9/7 Moore’s Lucha Underground TV Review: Season 3 Season Premiere, Matanza defends the Lucha Underground Championship, Taya vs. Sexy Star for the Gift of the Gods Championship, Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Pentagon Dark, Honky Tonk Man makes a cameo appearance


luchaundergroundBy John Moore

Lucha Underground TV on El Rey Network
Taped in March in Los Angeles, California

In the intro video of Lucha Underground, we saw Dario Cueto doing chin ups while in jail. A guard said that Dario must have friends in high places as he let Dario out of the cell. Dario Cueto said, “You have no idea”. Dario Cueto got a few of his belongings back (from a guy that looked a lot like Honky Tonk Man) which included a money clip, a cell phone, a gold watch, and his Matanza key. Dario Cueto walked outside of the prison gates as a limo picked him up.

Inside of the limo was LA City Councilman Delgado who told Dario that the charges were dropped. “The Lord” guy was sitting in the back of the car and spoke with a distorted voice, in Spanish. He also had a metal claw like the guy from inspector gadget. He said if Dario wastes his time again and Dario’s next sentence would be death. Dario said it was time to spread the news that the temple was back in business. This week’s episode was titled “Wheel of Misfortune”…

Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary and he thanked the fans of Lucha Underground who he called the “Lucha Kliq”. The Chimpz were the house band for tonight. Striker said he was happy to see that Vampiro was healthy and well rested. Vampiro said he was nobody’s master or mentor and his job was now just to do commentary.

Inside of the ring, Matanza was flanking Dario Cueto as Dario welcomed everyone back. He said he wanted to announce an exciting main event. It was Rey Mysterio Jr against Pentagon Jr, Dario teased Matanza but pulled back due to Pentagon Jr trying to break his arm a few months ago. Dario said Pentagon Jr redeemed himself a bit in his eyes when he made Vampiro bleed like a pig in the middle of the ring, oink oink. The crowd chanted Cero Miedo.

Dario then said that Matanza beat the best of the best and no one was able to stop him, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to try. He said he was going to introduce people to his new concept that he dreamt all of his own. He called it Dario’s Dial of Doom (it was a roulette wheel). Dario said the wheel had a list of luchadores on it and the person who was selected on it would face Matanza later on. Dario said the only luchadores eligible were people who didn’t face Matanza one-on-one and Rey doesn’t count since he faced Matanza one on one in Aztec Warfare.

Dario Cueto spun the wheel and it landed on Son of Havoc. Striker said this was Havoc’s chance at redemption. Dario Cueto told Melissa Santos to handle ring introductions for the Championship match…

John’s Thoughts: I was afraid we were going to see the return of Raw Roulette.

1. Matanza Cueto (w/ Dario Cueto) vs. Son of Havoc for the Lucha Underground Championship. Striker said that Havoc had little to no time to prepare for this world title match. Havoc came in early with strikes and a dropkick. Havoc went for a crossbody but bounced off of Matanza’s chest. Matanza tossed Havoc to the buckle. Havoc dodged away and hit a kick on Matanza to stagger him a bit. Matanza caught Havoc running and simply pushed him to the ground. Matt Striker called Matanza the longest reigning world champion and compared Matanza to Bruno Sammartino and Joe Lewis.

Son of Havoc hit his flagpole elbow drop on the grounded Matanza on the outside, right in the balls. Matanza recovered and ate a pump boot from Havoc. Havoc managed to roll Matanza on the ground and hit him with a footstomp. Son of Havoc actually got a nearfall off of Matanza. Dario told Matanza that this should be “baby food” for him. Matanza turned the tide with a twist side suplex. He then tossed Havoc around the ring with ease. Matanza hit Havoc with a body slam and followed up with a standing shooting star and moonsault headbutt. Matanza with the nearfall.

Havoc escaped Matanza’s attack and went for a tornado DDT which was blocked. Havoc converted it to a guillotine choke. Matanza rolled to the ground to escape Havoc’s grasp. Havoc hit Matanza with an Asai Moonsault. Havoc hit Matanza with a double stomp in the ring and standing moonsault to earn another nearfall. Havoc converted nicely from the nearfall to a crossarmbreaker. Matanza powered through and went for a powerbomb that Havoc escaped. Havoc went for a fireman carry move that Matanza escaped. Havoc then hit his slingshot elbow to earn yet another nearfall.

