Last Man Or Machine Standing
MELISSA SANTOS & EL DRAGON AZTECA JR. BACKSTAGE - Meh. El Dragon Azteca Jr. walks in on Melissa putting on her makeup before the show, which was a nice bit of symbolism, given the conversation they were about to have. El Dragon Azteca Jr. tells her that he understands her putting on a happy face for the fans, but she can be honest with him about how much she misses Fenix. She admitted to missing Fenix. El Dragon Azteca Jr. told her that that means that Fenix is truly still alive, within her. While he said this, he actually pointed at the mirror, which, while I don't think is actually going to turn out to be significant, I do feel compelled to note because on this show, mirrors have been a recurring motif related to people starting to go a little bit crazy.
What I do think will turn out to be significant, however, is that EL Dragon Azteca Jr. put a pendant around her neck that looks suspiciously like one half of the "eternal life (but only if you're both female and above the age of eighteen. That's some oddly specific magic, there)" pendant that Catrina has one half of and her mother, Captain Vasquez, has the other half of... which logically means that either El Dragon Azteca Jr. got (or stole) the pendant from one of those two, or that this is a different pendant, which may or may not have different powers, and that there is another half of it out there, somewhere.
I'll argue that the first close-up shot of the pendant sitting in Melissa's cleavage wasn't gratuitous because it was necessary to show us that this pendant-half is similar (if not identical) to the others we've seen, but the second one definitely was. The cleavage shots, the music, and the whole set-up also contributed to the feeling that this was the beginning of the writers hot-shotting a relationship between these two because they seem to really want Melissa in a relationship.
The other thing that contributed to that factor is the fact that I don't think we've ever seen El Dragon Azteca Jr. interact with either Melissa or Fenix in any sort of way that would indicate that they are friends, but now he's apparently best buds with at least one of them? If this was AeroStar, Fenix's friend and comrade as well as a known knower of mystical stuffs then him giving his dead friends girlfriend a speech and an amulet of protection would make sense. With El Dragon Azteca Jr. it felt completely random.
Striker and Vampiro reminded us that Famous B is still alive.
HAUNTED HOUSE MATCH:
The Mack vs. Mil Muertes (w/Catrina) - 6.5/10
The "Haunted House" is a cage with Halloween-themed weapons and decorations. So basically, it's a gimmick match with a dumb name and goofy themed weapons with a bunch of decorations to disguise the fact that this is actually taking place in a professional wrestling arena. Are we sure Vince Russo isn't booking this?
Melissa forgot to introduce Catrina so Catrina got in her face over it, calling her dumb, a "bitch," and insisting that she do it again. And right after she gets what appears to be a magical pendant like one Catrina used to have? This can't be a coincidence, right? I wouldn't be shocked if Catrina didn't actually care about not being introduced (she really hasn't ever been portrayed as egotistical) but rather that this was an excuse to get in Melissa's face so she could get a closer look at the pendant.
Melissa (literally) stood up to Catrina and refused to introduce her again, by saying "NO!" into the microphone with the usual ring announcer's dramatic flourish, right in Catrina's face. That was F*CKING AWESOME! Catrina responded to this by smacking Melissa, then running her head into the cage a few times, then, grabbing a flower pot, dumping out the flowers, and (as Striker called it) "smashing her face into that glass vase on the floor." The problem with this last part was that we didn't see the vase, see Melissa's head go into it (it looked like she just hit the mat and nothing else), and didn't hear anything, either, and we never saw any blood or anything afterwards (Melissa was taken to the hospital during a commercial break... or as Striker felt the need to call it, "a local medical facility," because the way to be a good announcer in Matt Striker's mind involves making sure to use phrases that everyone is sick of because they're on WWE's list of must-use announcing phrases). This is f*cking Lucha Underground and they're giving us community-theater level special effects? What's the problem? Did they spend too much money on making sure every single kick sounds as loud as possible and thus don't have enough money left over for a "breaking glass" sound?
