By John Moore
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Taped June 25, 2016 in Boyle Heights, California at The Temple
This week’s intro teaser had somber trailer music. The trailer focused on the entire Killshot and Dante Fox story. Also spliced in was the build to the El Texano Jr vs. Famous B match where Dario booked B in a “handicap” match for Texano’s contract. This week’s episode didn’t have a clever title, since it was Ultima Lucha 3 – Part 1…
Melissa Santos opened the actual show by welcoming the viewers to Ultima Lucha Tres. Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. Striker introduced a new house band for the night. The house band was “Mariachi El Bronx”. Striker Ultima Lucha is going to be four weeks long. He said yearlong rivalries and championship journeys will come to an end (uh? nope! Some of these matches were built in less than a month and some with little to none build). In one of the actual yearlong feuds, Vampiro hyped up the Dante Fox (AR Fox) vs. Killshot (Shane Strickland) Hell of War match. Vampiro went over what “Hell of War” was which was what WWE would call “3 Stages of Hell”. The first stage was a first blood, the second was no DQ, and the third was an Ambulance match. Striker said the classic “War is Hell” line and passed it over to Melissa Santos…
John’s Thoughts: Small continuity note, Melissa Santos was beaten up last week and even took a pedigree. Now she’s totally fine. Season 1 did a better job at this attention to detail.
Melissa Santos clarified that if El Texano Jr loses the next match he has to give his Lucha Underground contract to Famous B and be a part of “Infamous Incorporated”. Famous B talked about still having a broken arm and how he can’t beat a cowboy as rough and tough as Texano. Famous B said he made a call to Dario Cueto and Dario made this an actual handicap match. Famous B called Dr. Wagner Jr. to be his partner…
John’s Thoughts: Even though the guy was about 51 or 52 years old at the time of this taping and we found out at this year’s TripleMania that there is a legit grey haired old man under the mask; Dr. Wagner is a freak of nature. For one he has a body of a 30-year-old bodybuilder and the former New Japan star can really go in the ring still. Wagner is fun to watch and like Jushin Liger there is some sort of ageless thing going on with him.
1. El Texano Jr. vs. Famous B and Dr Wagner Jr. (w/Brenda) in a handicap match for El Texano Jr’s LU Contract. Texano went for quick armdrags. Wagner grounded Texano with a running knee. Wagner chopped Texano in the corner. Texano came back with a monkey flip. Texano sent Wagner outside and hit Wagner with a flip dive. Back in the ring, Texano hit Wagner with a slingshot senton. Famous B hit Texano with his cast to draw his attention away. Texano chased B up the steps and ripped off the cast. Texano then tossed B from midway off the stairs to the floor.
Wagner pulled Texano back in the ring and hit him with a senton. Wagner went for La Magistral Cradle on Texano. Famous B then wanted in and gave Wagner a too sweet to enter the ring. B put some boots to Texano but Texano quickly regained control with strikes. Texano hit B with a pumphandle slam. Striker wondered if the B in famous B is a PG word. Vampiro jokingly said the B stands for “brother”. Texano hit Texano with his sitout powerbomb finisher but couldn’t get the pin because B was legal. Brenda then used her sex appeal to lure over Texano who she pulled over for a French Kiss session. Famous B rolled up Texano with his feet on the ropes
Famous B and Dr. Wagner Jr. defeated El Texano Jr via pinfall in 4:25 to make Texano an employee of Famous B.
Famous B sold shock on his face. Striker quickly went to the graphic that hyped Killshot vs. Dante Fox in their Three Stages of Hell match… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Another crappy finish to a good Texano match. Famous B just equals crappy finishes where no matter what story the match is telling, it always ends up with dumb overbooking booked around what kind of comedy Famous B is going to do. It’s been a pattern and I’m not looking forward to Texano’s matches now that they are tied at the hip if Lucha Underground gets season 4 greenlit. The match was on its way to being good, but it all gets erased with the cute endings that Lucha Underground have relied on a bit too much recently. It reminds me of bad late-WCW matches. With that said, Famous B going over was a foregone conclusion because it’s the only thing that would make this story make any sense. What would be funny is if they ended up saying that B sold Texano’s contract to Impact Wrestling. How’s that for continuity?
