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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 5: The Prince and The Monster

1. Ivelisse vs. Mariposa

ER: Striker is stunned Moth is out with Mariposa, because Moth was in a BRUTAL match against Killshot. Moth must not remember too much about that as he was not acting any differently than he did before that match. And really, he shouldn't be. That was three weeks ago. Guys have come back from getting their arm broken by Pentagon quicker than that. If there's any shocking returns from that weapons of mass destruction match, it's Striker being allowed to return to commentary. I liked this match, even if it didn't really feel like a "Lucha Underground" match, whatever that means. I think Ivelisse is a real good underdog, even if Mariposa could have been more punishing. Ivelisse is always really good in submissions, and I dug the inverted cloverleaf used here. Also really liked the finish (even if it was pretty stumbly), with the top down camera actually being useful as it showed Ivelisse trying to kick her legs to slip out of the Gory special, finally doing so, and then leaving Mariposa in a perfect position to hit the sunset flip powerbomb. I like that moved used as a flash pin. Match had execution problems, and was a little slow, but I thought it worked.

MD: It's almost pointless to harp on Striker at this point, but he just has that special ability to grate. Here he talked about past Ivelisse opponents Mil Muertes and Sexy Star on equal footing. Those two, very similar, very difficult opponents. This promotion hitching their wagon to Sexy Star is really one of the more bizarre  things any fed has ever done. They could have admitted their mistake any time and bumped her back down the hierarchy, but they just keep digging in their heels. As expected Marty the Moth was a great valet presence throughout this, but almost too great compared to the presence of those in the ring. It's tough to have him affiliated with Mariposa as it's too easy for him to outshine her. I think she's been overall good with what she's given, and think she's hit a good note with her surreal body language. But the body language could be distracting her from actual ring work, as her offense seems more subdued than what we've previously seen from her (as Melissa).

ER: Dario's reaction to Mundo's abs reveal was perfect. It was a combination of disdain for him showing his abs in his office, combined with an undeniable admiration of Mundo's abs, all while feigning disgust. The appropriate reaction.

2. Cage vs. Texano

ER: This is the 2nd match of the 5 match series that did not need to happen. If you could choose a 5 match series between any two guys in LU, how many combos would you have to make before you got down to Cage vs. Texano? Match wasn't very good, either. Texano really is a total zero in LU. I'm sure there are many viewers who have no clue he's any kind of deal in Mexico. I like Matt's use of the word "weightless", because as I was watching this I was thinking about how nothing they did had any weight to it. It was like that Eric Bana Hulk movie, with Hulk just jumping and bouncing around off things. The weight was wrong. Obviously they were in there doing the moves, and I liked Cage's bump to the floor and big suplex into the ring, but they were both selling things like Petey Williams. And lucky us, we'll get to see 3 more chances to get it right!!!

MD: Texano isn't a big deal? Isn't he the youngest and longest-holding super mega ultimate champion ever or what not? Is that better or worse than being Rey Cometa and having the company you work for forget you're a champion? I'd rather see Rey Cometa vs Cage, though. That's for sure. Here, the most painful thing is either Vampiro hyping this up or the dueling chants. Or maybe the This is Awesome chant. Or the Ridiculously Huge Package reversal out of the suplex by Cage. I did think this built better than the first one, but I lament that Texano isn't teaming with Terrible and Rey Bucanero against Stuka, Angel De Oro and Guerrero Maya, Jr on the third match of a Tuesday Arena Mexico show and wish that someone hadn't given Cage this specific set of Create-A-Wrestler offense just to see if they could break the game's graphic engine because he's so massive.

ER: "What we have, is a lot stronger than what you and Son of Chaos had." Ivelisse makes poor choices in men, but it appears that Sami Callihan at least has a name (Jeremiah). Unless he is Son of Jeremiah. I'm glad people don't refer to me as Son of Franklin.

MD: I am morbidly fascinated to see Sami Callihan vs Sexy Star too. Actually, an eventual Sami Callihan vs Son of Havoc match would be fun. Wait, are we getting Sami vs Marty soon? This is a rare time on LU where I'd rather see a match than a skit.

3. Prince Puma vs. Matanza

MD: I think we all knew where this one was going. More often than not Lucha Undeground booking will take the path of least resistance. Obviously after last week (and the week before) this was ending with Muertes coming out. In the meantime, however, they made the most of the time that they had and this felt like a big main event, one of the biggest they could put on. Puma comes off like both a star and a world-beater. Matanza is an absolutely force of nature. Everything that Puma did to Matanza felt earned and credible. There wasn't the suspension of disbelief issues we saw in some of the other wheel-made matches this season. At the same time, Matanza created the palpable anticipation that he could take back control at any moment. There were two instances where he picked up Puma like he was a baby and there was absolutely nothing Puma could do (except for get lawn-darted into the metal). The dangling ragdoll German is probably the best move of 2016, with Wrath of the Gods a close second. In some ways this match was fortunate for not needing a finish. It meant that they could tell a story of Puma overcoming the odds through strength and skill and sheer will power without having to actually go through with it. Him basically deadlifting Matanza up after the Northern Lights was a really memorable moment and it was matched shortly thereafter by Matanza just eating a kick to the skull so that he could cradle suplex Puma. I ran high on this as an incomplete match but a great spectacle. One note on commentary: Vampiro, while amiable and often entertaining is the absolute death of analysis; Striker will feed him a thought about strategy or try to make sense of something they just saw and Vampiro will shrug it off with some empty platitude about just surviving or something.

ER: I really loved this match, an easy standout in season 3 so far. I even liked the run-in finish as I didn't want either guy to lose definitively, thought it set up more Puma/Muertes nicely, loved how Dario shouted at Marty Elias about it suddenly being a DQ; yeah, that last part felt Austin/MacMahon-y but I thought Dario's execution made it. And I thought the match itself was really really good, easily the best Cobb LU match. Match was smartly worked and had some wonderful big moments, with Matanza doing his relentless Olympian Michael Myers bit while Puma scrambles to stay ahead. I loved Puma's body language as he dodged Matanza and nailed the punt from the ring apron, loved his kicks and strikes to keep Matanza at bay and loved what Matanza would do when he would get ahold of him. Cobb/Matanza's multi lift German is my favorite move in wrestling, just as Tamon Honda's Dead End suplex was my favorite the first time I saw it. Making a man think about his own body's imminent accordioning obviously appeals to me. Matanza could very well just be watching a lot of early 2000s NOAH while lounging in his cage during his downtime, as he catches a Puma high kick with his neck and then destroys him, right out of the "Things Tamon Honda does that make me flip out" handbook. But I really loved how these two matched up, was into the match enough that I had actually stopped thinking about Mil Muertes' inevitable run-in. The northern lights into a deadlift suplex was such an unexpected holy shit moment, and I had just gotten sucked into the thing. Once Puma hit the 630 I actually thought he could win this thing. Loved this.

MD: With Joey Ryan's "What am I, a detective?" line, I've decided that it's a writer and not the wrestlers coming up with the one-liners. Outside of Jerry Lawler's jokebook, wrestling hasn't had consistently good one-liners in twenty-five years. And hey, it's only twenty years since the Craig "Pit Bull" Pittman vs Cobra left behind storyline. I wonder what Pittman's doing right now, actually. I'd watch him over Killshot any day.

ER: (Silent praise and admiration for Matt invoking memories of the Craig Pittman/Cobra angle. This is what that "hands together with sparkles around it" emoji was made for)


COMPLETE LUCHA UNDERGROUND EPISODE GUIDE



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