Anyway, the actual match... was just a weapons match in a cage (though Striker insisted that there were apples with razor blades and cyanide inside of them). There was a table that someone had painted "boooooo" on and another which said "spooky." Because we need comedy in the middle of our dangerous weapons match. At a later point, Catrina passed Mil a table through a hole they had made in the cage, and this table, too, had goofy writing on it ("haunted") even though the table was OUTSIDE OF THE CAGE, WHICH THE WRESTLERS WERE THEORETICALLY NOT GOING TO GET OUT OF. F*ck this sh*t.
At one point Mil Muertes grabbed a giant knife and STABBED THE MACK IN THE FOREHEAD, which I grant you wouldn't see in any regular weapons match, but I'm sure it's happened multiple times in CZW or Big Japan or somewhere similar.
One the tables they went through broke in half so cleanly that it was almost certainly gimmicked. The finish looked great (Flatliner from the top rope through a table... it looked like Mack went through head-first), but other than that this just wasn't very exciting. It wasn't bad or anything, but it was just ten minutes of random weapons spots in a feud where I really don't care about either guy. After the match, Mil ordered Catrina to perform the lick of death but she refused. Have they ever even established why she does that, or is it just something she decided to do for atmosphere and has decided not to do anymore just because?
FAMOUS B PROMO - He's in a wheelchair, which his leg in a boot. Is this the second straight season where he has had a limb injury? He has decided to be the ring announcer for this match. Then he realized it was Jake Strong's match. He was a good sport and introduced Strong, but rolled his eyes while doing so. Strong's opponent AeroStar, meaning that the ensuing match was...
AEROSTAR vs. JAKE STRONG - 1/10
Why is this happening on this week's show? They've got a forty-four minute show with a huge Last Man Standing Match for the world title still to come, and they're starting a random match between two midcarders at the twenty-one minute mark? This couldn't have waited until next week?
This was basically AeroStar getting squashed. Strong wouldn't let up on the ankle lock after the match so Drago came out to make the save. He was one a total of seven days. I thought they'd at least give him two or three weeks before his big, dramatic return.
WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND BACKSTAGE - They (minus Ricky Mundo) are sitting around the locker room as Johnny & Taya open their presents. Don't you usually get the presents at or after the wedding (which is apparently next week)? Also, why the hell are they doing this in the dirty Temple locker room rather than, like, at someone's house?
Anyway, stuff happened. Taya gave Johnny a painting of himself holding up the Lucha Underground Championship, which made Johnny lament the fact that the title was stolen from him. Taya reveals that she also got Mr. Cueto to agree to give Johnny a title shot in two weeks.
We then cut to outside the locker room where Ricky Mundo is playing bouncer. That agent from last season, Benjamin Cooke, showed up with a gift but Ricky wouldn't let him in because his name wasn't on the list. Benjamin said that he was useful to Johnny while Ricky was useless, so Ricky, acting on the doll's advice, stabbed him to death with a pen.
LAST MAN OR MACHINE STANDING MATCH FOR THE LUCHA UNDERGROUND TITLE:
Pentagon Dark(c) vs. Cage - 7.25/10
They hit each other in the head a lot and went through a bunch of tables and took some other big bumps. They had some nice callbacks to previous Cage matches and the finish was done well (it involved Cage getting both of his arms broken, then his head stomped into a cinderblock), but this was the second "let's do a bunch of weapons and blood" matches I'd seen on this episode of LU, and I'm not really a fan of Last Man Standing Matches as is. If you like a bunch of spots and weapons, you'll probably enjoy this more than I did, but I still recommend watching this in a different sitting than the Haunted House Match.
A good show from LU. The action was fine if you're into that sort of thing and they had a lot good storyline stuff.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES
1. Matt Striker informed us that a Haunted House Match "is not like a traditional Cage Match where escape means victory."
Matt Striker, our teacher, who fancies himself a pro wrestling historian and loves to talk about the history of the business, apparently does not realizes that basically everywhere outside of the McMahon territory up until about the year 2000, escaping the cage was not a valid victory condition. You'd think somewhere along the line Mr. Striker would have heard the phrase "no one in, no one out," but apparently not. Then again, this is Matt Striker, so it's entirely possible that he has heard the phrase and is just too stupid to understand what the "no one out" part means.