By John Moore
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Taped June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California at The Temple
This week’s Lucha Underground intro focused on Ultima Lucha Tres. Dragon Azteca Jr. and Black Lotus were featured. Cage, Mil Muertes, and Jeremiah Crane were shown brawling. They also showed the set up to the Prince Puma vs. Johnny Mundo match…
Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. Vampiro wore a suit while Striker a T-Shirt. Mariachi El Bronx were the house band for the finale. Vampiro said he was tripping because Prince Puma’s career was on the line…
Dario Cueto led Matanza to the ring with Matanza’s cage key. Dragon Azteca still looks like a parrot eating a watermelon.
1. The Monster Matanza Cueto (w/ Dario Cueto) vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr. in a steel cage match. Azteca was on the top of the cage at the beginning of the match and did a moonsault on Matanza. Azteca hit Matanza with a huracanrana. Matanza ran through Azteca. Matanza threw Azteca into the cage like a dart several times. Vampiro talked about how Matanza lives in a cage. Azteca escaped a gorilla press. Matanza got his hands on Azteca again and threw him through the gimmicked part of the cage to give Azteca the victory via accident.
El Dragon Azteca Jr defeated Matanza Cueto via escaping the cage.
Dario Cueto told El Dragon Azteca that there was no escape and that the match will still continue. Dario then re-booked the match to start immediately just this time it was no-DQ…
2. The Monster Matanza cueto (w/ Dario Cueto) vs. El Drago Azteca Jr. in a No-DQ Match. Striker was over the top in saying the match should be over. Matanza dominated on the onset of the new match. Azteca hit Matanza with a DDTJ to ground the monster. With Matanza knocked out, Dragon Jr. goes on to do one of the oddest things I’ve seen in professional wrestling and proceeds to try to strip off the clothing of Dario Cueto? Things get so weird that Matt Striker goes on to say that this is what “so many before have wanted [to do]!”. This strange scene gets even stranger because Striker goes over the top in saying “STRIP HIM DOWN!!!” several times.
John’s Thoughts: Uhhhhh? What?!?
Matanza saves Dario from his stripping. Matanza slammed Dragon into the hard camera area with a body slam. Matanza then did a dart toss to Azteca in the ring. Matanza raked Azteca’s face against the cage. Matt Striker then gets weirder by advising viewers to rake their head on a chain link fence to simulate what Dragon Azteca Jr is going through.
John’s Thoughts: Striker is the strangest he’s been since Season 2. First, he shows a strange obsession with seeing Dario Cueto stripped and now he advises viewers to mutilate themselves?
Striker then advised the kids not to rake their head on chain links. Vampiro mocked this word of wisdom from Striker. Matanza dominated and planted Azteca with his signature twist German Suplex. Azteca put himself into the Electric Chair and went for a Sunset Flip but Matanza blocked the flip. Black Lotus gave Azteca a crossbody. Lotus and Matanza double teamed Azteca to allow Matanza to hit Wrath of the Gods for the win.
Matanza Cueto defeated El Dragon Azteca Jr. via pinfall in 5:20.
Dario Cueto ripped the microphone away from Melissa Santos to announce Matanza as the winner of the match. Black Lotus then gave Matanza a low blow and top rope power bomb. Lotus went after Dario and yelled “you’re a liar!!!”. Dario yelled “yes… I’m a liar…”. Matanza hit wrath of the gods on Lotus to end the segment. The crowd comically chanted “you’re a liar” at Dario…
John’s Thoughts: I was a bit relieved to see Dario Cueto hit the reset on the match to prevent the fluky finish, but then a fluky finish became a crap finish. Is this some kind of joke that the LU gods are playing on me? First, I get El Texano Jr and King Cuerno invading TNA and now I get crap finishes in Lucha Underground. Why is Lucha Underground doing some sort of spirit merge with TNA? I kid, but it’s been a problem that even though matches have been solid in season 3, they’ve been marred with bad finishes. What adds to this is in most cases, the run-ins would have been better placed post-match rather that as what led to the finish. Lotus running in would have made more sense post-match to not detract from the quality of the match! Plus, what was up with Striker getting weird on commentary all of a sudden?
