch, because Dario came off as Dana White, ECW Paul Heyman, and NXT Triple H all rolled into one. He's a cult hero, the much-appreciated provider of the beloved entertainment that we get to enjoy every week, and he can run his mouth with impunity not because he's the only game in town but because he is so beloved by his customers that they WANT to cheer his every word, action, and proclamation.
Dario announces that the challenger for the Lucha Underground Championship at Ultima Lucha III will be determined by a 32-person single-elimination tournament for the Cueto Cup. Look... it's just a big tournament. But Dario Cueto makes it feel like the single most awesome thing ever. Bigger than What Culture's thingy, bigger than the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, bigger than King of Trios, bigger than the Mae Young Classic, bigger than BOLA, bigger than the G1. When his contract is up, Dario Cueto will be the biggest free agent in wrestling, and any promotion would be insane not to make him an offer.
Dario further announces that Johnny Mundo will defend his title the same night as the finals of the Cueto Cup. He said he would have just given the title shot to Matanza but Matanza committed the sin of making the Cueto Family look weak against Rey Mysterio two weeks ago (which, in real time, would be the week before the hiatus), so he is giving Rey the title shot instead.
Also, Dario announces that the Lucha Underground Trios Championship match scheduled for tonight will happen right now...
LUCHA UNDERGROUND TRIOS TITLES MATCH:
Drago, Aerostar, & Fenix(c) vs. The Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Pindar, & Vibora)- no rating, half-and-half segment.
They did a good job of getting across everything they wanted to, but everything came apart at the end with their insistence on having Drago be the one to get the pin. You can't change teams in the middle of the match and you can't be on both teams at once. Even if Kobra Moon was never legally part of the match- which doesn't make any sense because you'd think the referee would have made her get off the apron if that was the case- then Drago blowing the mist in Aerostar's face should have caused a DQ. The referee is the guy in charge and if he is operating under the assumption that the teams here are the teams that I have listed above (and he, like the rest of us, certainly was operating under that assumption) then those are teams. This same thing would have worked a lot better if they just had Kobra Moon get the pin (maybe have Drago hold Fenix back to he can't break it up).
MUNDO, MANDEL, & TAYA BACKSTAGE - Weird. Wow. Vamprio was right. Ricky Mandel does look like X-Pac. To the point where it's distracting. Taya put a hold on the champagne Johnny ordered because of Dario's announcement about the title defense against Rey. Look... I want to see the wrestlers take everything seriously more than anyone in the world except possibly Jim Cornette (and obviously Lance Storm)... but this seems kind of like some premature worrying to me. Dario said that the match would take place the same night as the Cueto Cup Finals, and that's thirty-one matches away. Even if we assume that there are absolutely no non-tournament matches between now and then it's going to take them like two months to finish all of those matches? What's wrong with celebrating a little now?
That being said... the purposeful overacting in this was utterly hilarious. I don't think it's particularly good for the show, but it made me laugh, and made me okay with the "no time for pants" joke at the end.
BOYLE HEIGHTS STREET FIGHT:
Prince Puma vs. Mil Muertes (w/Catrina)- 8.5/10
AWESOME match, especially for the time it got (I don't think they even went twelve minutes). Lots of great action and great use of their surroundings, as well as some great stuff involving Vampiro. That spot in Dario's office definitely has to lead to something or else they wouldn't have done it, but I'm not sure what that could be. Dario seemed to ward Mil Muertes off with the red bull statuette... or maybe Mil Muertes just realized he really wouldn't gain anything by bothering Dario so he left. I guess we'll have to find out.
An AWESOME show from Lucha Underground. Lucha Underground is back, and in full force! Next up: the Cueto Cup!
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES
1. Striker suggests that because The Mack was in Falls Count Anywhere matches at both of the first two Ultima Luchas that he might have an advantage in this match. Well I went and checked the results: he's lost more of them than he's won.
2. Striker- "Being Lucha Underground Champion will raise your status, both socially as well as in pop culture."
Pop culture? Isn't this supposed to be an underground fight club? Hence the word UNDERGROUND in the name?
(Striker and Vampiro are there because Dario makes money by selling the tapes on the black market, so he hired some announcers. That's my explanation for it, anyway. The commercials are to cut out downtime, and so Dario can either plug advertisements for his other LU tapes and to make money by selling ad time to people like Famous B).
3. Striker said something about "when a fighter emotes" and "how he connects to believers around the world."
You know... "emotes." As in acting. And this "emoting" helps him "connect" to the fans who are watching because his goal is actually to draw the viewers in and get them invested in him rather than to try to win wrestling watches because it's all fake. F*ck you, Striker.