Thursday, January 5, 2017

Fake Fighting Frenzy: Lucha Underground 1/4/17

Honestly, I was a little on the fence about whether or not I should go back and give the entire backstory of Lucha Underground before I started writing up weekly reports on it. But then I figured if I did that, I would never get around to doing weekly updates. So maybe it would be better to just catch people up on storylines as I go. It's more important to me to be able to write about MY FAVORITE WRESTLING SHOW EVER on a weekly basis so let's get right to it!


-We open on Mil Muertes screaming "HOW IS PUMA STILL ALIVE?! I KILLED HIM! I BURIED HIM!" (because they had a Grave Consequences match [a super extra cool lucha-fied casket match, essentially] that Mil won and in the Lucha Underground universe, when you put someone in a casket, it LITERALLY KILLS THEM; I love this show) Catrina informs Mil that he's alive because Vampiro "toys with dark magic" (Vampiro is the one that rescued Puma from death and then demanded that Puma bow to him as his dark master--much the same way Vampiro was Pentagon's dark master in season one) and that if he wants Puma, he has to go through Vampiro.


-Then we see Jeremiah Crane (aka Sami Callahan, aka NXT's Solomon Crowe) backstage bragging to Catrina that he beat Mil Muertes (which he did but with a HUGE assist from Puma and a Singapore cane), the man she loves. Catrina scoffs and says Mil is NOT, in fact, the man she loves. This is something a lot of people have theorized about, wondering who it could be if it isn't Mil. It definitely opens up a lot of possibilities. A lot of people think it's Fenix, which would make a lot of sense considering their history (they have kissed in the past and Catrina took Fenix's side in the first Grave Consequences match--although it ultimately seemed as though she did that in order to bring Mil back from the dead as a much more powerful Mil Muertes), but also Lucha Underground has a habit of doing something totally unforeseen and unexpected in situations like this. So I have to wonder who else it could be: Puma? Johnny Mundo? Dario? Matanza? Someone totally out of left field like Paul London? Or could the swerve actually be that it's Crane himself?


-First match of the night: Sexy Star v. Mariposa. This one came about because someone has been leaving fake spiders around for Sexy to find and she assumed it was Mariposa (despite her insisting it wasn't) and demanded a match with her. It's no "No Mas" but Sexy and Mari's in-ring chemistry is still there and the viciousness is still there so it's still a good match. I definitely expected to see whatever spider-themed wrestler is actually leaving spiders for Sexy to debut here but it looks like they're going for a little bit of a slower burn with that reveal.
-What we did get, however, was Marty the Moth (Mariposa's brother and fellow tormentor of Sexy between season one and two) coming out, seemingly to aid and comfort Mariposa, but then turning on her and chokeslamming her! I'm really excited to see where they go with this. I think it would be super compelling to see Marty torture her the same way they did to Sexy and then have Sexy stand up for her, leading to the formation of a badass Sexy Star/Mariposa alliance.


-Next we see the Rabbit tribe (a bunch of super weird psychedelic dudes who are [kayfabe] probably on a lot of LSD) interrupting Mascarita Sagrada's workout, claiming that he is the white rabbit and that they followed him here and that he is their guide. All of this is ridiculous and wonderful and hilarious and I REALLY hope it leads to Mascarita joining the Rabbit tribe.


-Second match of the night: Rabbit Tribe v. Serpent Tribe. Vibora and Pindar debuted a couple weeks ago as two of Kobra Moon's three generals from a war that was fought over a thousand years ago. Drago was the third but something caused him to leave the tribe and swear never to return. When Vibora and Pindar debuted, they helped Kobra Moon kidnap and imprison Drago in their temple, chained to a pillar. This week, Kobra leads all three of them out, dragging Drago by a chain around his neck. She then forces Drago (who appears to be almost in a trance-like state) to fight alongside Vibora and Pindar against the Rabbit tribe. This is particularly noteworthy because Drago is 1/3rd of the Trios Champions along with Fenix and Aerostar, as the announce team is careful to point out.
-The match itself is a lot of fun, especially when we finally get to see Vibora in the ring just straight up wrecking house. The Rabbit Tribe are always entertaining in whatever they do and underrated wrestlers (well, Paul London isn't underrated, he's just awesome). Also, I just have to say, these three guys from the Serpent tribe have the three best luchador masks I've EVER SEEN. Drago has always had one of the coolest, most exquisitely detailed masks ever but Vibora and Pindar also have incredible, painstakingly detailed, textured masks and the three of them teaming together is just a thing of beauty.
-Maybe the most compelling thing that happened all night was after the match. Drago wins the match for his team and his teammates raise his hand. He's still very much in a trance and then Kobra puts the chain back on his neck but then Fenix and Aerostar show up to rescue him! Kobra tries to hold Drago down and make him watch Vibora and Pindar dispense with Fenix and Aerostar but Fenix and Aerostar get the best of them and free Drago from his chains. But when they do, Drago doesn't seem to recognize them. He appears to be snapped out of his trance but he's still very disoriented and doesn't appear to recognize his partners. He still goes with them but he seems uneasy about it. It's an incredibly compelling next step in this story and I can't wait to see where they go with it. I'm really looking forward to some backstage segments with Fenix and Aerostar trying to remind Drago who they are and Drago being really confused and frustrated and maybe even attacking them. Maybe they have to chain him down the same way Kobra Moon had him chained down, creating even more division between them. Maybe Drago has been so brainwashed by Kobra Moon that he tries to bring Fenix and Aerostar down from the inside. Maybe the three of them defend their Trios titles against the Serpent tribe and Drago sabotages them and costs them the titles. Then maybe they FINALLY reverse the effects of the brainwashing and reclaim their titles. SO MANY possibilities.