Striker noted that “Somehow got the Gauntlet back”. He stole the glove when Cage had his back turned in a Cinematic and was distracted by Mil and Crane. Dario Cueto walked out before the bell and talked about how the glove “consumed” the three wrestlers. Dario changed the match to an elimination match. [C]
John’s Thoughts: What’s with all of this last minute booking all over the place? This goes into the Season 3 flaw of the show trying to do too much as opposed to being efficient and economical with their writing.
3. Jeremiah Crane vs. “They Call Him” Cage vs. Mil Muertes in an elimination match for the Gauntlet of the Gods. Cage ran through Crane and Mil early on. Crane hit both men with pump kicks. Mil grounded Crane with a chokeslam. Triple Threat madness ensued. Cage had both men in the corner and did ten count lariats to both men. Crane took down Cage with a jump kick. Crane hit the running boot to a staggered Crane against the buckle. Crane took down Mil with a boot. Crane took out Cage with a suicide dive.
Cage hit Crane with a Tope Con Hilo. Mil hit both men with a top rope crossbody and followed up with his signature pushing of camera people. Cage hit Mil with a kick and tossed him into the buckle. Cage planted Mil with a pumphandle body slam. Cage set up tables. Crane hit Cage with a trash can. Crane had a crimson mask. Crane licked off some blood from his face. The crowd chanted “you sick fuck” to him. Crane gave Mil a Pump kick on the apron several times to cause him to fall into a table, but Mil no sold the pump kicks and chokeslammed Crane into the table.
Mil hit a nice running huracanrana on Cage and uppercut. Mil planted Cage with a powerbomb. Cage ran at Mil with a forearm. Cage caught Mil with a frankensteiner and lionsault. Cage brought in some bamboo skewers into the ring and shoved them into the head of Brian Cage. Crane DDT’d a skewer into the skull of Cage. In another odd Striker line of the night, Strike said it was a “Shish KageBob”. Crane brought a pane of glass into the fight area. Mil accidently shoulder tackled the glass. Crane tried to go for a huracanrana but he got powerbombed on the apron. Crane’s shoulder was torn up at this point and covered in blood.
Cage gave Mil a body slam. Cage hit Mil’s shoulder with a hammer and placed him on tables. Crane pushed Cage aside so he can occupy the apron. Cage Superkicked Crane and set him up for a reverse facebuster. Cage then hit an impressive deadlift Suplex from the apron to ringside into the table. Cage hit Crane with weapon X to eliminate Jeremiah Crane. [C]
Cage eliminated Jeremiah Crane via pinfall.
Referee Rick Knox reset things to a one-on-one match. Mil hit Cage with a power slam. Cage gave Mil a jumping knee and deadlift suplexed him into the ring. Cage hit a twisting aerial elbow drop. Crane reentered the ring and hit Cage with a steel chair. Striker noted that it was no DQ. After madness ensued Cage took down Crane and Mil with strong lariats. Mil countered a discus lariat into his flatliner finisher to pick up the win.
Mil Muertes eliminated Cage via pinfall in to become the owner of the Gauntlet of the Gods.
John’s Thoughts: First of all, this was a strong match as far as effort, entertainment value, and workrate. All three men put in a lot of work here and put on a good show. Conversely though, and I hate to complain after every match but it makes sense, my theory of diminishing returns crept up here. The blood took away from the quality of this match since we’ve been getting gratuitous amounts in parts 1 and 2. Part 3 stood out because there wasn’t gratuitous and excessive violence. This would be fun if you are a sadist; but my faith in humanity leaves me to believe that people aren’t bloodthirsty F’ers. Another proof to my theory is that this crowd was super hot for this match in arena (which I was a part of) since they didn’t have to sit through the prior day’s blood overload. It was much better in-person since we weren’t overexposed.
