Previously on Ultima Lucha Cuatro, which I can’t stop spelling as “Quatro” because I learned Spanish from a Portuguese teacher: Killshot lost his mask, became Lt. Jermaine Strickland, and was discharged from the military (or something) by his old squad mate, who came to the wrestling show in full uniform for some reason. Also, Taya kicked Ricky Mundo’s ass and is about to become possessed by an evil doll.
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And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground’s Ultima Lucha Cuatro part two, originally aired on November 7, 2018.
Over, Then Super Under: Dark Fenix Saga
Part two of Ultima Lucha Cuatro opens with (Dark) Fenix vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr., 2-out-of-3 falls, which NXT has taught me is supposed to be the best match anybody can do. It also features two of the best athletes and performers in the entire company, including arguably the best Lucha Underground guy ever in Fenix, and it’s opening a two-hour show so it should have all the time in the world. It’s a perfect recipe for a match of the year candidate.
I guess the biggest criticism I have is that it wasn’t. The action is great while it lasts, but even with three falls it only goes about 15 minutes, and the falls just kind of end whenever they want. Dragon Azteca wins a fall with his Pizza DDT, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen pin anyone. That happens a lot in 2-out-of-3 falls matches though, which is really my only beef with them; if you want Sami Zayn to win with the Blue Thunder Bomb or Dolph Ziggler to win with a Fame-asser, put them in a 2-out-of-3 falls match with someone. Or a Survivor Series match.
Actually, hang on; the biggest criticism I have is a necessary one, I guess, as Melissa Santos becomes increasingly worried about her dead boyfriend who was brought back to life by a time traveler and had his soul accidentally mixed in with the soul of a ghost witch and is now accidentally evil. You know how it goes. Antonio Cueto makes the third fall “falls count anywhere,” which is ALSO a great stipulation, and Melissa ruins it by getting up on the apron and trying to make the wrestlers stop wrestling because they’re amigos. This OF COURSE costs Dragon, and Fenix gets the win. Because if you’re dating a dead guy who’s accidentally evil, you’ve got to pretend to inadvertently turn heel to keep dating him, don’t you?
It’s a good match, but I’m a little bummed that the emphasis ended up on the extracurricular story instead of on the physical match-up and prowess of the wrestlers. He said, screaming at the last 100 years of North American professional wrestling.
Over: Johnny Mundo Wins The Corniest Match Of All Time
First of all, God-powered gauntlet-assisted ab shredding.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can talk about The Monster Matanza Cueto vs. The Mayor of Slamtown Johnny Mundo in a Sacrifice to the Gods match. You know what those words mean, even if that doesn’t make any sense. Amazingly, one of the best and most cohesive Lucha Underground set-ups of the season involves a formerly arrogant man who is learning to be a better person through marriage being given a magical glove from a time traveler to help him avenge the sacrificing of his friends via an evil old Spanish safari businessman’s God-inhabited cannibal son on a pro wrestling telenovela. I miss when I could just describe everything on Lucha Underground like this, instead of saying, “Jack Swagger squashed everyone you like.”
Anyway, this match definitely shouldn’t work, but spectacularly DOES, as it’s built around Mundo needing to possess and maintain a Nintendo Power Glove to pin an otherwise unstoppable wrestler. I love that the big finish is some punches, followed by a Superman Punch, followed by a jumping punch from the top rope. Lou Thesz would be proud. I’m a little bummed that it didn’t end with Mundo actually sacrificing Matanza to any Gods, but he avoided sacrifice, so I guess it counts. Honestly, this would’ve gotten an Over from me no matter what, based solely on Matanza’s entrance gear.
It’s like Carmen Miranda went to Eternia and turned rudo. I love it.
Furthering the “Johnny Mundo found true love and decided to try to be a good dude” arc, he returns the Gauntlet of the Gods to Aerostar after the match instead of letting a God inhabit his “perfect body.” I love that he refuses the compliment of his goodness, and puts up an arrogant front as the reason for doing the right thing. How DARE you be a three-dimensional character, Johnny Mundo!
It ends up going badly for him, though, as we find out in the season (and possibly show) ending epilogue that Taya has become possessed by the evil doll she stole from Ricky Mundo, which, whoops, isn’t just a haunted doll but A VESSEL FOR ANOTHER ANCIENT AZTEC GOD. These Gods have some weird-ass ways of getting from their world to ours. They can only get here via gloves, dolls, and magical keys. Anybody wanna figure out the science behind this?
