12/7 Moore’s Lucha Underground TV Review: Dario Cueto’s Battle of the Bulls Tournament Begins, Kobra Moon summons her lizardmen minions to attempt to capture Drago, Sexy Star vs. “The Darewolf” PJ Black

luchaundergroundBy John Moore

Lucha Underground TV
Taped April 2016 in Los Angeles, California

This week’s Lucha Underground intro video started off focusing on Angelico’s injury leading to his return where he jumped off the roof again. Cage and El Texano Jr were shown competing in their best of five series as to who will become the host of the soul of MVP (I assume that MVP’s soul is in that box that Dario Cueto has). Also, Sexy Star refusing Willie Mack’s backup like an idiot was shown which led to her losing the Lucha Underground Championship after one week. This week’s episode was titled “The Bulls of Boyle Heights”…

We started this week’s episode with the usual Dario Cueto office opening cinematic. Angelico entered the office to meet with Dario this week. Dario called Angelico the “boy who could fly”. Angelico said he wants [Johnny] Mundo tonight and he doesn’t care if it’s for the Lucha Underground Championship. Dario said his hands were tied because Johnny Mundo’s lawyer was a real shark. Angelico said maybe he should lawyer up too because he was violently beaten while working for Dario. Dario said everyone knows the dangers of working in this temple and it was not Dario Cueto’s fault. Angelico said maybe Dario was right and offered a handshake. Angelico instead held Dario down on his desk and said it will be Dario Cueto’s fault when he puts Dario through his desk with the Fall of the Angels. Dario said Angelico could get his hands on Mundo if he could get past his new tournament, the battle of the bulls. Dario said Angelico will be fighting in the tournament next week. Angelico said that works as he pats Dario on the cheek. Angelico said Johnny Mundo wouldn’t need a lawyer after he wins the Battle of the Bulls, he’ll need an Undertaker. Dario Cueto called Angelico “stupid” behind his back as he exited…

John’s Thoughts: I’m not sure why, but Angelico was really good in that cinematic. Most of the regular wrestlers, including Johnny Mundo who acts in Hollywood, come off as bad actors. Angelico said come cliché lines but he delivered them really well and his intimidation over Dario was really believable even though you wouldn’t think of Angelico as threatening at first glance.

El Conjunto Nueva Ola were the house band this week and they sang what I would call an indie fan’s anthem, they sang a “This is Awesome” song. Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary as Vampiro’s shirt was censored due to him wearing some copyrighted material. Vampiro talked about a new Dario Concept, the battle of the bulls tournament. Matt Striker went over the rules by saying that they’ll be four fatal four ways which will feed into a four way elimination match.

John’s Thoughts: So…. It’s just a variation off of last year’s six to survive just with the numerology of 4? Also, the censorship on Vampiro was hilarious because it made it made it look like they were censoring boobs due to the positioning of the blur.

1. “They Call Him” Cage vs. El Texano Jr. vs. Joey Ryan vs. Dr. Wagner Jr (w/ Famous B and Brenda) in a first round Battle of the Bulls tournament match. Famous B tried to introduce Dr Wagner Jr but was clotheslined by Cage to kick off the match. Cage went for the sunset flip on Wagner but he took a kick. Ryan knocked down Wagner but was hit by a Texano leg lariat. Cage and Texano traded strikes next. Cage was grounded by the Ruff Ryder Leg Lariat. Texano used the rope on Cage. Striker informed us that this was a No-DQ match (it would help if they fed this information to Melissa Santos to introduce so we aren’t finding out about the rules during the match).

Texano gave Wagner and Ryan a Tope con Hilo. Cage climbed to the top rope to give all three men a moonsault to the outside which drew the Terminator claps. Cage fought out of a suplex but couldn’t escape the sitout body slam. Cage gave Dr. Wagner a deadlift suplex to the inside of the ring. Joey Ryan went for a splash but was caught into a jackhammer from Cage. Texano gave Wagner a Celtic Cross after tossing Cage aside. Texano gave Joey Ryan a Uranage. Striker said it was because of Cage and Texano’s weight that the match was slowing down.

Wagner gave Texano the Dragon Screw and put him on the top rope. Wagner gave Texano a cutter. Joey Ryan took a Samoan Drop from Dr. Wagner Jr. Ryan managed to counter and hit a pumphandle suplex on Wagner. Ryan gave Texano a spinebuster. Ryan was overpowered by Cage into the corner. Ryan fought out of the corner and gave Cage a swinging neckbreaker from the top rope. Joey Ryan went to the top rope but was met by Texano. Everyone else recovered and Cage gave them all the Tower of Doom. Famous B stopped Cage from giving a clothesline but he was easily tossed. Cage backtossed both Famous B and Dr. Wagner. Madness ensued until Texano had all three men under control.

Joey Ryan ate a superkick and sitout powerbomb. Cage broke up the pin and punched Joey Ryan with Texano’s bullrope. Cage picked up the pinfall victory over Joey Ryan.

Brian Cage defeated Joey Ryan, Dr. Wagner Jr, and El Texano Jr via pinfall in 8:36 to advance in the Battle of the Bulls Tournament.

