Segunda Caida

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 38: Ultima Lucha Tres Part 2

ER: Sami Callihan is a really impressive actor, I totally bought him having a mean domestic spat with his partner, getting inappropriately into her face and calling her bitch with a clenched jaw, spit flying out, really looking like he might hit her. It was a super impressive method performance where you could tell he did a ton of research to get motivated to act that way.

TL: Ivellise kicking Sami through the bathroom stall door is female empowerment. But first, he’s got to physically threaten her, not let her get a word in, and then call her a bitch when he doesn’t get his way. Hashtag feminism.

TL: Vampiro wearing a 10 out of 10 on the Barry Darsow Municipal Golfer Polo Shirt Scale, by the way. I halfway expected him to say Lucha Underground was brought you in part by Callaway.

1. Battle Royal w/ Joey Ryan vs. PJ Black vs. Ricky Mundo vs. Vinnie Massaro vs. Mascarita Sagrado vs. Argenis vs. Mala Suerte vs. Saltador vs. Paul London vs. Cortez Castro vs. Son of Madness vs. The Mack vs. Pimpinela Escarlata

ER: Tim recently came over to hang out for my birthday and our little group spent all night watching old battle royals and essentially wagering on the outcome, betting on things like who would have the best bump, who would be first out, who would have the best overall performance, etc. It was amazing, makes me want to track down literally every battle royal that's made tape and make this a regular thing. This was a bit short to qualify for a great battle royal, but it was fast moving and we got a lot of big elimination bumps. Son of Madness gets chucked far by the Rabbit Tribe; Mascarita gets a fun elimination of Ryan/Castro as they fight on the apron; Pimpinela is oddly the main guy featured, given the last entrance, Striker not shutting up about him, which is odd only because he was only a fringe part of season 1; Vinnie is first out but hits a big uppercut and eats a big superkick; there was plenty of fun for the time allotted. It worked.

TL: That birthday party included me basically knowing the winners of the Cruiserweight Battle Royal ahead of time in nearly every category, and I ran away with all the points on the scoreboard that night. My finest hour in my friendship with Eric, I’d say. Vinnie should have lasted longer. Pimpi coming in for a one-off to do a bunch of homoerotic spots seems odd to me. Makes me wish we got Cassandro instead. This was fun, but short. Dario getting more jokes written for him! Where the hell was this all season? Guess he only got up for it because it was Ultima Lucha??

ER: The rules will be slanted against Tim next time. He should have purposely dumbed down a few of his answers, thrown a couple of matches, made it competitive. Dude took 80% of the match and refused to job.

2. Catrina vs. Ivelisse

ER: What a weird featured match. Catrina is someone who is a part time wrestler at best (this match was filmed exactly 4 years to the date of her last WWE match, and she has two listed matches that happened in the interim), but can teleport, and is out in fighter braids. Ivelisse has not wrestled on TV for almost a year prior to this match. Their feud is slightly cold. But the match was probably better than it should have been, and I don't mean that in a backhanded way, it was really fun. They used a few tricks to stretch it to (short) match length, but it worked. Ivelisse charges out and takes her down, and considering what they were wearing I'm shocked Striker didn't do a hack Joel Gertner "Catfiiiiiiiight!" But Catrina bails and runs into Dario's office, and by the time Ivelisse breaks in she gets a bottle broken over her head. Now, she ends up breaking THREE BOTTLES over Iverlisse's head, which seems...a bit much. We get a blood packet, as the camera cuts away from Ivelisse's clean face and cuts back to her just absolutely covered in blood. Catrina takes a cool shot into the guardrail and they brawl up the stairs and around the Temple. We get a good nearfall, we get a good spot with Ivelisse kicking Catrina's arm as Catrina was swinging her special rock at Ivelisse's head. They took some good shortcuts, I thought Catrina handled herself well, and it was good to see Ivelisse back.

