Previously on the Over/Under on Lucha Underground: “I never agreed with your glowing reviews of this show, but now that you have genuine complaints, I think you should let somebody else write about it!”
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And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 4, episode 16, originally aired on September 26, 2018.
Under: A Little Ditty, Bout Jack And Dyin’
This week’s episode begins with yet another Sacrifice To The Gods™, this time spiriting Jack Evans off the show. If there’s one thing I wouldn’t have suggested for season 4, it would’ve been “killing all the supporting characters, literally all of them, with no build or anticipation or established reasoning or really anything,” and “less Jack Evans.”
The actual match, as it plays out, is fun while it lasts. Jack Evans vs. Matanza is something that could’ve been like, actual content for the show. Jack’s jumping around and wacky hope spots were great, and I even didn’t hate Antonio Cueto’s corny tripping of Jack on the steps, because it felt like maybe Jack was finally important enough of a character to not just get whisked away via A Wizard Did It and advance this Matanza story. Do we have any further information on the Gods, or why they need or want sacrifices, or any of that behind the scenes stuff that used to be laced throughout the show but now only seems to matter during season openers and enders?
I just want this stuff to feel like it matters, and I’m increasingly worried we’re gonna get to the end of the season and the point’s going to be, “someone finally stopped Matanza from sacrificing everybody,” instead of, “why and how is Matanza sacrificing everybody, and what does it mean, and why does nobody seem to care that people are being murdered in front of a crowd weekly?”
Over: I’m Okay With These New Rabbits
While the Lucha Underground purist in me already misses Saltador and Mala Suerte — to take a step back from kayfabe for a second, I really hope Cholo and Loco got written off the show because they have better characters for them to play, and not just because they were expendable and changed their mind about where the faction should go — I could be into a more focused, evil, time-obsessed Rabbit Tribe with a goddamn character named “El Bunny” camel clutching people while a guy in a suit screams in their face about a pocket watch. “Shit’s happening because of crazy reasons” is always better than “crazy shit’s happening for no reason.”
The New Rabbits make their formal debut during a Trios Championship match between the Snake Tribe and Jeremiah Belly-crawler and the Even More Unlikely Trio of XO Lishus, Joey Ryan, and Ivelisse, who haven’t really won much lately and have never teamed before but are getting a title shot, because reasons. And then they lose their first match after forming the team and get beaten up by a third, unrelated team, which is about the most mid-card Raw tag team feud progression I can imagine. Let’s say the Revival’s challenging The B-Team for the Raw Tag Titles. If Raw doesn’t want the Revival to win, but also doesn’t want to have to explain why the Revival isn’t going to just challenge the B-Team again, they’ll have Titus Worldwide (or whoever) run in and cost them the match. So now the Revival’s feuding with Titus, and the B-Team can go do something else. It’s segmented, compartmentalized booking that shrinks the world you’ve created and is basically the opposite of how Lucha Underground used to operate. This is the company where Aztec Warfare was able to tie together like 15 different stories with ease.
But hey, it’s Paul London in black clothes acting like an evil crazy person, an Alice in Wonderland-themed spooky businessman, and their little person friend they keep in a cage and call El Bunny. So I’ll give it an Over.
Under: Another Jake Strong Match
If you want a simple five minutes that is emblematic of everything wrong with this season, here’s Jack Swagger winning a 2-on-1 handicap match in which his opponents, two relatively important luchadors who have been on the show since the beginning, are easily defeated despite having a numbers advantage, spitting poison mist in their opponents eyes, and literally being able to use nunchucks as a weapon against him. And you know, if Swagger was in here pulling off Kenny Omega or Seth Rollins matches to justify this push, I’d be into it … but he’s not, he’s just lumbering through these things, no-selling everything — even POSION MIST AND KARATE WEAPONS FROM MULTIPLE OPPONENTS — to hit his WWE transitional offense and win. It’s the dirt worst, and I can’t wait until they put the title on him and completely sink the entire ship.
Like, imagine if NXT had signed Gunner from TNA and immediately had him crush Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong in a 3-on-1 handicap match where Undisputed Era got to use switchblades to legally stab him. And imagine that that set up Gunner breaking Velveteen Dream’s leg, beating Johnny Gargano so badly Gargano literally disappeared forever, and then winning the championship from Tommaso Ciampa in five minutes with a body slam. And that this all happened in like, two months of TV.
The main event this week is a number one contender match for a Lucha Underground Championship match in the main event of Ultima Lucha Quatro, between four of the most important and/or talented characters in the history of the show: Mil Muertes, who just murdered his valet after years of being emotionally and physically manipulated, and also just saw his blood rival come back from the dead and time travel his way into some Pet Sematary powers; Pentagon Dark, who just lost the Lucha Underground Championship via bullshit technicalities, because the guy in charge of the show suddenly has it in for him; El Dragon Azteca Jr., the character who worked his ass off to win the Gift of the Gods Championship and defend it with honor weekly in exciting matches, only to have it jerked away from him by that same evil authority figure; and King Cuerno, a man who is at least tangentially in possession of a gauntlet that gives the wearer the unimaginable powers of a God.
It lasts for five minutes, and ends because The Mack showed up to hit two Stone Cold Stunners on Mil Muertes.
It’s fine, but again, it’s something that could be incredibly important and just … isn’t. Mack’s feuding with Mil because he “isn’t afraid of death” anymore, and yeah, there’s history there, but also Mil just killed Catrina, who was the person who did the whole “put your cousin’s skeleton in your locker to scare you” thing. So we don’t even really know where Mil’s at, or what he cares about. And there’s more Dark Fenix being mean to Melissa Santos stuff, but really all they do is have Melissa trick him into standing in the way of Dragon Azteca’s dive.
Note: Dragon Azteca’s dive is a billion percent the best part of the show. Here it is in GIF form.
Without going into another complainy rant about it, it’s just another flat episode full of things happening in place of actual stories or good wrestling matches, for a company and show that even at its worst and most nonsensical was never, ever, “flat.”