By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired July 4, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 4
Taped February 2018 from Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse
The teaser for this week’s Lucha Underground spotlighted Catrina’s relationship with Fenix, Johnny Mundo declaring war on the reptiles, Captain Vasquez’s [female-only] immortality medallion (seriously, they had the ancient Los Angeles shaman explain that the medallion is sex discriminatory), King Cuerno stealing Mil Muertes’s [not] infinity gauntlet, Matanza destroying his “humanity”, and Catrina taking away the “life force” of Fenix. This week’s episode was titled “Pain, Love, and Sacrifice to the Gods”…
John’s Thoughts: Random aside, I had to pay $2.00 (via Amazon) to watch this episode because El Rey’s partner Univision is having a contract dispute with Dish Network. Therefore, if you have Dish Network or Sling TV, you won’t get Lucha Underground this week. While both sides are blaming each other publicly for the halted contract negotiations, I feel that Dish Network is more in the right here, but I didn’t go too far into the issue.
Catrina was shown walking in a dark candlelit area wearing a black leotard. She walked up to Fenix’s cofin where Fenix was lying. Catrina announced that Fenix’s “life is gone”. Catrina gave Fenix a kiss and sucked his 1000 lives out of him (?). Catrina’s black leotard transformed into a red dress. The scene cut to Melissa Santos in the Lucha Underground restroom (which looked like it was from the old temple?) and she was looking all sad flipping through pictures on her smartphone. Of course, there were couple-pictures of the both of them on the phone.
Catrina’s transformation also included red high heels. Catrina creeped up behind Melissa and told Melissa that Fenix gave up his life for the woman who truly loved him, Catrina. Catrina gave Melissa her half of the women immortality medalion (the medallion given to Catrina by her mother Captain Vasquez that’s weaker than the whole one I guess?). Catrina noted that the medallion kept her from dying and now with Fenix sacrificed she never felt more alive. Catrina walked away (I’m shocked she didn’t teleport) and Melissa held lovingly onto the medallion…
John’s Thoughts: Okay, Fenix is dead, folks! Only in Lucha Underground! I wonder if they can kayfabe call Impact Wrestling Hell at this point with Fenix appearing tomorrow against Rich Swann? I’m kidding, Impact fans, and Fenix vs. Swann should be amazing. Anyway, I hope with Catrina getting back involved that this is the end of the forced Melissa and Fenix relationship. Melissa’s acting has just been bad and I’ve been hearing that from other people who watch LU as well. Melissa Santos is a great ring announcer but they shouldn’t have tried to make her an actress on this show for no reason (and her integration even cut short several great storylines to shoehorn her in, including the strong Drago heel turn from last season).
Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commetary at The Temple. Mariachi El Bronx was the house band this week. Matt Striker recapped Jake Strong (f.k.a. Jack Swagger) betraying his tag partners Sammy Guavara and Big Bad Steve a few weeks ago. Striker also noted that Famous B was in the hospital due to having his ankle snapped by Strong. Striker said Famous B’s leg might get amputated (ugh, that’s a bit much). Vampiro said you can send get well wishes to 423-GET-FAME (423-438-3263)…
John’s Thoughts: To take one for the team for you guys, I did call the number. It’s actually pretty funny where he cuts a heel promo on you. The only problem is that it seems outdated by two seasons since he’s also heeling on Mascarita Sagrada, which was two seasons ago and last season he was working with/against El Texano all season.
1. “The Savage” Jake Strong vs. Big Bad Steve (w/The Beautiful Brenda). Steve was billed from East LA. He’s a generic mechanic (which I actually get a chuckle at. It’s a throwback to bad early 90s WWE gimmicks). Strong did his chest bump thing that he’s trying to get over. Strong shoved Steve into the corner and pummeled Steve with straight punches. Steve tried to come back with his own right hands but Strong no sold them and did some of his Swagger faces. Strong gave Steve some strong forearms to his upper back. Strong hit Steve with a Vader Bomb. Striker noted that Strong isn’t going for constant pin attempts. Strong hit Steve with a running lariat. Swagger locked in the Ankle Lock and Steve quickly tapped out.
