Welcome to the Over/Under of Lucha Underground for season 3 episodes 16-18. We took a break from recapping these in late December due to the bad timing of my holiday time off, but we’re back to let you know everything you need to know about captive dragons, rabbit Gods and getting famous via local commercials.
If you need to catch up on the rest of the episodes — if you aren’t caught up, you should need to catch up — you can read about season 1 here, and season 2 here. Season 3 episode recaps can be found here.
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 episodes 16, 17 and 18.
Over/Under: Always Bet On Mack
So the first thing I want to touch on and arguably the most important angle on the show (not taking into consideration how much we care about a reincarnated dragon man being imprisoned and starved by a snake cult until he starts spitting fire and wrestling for them) is the Lucha Underground Championship picture.
Over the past few weeks, LU’s been running a “Battle of the Bulls” tournament, a series of four-way matches to determine which four wrestlers would compete in a fifth four-way (whew) to become number one contender. Tournaments and stuff like this crack me up when so many stories are just wrestlers walking into Dario Cueto’s office, saying GIVE ME A TITLE SHOT, Dario snidely saying no and them like, titty-twisting him until he agrees to something. Usually it’s a two or three-step process. The poor Battle of the Bulls people are trying to win a bonkers 16-person tournament, and Cage and Texano are stuck battling in a best-of-five series over a period of 200 months. JUST HIT DARIO WITH THE ROPE. It’s like when Cesaro and Sheamus got into a best-of-seven series for a title opportunity instead of like, bumping into the champ backstage and calling them a chicken. Or whatever.
But yeah, the good news here is that as always, the wrestling parts of LU are always there, and always entertaining. The finals of the tournament ends up being The Machine We Noticed They Call Cage, [Willie] Mack, the Daredevil Werewolf PJ Black, and the artist formerly known as Solomon Crowe, Jeremiah Crane. I honestly can’t get over how hilariously similar “Jeremiah Crane” is to “Solomon Crowe.” Dude just went to a Bioshock antagonist name generator twice.
The big surprise of the BOTB finals is that Cage is the first elimination, thanks to a dreaded ROPE PUNCH~ from an interfering Texano and a series of attacks from everyone else. I liked that a lot because it was so unexpected, and because honestly Cage already has a story going on and doesn’t need another title shot. His character kinda peaked at ripping the original title belt in half. But more on Cage’s story later, because oh my God you guys.
Mack ends up shocking the world (because Stone Cold Stunners can beat everything, even Steiner Screwdrivers) and winning the match, and the title opportunity. But will he face Johnny Mundo, the current champion, or Sexy Star, his “sorry I’m not Big Ryck but let’s continue the story without him” best friend and former champ?
Over: Visit Scenic Slamtown
Of course it’s going to be Johnny. It should always be Johnny. Welcome to SLAMMM TOWNNNNN!
One of my favorite things about LU since its creation is how it subverts classic wrestling cliche, and how it portrays American, or “WWE,” or “Caucasian” Superstars. Mundo and his pack of white jerks are basically the worst people on the planet, and with his international stardom from WWE comes an inflated social media presence, a deep and unshakeable sense of entitlement whether he’s wrestling rudo or tecnico, wrestling gear that’s just a little too sparkly, and a desire to use every trick in the scumbag book to retain his title. Having him finally be the champion is a great call, because it justifies the previous 2 1/2 years of storytelling with the character and actually adds some variety to the championship scene by giving the belt to a man who paints with its most tired and annoying colors.
Think about it. The first Lucha Underground Champion was Prince Puma, who was all about the “new generation” of stars. Quick, high-flying, part of the Aztec tribes, noble, silent. A link to the audience so they could see the world of Lucha Underground through his eyes. Eventually Puma was unseated by Mil Muertes, an evil comic book personification of zombie lucha libre death, accompanied to the ring by a teleporting ghost witch with a magical rock. They went from everything athletically notable in the company to everything creatively notable. When Matanza got the strap, it was about paying off the lore. They set up that appearance forever, and his reign gave us our first truly unstoppable Big Bad, but with a flaw that allowed him to settle into the background when necessary. He wasn’t about the show, he was the show. He was the first champion truly created by this thing. Fenix and Sexy Star were transitional champions to make the crowd happy, because they’re scrappy tecnicos and you need at least a few fleeting moments of happiness before you get back to the sadness and disappointment. I wish more wrestling promotions knew that.
So Johnny’s the first champion to really lord AMERICAN PRO WRESTLING over lucha libre. He’s the “American Luchador,” which is to say that he’s American by his own definition (read: white, and handsome and famous) and has to work with a bunch of luchadores. He’s great. He retains the championship in a cage against Sexy Star by ripping her mask off, throwing it into the center of the ring, and then taking his time climbing down the outside of the cage wall to make sure she sees it. If he doesn’t keep the belt until at least Ultima Lucha Tres, I’m gonna be hot. Slamtown forever.
