Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 40: Ultima Lucha Tres Part 4

ER: FOR THE RECORD, we've had this written up for over a month, but Phil and I have been going content crazy with the NJ/AJ handhelds and the WM weekend shows, so I kept putting off posting this. But I made it to the finish line, bitchez!

TL: A 100% honestly accurate text message conversation that happened before the final taping of Ultima Lucha Tres:

Vampiro: hey, bro

Striker: Sup, Vamp?

Vampiro: was thinking we ball out for the finale ya know?

Striker: I totally agree. Biggest show of the year!

Vampiro: got this sick suit I was planning to wear on the first date with that singer from Slapbak

Striker: Nice!

Vampiro: but she shot me down so I gotta wear it anyways and was thinkin about wearin it for the final ep, brother

Striker: Sounds good!

Vampiro: what sick threads you got?

Striker: I’m going to wear an official Lucha Underground T-Shirt. Have to stay on brand and let people know what show they’re watching!

Vampiro: cool bro you do you

I mean, I’m not even on camera when I do commentary and because I’m out there in front of folks, I feel bad if I’m not wearing at least a shirt with buttons on it. Gonna petition the owners that Eric and I only wear official PPW apparel at shows now that professional broadcaster Matt Striker thinks it’s fine to wear a t-shirt on the biggest show of the year.

Cage Match: Matanza vs. Dragon Azteca Jr.

ER: Azteca never felt like a guy who was supposed to hang with Matanza, and this match bore that out. We get a fun twist with DA getting thrown right through a side of the cage, crashing through it to the floor and technically "escaping" just a few minutes into the match. Naturally Dario says we can't have shenanigans like that, though I liked the false finish. The real finish has the return of Black Lotus, and I'll level with you: I really couldn't explain her role up through season 2, but now that we haven't seen her on TV in what has to be well over a year, my interest level in her storyline is probably not going to go any higher. She hits a big crossbody off the top of the cage, which looks cool, but honestly who in the crowd was flipping out about a Black Lotus return? Leading up to this match DA lost to Dante Fox, Johnny Mundo, Pentagon, and Matanza. The last person he beat was Chavo. I am not sure how he earned this match, and it was worked like he did not earn it.

TL: I knew what the finish was before the match even started. When you have a matchup where Dragon Azteca, Jr. has absolutely NO CHANCE against a guy like Matanza, but you’re hoping that the face gets his win on the big show of the year, you let the guy with overpowering strength throw the dude through the cage to the floor. Matanza looks like a badass, Azteca “wins.” I did like that the build to the false finish came after Matanza threw Dragon Azteca up against the cage a bunch, which really made that throw come off even better than it would on its own, which is still a great spot. After the restart and Azteca ripping off Cueto’s shirt, you get Matanza slamming Azteca around outside before throwing him back him in as Vamp asks a question about anaconda’s feeding habits. Striker was silent for a good five seconds before he started talking again. Why the hell does MATANZA need help winning a damn cage match? Especially when Azteca hadn’t beaten anybody in months? Super weird match. Black Lotus’ return only to find out that Dario Cueto was a liar seems like the biggest waste of time in wrestling history. How did Lotus not watch any episodes of the show and see Cueto lied basically every week? What a revelation.