After the match, Catrina entered the ring and gave Cage the lick of death. Striker talked about how salty it tastes. Dario Cueto walked out with a treasure chest. Catrina opened the chest to retrieve the magic glove. Catrina held the magic rock in one hand and the glove in the other. Mil Muertes put on the glove and punched the Aztec seal. Once Mil punched it the lights went off. Suddenly, we had the return of King Cuerno (Impact Wrestling’s El Hijo Del Fantasma) who is appearing for the first time since Season 2. Cuerno body slammed Catrina and put the punches on Mil Muertes. Cuerno lifted Mil and hit him with a Michinoku Driver. Cuerno made it to the top of the steps and put on the glove. Cuerno did the throat slash hand sign at Catrina who held up her magic rock heading into commercial… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Well, that’s a cool return! I was in the crowd as this show was airing season 2, so I had no idea he didn’t show up until then. Cuerno is one of the most underrated performers in Lucha Underground. He wrestles like Okada and Randy Orton in that there are no flaws in his game. He’s a perfect English promo. Not to mention, the guy has arguably the best Suicide Dive in professional wrestling today. As down as I was on it when Killshot sucked in season 1, how awesome would a Season 4 Killshot vs. King Cuerno feud be down the road? As for the glove, Cage won it and lost it due to Dario Cueto stealing it when he wasn’t looking. Then it gets put on the line in a match which Mil wins. Then Cuerno pulls a Dario and jacks it from Mil. This is the strangest mid-card title in the world!
It was time for a faux Johnny Mundo documentary. This was the documentary that Taya Valkyrie has been filming the entire season. Taya recorded Mundo and asked him about what people think of him. Mundo talked about how it’s obvious that he’s the best in the world and people hate him because he has what they want. Mundo walked over some warehouses in Los Angeles and Taya talked about him being controversial and hot. They did some 70s style video transitions. Mundo did poses on top of a roof and he roared with eagle sound effects.
Taya talked about how the viewers don’t believe in Mundo. Mundo called the fans losers who live in their parents basements thinking about why their lives suck and why Mundo’s is amazing. Mundo said he’s special, better, and the one percent of the one percent. Taya then went into the development of the Worldwide underground where Mundo did some intentionally cheesy acting. PJ Black talked about how great it was being in the group. Jack Evans talked using a whiteboard due to his jaw injury. Ricky Mandel acted like a fanboy like he usually does. He said being with Mundo was like being with Jesus and Buddha, except Mundo is better than Jesus and Buddha. Taya then cut to Mundo driving a convertible. Mundo talked about being in the main event of Ultima Lucha. He said without him, there is no Ultima Lucha. Mundo said when the night was said and done, Mundo said he will still be champion.
Dario Cueto was interviewed. Dario said Mundo didn’t earn his spot in past years. Dario said as champ Mundo’s featured now. Dario said Johnny is jealous of Prince Puma so much that it eats him alive. Dario started making weird hand motion to signal eating alive. Taya talked about how Prince Puma is going to lose to the biggest star in the industry. Mundo talked about how Puma is going to lose to the best. The documentary ended with Johnny Mundo’s slamtown song playing in the background…
John’s Thoughts: That was not bad. I’m usually not a fan of cornball Johnny Mundo, but he didn’t go too cornball so much as he just acted more naturally. It baffles me a bit with one thing. Why did they not air this three weeks ago or split this into three parts to air over the last three weeks to help build to the main event of this show. Instead, there was zero build after the initial setup angle with that angle ending with Vampiro calling Puma stupid for putting his career on the line for no reason. Back to Mundo, It’s cool seeing him excel character wise. Johnny Impact should tune in to El Rey and take some pointers from this Mundo guy!