TL: MIL MUERTES IN A SUIT ALERT. Good lord almighty, what a badass look. There’s a part of me that wishes Andrade “Cien” Almas would do the same in promos, wearing his Sombra mask. Hearing Striker try to sell the backstory to this match is hilarious when it was literally booked as a way to get two good looking women down to their skimpies like it’s Russo-booked WWF. Catrina isn’t great in ring, but she has good facial expressions and knows how to be aggressive. When it finally gets back in the ring, there’s a couple good nearfalls (Striker: “THERE WERE NO FANCY WRESTLING MOVES!” - That comes literally right after Ivellise hits a step-up DDT to finish) and some interesting fighting over the stone. Of course, they HAD to give Sami his heat back, but beating a woman with a hammer while she’s bleeding is more than a bit much. Good lord. This show needs to make up its mind, man. Hashtag feminism.

3. Mask vs. Hair: Fenix vs. Marty the Moth Martinez

ER: Vampiro says that no main event match stip has ever been bigger, but the fed has had a match with a career on the line, and I believe stips that have lead to murder, so...I'm afraid I'm going to have to start taking what Vampiro says with a grain of salt. I'm not sure he's always 100% truthful or accurate. Lucha Underground runs a lot of gimmick matches, a lot of #1 contender matches, but not a ton of stipulation matches. Or, if there is a stip, Dario tends to do something to meddle with it. This is an old fashioned Hair vs. Mask stip, with no shenanigans, a good amount of blood, and a great payoff. This felt like a big time lucha brawl, and not like one of their overstuffed overproduced epics. There was even kind of a flubbed miscommunication moment, which oddly enough also made the match seem more "real" than the other stunt show matches the fed has put out, where they've re-done spots and edited them in. This felt like a honest lucha apuestas match and I loved it. Moth is such a fat-faced psycho, tearing at Fenix's mask early and then busting him open on an uncovered turnbuckle. Fenix is still able to fight back with a big superkick and a huge flip dive onto the Martinez siblings, and a couple flipping cutters (including one on the apron). We get some nice character work with Martinez as the sadistic oaf, tripping on his way back into the ring, but it leads to Fenix eating boots on a moonsault and then eating knees on Moth's crazy chestbreaker/dominator. Fenix catching Moth off the top with a Spanish Fly was huge, and the move really benefitted from the LU cameras. Moth ramped up the psycho by going after Fenix with a pair of rusty scissors, jabbing them into his cut and running them across Fenix's throat. Gross. We get great involvement from both seconds, as Melissa gets on the apron to trick Marty, ending with her slapping him and punting him right in the balls, leading to a huge kick and ropewalk 450 from Fenix to win. Mariposa gets her great second moment after the match as Moth is escaping, bashing him in the head with a chair at the top of the steps, then handcuffing him to the railing to get his haircut. You knew Marty would make great faces during his haircut, and he delivers. Awesome traditional apuestas, probably my favorite LU match this season, with great storyline culmination, great blood, some comeuppance for Melissa, everything I wanted.

TL: I had seen highlights from this match but don’t remember seeing this in full, so I’m pretty stoked to see this thing from the start, especially now knowing that I’ve seen all the Emmy-level acting in the story leading up to this. Fenix is wearing white, so you know what’s gonna happen here. And a couple minutes in, he eats the exposed buckle and this turns into the best apuestas match with blood I’ve seen in maybe a decade. Fenix hits an absolute gusher and is all over the place bleeding. Some amazing shots in this thing of blood falling off Fenix’s mask and forehead, dripping onto the mat. I’m a huge fan of Fenix’s offense here: Every move he normally does with his trademark snap is weary and reached for here. He’s bleeding out, he’s on adrenaline, he’s going in whatever spurts of energy he can find. It’s not your traditional brawling tecnico performance that you might be used to in these apuestas matches, but you are with Fenix on every move he makes to try and get back into this thing. Marty toed the line between going too far and going just far enough. The scissors stuff before Melissa got involved legit made me feel uncomfortable. The finish is the best culmination of a story in LU history. Melissa getting to be a part of Marty getting his comeuppance and doing the haircutting is perfect. We rip LU for doing a lot of things wrong in storytelling and getting too wrapped up in minutiae bullshit, but for all the melodrama we raked them over the coals for leading up to this, the payoff was so good you forget all of it. WAY better this time around watching it for me, and it’s hilarious to say this after what ended last week’s show, but they topped that match here with the drama beating out the craziness for me. I’m still big on Matanza/Muertes Grave Consequences for best match in LU history, but this is right there with it.

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