-Next we see The Mack backstage telling Sexy Star he doesn't want her help in his match against Johnny Mundo tonight because both these people have way too much pride to learn from their mistakes. Then Dario shuffles in to inform The Mack that his match with Johnny Mundo will NOT, in fact, be for the Lucha Underground title. Just as your brain is like "WAIT WHAT THAT'S BULLSHIT," El Jefe explains that he wants Mundo and Mack to have an epic battle so this week will be a tune-up and whoever wins gets to pick the stipulation for the title match. I love that. You think it's a total screwjob but then it turns out El Jefe is just raising the stakes like only he can. Marvellous.
-Johnny Mundo v. The Mack is tons of fun, of course. They have a great dynamic together both in the ring and as characters--Mundo the entitled asshole who had everything handed to him and Mack the tough kid from South Central who had to scrap for everything he ever got; those are such perfect alignments it almost makes me angry. Also, The Mack uses a People's Elbow at one point and it makes me REALLY want to see Lucha Underground turn him into a literal reincarnation of every Attitude Era wrestler ever (for those who don't know, he quite often uses Stone Cold Steve Austin's taunts and mannerisms as well as the Stone Cold Stunner). Johnny Mundo wins with interference from Worldwide Underground because of course he does.
-The best part of all this is that after the match, Johnny Mundo insults The Mack, calls him a fat piece of trash, and then challenges him to an All Night Long match--which is essentially an Iron Man match that lasts the entire episode and, as Matt Striker aptly points out, requires a special kind of conditioning and stamina. I love so much about this. Mundo is such a cocky asshole about his level of fitness and looks down so much on anyone he perceives as "unfit" that he chooses an All Night Long match in an attempt to embarrass The Mack, who he sees as fat and out of shape. I love the fact that Mundo gets HEEL HEAT for fat-shaming someone when so often in wrestling it goes the other way. I can't in good conscience root for Mack to win because I really think when Mundo drops the title it should be a much bigger moment and should really make someone a star *COUGH*sonofhavoc*COUGH* but I really, really hope Lucha Underground follows through on the anti-fat-shaming overtones of what's going on here somehow. It should be a very close win for Mundo and The Mack should probably even have the match won and only lose due to interference from Worldwide Underground again. It would be really cool if, say, Mundo picks up like the first four falls in the match and then gets a little cocky, thinking that the longer the match goes, the more it favors him since he's clearly in MUCH better shape but then The Mack makes a furious comeback to the sheer amazement of Mundo. The Mack gets three falls in a row and then hits Mundo with a stunner and is about to get a fourth when Worldwide Underground stops him. Sexy Star comes to his aid and helps him fight them off and he hits Mundo with another stunner but before he can crawl over to make the pin, time runs out. That would be EPIC. Of course, this match is happening on the mid-season finale so we could also definitely see The Mack win the title. Whatever happens it's going to be something to behold, that much is certain. I can't WAIT!

EDIT: I can't believe I almost forgot what happened at the close of the show. So Johnny Mundo is standing tall over The Mack and suddenly Mil Muertes appears! The crowd goes wild because they think he's here to give Mundo his due. Spoiler: he's not. Mil comes down and starts blasting Vampiro. He pulls him into the ring and that brings out Prince Puma to defend his master. However, Vampiro stops him, yelling "NO, PUMA! NO!" Puma pauses on the apron, confused by his master's command, and Mil takes Vamp out with a Flatliner.

*All photos courtesy of El Rey Network

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