Son of Havoc went high risk but Matanza recovered and caught Havoc with a right arm. Matanza was pushed down to the ground and picked up yet another nearfall on the monster after a nice Shooting Star Press. The crowd chanted “That was 3!”. Havoc went for a springboard 450 but Matanza recovered enough to collect Havoc and plant him with the Wrath of the Gods powerslam to pick up the victory.

Matanza Cueto defeated Son of Havoc via pinfall in 7:26 to retain the Lucha Underground Championship.

Matanza crawled on top of Son of Havoc and stared into him. Dario Cueto entered the ring to hand him the championship. Striker said Havoc came close but just became another victim.

John’s Thoughts: That was surprisingly good for a Matanza match and he seems to have improved over the short amount of time after the Ultima Lucha tapings. Lucha Underground is aware of his weaknesses it seems and now he’s more vulnerable in his matches as witnessed in his last two matches. This is a better spot for him than the green wrestler that destroyed people in clunky fashion. It is odd though that he is opening match fodder so hopefully they get the championship off of him to get that belt in the main events. Jeff Cobb showed here that he’s a good up and coming wrestler, but he would have been better served with more of a pure athlete gimmick similar to Rusev. Monsters shouldn’t do technical wrestling and shooting star presses.

Johnny Mundo and the Worldwide Underground entered Dario Cueto’s office. Mundo said he was tired of waiting and wanted a title match right now. He called Son of Havoc a loser and D-Bag and said people wanted Johnny Mundo. Dario passively said that Mundo was on Dario’s dial of doom so if luck is with him he’ll get a title match. Mundo yelled that he creates his own fortune and wants a title match. Dario Cueto said Mundo lost the trios titles the last time. Mundo blamed it on Angelico and said that the Worldwide Underground took care of him…

Suddenly a flashback to Ultima Lucha Dos, a part we didn’t see. Angelico was exiting the temple and met a surprise punch from PJ Black. Jack Evans followed up with a kick. Taya followed up with several strikes. Johnny Mundo rolled up in his car and told his henchmen to drag Angelico to him. Mundo beat up Angelico while he was restrained. Mundo then slammed Angelico’s leg several times in his car door. Dario Cueto laughed with the Underground in present time but said that Mundo still doesn’t get a title shot.

Mundo said fine then, he then wanted a shot against Sexy Star for a future shot against Dario’s brother. Dario said Mundo still doesn’t deserve it due to all of the underground guys failing to win at Ultima Lucha Dos, with the exception of Taya winning a match. Dario then booked Taya vs. Sexy Star for the Gift of the Gods tonight. Mundo begrudgingly agreed. They walked up as Dario yelled at Jack Evans to close the door. Jack closed the door…

Ivelisse was in the ring and said that Catrina cost her two Ultima Lucha matches in a row. She said she wants her first Ultima Lucha win first and then wants slam Catrina’s face in the ground. Ivelisse then proposed a match with Catrina at Ultima Lucha Tres. Catrina then teleported in the arena and told Ivelisse to bring it on, bitch! Ivelisse said at Ultima Lucha, Catrina was dead! [C]

John’s Thoughts: So far so good with the story developments. The randomness of season 2.5 still left a bad taste in my mouth, but like I said so far so good. The cinematics are good tonight which helps that case. They’re also going with multiple title matches again like last year’s season premiere.

Taya and Sexy Star were already in the ring for the title match.

2. Sexy Star vs. Taya for the Gift of the Gods Championship. Striker brought up how Fenix lost the title right after winning it at Ultima Lucha Uno. Star and Taya had a test of strength early on. Taya bent Star into a bow. Star broke out with an armdrag. Striker hyped that the stars of Dusk til Dawn the Series were in the audience. Taya locked in a dragon submission on the ground which Sexy Star escaped. Both luchadoras had a stalemate sequence next.

