Segunda Caida

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

Monday, July 03, 2017

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 17: The Gauntlet

ER: So Vampiro has a split personality, but when does he find the time to apply all that grease paint and Spirit Superstore fake blood? What does he do with his XXL plaid shirts and bomber jackets when he is dark Vampiro?

MD: I'm more confused why the house band only knows La Bamba.

1. Jeremiah Crane vs. Mil Muertes

ER: Man, we see guys eat pump kicks with gunshot sound FX every damn week, and now one of those is enough to put down Muertes, just because he got hit with a flexible stick first? That's stupid as hell. I wanted this match, a match I was genuinely excited for once Callihan debuted with LU. At least somebody somewhere probably made a gif of Crane eating that shoulderblock in a loony way (Matt!! Make a gif out of Crane eating that shoulderblock!).

MD: Yep. This has been the match I've been looking forward to for weeks. Obviously, they'll go back to it at some point, but this was just a tease. As will become utterly evident in the next match, Muertes (and Matanza and to a lesser extent Pentagon) singles matches are a different beast than almost everything the promotion offers and there was a real chance here. Just not the time and the place. As always, however, I do like just how much is going on storyline wise. This match had a point in existing. The Catrina/Ivelisse/Crane stuff will continue (and loop back into Muertes at some point), but the direction now is Puma vs Mil.

And here's Eric's gif.

ER: I don't know who Johnny Mundo's Stan is, but I like that Sexy Star clearly doesn't trust this guy...yet then gets excited because that same guy gives her a hat box with her name spelled out in serial killer magazine letters. "Oooooooooo someone left a present for meeeeeeee?" This is why you got kidnapped and molested for 6 months, Sexy Star. I'm now thinking Moth was just casually hanging out in his van and forgot he had left the sliding door open and Sexy Star just wandered inside, and he took it as a sign.

MD: I was just thinking how glad I was that they were moving off of Sexy Star and then we get this. Past the debut of the Holy Armlet of +2 Enhanced Aggression at the end, Stan's probably the best part of this episode. Just saying.

2. Jack Evans/PJ Black vs. Angelico/Son of Havoc

ER: Real shame, as this whole thing clearly fell apart right when Angelico torched his elbow on a nasty landing. Everything up to that point was really fun, the minute after the elbow injury was unfortunate and showed everybody nervously scrambling. The first 90 seconds of Evans/Angelico stuff felt like that first time you saw Low Ki/Red, just crazy Jackie Chan stunt fighting. I'm really liked Evans working as a Memphis stooge with actual break dancing ability. I have to imagine they had a lot of neat things planned in this that went right out the window with the injury. Although I'm kind of shocked how poorly everyone handled the injury, a lot of standing around awkwardly, then Evans slowly rolling Havoc in and hitting a slam, and then a sloppy phoenix splash. They couldn't have improvised anything better?

MD: This is a night of disappointment. When I saw that this was 2x2 my initial thought was that we'd get something with some real heat and the crowd would have something to react to. I knew it wouldn't be a full Southern tag, but it made sense that Havoc would get beaten on a bit and Angelico would get to have a hot tag. That's just how tag wrestling works. Was there an injury? Maybe, but I think what happened instead is this: they clipped it. We hear about this now and again, that a lot of the LU matches go longer than what we see, but rarely do I get a real sense of it. Here, I did. Striker went on about how they'd been beating on Havoc for a while, when he'd really just come in and then immediately went into his comeback with the neckjam back off the ropes. In a tag match, the heat is everything. That's not just southern tags either. It's lucha. It's 100% lucha, which is all about anticipation and payoff. You can't have any sort of payoff without building anticipation and that's the heat/beatdown. That's Lucha Underground in a nutshell; they'd cut out the absolute heart of a match in order to create a "good parts version" because they don't understand it's the heart. I don't know. Either I'm right or Eric's right, or we're both right which is probably a worst possible scenario.

ER: Oh dear, that Sexy Star acting. I wonder how many takes they have her go through, if they do some crazy Kubrick-esque 70 takes and just try to piece together the best parts of each one ransom note style, or if they just shoot one knowing it's not going to get any better. Her final clenched teeth ARRRRGHHHHH made me think of Sexy Star as Cathy, just looking at that sky high inbox and releasing a bad hair day ACK!

MD: I am increasingly getting a kick out of how people speak English to Sexy Star and she responds in Spanish. I cannot think of a situation in either real life or any other movie/TV show I've seen where that's happened as a commonplace thing that we're just supposed to accept as normal.

3. Cage vs. Texano

ER: I was pretty prepared to dislike this one as their other three matches have been mostly snoozefests, and after this match went less than three minutes I was ready to declare it the most pointless match series in wrestling history (even though I liked the finish of Cage being knocked loopy and busted open by the turnbuckle, just thought it came WAY too early). But then MF Dario comes out with one of his best promos, with several funny little riffs, and with Cage knocked loopy and bleeding we get match 5...RIGHT NOW. And then both guys finally break out against each other and since Dario made it anything goes, they do anything. I thought Texano looked awful in the "match 4" portion of this, constantly looking like he was thinking of the next move, major disconnect in his face and movements. And some of that is still present in "match 5" (like that weird spot where he takes a bump over the top, but just made it look like he ran at the ropes with the intention of bumping over them; nothing in his movements made it look like he was going to do a move to Cage, but Cage moved, just lazy set-up), but it mostly didn't matter as he took heavy knuckles right to Cage's cut and Cage started getting wild color. Cage totally owns this match, the guy is nuts. He hits a huge dive to the floor that Texano mostly whiffs on, landing Cage's face inches from the Temple steps. They brawl through the crowd and Cage takes a spinebuster on the bleachers (Texano had taken a suplex), and then an awesome backwards bump off the second level, and eats a heavy crossbody. Cage takes the awesome LU signature bump through the chairs, both guys stupidly eat chairshots, Cage lands his great discus lariat, and that screwdriver finisher is just nasty. We had to sit through 4 totally forgettable matches to get to the keeper, but hats off to them for having a keeper.

MD: I was thinking to myself (a common occurrence for this episode apparently) how rushed some things lately have been, like the debut of the Rabbit Tribe in a random match after weeks of promos, and likewise how drawn out this has been, three matches, plus a four man and interference in another. And lo and behold, they get the picture and take the thing home. Again, I hate being that guy but the blood sort of made this. It's so relatively rare in 2017 and even and especially in Lucha Underground, where there are so many situations where it might make sense that they don't actually go there. It's a basic truth of wrestling: less is more. If you hold something back, when you actually go to it, it means something. It made the fall of the fourth match completely believable. It made the relative peril that Cage was in for the start of the fifth match believable. When he fought back, it actually meant something, and all of that played into the escalation of the match, getting bigger and bigger right up until the Steiner Screwdriver which ended it. Boy were those chairshots stupid in 2017, though.

ER: LOVED the show ending meeting with Cage in Dario's office, with Cage getting presented with a black Power Glove (It's so bad!!!) and I just love the idea of Cage with a 2017 Lex Luger metal plate gimmick. I need to have him kill a couple of guys with heart punches and I will be officially over the moon. I also love how the case containing the glove was glowing whenever it was opened, as if it contained Marsellus Wallace's soul. Terrific segment.

MD: Wherever this is going, I hope there's lots of fake lightning.


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