Previously on Lucha Underground: Melissa Santos became a luchadora for a hot minute, and the final pieces fell into place for season 3’s four-week Ultima Lucha Tres finale. Pretty cool of the government to have Ultima Lucha Day right after Rusev Day.
If you need to catch up on the rest of the episodes — if you aren’t caught up, you’re probably out of luck, because come on, dude — you can read about season 1 here, and season 2 here. Season 3 episode recaps can be found here.
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. It’s the best Netflix show about a vampire trying to quote the Bible to impress a school teacher!
And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground season 3, episode 37, Ultima Lucha Tres part one, originally aired on September 27, 2017.
Under: Starting Ultima Lucha With Nearly The Same Problem As Every Other Episode This Season
Two things have bummed me out about Lucha season 3: setups not reliably having payoffs like in seasons 1 and 2, and the constant outside interference. If you haven’t been reading along all season, it’s like someone in the Lucha creative department saw an episode of Raw for the first time and was like, “wait, we don’t have to have someone win? We can just have bullshit happen and make everything seem pointless? LET’S DO THAT.” The Cueto Cup was like, conservatively, 70% run-in or distraction finishes.
Here, both of those things come into play. First, Texano agreed to a “contract match” with Famous B, wherein if he lost, he’d have to become B’s client, with the idea that, you know, he’d get his hands on Famous B one-on-one. Dario Cueto even gave B shit about it, laughing about how if he’s injured, he’ll just have to wrestle a “handicap match.” So then, instead of telling the final bit of the story and having Texano destroy Famous B for a year of messing with him, it turns out the match is an ACTUAL handicap match, suddenly in favor of the heel, featuring a returning Dr. Wagner Jr. And Texano just goes along with it anyway. Because reasons.
Then, Texano loses via a rollup because he was distracted by Brenda at ringside. It’s one of those things where yeah, stuff like this “works” in wrestling, but one of the reasons I’m regularly excited to watch Lucha Underground and feel like most Raws are a chore is because one of those isn’t supposed to have that shit on it non-stop. It was different. It was brave enough for a really long time to not immediately fall into trope repetition because it’s the easy way to do things. I hope that Lucha comes back for season 4.
It’s also funny that this might be the last televised match of the masked version of Doc Wagner, as he revealed at TripleMania that he was, in fact, Mexico’s sexiest dad. 50% chance this story doesn’t even get mentioned next season, right?
Over: The Best Match Of Season 3
That bold text says it all. I can’t recommend this enough.
In season 3, the standouts have been the people who haven’t been around since the beginning, and look like they’re trying to make a name for themselves every time they step in the Temple ring. I think the obvious three have been Taya, Jeremiah Crane, and Dante Fox. Here — and I haven’t seen the rest of the episodes, so maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am — Fox officially, definitively steals the show with the “Hell of War” match, a military-themed Three Stages of Hell against Killshot.
The first stage is a first blood match, the second stage is no disqualification, and the third stage (if necessary, but of course it’s always necessary) is an ambulance match. Sorry, a “medical evac.” Medical evac is the new “funerary box.”
The match takes up the remaining 40 minutes of the show, and on a show that’s already given me multiple Aztec Warfares, multiple Grave Consequences and Pentagon taking on the entire Black Lotus Tribe, I’m struggling to explain how absolutely bat-shit bonkers it is. And not only that, it’s got a real visceral quality to it, too, where you can feel what the competitors are feeling and follow the story clearly and it’s not just a bunch of dudes setting up violent shit and then jumping into it. It’s all for a reason, and such a great payoff to the feud that I feel like I’m watching Lucha Classic again.
For example, here’s Dante Fox doing the RVD security barrier leg drop to the apron from way the hell beyond a security barrier:
I could (and probably should) seriously review this match with just a wall of GIFs.
Fall one ends when Fox introduces a huge pane of glass and manages to eventually backdrop Killshot off the top rope and through it. Killshot SHREDS it, too, and his back is a mess. Things only pick up in the second fall, and peaks when Killshot manages to hit a double-stomp to Fox’s chest ONTO GLASS and Fox kicks out at one. That moment is great, not because he’s “no selling” or anything — he’s selling his ass off — but because it puts over the personal importance of the match using the match itself as the story-telling platform, and Fox’s pained, emotionally destroyed face says a hundred times what Matt Striker or Vampiro could say.
And then because this is war, Killshot powerbombs him onto a gigantic thing of barbed wire.
If that reaction seems like a little much to you, here’s a shot of the guy’s back:
Killshot finishes him off with a Storm Cradle Driver onto the ring full of blood and broken glass to pick up the second fall.
Fall three begins with both men punching each other in the face as hard as they can as much as they can at the same time. What I love about fall three here is that it becomes more about the story than the action, even though the action stays intense, and you actually start to feel an emotional response to what’s happening. It’s like catharsis. You can tell that Dante Fox has a lot of hatred in his heart, to the point that he’s on the band platform making hand guns at Killshot’s forehead and trying to choke him to death with amp cords, and you can tell that while he’s giving as good as he’s getting, Killshot wishes there could be another way.
The big finish comes when Fox thinks he’s got the match won, takes a moment to taunt, gets smashed in the head with a bottle and sent collapsing down into the “hell” of foreign objects Dario Cueto put between the ring and the Medical Evac to make sure they thoroughly killed each other.
Killshot picks him up, carries him to the evac and wins the match, but the tone is suddenly different. The Believers are quieter than normal. Killshot looks like he’s overcome with regret. War took these guys beyond a feud and beyond a rivalry and either made them brothers again for real, or killed one of them in the process.
Definitely the best match of the season, and the best match since the Lotus Tribe disbanded to be pirates or whatever. Hopefully I can add a “so far” to that statement, as we’ve got three more episodes of Ultima Lucha Tres to go. Just don’t do any more run-ins, okay?