– If you’re a Temple regular or are planning to be in Los Angeles for this month’s Lucha Underground tapings, guess what? SO AM I. I’ll be there (oh my god) for the second weekend of tapings, January 24 and 25. If you’re there and you read the column and/or have any idea who I am, make sure to say hello. I want to make girlish squee noises to you while we’re 10 feet away from El Mariachi Loco.
– As we always try to mention, you can watch these shows the legal way by having El Rey Network or UniMás. The El Rey website says streaming episodes are “coming soon.” Go to the site and type in your info, they’ll tell you where to watch it. If you don’t have any other option, it’s worth it to find them wherever you can find them, but you didn’t get that from me.
– If you’d like to read about previous episodes, head over to the Lucha Underground tag page.
– Shares, likes, comments and other social media things are appreciated. Tell @LuchaElRey that you read and love this column.
Please click through for the Over/Under on Lucha Underground episode 10 from January 14, 2015.
Over: Dario Cueto Trying To Tempt The Tecnicos
This week’s episode opens with something sorely missed in last week’s: the melodramatic, telenovela scenes between characters set in Dario Cueto’s office, where it’s always sunset.
Cueto has brought in STREET CLOTHES FENIX (!) to praise him for the job he’s been doing since his arrival at The Temple and steer him in the direction of destroying Prince Puma for rudo dominance. Cueto tells Fenix he wanted him here because it’s his destiny to be here, which is a lovely pile of bullshit when you remember Cueto’s rival Konnan brought him in and tried to talk him up, but Cueto was all, “eh, whatever, put all your guys in a match and let them hurt each other.” Now that Fenix is popular and not trying to punch him in the face like the other popular guys Cueto’s ALL ABOUT HIM, and I love it. Almost as much as I love Cueto’s little nose-rubbing gestures that kinda say “does cocaine,” but mostly say “this guy’s a shifty bastard.”
Best: CAGE MATCH
So it turns out the best and most exciting Lucha Underground matches are the ones where they toss in three or four new guys in an elimination match and ask them to prove themselves. The first was Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Drago, and now we’ve got THIS.
The competitors are a full spectrum of Lucha Libre. Out first is Aero Star, hailing from the f*cking cosmos, and he’s the most luchador guy you’ve ever seen. Blue and red body suit, entrance armor and a name that says I AM GOING TO JUMP THE MOST. If you follow lucha libre even a little bit you’ve probably heard of him. Out next is Argenis, who still looks like a luchador but is advertised as being a hybrid of styles. He’ll go to the air, but he’ll also say nuts to the jumping and fight you. The third guy is Angelico. We find out he’s got just as many moves as his peers, but he looks like he wandered in from an MTV prank show. Out fourth is CAGE, aka U.S. independent star Brian Cage, and he’s the antithesis of lucha libre. He looks like Robbie Rage and Kenny Kaos fell in love and figure out how to make a baby.
The match is sorta built around the three high-flying competitors throwing bombs to try to keep Cage from building momentum, and I’ve gotta say, that sequence where Argenis hits an Asai moonsault followed by Aero Star’s blind plancha followed by Angelico topping them all by jumping over the top rope AND the ring post without touching ANYTHING is one of the most exciting minutes I’ve seen on a wrestling show in a while. Just nuts. Angelico is kinda my dude right now. I want to play Tony Hawk with him and jump over stuff.
The finish is what you’d expect. Cage catches each of the luchadors one-on-one and puts them down, including an incredible moment where he catches Aero Star mid-Blockbuster in position for a vertical suplex, walks around the ring with him and Jackhammers him down. That is INHUMAN. Great stuff, and I fear for Lucha Underground now that they’ve got a Big Ryck who’s 2/3 scale but way faster.
Under: No More Microphone For You, Cage
1. They Call Him Cage. That’s how he’s introduced, AND that’s what he’s called when he wins. “AND YOUR WINNER, THEY CALL HIM CAGE!” Are they the same people who call Vader “Vader?”
2. Cage grabs a microphone after the match, and this is what we get: “Lucha Underground, they call me Cage … because I’m not a man! I’m a MASHAAAAAANEEEE.” Is … is a cage a machine? It’s just kind of an enclosure made of metal. Is a cave a machine? They call me BEDROOM, BECAUSE I’M A MACHINE! I guess “they call me Cage because Cage is my last name and Brian’s not super threatening” isn’t much better.
