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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lucha Underground Episode 7: The Top of the Ladder Workrate Report

Danny Trejo is in the house for this episode!

1. Super Fly vs. King Cuerno

PAS: Super Fly shows up on Lucha Underground with a mask four days after losing it in Mexico, they should probably coordinate that stuff better. This was a fun match, with Super Fly being good in the role of enhancement guy. His Space Flying Tiger Drop was pretty great looking. Pretty much just a set up for more Cuerno v Drago, but I liked it

ER: This was a fun extended Cuerno showcase. Cuerno has nice stomps, which is not really something anybody has anymore. When you think about it the stomp used to be a pretty common thing for a bad guy to do, but you just don't see many guys using them anymore. At least the guys doing them are apparently doing them with pride. So I didn't have much problems with it in the past episodes, but pretty sure we can officially get rid of the vertical hanging camera. I don't think it adds to any shots, and often it takes away from them. Here Cuerno took what looked like a cool bump to the floor but you couldn't really get a feel for the gravity of it with the overhead shot.

PAS: Pentagon Jr. vignette was fun. I don't really get violent Ninja warrior from what he is doing so far, but I liked the Kung Fu B-Movie feel.

ER: Oh man the zoom in on the victim when Pentagon Jr. breaks the poor guy's arm during a sparring session was hilarious. He's like a villain in Bloodsport or something. Also laughed at the dual superman punch by two Aztec warriors on a sunset hillside.

2. Fenix v. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

ER: Did not love this, although it actually had a bunch of individual moments that I liked. I loved the spot where Fenix was taking Chavo apart with leg kicks and Chavo levels him with a clothesline. Fenix took the clothesline great. Loved Chavo twisting his boot on Fenix's mask. Loved Pentagon's interference. But it was very disjointed and at the end felt like a bunch of things happened, but it didn't add up to a lot. We've talked about how Fenix has trouble stringing his big spots together as he doesn't seem to know what to do between the big moments. We had the return of the overhead camera shot as I had no idea what happened with a miscommunication spot, as both men ran towards the ropes but Chavo ended up falling through them to the floor or…something. It looked clunky from that camera, and it's possible it was a bad looking spot that looked worse than clunky when shot normally, so they opted for the overheard traffic cam, but either way I'm no fan. Also did not like the Chavo reversal spot on Fenix's big double knees from the top. Almost every reversal spot I've ever seen from a top rope move looks bad, as the reverser ends up taking the full brunt of the move, then just rolls through to do his thing as if the move didn't happen. Here Chavo takes the double knees, then just grabs a half crab. It "looked cool" but it also made the double knees (which I thought was a pretty great spot) look like garbage. I get those moves being risky, but the risk shouldn't be "ah HA! You hit the move flush but *I* just chose to ignore that even happened!!"

PAS: I really enjoyed Chavo in this, as I think he is pretty good in the rudo base roll against high flyers, and I liked the double knee reversal thing, I buy if you know something is coming you can brace yourself and prep a roll through. Fenix is sort of a mess though, he has some cool highspots, but they aren't any cooler then Drago or Puma and he looks very lost in between them, and that is with a vet like Chavo and editing, he is obviously being built for bigger things in this fed and I am not sure he can live up to them

ER: We get a Cage vignette which is really nothing more than a throwaway UFC pre-fight video, with him flipping tractor tires and doing bicep curls. Brian Cage is a huge gassed up guy who 18 months ago was about 50 pounds of muscle lighter. This is an extreme case of wrestling body dysmorphia. He still has some surprising agility that occasionally breaks through the layers of mass, kind of like early super gassed era Scott Steiner. You know, how most of the time he looked like a guy who couldn't properly put his arms down at his sides, but would from time to time break out some impressive things the way he used to. I've seen Cage look good in matches, and I've seen matches hurt by his newfound physique. Curious to see how he does here.

PAS: I had kind of assumed the key was to unlock the Brian Cage, but him in this vignette seem to suggest that he is going to be used in a different way. With Cage and Big Ryck it is weird that this lucha fed has more roid monsters then the WWE.

3. Big Ryck vs. Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma ($100,000 LADDER MATCH)

ER: Ladder match is starting at just the 30 minute mark of the episode which seems kind crazy, but intriguing (but made more sense when the show went off the air at the 54 minute mark). But by the end of this match I was still just kinda bored. Everything I loved about the street fight a couple weeks back was lacking here. All of the run ins and garbage spots in that match felt very organic, and here the run ins operated much more on super obvious spot set up. All the garbage spots were integrated really seamlessly into the street fight, and here the set up for all of them was clunky and obvious. Plenty of great individual moments, such as Puma's cool dive through the ladder, and an ESPECIALLY  awesome Steamboat Bill  spot with Puma and a falling ladder. Never seen that before outside the magic of the cinemaplex and I fell in love all over again. Puma and Morrison both pulled out some pretty crazy stuff, with Puma breaking a ladder in half by falling through it on the way to the floor, Morrison making a slingshot spot look brutal by going in nose first. But I thought almost all of the run in moments were bad, as opposed to them being a strength like they were in the street fight. The match still had its strengths, and I really liked Big Ryck in this. While the set up for the crazy spots was at times bad, the crazy spots themselves all looked great. The worst thing about the match was the run in. Phil told me afterwards on the phone that it was B-Boy, who I have seen live a bunch (jeeeeez dating back over a DECADE!) and when he ran in Striker was all "who is this some sort of fan or something? Jesus get security out here" and I was rolling my eyes because it sounded like "That's Lance Storm!! HEEEE doesn't work HEREEEE!!!" but then all of this mystery man's strikes looked insanely bad , like he was fake fighting a little kid with progeria and had to be extra gentle, and then he took the worst ever bump off a Mundo superkick, kinda pausing for a goofy "Did I do that!?" look at a camera that wasn't there before falling the wrong direction. After all that I thought "oh shit that HAD to have been a fan, Striker was right!! because clearly a guy who had actual wrestling training wouldn't have looked that bad." But again, Phil told me it was B-Boy. Now, in fairness to B-Boy, maybe he's a method wrestler and really got into his character and thought "okay, you have to look bad. Bad enough for the announcer to confuse you for some lowlife fan. Wear cargo shorts. Pooch out your belly a bit. Throw punches that wouldn't break wet paper. Look like a man who has not had formal training in any sort of occupation, least of all pro wrestling. BEEE that possible fan, running in, confusing announcers." So that's a possibility.

PAS: I liked this but didn't love it. Mundo has looked pretty bad brawling during this entire show, and it was rough when he had to exchange punches. I also thought this went long, I like that give main events this long without commercial breaks, but this dragged a bit. Also kind of silly to have a surprise run in, have it be a guy nowone knows, in a match where there are already lots of non-surprise run ins. Did love all of the big bumps, which were totally crazy, that Puma fall into the ladder was bonkers, and Ryck was great, the set up for the nut shot where he tries to climb two ladders ruled. I always like Big Show in ladder matches and Ryck played a similar roll of a monster totally out of his element, but still dangerous. Nice bump by Cuerto in the post match angle too, that guy is just awesome.


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