Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 26: A Fenix to a Flame

ER: Okay, so the first round of the most innovative single elimination #1 contender tournament in wresting history was kind of a bust. It had a memorable Paul London performance and I liked Pentagon/Argenis. That's...not a lot to come out of 4 weeks and 16 matches. Here's hoping we get some burners in the late rounds.

TL: Stoked that Vampiro doesn’t have Arau’s name to mispronounce now. Truly feels like a step forward in the commentary of the promotion.

1. Jeremiah Crane vs. Taya

ER: Really fun match, felt like they played the battle of the sexes at just the right level. Taya didn't take 75% of the match like every awful Sexy Star vs. Male matches, and what she did take felt earned. Her and Crane shouldn't be going tit for tat, and my favorite moment was the way Taya bailed and crumbled during a slap exchange. Once I saw them squaring up for a strike exchange I was fully prepared to eyeroll, but they handled it great with Taya slapping him around and then Crane blitzing her with far harder smacks and she immediately goes down. Taya can really take a mean beating, Crane didn't have to hold back, and there was some wild stuff: Crane hits his low tope suicida, cannonballs her into the chairs, Crane kicks her (har har). Taya gets in some logical comebacks, with a big furry boot to the balls making the most sense to block the facewash. She was nuts for taking some of this stuff, and the match benefitted greatly for it.

TL: Man, forgot where JC was billed from, as “The Last House on the Left” just doesn’t jive. Also, a fan in the crowd has a Rick Knox t-shirt, which, well, what ref t-shirts would you want to own? Tommy Young? Joe Higuchi? Definitely not a Hebner. Definitely not a Red Shoes. Anyways, this match begins on the outside a lot like the Killshot match and Taya already sells the beating way better than Killshot, especially considering she slapped him to start. I also like how Taya came back by outsmarting Crane with the balcony work, because in essence, the way this match is booked, she being a part of the Worldwide Underground means she can have some kind of tactical advantage. And the counter off the running boot is FANTASTIC. Took me a moment to figure out what happened, but man, this is a great match. The other part is that even though Taya is tactically sound, she’s also vain, which leads to her downfall in some ways. Don’t like her last minute counter after the powerbomb for the nearfall, but otherwise, I REALLY liked this match, and Taya’s selling and facial expressions were fantastic. Feel like she’s underrated, but that might be me being in the wrong circle, too.

TL: Aerostar being a time traveler makes me wonder why they don’t do some type of gimmick where he’s the LU bookie. I mean, we’re talking about a fed run by a dude who has hidden several murders in his life, including cops and government officials. You can’t tell me Aerostar being the LU bookie would be beneath this promotion.

2. Mil Muertes vs. Paul London

ER: Okay, 2nd round matches are delivering just fine so far. London pulls out all the stops against Muertes, Muertes gets to come off invincible by surviving tons of London's biggest moves and run-ins from his flunkies. I will say that after all that, the flatliner is a pretty weak "death move", but it's a testament to Muertes that he can make some 1999 offense like a spear/flatliner combo seem plausible as a death move. London is almost a decade removed from WWE and bumping as big as ever. And the rolling heel kick out of the corner is lands rougher than most flashy kicks. London superkicks Muertes around the entire ring, and why is LU so damn inconsistent with their one SLAP sound effect. London's first 5 kicks had the exact same sound effect, but then they don't use it on the 6th? Why use it on almost every strike, but then skip one? It already sounds ridiculous, but it sounds far more ridiculous to make every strike sound exactly the same, and then suddenly have one delivered in dead silence. The multiple superkicks are kind of silly, but I like how London kept stumbling his way into delivering them, and loved the payoff of Mil finally catching one and clotheslining his head off. London can still hit the SSP better than maybe anyone, and I like the Tribe's interference made it seem like London could feasibly advance. 2nd round is definitely 2/2 so far.

TL: I’m here for the cat and mouse game and Paul London taking crazy ass bumps for Mil’s power offense. The cat and mouse game was cute. The flip bump off the tackle was nuts. I actually buy London being on something to start the match, only for Mil to whoop him up so much that he comes to a bit and that’s how he makes his comebacks. Striker makes a “Dick Trickle” joke and I groan. I actually dug the London Ode to the Massie Brothers superkick barrage on the outside for its goofiness. The mushroom stomp is also an awesome move that I wish other folks would use more often. The Mil chokeslam is suitably gnarly here. And then the spear and the Flatliner (which London, a crazy person, takes like a DDT) finishes a fun match. Muertes rules.

TL: Never thought we’d actually see a cuckold situation on LU with the Famous B/Texano stuff but here we are. I mean, it's not 100% confirmed that Brenda and B are an item, but c'mon, if you're B, you have to at least try, right? Brenda’s right though: Texano’s dull.

3. Marty the Moth Martinez vs. Fenix

ER: Another winner, even with the...acting...abilities of Melissa Santos on display towards the end. Fenix made up for the size difference by picking shots, landing big kicks (a spinkick right under the chin and a full extension superkick looked great), big dives, and using speed to make Moth miss him and bump. Marty takes a predictably Marty bump to the floor after charging and missing, flipping through the ropes and splatting on the floor. I definitely like Moth more as a guy taking offense, as he's big but lands hard, and takes nice appropriate flops and tumbles off big strikes. His offense could be a bit more simple, there's always a lot of steps to his slams, but they always land big. He hits a german early and could use more simple suplexes, instead we get a crucifix into a Gory special into a dominator that sees him also take a back bump and land Fenix onto his knees...it reads as complicated as it sounds, but the end result usually looks good. I also like how Moth is always in character during pinfalls, kind of oozing onto his opponent. Finish is silly with Santos stopping more Mariposa interference like a mother telling her kids to behave at the market ("Stop it! You stop it!") but this match was killer. An easy 3/3 for the 2nd round so far.

TL: I get that Santos is cute and there’s a bit of a following there with LU fans but she’s not doing it for me in this little angle. Marty’s schizo athleticism plays up here with a guy like Fenix, who just does crazy things for fun. Mariposa is a great second here, which shouldn’t come as any surprise. This is also some really good traditional rudo work by Martinez with the mask ripping and just general nastiness. Fenix has some great comebacks, and that springboard spinning back kick in the corner was absolutely ridiculous and worthy of the ridiculous sound effect. Fenix also must have read my review of the last match because he does his own mushroom stomp variation and I pop like crazy for it. Mothra is convoluted as all hell but Fenix took it very nastily. In fact, I like a lot of Marty’s indyriffic offense looks because he looks like a killer against a guy like Fenix. Santos only being able to say “Stop it!” is basically Skinemax/Hallmark Channel-level acting and it somehow leads to Fenix moving on. The postmatch payoff makes sense since Santos got involved, but as far as Marty using a fork is concerned, he really needs to watch some Abby in Puerto Rico for proper usage.

ER: This was my favorite episode in some time, the wrestling all delivered and the flow was good. This actually got me interested in the tourney, which I had not been until now.

TL: So this seems like a tourney where LU had 20 guys they wanted to showcase but didn’t want to hand out a bunch of byes. Which means that after the first round, it was going to get good. Pro wrestling tournaments are hard to mess up, and it looks like this one is hitting its stride. Like I said a few shows ago though: They’re really telegraphing the winner in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I’m intrigued to see how they get there and see if they play with those expectations going forward. It’s the least they can do and they’re doing it well.

Also, Eric and I are totally in sync in this show in a scary way and we wrote our reviews separately, so that goes to show you just how good we thought this episode was after quite the barrage of stinkers.

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