Previously on Lucha Underground: Season 4 returned with a production problem-plagued Aztec Warfare IV — Aztec Fourfare? — featuring Tommy Dreamer, Mr. Pectacular, and more. Also, Dario Cueto is now a half-blind Gremlins grandpa with Tom Waits’ voice.
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And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 4, episode 2, originally aired on June 20, 2018.
Over: Catrina Is So Dead
This should’ve been the first episode of the season. We should’ve led off with a bunch of contextual backstory and long-standing plot progression, peppered in a couple of consequential debuts, set up some big matches, then did an Aztec Warfare to pull it all together. It’s what they did successfully for three seasons, and as an added bonus it gave them a time to make sure their crew was on point before they had to do a 20-man Royal Rumble with Aztec drummers and the rest.
It’s the best kind of Lucha Underground episode; one that weaves one continuous backstage story throughout an episode, and fills in the gaps with fun wrestling matches featuring actual luchadors. Brother, I would rather see Argenis 200 times than Tommy Dreamer twice. The A-story is divided into three equally important parts that move the mythology forward while tying it into what we’ve seen before. It’s set up as:
Segment 1: Catrina knows that King Cuerno stole the Gauntlet of the Gods from Mil Muertes as the end of season 3, and we also know that (1) Cuerno keeps all his trophies and his one change of clothes in his weird taxidermy mountain cabin, and (2) Catrina can fucking teleport. So what’s the logical first step for season 4? Catrina teleporting to King Cuerno’s cabin to try to find the gauntlet.
While she’s there, Cuerno saunters in and explains that yeah, he knows she can teleport, so he decided to give the gauntlet to somebody else for safe keeping. He doesn’t know what they did with it, where they hid it, or even WHEN they hid it to give himself plausible deniability. Catrina explains to him that she can’t get her life force back until she gets it, and Cuerno pops me huge by straight up telling her he doesn’t give a shit. Love you, Taxidermy Boss.
Segment 2: Out of options, Catrina goes to her backup plan: trying to murder Fenix once and for all, steal his endlessly regenerating life force, and use it to power her own. It’s not as good as exchanging the glove for her police cheif mom’s half of the female immortality medallion — this is a very difficult show to explain — but it works. She teleports into Antonio Cueto’s office and asks for a Grave Consequences match between Mil Muertes and Fenix. Cueto, put off by the fact that some lady literally just teleported into his office, agrees to sign the match if it means she’ll be a normal person and have to knock before she comes in. It’s fun to see this new version of Cueto reacting to the supernatural bullshit of The Temple for the first time. It hurts my “it’s really Dario faking his death” theory by having him react a certain way when nobody else is in the room, but it’s still fun.
Segment 3: At the end of the show, Jeremiah Crane storms into Cueto’s office and demands to be added to the Grave Consequences match. He wants to bury Fenix AND Mil, give Catrina what she wants, get her zombie boyfriend familiar out of the picture for good, and be her (literal) boo. Antonio Cueto likes violence, so he makes it a “Three-way to the Grave” match. As an aside, any three-way with a jealous partner is a three-way to the grave.
Maybe I’m melodramatic or overthinking it, but between the introduction of a clear “Catrina wants to be alive again” story and that one suspicious scene from the season 4 trailer, she’s 100% coming back to life just to get murdered, isn’t she?
Over: Infamous Inc., Temporarily
Before I type anything about the match, watch this GIF a few times.
Okay, so continuing the theme of replacing established characters with people we can actually get to come to the Temple for season 4, Famous B con Beautiful Brenda announce that Texano and Dr. Wagner Jr. are off in Mexico and unable to compete, so they’ve signed three brand new clients. They’re in a Trios Championship match, somehow, against 2/3 of the actual Trios Champions and the guy who got randomly added last week to replace Dante Fox. I really can’t wait for the show to get on its feet again.
