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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 14: The Bulls of Boyle Heights

MD: I could watch Dario backstage with people all day. Angelico doesn't portray a tough guy well at all, but there's enough weight built up in his grudge with Mundo from time alone that all of this works. I like that he has to go through one more hoop to get to him. I swear that 2017 WWE wouldn't think through a character enough to run with the Bull theme with Dario like they're doing here. It's obvious that his plan was having Angelico and Matanza in the 4 way next week.

1. Cage vs. Texano vs. Joey Ryan vs. Dr. Wagner Jr.

ER: Oh good, I was hoping we'd get some additional Cage/Texano interactions outside of their best of 27 series. And this got a decent amount of time. And was not very good. We did get a lot of Texano/Cage interactions, which we've already seen just...way too much of, and it's still not working. When Texano is announced, Striker said, "One word: GREAT." Texano may have the biggest gap in "actual output in promotion" versus "how promotion wants him to be perceived" in the fed...if it weren't for one TINYYYYYY person in LU illustrating that same thing times 10. Wagner is one of the most charismatic men I've ever seen live, and I'm wondering why it's not coming through on LU. Is it because they want you to think everybody is a big charismatic star? Is it the differences in lucha filming vs. professional high end LU filming? Is he just being portrayed here like "just another guy"? Is it because he was saddled with Famous B - who is amusing in his role but makes a legitimate star like Wagner come off as bottom rung? Wagner still moves like a star, still seems like he has that charisma, but the way they're using him it could really be anybody under that mask. Cage looked pretty impressive here, that moonsault to the floor was nuts (and everybody was nuts for standing right under it), and for what felt like a throwaway match (even though it's part of a larger match concept) Cage came off pretty big here.

MD: This was a typical Lucha Underground multiman. You can't help but contrast it to the match later in the night and while that one had more fun character interactions, this was less stilted and choreographed. I thought both Cage and Texano came off pretty well here, actually. There's zero hook to Texano in lucha underground and generally seeing him here just makes me wish he was teaming with Terrible in CMLL still, but he stood tall against everyone for a decent amount of time. I get what Eric's saying though. I think the problem with Wagner in LU is that he doesn't really get to be Wagner. Everything about this promotion plays against his strengths. He's not a guy who can just come in and hit spots endlessly and then get out of the ring so the next person can take over. It's those dead spaces between spots where he can play to the crowd and make things mean something (or not mean something in a way that makes him look good, which is a Wagner special) where he excels. Even Vampiro pointed out that this wasn't really Wagner's style of match. These things were made for Cage to hit spots though. He was physically astonishing in this match, to the point where I stopped really caring whether or not this was good. Catching Ryan in mid-air and jackhammering him is insanely impressive. It was nice to see the rope come back into play for the finish as it had annoyed me how little its use mattered in the match itself.

MD: The second she told Reyes that he had to go back to the Temple, I was rooting for her to put him under a mask. That they're actually going with that shows how on point this show can be at times.

2. Sexy Star vs. PJ Black

ER: "You can't help but get behind Sexy Star!" You might think that was the case, Striker, but I suppose I just despise poor downtrodden women. That's something about ME that needs work. After all, if I can't get behind this one brave woman, who am I, and what wrong steps have *I* taken as a human? But this match was probably upper tier for Sexy Star. She has no idea how to transition, and no idea how to make up the size difference, and sometimes it's pretty clear she doesn't know how to fall for certain moves, but Black at least knew how to build to her bigger spots and they crafted a nice nearfall off the Styles Clash kickout. I liked Star's rana, and I liked PJ bragging on the top rope to set up his huge nasty drop onto the turnbuckles, and yeah, this was fine. You know she's going to win, and you know the commentary is going to be ridiculously over the top while praising her contributions to the history of womankind, but the match overall worked.

MD: In general, I wish they just moved Star over to Taya. If this had to happen, hwoever, I'm with Eric that the match overall did work. Most of that was on Black, his arrogance (including cheating when he didn't even have to), and is general unwillingness to sell for her unless she really earned it. He seemed to be putting an extra bit of oomph into everything too, which is not something people do with her. I came out of this wondering if I haven't been undervaluing Black. It's a shame he keeps injuring himself on basejumps or whatever. All that said, I'll be honest: I tend to watch Sexy Star matches at 2x speed, so my views on them are suspect.

ER: So Kobra Moon of all people is getting her own stable of reptilians? They're now building her up as some sort of millennia-long leader, when up til now all she's done is lose short matches and flirt with boys. It's a long con, people.

MD: I was wondering how this meshed with her and Daga from last season too. I think the line is that she ate him whole? Still, I'm all for the expansion of the mythos, and even more so the fact that they rationalized spending the money to actually make a GiJoe Serpentor throne in 2017.

3. Marty the Moth Martinez vs. Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. The Mack vs. Mil Muertes

ER: This didn't end the way I was expecting it to, as with the participants I assumed this would be a guaranteed path for Mil Muertes. And Muertes looked pretty awesome in this, loved his big uppercuts, and the showdown with Moth. Moth standing up to him and getting clocked in the jaw, then later speared through the ropes was terrific. Azteca and Mack matched up nicely, and that tornado DDT Azteca hits is insane. The ending was pretty stupid, with Azteca getting almost a visual pinfall on Muertes, then goes up to hit something else, waits there forever for the Matanza run-in (couldn't they have edited that closer together), and then other people just kill time being inactive while Matanza does his thing. His ragdoll slamming of Azteca was cool, but didn't love how it played into the match, with Mack then kind of just vulturing the win.

MD: As much as I liked Marty interacting with everyone, there was a heck of a lot of him putting his head down for a while so Azteca could leap over him or just hanging out so that he could eat that big spear shot off the apron. Him staring down Mil like a madman was the best part of this. Mil looked a step above everyone else. The guy just exudes star power in this gimmick. He moves just a little slower than everyone but everything feels so deliberate and impactful. Again, I did like how Azteca hit his crazy spinning DDT the first time and then got destroyed on the second. The show uses blood relatively sparingly so seeing Dario come out with the gimmick was a striking moment. I can't wait for Rey vs Matanza. I can wait to see Mack and Cage up against each other again considering they just did that towards the end of last season.


COMPLETE LUCHA UNDERGROUND EPISODE GUIDE

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