– This is ULTIMA LUCHA, Lucha Underground’s season-ending “pay-per-view.” It’s divided up into two parts: one 1-hour episode this week, one 2-hour episode next week. We’re currently running a contest to give away gallery-sized character posters in our open discussion thread for the event, so if you watched the show or are watching next week, make sure you go there and make some jokes.
– 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.
– Shares, likes, comments and other social media things are appreciated. Tell @LuchaElRey that you read and love this column.
And now, the Over/Under on Lucha Underground Episode 38, aka ULTIMA LUCHA part 1, from July 29, 2015.
Over: The Mack Gets Dean Ambrosed
It’s the season finale of Lucha Underground, so why not start the show with a guy getting CURBSTOMPED THROUGH A CINDERBLOCK.
That’s The Mack vs. Cage, Falls Count Anywhere, which has escalated from a surprise rollup after 90 seconds of wrestling to 2 guys spearing each other through doors and trying to crush each others’ skulls with construction equipment. As a light spoiler, a lot of (read: almost all) of the matches on ULTIMA LUCHA go out into the crowd and involve wrestlers destroying the set. Initially I was a little bothered by it — why does a show with so much good wrestling have to try to recreate GRAVE CONSEQUENCES in every single match? — but I started thinking of it like the original credits sequence of Apocalypse Now. The season’s over and you’ve got to dismantle The Temple anyway, why not blow it up?
Mack and Cage are both great here, and (assuming this was taped chronologically, as I only attended hours 2 and 3) have the benefit of a crowd ready as hell for Lucha Underground. There’s a feeling when you walk into that building that’s hard to describe … the first moments of a show beginning kinda feel like Christmas morning, and they could run Marty the Moth vs. Famous B and everybody in the crowd would go crazy. That’s the benefit of a show fans are trusting to be good, so they just throw everything they have into it. Mack and Cage was way, way better than Marty the Moth vs. Famous B and got three (3) “This Is Awesome” chants. Good match, hot crowd, crazy spots, Lucha Underground. This is how we do.
Under, But I Totally Understand: PLEASE DRINK MILLER LITE BRAND BEER
On last week’s episode, Dario Cueto gave Fernandez a Miller Lite, and we assume he did it to call him low class. It turns out that MILLER LITE RULES EVERYTHING AROUND US now, and that the Miller Brewing Company is to Lucha Underground as Mountain Dew is to WWE. Makes sense, I guess.
During The Mack vs. Cage, Mack attacks Cage with a cooler and spills delicious MILLER LITE BRAND BEERS everywhere. He picks up two, does a Stone Cold Steve Austin beer-chugging impression and gives Cage a Stone Cold Stunner. Later, Matt Striker and Vampiro share a toast with Miller Lite, and Vampiro gushes that Miller Lite is great beer.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I want these guys to make money and keep making shows, so if we get a season 2 and 3 and 4 of Lucha Underground and all we have to do is watch Pentagon Jr. reach for a cold, refreshing Miller Lite before breaking somebody’s arm, I’m okay with it.
Over: PROPHECIES AND STUFF
The thing I’m most excited about seeing at ULTIMA LUCHA is the melodramatic backstage/vignette stuff, because obviously you don’t get to see those when you’re watching live. They’ve been my favorite part of the show since episode 1, and so far they aren’t letting us down.
The show is bookended by segments involving the … man, how do I even explain this anymore? Dario Cueto’s family’s been in the underground fight-promoting business for decades, and a long time ago those fights involved lucha libre murders (?). The parents of a young girl were killed in a match, and now that she’s an adult, she’s come back to the Temple to hunt the man who killed them. She calls herself Black Lotus, lurks around The Temple for a couple of months and eventually runs into MATANZA, Dario Cueto’s unseen, monstrous brother who lives in a cage and occasionally eats peoples’ faces. Lotus gets kidnapped and sent off to live with EL DRAGON AZTECA, a wise old luchador ninja (?) who trains her to fight Matanza without being killed. She trains a bit but is hot-headed and bails, and via some convoluted stuff involving double-crosses and the Guerrero family, she’s now CAPTURED and being held in a cell BESIDE Matanza. I think that covers everything.
Cueto shows up in formal wear, drinking champagne (!!) and drops a bomb on Lotus: her parents (the leaders of The Black Lotus, which I guess explains her name) weren’t killed by Matanza, they were killed by El Dragon Azteca himself, who then blamed the Cuetos. We assume he’s lying, because evil, but you never know. A luchador in dress clothes running a kung fu dojo, operating a kidnapping ring out of the trunk of his car and working with Chavo Guerrero isn’t any less shady than a Bael-eating Sloth living in a wrestling promoter’s secret dungeon.
