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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lucha Underground Season 3, Episode 11: Aztec Warfare III

AZTEC WARFARE III

feat. Matanza, Johnny Mundo, Son of Havoc, Jeremiah Crane, Pentagon Jr., PJ Black, Mariposa, Rey Mysterio, Dr. Wagner Jr., Marty "The Moth" Martinez, Jack Evans, Sexy Star, Ricky Mandel, Mascarita Sagrada, Famous B, The Mack, Joey Ryan, Mil Muertes, Kobra Moon, Drago

ER: Ugh. I knew it was happening. The second Matanza got eliminated I checked my notes to see who was still left in the match, and even though I was watching alone, I groaned aloud "Oh, nooooo," into the darkness of my living room. I don't think anybody can make a reasonable argument that she looked better than one person in this match. There were a couple guys like Mascarita and Mandel who got eliminated immediately, but we've seen those two before and know that not every piece of offense they do looks like garbage. You cannot say that same thing about Star. She looked so bad in this, botching the simplest roll ups and looking completely ineffective. I have no idea why LU is going all in on Sexy Star. I haven't known for the entire duration of LU. And they really should have had the few Sexy Star superfan plants sitting separately, and not so obviously cutting to their reactions. Bush league move from a fed who often gets those little details right. But obviously they lose all logic when it comes to her.

It's also weird how much of a non-factor Wagner is. For a guy who cares about his image so much, it's weird to see him treated like he was essentially Super Calo in WCW. And my do some of Mundo's flips look bad. At once point he vaulted off PJ Black's back, flipped, and landed on his own head.

The rest of the match had plenty of nice moments. Matanza adding an extra spin to his Wrath of the Gods. All of Crane's kicks. Rey yanking Famous B into the ropes by his necktie and Famous B's subsequent selling of the 619. Jack Evans perhaps with the performance of the match, flying into things like a lunatic. Shout outs to Matanza's chair bumps. Moth's huge dive. Mack's giant flip dive. I even enjoyed that fun run in from Fox Force Four. But shit man, that ending.

MD: This is all Johnny Mundo's fault. He originally had 12. I really liked that initial skit bit too, with Taya playing the moll with the camera and Dario ripping up the number. It was especially great that Melissa still called it random draw too. That said, it meant he became 2 and Sexy Star became 12. Now, then, the counter point to this is that she could have been in the entire first half of the match too. While I'm harping on the beginning, Striker is the worst. Yes, we get it that we see the backstage stuff and he doesn't, but the idea that he's just getting word that Mundo isn't cashing in when Dario, basically the only other person who can give him word is accounted for is just goofy. What, the Lucha Underground Championship Committee sent him a telegram?

Look, Eric bitched about Sexy Star for a paragraph and then spent like, five other sentences talking about the rest of the match. You can see it right there. I have to lean into the pre-match detail here.

In all seriousness, I agree about the nice moments. There were a ton and Matanza was behind a lot of them. Him dragging Mundo in to the ring to give him a German; him grabbing Son of Havoc's (who can often wrestle bigger than he is) beard and then some of the choreography between the two just before Crane came in; him taking out everyone pissed off after Pentagon ambushed him on the floor; the tease with Mariposa; the way he just killed Crane with that German (even if that meant Crane left too early); getting slapped(!) by Marty; the double twist Wrath on Sagrada; the spinout Belly-to-Back to get Wagner and the double pin and stare off with Mil that followed; and him just destroying Rey. This was Matanza's match.

In general, I love the amount of thought they put into this. There was always another set piece, always another bit of action, always interaction between wrestlers, and frankly, even for as small a group as LU, a lot of these match ups did seem fresh. Marty, especially, getting to interact with all sorts of people, or just a little bit of Pentagon and Wagner trying to work together against Rey. The Rey/B stuff was tons of fun. The ninjas vs Pentagon bit was fun. The problem is that they didn't manage the negative space well. They kept things moving along at such a pace that nothing ever set in enough to mean as much as it should.

Striker was pretty terrible throughout this. For instance, calling Worldwide Underground "One Powerful Luchador" together was a great way to undercut one of their lead heels and title holders in Mundo. Then there was the post-match spiel as he carefully read his pre-written book report on Sexy Star winning. Brutal. They didn't frame the moment well either. They faded to black way soon. Good booking decision or bad booking decision, the value in putting Sexy Star over is in milking the moment. They're usually good at that, but here it just faded to black, so that the last image you saw was basically this:

(https://j.gifs.com/xGw96B.gif)

I know I associate this miraculous title win with bagel bites. What about you?

ER: I like to think that I did less bitching, and more "writing justified complaints".


COMPLETE LUCHA UNDERGROUND GUIDE


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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

have to give it to ER. when i saw sexy still in the match, while so many good wrestlers got taken out for sht, i felt like "everyone except her, pls". that kinda rounind this episode for me, cause sexy's whole moveset just looks like hitting pillows. the rest was entertaining and fun, but pls cancel sexy. madiposa and cobra doing little to nothing, even though they appear to be better wrestlers. but 1 more thing. i rly dont get why u guys dislike striker so much. ofc he has to talk a lot of random sht, thats the life of a commentator; he has to exaggerate in wrestling, which means, pure semantical bullsht, but considering all, i think he supports emotions pretty good and does a pretty solid job. btw i love marty the moth, his char is just fun, playing the total freak, plus his wrestling and his devotion is pretty cool. LU got enough typical luchas, the idea with matanza (his wrestling is rly sick, i like to see non-typical moves) and muertes. i feel both dont get the credits just for being the monster! fanchants could support actions at least with "holy sht" or "this is awesome".

4:48 PM  

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