But yeah, no, Taya chokes Johnny out and becomes a God, ruining John Mundo’s path to pure tecnico joy at the finish line. I really do hope there’s a season five, because Mundo’s the last important character from season one standing. No Big Ryck, no Prince Puma, no Sexy Star, no Catrina, and everyone else is just sort of in the same spot.
OH, and speaking of the season-ending epilogue, Aerostar hands over the glove to El Dragon Azteca Jr., who hands it over to the returning Black Lotus, who uses it to KILL MATANZA WITH KANO’S MORTAL KOMBAT FATALITY.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN. All I could think watching the entire epilogue was, “wow, I wish they’d STARTED the season out with this. It actually explains what’s going on, addresses the show’s previous three seasons of history, moves the plot forward, and contains important character growth moments for a bunch of characters!” Actually I was also thinking, “I hope Black Lotus and Io Shirai show up to help Kairi Sane fight off the Four Horsewomen at NXT TakeOver War Games, especially if Lotus rips out Shayna Baszler’s heart with an electric gauntlet.” And then I laugh for thinking Shayna Baszler has a heart.
Over: Speaking Of Death
This is either a screenshot of The Mack defeating Mil Muertes in a Death Match, or a newborn baby calf being born, I can’t tell.
One of the other ongoing criticisms of Ultima Lucha shows (of which there aren’t many) is that sometimes the matches overshadow each other. For example, this was super tecnico crowd favorite The Mack in a hardcore match against a cartoonish but threatening horror movie monster in Mil Muertes, where the face battles against all odds and finally overcomes his “demons.” It’s sandwiched between Johnny Mundo vs. Matanza, which amps up the “super tecnico vs. horror movie monster” thing to eleven, and Pentagon Dark vs. Marty the Moth in a Cero Miedo match, which amps up the hardcore match to twelve or thirteen. So even though Mack vs. Mil was absolutely fantastic, it’s probably going to get lost in everyone’s memories of the show, because it’s a perfectly balanced piece between two extremes. I hope that makes sense.
And that’s kinda crazy to say, considering this match is happening because Mil killed The Mack’s cousin off-screen three seasons ago, used his skull as the centerpiece of a Shao Khan throne without telling anybody, then had his half-immortal spooky witch familiar taunt Mack by putting dude’s skull in a locker with an eyepatch on it and a cigar between its teeth so he’d know who it belonged to. That was the normal thing that happened between two extremes. You can pace this stuff out throughout the season, but when everything culminates on the same show you’re like, “oh, we sure do a lot of weird shit in this promotion, huh.”
Over: The Ultra Diva
Somewhere in the middle of all this wacky chaos we get the Lucha Underground debut of new ring announcer Shaul Guerrero, daughter of Vickie and Eddie Guerrero, and one of NXT’s first (and, don’t @ me, best) early characters. If all of that’s not enough to let you know how cool she is, she married Aiden English and made him a by-proxy Guerrero.
Famous B shows up trying to make a Guerrero famous, shades the number one family in lucha libre history, and gets his ass kicked by Shaul and Chavo Jr. for his troubles. It’s a nice, positive diversion, and B getting instant karmic comeuppance is always funny. In the event that Lucha doesn’t come back for season 5, you can see her ring announcing on WOW Women of Wrestling pretty soon. Spoiler alert: it takes place in the same universe.
Over Times A Million, Then Under Times Infnity: Cero Miedo
Okay, this one hurts.
Just to say it before I say anything else, Marty the Moth and Pentagon Dark beat the ever-loving holy shit Christ out of each other in this. It made the Cero Miedo match between Pentagon and Vampiro look pretty tame, flaming Popes notwithstanding. Marty deserves a goddamn medal for how much he bled here. It was full-on 1981 Apter Mag bloody. The CRIMSON MASK, if you will. The fact that he took the beating he did, complete with being thrown through a pane of glass and package piledriven onto a bed of chairs, is remarkable. His title reign was short, but he made this moment count.
The problem is that for as glorious and bloody and fantastic as this was — hurt only slightly by Matt Striker and Vampiro selling it like it was the most horrendous thing they’d ever seen, putting it over Japanese death matches in an eyebrow raising moment, but I get they’ve got to sell it — the post-match stuff just completely took a festering fucking dump on it.