At the end of the show, El Dragon Azteca strolls up to the Temple and is stopped by an unidentified man in a hoodie, calling back the very first thing we ever saw on a Lucha Underground episode. The guy reminds Dragon that there’s a prophecy saying he’ll die if he steps into the Temple, but he steps anyway, saying that should he die, “El Dragon Azteca” will live forever. All I want in the world right now is for Matanza to kill El Dragon Azteca next week, and for the show to end with the hoodie guy pulling down his hood to reveal EL DRAGON AZTECA.
Over: The New-Look Disciples Of Death
Catrina’s Putties get a makeover this week, and now look more like Sons of the Harpy than Power Rangers jobbers. They also go to great lengths to establish that the Disciples are directly controlled by Catrina’s Mexico City Earthquake Death Rock, and that they’ll stand up no matter what if she holds it over her head. Even if, say, Angelico’s just jumped off a building and crushed them.
Speaking of …
Over: RIP The Unlikely Trio
The Cinderella run of Son of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico was great, but it had to come to an end. There are a few harsh realities to accept:
1. Son of Havoc has a lot of heart, but (based on what we’ve seen on the show, and purely in kayfabe) he’s not on the level of a Prince Puma or Johnny Mundo, so he can’t do it by himself.
2. Angelico has a penchant for jumping off the highest sh*t he can find, and while that’s been successful in the past, it’s called “high risk” for a reason and was bound to end with him crashing and burning at the worst possible time.
3. Ivelisse is legitimately injured, and even if she’s trying hard it still ostensibly makes these Trios matches 3-on-2.
Cueto finally finds the formula to get the championships off the guys he doesn’t like slash isn’t afraid of: put them in a tornado tag so they can’t protect Ivelisse, and make sure their opponents can be resurrected and healed by a teleporting death lady with a mystical rock.
The great bit of storytelling is that even though they were outnumbered, the Unlikely Trio was still going to come together and win. What stopped them is Catrina, pushing the odds from an iffy 3-on-3 (and a true 3-on-2) to 4-on-2, making the odds even more impossible. Even with that advantage, Ivelisse almost took her out. It took a Killer Croc-style rock to the face to put down an injured woman. That’s fighting spirit, man.
The Disciples of Death are your new Trios Champions, and years of watching wrestling tell us that doesn’t bode well for Prince Puma.
Over: Believers Backlash
Want a satisfying main event for hour one? How about a match built around fans getting to whip Hernandez with leather straps because he’s the worst person on the show and everyone hates him?
This has got to be the best match he’s ever been a part of, because every time he starts in with his lousy Hernandez stuff, there’s an extended period of him cowering, making surprised faces and being whipped. The Believers don’t whip Drago, of course, because he’s awesome and DRAGONS ARE REAL. If you’ve got something wrong with your brain and don’t understand why people love Lucha Underground so much, here’s the best reason: they, like NXT, more often than not take the parts of their show that don’t work and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM. They fix them. They try, on purpose, to make the show as entertaining as possible. They don’t just decide to do something and keep doing it for months whether you like it or not.
Hernandez showed up as a tecnico. He’s not one of those. He’s a real-life rudo, and the stuff he does in the ring where he rocks people like babies and checks his non-existent watch when people try to do moves to him are infuriating. You don’t want to cheer him, you want to see people beat him him. You want to see him act like an a-hole and get punched in the face for it. Better yet, you want to see him get in the face of a fan and turn around to find THE DRAGON MAN HAS NUNCHUCKS.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, holy sh*t, they paid off Drago having nunchucks in his origin video. He’s the reincarnated spirit of an ancient dragon living in the body of a luchador, may or may not have the ability to transform INTO a dragon, and IS GREAT AT NUNCHUCKS. I know we’re all about Pentagon here, but Drago’s gotta be right up there.
Drago puts Fernandez through a table, rolls him back into the ring, splashes him and sends him off to an ill-advised Impact Wrestling appearance and forever oblivion. See you never, Fernandez. Best wrestling show ever.
EPISODE 39 “Ultima Lucha – Part II”- Wednesday, August 5 at 8:00 PM ET/PT
– Lucha Underground Championship Match: Prince Puma (c) vs. Mil Muertes
– Gift of the Gods Match: Bengala vs. Jack Evans vs. Fenix vs. King Cuerno vs. Sexy Star vs. Aero Star vs. Big Ryck
– Johnny Mundo vs. Alberto El Patron
– CERO MIEDO No Disqualification Match: Pentagon Jr. vs. Vampiro
– Texano vs. Blue Demon Jr.