Matt Striker went over the upcoming Ultima Lucha Card: Son of Havoc vs. Pentagon Dark in a Ladder Match for the Gift of the Gods, El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. The Monster Matanza Cueto in a steel cage, Sexy Star vs. Taya in a Last Luchadora Standing match, Brian Cage vs. Jeremiah Crane vs. Mil Muertes for Dario’s Magic Spirit Glove, Prince Puma vs. Johnny Mundo in a Career vs. Title luchas de apuestas, Ivelisse vs. Catrina, a Unique Opportunity Battle Royal, and Fenix vs. Marty the Moth in a Mask vs. Hair match…
John’s Thoughts: That’s one hell of a set of matches and if they were going to bill this as Ultima Lucha, I think they should have tried to cram it all together and make it first-run as an PPV/iPPV independent showcase. Separated, it doesn’t seem like Ultima Lucha especially since most of those matches mentioned had minimal build. Matanza was feuding with Rey for months, Taya acted like a cheerleader one time, Cage lost his glove in a cinematic because Dario walked into the room, Ivelisse has been gone for about a year on-air, and more matches with little build.
Melissa Santos introduced Killshot and Dante Fox for their three stages of hell match. Like Lacey Evans on NXT (who’s a real life Marine), Dante Fox changed up his attire away from the generic black tights and now to Olive Drab cargo pants. It’s an upgrade and makes him fit the military character… [C]
2. Killshot vs. Dante Fox in a First Blood Match. Striker clarified that this might not even go three falls (but since this is pro wrestling, of course it will go three). Killshot pushed Fox back with a headscissors. Fox tried to retreat due to Killshot’s aggression. Killshot hit Fox with a sailing baseball slide. Killshot set up a ladder on the barricade and ring. Fox evaded Killshot’s chair and threw the chair at his face. Striker proposed the logical question and brought up how it would be tough to declare Fox a winner since Killshot’s face mask blocks possible bleeding from the head. Fox put Killshot on top of the ladder and hit his wall run moonsault on Killshot.
Killshot gave Fox snake eyes on the ring apron. Killshot and Fox fought over a chair. Fox faked out Killshot with a chair to cause him to handstand. Fox then threw the chair at the head of Killshot. Fox set up a chair in the corner. Killshot dodged out of the way and dropkicked Fox’s head into the chair. Killshot missed a legdrop on the apron. Fox hit Killshot with a jumping rolling Sobat. Dante Fox then jumped all the way from a balcony to the ring to hit a leg drop on the back of Killshot.
Fox then went to the janitor’s closet to find a pane of (hopefully sugar) glass. Fox then asked for referee Rick Knox to help him build a chair and glass contraption. Killshot blocked a strait jacket toss. Fox escaped a fireman carry. Killshot then nailed Fox with a Side Effect on the ring apron. Killshot went to the top rope but Fox recovered. Fox then caught Killshot with a quick catch C4 to the center of the ring. Wowzers!
Fox brought the chair and glass into the ring (and why is Rick Knox assisting Fox in his attack? Maybe the camera wasn’t supposed to put that in center frame). Dante Fox then crossed the arm of Killshot for some sort of super move into the glass. Killshot fought back and then locked in a double underhook on Fox. Fox reversed Shot and backtossed him into the glass which shattered the entire pane. Killshots back showed blood so Fox won the first fall.
Dante Fox defeated Killshot in 10:25 in a first blood match to earn the first fall.
The camera zoomed into Killshots back to show the shards and cuts in Killshot’s back (Since it was a complete shatter, I’m sure it’s sugar. I’m sure they wouldn’t have risked real glass with the Matanza/Cobb real-glass incident from a few months prior). Striker brought up the possibility of Dante Fox winning the Hell of War if he can pick up the next pinfall… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Hot damn! That was a sweet piece of match. And only a piece because we’re in for most likely two more pieces of that craziness. I can’t believe I’m going to quote Darren Gutteridge’s Progress Wrestling reviews two reviews in two consecutive reviews, but It’s because we had two Progress standouts (Fabian Aichner in NXT and Shane Strickland in Lucha). I share the same sentiment with Darren and I’m not a fan of the chair shots to the head. I also agree with a quote from Darren (or was it Haydn Gleed?) that Shane Strickland doesn’t need the garbage CZW stuff to be great because the great stuff in that last match would have still been great without the unnecessary shots to the head. That criticism aside, the match was sick. The good kind of sick. Unprotected headshots are the bad kind of sick.