Matt Striker and Vampiro checked back in for the second hour of Lucha Underground. Melissa Santos handled the ring introductions for the main event of the show. Prince Puma wore his original attire as opposed to his dark mask and sweatpants/t-shirt combo. Puma also wore his vintage dead puma pelt to the ring (which still puts Dragon Azteca’s cartoon parrot to shame)…
John’s Thoughts: You may think that given Puma/Ricochet’s contract situation that this finish is telegraphed. Stay tuned.
4. Prince Puma vs. Johnny Mundo in a Career vs. Title match. Marty Elias held up the title and was the referee of this title match. Puma and Mundo squared off for an extended sequence as Striker talked about their past encounters. Mundo dominated early on with a side headlock takedown. Johnny Mundo kicked Puma in the gut. Mundo and Puma had an impressive counter sequence where both men couldn’t land a clean hit. Mundo did some of his impressive parkour and Puma did some impressive parkour of his own. Puma did a feint kick and used it to eye poke Puma.
Puma caught a flying Mundo with a swinging powerslam. Mundo did some smart dodges on the outside to Puma’s offense. Mundo got Puma on the ground and kicked him. Puma blocked an Irish Whip by jumping into the upper stands. Mundo and Puma brawled. Mundo tried to superplex Puma to ringside but Puma pushed Mundo off. Mundo dodged a double stomp. Puma did some parkour skillz by jumping to the ring and doing a tightrope Shooting Star Press. Mundo pulled Marty in front of him so Mundo could land a cheap shot right hand. Puma came back with a right hand. Mundo came back with a forearm. Puma came back with a running cutter and standing shooting star. Puma hit Johnny with a Northern Lights but Mundo rolled up and hit Puma with a right hand.
Puma hit Mundo with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Mundo dodged Puma and hit Puma with a Flying Chuck followed by his signature running knee. Mundo hit a corkscrew judo roll on Puma. Mundo ate a Kick from Puma. Puma and Mundo showed exhaustion at this point. Mundo caught Puma with a standing C4 for a close nearfall. Mundo gave Puma some stiff right hands. Mundo went for the Flying Chuck but he missed. Puma then accidently roundhouse kicked Marty Elias. REF BUMP!!!
Puma blocked a low blow and hit a discus clothesline on Mundo. Puma went for the 630 but Jack Evans and PJ Black ran in for interference. They were wearing neon clothes. Mundo and Black hit Puma with a kick and suplex combo. Jack Evans hit a corkscrew roundhouse on Puma. Taya threw Rick Knox in the ring. Rick Knox counted the pin but Puma kicked out (Why Knox isn’t disqualifying Mundo is beyond me? Only in TNA! No! Wait!). The worldwide underground then beat up Knox for REF BUMP #2!!! Striker said the Worldwide Underground looks like Saved By the Bell. Mundo and Black went for a con-chair-to but Angelico ran in and took out Evans and Black. Mundo accidently hit Taya with a chair. Angelico took out Mundo and hit him with a Tope Con Hilo.
Rick Knox then hit Black and Evans with the ugliest Tope Con Hilo in the world. Prince Puma hit the 630 on Johnny Mundo. Johnny Mundo kicked out at two for a really good nearfall. Mundo’s stunt double Mandel ran in and ate an Angelico superkick. Angelico chased away the Worldwide Underground with a stick. [C]
John’s Thoughts: A lot of run-ins! A lot of crap! But because it’s not playing into the finish and the forces involved cancelled each other out, then I’m fine with that. That nearfall before the commercial was sick, in a good way!
Marty Elias was referee again. Puma and Mundo traded fatigued strikes. Puma gained momentum and hit The Rock’s signature punches on Mundo. Mundo caught Puma with a boot. Puma hit a springboard roundhouse on Mundo. Puma went for the 630 but Mundo recovered. Mundo and Puma brawled on the top rope. Mundo showed great balance in hitting a Super Moonlight Drive on Prince Puma. Vampiro and Puma kept saying “no” nervously before Puma kicked out at two. Mundo did a feint Starship Pain to hit the actual Starship Pain. Prince Puma kicked out at two.