Mack thinks he’s going to get his championship match on episode 18, but it turns out Dario Cueto wants to make a big deal out of it, and books them into a ridiculous, very WWE situation: they’re going to wrestle, sure, but not for the championship … they’re going to wrestle for the right to determine who gets to pick the stipulation for the championship match. Johnny Mundo has the help of between 2-4 additional people. The Mack is backstage like, “hey Sexy Star, my one friend left on the show since Kill Shot forgot I existed, definitely don’t come to ringside or help me at all.”
So, as you might imagine, Mundo wins thanks to Worldwide Underground interference. They put the boots to him, put the curb stomps to him, and announce that he’ll get his championship match in an ALL NIGHT LONG scenario, playing on Mundo’s conditioning and Mack being … well, the Mack. It’s Mundo managing to be smart and brutally condescending at the same time.
Under: Spider Femmes
Let’s cover Sexy’s story for a moment.
Before the holidays jumped us ahead so many episodes, Sexy Star was doing two things:
1. trying to get back the Lucha Underground Championship, and
2. being harassed by extremely fake spiders
She opened her locker and found an hilarious rubber spider. My suggestion was to not just assume it was Mariposa, because of that whole “kidnapping you for six months and emotionally torturing you” thing, and LOOK FOR THE SPIDER-THEMED PEOPLE. We haven’t seen any yet, but God, we’ve seen cats and tigers and snakes and dragons and rabbits, I’m sure there’s a fucking spider in here somewhere. OH WHOOPS MEET OUR NEWEST SIGNEE, HER NAME IS “WEBBY.”
These episodes have two more goofy spider cameos. The first comes when she and the Mack are exchanging not as cool as Johnny Mundo and Prince Puma secret handshakes, and we pan down to the floor to see a spider creeping. By “creeping” I mean “being pulled via a string like it’s a dollar bill on a sidewalk prank.” Later, Ricky Mandel shows up cosplaying Johnny Mundo and praising Johnny Mundo long enough to give Sexy a gift he found “at catering” with her name on it. I’ve been in that Temple, unless Mandel was in that VIP rectangle with the fruit plate, there ain’t a catering table. But yeah, no, he gives her a gift and SURPRISE, it’s another spider. Sexy screams, and decides to go beat up Mariposa, who I must once again remind you is not even kind of spider-themed.
The Lucha Underground season 3 trailer had this bizarre shot of the Worldwide Underground with two Johnnies Mundo in it, so I’m going to put two and two together and assume one of them is Ricky Mandel going full Single White Female. I love this so much.
Sexy Star demands Más against Mariposa despite them having previously agreed to No Más, and pins her after a flying double-stomp, the same move that won her the Lucha Underground Championship. After the match, Marty the Moth shows up and chokeslams Mariposa, apparently splitting with her, because even the guy whose job it is to say MARIPOSA IS GREAT doesn’t think Mariposa is that great.
Anyway, that’s where we leave Sexy Star. Feuding blindly with someone who got great clearance discounts on Halloween decorations at Party City, and almost certainly being hunted by Mujer Araña, or Siniestro de la Web or whatever.
Under: Fallen Angels
The worst part of these three episodes is that in the Angelico and Son of Havoc vs. Black Evans match, Angelico goes for a springboard and lands weird on his left arm, dislocating it at the elbow. Team Havoc absolutely cannot catch a break. Ivelisse got hurt when they were the Trios Champions, and then got hurt again as soon as she built up some momentum. Angelico got hurt, came back in a big way, and is now hurt again right out of the gate. They should just push Son of Havoc to the moon for being able to walk without his leg falling off.
Over: The Gloves Are On
Okay, so, the ool-tement opportunity.
As of episode 17, the Texano versus He Calls Himself Cage But Also They Do Too best-of-five series for Dario Cueto’s “ultimate opportunity” (read: the power of a God in a box, apparently) was Cage 2, Texano 1. They have match four, and as you’d expect, Texano wins to tie it up. There’s a strange moment of serendipity here as Cage and Texano are fighting in the corner, the turnbuckle pad comes off, and Texano manages to drop Cage into it face-first. Serendipity, actually clever and secretive rudo cheating, whatever. That busts Cage open until he’s leaking BLOOD OIL — not really, this is sadly not The Fifth Element — and Texano’s able to powerbomb him for the win.
When that’s over, Dario Cueto steps out of his office and is like, and I’m paraphrasing, “let’s go ahead and finish this because I keep trying to do other stuff and we’re never going to finish this thing if we don’t buckle down, guys.” So the fifth and deciding match happens immediately following the fourth, now with an anything goes stipulation.
What follows is easily the best of the Texano/Cage series, thanks in part to Cage’s color, but also due to the stakes finally falling into place and both guys wrestling with urgency. The fatal flaw of a best-of-whatever series in pro wrestling is that you know it has to go to the maximum amount of matches, so you’ve resigned yourself to feeling like none of the matches actually matter until the last one. Because that’s the one where the winner isn’t decided by math and predictable storytelling. They managed to not only adhere to that here, but to spring the fifth match on you out of nowhere, giving Cage some much-needed sympathy and making it seem like an actual fight for their lives. Loved it.
