– Make sure you’ve read about episodes 1 and 2 of Lucha Underground before reading this one. Hell, go back and read them again. This is one of those rare wrestling shows where the episodic storytelling matters, and yes, I am super into it.
– Reminder: you can watch these shows the legal way by having the El Rey Network or UniMás. I would not advise you to torrent them or find them on tube sites, but I would certainly wink at you and nudge you in the ribs.
– Shares, likes, comments and other social media things are appreciated. Lucha Underground’s only three episodes old, so it doesn’t have a built-in Raw audience searching around looking for jokes. This is basically the wrestling show you’ve been wanting for years, so read about it, watch it somewhere and share it with people you know.
Please click through for the Over/Under on Lucha Underground episode 3, originally aired 11/12/14.
Over: The Mysterious Origin Of El Mariachi Loco
The show opens with Dario “M. Bison” Cueto debuting EL MARIACHI LOCO, a wrestler he found up the street at his favorite Mexican restaurant. If Mariachi wins, then perhaps, perhaps he’ll play the crowd a song. First of all, I hope I’m not the only one who saw a mariachi character in a wrestling promotion produced by Robert Rodriguez and got excited.
Second of all, if you’re gonna have a jobber, do it right. “El Mariachi Loco” and his restaurant day job origin story is awesome, and a perfect way for an American lucha libre promotion to poke fun at Hispanic stereotypes without really perpetrating them. El Mariachi Loco’s job is to take a dive for a legit legend and the greatest mini in wrestling history, so why not explain him away with something goofy? It’s like Stansky and Rosenberg and their “two is greater than one” poem, or bald jobber dad “Philip Gooljar” on NXT.
I hope El Mariachi Loco continues showing up and promising us a song if he wins, then never wins. I want it to build and build for years until dude wins a championship at their biggest show of the year, and it goes off the air with him sobbing his way through a celebratory cover of ‘Cancion del Mariachi.’
Over: Mascarita Sagrada Is The Truth
If you aren’t familiar with Mascarita Sagrada, he’s that rare kind of performer who can wrestle a six-foot-tall guy and still look like the biggest man in the ring. He’s the opposite of Jacob Novak. Novak was giant and seemed like he was 5-foot-8. Mascarita’s 4-foot-8 and wrestles like he’s 6-2.
Striker and Vampiro emphasize that the doors of the Lucha Underground temple are open to anybody, and just like Sexy Star’s able to show up and compete with the guys, a legendary mini can pop in and f*ck up a mariachi’s Christmas. There’s some stuff with Mariachi looking down on Sagrada for his size, but Sagrada ALWAYS gets him back for it. That’s how you do it. There’s never any “aw, poor little guy” crap from the announcers, and certainly none of the “HE’S NOT EVEN HUMAN, MAGGLE” stuff you see when little people show up on Raw. Striker even points out that the crowd shouldn’t be booing Mascarita for doing wrestling strikes and moves to Sagrada, because they’re on an even playing field. If, uh, only we could do that with the women too!
Anyway, Sagrada has ruled for 20 years and still does, so he’s a great addition to the show. I’m a little sad that Mascarita Dorada doesn’t get the same opportunity and has spent the last year as a horny bull, but I won’t begrudge him a WWE paycheck.
Over x 100: Somehow, Chavo Guerrero Is The Best Heel On TV
I cannot believe this is happening, and if nothing else in my column convinces you to watch Lucha Underground, let “they turned garbage Chavo Guerrero Jr. into one of the most compelling heel characters in recent memory in THREE EPISODES” do it.
Mascarita Sagrada wins his match, and Chavo runs out to attack him for no reason. He just brutally kicks him in the face until Sagrada’s in a heap in the corner. Now Chavo has attacked a lucha legend (Blue Demon Jr.), a woman (Sexy Star) and a little person. If Air Bud put on a luchador mask and stepped into the temple, Chavo would be Pillmanizing him with a chair right now.