The good news is that B’s new super team is HILARIOUS, and the perfect combination of character types I enjoy on the show:
- a guy I love from the independent scene
- a guy I liked from WWE, doing a new thing that’s cool but also kind of embarrassing
- a guy I’ve never seen before with a ridiculous occupational gimmick
The first of the three is Sammy Guevara, one of my very favorites from Inspire Pro and PWG, who I even pitched as the new butthole version of Prince Puma for season 4. He combines very dangerous high flying with an unparalleled love of self and the face of Justin Bieber. The Bieber thing’s followed him around forever. It basically used to be his entire character. I could GIF him all day.
After that we get Jack Swagger De Marte. The thing I’m not totally understanding is his new name: “The Savage” Jake Strong. “Jake” is the only part I get. He’s not doing anything savage, he’s just Jack Swagger in Jack Swagger’s singlet doing Jack Swagger’s moves. They didn’t like, put a bone through his nose and have him slap his belly. Or make him Macho Man, I guess? “Strong” is a wrestling surname we already associate with a guy wrestling on TV, so it’s like they signed Jack Swagger and decided to call him “Eskimo” Jake Ricochet. He actually wins the match at one point with a visual tap out, but Famous B distracts the referee for an absolutely absurd amount of time and they end up losing. Savvy Jake responds by beating up his entire team, breaking them up after one (1) appearance. This season feels a little ADD even for Lucha.
Finally we have BIG BAD STEVE, who is a wrestling mechanic. Who is named goddamn BIG BAD STEVE. He’s the worst guy on his team, loses the match, and is probably the one guy who remains attached to Famous B. As a guy whose all-time favorite Lucha Underground character is a masked, musical bus boy Dario Cueto found cleaning tables at his favorite Mexican restaurant, I’m prepared to eventually love this guy.
I Hate That Most Of My Overs Are “Mostly Over”
Match two on the night is El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Drago in a Dance of Dragons, and while it didn’t do a lot for me — not really feeling Drago’s in-ring stuff since season 2 — it brought back the ahn-see-ent Aztec Medallions and reintroduced the Gift of the Gods championship to season 4. If season 4’s pace keeps up like it had in the first two episodes, we’re gonna hand out all six remaining medallions in episode 3.
While there wasn’t much to talk about from the match (other than EDAJ being dope as hell), the post-match is another example of this episode getting the show back on its feet. John Mundo shows up to distract Kobra Moon, allowing Taya to jump her from behind and beat her down. This is in response to last week, when Kobra summoned the Undersnaker to attack Johnny during Aztec Warfare. A to B to C! That’s a hell of a lot better than A to B, back to A, waiting six months and then replacing B with one of the Bro-Mans.
Over: Pent Up Frustration
My favorite thematic bit of the night is the main event, which sees Pentagon Dark get the first ever singles win over Matanza Cueto. What I love about it so much is how the roles have reversed. Back in the day, Pentagon Jr. was this pissed-off ninja skeleton with a lot of confidence but was shaken up by a perceived lack of respect from the fans and his peers. He was under the thumb of Konnan, or Vampiro, or a dark master, or whatever. Matanza was this unstoppable rage monster empowered by his brother Dario. Dario knew how to control and motivate him. He kept Matanza hungry, kept him wanting, kept him destroying. When they faced off the first time, Matanza destroyed Pentagon and broke his back. It was barely a match.
Fast forward to episode 2 of season 4 and now Pentagon (Dark) is the Lucha Underground Champion. He put Prince Puma out of the sport, more or less, and out of the Temple forever. He became the first person to ever successfully defend the Lucha Underground Championship in an Aztec Warfare. Meanwhile, Matanza’s lost Dario. He’s now under the thumb of his father, a guy who basically tortured him (in a bad way) his entire life. A guy who was so detached he let his children be emotionally and physically abused by their mother. So now PENTAGON is empowered, and Matanza’s emotionally weak. Pentagon’s able to just wreck him with move after move after move, and ultimately pin him. Because this isn’t the Pentagon who faced Matanza before, and not the Matanza he faced. Love it.
Let’s keep this kind of show going! A few more of these and I’m gonna be typing everything in capital letters.