By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired June 13, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 1
Taped February 2018 from Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse
In the “Last week on Lucha Underground” video, the teaser focused on some of the important storylines from the end of the last Lucha Underground season. The first storyline focused on was the [not-] Infinity Gauntlet that Brian Cage was in possession of. Dario Cueto gave Cage the gauntlet in order to have a god’s soul possess him (and I assume it’s MVP’s soul based off interviews he’s done after he got released). The problem with that is that Cage’s mind was too strong that he got all of the good powers without the evil possession, which didn’t please Agent Winter and the higher power in charge of Cueto.
They showed the clip of Cage blowing up the head of LA City Councilman Delgado (literally, into pieces of head meat). This led to Mil Muertes winning the gauntlet in a triple threat against Jeremiah Crane (a.k.a Sami Callihan) and Brian Cage. The Not-Infinity Gauntlet is their midcard title now. Mil was robbed of the gauntlet by King Cuerno (a.k.a. El Hijo Del Fantasma). This pissed off Dario’s superiors even more because he both lost the gauntlet and failed to reach their higher goal of spiritually possessing a strong warrior. The next clip was Killshot, Dante Fox, and Willie Mack winning the Lucha Underground Trios Championships over the reptile tribe. The next scene was Pentagon cashing in his Gift of the Gods belt (their Not-Money in the Bank) on a hurt Prince Puma to win the Lucha Underground Championship after Puma won a Career vs. Title Match to Johnny Mundo-Impact-Morrison-Nitro-etc. Because Dario Cueto failed the higher power, Agent Winter shot Dario to death while he was calling for help on the telephone. The man on the phone kept yelling “Hijo” (which is “son” in Spanish) which means that Dario’s father was presumably on the other side. This week’s episode was titled “El Jefe”…
John’s Thoughts: It feels so good being back to covering this show, and my elation stems from covering most of this roster weekly on the crappier Impact Wrestling show. I’m not trying to hate on Impact, but just look at how they treat Pentagon and Fantasma like crap for a microcosm example. Anyway, it’s good to be back and I’m expecting good things after attending some episodes at the new cold storage temple (they now film in Central LA which is also my OG hometown). It is also a bit odd, seeing this roster in three different realities (LU, Impact, and MLW) and how I cover two of them. I was considering doing MLW Hit Lists but that might be mentally taxing. Let’s see how I do with this and Impact.
The show started off with the dead body of Dario Cueto in a casket at his funeral. Only two people showed up to his funeral. It was FBI Agent Winter and a grey-haired man with a cracked voice and played by the same actor who plays Dario. The old man was Antonio Cueto, who talked about how the Cuetos tend to make enemies easily. Winter informed Antonio that he’s now in charge of Lucha Underground. Winter told Antonio that Dario was shot by gangbangers (which is a lie and the camera focused on the gun that killed Dario in Winter’s holster). Winter said they can’t use the original Temple because it is a crime scene.
Antonio said the only thing that the Temple needs in the seal in the center of the ring so they can move to an ice house where he used to promote shows back in the day. Winter reminded Antonio that Lucha Underground is a front for their bigger business. Antonio said he won’t make Dario’s mistakes. Winter said he heard that Dario called Antonio with his dying breath which Antonio confirmed. Winter laughed and said it was cold that Dario was calling for help from the man who put the hit out on Dario. Antonio said Dario was always the weak one which is why the elder chose Matanza to be possessed by a god. Winter said that Matanza and the Roster are waiting and to have fun. Winter said a limo was coming for war. Antonio then took the Matanza cage key and closed his casket. The Lucha Underground logo flashed on the screen…
John’s Thoughts: Great start to the new season with them quickly adjusting to the new location and subtraction of Dario Cueto from the program. Dario’s charm isn’t leaving the show though as the same actor who plays Dario is playing Antonio. I’m not a huge fan of him going Christian Bale Batman with the voice because it sounds too hammy. The story threads are fun and leave good questions. The biggest one being, Why did Agent Winter have to lie to Antonio about killing Dario when Antonio wanted Dario dead? I think they might be playing it off as Antonio knowing exactly how it went down, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Winter holding back information being a seed to a bigger plot.
