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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lucha Underground Season 4 Episode 20: Seven to Survive

ER: So we came out the other side of the arguable worst episode of the season. We knew there would be roadblocks on the trip to Valhalla. It's just like Lucha Underground to try and make us quit when we're this close, but I'm not falling for it. We're finishing these last 3 episodes. Throw your worst at me!

TL: God, who is Immortan Joe in the realm of LU? I guess it's Matanza? Sammy Guevara actually kinda reminds me of Nux. Jake Strong is a perfect Rictus Erectus. It should be noted that while I do share Eric's feelings of wanting to close this one out, we are only returning to this on the day of a full-on statewide shelter in place due to Big Rona. Yes, the only thing truly driving us back to wanting to watch this show is semi-forced quarantine from a highly contagious pathogen. And the only cure is...wait, a SHOW-LONG SEVEN-WAY MATCH???

King Cuerno vs. Big Bad Steve vs. Hernandez vs. Aerostar vs. PJ Black vs. Jake Strong vs. Dante Fox

ER: And well, this might not have been the worst they could have thrown at me, but it was a show long match prominently featuring a couple guys I wish weren't prominently featured, and I don't think it had the meat to flesh out a show long match. The indisputable best part of the match was Big Bad Steve getting his longest opportunity yet to be Big Bad Steve, although PJ Black becoming a guy who just kicks everyone in the balls was a close second place. Has that been something Black has been doing? I sure don't remember it. Black goes on a run of kicking three guys straight in the balls, which is a smart strategy. PJ must have had some insider scoop to know that those guys had weak balls. Big Bad Steve is not only the best striker in the match, and the best fighter in the match (at one point he starts braining people with a monkeywrench, especially cracking Cuerno), and sadly he shows that he can sell a ball shot better than anyone. He takes a ball kick from PJ Black with as much force as I've ever seen anyone take a ball kick, really came off worthy of finishing a match.

But there was a ton of Jake Strong breaking ankles with his ankle lock, and they debuted one of the stupidest features yet, in the fed's history: Bone Crunching Action! We've sat through a dozen Pentagon arm breaks, never got splintering bone sound effect. But we're here now. Jake Strong's ankle lock has bone crunching action. He crunches Black's ankle, tries to crunch Aerostar's ankle but he is saved, just an ankle crunching machine. Hernandez does silly baby stuff to get eliminated well before anyone else, Fox hits a big springboard inverted 450 onto half a dozen guys who don't catch him, Aerostar hits a dive off a cherry picker that took an eternity to set up, and really the brawl through the crowd might have been the most engaging actual stretch of the match. But there were too few engaging stretches for a match that went the full show, and for what? Does this mean we get a title match of Marty the Moth vs. Jake Strong?? THAT'S what we built to? Who is the babyface in that scenario?

TL: Oh, the best part is that Striker doesn't even hide that it's gonna take the whole show. That seems more like a threat than anything else, because now I have to lock in for probably 45 minutes of a match where I like roughly 2 1/2 guys. And one of those guys is Big Bad Steve, so the other 1 1/2 can be spread out amongst the other six at some point. I don't get how Hernandez is out after like three minutes when you have 40 minutes to fill, but his elimination seemed like a booking decision that was like, "Let's just get this down to even numbers." PJ being all about the nut shots was admittedly amusing; the springboard into the nut shot was inspired shit. The WWECW reunion happens for all of 90 seconds before the campy sound effect ankle breaking sends PJ to ROH. I really can't get a handle on this match in the first 10 minutes. Like they're not sure when to just let it get wild and go hard, and then we get to the King Cuerno bodysuit strip knife-edge chop section and I long for the PJ Black nutshot brigade. The psychology of Aerostar using a forklift to leap onto Big Bad Steve (and Cuerno) is a great piece of business, even if it took too long to set up. At least you get Drago in the construction worker getup (complete with cutouts for the dragon horns). I like bodyslam variants, so Strong's delay and then side throwing slam got a nice reaction from me. Watching Strong base for Aerostar when Big Bad Steve was in the match earlier sure was a choice. 

I'm not completely checked out, but it's so obviously Strong winning this thing. They haven't done enough for me to think there's anything that could be done to stop it. Like, how in the world does Cuerno stand on the outside for two minutes while Fox and Strong lay on the mat? What is that? I almost feel like I should just turn this off. This seems like a pretty damn checked out layout for the last three spots. The ankle lock, the most dangerous sub in the fed, gets shaken off by weak limping from both Fox and Cuerno for big spots. Sure. Big dive off the roof of the entranceway from Fox to land on his ass. He hits a 450, and Strong pulls him off for the pin for some reason. Even Vampiro can't believe it. VAMPIRO. More military references for Fox being tortured while in a submission. Wait, there are ROPE BREAKS? This match is drunk. I don't think this match is worse than last week's show, but it's just 40 minutes of nothing leading to inevitability. But first a stupid three-way knockout spot. I've lost my patience with this match. It shouldn't be like this. They're still going! We finally get to Fox and Strong, Striker reminds us that this is Lucha Under-ground, and then Fox lasts a minute in the ankle lock before tapping. "This is bullshit!", the crowd chants. Yes, it is, but we are also now two episodes away. Ultima Lucha Cuatro awaits us. We're definitely playing out the string. Here's to playing the full schedule.


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