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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 2 Episode 25: Ultima Lucha Dos - Part II

1. Daga vs. Sinestro de la Muerte vs. Mariposa vs. Marty the Moth Martinez vs. Sexy Star vs. Killshot vs. Night Claw

ER: I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, and that's with Sexy Star just Sexy Starring all over the place (I mean, she *literally* had to have her hand held through portions of this). Typically these Gift of the Gods multimans have been total messes, as matches with odd numbers tend to be. But this match had a flat out terrific performance from Marty the Moth that just transcended the whole thing. I also thought this was Daga's best performance in LU, they got Sinestro out of there quick, and for a guy I've (deservedly) dumped on, Killshot probably had his best moments too. I really wasn't impressed with Night Claw. His mask was dorky as hell, and his move set up was interminable. He and Daga just slowly climbing opposite sides of a turnbuckle without even pretending to show animosity to one another was just embarrassing. At least they had the good sense to show Kobra Moon licking her chops at Daga during part of the set up. But yeah, Night Claw didn't move the needle for me. No, this match was all about The Moth. Everybody else could have totally stunk (and there was plenty of stink) and this still would have been pretty great just because of The Moth. This guy did it all during the match, kept his stories straight with Sexy Star and Killshot and Melissa Santos, taunting and leering at all three of them when applicable. He bumped around huge and made everybody look like a killer, the best being his great bump to the floor and into the barricade, and that absolutely BRUTAL bump in the Temple steps. I rewound that a few times. He bumped hard into them, the way someone usually bumps into the WWE ring steps, except THOSE steps actually move, these steps likely just provided Moth with a arthritic rotator cuff the rest of his life. So he falls all around, makes his arm look all hyperextended while in a terrible armbar, adds personality that nobody else bothers with (everybody else just relies on Striker to fill in their intentions and emotions, Moth actually knows how to convey them), and essentially you have a one man show. But it was an awesome show.

MD: Glad to see I'm on the same page with Eric. I came out of this match just wanting to see Marty bump and stooge and interact with people. I think, currently, the most exciting match Lucha Underground can put on for me is Marty vs Rey. That said, there were frustrations here that didn't just have to do with Sexy Star's execution (and that WAS a problem. I'm not an execution guy in the least, but when it's the central story of the match, it has to hold up. You can't be seeing the strings and there were points, like with her Fujiwara Armbar, where I was). I'm also on board with Marty being the only one fully committing himself. At one point after eating a dive, Nightclaw's idea of selling was to adjust his wristbands in the least subtle way possible. I wish Mariposa leaned into her character a little more too. I think she had in previous matches but whereas this created opportunities for Marty, it may have made it harder with everyone else, having to hit their spots. And there was just too much collaboration (especially with Daga and Nightclaw but not just).

MD: The bigger problem was something we'll see up and down the finale. My impression from interviews I've read is that they see season 2 and 3 as one bit mega-season and it showed. There was far more of a sense of finality in the first Ultima Lucha. There was less of that in this, especially since we'd already seen Gift of the Gods once this (shorter) season. It had felt like the whole back half of Season 1 was leading up to it. Here we had Cobra Moon lingering but then not even advancing and no resolution with Killshot and Marty. Worse than that was the fact we'd already seen the resolution of this particular Sexy Star arc. She'd fought back, finally, against her opressors, and then she won the big match against Mariposa. That they were crashing up against each other again felt like an afterthought or a retread. It didn't feel like a culmination. Despite that, the fans were sure behind her, so you have to give them that, I suppose. This just wasn't clean in a narrative sense to me, and that, more than anything else, tends to be Lucha Underground's biggest strength. Without that, the entire enterprise is on shaky ground.

ER: My god these cop show segments. I don't even know what to say anymore. Could Castro have given a worse read? How many takes was this? Will someone ever stand up and take credit for this storyline?

2. Death Match: King Cuerno vs. Mil Muertes

ER: Yeah this was awesome. As it started I actually thought it was going to be Mil just steamrolling Cuerno, and that would kind of make sense considering how Cuerno has been treated this season. He really hasn't been booked as a guy who should be able to hang with Muertes. All season he's been booked as the least important man in 6 man tags, and losing almost all of his singles matches. So when Muertes came out and just plowed through him the first few minutes I thought "yep this seems right" and figured I would just sit back and enjoy Cuerno getting knocked upside down by lariats and tossed through stacks of chairs. But then Cuerno hits his awesome tope and a big crossbody off the railing and suddenly Cuerno is punching Muertes in the face all the way up the Temple steps, and Muertes goes face first through a window. Cuerno tumbles all the way back down the Temple steps and man we've got a fight. I loved Cuerno shoving Catrina outs of the way, which sets off a wild mama bear instinct in Muertes, with him violently plastering Cuerno through all of the tables that had been set up earlier. Out of control brawls seem to be LU's specialty, and this was a good one.

MD: I liked Cuerno vs Muertes, but what it really showed me was how much I'd like Muertes vs Hijo del Fantasma, who I always thought was a really good traditional tecnico. He is someone I wish was still in CMLL. Guerrero Maya, Jr. sort of plays that role there now (and he's a tremendous rudo too when given the chance), but Fantasma could do it at the top of the card. Most of his big comebacks felt more tecnico-driven, and I just think the two of them could have an amazing match within those roles. Here, with things as they were, it was harder to care about the comeback as much, both for myself and the crowd, and that was a shame because it was all gritty and visceral. There were some great visuals, like Muertes dragging Cuerno out for the TKO on the floor (even if the wrestling physics of that were off), the window no-sell and the spear to save Catrina. If nothing else, they introduced the idea of the crowbar as a death-weapon, which is always a good thing to have. This just felt inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, a main event of a pre-show, and Muertes deserves better than that.

ER: And then we can't close a show without some high end police drama. Oooooooo their informant got MURDERED by Dario! Oh no! How will they solve it in the ring!? I hate it.

MD: The biggest sin on the cop stuff (having seen the start of season 3) is that any consequence to it was undone so quickly. That was another frustration with Season 2. They should have run longer with Catrina being in charge of the temple and the differences of atmosphere involved. This stuff is a lot easier to swallow if it matters in the grand scheme of things.


COMPLETE LUCHA UNDERGROUND EPISODE GUIDE



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