We’ve finally made it to the fábrica de fuegos artificiales. It’s time for the first of three episodes of ULTIMA LUCHA DOS, Lucha Underground’s season two finale. If you need to get caught up on season two or just want to know what’s going on with the card, check out our ULTIMA LUCHA DOS primer.
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And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season two, episode 24: Ultima Lucha Dos, part one of three.
Over: 4 A Unique Opportunity
If you ran down the card, you might assume that Dario Cueto’s “4 A Unique Opportunity” match/tournament would be one of the least important things on the card. That’s not a knock on the performers; it’s just a match that Cueto seemingly created on a whim last week and tossed four guys who weren’t doing anything into. As it turns out, it’s incredibly important, and the entire first hour of Ultima Lucha Dos is devoted to it. The entire thing.
As mentioned in the show primer, Cueto’s “unique opportunities” are usually elaborate traps. Not “traps,” I guess, because they offer high rewards … Cueto just loves setting people up for huge victories just to see them knocked down at the last minute. Cueto’s the best evil GM character for a lot of reasons, but the best is that he’s actually evil. He’s a smart, calculating, reasonable guy with a code of honor who is also a total liar, a violence-obsessed sociopath and lucky enough to believe that even if he f*cks up, it’s going to work out for him. Because yo, it has.
Over: Mack VS. Cage Falls Count Anywhere II
Ultima Lucha Uno began with a Falls Count Anwyhere match between The Mack and Cage, and it was so unexpectedly good that it threatened to steal the entire show. Some people still refer to it as one of the best matches in the history of the promotion, especially if you were there for the live version that was like 5 minutes longer.
This year, because we’re only working on one year of tradition, Dario Cueto opens Ultima Lucha Dos with Mack vs. Cage again, and makes it Falls Count Anywhere. And, because one year of tradition is sometimes all you need, it’s so good it threatens to steal the entire show.
It’s hard to get hyperbolic about ridiculousness in a post-The Final Deletion world, but don’t sleep on The Mack carrying out a bunch of piñatas, finding a wrench in one, then attacking Cage when Cage’s piñata only contained candy. And then the f*cking crowd is scrambling around on the floor for candy while dude WRENCH FIGHT. That’s not even touching the weirdness of Matt Striker doing a Stone Cold Steve Austin impression while The Mack does a Stone Cold Steve Austin impression and hits a double-beer Stone Cold Stunner on Cage.
It’s not all funny, though. They beat the ever-loving sh*t out of each other. There’s even a frog splash off the seating rail through a table, which continues Lucha Underground‘s streak of finding the best possible camera angles for moves:
The finish is definitely my favorite part, in that it brings the whole concept full circle. Last year, Cage defeated the Mack by curb stomping him through a cinder block. I mean, honestly, The Mack’s head should’ve exploded and we should’ve never seen him again, but it’s super heroes and smiles on faces or whatever so it’s fine. This year, Cage can’t seem to finish off Mack, so he goes to the DEATH BY CINDER BLOCK well again. This time, however, he tries to do it on a floor covered in errant beer splatter, can’t keep his footing, ends up putting his own foot through the block and getting rolled up by Mack for three. It’s the perfect intersection of a great callback, an absurdist art project and totally logical in-context booking. Love it.
Over: One Of Those Piñatas Was Totally Son Of Havoc, Wasn’t It
I see what you did there.
Over: Boyle Heights Bar Fight
Match two is Son of Havoc vs. Texano, which Dario makes a “Boyle Heights Bar Fight” because that’s what he thinks of when he sees a biker and a cowboy about to throw hands. It’s good, and features some of the nastiest bumps you’ll see on the show outside of like, ghost popes getting stabbed with light tubes and thrown through flaming tables. There’s no real grudge or preexisting history between the two, though, so they probably should’ve ran this one first.
But yeah, the Boyle Heights Bar Fights hits a lot of the same notes as Cage vs. Mack. It’s got the promise of violence, a ridiculous interlude — instead of wrench piñatas, this one has Son of Havoc wearing a fire helmet while he sprays Texano with a fire extinguisher, Texano responding by smashing a bottle of liquor over Havoc’s head, and Havoc briefly selling it before triumphantly realizing he’s wearing a helmet — and then DELIVERING ON THE VIOLENCE.
