– 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 or catch up on the latest Temple news and gossip, 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 13 from February 4, 2015.
Over/Under: Son Of Havoc’s Story … For Now
I think it’s important to note a specific tone in criticism for Lucha Underground, because it’s different from what you might be used to. If you read my criticisms of Raw they come from a place of pessimism and exhaustion. We’re what, almost 1200 episodes into the show? By that point you know the creative ebb and flow of the show and what it’s capable of, and have a solid estimate of how often you can expect it to succeed. If I say “this story isn’t going to work,” it’s because they’ve probably done 200 stories exactly like it, and 198 of them farted out.
In contrast, my thoughts on NXT are usually excited and positive. There’s an aura of hope around it. Everybody’s trying hard and competing for these vaguely defined “spots” that may or may not exist, and there’s a palpable sense of urgency. What they do usually works, so I have less reason to doubt them. The talent pool shifts and rotates and characters change, and we aren’t expected to “be positive” about decade-old cardboard cutouts representing wrestlers.
So when I have an issue with something as baby-fresh as Lucha Underground, I don’t want it to come across as pessimism. They haven’t had any major failures or misfires yet, so there’s no reason for me to expect the worst. I think the thing concerning me the most is how willing they are to commit to the mission statement of the performers in the ring, and not the general attitudes of U.S. wrestling fans. We can be f*cking savages if you give us the chance.
One of the important things about the show is the presentation of the marginalized. You’ve got Sexy Star portrayed as a strong woman who has dealt with abuse and is rising up to become a superhero and fight for women around the world. The problem, though, is that she doesn’t have anyone on the show fighting that same fight. She doesn’t have girlfriends. She’s (as far as I can tell) the only female face on the show. Everyone else is “the baddest bitch” or “seductive” or a mysteriously occurring plot point. They’re like Ivelisse; talented, charismatic, and really only there to be the fulcrum in a Boyfriend story.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t have romance angles or boyfriend/girlfriend stories on the show, but there shouldn’t be more of one than the other. Sexy Star should be an example, not the only example. I don’t want to take away from how great of a heel Ivelisse is, but I’d hope Lucha Underground would be (and continue to be) aware of how often they’ve got her getting kissed against her will or “ruining things for the boys.” I want to love Angelico, you know? He’s a stretched out Dean Ambrose luchador in motocross clothes. I want to ride this fun upswing of support for Son of Havoc, because jobbers succeeding and becoming cult favorites is MY favorite. I don’t want this whole thing to make me go, “woof, what are they doing with Ivelisse?”
So yeah, that’s my thing. The good news is that this week’s opening match between Son of Havoc and Angelico was a lot of fun, and I’m liking Matt Cross with a pair of trunks on his head more than I’ve ever liked him before.
Under: What Are You Doing, What What What Are You Doing
To continue the “everybody but Sexy Star’s a sultry heel girlfriend” thing, Catrina finds Fenix in the gym and kisses him, because evil and seductiveness. Seductivity? I don’t know.
My “under” here is mostly from a fan standpoint, though, because Fenix is my dude and I don’t want him to get his face eaten off by the wrestling personification of death. This was BEAUTIFULLY staged and shot, though, and I love that Fenix has actual, canon immortality. I hope Catrina’s shadow teleportation is also canon, and that Fenix starts dating her just to get around easier.
Johnny Mundo returns to the Temple and instantly endears himself to me by referring to Cage as “hambone.” That’s a money insult. I think the only word better would’ve been, “crumbum.”
The dynamic between Mundo and Cueto now is extremely interesting. Instead of them just being at each others’ throats again, they’ve had “time to cool off” and are outwardly trying to make peace to avoid friction. It’s what you might do with a rival in real life. Also like in real life: Dario Cueto is a terrible person and is using the ceasefire to get Mundo hurt as soon as possible. Mundo’s playing chess, though, and knew this was the best case scenario. He’s got the boss admitting to his face that he’s a top-tier performer and is telling him to get a new championship belt, because the briefcase full of money’s gone and he needs something bigger to win. Perfect character motivations.
Over: Pentagon Jr. Forever
Speaking of perfect motivations, Pentagon Jr. is now serving an unseen DARK MASTER by combining lucha libre with martial arts. Like, that’s so fantastic I can’t even riff on it. Motherf*cker’s a pissed-off ninja skeleton and the son of a shape and he’s the best.
He wrestles Famous B, probably the very bottom of the Lucha Underground totem pole, and just WRECKS him. Usually even the squashes on the show are competitive, but nope, Pentagon is tired of this shit and Famous B sounds like a brand of cookies so he gets his arm ripped off. This should could be a hundred times worse, but if it featured Pentagon explaining that he breaks bones to fulfill a deadly mission involving FEARLESSNESS I’d be all-in. Plus, that Cero Miedo hand gesture he does is the coolest of its kind since people started Too Sweeting each other 20 years ago.
Under: Famous B
what is he famous for, exactly
Over: Sportsmanship Between A Dragon And An Astronaut
Lucha Underground’s the best because it allows me to say these totally accurate sentences that make people who don’t watch the show think I’m insane. “A man who became death and his unhygienic teleporting girlfriend are feuding with a man imbued with the power of a mystical bird that literally cannot die.” “One of these guys isn’t a man, he’s a machine, and people call him ‘cage’ because they think cages are machines. He ripped up a leather belt made of Aztec gold because nobody gave him a cape.” “A reincarnated dragon fought an astronaut and developed a mutual respect.”
Drago wrestles Aero Star, and it’s just a very straight-forward, competitive wrestling match. They pull out some cool stuff (like Aero Star’s ridiculous springboard double-stomp into the ring from the outside of the middle rope), but not all their stuff. Drago wins with one of his secondary moves and they point that out, because it’s important. It makes the wrestlers look like they’ve got LOTS of powerful moves instead of one, and suggests a match could end at any time and those nearfalls you’re popping for are valid. Aero Star’s knocked for a loop and never recovers so Drago wins, but he knows hard hard Aero Star fought so he helps him up and gives him props. It’s lovely.
A lovely friendship between a monster and an alien.
Over: Dario Cueto’s Key Is The Most Interested I Have Ever Been In Pro Wrestling
Speaking of the craziest sentences of all time, Dario Cueto goes into his dungeon to tell his mysterious cage monster that an Asian lady he/they met during her childhood has come to the Temple looking for him/them. Cueto having a cage monster (that is surprisingly not CAGE, who is A MACHINE) is the most M. Bison thing about him and I can’t get enough of it. He’s straight-up Raul Julia creating Blanka in a lab.
That boldface is hyperbole, but man, I am SUPER into finding out what this is all about. Consider that they’ve spent the entire season planting this lady (“Black Lotus”) in and around the Temple, and they’ve established Dario’s key as an object that controls him through fear of loss of control. Mundo used it to manipulate him. Cueto, a man who employs immortals and karate skeletons and angels of death and crazy musical busboys, is only manipulated by that key. Now we know the stories are connected, and that it goes back to her (or his, or somebody’s) childhood.
I want the payoff to this to be the most extreme thing they can think of. I want the Thing from The Thing in the cage. I want him to open it up and a Frankenstein to walk out.
Over: THIS Is How You Stack The Odds
Johnny Mundo’s back in The Temple, so Cueto sandwich compliments him into a match against the most dangerous guy he’s got handy, Cage. It’s one of (if not the) best John Morrison match I’ve ever seen, and I continue to be surprised and impressed by how well Cage fits on this show. Every time I’ve seen him on TNA or in the independents he seems like a sideshow; a guy with no personality who is just jacked to the moon and can do a 619, so people go crazy. The less enjoyable, Caucasian Uhaa Nation. On Lucha Underground, though, they know Cage’s strengths and play to them. He’s a burst of energy … a guy so into rage and fitness that his brain does pull-ups instead of thinking, so he just lifts and jumps and screams and hits until someone makes him stop. He’s a tornado. A natural disaster.
Mundo’s biggest hook is his agility and parkour skills, which have classically been better and more reliable than his wrestling. Here though, Johnny plays a role that suits HIS strengths: he’s asked to do parkour on a moving target, and if he makes a wrong move or spins in the wrong direction the park bench he’s bounding over will catch him and throw him at the ground. It’s a better version of Adrian Neville vs. Baron Corbin from this week’s NXT, honestly.
Cueto’s a man of his word in a weird way, so he lets them perform. Unfortunately for Johnny, King By God Cuerno has decided to lurk around in the background and hunt someone. Spoiler alert, it’s probably the tecnico.
Cuerno shows up when Johnny has Cage on the ropes and obliterates him, smashing his knee against the ring post and drawing a DQ. Cage is like “BEEP BOOP TASK COMPLETE” and decides to leave, but Cueto pops out of his office and pulls a heel masterstroke: he doesn’t want to cheat the fans out of a decisive finish to their “five star” main event, so he restarts the match. You know, after Johnny’s been unfairly injured. That’s cold as ice, man.
Also of note is how unfazed Cueto seems to be about Cage ripping up his belt. He was cradling that thing in his cage room before he awarded it, and he doesn’t seem to care that dude’s wearing it in pieces around his neck. I’m choosing to believe it’s because Cueto doesn’t respect lucha libre either, and just went through the motions of creating and awarding a championship to make his puppets dance. Or maybe he doesn’t want to get ripped in half himself. One or the other.
Over: Business Is About To Pick Up
As the show’s going off, we get an amazing post-credits scene where Cueto’s on the phone and someone tries to knock on his door, but the show’s over and he tells them to go away … and it’s goddamn ALBERTO DEL RIO arriving at The Temple.
“My name is Alberto … El Patrón!”
He hits the wink and Cueto’s kind of in awe of him, and I legit cannot wait to see how their characters interact. I’m honestly pretty excited for more and more big Hispanic wrestling stars to show up in Lucha Underground and give the show a draw for casual fans. A guy who watches WWE might not care about Pentagon and King Cuerno being super workers, but if he hears Rey Mysterio’s on, he might tune in.
And then we let Pentagon break Rey Mysterio’s arm.