Segunda Caida

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 7: Payback Time

1. Matanza vs. Killshot

ER: I think this has to be the best possible Killshot match we can hope for. He's stumbly and doesn't really get nuanced selling, but his comebacks were built nicely into the match, and Matanza crushed him when he needed to. Matanza started by just steamrolling him, as he should, and I loved Killshot escaping a possible suplex by grabbing onto Matanza's fingers and bending them back. That makes a helluva lot of sense. He gets too cute and tries headbutting the monster, and that awesomely leads to Cobb throwing his great thrust headbutt, and then his awesome deadlift ragdoll suplex. I wish Killshot didn't almost immediately come back after taking those two moves, but it least he came back by Matanza running headlong into Killshot's boots in the corner. It wasn't like Killshot just got up and went on offense. The top rope teases were all good, with Matanza catching him up top, and teasing a freaking tombstone off the middle rope, and I loved how Matanza got kicked into and trapped into the ropes, and that DDT he took was sick. The whole sequence looked really good. But Matanza is too much for Killshot, blasts him with an awesome running uppercut and splats him into the mat off his powerslam. Match went the perfect amount of time, and I really loved how it was structured.

MD: Yeah, ok. So this was good enough that, between this and the Marty match, I'm now questioning if Killshot is actually as bad as we thought he was. It doesn't mean that he's not, probably, the worst guy in the roster in the multi-man spot-driven matches, but he was able to do a bs-laden brawl building to big moments with Marty, and here he was able to do an underdog match vs a monster well. I think the guy just needs some contrast, which can be a real problem in Lucha Underground sometimes (see the next match). What I liked out of him the most in this one was the detail work. He came in selling the damage from the WMD match, weeks later, got his advantages with little things, like snatching a finger or kicking out a leg, and was constantly fighting out of everything that Matanza was trying to do with him, throwing shots and making Matanza early his big moves. That's the way to look strong in defeat and to look the person who beat you look even stronger. That sequence ending with the DDT was especially great. I think it actually put a smile on my face which was a weird feeling for a Killshot match.

ER: Any good will Killshot gained in the match is immediately forgotten as AR Fox debuts and Killshot does this hilarious Helen Keller selling by feeling his face and body.

MD: I'm going to just forget about the post match, but pro wrestlers no selling hugs is always kind of funny visually.

2. Fenix vs. Aerostar vs. Drago

ER: This had moments but really just made me want to see Fenix/Drago. Aerostar is one of the most creative and gifted high flyers in wrestling history, but here he looked flat out bad, and unsure of himself. In stunt work they say the second you start thinking too much, is the second you get hurt. Well Aerostar looked like he was thinking too much the entire match, making guys wait around for preposterous amounts of time before hitting his moves, some of which weren't worth the wait. One of the amusing things about him is not ever knowing how he's going to land even while he's in mid air. He has a way of flipping the script and landing a weird armdrag when you're expecting a mere body press. But here he just slowed down the action. Fenix looked great and it's incredible how much he's improved since the start of LU. 3 ways almost always stink but here he was really great glue, knowing when to change the pace, knowing when to break things up, he's been great in everything the last year. Here he gets his nose busted (I missed when it happened) and came back into the ring spitting blood after hitting a boss superkick. All of his stuff really hits flush and his base work is awesome. He's really becoming a guy I'd like to see match up with anybody.

MD: My favorite thing about LU is that every match has stakes. Every match has purpose. That was a saving grace here, because this was sort of frustrating. On the one hand, I really do just want to see Aerostar do spots. I think a trios place is a more natural one than this though. I didn't notice him dragging things down as much as Eric did, but this sort of match just isn't a good thing in general. There wasn't a lot of weight to anything in it except for Fenix's bloody face. That's true for the multitude of superkicks, for the double submission (and the weird Rey Bucanero reference by Striker), the insane double stomp to the back of Drago's head. It was a lot of noise and a lot of kick outs and a lot of guys recovering from really nasty stuff too soon. It should be noted that you can't take anyone out in a match like this unless you do some sort of flipping headdrop.

