THE ANNOUNCERS OPEN THE SHOW - Striker tells us that the doctors were able to save Famous B's leg. Vampiro, meanwhile... appears to be on something. He was moving his body in these fluid yet abrupt movements in between which he would stay perfectly still, with this eyes focused intensely on either Striker or the camera. It was exactly how he would move if he were a muppet.
SAMMY GUEVARA vs. JAKE STRONG - 4/10
I had totally forgotten that Guevara was now on LU, so bad follow-up on what should feel like a pretty big signing. They had a good little four-minute match. Would have been better if the referee had actually done his job and counted them out, but then we couldn't have our big dive, which was what they decided to do to get Guevara over in defeat. Maybe don't book a guy whose only strength is flipping? Just a thought.
Strong won with the ankle lock. If the match had gone on longer I'm sure I would have been annoyed by Guevara not selling as much as he probably should have, but it didn't go long enough for it to be a real problem for me. Strong kept the hold on afterwards and supposedly snapped Guevara's ankle or whatever. Are they building to Strong vs. Pentagon Dark? Because that's the only way that Strong doesn't start to feel like a pale imitation of Pentagon Dark.
VINNIE MASSARO vs. "THE MONSTER" MATANZA CUETO - DUD!
Mr. Cueto cut a promo totally burying the loser jobber that is Vinnie Massaro. He flat out said that when he first saw this loser on his roster his first instinct was to fire him. I wish all televised wrestling promoters were like Mr. Cueto. He ordered him a pizza, but with pineapple on top, just to insult Vinnie. Then he announced that Vinnie would be a sacrifice to the gods. Striker noted that the last two wrestlers who Mr. Cueto claimed would be sacrifices to the gods "haven't been seen since," but that's not really suspicious at this point if you're not watching the backstage segments (which Striker clearly isn't) because people often go much longer than that without showing up. Sammy Guevara, for example, hasn't been on the show in over a month and just showed up here now. I think this would have been better if Striker had made mention of their mysterious, seemingly supernatural disappearance from the ring. THAT is what makes it weird, not the fact that they just haven't shown up since.
Anyway, I was all ready to see Matanza obliterate this pointless, annoying, comedy jobber stereotype loser so I would never have to see him again, but they even managed to ruin that for me by doing stupid "comedy" in a Matanza match. "The fat slob ran out of breath because he's fat, LOL!" That's what we're dealing with here.
It then got worse, as someone decided that after Vinnie was knocked out, the pizza delivery guy should steal his wallet. Matanza went after the delivery guy so the delivery guy offered Matanza the wallet but Matanza chokeslammed him, then put him down on top of Vinnie in a sixty-nine position before magicking them both away.
SIX-WAY MATCH FOR THE VACANT LUCHA UNDERGROUND GIFT OF THE GODS CHAMPIONSHIP:
The Mack vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Son of Havoc vs. Dezmond X vs. Ivelisse vs. King Cuerno -
Or not. Instead, Mr. Cueto came out and announced that rather than the advertised six-way, we were instead going to have a trios match, with the winners advancing to face each other in a three-way for the title. This sort of thing is starting to really annoy me. I know that that is apparently the Cueto family gimmick, but is it really too much to ask to not constantly change the advertised matches? Obviously this is the sort of thing that can be a necessary component of a storyline, but it often feels like they change matches for no reason at all (other than to make it a gimmick match of some kind just so they can do more spots).
Anyway, Mr. Cueto said that Ivelisse and Son of Havoc would be on a team together due to their history and said they could pick their partner. They pretty much immediately picked The Mack, which makes sense, so we got...
KING CUERNO, DEZMOND X, & EL DRAGON AZTECA JR. vs. SON OF HAVOC, IVELISSE, & THE MACK - 5.5/10
Killshot showed up at the top of the staircase. Striker decided to put over the history of six-man tag team action, and on a show called Lucha Underground, managed to not mention a single Lucha trio. I mean... El Texano Jr. used to work for LU! How the hell do you not mention Los Misioneros de la Muerte?
The announcers keeping calling Dezmond X the "rookie of the year" and other similar things, and every time they say this I want to scream because HE'S ONLY HAD ONE MATCH SO FAR! Why is X.O. Licious not getting this consideration? Or Jake Strong, for that matter?
They had a seven-minute mostly-action match which ended when King Cuerno pinned Son of Havoc. Striker said he thought Killshot was annoyed by this, but I thought he was laughing.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Meh. Mil Muertes came out and attacked The Mack for kicking him out of this match, giving him a powerbomb onto the apron. Son of Havoc tried to help The Mack but Mil caught him for a chokeslam. Killshot came down the stairs and wound up kicking Son of Havoc. The announcers played it off like they weren't sure if he was aiming for Son of Havoc or Mil, but it looked pretty obvious to me that he was aiming for Son of Havoc just by the direction he came in at.