After the break, Vampiro interviews Chavo about his motivations, and it’s beautiful from every angle. For once, an interviewer speaks to a wrestler like we might. Vampiro is all, “hey Chavo, you’ve been coasting on the Guerrero name your entire career and have never really done anything for yourself. What’s your deal?” Chavo’s response is so pitch-perfect that Lana’s probably in the background of it. He explains that he HASN’T been living off the Guerrero name. He’s worked hard, won championships everywhere he’s gone and made a name for himself, but has been continually disrespected because of the name. People don’t understand what Guerreros do. If they don’t like you, they hurt you and put you out. They’re a family of legendary scumbags. He then points out that Lucha Underground brought in Blue Demon Jr. as their big draw, which was a mistake because BLUE DEMON HAS ALWAYS SUCKED AND ONLY GETS OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE OF HIS FAMOUS RELATIVES. It’s the must beautiful, instant hypocrisy and I couldn’t love it any more. Chavo is directing his hatred at people who do what he hates the most: what Chavo Guerrero does.
It gets even better a little later, when Chavo runs into Konnan backstage. Konnan explains that they’re basically family, so he’s gonna let him in on a secret: the lucha libre community has heard about what he did to Blue Demon Jr. (and will soon hear about what he did to Mascarita Sagrada), and should be showing up any minute now to f*ck him up for it. He says Chavo should disappear, or else. Two things are great here:
1. Lucha Underground is tying together two notable characters who aren’t directly involved in a storyline together to further both of their narratives. Konnan is a scheming guy deeply connected to lucha libre’s REAL “underground,” but he’s got his own corrupted idea of a moral code. Chavo drastically overcompensated for his failures in week one, and might’ve accidentally just signed his death warrant. Suddenly Chavo’s not just a “heel,” he’s a heel with dimension. A coward who lives in his family’s shadow and got a little too big for his tights trying to step out of it.
2. Not only having them interact help the stories, it helps make Lucha Underground work like a real, functioning universe. Don’t you wish WWE characters could interact and remember things with people they aren’t locked into a pay-per-view cycle with?
As soon as Konnan’s done telling Chavo what’s up, Chavo turns and sees the FIRST man his failures brought into the temple:
Chavo couldn’t beat Blue Demon Jr. in week one, so Dario Cueto brought in Mil Muertes to finish the job. Chavo interfered anyway, hitting Demon with a chair and sending him to the hospital. Now Chavo’s not just the REASON for Mil Muertes, he’s angered him. Chavo took something — the pain and suffering of Blue Demon Jr. — away from him. Muertes doesn’t jump him for it. He knows Chavo’s dug himself into a hole, and he’ll be there the second Chavo digs his way out.
Catrina shows up and gives him the Face Lick of Death: “One day, someday … you too will belong to Mil Muertes.”
Three episodes. The characters have this kind of depth in THREE EPISODES. Watch this show.
Over: The Origin Of Mil Muertes
Amazingly, the Chavo stuff isn’t my favorite thing on the show. That honor goes to the origin story of Mil Muertes.
In 1985, 7-year old Pasquel Mendoza was buried under the rubble of the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Mexico City and watched his entire family die. He was stuck there for days in the darkness, waiting for death … and it comforted him. He realized he belonged at the brink of death, and when he emerged from the ruins, he brought death with him. “Because the coldness and death were where he found warmth. Where he found strength.” The hankie from last week that he cherishes and holds before his matches? A stone from the rubble that transformed him into Mil Muertes. A reminder of his family.
FFFffffffuuuuuuuu that is incredible.
Under: Wait, How Does This Work
If I had to pick one thing to be “under” for this episode, it’s the science of how Mil Muertes claiming a life works. I don’t fully understand it.
