Another week, another episode of Lucha Underground. The brand has become synonymous with the peak of quality wrestling over the course of its short existence. That’s not to say that there haven’t been off days though, so would this latest episode fall into that miniscule category?
The show started off with a recap of the first episode of the season. Typically, when this happens it is an indicator that the evenings action would build upon those events and this proved to be no exception. Since the first episode was so good it should be taken as a very positive sign that it was to influence this one.
Bengala vs. Kobra Moon.
Moving on from the quick recap the action started early with a match right out of the gate. This contest saw the returning Bengala take on the debuting Kobra Moon in another of The Temple’s famous inter-gender matches.
The first thing you will notice before the match even begins is that Bengala is carrying more than a little extra mass around his midsection. Flabby luchadores are not a rarity by any means but it is still a jarring sight in a promotion that specialises in fast paced action.
The match itself was a relatively short affair but it served as a decent introduction for Kobra Moon. She pulled off some impressive high risk offence including a picture perfect Springboard Hurricanrana to the outside of the ring. She mixed up her style with a series of kicks and knees that, whilst not terrible, lacked the impact that many other performers put into such strikes. They came off as a little weak and it is something she will need to work on in the future.
Bengala, despite his bulky appearance, pulled off some nice, speedy offence that kept the pace at an exciting level. Ultimately though he was only there to put over Kobra and the amount of offence he got in reflected that fact. He certainly didn’t come off looking strong after this contest as he submitted to a variation of a Dragon Sleeper dubbed the ‘Snake Sleeper’.
The issue here was that neither competitor was defined as either a Tecnico or a Rudo. This creates a situation where the crowd doesn’t really know who to cheer and who to boo and as such their energy and interest levels are diminished quite appreciably. It would be nice to see Kobra get a clearer character with future appearances.
Winner: Kobra Moon.
A video package played next and in it Fenix entered Catrina’s office to ask her for another match with King Cuerno. It was granted and thus the main event was set. There isn’t too much else to say about this exchange as it was rather short and to the point.
The next video to air was a little longer and saw two members of an ancient Aztec tribe summon the cosmic luchador known as Aerostar. The message of the piece was not entirely clear other than to reintroduce Aerostar to fans and set up his return to the ring. It will be nice to see him back in action as he was one of the highlights of the first season.
For the third video fans were taken backstage where Cuerno was interrupted mid workout by Catrina. This was another particularly short affair but the gist is that she threatened him a little just in case he was thinking of betraying Mil Muertes and then she ordered him to ‘kill’ Fenix in their match up which was revealed to be a Last Luchador Standing match.
Jack Evans vs. Drago.
In season one several performers stood out and became unbelievably popular with the ‘True Believers’. One of the most notable examples of this is Drago who used his unique character and offence to win over just about everybody watching. It didn’t hurt that part of his storyline saw him beat the loathsome talent vacuum, Hernandez.
Jack Evans got a lot less screen time during that season but he still made an impression as he carried over the cocky Rudo character he portrays so successfully in AAA. The man is a human highlight reel and as such it was only natural that he would find a comfortable place for himself in Lucha Underground.
The expected set up for this contest would be for it to be a highflying encounter full of big spots. That was not the case here though as the two talented men changed things up a little by spending a good portion of the match trading strong strikes and flashy but relatively grounded maneuvers. Matt Striker played this up perfectly on commentary as he quipped that the first man to hit a high impact move would likely take this match.
That big moment came when Drago leapt from the top turnbuckle onto the outside and took out Jack. It would not be the finish though as the two would return to the ring an engage in more fast paced match up from there on out. Still though the most impressive and impactful moments came from not-so-flashy moves such as Drago’s Top Rope Hung DDT as well as his brutal looking Inside Out Blockbuster which could conceivably break a man’s neck.
In the end though the match came to a close via a Backslide variation by Evans who used the ropes to gain the pinfall. Afterwards he took the microphone a cut a nice little promo in which he dubbed himself ‘The Dragon Slayer’. That should lead to this feud continuing for a little while now and, after this match, that should be seen as a very good thing indeed.
Winner: Jack ‘The Dragon Slayer’ Evans.
Once that match was done it was back to more videos and the first one hyped the return of El Texano Jr. For those who don’t know, Texano is one of the best Luchadores around despite not being a highflyer. His no nonsense style has led to some classic encounters with the likes of Alberto El Patron and will no doubt lead to many more highly enjoyable matches in the coming weeks and months. It is good to see him back even if was just in another weird fight scene this time set in a bar.
The second segment hyped up the Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Jr match up set to take place next week. Catrina once again popped up and taunted Puma over the kayfabe death of his mentor, Konnan. It was a good package and no one can deny that Puma vs. Pentagon is going to be a fantastic contest.
Last Luchador Standing Match- Fenix vs. King Cuerno.
These two men opened the first show of season two a few weeks back and had an unbelievably good encounter. They work so well against one another that it was inevitable that Lucha Underground would revisit the pairing in relatively quick fashion. To place it in a match as brutal as this stipulation though? That was the real stroke of genius.
Both fighters have shown themselves to excel in violent match types. Fenix had a series of incredible contests with Mil Muertes last season that were the absolute epitome of car crash TV. Cuerno had similarly brutal meetings with Drago and Prince Puma that established him as a top contender in the company.
Expectations were undoubtedly high heading into such a match-up between these men and they did not disappoint. Fenix played the role of the plucky underdog to perfection as he took a savage beating and just kept on getting up, dusting himself off, and fighting back. Cuerno was every bit the merciless hunter that he has been built to be since fans first saw him. The two men used their environment to their advantage and the result was hard to look away from.
These matches are always lacking in the WWE as there is a fear in that company of pushing the envelope, not so at Lucha Underground. It wasn’t just the flashy moves that brought about a fever pitch in the crowd, although they were pretty damn spectacular. It was the fact that the level of violence made sense. They weren’t holding back on one another and that made for a more immersive experience as it would be utterly idiotic for two men trying to completely incapacitate one another to avoid anything too painful as they do in WWE.
They threw one another around the arena and performed big, mark out moment, moves such the most impressive Arrow from the Depths of Hell you are likely to see and two incredible Springboard Tornado Planchas. The final spot though was the real standout moment as Cuerno toppled back off of a ladder and crashed through a table below. Such table spots may not be all that much of a rarity but the impact of this one was something that isn’t seen too often and it definitely sold the end of this match to perfection.
This feud is highly unlikely to be over and you should be excited to see where they are going to go next as this bitter rivalry continues to evolve.
The final video of the night showed Cortez Castro revealed as an undercover cop looking to take down former Lucha Underground boss, Dario Cueto. It was a very confusing twist as Castro has done some very illegal things whilst competing in the organization, such as burning a man’s eye with a lit cigar. It also seemed a little unnecessary as a new undercover cop character was introduced during the same segment in the form on the debuting Joey Ryan. Surely it would have made more sense just to introduce Ryan without including Castro in such a convoluted manner. Either way though it was good to see Joey Ryan enter the world of Lucha Underground.
This episode, whilst not the best there has been, was a brilliant example of why every wrestling fan should be watching Lucha Underground. The action was exciting and a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale world of wrestling. It’s no surprise that a third season of this show has already been green lit.