When they’re done having helmet hijinx, Son of Havoc straight-up backdrops a motherf*cker through a bar. Through an ENTIRE BAR.
If that’s not enough, the action culminates in a bunch of bar stools getting smashed and Texano getting thrown onto the debris pile, with the stool legs sticking up and everything. Nothing makes me more nervous in wrestling than “he could’ve actually been impaled” spots. Remember Jeff Hardy getting backdropped while a table was being flipped over at Royal Rumble 2000? Remember when Seth Rollins almost got stabbed through the back trying to sneak under a descending cage on Raw? YOU’RE STRESSING ME OUT.
The ending is great, though, with Havoc stomping a bunch of bottles, throwing Texano arm-first into them, then Brogue Kicking him backwards into them again. That’s the kind of emphatic punctuation you need on a match like this. Something that makes everyone watching say, “THAT’S it,” and then actually letting that be it.
Over: The Unique Opportunity
The finals come down to Son of Havoc and The Mack, which Cueto mentions is kind of unexpected, as the “smart money” would’ve had Cage and Texano moving on. Cueto makes this one Falls Count Anywhere as well, which doesn’t actually come into play that much aside from the referee not trying to count them out when they’re on the outside. It’s mostly just a straight-forward match between two underdogs to see which one can be UNDERDOGGEST and grab Dario’s brass ring. Honestly, the only time I even remembered it was Falls Count Anywhere is when Striker asks Vampiro if one of these guys should “try to take a count-out or a disqualification.” I’d say that was Striker’s worst call on the night, but he pronounced “Sasuke” as “sah-SOO-kay” while hyping Puma/Mysterio and that’s always an instant #1.
Anyway, the match is good, but the episode has a little bit of a diminishing return feel. It starts with Cage and Mack tearing it up, continues with Havoc and Texano tearing it up a little less, then continues with Havoc and Mack tearing it up a little less than that. Diminishing returns on Lucha usually means “f*cking amazing all the way down to very good,” so that’s not a complaint. Plus, it’s all building to the big reveal at the end.
Son of Havoc hits a shooting star press to win the match and the 4 A Unique Opportunity tournament, and Dario springs the “greatest unique opportunity” he’s ever given on him: Havoc can either take a briefcase containing a quarter of a million dollars, or he can take a briefcase containing a championship match contract for Ultima Lucha Tres. Two great things here:
1. ULTIMA LUCHA TRES WILL HAPPEN.
2. It gives the show’s “adopted son” the best story ever: he started the show as a throwaway jobber, and he could end the show (assuming it doesn’t continue after Ultima Lucha Tres, since that’s as far as the tapings have gotten with no real promise of more having been made) as champion.
Havoc says Cueto could’ve put “250 million” dollars in the briefcase and he wouldn’t have taken it over a championship match in the main event of an Ultima Lucha, and whoops, that turns out to be the wrong answer. There’s one more match Havoc has to win to get the contract, and if he doesn’t, the guy who beats him gets the 250 grand.
As for who that person is … [cues up Bon Jovi]
Over: THE DOCTOR IS IN
Famous B wanders out and proclaims that Son of Havoc will have to face his new client, which is great because he’s already famous. Then he turns around and reveals his new airbrushed jacket is for DOCTOR F*CKING WAGNER JR.
If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Wagner Jr., he’s one of the greatest goddamn luchadors of all time and one of my very favorite wrestlers ever. Why? Well, for starters, he’s an evil doctor — that sh*t ain’t honorary — so he enters to Bon Jovi’s ‘Bad Medicine’ alongside SEXY NURSES. I mean, sometimes it’s just ladies in Corona shirts, but the point is that Doc Wagner is a bad motherf*cker and I’m SO HAPPY he’s on Lucha Underground.
Havoc puts up a good fight, but he never really has a chance. Son of Havoc fighting Dr. Wagner Jr. at full strength wouldn’t have gone well for him, much less trying to fight him after two matches involving falling into glass and being tossed into seating. Doc pulls off an opportunistic win, setting up Son of Havoc as the ultimatest, extremely ultimate underdog for season 3 and giving Famous B someone to represent who instantly makes him rich.
The best part of it all? That was all basically one match.