Killshot’s back was covered in blood at this point.
3. Killshot vs. Dante Fox in a No-DQ match. Fox punched off some blood on Killshot’s back and gloated to the crowd with blood on his forearm. Fox then set up a chair with the leg pegs faced up in the corner and put a ladder on top of it. Fox hit his innovative springboard seated Spanish fly move onto a chair. Fox then gave Killshot a 450 into the ladder. Killshot kicked out of Fox’s two pin attempts. Killshot kicked Fox into the second turnbuckle and hit his signature jumping hanging DDT.
The crowd chanted “Fight Forever” (since it was the hot thing to do at the time. This was taped a few months after Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn believe it or not!). Killshot dragged out a wooden pallet with barbed wire on it. Killshot put it in the corner. Killshot staggered Fox with a European Uppercut. Fox did a kip up dodge but Killshot sent Fox into the corner. Killshot hit three rapid fire shotgun single leg dropkicks on Fox. Fox was grounded but Killshot could only muster a one count over the fired-up Dante Fox. Killshot gave Fox a jumping Tiger Knee and then power bombed Fox into the barbed wire. Killshot hit a modified one winged angel for the pinfall.
Killshot defeated Dante Fox via pinfall in 6:14 to earn the second fall.
Fox’s back now was covered in blood and glass as the show went to commercial… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I know the easy break was due to sugar but is there some Magician’s Glass (gimmicked real glass) in the sugar glass since it looks real, and it looks like these guys have legit cuts. That second fall was one of the better garbage matches that I’ve seen in a while and it’s good when these things aren’t overdone. It also didn’t need any of the concussion risks that the WMD match had from earlier on in the season. The WMD was one of my worst matches of the year, but this is one of my top.
There was ten minutes left in the show.
Back to the show there was about ten minutes left in the hour. Two guys in army fatigues were standing behind a stretcher…
3. Killshot vs. Dante Fox in an Ambulance Match. Killshot tried to suplex Fox to the apron but he fell all the way to the ground. Fox tried to push the stretcher into Killshot but Killshot sailed over it with a shotgun dropkick. Dante Fox crawled away but Killshot stalked him with the gurney. Fox and Killshot fought their way to the top rope. Fox locked in a straightjacket lock but Killshot lifted Fox into fireman carry. Killshot hit Fox with a Super Attitude Adjustment onto the stretcher outside. A camera zoomed into some of Fox’s “flesh” which ripped off onto the stretcher. Killshot locked Fox using the straps on the stretcher. Shot and Knox rolled Fox to the evac truck. Fox tried to fight out but Killshot gave Fox a double stomp through the stretcher.
Fox caught Killshot with a tiger feint kick to allow him to recover in the ring. Fox then hit Killshot with a high angle Tope Con Hilo. The commentators pointed out that Dario Cueto put a wooden structure between the truck and the ring. Fox dragged Killshot to the band area. Fox used a microphone cord to choke out Killshot. Killshot hit Fox with a glass bottle and then Fox fell off the balcony into the glass contraption on the ground. Killshot then slowly carried his former military brother to the back of the medical evacuation truck. Killshot shut the door to pick up the win.
Killshot defeated Dante Fox in 8:17 to win the third fall in the Hell of War match.
Melissa Santos announced Killshot as the winner as Killshot signaled for the truck to roll off. The camera showed some proud and empathetic fans. Killshot then went to the ring to retrieve his dog tags as well as rest on the top rope…
John’s Thoughts: Holy hot freakin damn! That was an epic battle. I figured the glass was probably sugar that converted to red dye when moisture touched it (since Killshot’s back was completely fine at the third fall) but the gimmick still looked cool, sick, and sick-sick. I hated the garbage style CZW match between Marty the Moth and Killshot, but this one was well worked and had the proper backstory and might be my best match recommendation of Season 3. I’ve been critical of Dante Fox’s hammy facial expressions but they worked here when you’re dealing with things like glass, barbed wire, and ripped flesh. I didn’t attend this taping (I was in the crowd the following day), but I did receive a few text messages from some of my friends in Boyle Heights who didn’t spoil the match but they did tell me that this was one of the best matches they’ve seen, so my expectations were high. They surpassed my expectations. Good job by Fox and Strickland. Go out of your way to watch this episode. I’ll have more thoughts on this epic match in my member exclusive audio review later today.
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...