And, as you’d expect, Cage wins. He’s able to finally put Texano away with a Steiner Screwdriver, the default more horrifying and deadly move in pro wrestling, and also via some DEADLY ROPE BURNS. Cueto doesn’t want to give Cage his prize in the ring in front of everyone because it requires special effects, and brings him into his office. I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU.
CAGE’S REWARD IS AN ELECTRIC ROBOT HAND.
It’s actually a gauntlet that gives him super strength, possibly powered by magical electricity, and I love that they decided to give the super strength gauntlet to the strongest guy on the show. That’d be like giving Usain Bolt the powers of the Speed Force. Cage doesn’t want it at first, because it is a ridiculous Renn Faire prop, but changes his mind when he realizes he can use it to carry people around by the throat. NOW HE LOVES THE POWER GLOVE. IT’S SO BAD.
I think we’ve become a little desensitized to the ridiculous and wonderful shit that happens on this show, so I’d like to point out just for the record that Dario Cueto was gifted a gauntlet with magical God powers, used it as leverage to make two beefy dudes beat each other up five times, and then had to convince a bodybuilder that he’d be better off having a robot hand that could murder people. I love you, Lucha Underground.
Speaking of I LOVE YOU LUCHA UNDERGROUND, here’s a recap of that dragon that got kidnapped by snakes.
Over: Drago Unchained
Drago has been kidnapped by Kobra Moon and the … snake tribe? Reptile tribe? He’s been kidnapped by Kobra Moon, Fake Drago and Baron Cobran, aka the Undersnaker. His tag team partners (Fenix and Aero Star) try looking for him in the bathroom stalls, because hey, it’s Lucha Underground. If anything’s going down, you should check the bathrooms. Sexy Star’s spider enemy is probably on the ceiling in there.
Instead of finding Drago, they find SNAKE PENIS and VIBRATOR, the aforementioned Snake Tribe dudes. They engage in an honestly way too long backstage bathroom karate fight, and at the end, Kobra Moon’s like, “I’m going to make Drago kill you guys.” Hopefully they get a better death scene than Daga, who got torn apart by a penis-themed Illuminati snake monster off-screen.
At the end of the episode, we find out that Kobra-la-la-la-la-la has Drago chained up in her throne room and is starving him until he reneges on the vow he made a millennia ago and rejoins the Reptile Tribe. Drago refuses, and ends up SCREAMING FIRE, because he is an extremely hungry person in an antacid commercial.
By the time Reptile Dysfunction gets an actual match, Drago is (apparently) brainwashed and being dragged around on a chain. They go up against my homies the wonderful Rabbit Tribe, who are suddenly convinced that Mascarita Sagrada is the “white rabbit,” they’re spiritual guide to this plane of existence and their God. I love the Rabbit Tribe, and I sincerely hope that Ultima Lucha Tres is just a reboot of The Maxx with Mascarita Sagrada fighting monsters in a mystical veldt.
The Reptile Tribe wins, because pissed-off brainwashed Drago is EXTREMELY FIERCE and basically tries to break their necks with everything he does. That running flipping DDT thing looks like manslaughter incarnate sometimes. After the match, Aero Star and Fenix hit the ring to save Drago and actually succeed, but I’m guessing the next step in this story is, “whoops, he’s actually still brainwashed and we shouldn’t have gone into the bathroom with an actual dragon.”
Over: Prince Puma Dark
The other major story of these episodes is that now that Vampiro has Jon Snow’d Prince Puma and brought him back from the dead, Puma is in DARK DOJO SERVITUDE to Vamp. This all ties into Mil Muertes, so stay with me for a minute.
As you might remember, Rapture’s best pro wrestler Jeremiah Crane is in love with Catrina, who is either his childhood friend or his ex-girlfriend or his … haunted ghost pal, I don’t know. He’s in love with her. She says she can’t love him, because she’s in love with someone else. He assumes this is Mil Muertes, and demands Cueto give him a match so he can beat Mil and prove his worth to her. In my least favorite bit of the entire trio of episodes, Crane digs into Cueto’s office’s roof to find a Ouija board he “left there as a kid,” which would be a cool bit of lore if we hadn’t watched two giant dudes crash through Cueto’s roof AND seen Cueto himself physically repairing it. Did they just not mess up that one part of the roof with Crane’s board game stash?
So yeah, Crane gets a match against Mil and manages to PIN HIM when PP DARK shows up with a kendo stick and attacks Mil. Crane’s like, “now you love me more,” and Catrina’s like, “you’re not the one I love, didn’t you watch season one?” And internally I guess Crane’s like, “no, I was busy wrestling CJ Parker, what happened.”
But Puma! Puma dogs Mil and kneels in service of Vampiro in front of everybody, and the jig is up. Episode 18 ends with Mil wandering out and punching Vampiro to death, as he should, and Vampiro ordering Puma to just stand there and watch him get hurt instead of helping. Something something FEAR IS THE PATH TO THE DARK SIDE. I’m very excited to see where this all goes, especially if the next step is Vampiro hanging upside down in his S&M sex dungeon with a broken neck and ordering a very confused Prince Puma to bludgeon him with a dildo or whatever until he’s well.