Sexy Star slapped Taya in the middle of the ring who ate a slap back. Sexy Star was then grounded and took some right arms. Taya pushed her boot into Star in the corner. Taya hit her double knees in the corner. Sexy Star kicked out at two after a unique pin attempt. Taya missed a moonsault and ate a boot from Sexy Star. Sexy Star then followed up with some running strikes. Star hit Taya with a seated senton on the outside. Taya kicked out at two in the ring.

Taya caught Star out of a crossbody and hit the fallaway slam. Johnny Mundo, PJ Black, and Jack Evans entered the ring. The referee was distracted as Mundo tried to hold Star in place. Taya accidently kneed Mundo and Sexy Star won off the rollup.

Sexy Star defeated Taya via pinfall in 4:37 to retain the Gift of the Gods Championship.

Johnny Mundo quickly entered the ring to restrain Sexy Star as the Worldwide Underground put the boots to Sexy Star. Fenix, Drago, and Aerostar ran in to run off the heels. Striker hyped that Pentagon Dark was facing Rey Mysterio next in the main event.

John’s Thoughts: Short match, but effective in setting up two feuds. More so, it continues the trios feud between Fenix’s team while initiating a feud between Sexy Star and Johnny Mundo. Again, it’s Lucha Underground doing the intergender thing and we’ll see where this goes. Sexy Star still looks good in the ring these days and hopefully they rectify their mistake of not capitalizing off of Sexy Star’s great No Mas performance from a few months ago.

Dario was on the phone in his office as Marty the Moth Martinez entered and knocked on the door in a creepy way. Marty said he was happy Jefe was back and wanted to know if his family made it to Dario on the inside. Dario thanked Marty’s family for their generosity, but he was an innocent man and wants Marty not to talk about it. Marty agreed and said he was there for business. Marty said it was time for the moth to enter the temple. Dario said he liked Marty’s gumption. Dario said if you want to conquer something you must be ready for a war and so was the man on Marty’s dog tags.

Marty said he didn’t care about Killshot. Dario said he was giving Killshot a chance to win his dog tags back and next week they were having a “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Match next week. Dario said Marty better put on his war paint and to consider this a present from Dario. Marty said that Killshot better be ready for war. Marty then made some creepy laughs which weirded out Dario…

John’s Thoughts: So Marty’s rich family has something to do with getting Dario out of jail. I like the bringing back of continuity as opposed to the randomness of last season’s latter part. Killshot has been less than stellar in Lucha Underground throughout his run, but I have a feeling that he gets better, at least by the end of this season. Call it a (non-spoiler) premonition.

Back in The Temple Rey Mysterio made it to the ring in a tank top and Rey Mysterio Sr overmask as Vampiro educated the viewers on. Pentagon Dark came from the heel entrance ramp as they cut to commercial… [C]

3. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Pentagon Dark. Vampiro said he respects the pain that Rey went through to get his tatoos. Striker talked about the end of last season but Vampiro said he didn’t want to be reminded about it. Rey Mysterio sent Pentagon outside and hit Pentagon with a Tope Con Hilo. Pentagon managed to turn the tide and hit Rey with some strikes. Pentagon hit Rey with a high flapjack and earned a nearfall after a footstomp. Rey was grounded with a low kick to the shin.

Pentagon hit his signature loud chest slap on Rey in the middle of the ring. Rey tried to come back with a kick but Pentagon recovered quickly and hit two consecutive Sling Blades. Rey kicked out of the next pin attempt. Pentagon and Striker noted that Pentagon didn’t hook the leg. Rey was grounded after a thrust kick. Rey met Pentagon on the top rope. Rey then hit a high Frankensteiner on Pentagon to pick up a nearfall for himself. Pentagon whipped Rey through the bottom rope. Rey ate a front kick on the outside.

