Previously on the Over/Under on Lucha Underground: Paul London held a carrot to a lady’s throat and defeated a big Undertaker-sized guy with a snake face. In the main event, a hacker biker (?) defeated an ex-military sniper to threat-impress a zombie’s ghost girlfriend. Wrestling is great!
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.
Hit those share buttons! Make sure to spread the column around so people can share in our love of all things Lucha, and encourage folks to finally bite the bullet and watch the first two seasons on Netflix. It’s on Netflix. You can take a break from being sad they canceled Sense 8 and watch a sleazy undercover cop fight a My Little Pony Equestria Girl.
And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 3, episode 25, originally aired on July 5, 2017.
Just to clarify, I’m not giving the Lucha Underground equivalent of a “Best” to posttraumatic stress disorder, I just like how they cut in a bit of Kill Shot and Dante Fox’s history into his Boyle Heights morning jog via flashes of sunlight. It’s a slickly edited few minutes, with subtitled threats on Fox’s life and even an almost-beheading to bring some of the Actual Fucking Terror of war into the lives of these characters who are supposed to be have been in war. Like, it’s one thing to say “Fox was held captive,” and another to see him getting beaten while people threaten to kill him and watching him almost get his head cut off with a sword. That’s tricky ground for a wrestling show, but Lucha Underground makes it just 24 enough to establish threat without hitting the uncanny valley. Plus, this is probably the best use of music in the history of the show.
Kill Shot should probably stop hanging out on Los Angeles rooftops making finger guns at people, though. That’s not how you make friends.
Under: Suddenly, Disqualifications
Man, I think the worst thing Lucha Underground’s tried to do this season — including the angle with the rubber spiders that didn’t go anywhere and a six month hiatus — is ending this Sexy Star vs. PJ Black match with a disqualification and having Matt Striker be like, “hey, so I know we never call disqualifications or do count-outs or whatever, but Dario Cueto has very conveniently asked the referees to enforce rules for this tournament for some reason, because we needed this to be the finish of the match.” A total boner, and not the good kind.
If you didn’t see it, Taya shows up to interfere, because in season 3 the Lucha team was like, “wait, what if someone not involved in the match gets involved in the finish of this match???” and set off a bunch of Badd Blasters in celebration. But yeah, she shows up and tosses Black some brass knuckles. Sexy manages to avoid them, then Turnabout Is Fair Pays them into his face. The referee sees that, and disqualifies her. In Lucha Underground, where a post-match attack in this same tournament involved one of the wrestlers putting on a mystical amulet that gives him God powers and punching his opponent to death.
I don’t know, it just seems like the cheapest and easiest way to get through the match. If I chide WWE for picking and choosing which rules to follow when it suits stories they write and could take a second to write around, I’ve gotta do it for Lucha.
Over: Son Of Multiplicity
If we’ve learned nothing else from the Legend Of Zelda series, it’s that your greatest enemy isn’t a desert pigman despot or a spider the size of the screen, it’s your exact duplicate, except it’s here to kick your ass. See also Scott Pilgrim.
Son of Havoc takes on SON OF MADNESS, who we met in last week’s stinger. Madness is exactly like Havoc, down to the timing and order of his moves, and they spend a lot of the match mirroring each other. He’s a little bit bigger, and his beard is rattier. If you’re wondering — because Lucha Underground kayfabe is a little different, as the performers are presented as actors — he’s played by southern California indie regular Johnny Goodtime.
If you aren’t familiar with his work, here’s additional southern California indie regular Bill Hanstock with more:
I’ve been lucky enough to follow Kevin Martenson (AKA Johnny Goodtime) ever since he first came to PWG years back. He instantly impressed me the way a lot of PWG wrestlers (at the time, mind you; PWG is miles different now) impressed me: by doing all the big things well, but doing all the little things way, way better.
For years, Joey Ryan and Scott Lost were the unsung heroes of PWG because they were just great at professional wrestling, but were surrounded by people like Bryan Danielson, Ricochet, Jack Evans, El Generico, Claudio Castagnoli, and Kevin Steen … how can you compete with that in terms of flashiness? Goodtime is the same way: he’s one of those guys who just fundamentally understands how wrestling is supposed to work, and everything he does has a fluidity that you just can’t teach.
I like watching Kevin Martenson, and I hope you will, too.