ER: So apparently there is a centuries old tribe of just every kind of reptile person? As I look at my old V lunchbox with Marc Singer, the math on this does start to check out. We also get Vinny Massaro re-debuting, eating pizza in a bathroom. It's awesome to see him on TV. I've been seeing him work indies for practically 20 years now. His jobber work in season 1 was really good, though they're kind of getting to the point where it seems like they are introducing new characters every week, but still having matches with the same people every week.

MD: I am all about the Cobra Moon/Drago interaction though. I started to try to mentally work out the different tribes in my head for a minute before giving up. I really hope there's a series bible somewhere with all of them listed out though. I'm glad Eric knows who the pizza guy was, because I didn't. I'm not sure we need Bastion Booger levels of humor in 2016 though.

3. Mil Muertes vs. Prince Puma

ER: It took awhile, but we finally get our first classic LU match of the 3rd season. And probably their best match since the Cuerno/Muertes death match. Hmmmm what's the constant variable here? This is really Muertes' first match of the season (there was a short Argenis squash several weeks prior) and it's great, and really he's never looked better in a LU ring. This whole thing was tightly worked, super fast paced and flat out exhausting. Muertes does a couple things in this match that I never realized I wanted, like stopping the momentum on a Puma handstand headscissors and just lobbing a brutal knee to Puma's stomach. They worked this like two men familiar with each other, and it benefitted from that. Muertes knew Puma's tricks more than anybody yet, and Muertes wasn't going easy on him. Muertes worked at practically the same speed as Puma which is insanely impressive. Loved Puma dodging out of a running Muertes to send him to the floor, and then hitting two of his wild dives. But again, Muertes' offense (to me) looked as good as it's ever looked, and he just levels Puma with a spear and then pops him with a straight right and then punches him up the seats through the Believers. Muertes' strikes were on point and as he cockily stomps back to the floor, and then Puma flips out the crowd by leaping from the back row down the stairs and crashing through Mil. The stuff in ring was tight, loved the finish run with Muertes missing the post charge, and getting his head kicked into the post to KO him for the 630. Puma gets his big comeback win, and suddenly I'm more hyped about LU again (even though I really just want Muertes working singles main events every week).

MD: If Lucha Underground had a well-defined main event house style, this would probably be it and this would be a solid TV match within its confines. There feels like a bit of repetition between Muertes and Matanza where the early chunk of their matches (the shine, I suppose) consists of the babyface trying to figure out how to chip away at them. Here, Puma used his superior speed and agility to dodge moves and keep an advantage. Finally, he got a little cute with it and flipped off the guard rail right into a spear (I'm not calling it the Reaper's Trident). Muertes then put a beating on him (heat), including the fun visual of battering him up the stairs. He got distracted by the stone, Puma leaped off on them and then they went to bomb-throwing for the rest of it. I can't get over how amazing Muertes' cut off punch is. The twisting chokeslam is great too. That's why the flatliner is so frustrating as a finisher. It's got a cute name but almost everything he does is better and more fitting the character than that. I liked this ending with Puma dodging a big shot in the corner once again (and it's nice that he dodged a spear because that was how Muertes took over in the first place). I thought this was pretty good for what it was, but I did sort of feel like a roadmark to a bigger payoff.

MD: Chavo Classic is always great to see. I've spent a lot of time with him on NWAOnDemand lately including the amazing Sheepherders vs Guerreros match. I do get a bit of a kick out of the "Mexico Remembers" stuff. I guess he has a lot of faith in Aiden English siring the next member of the Guerrero wrestling family. I thought this segment worked and it upped the stakes.  Boy do I ever love stakes.

ER: And I appreciate Matt making me google that Aiden English is in fact married to Shaul Guerrero.  Good for him! (Aiden English, not Matt)


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