Clips were shown from the POV of a car driving through Los Angeles. They were driving along Alameda St. on the way to Industrial St. which is the location of the new Temple. In an interesting note, AAA owner Dorian Roldan is now in the credits as an Executive Producer. Melissa Santos was next to Dario Cueto’s portrait on an easel as she called for a ten-bell salute to honor the life of the now dearly departed Dario Cueto. The crowd played along big time with this with some people acting like they were crying. God bless them. Antonio Cueto interrupted the salute and heeled on the fans by calling them colder than the cold storage. Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. Vampiro now has hair.
Antonio introduced himself to the fans as the new promoter of Lucha Underground. The crowd cheered but then booed him for knocking down and chucking Dario’s portrait from the ring. Antonio Cueto said there is a high chance a new champion will be crowned tonight. Antonio said Pentagon Jr. will defend his title in an Aztec Warfare match. Antonio threw a jab in there and said that Dario stole the idea of the match from him… [C]
Trios Champions Willie Mack and Killshot (a.k.a. Shane Strickland) were in the ring with their titles. Antonio Cueto said all three of the Trios Champs will be in Aztec warfare but Dante Fox is missing in action. Fox wasn’t available for this season of tapings, which was taped in one month, and therefore they had to strip him of his belt. Antonio put Killshot and Mack as number one and two in the match and said that the number three person in the match will be their new partner. Son of Havoc was the third wrestler in Aztec Warfare and also dubbed the new trios champion. Melissa Santos handled the ring introductions. Killshot didn’t look pleased at getting a random partner…
John’s Thoughts: Another nice move. The Trios belts started off nicely, but both the belts and Son of Havoc were snakebitten from the beginning. Every time Havoc would get a big push in the Trios division, either Angelico or Ivelisse would get injured which put Havoc and the belts on the back burner or in meaningless feuds. This was a good way to turn Fox not making the taping into a positive while also rewarding Havoc for being a victim of circumstance.
1. Aztec Warfare for the Lucha Underground Championship. Killshot was sent outside. Havoc won the next sequence with a dropkick. Killshot caught Havoc with a slingshot Paydirt. The guy who seems to be at every California indie show for some reason, Joey Ryan, was the fourth entrant of Aztec Warfare. Matt Striker reminded viewers of how he used a handcuff to protect from being eliminated from the match last time he was in this match. Ryan handcuffed himself to the top rope and was beat up by Mack and Killshot. Coming in at number five is Jessie Godderz who is using the title of “Mr. Pectacular”. Matt Striker called him a pop culture star.
John’s Thoughts: Even though it looked like Robbie E was going to be the star coming out of the dumb ass Bro Mans team, Jessie Godderz has impressed me the most with his growth as a wrestler. The highlight of his career in my opinion was when he became an MMA themed wrestler due to his amateur wrestling background. He also had a really fun match against Awesome Kong. Good signing for LU.
Godderz handed out a few lariats and tried to gloat but was then given a move by Mack, Killshot, and Havoc. Mack was distracted and was rolled up by his tag partner Killshot. Killshot eliminated Mack. Coming in at number six was Pentagon Jr. who got his Los Angeles rockstar reaction… [C]
Pentagon gave everyone Sling Blades in the center of the ring. Joey Ryan uncuffed himself and tried to blindside Pentagon which Pentagon no-sold. Pentagon hit the Pentagon Driver on Joey Ryan to lead to his elimination via pinfall. Killshot tried to rollup Havoc the same way he did to Mack but Havoc saw it coming. Pentagon hit the Fear Factor or Killshot followed by Havoc hitting the Shooting Star on Killshot to allow Havoc to eliminate Killshot. Coming in at Number 7 was Tommy Dreamer (If you’ve been watching Impact, Dreamer kinda spoiled this by wearing Lucha Underground merch in the Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards segments. He was also in the trailer). Dreamer wore a bullet club themed House of Hardcore shirt and Yellow Polka Dot pants.
Dreamer tossed in weapons. Jessie Godderz was eliminated after a superkick from Pentagon. The crowd fired up with Tommy Dreamer chants. Pentagon and Dreamer squared off in the center of the ring. Pentagon did his Cero Miedo thing. Pentagon ducked a kendo stick shot but Dreamer blocked a kick with the kendo stick. Coming in at number eight was Mariposa (Cheerleader Melissa/Raisha Saeed). Dreamer put Pentagon in the tree of woe and told Mariposa to wait a sec so he can hit Pentagon with a move. Dreamer hit Pentagon with a running Van Terminator.