THREE-WAY MATCH FOR THE VACANT LUCHA UNDERGROUND GIFT OF THE GODS CHAMPIONSHIP:
King Cuerno vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Dezmond X - 7.75/10
They did a lot of nice flips and stuff, and I don't mean that in a bad way. They did a good job of using their flippiness to make the match feel chaotic. I don't know if this was by design or not, but Dezmond was the one who really stood out to me here as doing the cooler stuff, including a big balcony dive, and a swinging kick around the ringpost.
Remember how the announcers kept talking Dezmond X up as the "rookie of the year?" Well he got pinned by El Dragon Azteca Jr. here, so he's now just 2-1, and didn't actually get the winning fall for his team in one of his wins. If you're going to push him like this than let him get the pin in the trios match (plus, Son of Havoc getting pinned by a "rookie" like Dezmond would be even more shameful in Killshot's eyes than losing to a top-level name like King Cuerno) and don't have him get pinned here!
Striker gave this big, grand announcing call about "everything [Dragon Azteca Jr.] has been through" and "everything this young man has worked for" finally paying off... and at this point I realized that I really didn't care that much. This character has been badly mishandled for quite a while now, but I didn't realize it until this moment. Striker's call managed to separate for me the character from his theoretical role in the mytharc. LU has done a great job of making me care about the mytharc, but not about the actual character himself. I don't care if he completes his personal journey or not; he's just a conduit for me to learn more about the greater story.
MARTY & MARIPOSA AT THEIR HOUSE (OR MOTH TRIBE HEADQUARTERS, WHO WHEREVER) - Marty is passed out on the floor. Mariposa dumbs some sort of liquor on his face to wake him up. He is still obsessed with Melissa Santos and also now with taking Pentagon Dark's teeth because Pentagon Dark broke his arm. Mariposa explains that she walked out on him at Ultima Lucha III because he needs "focus." She says that while she is the one who wears the mask of the Mariposa, he is the one who is "destined for greatness" and that he must focus on bringing the Lucha Underground Title to the Moth Tribe. Marty laughs maniacally.
I've noticed A LOT more talk about the tribes this season, but none of it is really in a way that feels particularly important. I think the problem is that it feels like it almost came out of nowhere. We went from the tribes (as individual tribes, I mean, rather than as the concept Lucha Libre evolved out of) rarely being mentioned aside from in backstage segments with people who felt like they had a real connection to them- people who felt like they knew more about what was going on than us viewers or the believers or even many of the non-Aztec or mystically-connected wrestlers- to just a thing that gets mentioned by people like Striker that "so and so is a member of Tribe X, and boy he sure wants to do well for them" or even like with Mariposa here where she says that Marty needs to win the title for the Moth Tribe, but that doesn't really feel like it means anything special anymore. Two seasons ago (or even last season) my reaction to this segment would have been "OH SH*T! What happens if the Moth Tribe gets control of the Lucha Underground Title?!" figuring that this would allow them to do something nefarious mystical thing. Now that phrase doesn't feel any different to me than Michael Cole telling me that Wrestler X wants to win the title for his hometown fans.
This was an okay episode of LU. It did some work moving storylines along, but a lot of the way they did things kind of annoyed me. I would have much preferred the Gift of the Gods Title match to go on as originally scheduled, with El Dragon Azteca Jr. pinning Son of Havoc to create the same situation with Mil Muertes and attacking and Killshot doing whatever he intended to do that they did after the first match here, and using some of the extra time for a backstage segment or two that would move along- or at least give us a reminder about- some of the plots other characters are involved in. How is Cage handling last week's loss, or how is Pentagon Jr. dealing with being unable to break Cage's arm? Does he suspect Cage is really a machine? If so, shouldn't he ask his master about this? What's up with Aero Star and the Gauntlet of the Gods? How about Captain Vasquez and Captain Reyes? Shouldn't they be dealing with some fallout from Joey Ryan clearly becoming an informant? And how is Joey going to deal with the fact that the guy he was passing info to- Dario- is dead, and he has no protection from Mr. Cueto? What is Catrina doing now that she is alive again? Whatever happened to Black Lotus? Is Rey still in a dungeon somewhere? These are all things that I would love to find out, but they seem to have decided to give us just one important storyline segment a week (if that), which is quite frustrating when the storylines are the main thing that draw me to the show. (Do you really think I'd put up with Matt Striker every week if not for LU's intriguing mytharc?)