Mundo went for another Starship Pain but Puma got the knees up. Puma took down Mundo with kick variations. Puma hit a shotgun dropkick on Mundo to set up Mundo for the 630. Matt Striker hit the 630. Prince Puma picked up the win!
Prince Puma defeated Johnny Mundo via pinfall to become the new Lucha Underground Champion and saved his Lucha Underground career.
Vampiro stood up in acknowledgement and Puma celebrated his championship win. Johnny Mundo hobbled out in disappointment. Dario Cueto interrupted the celebration and said Puma made his ancestors and hometown proud. Dario said Puma still has his career and is the first two time Lucha Underground Champion. Dario said the night was not over yet because there was one more match. The crowd chanted Cero Miedo. What do you think is going to happen?[C]
John’s Thoughts: There you go! Puma’s not leaving? Well… We’ll see. That match was stellar! Interstellar maybe? The Ricochet contract situation was talked about back in June 2016 when this was taped and it was made well known that Puma might be on his way out. That added to the drama of this match. Couple that with Puma and Mundo showing up for work at the top of their game. I liked that it was Puma’s high spots vs. Johnny’s MMA style. It also helped that they had that post commercial segment to wipe away the run-ins and ref bump. This was a fun match to watch live and as I’ve said on podcasts in the past, this episode in-person was one of the best live pro wrestling experiences I’ve been to.
Dario Cueto took over for Melissa Santos by announcing Prince Puma in another match. Dario announced that Pentagon Jr. was cashing in his [Not-] Money In the Bank contract. Dario acknowledged that he’s breaking his rule to not make it like MITB. Puma’s opponent was Pentagon Dark. There were dueling Pentagon and Prince Puma chants with Cero Miedo winning out. Dario added it was a career vs. career match which Striker thought didn’t make sense… [C]
5. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark in a Career vs. Career match for the Lucha Underground Title. Puma started off the match with a kick and then hit Pentagon with a Tope Con Hilo. Pentagon caught Puma with a superkick. Pentagon hit Puma with a sunset backstabber. Pentagon Jr successfully hit his arm breaker. Pentagon ripped off his shirt and still had a chest protector. The medical team ran in and handed Puma some tape to tape up his elbow. Pentagon hit Puma with a loud chop. Striker pointed out that Vampiro’s two students are in the ring. Vampiro nosold Striker and said he was distracted by the match.
Prince Puma worked the match with one arm. Puma went for a moonsault but Pentagon sidestepped it. Puma hit a northern lights and vertical suplex with one arm. Puma hit a standing shooting star for a nearfall. Puma and Pentagon traded punches. Pentagon tried to go for his signature loud shop but Puma escaped the ropes and worked on Pentagon with right hand strikes. Pentagon grounded Puma with a dropkick. Pentagon went to the top rope. Puma blocked a Canadian Destroyer and a Package Piledriver from Pentagon. After a reversal Puma hit Pentagon with a Canadian Destroyer. Puma hit a Bennadryler for a nearfall.
Vampiro was shown getting up after the latest nearfall. Vampiro cheered Puma on as he went to the top rope. Puma went for the 630 but Vamp pulled Pentagon out of the way. Striker was irate at this point. Pentagon hit Puma with a superkick and 3-Up 3-Down Driver. Striker yelled at Vampiro not to sit near him as Puma kicked out of the pin attempt. Pentagon Dark hit Puma with a package piledriver to pick up the win.
Pentagon Dark defeated Prince Puma via pinfall in 8:29 to become the new Lucha Underground Champion. Prince Puma’s Lucha Underground Career is over.
Vampiro walked in the ring and did the Cero Miedo sign with Pentagon. Matt Striker wished Puma the best of luck in his future endeavors. Pentagon grabbed the microphone. Striker yelled “this sucks!”. Puma walked into the entrance area. Pentagon said his nobre is Pentagon Dark and ahora he is the Champion de Lucha Underground. He said this is his Temple and he will rule it with big huevos, Cero Miedo. The credits rolled as the show closed.