I hate to type that, because again, this entire Ultima Lucha was pretty fantastic. But the ending, which is designed to make you mad at the product, made me very mad at the product.
Pentagon wins the championship and is immediately turned on (again) by Vampiro. He starts kicking Vampiro’s ass, which brings out Vamp’s skeleton-faced Dark Master from the season three epilogue, who I guess we’re gonna call Sextagon Dark. He’s got a hexagon on his forehead, I dunno. They should’ve just made it an octagon and tied it into AAA, but I guess we aren’t doing that anymore, so … yeah, Hexagon Dark. Sexagon. Whatever.
The new Dark Master is notably (and weirdly) smaller than Pentagon and Vampiro, and attacks Pentagon with a bunch of Jack Evans moves. I’m not sure who it is under the mask — I’ve read that it’s Australian Suicide, but I haven’t seen it confirmed anywhere — but hey, our death-themed pissed-off ninja skeleton and Canadian Vampire Lord dojo is run by a goth light-heavyweight samurai. I’m fine with that, I can be into that.
What I can’t be into, goddammit all to hell, is what happens after that:
UNDER FOREVER: A Strong Finish
Like we’ve been fearing for a while, the season ends with Jack Swagger showing up and winning a championship the only way he knows how, apparently; by cashing in a Money in the Bank briefcase. ‘The Savage’ Jake Strong shows up with the Gift of the Gods belt, turns it in for an immediate title shot because that’s just how it works now, and breaks Pentagon’s ankle. Penta loses via ref stoppage, Marty’s efforts are completely nerfed by them also having the Dark Master attack Pentagon between the end of the match and the start of the cash-in, and … and well, Jack Swagger is Lucha Underground Champion.
To make matters worse, Strong shows up again in the epilogue to jump El Dragon Azteca Jr. and break HIS ankle, stealing the Gauntlet of the Gods and taking it back to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or whatever in the omnipresent Big Bad limo. So Swagger has run through the entire roster, kicked everyone’s ass (sometimes two at a time), won the Lucha Underground Championship after the main event of what might be the final show, and made sure to also nab the most powerful weapon in the company. Holy shit, is Swagger paying them to be on the show?
I’m Happy I’ve At Least Got Some Good News
The good: the cigar-smoking Big Bad in the limo is revealed to be WADE BARRETT, who cheekily references getting “bad news.” If you know me at all, you know I’m 100% down with Stu Bennett content of any kind of my wrestling show.
The bad: Lucha Underground seriously might go off the air with the finale being, “some big white mid-card guys from five-years-ago showed up and kicked all of our asses and we had to quit, sorry.” Of all the shows on television, I thought Impact would be the one to end like that.
Another good thing, though, is that if we DO get a season five — and don’t get me wrong, as unhappy as I was in general with this season, I desperately want a season five, and a dozen seasons after that — we’ve finally set the stage for a big climax. The Ancient Aztec Gods are all here and aligning. There are supposed to be seven of them, right? Swagger’s a God, Taya’s a God (via doll), Barrett’s a God I guess, Matanza WAS a God but now he’s dead, and whoever ends up wearing the glove too long becomes a God.
And then, uh …
HOW YOU GONNA END THE SEASON LIKE THIS YOU COWARDS
If there’s one thing they could do to instantly fix a season five, it’s bringing back Dario Cueto. Luis Fernandez-Gil is an awesome actor and did the best he could with Antonio and his weird gravel voice, but the Dario Cueto character is, pardon the pun, key. He’s what made the show work. When things would seem iffy, Dario could pop into a segment and save it. It’s a perfect kind of character, and killing him off for an entire season was such a bad move.
The question now is this: what does it mean for season 4? Going by my basic understanding of time travel — and understanding that Aerostar jumped back in time to the beginning of the season and brought Dario back to life — we’re either:
- going to re-do the entire season like it didn’t exist, because now the timeline has changed
- have to recontextualize the entire season understanding that Dario’s still alive, meaning he’s either been lurking around in the shadows the whole time setting up a counter-strike to the Evil Big White WWE Guy Team, or
- maybe he killed his father at some point and assumed his identity, which is why Antonio looked so sad in the limo when he found out Matanza was dead
Either way, I want a season five. I need to know. And if season five doens’t happen, I want to be one of the writers of a Lucha Underground series finale feature-length episode. I’ve invested too much of my life into this Aztec wrestling war to not know how it ends. It better not end with WWE ’13.