– In case you always skip the pre-show notes and still haven’t picked up on this, there are now 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. Watch this show!
– 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 17 from March 4, 2015.
Over: Dario Cueto And El Patron
The dynamic between El Patron (“the boss”) and El Jefe (“the boss”) has been pitch-perfect since day one. We’ve only had three days, but stay with me.
Dario Cueto knows he’s got a huge star in his Temple that both strengthens his promotion’s bond with AAA and also gives him a little leverage. At the same time, he can’t just be a good dude to him. Alberto has true power. He’s a household name. He’s got action figures in K-Mart. He’s lucha royalty and a proven commodity, which means he’s entitled. He’s going to waltz into this new place and demand everything he wants, because it’s his … something. Destiny?
So Alberto wants Texano in a match, but Cueto’s like “lol yeah right you just got here, how about a match with Ricky Mandel to prove yourself.” When Alberto balks, Cueto suggests Famous B. It’s so good. Cueto knows he’s going to do Alberto vs. Texano, he just wants to make the man squirm. Cueto picking up his ubiquitous red bull desk ornament and looking at its balls afterwards is a nice symbolic companion moment to his explanation in Ask Jefe. That’s all the explanation you need for his motivations.
Over: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Even If They Do It 1,000 Times
There’s something I just love about these guys being in the ring together. They’re a perfect compliment, both in character and performance. Fenix is life. He’s flips and cartwheels and dives and starting off the match by running down a flight of stairs and springing off the rails into a headscissors. Mil Muertes is death. He’s punches and spears and dragging people around by their necks and jumping just high enough to get his knees in your face and kill you with them.
This episode is from the first set of tapings I attended, and I was lucky enough to see the next step in the feud as well. It’s one of the coolest and most wonderful things I’ve seen at a live wrestling event in years. Maybe in my life. That’s probably overstating it, but by the time my portion of the Fenix/Mil Muertes feud was over, my hands were shaking.
Under: I Have No Idea What The Lick Of Death Is Supposed To Be Anymore
1. Matt Striker calling it “Hashtag Lick Of Death” without any irony is the worst thing in the world. She could be licking somebody’s face and making WrestleMania 17 happen, I’m not getting behind it with a vocalized hashtag. Only Curtis Axel earns that luxury, because he’s being an idiot on purpose.
2. I can’t stay I’m super comfortable watching ladies get dragged around by their necks. Don’t take that as a huge complaint, I guess, because it isn’t. Catrina is a trained pro wrestler even if she isn’t wrestling here, and there’s a whole Damsel In Distress thing happening with the three of them that plays into that old school Justice that makes lucha libre work. If Ryck grabs Sexy by the throat and throws her into the corner, I don’t care. I dunno. Context is important. At least Muertes got hit in the head with a rock and kicked in the face for doing it. Hashtag justice.
3. Muertes gets rocked and kicked and Catrina goes to Hashtag Whatever him, but stops and decides to do the SUPER HASHTAG WHATEVER. She licks him from the navel up, and the announce team suggests that it’s an escalation of the Kiss of Death. It’s the WILD ORCHID PRESENTS SUPER KICK OF DEATH.
After she does it, she kisses Fenix. I can say this has replaced Natalya sharing Adam Rose’s sucker as the least hygienic thing I’ve ever seen in wrestling. I’ve seen Bryan Danielson spit in AJ Styles’ mouth before. I’ve seen guys bite bloody wounds and eat Sonic. This is way worse. How are you gonna kiss a lady when she’s got Physical Manifestation Of Death Gut Residue in her mouth? That guy’s been rolling around on the floor of a warehouse. I think the payoff should be them all dying of mouth gout.
Over: REVENGE ALL DAY EVERY DAY
One of the biggest strengths of this show is the ability to make something that is a passing thought or emotion on most shows into the biggest, most melodramatic thing in the world.
When Cage wrecked Puma and tore the Lucha Underground championship in half, he also bloodied and embarrassed Konnan. Instead of Konnan coming back and saying “you embarrassed me, I’m gonna kick your ass,” Konnan gets an AIN’T NO GRAVE soundalike and footage of him standing in the rain in the dark with REVENGE IS COMING under his name. I am so into it.