Jeremiah Crane vs. Cage vs. Mil Muertes

ER: My god the insanity! This match delivered beyond what I was hoping for, turning into an epic big boy X-Division spotfest, that also had tons of blood and crazy weapons usage. This would have been awesome without the weapons, just three big lugs working stiff and crashing into each other, but the weapons were crazy and the spots around them nuts. So you get Crane's great yakuza kicks, you get all three crashing to the floor like big Nitro cruisers (Crane with his great low-pe, Cage with a big flip dive, Muertes diving off the tope), Muertes slams Crane shoulders first on a chokeslam, Cage drops people with his awesome driver combos, all great stuff. Once Crane brings in a heavy trash can then all hell breaks loose. Everybody takes rough can shots, Crane starts gushing blood, Crane gets chokeslammed through a table on the floor, and back in the ring Cage keeps bouncing around like he's 100 lb. less, pulling off a big rana and a perfect Asai moonsault (and Muertes pulls off a flawless spinning headscissors on the floor, so these guys are all just the lightest heavyweights). Things get crazier and grosser when Crane slams a bunch of wooden stakes right into the top of Cage's head. I've never seen anything like that before. It's like two dozen chopsticks were just sticking stright out of Cage's head, with blood starting to leak out down the sides of his head. My god. He even takes a DDT to hammer the stakes DEEPER into his head. What the hell, you guy!? Muertes goes through a sheet of glass and comes up covered in blood, but they decide to go for ultimate crazy and we get Crane getting superplexed off the top THROUGH Muertes and a couple tables. Holy cow. The singles match portion (with Crane eliminated) between Muertes/Crane was a nice cooldown, with two big tiring dudes beating each other up. I dug their strike exchange, love that Muertes snap powerslam, and love Muertes getting the win to return to dominance. He really should be the top monster in the fed, but damn I really love Cage in LU. Awesome battle of the Kongs.

TL: This was wild stuff for sure, but I had to rewind and see when Crane took the shot to start bleeding and…it was off Muerte’s plancha? That’s…an interesting time to blade. I loved how Muertes always looked dominant even when Cage or Crane would find an advantage for a minute. Three big dives to the outside? Muertes takes them both out with his. Crane and Cage set up tables? Muertes chokeslams Crane through the first one. (He also threw out his awesome twisting variation earlier in the match.) Muertes doing the tilt-a-whirl headscissors on the outside was one of the great eye-opening moments that made you remember how ridiculously athletic Mesias is for a guy his size. Oh, and then in a match full of sick bumps, Muertes is totally fine bumping through a damn pane of glass. I love the build with the table spot, too. Cage moonsault? Nah. Crane crazy splash? Nah. Cage superplexes Crane through Muertes on the table on the outside? DEFINITELY. I also find it funny Cage felt he needed to do Weapon X to finish off Crane, but considering how this match has gone, why not be sure? Singles portion was fine and I liked the Crane came back out after he was eliminated to at least try and get some revenge on Muertes, but ain’t nobody bringing him down. AND THEY FINALLY DO THE THING WHERE THE GAUNTLET PUTS OUT THE LIGHTS!!!! And it leads to Cuerno’s return! Love the staredown where Cuerno has stolen the glove and shows it off only for Catrina to hold up her stone like it’s just as good. High comedy. Awesome stuff here. Cage was close to the best I’ve ever seen him.

TL: The Mundo video that Taya made came off as incredibly try-hard to be goofy and cool. The only good part was when they showed Dario in front of his “I’m Kind Of A Big Deal” nameplate.

Career vs. Title: Prince Puma vs. Johnny Mundo

ER: A long, epic, blown out ECW style bullshit-filled stips match, which is what a big Lucha Underground stips match should be, though sadly I enjoyed the bullshit portions a lot more than the one on one pairing, and the bullshit peaked in the middle of the match. I loved the Worldwide Underground coming out to interfere. Jack Evans is a great kind of stooge: impossibly athletic, and able to convey grace and clumsiness. It's awesome to see him interfere with a million spin springboard kick, but also flee and run into a cameraman. Angelico makes his big return and gets revenge, Ricky Mundo triumphantly tries to save everyone and immediately eats a kick, referee Rick Knox hits a sloppy as hell flip dive on them, Taya is dressed in a cut up neon shirt and jean shorts like she just got dressed to leave the set of a bikini carwash movie, and it all leads to an awesome kick out where Puma hits the double knees and a springboard 450. Great near fall. But I thought everything after that part of the match was a bit too flimsy and anticlimactic, with Mundo overshooting some spots, and a big punch exchange that didn't look great. Puma winning was a nice moment, but then we cut away to a close up on Vampiro trying to do a cool satisfied evil look, but it reads like him standing there looking like the dumbest possible version of Krang's android body. And then we end up getting...