Fewer declarative sentences, more videos about Cage showing up to work, being accosted by strangers and slooooowly no-selling everything. THIS is awesome:
Over/Under: Blue Demon’s Revenge
Chavo Guerrero invites Blue Demon Jr. to the ring for an apology, then immediately reveals that he’s not sorry and tries to attack him. It’s such a badly thought-out plan you can’t help wondering why Chavo’d do it at all. “This guy can beat my ass, so let me invite him to the ring, let him sit within inches of me, tell him to his face that I’m going to hurt him, then turn my back to him.” GREAT THINKING CHAVITO!
I can’t hate on the segment, though, because it’s the most wrestling thing ever. Chavo has brass knuckles in his pocket and says he’s sorry he didn’t remove Blue Demon’s mask and replace it with a mask of his own blood. That’s the 2015 version of Sexy Star’s ““I, with these hands of a true queen, will finish the Guerrero dynasty.” Chavo stories get all the best lines.
Blue Demon gets the better of Chavo and brains him with a chair, and it feels like the blowoff. Thematically, Chavo’s gotten what he deserved. Sexy Star bashed him in the face with a chair last week, and this week Blue Demon Jr. does the same. As a fan, though, I was hoping Chavo’s punishment would be a lot grander. This guy attacked Lucha legends and had Konnan warning him that the entire country wanted his head. The payoff is a couple of chair shots? I guess that works, but in a promotion where a guy is a reincarnated dragon and another guy literally represents death, I wanted a hole to open up in the Earth and swallow somebody.
Over: Drago Flies
Speaking of people dying, the King Cuerno/Drago rivalry has escalated to the point they are LITERALLY TRYING TO KILL ONE ANOTHER.
Their match spills to the outside and ends with Drago diving off Dario Cueto’s office and putting Cuerno through a table. He lands mostly legs-first, which sends him face-first into the floor. From like 20 feet up. It’s devastating for both men and they’re counted out, and I guess now Drago doesn’t need a prop tongue to do the “black stuff draining from my mouth” entrance.
The best part: Dario Cueto has an explanation for why The Temple has tables under the ring.
I’ll remember that the next time I’m trying to buy a couch.
Over: Holy S-Words
This week’s main-event is perfectly chosen. It’s new Lucha Underground World Champion Prince Puma making his first (and THE first) title defense against Fenix, the “people’s Prince Puma” so to speak and the man who pinned Puma two weeks ago. It’s fiery tecnico vs. fiery tecnico, and I couldn’t have asked for something better.
The feeling out process of the match is all about establishing timing. The announce team is GREAT here, drawing attention to that and explaining the psychology of a face vs. face lucha libre match. It’s necessary to explain to old school North American wrestling fans why these guys aren’t selling in the way we’re used to, and the purpose of all the extraneous flippy shit they’re pulling. If you ask Matt Striker to call a match between two guys of roughly the same ethnicity he’s really good at his job. I guess that’s why New Japan called him. Vampiro’s pretty great too, calling Striker on his nonsense when Striker says Fenix “stole” the 450 from Puma.
Anyway, everything builds to the finish, which is legitimately more spectacular than that 20-foot table dive. Puma gets hung up on the ropes and Fenix tries to go for the kill by RUNNING AT HIM DOWN THE TOP ROPE. Puma counters by pushing himself up with one leg and kicking Fenix in the face IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TOP ROPE. It’s a strike on a tight rope. I couldn’t pull off either half of this finish if you gave me a million tries. Puma hits the 630 and that’s it. He wins his first title defense against a man who deserved it, and for all intents and purposes is his show parallel. Awesome, awesome stuff.
After the match, Cage shows up “from the bowels of the Temple” (Cueto’s office, which Striker doesn’t recognize I guess?) and VICIOUSLY attacks Puma, setting up the next challenger. Who better to defeat the show’s most dominant tecnico than the guy who single-handedly pile-mauled three of Mexico’s best to start the show?
Give me next week’s episode now, please. And let’s go ahead and tape five or six seasons at the season 2 tapings this month.