Welcome to the Over/Under of Lucha Underground for season 3 episode 13. We missed last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday but have been catching up today, so if you missed our write-up of episode 12, click over and read that first. Paul London is a rabbit in a bedazzled codpiece who’s tripping balls. It’s great.
Re-post: If you’re still wondering how to watch the show, it airs every Wednesday night on El Rey Network. If you don’t have El Rey on your cable system, you can get it on Sling. If you can’t do that, you can download the episodes on iTunes. They’re selling a “season pass” right now where you can get every new episode right after it airs. If you can’t do that, and you demand viewing information without just being a cheapskate and googling “watch lucha underground online free,” I don’t know what to tell you. Watch the show.
And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 3 episode 13, originally aired on November 30, 2016.
Almost the entire episode is dedicated to the gauntlet match between Pentagon Dark and the Black Lotus Triad, but there are a few non-Pentagon related bits in here I want to make sure I get to.
Over: Matanza Wants Mysterio
Dario Cueto wants Matanza back in the Lucha Underground Championship scene, but The Monster is so obsessed with getting his hands on Rey Mysterio that he has punched a bloody question mark onto the wall of his holding cell. Batman has marked the location of this Riddler trophy on his map. Hey Bats, there’s one on the billboard on the roof of the Temple, too.
But yeah, giving The Monster MC a single-minded goal for what I assume will be the remainder of the season (and will actually be like, two episodes) is a great way to acknowledge how routinely unbeatable he is without, you know, having to have him lose a bunch so other people can be champion. Simply acknowledging this kind of thing goes a long way in pro wrestling. “Why doesn’t this guy just do X? Because Y.” A much different BECAUSE WHY than the one I’m resting my head in my hands and sighing for three hours on Mondays.
Over/Under: Crane Games
In the other Penta-non segment of the night, we find out that Ivelisse’s possessive new boyfriend (and possibly hacker) Jeremiah Crane is secretly in love with her blood rival Catrina, and (unless I heard this wrong) is the reason she’s whatever it is she is. She’s in love with somebody else, though, so he’s got to choose between betraying a biker lady who could kick his ass AND incurring the wrath of the zombified lucha libre personification of death, or displeasing a 200-year old teleporting ghost or witch or hag or whatever she is.
I’m giving this a half-Over because of how absurd everything I just typed is. Giving it a half-Under too, though, for a couple of reasons. First and most importantly, did the multiple-year, already established Ivelisse vs. Catrina beef really need a boyfriend angle attached to it? Secondly, Catrina mentions that Crane wears her stone around his neck, so that’s technically two rocks (counting the Mil Muertes earthquake rubble urn rock) and a vaginal immortality amulet that got mentioned once and then forgotten. Do we need that many enchanted items in one story?
Over: Okay, So, Pentagon Dark
Now to get to the A-story of the episode.
The first thing we see on this week’s show is Pentagon bumping into Vampiro backstage and having a tense, “everything’s better when cameras are spinning” conversation about how everyone pays for their sins, and how even if Pentagon’s able to make it out of the gauntlet match against the Black Lotus Quartet alive, he’ll have hell to pay. Well, that’s Vampiro’s side of the story. Pentagon just Cero Miedos in his face. The Cero Miedo hand gesture becomes really funny if you imagine Pentagon’s giving the “okay” symbol, then pointing it down to say NO, ACTUALLY IT’S NOT OKAY.
For the rest of the show, Vampiro plays a very important role. We’ll get to that throughout.
Over: The Gauntlet
All three Pentagon vs. Black Lotus Triad matches have the same format, which is necessary to make it work. Pentagon isn’t a massive dude, but he’s legitimately three sizes bigger than these girls upwards and outwards and is one of the most bad-ass dudes on the roster, so you have to kinda delicately balance how and why they’re able to get so much offense on him. Ignore the genitals completely, we’re just comparing them physically as people. The thing about the Triad is that yeah, they’re tiny, but they’re ninjas, and capable of great acts of violence in the pursuit of their goals. So a lot of it is Pentagon being overconfident and underestimating the Triad, plunder getting involved, and Pentagon lasting long enough to figure out a way around it and counter into something devastating. For an added bonus, Matt Striker often is like, “how are these women able to be this tough and resilient?” and Vampiro’s like, “I don’t know, bro, it’s probably the dark arts.”
Up first is “Doku” — “poison” in Japanese — played by former World of Stardom Champion Kairi Hojo. She’s known for having the best flying elbow drop in the world. She hits it here, and it’s OUTSTANDING. It’s so good, in fact, that she goes up and tries to hit it again. Pentagon’s waiting for her this time, though, catches her by the arm when she lands and snaps it, ending the first match. In your head you’re like, “damn, that was really good,” and then you realize it’s like the third best Pentagon match you’re gonna see on the night.
