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Monday, March 14, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 2 Episode 7: Death Comes in Threes

ER: Alright, Sexy Star opens the show, and then Willie Mack shirtcocks it into frame!

1. Marty the Moth Martinez vs. The Mack

ER: Good to see Mack back on TV and this was good for being short and interrupted. Odd of Vampiro of all people to mention that Mack doesn't spend much time in the gym. Mack clearly looks like a guy who works out. Vampiro looks like a divorced dad at a Blaze Ya Dead Homie show. Mack's strikes, lariat and flying kick all looked great, and Moth hit a bonkers dive, just no hands and crazy distance and Mack manned up and absorbed it. That dive was right up there with Cuerno's best topes.

PAS: Yeah this was a pretty good battle of thick dudes with nice high spots. By far the best Moth has looked and that dive and his finishing second rope curb stomp were both super cool. Still this was mostly just a set up of for the angle, and while the outfit looked cool, it is still leading to more Sexy Star, still a Moth v. Mack gimmick match would be great

ER: Really nice straight Fenix vignette. No comic book nonsense, no mythical hokey backstory, just an actual really good video showing motivation, cool spots, and training. Reminded me of a few great Fenix spots I had forgotten, easily showed the highs and lows of the character, didn't feel the need to make him a literal phoenix soaring over mountains and like wearing giant talon hands or some shit......but I can't really deny that Jack Evans getting jumped at the urinal, Drago kicking out a lightbulb, and then everybody in the room producing nunchucks from their person was not awesome as hell.

PAS: Yeah the bathroom brawl was closer to the kind of LU vignettes I like. Drago didn't turn into a CGI dragon or anything, he just kung fu kicked some lightbulbs and broke out some nunchucks.

2. Cage vs. Taya

ER: Not totally sure how I was supposed to feel about all of this whole thing, but I actually kind of liked a lot of it. Yeah, I'm not sure how a small woman getting the shit beaten out of her is still somehow supposed to be the heel, so if you think about it in that way then the whole segment is immediately completely idiotic and misguided. In a vacuum though, Cage did a lot of impressive things, and Taya took some legitimately nasty stuff. That superplex from the middle rope to the floor was just absolutely disgusting. Any person that can take a spot like that and not shit out their spleen earns my respect, whatever that means. That spot was sheer lunacy. But Cage didn't hold back, so we didn't have to see him work like he was in a Sexy Star match, gently setting her on the mat for fear of hurting her. Quite the opposite, really, which is kind of weird to see, but hey in storyline this was the match Taya wanted. Taya is a pretty lousy seller, as there's no nuance whatsoever, just take a big move and lie there dead, but once she's on her feet again she's sprinting around like the match was just starting. But taking some of these moves full force is impressive on its face so I was just constantly at odds throughout the whole match. This was a tough match to have opinions on. I could take literally every part of this match and write two separate reviews, one praising it and the other completely trashing it, and they would both come out looking pretty accurate. "How awesome did Cage look after getting two bottles broken over his head!?" "How stupid were those bottle spots?! Not only did a potential huge weapon spot get used as a throwaway moment during an intergender squash, but the ridiculous glass shatter sound effects were hilarious, and somehow glass didn't even make him bleed!!" Both sentences seem right to me. "That superplex spot was maybe the craziest spot in a promotion who has a history of having the craziest spots. Amazing." "How can you do that spot and not have Taya leave dead on a stretcher? How does the match continue after that!? So stupid." Both sentences seem right to me. So I guess I'll say, "I really hate intergender stuff, I thought Taya earned tons of respect for taking such a nasty beating, I thought the whole segment made Cage look like a monster, I find it somewhat stupid that you're building up a top babyface to look like a monster by destroying a woman." Maybe the most I have enjoyed/disliked a segment.

PAS: I was leaning more towards the hate part of this. I agree that superplex was cool, but the entirety of this match was a big roid guy beating the shit out of a woman while the crowd cheered. It was the Ray Rice video of wrestling with worse selling. What is the wrestling logic of this anyway? What exactly did Taya do to deserve this beating? Jim Cornette or Jimmy Hart would terrorize a territory for months before they get their comeuppance, Taya shows up last week, interferes a bit and then she gets brutalized like Patricia Arquette in True Romance. I know Rodriguez is a Tarantino acolyte but Gandolfini wasn't the hero.

ER: Dammmmmn Brenda! I'm unsure where these are going, since Famous B is a "Recently Retired World Renowned Underground Fighter", but I am loving them.

3. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Mil Muertes

ER: Awesome match, as it should have been. Three ways as a rule stink, but we've had some talented guys over the past year figure out some nice ways around the more annoying aspects of the match structure. And in a match like this where three guys are go go going, you don't end up with many moments of "Hey where's so and so been for 4 minutes?" and it never devolved into a neverending series of men pulling legs of men pinning other men. My only complaint is that now that the fed is sweetening sound on practically every damn strike, can we maybe get a new sound effect for "strike", or at least a range of sounds? They have one sound for humans making contact with each other, and it makes a stiff superkick sound exactly the same as one of Taya's slaps from earlier. Surely there's a way to differentiate from handclap, gunshot, thunder, right? Plus I want to imagine a man standing just off screen wearing a vest and suspenders, timing the coconut halves to the sound of Muertes' big horse hooves pounding across the mat, or when the table got lit on fire during the Pentagon/Vampiro match that same man would be off camera crinkling cellophane against a microphone. The blind viewers at home would be put right into the middle of that crackling fire! But jeez either only save the sound effects for the most brutal strikes, or show a little range. Anyway, threse three guys went crazy in this match. Puma decided he was going to break out every flying twist in his playbook, so we had gonzo stuff off Dario's office, him running down rails like he was in XXX, just hitting dive after dive after dive. It was crazy. It was awesome. Muertes was an absolute killer in this. If you're gonna sit in a skull throne and glower over everybody, you better turn it on when you're in the ring, and that was no problem. Just as Ambrose and Reigns worked to dispatch the monster Lesnar, I loved Pentagon and Puma working to keep Mil down. The barrage of superkicks could have easily been played silly, and instead came off looking like they were taking turns using a shovel to beat a body they were about to bury. Pentagon was kinda odd man out here as his moments of shine didn't look as good, and the big parts of the match seemed more about Puma/Muertes, but I found myself liking his team work moments with Puma the most of his stuff. I did love his wild bump through the chairs, and his brawling in general. I was hoping he would snap Puma's arm, but wasn't complaining to much when Muertes hit him with a bullet train of a spear. This was a pretty breathless sprint right here, most of it playing like a highlight video. I probably rewound this one more than any match in recent memory.

PAS: I loved this too. Muertes is a hell of a big match wrestler, one of the better big match guys of the decade. With his big LU matches and the two Parka v. Mesias brawls he has a hell of resume. It had a great pace, and the one thing a three way does is allow people to sell big moves, but not slow down the action at all. I am not a huge Ricochet fan, but I like Prince Puma, not exactly sure what the difference is, but Puma is a little less shticky and the matches have less bloat then some of his indy stuff. Pentagon Jr. is super cool, great atmosphere, but I am still waiting for his breakthrough match. He was really fun here, but I kind of want him to be crazier, and I thought he was the third of these guys. I loved how this finished the story with Muretes looking strong, and it set up next weeks match great. Really looking forward to another Fenix v. Muertes match.


LUCHA UNDERGROUND EPISODE GUIDE

***ALSO, to no surprise, we're adding the triple threat match to our 2015 ongoing MOTY list. It was really good.***





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