John’s Thoughts: Random aside, I was never a huge fan of Dreamer’s in-ring and more a fan of his talking ability, but so far in this episode of Lucha Underground and at the Redemption PPV, Dreamer has looked really good for his age.
Mariposa gave Dreamer a lariat and then took down Dreamer, Pentagon, and Havoc with a kendo stick. Striker noted that Mariposa is taller than a lot of wrestlers in Lucha Underground which gives her a physical advantage. Pentagon tried to hit Dreamer with a plancha but Dreamer swatted his balls midair with a kendo stick. Striker pointed that out. Son of Havoc hit Mariposa with a modified Lethal Injection to eliminate her with a pin. Dreamer pulled out thumbtacks and spilled them on the bleachers where the fans were sitting and cleared. Pentagon speared Dreamer on top of the thumb tacks. Pentagon eliminated Dreamer after a Warriors Way.
Lucha Underground’s resident enhancement wrestler, Vinnie Massaro, made his entrance at number nine. Vinnie also wrestles locally in the Bay Area where I’m currently living for the APW promotion. They continued this crappy joke they were doing in past seasons by having some random dude acting like a pizza delivery guy with a pizza. Striker called the random guy, Luigi from Mario Bros. Vinnie shoved the guy down without paying him for the Pizza. The crowd chanted “pizza”. The crowd also chanted “ey, we want some pizza”.
John’s Thoughts: I get that they want to call back to this joke they did two years ago where Vinnie ate pizza and farts, but wouldn’t that have been better off forgotten? Did Vince McMahon call up his former writer Chris DeJoseph and blackmail him into putting in some of this random Sports Entertainment? While the joke was bad, the crowd saved it with their various Pizza chants. Thank you, LA Temple!
Vinnie tried to give Pentagon a slice of Pizza. Pentagon shoved the Pizza in his face and then gave Vinnie a Pentagon Driver on the Pizza to eliminate him quickly. Okay, that was kinda funny. Making his return to the temple at number ten after getting released from both TNA and Lucha Underground in the same week, is OG Latin American Xchange member Shawn Hernandez. Hernandez did his purposely corny strut to the ring. He punched Pentagon in the face. Pentagon kicked back and then broke the arm of Hernandez to eliminate him. Havoc tried to go for his modified Lethal Injection on Pentagon but Pentagon eliminated him after catching him with a lungblower. Former Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo (a.k.a Johnny [fill in the blank]) came in at number eleven. [C]
Pentagon and Johnny brawled back from the break. Johnny did his parkour dodges to fight out of the corner and then set up Pentagon on the ground. Johnny missed the Impact Elbow on Pentagon. Johnny hit Pentagon with a standing C4 Spanish Fly. Angelico’s entrance music played but he didn’t come out of the automatic temple doors. This distracted Johnny Impact. Ricky Mundo came out instead with creepy music instead of Johnny Mundo’s slamtown theme.
John’s Thoughts: Even though I’ve reverted to calling Morrison “Johnny” to avoid confusion, the struggle is real when I have to stop and think what his name is every time I type his name up. By the way, Ricky Mundo was formerly known as Ricky Mandel before he became Johnny’s stunt double. Essentially his Mizdow. I did like what I saw at the tapings from him and it looks like he’s starting to introduce that right now.
Ricky brought a burned doll to the ring and started to talk to it. Johnny and Ricky double teamed Pentagon. They don’t make a bad tag team. Mandel went into a trance and started talking and staring at his doll. Johnny told Ricky to get his head back in the game. Ricky tried to roll up Johnny but to no avail. Johnny hit Ricky with the Moonlight Drive to eliminate him. Fenix came out at number thirteen and then wrestled with his brother while Johnny waited at ringside. Fenix showed off some nice usage of the ropes and had a good parkour exchange with Johnny. Fenix caught both Pentagon and Johnny with a Golden Asai Moonsault. Nice.