Jake Strong defeated Big Bad Steve via submission in 2:06.
Strong “snapped” the leg of Steve. Strong followed Steve outside and hit him with a gutwrench power bomb. Strong took Steve’s bandana away and celebrated his win heading into commercial… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Jake Strong looked a lot better here than in his debut. Based on what I saw later in the season, I think the story is going to be that Strong looks very strong in singles matches (no pun intended) while getting lost in the shuffle in multi-person matches due to all of the faster wrestlers on the roster (which also include heavyweights like Mil Muertes or Martin Casaus). I’m at least glad he isn’t attached to Famous B by the hip because being attached to Famous B will trap you in the undercard until you break away.
Antonio Cueto was in his office and sipping on his Modelo (the sponsor for this season of Lucha Underground which is a part of the Budweiser family of Beers). Antonio was chatting to King Cuerno (El Hijo Del Fantasma) about returning some stolen property (the gauntlet of the gods). King Cuerno said someone “stole” it from him. Antonio didn’t seem to buy it because he’s aware that Cuerno knows of the ancient history. Cuerno said it gives the wearer a power of a god. Cuerno said that’s the reason he stole it from Mil. Cuerno accused Mil Muertes of stealing it from him (well it is his property. He won it in a match; but we know that Cuerno gave it to someone else. Most likely Aerostar due to Cuerno talking about the person sending it back in time). Antonio said only the gods can tell if Cuerno is telling the truth.
Cueto offered Cuerno a chance to win the Aztec Metallion of his tribe (the deer tribe?) so he can compete for Gift of the Gods (Lucha Underground’s Money in the Bank). Cueto said he’ll also give Cuerno a chance to get revenge of Chavo Guerrero for eliminating him from Aztec Warfare. Suddenly, Brian Cage walked into the office and mentioned what he did to Pentagon Dark last week. Cage wanted a title shot. Antonio said Cage was an “impatient man”. Cuerno laughed and said he’s “The Man” while Cage is “The Machine”. Cueto said he’s not giving Cage a title shot but rather giving Cage a shot at the Skull Tribe (?) medallion. Antonio said it’s Mil’s tribe and it will be Cage vs. Mil Muertes for the skull tribe medallion…
John’s Thoughts: There were some plot holes to nitpick from that segment, but ultimately I thought it did an overall great job at several levels. I liked that they addressed my criticism of the Gift of the Gods. During Season 3, the Gift of the Gods medallions were just Super Mario Bros coins that served as the Willie Wonka golden ticket into Lucha Underground’s Money in the Bank match. I like that they are actually pointing out the Aztec symbols on the medallions to make these McGuffins seem more important. Good work there. I also liked that they are giving Fantasma a lot of mic time this season and he’s doing a great job in these segments. Cage get’s limited words, but his words tell a lot. To reiterate from last week, is Don Callis watching how Chris DeJoseph and crew are handling his wrestlers more effectively with simple storytelling?
Daga and Kobra Moon were already in the ring and Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie came out next. Of course, Taya is playing her more grounded sidekick character in Lucha Underground as opposed to her Impact “Queen of Queens” character…
2. Daga and Kobra Moon vs. Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie. Matt Striker noted that Taya has been calling herself “Lucha Royalty” recently on her social media. Vampiro talked about how that was a big statement to say. Taya and Daga started off the match. There was a quick action chain wrestling sequence to start off the match which Daga had the upper hand in. Taya hit Daga with two back elbows. Taya did her “Wera Loca” cheer after a back kick to Daga. Daga grounded Taya with a dropkick. Vampiro talked about how Taya might not know what “Guerra Loca” means (“Wera Loca” phonetically spells it).
John’s Thoughts: Hmmm… This is interesting. Of course, Taya recently left AAA due to bad talent relations issues as she put it on Social Media. Head of Talent Relations in AAA is Vampiro, so there is some supposed heat there. I wonder how that will translate on Lucha Underground. What is more awkward is Vampiro’s commentary this season which has been really poor due to him sounding very lax.