Rey kicked Pentagon from the apron but was caught from a moonsault. Rey converted his momentum to a tornado DDT on the outside of the ring. Rey Mysterio hit his signature fall splash on Pentagon to get two and a half counts off of Pentagon. Pentagon hit a pumphandle Michinoku Driver on Rey for the next nice pinfall attempt. Rey escaped Pentagon and hit Pentagon with an armdrag. Pentagon dodged the 619 and hit Rey with a superkick. Pentagon hit the gut check on Rey to get yet another nearfall on Rey. Vampiro was disgusted at the lack of leg hook again.

Pentagon Dark went outside to jaw with Vampiro. Vampiro no-sold pentagon with a blank stare. Vampiro walked off and said he couldn’t be there as the match continued. Rey escaped a powerbomb and hit 619 on Pentagon. Rey hit a nice top rope Canadian Destroyer on Pentagon Jr to pick up the victory.

Rey Mysterio Jr defeated Pentagon Dark via pinfall in 8:19.

Rey went to celebrate his win but Pentagon quickly recovered to hit Rey with a Razor’s Edge. Pentagon Dark went to break Rey’s arm but Dragon Azteca Jr ran in for the save. Azteca forgot he was supposed to sell a broken arm himself until a few seconds after Pentagon was out of the ring. LOL. Striker checked out and that was the end of this week’s Lucha Underground…

But wait, there’s more! Prince Puma was contemplating about his loss to Rey Mysterio at Ultima Lucha. Vampiro walked into the locker room and said that he knows how Prince Puma feels because he’s been there before. Vampiro said Puma might need guidance. Puma said he doesn’t need anything especially from Vampiro. Vampiro gave Puma some advice. He said Puma wasn’t the same since facing Mil Muertes. Muertes not only took away Puma’s mentor, but he took Puma from Puma. Vamp said to become Prince Puma again he has to take out Mil Muertes. Puma laughed and said he was surprised that Vampiro didn’t want Puma to take out Pentagon for him. Vampiro laughed and said it wasn’t about Vampiro, it was about Puma. Prince Puma had a frown as the camera zoomed out on the Lucha Underground billboard. Now the show was done this week… [C]

John’s Thoughts: That was a good match between Rey Mysterio and Pentagon Dark and overall I feel that Pentagon was a better opponent than Prince Puma to Rey because Pentagon doesn’t outshine Rey as much as Ricochet does this day and age. Rey also looked a bit better than usual on his end. At Ultima Lucha it looked like he was holding back big time. Rey didn’t do anything risky this time per se, but he was more athletic with his moves in this match more than he’s been in years. That’s evidenced from his Tope Con Hilo spot and that clean Canadian Destroyer in the end in lieu of his typical West Coast Pop rana.

The announcers were a bit better tonight, especially Vampiro. Striker still has his eye rolling moments, but Vampiro got his two cents in on the main event to cover up the weaknesses of Striker. Vampiro actually added to the match by bringing up analysis to the action in the ring and not allowing Striker to run wild. Striker’s intelligence on commentary covers up Vamp’s weaknesses as a rookie commentator. As for the ending cinematic, I’m intrigued and it does address that Prince Puma hasn’t been the same since Konnan was taken out of the picture. We all know that Vampiro is Lucha Underground’s version of Emperor Palpatine, but he looked good in the cinematic playing the role of his hated rival Konnan. It also shows that they are going to be spotlighting Prince Puma somehow again which is always a treat. One can hope that they get the title on to Puma and off of Matanza soon, but that’s only a dream right now.

Lucha Underground still has a ways to go to get back into good graces story wise in my book but this first episode was a step in the right direction as to getting back to that greatness that the show had after the first Ultima Lucha. The in ring quality was superb tonight and the storylines were progressed in a solid way. I’ll save saying Lucha Underground is great again until the end of the first story arcs of the season. Overall, this is a recommended episode. Matanza is developing well, albeit he looks weak these days. You also get a nice Rey Mysterio match with Rey looking more athletic than usual and Pentagon Dark being protected by being distracted by Vampiro. I’ll have more to say later today in my member exclusive audio review of the show, and thanks so much for reading.

Feedback is always appreciated and feel free to contact me via twitter @liljohnm to tweet and discuss Lucha Underground. You can also comment and discuss Lucha directly with me via email: jmoore3.net@gmail.com.


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