Mil Muertes defeats Ricky Mandel (which I keep typing as “Ricky Marvin” thanks to watching too much NOAH), and Catrina gets in the ring. Now, from what we’ve seen, Catrina licks peoples’ faces to sorta “mark” them as targets. She did it to Blue Demon Jr., and this week she did it to Chavo. Here, she crawls over the fallen opponent and licks his face while he’s on the ground. That’s totally different from licking a fresh man backstage. You are straight-up licking off his match sweat. She then stands up and frenches Mil Muertes, which is effectively snowballing that match sweat into his mouth. Is she like, transferring Ricky Mandel’s life force into Mil? Is that how he absorbs it? Is this a Succubus situation?
So yeah, as cool as Mil Muertes is, he’s also pretty gross. That’s “Natalya putting Adam Rose’s sucker in her mouth” levels of bad wrestling hygiene. Also super gross: Matt Striker making boner noises when she licks people. Could live without that.
Under: Johnny Mundo Dies Hard With A Vengeance
“Under” is used pretty loosely here, as I love Lucha Underground’s ability to stage a dramatic hallway fight between a shirtless babyface and an evil owner’s chatty Mexican cohorts. Cisco and Cortez Castro are doing their best Biggs and Wedge impression at Cueto’s door, and Mundo dispatches them with superkicks and carefully-angled stage punches. He then confronts Dario Cueto, demanding a match with Big Ryck. Cueto agrees to protect his ass, only for Mundo to do a final, dramatic, over-the-shoulder turn. When he’s done with Ryck, he’s coming for Cueto.
This is super fun and goofy and great, but those improv and acting classes John Morrison’s supposedly been taking for the past three years haven’t improved his ability to speak on camera. He still looks and sounds like a Tough Enough contestant introducing himself to judgmental wrestlers every time he opens his mouth. I think if Cueto, Konnan and everyone else weren’t such good actors, I wouldn’t notice it as much. Cueto is especially good. The way his mouth and throat quiver when he realizes he’s f*cked is tremendous.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s his reel. I mean, here’s the reel of a guy who looks a lot like him.
Let’s hope Ashton Kutcher runs into Mil Muertes at some point.
Over: A Dragon-Themed Luchador In A Dragon Costume Named “Drago”
Sold. So sold. I don’t even need to see him wrestle.
Over: Fenix Is Probably The Most Bonkers Wrestler You’ll See On TV This Year
The main event of the show is Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Dragon. We haven’t seen or heard about any of them. Konnan tells Cueto that they’re three of the best luchadors in the world, so Cueto gets coke-nosed and decides to put them in the ring against each other. That leads to a triple threat, one fall to a finish, and what results is the most fun I’ve had watching cruiserweights on TV since Nitro went off the air.
The best compliment I can give the match is that I watch too much wrestling, and they showed me things I’ve never seen before. I mean, I can’t watch EVERYTHING (and these guys might’ve had this match in Mexico 30 times already, I dunno), but man, you know how long it’s been since I’ve watched a match where I rewound multiple times to make sure I saw what I saw? There’s zero selling and even less psychology, but damn, that’s all right. That is absolutely not the point.
They start off the match with a Young Bucks-style superkick war and dives to the outside, and it doesn’t slow down. Fenix pulls off a hyped-up quadruple jump thing off the ropes where he bounces on the outside of the middle rope, then bounces again with his ankles crossed for no reason but showmanship. He also gets launched into the air Swiss Death style only to flip FORWARD and hit a hurricanrana. None of that addresses him wandering up the steps and jumping off the highest point he can find in the building, which (1) is an incredible thing for a third episode TV main event to include, and (2) an awesome establishing of Dario Cueto’s temple as a place full of secret nooks, crannies and platforms people can find to jump from.
Drago gets put away with a package piledriver from Pentagon and a Rikishi Driver from Fenix, then Fenix pops Pentagon over with a poisoned rana for the win. I’m not gonna go all stupid hyperbolic and call it the best thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s a GREAT thing I saw, and a giant blinking flashing light-up smiley face for Lucha Underground’s future. This is the alternative we have so desperately needed on television. This right here.
Can’t wait for next week. Can we get Lucha Underground on Netflix so I can binge watch everything they’ve filmed?