But wait! It was time for possibly the last post credits of the series? Or a teaser for Season 4. Prince Puma was shown at the Temple exit as he laid his mask on the ground. Sad and epic trailer music played. Puma’s mask was left alone on the table. King Cuerno in his badass cowboy attire with the Gauntlet of the Gods contained in a glass jar like the rose in Beauty and the Beast. Sexy Star was shown at an El Rey photoshoot as a little girl gave her a gift. Sexy Star thanked the girl. The girl went into creepy mode and said “she hasn’t forgotten about you”. Sexy Star opened the box and roared because there was a tarantula in it.
John’s Thoughts: I’m sure Rosemary hasn’t forgotten. Is it too soon to make these jokes?
Paul London and his Rabbit Tribe bowed down to Mascarita Sagrada. Sagrada said he isn’t the white rabbit but if they follow him he’ll take them to the white rabbit. Melissa Santos and Fenix drove off in Fenix’s Thunderbird. Finally! We got the trailer scene and Daga has a sword for some reason. Kobra Moon told Daga to take his place as her new king. Daga agreed and did some Sword katas. Drago was pissed but bound by Moon’s leash. Daga chopped Pindar’s head off. They showed Pindar’s severed head on the ground. Drago was angry at this. They cut to Zombie Vampiro in his dungeon. Vampiro told an unknown man that Puma is gone and Pentagon has ascended to new heights. The skeleton man said he will make Pentagon fall and Vampiro has done well. Vampiro thanked his master.
They cut to Matanza’s cage where he was roaring. Rey Mysterio was shown trapped in an adjacent cage. Dario Cueto was talking to Agent Winter. Dario promised that he will get the Gauntlet back to Winter’s lord. Winter said Dario gets a pass because Dario will be dead. Agent Winter took out his handgun and shot Dario several times in the chest. Winter said new management will take care of the gauntlet and all of Dario’s other messes. Dario woke up and gasped for air. He went to the phone to call someone as his heart was struggling to beat. Dario asked whoever was on the phone to help him. Dario soon faded away. Dario Cueto is now dead… To be continued?
John’s Thoughts: A lot to absorb there so I’ll talk about the match first. The Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark match was nice. The story was told well with Puma wrestling with one arm. The expectations of Richochet’s LU career being over might have given away this match’s ending especially since you know they aren’t getting rid of Pentagon. Not a huge fan of the Vampiro interference though because Puma had the out with his broken arm and all it did was make Pentagon look a bit weak. Extricating that shenanigan, it was fine and good job by the writers for picking the most popular wrestler in Los Angeles to leave the crowd going home happy.
As for the Season 3 cliffhanger. I missed those. We didn’t get one in season 2 even though the last episode was actually good. Some of the stories in that, I’m looking forward to and what Lucha Underground has to do if there is a season 4 is stick to only those stories and not too many. Maybe on the Killshot, Fox, and Mack trio too. Why does Daga have a sword? And why is he working for Kobra Moon? And why did they kill of the best ring worker of the lizard duo for no good reason? Maybe the same reason they killed Cisco. Out of obligation. The Dario Cueto one is an interesting twist. Will they find a way to resurrect him since Lucha Underground does have supernatural life extending artifacts at this point. Or will they go with Agent Winter or the guy that I think was supposed to be played by MVP?
Overall, the beginning of this show was “meh”, the Mundo documentary was too little too late. The main event match between Mundo and Puma was great and the Pentagon win was fine too to lead to Richochet’s exit. What you didn’t see was there was a really emotional post-match dark segment where Ricochet cut a promo about going to do better and bigger things, but they shouldn’t kill kayfabe on air right? I’ll have more thoughts on this show in my members’ exclusive audio review and I’ll also be back sooner or later with a hit list for all four parts!