The Over/Under On Lucha Underground Episode 24: Fallen Angel

Pre-show notes:

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And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground episode 24 from April 22, 2015.

Over: The Hilariously Bad Kung Fu Of The Black Lotus

Last week’s episode of Lucha Underground began with Aero Star aero-staring up at the night sky (in Los Angeles!) to find strength for his match, and Dario Cueto condescendingly telling him he hopes he sees a shooting star. Every episode going forward has entered a social contract with me and must begin in a similarly stupid/amazing way, and this week definitely Passes The Mustard.

As you may recall, Lucha Underground has its own Chun Li. She’s “The Black Lotus,” a mysterious Asian lady who snuck around the Temple for a few weeks trying to find Dario Cueto’s cage monster — if you’re new to the show, he seriously keeps a monster in a cage somewhere below his Temple — because it killed her parents and she must get revenge. Before she could strike, she was kidnapped and whisked away by EL DRAGON AZTECA, a luchador with a car (?) who is determined to train her in hybrid lucha libre martial arts to make sure she’s ready for the monster and doesn’t die. With me still?

This week, we find her writing in her diary (with voiceover!) about how she’s been held against her will in training for 8 weeks now, and how she feels like her anger is her greatest strength. El Dragon Azteca thinks it’s her greatest weakness. She battles a room full of guys in the blue-light dark and dispatches them using AMAZINGLY BAD KUNG FU MOVES. Like, midcarders in Bloodsport bad, where their foot misses by a … well, a foot, but it makes the contact sound and the guy getting “kicked” spins his head around and barfs up blood. Dragon turns on the lights and battles her himself, and her anger (surprise surprise) causes her to lose. She’s not ready, and it’s 8 more weeks reenacting the best parts of Kill Bill. Maybe he’ll make her break her hands and try to eat a bowl of rice.

Over: Bad-asses Always Kicking Ass_____ Ass

The first match of the night is a big one: Pentagon Jr. vs. Sexy Star.

To recap their feud, Sexy Star is an avatar for abused women around the world who’ve realized they can rise up, become stronger than anyone imagined and fight back. Pentagon is a pissed-off ninja skeleton who is breaking arms as offerings to an undisclosed “dark master” of … uh, ninja skeletons? Who knows. Dario Cueto hates Sexy Star and thought she’d have been weak and weeded out of the Temple by now, so he keeps coming up with passive-aggressive ways to try to exterminate her. The latest was putting her in a Trios team with this insane murderer, but they worked together pretty well. It only fell apart when the third member of their team, Super Fly, got pinned. Pentagon tried to break his arm as punishment, Sexy Star stood up for him, and now it’s on. Pentagon’s attacking ring announcers and abusing women and doing everything he can to get inside Sexy’s brain, and, eventually, her shoulder. So he can take a figurative weed-whacker to it.

The best part of the match is that Pentagon does not play. He treats Sexy like he’d treat Prince Puma or whomever and just kicks the ever-loving shit out of her. Vampiro acts like this is some kind of unforgivable act, but Striker (to his credit) points out that Sexy has chosen to be a wrestler and fight in The Temple and can handle herself. Pentagon just beats the mess out of her and she refuses to give up, pissing him off more and more each time she rolls out of or counters his Arm Snapping Submission Thing. I don’t think it has a name yet. She ends up getting in HIS head, turns a headscissors into a miraculous lungblower and PINS HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN RING.

It’s so good. Anybody who doesn’t believe that intergender wrestling can be “believable” or a valid aspect of pro wrestling, make them watch this match. Maybe turn the sound down so they don’t hear Vamp being weird. It’s two wrestlers with well-developed characters and motivations that acknowledge sex without using it as a crutch for heat kicking each others’ asses until one of them hits something big enough to get the three.

And now the story gets to be even MORE interesting. Sexy Star hasn’t just been a thorn in Pentagon’s side now, she’s BEATEN him. She should probably invest in a pair of metal Jax arms, I’m just saying.