TL: The match did the usual indy standoff that I’ve not even remotely enjoyed one bit in LU but when it spilled to the outside, it picked up mightily. The spot where Puma missed a dive from the crowd railing to the apron and then hit a double springboard shooting star plancha to the outside in basically one motion is one of the best feats of athleticism I’ve seen in LU. Puma actually gets a lot more offense here than I thought considering when Mundo is in control, it’s normally compelling stuff. Instead, this gets worked more as a sprint and a bomb-throwing match. Then the bullshit happens. I liked that Puma’s go-to kick to the nuts gets blocked, that’s decent storytelling considering it’s how he got around stuff in the past. It gets crazy after that with Angelico’s return as he helps clear out the rubble and we get Rick Knox getting his tope con barely over the top giro. Then…they go to commercial. Amazing production. So now two of the worst punchers in LU start trading shots and we get a couple near falls back and forth while Striker points out Vampiro’s obvious turn that has been foreshadowed all year. Puma wins with a 630 after kicking out of everything Mundo had. Vampiro grins like he just let one rip and doesn’t care who knows it. He’s as proud of that fart as anything he’s ever done.

Career/Title vs. Career: Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark

ER: Dario just can't have Puma winning a title here, so we get his career put on the line again. And this match didn't really work for me, but I've also been "out" on Pentagon for awhile now. We get our ample assortment of their one loud shotgun handclap sound FX on kicks. We got those in the triple threat match, but a lot of those shots looked like they landed heavy. Here you can tell the shots weren't landing as the sound effect SLAPS kept happening, but there's little crowd reaction. The crowd is the true indicator on a big shot landing. We get our flipping piledrivers, and package piledrivers, and I really dislike Vampiro as an onscreen character at this point. That stupid master story has gone on far too long, and it's idiotic to just have him sitting out there like a doof providing bad commentary, but also apparently being super evil and sinister. None of it works. And I don't actually understand the fans' obsession with Pentagon.

TL: I actually thought it was interesting that the arm break spot came early because of the stipulation, but it made the match clunky and even in spots where the arm shouldn’t have been used at all, it got used in ways that made it look hokey as opposed to brave for trying to fight through it. Amazing that even in what’s obviously his coronation, Pentagon looked like he was half-assing it. At the time, it was somewhat obvious Puma was heading off to greener (yellower?) pastures, but I think they did him a disservice by making him go out like this. Booking him to lose like this because you felt Vampiro needed to be a part of a main event storyline again was better than a guy like Puma going out on his sword. Got it. After Vampiro pulls Penta out of the way of the 630, Striker offers a little kid to come over and do commentary instead of Vamp and I wish the kid took him up on the offer. Penta Driver. Fear Factor. New champ. Sure. Fine. Stoked to watch Ricochet in NXT with proper booking behind him. Penta promises to rule over LU with balls and zero fear, and I agree that it takes a lot of balls and zero fear to put on these types of performances when you’re getting such a strong push.

ER: We get a lot of different storylines advanced in the final couple minute montage, like the lizard people actively choosing to be a far worse team by having Daga decapitate Pindar, the best member of the group. I'm glad Cuerno's back. The heavier guys have been my favorite parts of LU and this season could have only been better with him around. Oh and Godfrey shoots Dario. That's pretty big.

TL: Killing off Pindar is inexcusable. I have to imagine they figure out a way for Cueto to come back even from this: The show would be so much worse off without him as an authority figure, which is amazing sentence to say about a professional wrestling television show when WWE has four authority figures they can’t book well at all. Stoked on Cuerno’s return, stoked on more Rey and Matanza, stoked on Fenix and Melissa riding off into the sunset. But man, VAMPIRO has a master now? Get over it. Nobody cares.

TL: We will most likely be back with weekly’s come this summer when Season 4 starts airing. Considering this season was close to not happening, will be interesting to see how it’s done.

ER: Yeah, it's televised wrestling that still has guys I like. I see no reason to stop now. It's content, baby!

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