Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 1: Wheel of Misfortune

ER: Loved this season cold open just as much as last season's. Dario doing pull-ups, Honky Tonk Man saying " giant key..." when giving back Dario's possessions, and then the gift Lorenzo Lamas gives when he says "all charges are dropped". This hopefully means no more cop segments, but it also means that we all had to sit through those embarrassing cop segments with a 4 word wave of the hand to write it off. And apparently Dario is now under Dr. Claw's thumb.

MD: I wish they'd use guys like Honky more in these roles. Part of me wonders if we're supposed to think this is a reality where Honky Tonk Man doesn't exist as a wrestler or if he just ended up a cop somehow. I'm sure Matt Striker's referenced him 2.43 times in the history of the show or something. Thankfully, my suspension of disbelief was never active in any of the cop stuff. It feels too early for the reset button on bringing Dario back. That's my big problem with this. That was the big moment to end season 2 and it's already undone within the first few seconds of season 3. If nothing else, it meant it was a waste of that moment.

1. Matanza vs. Son of Havoc

ER: I wonder if the wheel was gimmicked or not. Fans were way into Havoc by end of last season and he's really become one of the top tecnicos in the fed. Though I can't decide whether or not it was a good idea to give him to Matanza this early in the season. They could be feeding him to Matanza, only to build him up for a rematch later in the season. But - as Matt had pointed out - this season was supposed to be a continuation of Season 2, so it plays weird to have Havoc get robbed of his "unique opportunity" at the very end of Season 2, only to get a title shot in the first match of season 3. Match itself didn't do much for me. Havoc's light offense didn't look that imposing against Matanza, and Matanza has gone from a thing impervious to pain, to someone who sells for the first 80% of the match before making his short comeback. The biggest guys in the fed got all their finishers no sold during his debut, but now Pentagon and even Havoc are practically dominating him. Havoc was at least good at keeping Matanza on his toes, but I just don't buy his offense keeping down the previously invincible Matanza. Did anyone think Havoc had a chance at the title here?

MD: I'm with Eric on this. Havoc could have been thoroughly elevated coming out of Ultima Lucha 2 if they gave him a few smaller feuds and some wins. On the other hand, this could be part of the broader narrative of him falling and climbing back, but maybe that's the wrong story for a guy who needs to be established just a little more. They put themselves into a catch-22 of sorts with this, as Havoc had to look at least a little strong but Matanza had just come off of selling a ton for Pentagon and needed to look absolutely dominant just as much. It all felt lose-lose to me. I do love the idea of the wheel though. It's a great story engine for this sort of episodic show.

ER: Really loved Dario in the segment with Mundo's gang. This guy gets it. He does not, however, get me, as I keep having to see Sexy Star matches.

2. Taya vs. Sexy Star

ER: Sexy Star gonna keep on Sexy Starring. Slow, plodding match with an unimaginative finish. It was mostly Taya administering a slow beatdown until her boys interfered, with the interference backfiring and leading to a Sexy Star roll up win. Star's running knees off the apron looked good, but Star gave Taya next to nothing to work with here. She looked like she was moving in slow motion. She ran the ropes the way someone might before their match, to test the rope elasticity, get a feel for the ring. Something tells me Star will never get a feel for the ring. Best part of the match was Vampiro going on about Johnny Smith, and Striker trying to correct him by saying Johnny Saint, and the ensuing argument with Vampiro saying "I'm right about this". The argument had nothing to do with anything, but it was an amusing real moment between the two of them.

MD: Again, my favorite thing about Lucha Underground is that it's a TV show with wrestling as opposed to a wrestling show on TV. This match had purpose. Taya beat Ivelisse (through hook or crook) at Ultima Lucha 2. Worldwide Underground lost their trios match. Dario likes making the Gift of the Gods champion defend. Sexy Star vs Taya is a natural match-up (even if an unappealing one). It's all logical. It all comes together. It's all in lockstep. It all has purpose. That's on the way in. On the way out, Sexy Star gets another win (and she'll need those if they're going to push her into a title match at some point), and they build to a rematch between the Trios champs and Worldwide Underground. You have to appreciate the utility of the segment even if you didn't want to watch the match (though, again, I get a kick out of how deeply into her character Taya is).

MD: They're really going to spend an entire season building Catrina vs. Ivelisse? Isn't this a 39 episode season? The mind boggles.

ER: After the entertainment Moth has milked out of some lousy feuds, and his death wish bump performance at Ultima Lucha Dos, I'm really hoping season 3 sees Moth bumped further up the card. He's a puffy weirdo, and he really owns his weirdness.

3. Rey Mysterio vs. Pentagon Dark

ER: Fun match, Rey is just ridiculous. I have no clue how he's able to keep doing this. The dive by Rey early on looked great and Pentagon had an amazing catch off it. And throughout the match I dug all of Pentagon's strikes. His chops and short kicks look good, and the two superkicks he hit were delivered perfectly by him, with full extension, and sold perfectly by Rey. The finish was pretty lame, with Pentagon jawing with Vampiro, meaning that whole mess is still going on. I don't really understand the whole "Dark" aspect of the character. He doesn't act darker than before, and if anything he does more hammy babyface mannerisms than before. At one point he spinning arm pump like he was Chi Chi Rodriguez or something. What is darker about him now? He still loses all his matches and then acts like a sore loser post match. I think Pentagon Emo would have been a more fitting character change (though the splash mountain post match looked really great).

MD: Again, this came from a logical place, with Rey wanting to avenge his protege. Again, it was a little tricky from a "needs" perspective, because there was a need to have a big match to main event the first show of the season but they also had to protect Pentagon (even against their biggest star) and I don't think they managed it. I am, too, in complete awe of Rey. Maybe it's because we don't see him as much anymore and we took certain things for granted, but I come into his matches now completely unprepared for how good he is, even though I know, deeply and thoroughly, how good he is. Somehow, he still manages to surprise. For instance, he had a punch in this match that was just off the charts great. It's not a part of his act you usually think about, but there it was. What do you DO think about is his selling, and it's one of the great constants in the universe. There was a moment towards the end, after the Storm Cradle Driver, where the match (and the time limits involved) called Rey to get back up relatively quickly and head towards the finish and it took me out of things for just a half second, right until the moment you really good at look at his body language, and how thoroughly he was managing to still sell the effects of it, even as he moved through the next spots. In general, I thought this was a little insubstantial, but that's fine because they can always go back to it with bigger stakes.


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