Vampiro spends the entire match trying to explain in 20,000 words or more that Son of Madness is probably here to “collect a debt,” because he’s from the same biker gang as Havoc, and when you do your gang wrong they send someone from inside the family to handle business. Havoc manages to win the match with a roll-up, but Madness beats him up and steals his colors. You gotta be loyal to The Open Road, man. What are you trying to do, hail from somebody’s garage? I wonder if he’s kicking his ass for watching infomercials and eating pizza bagels on TV.
Over: I Think I’m Goin’ To Cat Mandel
Every week I’m like, “okay, THIS is the biggest mismatch in round one of the Cueto Cup,” but I think Pentagon vs. Argenis, Cage vs. Massaro and Muertes vs. Veneno have a new challenger in “Worldwide Underground intern” Ricky Mandel cosplaying Johnny Mundo versus PRINCE PUMA DARK.
The match plays out like you’d expect, with Mandel cutting a funny fake Johnny Mundo promo and then just getting brutalized. That’s it. This version of Prince Puma is being built up as a stone cold killer, so much so that he confronts Rey Mysterio after the match and is like, rubbing his hands together in anticipation of their possible Ultima Lucha rematch. This guy is thirsting for a kill right now. Mandel would’ve been better off in a round one match against a firing shotgun.
Over/Under: Azteca Look At Me Now
The main event of episode 25 is the next installment of season 3’s mission to convince us Kill Shot and Dante Fox are the best parts of the show. It’s Dante Fox versus El Dragon Azteca Jr., and it’s great. Until …
Quick, guess what the “until” is. I’ll wait.
… until Taya and the Worldwide Underground show up to interfere, which brings out Rey Mysterio Jr. to fight off their interference, which causes Dragon Azteca to have to save Rey, which leaves Fox open to win the match. I know when you’ve got a team like the Worldwide Underground on top you’ve got to fill their matches with a bunch of rampant interference and bullshit, but you’re getting close to ‘nWo ruins everything on Nitro” territory when you have them all run out to ruin the rest of it. It’s just too much. Taya caused the finish of two matches on this one episode.
The good news is that like all of Lucha’s equivalent “Worsts,” the good is usually enough to outweigh the bad. And for real, Dragon Azteca vs. Fox is DOPE while it lasts. I think Rey Horus/Dragon Azteca might be the very most underrated person on the show, and possibly the most underrated wrestler on or off TV in the United States right now. That kid just HAS it. And Fox has been too good for a long time.
Join us next week for episode 26, and the final first round matches in the Cueto Cup.
JUST KIDDING, JOIN US RIGHT NOW.
And now, the the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 3, episode 26, originally aired on July 12, 2017.
The first second round tournament match pits Jeremiah Crane against Taya, and it’s a great combination because (1) Jeremiah Crane might be the MVP of the tournament, (2) Crane’s best matches are the ones where he can let loose and just fight the person for real, and (3) Taya is probably better than anyone in the company (except maybe Fenix) at taking a beating and coming back for more.
Taya rules. I can’t think of a more succinct way to say it. Since she’s shown up in Lucha Underground, her role has been as, surprisingly, the muscle of Worldwide Underground. They’re a bunch of jumpy cowardly dick-pointers, but Taya will step to the most deadly foes of Lucha Underground, take their worst, and hit back. For my money she’s the best female intergender wrestler on the planet right now, because she never, ever feels like a victim. She never seems like she can’t take these shots. She just sells the shit out of them, and gives it back. Watch when she manages to get a foot up when Crane runs at her in the corner. Her next several moves are hit with INSANE impact, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, and even though Crane is bigger than her and stronger than her, she’s legitimately kicking his ass. It’s great. She’s the perfect idea of a woman who wrestles men, because she just seems like a wrestler, and that other shit shouldn’t enter into it. This is about a billion times better than the Joey match, because she’s wrestling someone who wants to indiscriminately kick her ass instead of touch it. That’s all about character, though, no shade on Joey.
There are a couple of downsides, though.
Under: The Downsides
- The finish to this HAS to be Sexy Star distracting Taya and causing her to lose. It is known. That’s what happens, and it makes sense for the story they’re telling, even if I wish the story wasn’t “constant interference.” At least she didn’t get disqualified.
