CATRINA GIVES MIL MUERTES AN EVIL PEP-TALK - She wants him to win the Cueto Cup. He says he will, and also that he loves her (this comes just after we got a recap of Catrina telling Jeremiah Crane that Mil Muertes "isn't the one I love.") This felt like a very odd turn for their relationship to take. It didn't necessarily come out of left field, but it still feels odd. Until right now her comments in the aforementioned segment with Jeremiah Crane read to me as "you misunderstand the nature of mine and Mil's relationship" rather than "Mil loves me but I love someone else." Those two things aren't mutually exclusive, but based on what we'd seen of Mil and Catrina so far, the second explanation never would have even occurred to me, even though it is the more literal one (which speaks to the excellent job they've done with Catrina, making her a character whose words feel like they have layers to them (rather than, say, Bray Wyatt, who feels like he's just spouting off words that don't actually have any sort of double-meanings of significant symbolism attached to them).
One last thing: I'm not sure if this was all intentional, but there are a lot of interesting contrasts between this segment here and the segment between Melissa Santos and Fenix at the beginning of last week's show:
Both have a man pledging to win the Cueto Cup in honor of a woman he is into, but while the heels are blunt, the babyfaces are more subtle in their words; in the babyface segment he shows up where she is while in the heel segment she comes to him; in the babyface segment the desire is mutual while in the heel segment it isn't. And, just to be able to turn this into a compare-and-contrast sandwich, both segment end with a cut to another man who seems to be into the woman, and seems rather unhinged about these things (in this case it was obviously Jeremiah Crane).
CUETO CUP FIRST-ROUND MATCH:
Veneno vs. Mil Muertes (w/Catrina) - squash
CUETO CUP FIRST-ROUND MATCH:
Paul London vs. Vibora (w/Kobra Moon) - 2/10
The creators of the show really need to figure out exactly what "Lucha Underground/The Temple" is in kayfabe. I have always taken it for an underground fight club (that's the feel the early episodes gave off), and Striker and Vampiro are recording commentary for tapes that Dario sells on the black market. If that's the case, though, Striker initially trying to beat around the bush on the issue of the Rabbit Tribe's obvious drug use is really out of place.
Speaking of Paul London's (let's be nice and just say) kayfabe drug use, he really shouldn't do it before he has a match. I did laugh at Kobra Moon's facial expression when London had the carrot to her throat. She was calling to Vibora while her expression said "it's just a f*cking carrot. I'll be fine. Now get down here and kill him already."
They did a bit of comedy, did one or two good spots, then Paul London almost splattered his brains on the seat of a chair while doing a crazy backwards dive, then he won by count-out when the other two Rabbit Tribe guys prevented Vibora from getting back into the ring. Why, exactly, am I supposed to like this cheating druggie?
CUETO CUP FIRST-ROUND MATCH: Joey Ryan vs. Taya - 4.5/10
I was expecting a lot more comedy here, although I'm glad we didn't get it. I was shocked by how short this match was, seeing as how we only have one other match for tonight and we're not even half way done with the show.
JEREMIAH CRANE JUMPS MIL MUERTES OUTSIDE OF THE BATHROOM - Odd. This started with Mil looking into the bathroom mirror, fixing his tie to make it look just perfect. That feels like a very un-Mil Muertes thing to do. Crane jumped with a chair and beat him up with it. Then he took a second one and did... something, to Mil. The idea seems to be that he smacked one chair into another chair into Mil's neck, but the physics of it makes absolutely no sense. I'm not even sure any piece of the chair made any contact with Mil, and even if it did, the fact that the chair was siting on the floor would mean that very little of the downward force would be applied to Mil's neck. Most of it would go into the floor. There were a million better way they could have done this (something with the door of a stall perhaps? Or not set it in the bathroom?). The only good part was Crane telling Mil that "she's MINE!" Are he and Ivelisse still together or not? I don't remember.
MUNDO/MYSTERIO VIDEO PACKAGE - More excellence, although I thought Cage's inclusion was a mistake. I think all of his segments need to show him becoming more obsessed with his possessed gauntlet. He wasn't even wearing it here.
CUETO CUP FIRST-ROUND MATCH:
Killshot vs. Jeremiah Crane - 7.75/10
Striker has taken to calling Jeremiah Crane "the Lucha Death Machine." You know, because he's played by Sami Callihan, who calls himself "the Callihan Death Machine" on the indies. Except that Matt Striker the character on this TV show knows very little about Jeremiah Crane the character on this TV show, and certainly hasn't ever seen anything that would warrant giving him that nickname. This is just one example of the many, many ways in which Matt Striker was absolutely intolerable on this show.
This was one of those matches between two mid-carders that winds up being really, really great, to the point where it feels like both guys have taken a step up... except this time it got ruined by lame distraction finish. And what was the point of Fox being all the way up there with the spotlight on him. Why didn't he just come down to ringside for the distraction? It seems kind of weird that Killshot would notice him all the way up there.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Catrina magically appears (and they gave it a sound effect, too, which I kind of liked, plus they did some editing which made it actually feel like magical powers rather than a stage effect). She holds up her rock. Her face is unreadable, so we don't know if she knows what Crane did to Mil Muertes earlier (although considering her magical powers it seems pretty unlikely to me that she wouldn't know). Crane blew her a kiss.
DARIO & A NEW GUY IN DARIO'S OFFICE - Dario is hyping up next week's show to this new guy. He is a biker, with the same mask style as Son of Havoc. His name is "Son of Madness" and he, too, is from "the open road." Dario books him against Son of Havoc next week to round out the tournament. Maybe I missed him but isn't Matanza supposed to be in this tournament?
My initial impression of this new character is quite negative. He seems like all he'll really be is Son of Havoc's version of Dante Fox: a man from his past who has shown up for some sort of revenge. I was hoping to see the (undercover) return of Cortez Castro/Officer Ricky Reyes or something that indicates that they're planning to pay off the mysterious guy in the Black Panther costume from last season or something like that. What we got here was kind of disappointing.
This was a pretty good show from LU mostly thanks to the main event, but the rest of the show was very easy to sit through, and the Cueto cup is moving along nicely.