Matt Striker sold the victory as Cage stealing the win from Texano. Texano gave Cage a stare while on the ground. Striker hyped another battle of the bull match for later on…

John’s Thoughts: Now that was an extremely entertaining match everyone except Dr. Wagner Jr got a chance to shine and Dr. Wagner didn’t need to get a chance or else it would have seemed too scripted so I like the way they painted this encounter out. Lucha Underground needs to find a way to break away from their indie wrestling formula (I wouldn’t mind hiring Sami Callahan as an agent due to his experience with the WWE psychological style). Lucha Underground also stop trying to be too cute with their “innovative” concepts because they are just starting to get a bit contrived. This might be an issue due to Lucha Underground not having enough creative for their roster. It also might be a consequence of their ridiculous talent contracts which they were signing wrestlers to compete under.

Dario Cueto was chatting with Sexy Star and he said that he relates with Sexy Star’s troubled past. Dario said she was a fighter and in his opinion the Lucha Underground Championship was taken from her not only by Johnny Mundo, but by the entire Worldwide Underground. Sexy Star called them dirty bastardos. Dario said he was booking her in a match against PJ Black which was the only member of the Underground that Sexy Star hasn’t faced. Dario said if Sexy Star wins she gets an automatic rematch against Johnny Mundo without having to compete in the Battle of the Bulls. Sexy Star said that was music to her ears. Dario Cueto said if she beats PJ Black tonight, the Worldwide can’t interfere with her rematch because the world title match would be inside of a steel cage. Dario also said that if Sexy Star doesn’t win then she will never get a Lucha Underground Title Shot ever again. Sexy Star shrugged and said that it was no problem. She said Dario escaped his troubled past but if he was not cuidado she promises he will have a troubled future…

It’s LAPD Time! Ricky Reyes entered Captain Vasquez’s office with a broken arm. Reyes pointed out how Dario knows he was a rat/cop. Vasquez said she was wrong about Joey Ryan. Vasquez said she doesn’t trust Joey Ryan anymore and could only trust Reyes. Vasquez said she needs him in the temple. Reyes pointed out how he can’t go back because of Dario Cueto knowing he’s a cop. Vasquez said he has to go deeper and she handed him a mask…

Melissa Santos handled the ring introductions for the next match… [C]

2. Sexy Star vs. “The Darewolf” PJ Black. Sexy Star went for the early pin attempt but PJ kicked out. Sexy Star did a matrix dodge and gave Black a kick to the gut leading to a huracanrana. Black ended the momentum with a knee to Star’s gut. Sexy Star recovered and gave Black a dropkick to the gut. Sexy Star maintained a short arm attack and staggered PJ Black with strikes. Sexy Star nailed PJ with a springboard huracanrana. PJ Black blocked a headscisors into a modified flapjack. Black teased ripping sexy Star’s mask for heat.

PJ Black locked in Sexy Star’s pendulum lock and used it to slam Sexy Star’s head against the turnbuckle. Black fought back with chops to PJ’s chest. Sexy Star rolled into a guillotine choke but PJ Black powered out and hit a suplex on Sexy Star. PJ Black hit Sexy Star with a lionsault. Striker was going a bit overboard with trying to paint PJ Black out to be a heel. Sexy Star slapped Black on the top rope and went for a Frankensteiner but PJ Black rolled through and planted Sexy Star with the Styles Clash. Luckily Sexy Star didn’t tuck her chin. Sexy Star kicked out at two for a good nearfall.

PJ Black went for another lionsault but Sexy Star escaped and gave Black rapid round house kicks. Sexy Star planted PJ Black with a spike DDT for a nearfall of her own. Jack Evans ran to distract the referee and he threw a bat in the ring. This served as a distraction but Sexy Star escaped the full nelson from Jack Evans causing PJ Black to accidentally hit him with a Superkick. Sexy Star rolled PJ Black up with the sunset flip to pick up the victory.

Sexy Star defeated PJ Black via pinfall in 6:30.

PJ Black and Jack Evans bickered in the ring as Sexy Star stood on the steps with confidence…

In some random palace? Kobra Moon (a.k.a. Bay Area wrestler Thunder Rosa) was sitting in a cobra shaped throne. She also wore royal garb. She was talking to kneeling minions and told them that her tribe was home of the greatest warriors in the Aztec Empire. She said the army was led by three of the most venomous, coldblooded, and deadly generals to ever live. She said when the “Great War” broke out they were defeated because one of their Generals deserted them (Matt Hardy? jk). She said thankfully the other two generals were able to survive and were here. Kobra Moon said she sent for these two as their queen. Kobra Moon told them to rise and we saw there was a lizard man and a dinosaur man, both better looking than El Dragon Azteca Jr. Kobra Moon said their goal was to bring back the man who deserted them long ago. She told them to bring her the man who was once a dragon and to make him kneel before his queen. She took a sip of her libation as Sony Playstation’s God of War II music played… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Wowzers! That was a really good match between Sexy Star and PJ Black. It might be her second best match right behind her “no mas” one. If you are going to do intergender matches, that’s the formula unlike the drag out ones from last week. What almost killed the match for me was Matt Striker being too overt in trying to make PJ Black the heel even tough Black didn’t do much to draw such heat (and why doesn’t Striker say the same things when heel women are in fights with bigger men?). Also, as for the cinematic, that was a really cool one and good usage of the Kobra Moon character which is getting much needed development this season. The other two lizard guys also don’t look lame which is a plus. Little question for Lucha Underground’s production team though, was it really necessary to pay for the rights to use really recognizable Video Game music as opposed to finding a cheaper orchestra? I’m not sure if Lucha Underground wants us to think of Kratos and Zeus over their own fantasy world.