Jeremiah Crane (a.k.a. Sami Callihan) came out at number 14. Oh lord, now I’m going to have an even worse problem trying to separate this name due to how tomorrow I have to write “Callihan” twenty or so times. Crane brought a chair to the ring. Callihan did his thumbs up thumbs down thing but Fenix blocked a suplex into a chair. Fenix countered. Crane hit Fenix with a Falcon Arrow onto the chair. Mil Muertes came out at 15 and was accompanied to the ring by Catrina who wore a sexy leotard. Mil choke slammed Crane. Mil then gave everyone lariats and spears. Striker noted that Mil fights mostly in the center of the ring to draw power from the Aztec seal. Everyone teamed up on Mil with pump kicks and then Johnny took him down with the Flying Chuck. Fenix caught Mil with a sweet inverted Warriors Way to get the pinfall over him.
John’s Thoughts: If anyone else pinned Mil that quickly I would have complained but I really like the story they tell with Fenix on how he’s the only guy who can cleanly pin Mil Muertes on the regular. Mil and Fenix are two of the best wrestlers on the LU roster and I hope we get back to their feud soon.
Mill complained to Catrina and Catrina walked off. AAA Wrestler Daga made his way to the ring accompanied by Kobra Moon (a.k.a. Thunder Rosa). Striker talked about how Daga might be the most talented wrestlers on the roster (Eh, I’d argue that Fenix, Mil, Cuerno, and a bunch of other guys are more talented at this point. Daga’s one of those “talented but boring” guys similar to early Bryan Danielson before the ROH championship. I’d take Trevor Lee right now over Daga as a wrestler to spotlight, but that’s just me). Daga took down Fenix with a cutter. Daga hit End of Heartache on Johnny.
Crane tossed Daga out of the ring to end his rally. Chavo Guerrero Jr made his entrance to the temple. I thought he would be the agent for this match. Crane did his thumbs up thing again. Pentagon did his Cero Miedo thing and hit the Pentagon Driver on Crane to eliminate him. Chavo took advantage of the distraction to hit Fenix with a regular suplex for the pinfall. Really?
John’s Thoughts: Okay, I know Chavo is decent in the ring and a living legend, but he eliminates Fenix with a “regular suplex”? The hell, man. This might be worse than that one time where be beat up Brian Cage all over the ring. I get “Lie, cheat, and steal” Chavo and Chavo has a really good moment later on in this season (which might have been a dark segment), but Super Chavo? Really?
Chavo took down Pentagon with a plancha. Johnny hit Daga with his signature draping German Suplex. Johnny eliminated Daga after hitting him with Starship Pain. El Hijo Del Fantasma, King Cuerno, made his entrance at number 18. Cuerno kicked Pentagon with a roundhouse and then took down everyone else with power moves. Striker noted that Cuerno now has long hair and may have been in hibernation for a long time (If that’s what he’s calling Impact Wrestling, “hibernation”, I guess?). Cuerno hit Pentagon with an Arrow from the Depths of Hell. Dot Net Staffer Will Pruett’s favorite Lucha Watermelon, El Dragon Azteca Jr, came out at number 19. Azteca caught Johnny with a springboard crossbody.
Azteca hit Johnny with the DD-TJ. Azteca caught Pentagon with a Tope Con Hilo. Kobra Moon ran out from the alternate entrance and summoned Vibora, known in the LA indie scene as Luchasaurus because he looks like a dinosaur. Luchasaurus now has a mouth and beard. His mask is actually cool now as opposed to how it was like a dollar store mask two years ago. Luchasaurus hit Johnny with a chokeslam and high knee. Marty The Moth Martinez was number 20 and the last wrestler. Luchasaurus hit a spike piledriver on Johnny. Vibora wasn’t a legal man so he left the ring. Marty took advantage of Vibora’s interference and pinned Johnny to eliminate him heading into the break. [C]
John’s Thoughts: I’m intrigued here. Based off what I saw, they might be thinking of turning Johnny babyface to possibly fill in the void left by Ricochet leaving the company. Trust me, I’m not 100% sure of what they do here because I attended tapings during the second half of the season. A lot of people say that Johnny Impact needs to turn heel, but I think the guy just needs to be heavily coached and scripted to come off as a superstar and I think if he turns babyface here that would prove my theory. The guy is a main event wrestler hands-down and it’s his awkward public speaking that gets in the way.