Johnny Mundo tagged in and had a standoff with Daga. Daga dominated Johnny with punches. Johnny tried to slide under Daga but Daga saw it coming and gave Johnny a stomp to the back. Johnny hit a running knee and standing shooting star on Daga. Johnny dominated the next sequence of strikes. Daga blocked Johnny with a boot and thrust kick. Kobra Moon (a.k.a. Thunder Rosa) tagged in and gave Johnny a huracanrana. Kobra hit Johnny with a running dropkick and got a two count. Daga tagged in and the heels double teamed Johnny. Daga hit Johnny with a nice hesitation dropkick. Daga flapjacked Moon on Johnny and got a near fall on him.
Johnny used his signature parkour dodges on Daga and then hit Daga with some nice hang-time off a slingshot corkscrew plancha. Taya tagged in and hit an assisted legdrop on Daga. Matt Striker talked about how there are rumors that Taya and Johnny are romantically linked. Vampiro talked about it being just “speculation”. Matt Striker made some comment about them “swapping DNA”.
John’s Thoughts: Oh lord, Striker. He’s been solid this season, but he still makes those turn-off comments randomly about every couple of minutes. Also, outdated commentary is outdated. They should have stayed away from this especially since it’s been well publicized that these two are husband and wife at this point. This has even been pointed out as a part of the Impact Slammiversary commercials and by Josh Mathews in the recent weeks. What’s also odd is why is breaking news that these two are “romantically linked”? I thought they established this day one when Taya showed up in season 2?
Johnny accidentally superkicked Taya. Daga hit Johnny with an enzuigiri. Johnny called for a timeout but Kobra Moon started doing Daniel Bryan kicks. Like Daniel Bryan, the last kick didn’t hit Johnny. Moon turned a huracanrana into a Side Russian legsweep. Johnny distracted referee Justin Borden which allowed PJ Black to kick Kobra Moon in the back. This allowed Taya to hit the (actual) Curb Stomp on Kobra Moon for the win.
Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie defeated Kobra Moon and Daga via pinfall in 6:24.
Matt Striker said that with the win Taya is truly “Lucha Royalty” (wait what? That’s a bit of an escalation). Johnny, Taya, and PJ did their trio handshake to celebrate the win. Suddenly, “The Luchasaurus” Vibora came into the ring wearing his cooler and upgraded mask. Johnny ordered Taya to attack first and she got choked but this allowed Johnny and PJ to send luchasaurus into the corner. Luchasaurus did an impressive front flip and hit Taya with a superkick. He put Johnny and Taya against the bottom turnbuckle. Johnny rolled away and Vibora hit Taya with a cannonball. Vibora hit Johnny with a chokeslam and standing moonsault. The Reptile tribe held PJ and Taya in front of Johnny. Kobra Moon said Johnny will soon bow down to Kobra Moon and call her his queen…
John’s Thoughts: A good television match that progressed this Worldwide Underground vs. Reptile Tribe feud. I’m interested to see what they do here. Obviously, The Worldwide Underground are playing the “cool heels” here, but I’m intrigued because Lucha Underground is taking a different approach by presenting the dirty heels as babyfaces (not as tweeners, let’s get that straight). That will be interesting to see how that pans out. This was simple and effective pro wrestling in-ring storytelling with simple post-match angles. Lucha Underground is usually seen as the “out there” company, but they sometimes do the pro wrestling fundamentals than a lot of companies (including WWE and Impact).
The show cut to Cinematic-mode with Antonio Cueto walking into a chained up area. Matanza’s silhouette showed that he was using a human being as a punching bag. Antonio told Matanza that it was time for his first sacrifice… [C]
The show cut back to the Temple with Mariachi El Bronx providing the music. Already in the ring was “Mr. Pectacular” Jessie Godderz who had generic Superman music as his entrance theme. Antonio Cueto walked out of his office and called Godderz “Mr. Pet Tackle”. Antonio Cueto noted that Godderz was having his first singles match which may end up being his last. Antonio said this wasn’t an only singles match, but rather a “Sacrifice to the Gods”. Antonio said that Godderz is the sacrifice and the god is Matanza…
3. “Mr. Pectacular” Jessie Godderz vs. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto in a Loser gets “Sacrificed” Match. Matanza didn’t get entrance music and instead ran right into a Godderz dropkick. