– In case you skipped this part last week, good news! There are legal ways to watch Lucha Underground online. You can check out the UniMas website for episodes streaming in Spanish or find El Rey Network on Sling TV for the English language version.
– 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.
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Please click through for the Over/Under on Lucha Underground episode 15 from February 18, 2015.
Over: Chavo Guerrero Almost Gets Lucky
One of the best things about the stories in Lucha Underground is that they’re purposeful, and plot points aren’t introduced without the promise they’ll be addressed and resolved. Even good wrestling shows like NXT will introduce something and decide a few weeks later they want to change it; Lucha Underground locking down a roster for a finite number of shows and organizing so many tapings in such a short time means they can tell the beginning, middle and end of their story in their season without a lot of intangibles.
Way back in the first few episodes, Catrina and Mil Muertes run into Chavo Guerrero backstage and promise him he’ll have a debt to pay for what he did to Blue Demon Jr. and, by proxy, Mexico. Chavo is the show’s cowardly opportunist, full of what the announce team calls “Guerrero-ness,” so he’s stayed out of Mil’s way until now … when Mil is caught in a weird romantic power issue with his spooky valet and, assumedly, at his weakest.
That helps out Chavo tremendously. Mil doesn’t have Catrina or his RUBBLE DEATH STONE nearby, so he’s visibly weaker. He’s mortal. Striker and Vampiro pick up on it and fill in the blanks, explaining how strange it is that Mil seems lost and Chavo can go toe-to-toe with him. This is reenforced when Catrina SEDUCTIVELY~ appears with the stone and it works like Popeye’s spinach. Chavo tries to attack him with the chair but it’s too late: Mil Muertes is now MIL MUERTES, capital letters, so he punches the chair to shit and lays Chavo out.
I love the idea that the stone (and Catrina) are Mil’s Undertaker urn, and that the key to defeating him is to zap his power source. Pro wrestling is so goddamn weird, and I love it so much.
Over: Reconsidering Mil Muertes And Catrina
I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what’s going on with these two for a while. Last week I wondered if Catrina was invulnerable to pain and sort of existed as the Death to Mil’s Thanos, but after what happens this week I believe it’s much simpler.
Lucha Underground’s a show full of astronauts and shoot dragons and pissed-off skeleton ninjas and dudes with super powers. Fenix can’t die, Catrina can teleport, Mil commands death, King Cuerno can summon a tope from literal Christian Hell like a character in Altered Beast. It’s cool, but because of this we (read: I) make bright, colorful mountains out of basic-ass pro wrestling molehills.
Catrina isn’t happy with Mil and is trying to hook up with Fenix, and we haven’t gotten a clear reason why. In response, Mil is choking her and dragging her around by the hair and ordering her around. Fenix makes the save. Ignoring all the super powers and thematic staging and dramatic editing, it’s a simple story. If Mil’s being abusive over this, he’s probably ALWAYS been abusive. Catrina is attached to him through this mystical bond of death props or whatever but at the core she’s his valet. His accompaniment. He’s mistreating her, so she’s gravitating towards the closest thing the show’s got to a do-gooder. He’s the exact opposite of her abusive boyfriend. One guy’s death, the other’s life. It’s easy symbolism but it works. To have life, Catrina’s got to get away from the guy who only brings death.
The fact that Mil is kinda awesome and popular complicates it a bit because on paper you’d want the crowd hating his guts for what he’s doing, but sometimes you’ve got to tell your story and let the crowd cheer or boo at their own pace. If you’re telling the story well enough, they’ll figure it out eventually.
So yeah, it’s a woman smartening up to the fact that her guy’s a dick and upgrading. Illustrated through a literal struggle between life and death. Mil goes from Lawful Neutral to Chaotic Evil. That’s pretty cool.
Over: Texano Is My Jam
Lucha Underground is great at introducing characters and taking five minutes right at the beginning of their lifespan to say, “this is who this is, and this is why they’re important.” Cage shows up and they give him a video where he no-sells gang attacks in slow motion and screams about how he’s a machine. Boom, done. Pentagon shows up and they give him a video where he gets disappointed with Mexico, goes to Japan and breaks dudes’ arms so hard it makes candles blow out. Got it, great. Texano shows up last week to beat up Alberto El Patron, so this week they have him sit down with Vampiro and explain himself.
If you aren’t familiar with AAA, this short interview catches you up to speed. Texano’s been the top dog in AAA for two years and was unseated as MEGA CHAMP by Alberto, so now he’s delusional about the loss and following Berto around to f*ck him up and avenge it. They even insert a few clips of Texano destroying folks in AAA, and AAA clips are always a welcome addition to the show. They look great, connect Lucha Underground to a promotion that can sell out arenas and remind you that this cool warehouse TV show full of crazy and special Wrestling Stuff is actually a Dummies Guide To Getting Into Lucha Libre.
To U.S. audiences, a few minutes of clips and subtitles have transformed Texano from “randomly occurring cowboy guy” to one of the biggest stars to ever step foot in The Temple. Also, importantly, he seems like El Patron’s equal.
Over: Don’t Tug On El Patrón’s Cape
Texano goes up against the least interesting guy on the show (Super Fly) and quickly defeats him with a fireman’s carry neckbreaker into a regular person’s carry neckbreaker. Texano’s general Tex-Mex heelness brings out EL BY GOD PATRON, who gets STREET CLOTHES PHYSICAL and incites a brawl.
I’m stoked to see how Lucha Underground maintains the fired-up El Patron from last week’s promo, because that’s one of the most important things the show’s ever attempted. Alberto leaves WWE and goes to Mexico, but Mexico doesn’t register for a lot of U.S. fans. Putting him on a U.S., English-language TV show and showing a passionate version of the character that kicks ass and never resorts to crummy stereotype? That does. That sends a clearly communicated message that WWE f*cked up, and that we were all dumb to chant “boring” at him while he tried to make the best of WWE creative’s minority severance package.
Under: I Am So Done With This Angelico/Ivelisse Thing
This doesn’t belong on Lucha Underground. This is a story for the Ring of Honor TV show, where Maria gets kissed by Jay Lethal or whatever and the announce team chuckles to themselves about how she’s not wearing underwear. I’m super not interested in Girls Are Bitches stories on the Everyone’s Equal Empowerment Show.
Under: But His Girlfriend’s A Bitch!!!
All right, here’s the issue. Ivelisse and Son of Havoc are supposed to be heels and they’re in the middle of a breakup. She thinks he’s a loser (which objectively he is) and he’s about to figure out that she’s holding him back and break away from her. Angelico is good in the ring but has never had a Lucha Underground character to speak of, so we assume he’s the tecnico.
He’s not. He’s just as rudo as the rudos because he’s openly ignoring and/or rejecting the Temple’s mission statement. The doors are open to everyone and there are no divisions, and everybody fights everybody. Angelico’s approach to that is to not take his female competition seriously entirely because they’re female, and turn every bit of offense she gets into a rapey joke counter. Dipping her, touching her inappropriately, pinning her arms together so Striker can say things like “MAYBE A KISS?” in his creepiest voice. Ivelisse wins with Son Of Havoc’s help but the victory is meaningless, because the announce team’s saying “she only won because of the man.”
The announce team is a big part of why the story gets lost in translation. If we truly want to accept men and women as equals in The Temple, that means allowing women to get heat for all the same shit men do. Ivelisse being a heel works. Son of Havoc helping her win matches because she’s a heel works. Angelico underestimating her works because of the size differential. The problem is that because the announce team is the way they are, every single thing gets filtered through a “boyfriend and girlfriend” lens, and everything becomes sexual. Imagine this same situation with like, Johnny Gargano in place of Ivelisse. Exact same everything. Gargano’s Son of Havoc’s partner and won’t stop blaming him for losses. Cheats to help him win. Gets underestimated by his taller opponents and gets bent out of shape about it. Big payoff is Havoc telling Gargano to go screw. That works, right? I think that’s why they’re doing it. It makes sense, it’s just coated in this gross boy/girl light because the announcers (and Angelico, honestly) keep forcing it.
I’m just done with it, man. Give me five minutes of King Cuerno doing anything instead.