- Taya outside the ring and Taya inside the ring are too different. Outside the ring, she’s manipulating people and pulling strings and cheating her ass off. In the ring in her own matches, she’s a bad-ass. So when Sexy costs her the match AND gets in the ring to knock her out with brass knucks afterward, I think it’s hurt a little bit by what a stellar damn tecnico Taya’s been for the past 10 minutes. Does that make sense?
- Vampiro’s commentary is an all-time worst here. When she’s knocked out on some chairs about to get cannonballed, Vamp notes that something about her being passed out makes him “very happy,” but she’s gonna wake up soon. What the fuck? Also, the thing he likes about Taya is that she “doesn’t bitch and whine.” In comparison, Seductive Matt Striker sounds like Anita Sarkeesian.
Over: “You’ve Got A Booger In Your Nose!” – Alicia Fox
As you know if you’re a regular reader, I love the Rabbit Tribe, and I love Catrina’s unsanitary Lick Of Death after matches. It’s especially unsanitary looking when they aren’t wearing masks, and she’s just straight-up licking in their nostrils. Catrina seriously answers the question, “can someone still be attractive if you’re pretty sure they eat boogers?”
Paul London gets the unenviable task of taking on Mil Muertes in round two of the Cueto Cup, and you know how that ends. I love that they’re booking London as an actual threat, though, because he should be. The guy’s a former Ring of Honor and WWE superstar. He was a smark favorite like 15 years ago. He knows what he’s doing in the ring, and now he’s got a bonkers aesthetic and a couple of haphazardly arranged Alice in Wonderland dudes watching his back. I do appreciate the continuity of the Rabbit Tribe trying to help him again, but not actually hurting Mil because of that weird Sexy Star disqualification stipulation established in the previous episode.
It’s not enough, though, because this is MULL MORTENCE (® Catrina). Mil spears him out of his codpiece and Flatlines him for the victory. Then, that picture. But hey, London got some great, shockingly believable nearfalls, and that’s all you can ask for a second round match. They made me believe London and the Rabbits were crazy enough to pull a Themselves out of a hat and win.
So just to say it, I don’t like Famous B’s gimmick turning into an Actual Pimp. I like him as a used car salesman who is just terrible at networking and enlists the help of vagrant prostitutes because he doesn’t know any better. Having Brenda literally masturbate Texano (or whatever) to get him to join their team is a little much for me. Also, I’m not a fan of any wrestling angle that explicitly points out how boring somebody is. That’s y’all’s job to fix it, not to draw attention to it.
That all said, I immediately turn around on the segment 100% when they cut to Famous B making exaggerated “reeling him in” gestures in the background.
Imagine how much better this would’ve been if he was still dressed like a wizard, though. Just sitting in a country-western bar looking like Cookie Crisp.
OVER: Aero Star, A-Hole Of The Future
This is my favorite thing they’ve done in a while.
So in the middle of the show, Fenix and Aero Star are talking about Drago turning on them. Fenix knows Aero Star was close to him and is bummed, but notes that he turned on the Reptile Tribe once back in the day, he’s probably going to turn on them again soon. Aero Star says that since he’s out of the tournament, he’s putting all his money on Fenix, and Fenix brings up how unfair it is for a time traveler to gamble. If they’d left it at that, I probably would’ve happily clapped about it, but it gets better.
Fenix tells Aero Star to have some optimism, and Star responds with a line that could describe every Raw report I’ve ever written: “Optimism is not always easy for a man who has seen the future.” Best line in the history of the show.
Fenix asks Aero Star if he’s gonna win his match with Marty the Moth later tonight. Keep that question in mind.
Fenix does win, but Marty flies into a rage after the match and TRIES TO STAB HIM TO DEATH WITH A FORK. Full-on mask-tearing forehead-forking, Abdullah the Butcher-style. I think the best part is WHY Marty has a fork: he brought an “Aztec Pride” lunchbox to the ring with a bunch of snacks and utensils in it. I better be able to go on Pro Wrestling Tees or whatever and buy that right now.
Mariposa pulls Melissa Santos over to watch, because love, and it’s like a scene out of a horror movie. To make things worse, Marty starts licking Fenix’s wounds, and even dramatically licks the bloody fork.
So. Remember that question about whether or not Fenix would win tonight? This was Aero Star’s response:
DICK MOVE, SPACE MAN.