Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 20: All Night Long...Again

1. The Mack vs. Johnny Mundo

ER: This match was recorded on 4/24/16 and didn't air until over a year later on 5/31/17. It's a true crime that something this wonderful was sat on for over a year. How many bad episodes of Airwolf (though I do love Michael Coldsmith Briggs III) or repeat airings of The Class of 1999 II: The Substitute did they air while this match collected dust?? This is Johnny Mundo painting his masterpiece. This was him using all his physical attributes to do some crazy things, while tightening up his strikes (and not just tightening up, but laying in shots), landing his flying moves that he typically overshoots, and came up with an impressive structure to a damn long match. The interference came at perfect times, both men hit their comebacks at great times, and little things like expensive studio production only enhanced this whole thing (this may have been their best use of sound sweetening yet). It was all a tremendous spectacle, and I cannot remember a match where Mundo looked better. Fairly early you can see him actually landing on mounted punches, throwing hard kicks, and then he hits a sliding knee that looked fatal and, taunts Mack by latching onto the ringpost out of reach, and actually whips his whole body into his twisting press. He looked like he was trying to damage his opponent, not make the arc of his body look the prettiest. Mundo is going for cheap advantages like feet on the ropes, and the whole match felt like he kept falling near the ropes, either to grab them to escape pin, or use them to aid in his pins.  Mundo keeps taking little advantages and builds up a 2-0 lead, and Mack flips out and nails Mundo with a big dive.

From there we go into a pretty big moves sequence, which felt like it was certainly peaking things early, but I did not know about the eventual knee injury. Mack catches Mundo on a springboard and turns it into a big powerbomb. We get a nice fight up top and Mundo continues going cheap and eye rakes Mack. Mundo hits a huge crossbody and comes up limping. We go into a full match stop, trainers come out with a stretcher. Mundo fully milks it, and this may have actually been Striker's best moment as I thought he was really good putting over what terrible luck this is for Mack, how injuries are unpredictable and it was a shame it came down to this, but what can you do? Mack is pissed but still awesomely comes over to shake Mundo's hand, being an awesome sport all things considered. And beautifully, once Mack walks away Mundo does a kip up and kicks Mack right in the taint, then drops him with a savage DDT. Mack looked like he compressed all of the vertebrae on that one. Mundo proceeds to some glorious taunting, jumping jacks, high knees, running in place, really dancing all around the ring. With a sizable lead he opts to run, takes that stretcher with him...but Mack gets him, ties him to that stretcher and then in some inspired lunacy sends him sliding down the stairs, likely giving Mundo the worst ever wedgie upon reaching bottom. Then Mack picks up that stretcher and throws it up and over, face down, with Mundo only able to watch the ground approach his face, rapidly.

From here we get PJ Black appearing as a Mundo doppelganger, with both picking apart Mack and Mack leaning face first into kendo stick shots. Son of Havoc comes out to even the score but it's not enough, and before long Mundo is playing along with the band and mocking Mack. And then in maybe the best ever use of Sexy Star, she - disguised as a band member - literally drops onto Mundo from off the stage, and she and Havoc beat up PJ to leave things back at Mundo/Mack and a ridiculous piledriver off the apron through a table to even things at 3-3. The final minutes are crazy. A ladder gets involved, Mundo does a weird Jackie Chan moves into and around the ladder, eventually lays himself out by doing his twisting press and eating ladder, and then we get the EPIC journey to Mack frog splashing from off the VERY tall ladder. He is slowed, but he is focused, and with 20 seconds left he hits one of the more epic splashes in wrestling history. But it was too late, and the match ends on count 2 of a sure 3 count. Dario announces the match will continue next week...and for the first time in Lucha Underground history, I immediately start the next episode, eager to find out how this whole thing ends. But that's for another review...

I thought this whole show worked tremendously well, as a wrestling match and as an episode of television. I think all the interference played well and the match did a great job of integrating everybody involved with the story. They took their time to get the crowd into it, but the story they told had me hooked, and I loved being along for the ride.

PAS: Eric brought me out of LU retirement to watch this match, and despite my skepticism of an hour long Johnny Mundo match, this was really good stuff. Mundo was always a really good athlete with some interesting ideas on how to use that athleticism, but his basics never looked great, nice looking parkour style escape from a Royal Rumble, shitty looking kick to the stomach. Here he seemed to bring it all together. The really great bit of avoidance hanging on the ringpost, and a nasty forearm to the back, an insane sled ride bump down the stairs and great ground and pound right hands. I enjoyed Mack in this, he has a lot of charisma and some big moves, but this felt like Mundo as Flair, which is a shocking thing for me to say.

I liked the mishigas at the end of the match less the Eric did, individually the interference spots were clever, but one after another it felt a little ECW overbooked, as did all of the table spots. It reminded me of  the old Coco Chanel maxim about fashion "Before a lady leaves the house she should look in the mirror and take one accessory off", it felt like Chavo or whoever road agented this match should have looked in the mirror and taken one booking gimmick away.

Still no reason that a match this long, with these guys in should have been as good as it was, good stuff.

ER: I'm happy Phil took a shot on this one, and it's an easy land on our 2016 MOTY list. Even though the match technically finished on the next episode, it was taped on a different date so didn't feel right to include it.

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