Spiders and Skeletons
TAYA DEMANDS ANTONIO CUETO'S PRESENCE - Hey, look. Taya is finally back. It apparently took her six weeks to recover from a table bump. Maybe we could have at least gotten some vignettes of her and Johnny recovering in the hospital while vowing revenge on the Cuetos?
She demands a match with Matanza as revenge for "ruining my wedding, putting me and my husband in the hospital, and sacrificing two of our friends." When you phrase that last bit like that it gets kind of hard to take this all seriously. The problem isn't the idea so much as how it is being treated.
The fact of the matter is that we don't know what is happening with these sacrifices. We can surmise that Matanza (or, rather, the Aztec god inhabiting him) somehow drains their life essences or eats their souls or whatever to add to his own power, but we have no idea what any of it actually means. And, unlike the characters on the show, we get to see all of the backstage segments. I'm sure the likes of AeroStar, King Cuerno, Fenix, Mil Muertes, the White Rabbit, Vampiro, the Reptile Tribe (they seem to have their own magic) probably El Dragon Azteca Jr., and the various other mystically-connected (and probably even characters or are merely Aztec-connected like the Moth Family or Chavo) know what is going on (maybe Jeremiah Crane as well). But the more "normal" people- the ones who are just here because they are fighters like Ivelisse, Son of Havoc, X.O. Lishus, The Mack, and the Worldwide Underground- they probably don't. They should be creeped out that Mr. Cueto says we are going to have a "sacrifice" then Matanza beats a wrestler up, and then that person MAGICALLY DISAPPEARS AND IS NEVER SEEN OR HEARD FROM AGAIN.
People should be worried about this! And Mr. Cueto should be trying to assuage their fears by saying that the "magic" is just a simple stage trick he pulls that the victims don't remember because Matanza has beaten them up so badly, and that we never see these people because they are so ashamed of the beating they take that they probably run away and work small indy shows in the farthest-flung, most rural or inhospitable reaches of North America because their shame is so great that they don't want to be found... all while Mr. Cueto is unable to resist slyly throwing in a line about how "their warrior spirit has left them"
But instead the word is just thrown around so casually, like it's a random everyday thing. Like it's equivalent to just firing somebody... which is exactly what the problem is. These sacrificves don't feel like some sort of important mystical thing; they feel like a plot device, no different than when Beer Money had their "Off the Wagon Challenge" back in early 2009 where they would offer to put their titles on the line against any team willing to put their careers on the line. It's just a plot device to write people out of the show, with no real importance or direction to it.
Anyway, Mr. Cueto teases her that he won't give her the match, but then says she will be the next sacrifice, so we got...
TAYA vs. "THE MONSTER" MATANZA CUETO (w/Antonio Cueto) - 2.5/10
Johnny Mundo makes his big return by running in for the DQ, thus saving Taya. Johnny then beat Matanza up. I would have been a little happier if Johnny had attacked right away, showing this a plan all along. That being said, I just happy they didn't kill off Taya, then just kill Johnny off next week, because I've hit the point with LU that I wouldn't put casually killing off such important characters past them.
They announced Johnny Mundo vs. Matanza for Ultima Lucha IV. No stips or anything. Just a regular match. That seems kind of lame for the biggest show of the year and a match where you're looking for revenge for someone ruining your wedding, putting you and your wife in the hospital, ad murdering two of your buddies.
Son of Havoc vs. Killshot, Mask vs. Mask was also announced.
TORNADO TAG TEAM MATCH:
Mil Muertes & Fenix vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr. & The Mack - 6.5/10
They did their spots. It was fun and cool. On a show where we see hardcore matches and tons of blood on a semi-regular basis, Vampiro insisted that "this match is almost crossing the line" because the wrestlers were getting welts. Really.
Matt Striker insisted on referring to Reklusa as "the spidery conspirator" of Marty. How much do you think I would need to pay Mr. Cueto to make Matt Striker the next sacrifice?
FAMOUS B PROMO - He's coming out of retirement. Ricky Mundo came out and said he was going to beat some sense into Famous B, so we got...
RICKY MUNDO vs. FAMOUS B (w/the Beautiful Brenda) - squash
Matt Striker apparently remembered a joke about Brenda and Big Bad Steve that he wanted to make over a month ago when Steve last appeared on this show, so he just decided to make it now even though it was totally irrelevant.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - GREAT! After establishing for us that Johnny & Taya have left the building (not because he's afraid of them but because it needed to be established that they're not here or else they should be coming out to confront him), Ricky Mundo reveals that he was the one who unleashed Matanza with the intent of ruining Johnny & Taya's wedding. Why? Because he knows that as long as Taya is around Johnny will never give him the respect and attention he deserves. He knows that he must take Taya out, and thus he challenges her to a match at Ultima Lucha IV. He then decides to give everyone an example of what he will do to Taya by doing to the closest blonde, who happens to be poor Brenda. Ricky put Brenda in a crossface and Brenda screamed in pain and it hit me that this might well be the first time that someone has attacked Brenda for any reason other than gratuitous violence.
