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Friday, June 09, 2017

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 13: Breaker of Bones

ER: I am so ready to not have any more Pentagon/Vampiro storyline.

MD: I see this whole episode as Lotus being a screw-up and her people sending the Triad to fix things.

1. Pentagon Dark vs. Doku

ER: One of the ninjas is Kairi Hojo?? That's awesome! Her style should make a great fit for LU. And I thought this whole thing was really good. Hojo is crazy and looked far better than any other female they've brought in. She runs into some stiff kicks from Pentagon and bumps halfway across the ring for a running dropkick. She really throws her body recklessly into offense and even though she's rather small, the fact that she doesn't act like she's small makes up for a lot. She doesn't act vulnerable, so it never crosses my mind to view her as such. She gets impressive height on her elbow drop, and I loved her going for a second one and getting caught in the arm break. This is the most I've enjoyed Pentagon in a match in some time. He actually came off vicious like he used to, and dropped all of the awful hamminess he's picked up.

MD: Writing in retrospect, I love the cumulative damage that Pentagon took as the matches went on. Here, he was able to take over after one cocky mistake from Hojo and he never really looked back. I wish that she'd been able to get more, but she took all of his offense exactly as she had to and they set up a brutal mood for the night. The finish was perfect.

MD: The Sami Callihan/Catrina stuff felt kind of contrived given the broader arc of the season, but if we're getting a Sami/Muertes match at some point, it sure works for me.

2. Pentagon Dark vs. Yurei

ER: I have not seen Maya Iwatani before (joshi is a perpetual blindspot for me) so I'm happy they've brought all these gals in. But this match mostly sucked. Yurei is even lankier than Doku, and there were so many moments where she had to muscle Pentagon around, and every single one of those moments looked horrible. Every time she dragged him while brawling, whipped him into something, shoved him into the turnbuckles, whatever the case, it happened throughout the whole match and looked so so bad. The seemingly random sound sweetening didn't help things either, as for whatever reason Yurei seemed like she was pulling her strikes (maybe her strikes always look this bad, I don't know), so she'd throw a few weak slaps, and the second one would get the gunshot sound effect for some reason, and all the others were just left to die a quiet painless death by the sound crew. This wasn't good, and went too long.

MD: Mayu Iwantani is new to me too. A lot of this was a one sided mauling of Pentagon around the ringside area and in that regard I like that they changed things up from the last match. I also thought she showed some contrast by portraying sheer joy about everything she was doing. I just wish what she was doing had been a little better. That said, there were some specific spots I liked, like when she used the bell, how Pentagon caught the knee and moved it into the crab, and the flip catch into the package piledriver. At least this progressed the story.

MD: Matanza's ghastly arts and crafts project drawing the bloody question mark was about as Lucha Underground as anything, but in a mostly good way.

3. Pentagon Dark vs. Hitokiri

ER: This was pretty wild as Shirai is also nuts, and this required her to be at her most insane. Pentagon had already tired himself working two other matches, so was using the last of his strength to try and put away his final opponent. Shirai just needed to withstand his last, strongest attacks, and come through the other side. She started with a couple wild dives, and kicks Pentagon around the Temple. I liked her mocking kicks, and how she kept ramping them up. But when Pentagon got vicious, he got vicious, and Hitokiri took some absolutely lunatic bumps into chairs. I mean she flew into these things in the most painful ways, some of the sickest bumps in LU history. Pentagon also starts choking her with a cord in nasty ways. I'm sure this made a lot of people uncomfortable, and I think a lot of credit goes to Hitokiri's selling for making this look even more violent than we all know it was. It was very effective. Sadly, Vampiro was making horrific sweaty fat guy fuck noises the whole time, they really overshadowed her awesome performance. I honestly have no idea what Vampiro was going for in this match, but it was as bad as anything Striker has ever done. What made it worse was that this was probably the most Striker has ever shut up during a match, so you just had Vampiro making gorilla sex noises for 10 minutes. I didn't love how they set up the drop toe hold into the chair, as we had already seen Hitokiri go through literally dozens of chairs, so it seems silly to set up one single chair on the floor, walk halfway around the building to grab her, just to try to throw her through one chair. It's a lazy, contrived and poorly thought through set up. But I can't argue with how nutso that dive was, so even though the set up was weak, that spot was awesome, and hats off to the camera work as the angle they chose made her crazy leap look that much crazier. Unique layout and nicely executed match from both, and this episode needed this performance. The whole concept could have easily flopped, but they made it work.

MD: Shirai was a force of nature here, and the fact that Pentagon was so beat down made this all work. Hell, she was so good in her role that it might have worked anyway. You had the impression that Yurei was gingerly toying with him to some extent. Hitokiri is just there to do damage and finish the job. Pentagon deserves credit too for showing such vulnerability and really having to fight his way back. It made all the revenge spots he hit in the back match mean all the more. There's a fine line between proper foreshadowing/payoff and something being contrived and overthought. The drop toe-hold straddled it but it ultimately worked for me in the grand scheme of things, especially punctuated by what followed.

ER: I still don't totally understand the idea of a Triad of ninjas all agreeing to work singles matches with no interference, and the episode seemed rushed as all we've seen of the Triad is their interference in Aztec Warfare, and they haven't gotten any vignettes setting this up. So that's weird, and you wouldn't think ninjas would operate that way, but whatever, I thought the episode worked.

MD: I wish they'd do more theme episodes like this. It's wholly unique, something you can only get from a TV show that's about wrestling as opposed to pro wrestling on TV. I do think they could have spent a few more weeks building to it. If this is all we're getting out of these three that's a shame. I have no idea what they do with Lotus next, but they managed to piggyback some more momentum for Azteca too. Fun show.


COMPLETE LUCHA UNDERGROUND EPISODE GUIDE

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