Previously on Lucha Underground: Marty The Moth Martinez and his spider-themed girlfriend who probably isn’t going to be there for long tried to set Pentagon Dark on fire. Also, Fenix is now pure evil and best friends with Mil Muertes, because he’s housing the spirit of Mil’s dead life force sugar mama.
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. Watch it when you’re done watching The House On Spooky Mountain.
And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 4, episode 19, originally aired on October 17, 2018.
Under: Strong Is Weak
After a couple of very good episodes, I’m sad to report that Lucha Underground season 4 is back on its bullshit.
To say this week’s episode “featured Jake Strong” is like saying the Bojack Horseman episode ‘Free Churro’ “featured” Bojack Horseman. Jake is here for the beginning, middle, and end of the episode, and unless you’re still hanging on to some residual good will from the Swagger Soaring Eagle and pre-Mexamerica Zeb Colter, you’re gonna be disappointed. The episodes about how much better Jack Swagger is than everyone who’s ever participated in lucha libre are definitely the worst of this season, and this is the worst of those.
We start with something … I guess I could say mildly interesting, which is a meeting between Strong and Safari Dario Cueto about the Gift of the Gods Championship. As he’s leaving, he says that it’s no longer Antonio’s Temple, it’s HIS Temple, and he says so in SCARY MONSTER VOICE. Like, full-on Michael Jackson at the end of ‘Thriller’ monsterfication. I’m surprised he didn’t have cat eyes. Is THAT why they call him The Savage? Is there a Jeckyll and Hyde situation happening where a demonic presence is living inside the body of a very big, very boring wrestler? Feels like it’s more Heckle and Jeckle.
That sets up my least favorite thing Lucha Underground ever does: battle royals that are over in like two minutes because they’re just a means to an end. You know you’re messing up when *I* don’t like a battle royal. I’ll go on WWE Network and watch King Kong Bundy slowly corner-hump somebody for 20 minutes in Boston Garden or whatever and treat it like Dragon Gate. But these two minute Divas battle royals where we’ve gotta get to the number one contender so everybody out of the pool are depressing. I think the worst part of this one is either that Dante Fox finally returns from oblivion just to be one of the guys Strong tosses out, or that the battle royal is so the winner can eliminate someone from next week’s match but the winner picks nobody. So the match … uh, happened for no reason? Cool.
Since this is not enough Jack Swagger in our one-hour program, Cueto makes a match between Strong and John Mundo for later in the night. The true spirit of Lucha Underground is ECW on the SciFi Channel in 2008! I hope Matt Hardy and Mark Henry get added to the match!
And of course, Strong goes over again. It’s more competitive at least — Strong usually just makes his opponents look like shit before breaking their ankles with sound effects — but Mundo still gets beaten, and Swagger even takes away Matanza Cueto’s agency at the end by showing dominance over him and “offering up” Mundo as a sacrifice. Matanza’s supposed to literally be a God right now, and JACK SWAGGER has more power than him in Lucha Underground. Somebody was like, “Jack Swagger should be able to intimidate God,” and they WENT WITH IT.
The end of the show is Matanza beating up Taya and Johnny Mundo and “busting open” Mundo with some Reggie White-quality headbutts to the side of the face. I’m a lot more forgiving of these things when I haven’t had to sit through the middle of a Raw from 2012.
Under: The Rest Of The Episode
And the hits keep coming!
To continue the “Oh No: The Worst of Lucha Underground Season 4” clip show, a match between The Mack and Killshot ends when Mil Muertes runs in, causing a disqualification. Remember the halcyon days before the Cueto Cup, when the show didn’t do that all the time? That brings Son of Havoc to the ring to join in the brawl, and we get an Everybody Fights thing to hype matches for Ultima Lucha Quatro. Dear Lucha Underground: the promise of season-long payoffs to character arcs and promotion mythology are such a better way to get us excited for Ultima Lucha matches than “can they co-exist” and “if the fight is THIS CRAZY just WAIT UNTIL THE OTHER SHOW” crammed together.
I mean, at least Alberto Del Rio didn’t run out and kick all their asses.
For real, the highlight of this episode is Lucha Underground lampshading its own terrible contract and exclusivity setup by having Famous B present Sammy Guevara with a seven-year contract, “not counting breaks.” Get it? Because they did that in real life!
It’s even worse because the set up to the bit is that XO Lishus, Ivelisse, and Joey Ryan — a team that became a Trios team basically out of nowhere a few weeks ago, then lost every match they’ve had as a team — have been invited to participate in a Trios Championship match at Ultima Lucha. Why, exactly? Especially when Joey can’t get medically cleared in time and they need a new third, meaning a team that’s never even been SEEN together has a promised title shot on the promotion’s WrestleMania.
I’m gonna go type and delete “Jake Strong” a bunch of times and hope next week’s show remembers how Lucha Underground episodes are supposed to work.