Out next is “Yurei,” which is basically a Japanese ghost. She’s played by former winner of Stardom everything Mayu Iwatani.
This is the match where things start getting violent. The action is built on the same premise as the first match, but now Pentagon’s already had to deal with it once, so he’s physically weaker AND more frustrated, which is pitch-perfect Pentagon. Pentagon’s one of the only heels I’ve ever seen who works better from underneath and makes more sense when he’s not totally controlling a match. He’s such a natural anti-hero. You want to cheer him, but he’s a pissed-off ninja skeleton who hates everything including himself and just fearlessly throws himself into stupid situations he can’t win.
But yeah, the highlight of THIS match is Yurei jumping off the top rope upside down and Pentagon catching her for a package piledriver like he snatched a fucking feather out of the air. I know Yurei weighs like 25 pounds, but it’s still an impressive feat of strength. Strength, timing and positioning. That’s another thing about these matches that make them work … Pentagon doesn’t do that “I’m not gonna hit a GIRL” act that happens in intergender wrestling sometimes, he knows he’s in here with some deadly-ass ninjas and hits them hard and often. And they don’t cower away from it, they keep coming at him. Because they are DEADLY ASS NINJAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A METICULOUSLY ORCHESTRATED NINJA FIGHT. And +1 to a group of ninjas for attacking one at a time.
So the package piledriver allows Pentagon to snap Yurei’s arm, and that puts him up 2-0 on the Lotus Tribe. Unfortunately for Pentagon, up next is IO GODDAMN SHIRAI.
If you aren’t familiar with Shirai, she’s the ace of Stardom and one of the best wrestlers in the world. If you weren’t familiar before watching this, you sure as hell are now. This might be the greatest debut in Lucha Underground history. It’s also maybe in the top 5 Lucha matches ever. Not fucking with you.
Shirai plays “Hitokiri,” aka “assassin,” the toughest and strongest member of the Black Lotus Tribe. For validation of this, watch her practically die going upside down into several rows of wooden chairs, get choked against the ring post with the camera cables and become the first woman to dive off the roof of Dario Cueto’s office. And she’s not diving onto a big group of people waiting to catch her, she’s doing a big-air high crossbody from the top to the GD floor right on top of Pentagon’s head. It’s amazing.
Striker’s still like, “how the hell is this happening,” and in so may words Vampiro is like, “I AM HELPING THEM WITH SATANIC VAMPIRE MAGIC.” Bill Hanstock described watching this episode to me as, “watching Vampiro slowly reach climax,” and I think he’s right.
The best part? Hitokiri straight-up counters the package piledriver into a Canadian Destroyer and pins him. And it works, because (1) she’s an incredible bad-ass, and (2) Pentagon’s already wrestled two tough matches in the night, so he loses absolutely nothing by losing here. It’s even a great subversion of the trope, because you figure if Pentagon’s losing to ANY of the Triad it’s going to be Black Lotus. You expect him to break three arms to get to her. And then … whoops.
In the incredible and unexpected finale to this gauntlet match, Black Lotus shows up (with the broken-armed Triad members in tow) and breaks Pentagon Dark’s arm. She uses his own move against him, getting the revenge she sought when he showed up and ruined her night for no reason at Ultima Lucha Dos. The other wrestler who had his arm broken that night, El Dragon Azteca Jr., returns here and looks like he’s going to side with Pentagon against the woman who killed his mentor, and then … whoops again.
Pentagon gets his OTHER arm broken. Vampiro sits at the announce table with a shit-eating grin on his face, because the student who betrayed him and tried to step up to become the new “master” bit off more than he could chew, got crunched by a monster, had multiple nights ruined for him by way of a joshi ninja clan, got a middle finger from two (relatively) innocent bystanders he injured thinking there’d be no consequences, showed ass to the master again and got both of his arms broken. The lesson here: don’t eff with dark vampire magic. Especially when it’s this well connected.
Special note: I’ve never been able to type this about a wrestling show before, but there is a legitimate chance that we are gonna get Pentagon returning with ROBOT ARMS and I have never been more excited about a thing. Just put him in silver morph suit sleeves. We know you’ve got morph suit money in the budget!
That’s the end of the story for now, but that’s not all …
In the final segment of the night, we find a full-on Vampiro Vampiro pulling a Jon Snow on Prince Puma. He brings him back to life and says, “follow me.” Because now that Vampiro has officially (temporarily) vanquished his disobedient student, he’s got to enlist the best follower in the history of the show to replace him. And now Vampiro’s maybe probably got a team consisting of the show’s protagonist, the show’s most direct link to its fictional history of tribes and Mexican wrestling warfare, and a pack of deadly lady assassins.
Best. Episode. Ever.