Madness ensued back from the break. Chavo hit Azteca with a (protected) chair shot to the shoulder. Chavo went for a frog splash but was shoved off the top rope by Cuerno. Cuerno hit Azteca with the frog splash for the elimination. Striker noted that Cuerno stole Chavo’s signature move in that moment. Brawling ensued. Pentagon hit Cuerno with a thrust kick and did his arm pump celebration. Cuerno caught Pentagon with a high knee. Chavo prevented Cuerno from hitting Pentagon with the Thrill of the Hunt and then hit Cuerno with a Gory Bomb for Cuerno’s elimination.
John’s Thoughts: See? Why didn’t he eliminate Fenix like that rather than use a regular suplex? Anyway, I’m amazed by how different Cuerno wrestles as Cuerno compared to Fantasma. I’ve always been confused by Fantasma since I watched AAA. Cuerno takes away all of the inside jokes, cheesy characterization, and goofy presentation in favor of a badass and focused bounty hunter.
Chavo, Pentagon, and Marty were the final three. Pentagon hit a low high kick combo on Chavo and then eliminated him. The crowd started to chant the Cero Miedo National Anthem. Pentagon took off his glove and hit Marty with a slap to the chest. Marty strong-style no sold it and came back with forearms. Marty caught a running Pentagon with a pump kick. Marty hit Pentagon with a TKO for a nearfall. Marty hit Pentagon with the Seth Rollins Stomp for a nearfall. Pentagon snuck behind Marty for a lungblower. Pentagon called Marty a “puto” and did his Cero Miedo thing but Marty responded by biting the hand of Pentagon. Marty hit Penta with the brainbuster for a good nearfall.
Marty hit Pentagon with a running corner splash. Pentagon caught Marty with a superkick. Pentagon hit Marty with the Canadian Destroyer. Pentagon hit Marty with the Fear Factor to pick up the final pinfall.
Pentagon Jr. survived the Aztec Warfare match which lasted about 38:35 of TV Time to retain the Lucha Underground Championship.
Vampiro spoke up for once and talked about how Pentagon is the first person to defend his title successfully in Aztec Warfare. Pentagon hit his signature sacrifice move on Marty and broke his arm. Antonio Cueto emerged from his office. Antonio poked fun at the usual Dario Cueto trope of coming out from his office and screwing the winner of the match by forcing him to compete in another match. Antonio said he’s a much better promoter than dear little Dario. Antonio said next week Pentagon will defend his title against “my only son” Matanza Cueto. Matt Striker welcomed the viewers back to Lucha Underground and closed the show. No post-credits stinger cinematic this week…
John’s Thoughts: While the ending wasn’t as epic as I would have hoped, I understand that they have time limitations and the entire match told many good stories to compensate for the quick pinfalls. This Aztec Warfare might be the best Aztec Warfare ever, but I’ll have to go back to watch the first one to confirm that affirmation. One of the best parts of the match was the usage of Pentagon Jr. in making him look strong without killing the credibility of the other wrestlers. Bonus credit for Matt Striker who was essentially on solo commentary the whole show. Vampiro was there, now with hair, and had some short blubs, but Striker carried both Play-by-play and color and did a damn good job at it. What makes Striker annoying at times is his insider references and inside jokes but he stayed cleared from that for the most part.
This was a good episode to watch and even if you haven’t watched Season 3, I feel like it was a really smart decision to start off with the Aztec Warfare match. What Lucha Underground did here after 3 or 4 years of time between tapings is essentially soft-reboot their entire universe. There’s no Dario Cueto, no Boyle Heights Temple, a handful of wrestlers gone, and other unforeseen circumstances. This was what they had to do. The benefit from this is they can turn Season 4 into a standalone where you can jump in without prior knowledge. The only big spoiler given here is Dario Cueto’s death, but as a new viewer you can see the beginning of your journey with Antonio Cueto (though it’s going to get a bit getting used to with his cheap acting cracked voice). Thankfully, Dario Cueto is still in Antonio with Luis Fernandez-Gil still at the helm with all of his Telenovela charm. Dot Net Members will get a chance to hear more of my thoughts in my weekly audio review that will be posted later today.