PENTAGON DARK vs. REKLUSA (w/Marty "The Moth" Martinez) - 5.75/10
Reklusa begins the match by diving off the top turnbuckle to the floor with a crossbody. As spiders are known to do, apparently. Chelsea, thy name is Jessica Drew.
They brawl on the outside for a while and Striker now tells us that because Ultima Lucha is approaching, all referees have been directed to "exercise relaxed rules." While I appreciate some sort of explanation, I just have two questions here:
1. If that's the case then why didn't they have Mr. Cueto come out and announce that so we fans knew it, too, instead of Striker telling us now, possibly several weeks after the directive was made?
2. Why? If anything, wouldn't you want a stricter enforcement of the rules as the big show comes up in order to reduce the chances of someone getting more seriously hurt or of someone basically getting their revenge before the big show so that fans have less of a reason to pay for the big show itself?
After one or two big initial moves by Reklusa, Pentagon Dark took over and just beat the sh*t out of her on the outside for several minutes. The match was actually kind of weird in that Reklusa, the clear heel, did the usual babyface stuff. She got most of her offense through cool, high-flying moves, got shined up in the beginning, and sold most of the match, while Pentagon, the babyface, was basically a heel getting the heat on her.
This included hitting her in the head with a weapon. So weapons are okay under relaxed rules, but not run-ins? Okay, I guess. Low blows are apparently allowed, too, as Reklusa kicked Pentagon Dark in the nuts right in front of the referee. Are we sure this isn't just "no rules?" The low blow led to a Canadian Destroyer that got kicked out of, because it's a Pentagon Dark match. After that, it was Reklusa taunting for a moment, then Pentagon Dark hit the Lungblower and a Package Piledriver for the win. And if you had any doubts that Pentagon Dark is a spot monkey, earlier in the match Reklusa kicked out after a Package Piledriver (Pentagon Dark's finisher) ON THE APRON. The match made it just past the ten minute mark.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Dull. Pentagon Dark teased breaking Reklusa's arm, but instead decided to powerbomb her into thumbtacks. I'm not sure why he didn't just break her arm and ten powerbomb her into the thumbtacks afterwards. He wound up getting to do neither as Marty "The Moth" Martinez ran out to make the save by hitting Pentagon in the back with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire. Marty hit Pentagon Dark with the bat a few more times while Reklusa got some gasoline from under the ring and poured it on Pentagon Dark. Then Marty took out a lighter and... didn't set Pentagon Dark on fire, for no real reason.
I'm sorry, but I just can't get into this feud. They didn't even have a real singles match and all of a sudden they've decided to have a deathmatch just for the sake of having one, and as a result everything they do to build to it doesn't feel like the natural events of a story so much as it just feels like the writers threw their hand sup in the air and said "well... if they're having a deathmatch so we might as well have them do deathmatch things to each other."
To build up Pentagon Dark's Cero Miedo Match against Marty at Ultima Lucha IV, Striker brought up the only other Dark's Cero Miedo Match in LU history, which was Pentagon Dark against Vampiro. Vampiro mentioned that "it took me a lot of therapy to get out of that mindset," which reminded me that they haven't actually done anything with Vampiro all year. Nothing about his mentorship of Pentagon Dark, nor his secret allegiance to his dark master who vowed to make Pentagon Dark "fall" in last season's ending montage. Part of me hopes that Reklusa- who cost Pentagon Dark the Lucha Underground Championship- is affiliated with them and is just playing Marty like Vampiro is playing Pentagon Dark, but I realize that that is just me grasping at straws. I've been waiting a whole season, LU! I want mytharc stuff to happen!
It's really kind of crazy that most of a season has managed to pass by and yet it feels like no important stories have been told. Sure, stuff has happened- even important stuff- but aside from the WWU (& AeroStar) vs. Reptile Tribe stuff and the build to Johnny & Taya's wedding, so much of the important stuff that has happened this season has felt rushed and almost as if it has come out of nowhere. I might actually write a column about this either sometime in the next week or so, but suffice it to say that this entire season feels like almost everything about it has been hot-shotted to death, and to the exclusion of the stuff that made the show interesting. I can't imagine they renewed for a fifth season at this point, and I'm almost hoping they don't. Even a year ago I couldn't possibly have imagined myself saying that.