Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 2 Episode 9: Aztec Warfare II

AZTEC WARFARE II, w/ Fenix, Rey Mysterio, King Cuerno, Argenis, Johnny Mundo, Joey Ryan, Prince Puma, Jack Evans, Taya, Cage, Mascarita Sagrada, Marty "The Moth" Martinez, Drago, The Mack, Chavo Guerreo Jr., PJ Black, Aerostar, Dragon Azteca Jr., Texano, Mil Muertes, & Matanza

PAS: This is a pretty flawlessly put together match of this type. Really great individual moments weaved in with some big action, and a pair of great debuts. Rey comes in and is immediately the best guy in this fed, he has such immaculate timing on all of his spots and really knows how to pick and choose big moments in a crazy match like this. Rey was always a great Royal Rumble worker and is a perfect choice to be the longest lasting guy in a match like this. Jack Evans may have been my favorite guy in this, just lunatic bump after lunatic bump including a bunch of them in the periphery. There is a part where Mack and Cage are exchanging shots in the ring and you see Jack fly down a flight of stairs head first. Only real complaint was the Pentagon Jr. v. Mil stuff, Mil has been booked so strong in this fed, that there really should have been a bigger beatdown before he got pinned. Couple of chairshots (especially those mediocre ones) shouldn't have done it. Matanza debut was pretty perfect, I like the mask and blood splattered gear and he looked great mowing people down with throws. I also loved the little mini-match with Rey, reminded me of the great Rey v. Mark Henry matches, I hope we get to see those two get a longer showdown int he future. After a slow start LU has really been cooking the last couple of weeks.

ER: The crowd reaction to Rey's entrance was incredible. It was like the wrestling fan version of Oprah giving out cars to her audience. I get it. I'd have done the same. And that starts off what turns into a relentless, crazy, and most importantly satisfying rumble style match. Rey Rey is really just kind of this style, and he's rightfully treated like a major deal throughout. Even other tecnicos would hit their moves, but then feed a guy to Rey for a splash and pinfall, and it was fun watching guys feed Rey's offense or just try and get in a shot with him. Like Mascarita doing a neat floatover pin to put the icing on a Rey pin, or guys setting up opponents for Rey to do a 619, or setting up his awesome belly slide splash to the floor. Rey moved around like 2004 Rey, taking big bumps (love his new missed 619 Fuerza bump, here with perfect rope pulling timing from Taya) and flawless execution. Damn, people. Mysterio. Fenix got some nice moments including his gorgeous rope run tornillo and being on the receiving end of Cuerno's devastating tope. Can't believe someone would have the stones to just sit there and wait to be nailed by that. I liked Mundo's crew of zero body fat assholes, all taking big spills and not needing to be cool heels, just being unlikeable. Evans especially takes some amazing falls in this match, getting hiptossed from the next level of seats, taking a screaming headlong sprint down the flight of stairs, splashing into nothing, just a crazy showboat performance. Taya continues to impress me by at least taking moves at full strength. Guys don't have to gently place her down the same way they do with Sexy Star. Taya also shows plenty of good instincts, like wisely pinning Cage in an unorthodox way to avoid putting Cage in the awkward position of having to move himself away from the ropes. It takes smarts to not make your opponents not look like an idiot like that.

I loved Joey Ryan's fool proof plan that he didn't think about at all, as the second he puts the plan in action it immediately and painfully backfires, with guys superkicking him, Drago misting him, Sagrada getting powerbombed into him, Famous B handing him a card and him not being able to avoid a sales pitch (imagine being locked up and unable to duck behind a window as Jehovah's Witnesses walk up your driveway). I think Chavo was a SUPER underrated part of this match, as he was incredible at running traffic, surviving, and just mugging and schticking through things. I loved him regularly throwing guys to the wolves, loved him ducking down behind the ring skirt to avoid being seen, really putting a level of personality on display that a lot of guys in the fed don't have. And then we get a couple of big debuts as Rey Horus makes a nice impression as Dragon Azteca Jr., going through some cool spots and a nice slingshot rana to the floor. And of course Jeff Cobb finally debuts as Matanza. I remember Phil and I bringing him up well over a year ago, the first time Matanza was even brought up on air. "Who is available that would even make sense as Matanza!?" And we both thought of Cobb, right away. Is he the same height as me? Yes. But the guy is a legit physical freak, and I really love his bloody coveralls and mask. He looks like a final boss monster in Manhunt. And here he gets to showcase all of his skills, his reverse momentum powerslam, catching Rey mid rana, hoisting him back up, shifting him into powerslam, going back the other direction with it. He manhandled Rey for so long that as the sequence kept going some guy audibly screams "WHAT!?" in the crowd. I do wish they didn't have Matanza eliminate like 8 guys in a row, each person getting in one by one to fall to their doom. Crowd started getting restless around the 3rd elimination, figuring that nobody was going to stop him, and even started booing hard at one point, and it felt like more of a "we are rejecting this" kind of boo as opposed to them booing a heel (which the crowd really does tend to do).

It's hard to establish one man as being THIS dominant as where do you go from there? Cobb is clearly more talented than Zeus, but when you make a man with no actual weak points, able to withstand any type of offense, how do you go about beating him? What will his weakness turn out to be? You had Cage going through a window which was a holy shit heel turn spot last season, but here Cage is back 100% unscathed literally moments later. And I understand why they got Muertes out of there so quickly, and it was smart to not have him cross paths with Matanza, but MAN that was a shitty way for him to get taken out of the match that quickly. A couple of weak ass Lance Storm chairshots from Pentagon and then a splash from Rey. That's all it takes to eliminate Mil freaking Muertes? That was laaaaaaame. So some guys get eliminated too easily, too quickly, and that's one flaw in having a pinfall elimination rumble instead of over the top. You give up high flying moves (which this fed clearly thrives on), but guys also have to be definitively beaten to be eliminated, instead of teamed up and tossed over. Still, we got enough violence and wild spots to make your brain gloss that kind of stuff over.

ER: So there were a couple of stumbles down the stretch, and that keeps this from being completely great, but overall for an hour of wrestling television? Things don't get too much better than this. The show is on a nice little run after going through several weeks of some of their lower points. This right here is the show that made us want to write up every episode in the first place. Great "full show" match, easily landing on our 2015 MOTY List.


COMPLETE LUCHA UNDERGROUND EPISODE GUIDE


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