Under: Kevin Smith Presents Lucha Underground

Alberto El Patron continues his concerning washroom and gym stalking of Johnny Mundo for whatever reason, and I can’t remember a second of it because the camera was whooshing around them in a circle the entire time. It’s like that scene in Clerks 2 where Dante and Randal are fighting and the camera’s spinning around them because FILM SCHOOL, and you just kinda want to throw up. A regular conversation becomes Cloverfield.

Lucha Underground is consistently the most beautiful and inventive-looking wrestling show on TV, so it’s unexpected to leave a segment going, “wow, can we do another take where the camera man isn’t hopped up on goofballs?”

Over: Please Tell Me Muhammad Hassan Is Coming To The Temple

Imagine if Dario Cueto got interrupted by this song. Before THE NEXUS REFORMS AND DOES WHATEVER was my default fantasy booking for everything, “Muhammad Hassan returns and does whatever” was it. Bonus points if they acknowledge that he’s kayfabe dead and bring him back as a ghost. COMMANDING A TEAM OF TERRORIST GHOSTS. They tried to kill the Undertaker to learn the secret of death!

But yeah, former WWE type Daivari has been sitting in the crowd for a couple of weeks, so when Texano accidentally falls into him, he fights back and lights Texano up. That leads to some awkward commentary coverage where they have to say they know who he is but pretend like they don’t know how to identify him, and I don’t really sweat it because I’m in the middle of fantasy booking Prince Puma vs. The Great Khali. Tell me you wouldn’t want to see that. It’d be like Rocket fighting Groot.

Over: The Trios “Finals”

The main-event of the show is the triple threat elimination finals of the tournament to crown Lucha Underground’s first Trios champions. Texano, Cage and King Cuerno vs. Big Ryck, The Mack and Killshot vs. Son of Havoc, Ivelisse and Lean Ambrose.

It’s fun and chaotic and honestly a little light on story, save for one big one: Son of Havoc’s team realizing that they’re outgunned by basically everybody else in the tournament and deciding to sacrifice for one another and work together. Angelico takes a brutal beating for most of the match and Ivelisse dives to the outside and blows out an ankle (or a knee, depending on which announcer you ask), and Son Of Havoc is still basically a really fired-up jobber. They’re up against a family and a gathering of the show’s nastiest villains, and there’s no way they can win … but the Trios Championships are about who can work together best as a team, and you’re never bonded with someone more than when you’re in a relationship with them and everything f*cks up.

It’s the lesson from Best of the Best. I’ll say this, ONLY ONCE. A TEAM is not a TEAM if you don’t give a damn about one another.

The other lesson is that in The Temple, getting along and working together makes the boss side-eye you. Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico pull off a miracle only to find out that Cueto’s been screwing with the tournament all along: there’s a final BONUS team, a Necron of teams if you will, and it’s THE CREW.

So to make things even more dramatic, Cueto’s most reliable jerks show up and barely even try to win. They just take advantage of these beaten, injured people and try to hurt them to make a point. It’s that hubris that causes the downfall of most rudos, and this is no different … individually, Havoc and Ivelisse and Angelico are broken and done for. But together? They’re a force of nature.

The payoff is that playtime is f*cking over, and Angelico dives off the roof of Dario Cueto’s goddamn office to save Ivelisse at the last second. Seriously, look at this. It even has the wacky El Rey filter over it:

That allows Ivelisse to wreck The Crew with a kendo stick and point Havoc and Angelico to the top ropes. A combination flying double-stomp and shooting star press later, and we have our first Trios Champions, through hell and high water. Matt Striker manages to put everything into perspective and explain the role of each member of the team, and man, they really feel like a team. The proof that Lucha Underground is the best wrestling show on television is that they took their worst angle — the love triangle between these three — and turned it into an exciting, compelling and emotionally resonant thing.

And they had a guy jump off a building, basically. Never change, Lucha Underground.