If next week’s Ivelisse vs. Angelico match comes across well, everybody in production should get raises. As it stands, the best part of the feud is Angelico turning into Duane from ‘Full House.’ The story works a lot better if you pretend he’s Duane, Ivelisse is Kimmy and Son Of Havoc is Uncle Jessie.
Over: Big Ryck And Sexy Star
Big Ryck takes on Sexy Star for a shot to face The Crew 3-on-1 and pins her by just laying her on the ground and holding her shoulders down with his monster arms.
On paper, I wouldn’t like this. You’ve got Striker talking about chivalry in ways that let you know he has no idea what the f*ck chivalry is, and you’re playing up the idea that if Ryck attacks her as a wrestler in a wrestling match he’s doing something wrong. If Ryck just runs at her as soon as the bell sounds, lariats her to death, picks her up and spinebusters her and pins her, what’s he done wrong? He’s a wrestler, she’s a tiny wrestler, he obliterated her with wrestling moves and won the match. If he, I don’t know, smashes her in the head with a chair and powerbombs her head into the bottom turnbuckle because he’s a sloppy f*ck, then yeah, that’s too far. But on paper, a wrestling dude doing regular wrestling stuff to a woman who’s on the same roster in the same division, that should be fine. We should strive to detach all the bad imagery from it, even if we mean well.
In practice, I think it works. Ryck has been a heel since Lucha Underground started and he’s in the middle of a redemption story, so having him pause for a moment in his path of rage to consider that Sexy’s more or less a bystander is a positive. He’s not going to kill her to “send a message” to the Crew like he might’ve before, because he knows what rudo shit does to your heart. She’s showing him her tenacity. Her fighting spirit. He’s impressed by it but conflicted about what he should do, and ultimately wins the match as a warped show of respect. When she jumps in to help him with The Crew and he recovers to return the favor, that’s the actual show of respect.
That’s good stuff. I hope Big Ryck can know the difference, because that’s a guy I want to cheer for.
Over: His Birthright
If you ever disliked Alberto Del Rio, watch this video. In about 3 minutes, El Rey Network has explained a man’s entire wrestling history in two countries and the reason why he’s where he’s at and doing what he does. He doesn’t name any names, but tells his story. It’s outstanding.
I also liked the short segment with El Patron confronting Prince Puma. It felt like a teacher and a student, especially when Alberto was telling him to “listen to his master.” A guy like ADR saying he plans to go after the Lucha Underground Championship makes it seem as important as ever. He’s not Cage. He’s not in this for himself. He’s here because lucha libre is his BIRTHRIGHT, and he knows the Lucha Underground Championship represents a kind of success he always wanted in America, but never quite got.
Over: ESA ES LA PATADA QUE LE HIZO GANAR UN CAMPEONATO, MAGGLE
Alberto vs. Texano Part I is a good example of how to utilize a performer’s strengths and avoid some of their weaknesses. Alberto’s performing a big crowd match in a small audience, which is strange at times. He’s playing to people in the nosebleeds when there aren’t nosebleeds. It’s like when Bushwhacker Luke worked Ring of Honor. The guy’s doing these big exaggerated movements and stuff you do when you’re packing arenas, and the dynamic’s just a little different. It’s not good or bad, necessarily, but interesting to watch.
I remember wondering why a guy in good shape was wrestling in a shirt, but then I realized it’s his version of Jerry Lawler taking down the straps. I’m okay with that.
The finish is mostly a setup, with El Patron being taken too far and deciding to just beat Texano to death with his own bull rope. It’s catharsis, but it isn’t the end. It’s the introduction to something much bigger than Lucha Underground, and it makes LU feel bigger in the process. It’s like seeing what LU might be when it’s on a big network and happening in front of 10,000 people. The emotional midpoint between what LU does well and AAA perfects.
OVER: KING CUERNO’S STREET CLOTHES
Dead. I am literally dead.
I don’t know what I expected King Cuerno to wear when he wasn’t wrestling, but dude shows up in Dario Cueto’s office setting up a cage match with Johnny Mundo and he’s dressed like f*cking Dwight Yoakam. If King Cuerno isn’t your favorite wrestler, you are a dumb idiot.
This happened yesterday and I’m still laughing. I love you, wrestling show.