Under: How Does Time Work In The Temple?
Okay, follow me for a sec.
Black Lotus breaks into the bowls of The Temple and confronts Dario Cueto’s Cage Monster, saying she’s wanted to kill it since she was a little girl. I don’t want to throw shade at the story at all — I’m still really interested in seeing where the hell they’re going with it — but it poses and interesting question. How does time work on Lucha Underground?
They’re always saying “last week” and “this week,” so you assume it goes on a weekly basis. Real time, so to speak. Every Wednesday or whatever these guys show up to the building and fight. In a promo at the beginning of the show, Cueto mentions that the show debuted in October, meaning they’ve been doing this for almost four months. Has Black Lotus been sneaking around this building for four months? Does she only stop by on Wednesdays and start over? She’s broken into Cueto’s cage lair and confronted his monster. Is she just gonna hang out back there for a week? Are the backstage segments time displaced and happening in sequential order at some point in the near future? It honestly doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes.
I’m going to go with it, don’t get me wrong. I just think you should mind the gaps, you know? Give the show a definite timeline and don’t pretend like nothing happens between Thursday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
Over: A Cagey Bastard
Cage demanding a title shot with a real title belt (and not an “Aztec piece of junk”) and getting a non-title match in which to prove himself on a fair, sanctioned competition basis is great. At the same time, I wish he’d thrown down the belt and told Cueto he doesn’t want accessories, he wants MACHINES. And then Cueto would have to spend the next three weeks figuring out how to add a pulley to the front of a championship belt. He just awards the dude a fully set-up game of Mouse Trap with a men’s leather belt taped to the bottom.
Over: The Crew
This week’s main-event pits The Crew in a no-disqualification trios match against the Suicide Squad of Sexy Star, Mascarita Sagrada and Pimpinela Escarlata. The story is great: Dario Cueto has opened his door to everyone but is also a scumbag, so he’s getting frustrated that people who don’t fit his idea of “great fighters” have shown honor and fortitude by sticking around. He wants them eliminated, so he sends his pack of San Andreas NPCs after them with kendo sticks.
The story of the match is great, too. The Crew care more about carrying out Cueto’s orders and earning a cash bonus than they do about winning, so they isolate each member of the tecnico trio and eliminate them with extreme prejudice. Pimpi gets choked out with a cane and practically beaten to death, and gets escorted out. Poor Mascarita Sagrada catches a curb stomp onto a steel chair. That leaves Sexy Star to fight these guys 3-on-1, and here’s the spoiler The Crew isn’t expecting: she’s one of the toughest people in the building and if they’re gonna take her out, she’s taking them with her. She ends up bleeding from the mouth and going fist-to-nose with these three jerks and holding her own, because hell yeah she does.
A supplemental Worst, though, for Striker seeing The Crew give Sexy Star a condescending look and dropping “AND THEY SAY I’M MISOGYNISTIC!” Yes, yes they do. The Crew are supposed to be rudos. You’re the voice of the company. If Mr. Cisco spends an hour slobbering into a microphone like an 11-year old who’s never touched a boob we’ll talk shit about him, too.
Over: VENGEANCE RYCK
Eventually THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME catches up with Sexy and she starts getting beaten down. The Crew starts to finish her off, but Cisco’s like “wait a minute guys, you should probably look up the stairs,” and when they look up the stairs BIG RYCK IS THERE AND HE’S WEARING AN EYE PATCH AND HE’S SHIRTLESS FOR SOME REASON AND OH SHIT YOU’RE ALL DEAD.
That distraction allows Sexy to pull off a miraculous win, which works because they actually stacked odds against her and created a situation in which she looked like a damn warrior, but couldn’t have realistically won without divine intervention. Dolph Ziggler being saved by Sting at Survivor Series, basically. Those moments work for mostly the same reasons. They feel like moments of consequence, and not like the writers couldn’t think of a good finish.
Ryck Fury and Sexy Star as best friends is a thing I need in my life. No romance or whatever, just two people who are sick of being manipulated and taken advantage of and have each others’ backs. And maybe he can throw her at people like Colossus throws Wolverine.