Dario Cueto went to Matanza’s cage to essentially beg him to be in the Battle of the Bulls tournament. Matanza refused and said he wanted Rey. Dario said Rey was recovering from injury. Dario also mentioned that Rey’s protégé, El Dragon Azteca Jr, returned last week so he has a spot in the tournament tonight. Dario said Azteca was blinded by rage like Matanza which cost Azteca not only his arm but maybe his career. Matanza gave Dario a soft touch to his head. Dario said he hopes Matanza is smart enough to not make the same mistake. Matanza then got aggressive and slammed Dario’s face into the metal bars. Matanza then went for the key to his cage as the camera cut away… [C]

3. Marty the Moth Martinez vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr vs. Willie Mack vs. Mil Muertes (w/ Catrina) in a Battle of the Bulls Tournament match. El Dragon Azteca Jr’s headdress still looks like a cartoon parrot eating a watermelon, it sucks. The other three guys triple teamed Mil Muertes to start but he overpowered all of them with punches and clotheslines. Muertes gave Mack a powerslam. Mil no sold a dropkick from Azteca but not the kicks from Mack and Marty. Mack and Marty also gave Azteca chops. Mack gave Marty a flying leg lariat. Mack gave Azteca a club to the chest. Azteca stopped on a dime and came back at Mack

Dragon Azteca gave Mack his cool signature pop-up DDT. Mil Muertes hit Azteca with the Gore. Marty hit an armdrag on Mil and pressured Mil in the corner. Mil turned the tables and gave Marty clotheslines in the corner. Mack recovered and Gave Mil a back suplex. Azteca flew in and took Mack down. Marty gave Mack a boot to the outside. Dragon Azteca jumped over Marty to hit Mack with a Tope. Mil Muertes gave Marty the Big E Spear Tope through the ropes. This took everyone out which Striker compared to a minestrone soup. Striker also noted how El Dragon Azteca Jr was the lightweight of the match. Azteca hit Mil with a dropkick but Mil came right back with a clothesline.

Mil went for the flatliner but ate a stunner from Mack. Marty gave Mil a TKO and Azteca gave him a leg drop. After some commotion Azteca stood tall. Mil recovered and gave Azteca a chokebomb. Azteca fought out of a powerbomb and was grounded. Dragon Azteca Jr went for and hit the 450. Azteca went for another which the announcers said was not smart. Matanza ran in and powerbombed Azteca on Muertes. Azteca went for the popup DDT but instead fell into the Wrath of the Gods. Dario Cueto ran out with the key and what looked like possibly a bad nosebleed. Vampiro also assumed it was a nosebleed.

Dario Cueto used the power of his key to take Matanza to the back. Marty tried to steal the pin but Mack kicked Marty off. After some reversals Mack hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Marty the Moth to pick up the pinfall victory.

Willie Mack defeated Marty the Moth Martinez, Mil Muertes, and El Dragon Azteca Jr via pinfall in 8:27 to advance in the Battle of the Bulls Tournament.

Mil sat around outside and was pulled back by Catrina. Mack celebrated in the ring as the show ended without post credits.

John’s Thoughts: That was a decent main event even though we’ve seen much better from this show in the past. Dragon Azteca gained a bit of in-ring credibility here and they protected both he and Mil by having the decision come from Mack and Marty. One thing Lucha Underground does better than WWE is that they try to homogenize their roster in the upper card, but the problem with that is it’s still homogenization. This problem stems from them trying to be contrarian and the fact that their roster is probably too big for them to utilize with only a one hour weekly show. I do remember Chris DeJoseph mentioning one solution to this problem was how their creative team would have more elbow room with an additional half hour to showcase their roster. Also, they should just not sign so many people to big contracts especially since this company isn’t making the money to justify the costs of production just yet.

This was a really good episode overall with the flaws being simple stumbles and nitpicks. The cinematics were solid and the one thing season three has that keeps it from sinking into season two levels of bad is that they are maintaining their continuity this time were stories actually lead to something. What Lucha Underground should do more of especially since it can be fixed with post production, is not to throw these random concept gimmicks out there at random and instead have Matt Striker tell us the rules maybe a week out. The whole Battle of the Bulls things also just sounds stupid when you think about it. At least it isn’t Team X Gold! Check back for the member exclusive LU audio review later this week.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. You’re spot on about the Lucha Underground roster being too big and no one standing out. They also forgot about the great job they did to build up people like Puma and Fenix. I’m glad you guys are posting reviews for us to read so we don’t have to suffer to some of the frustrating episodes of this and any other wrestling show

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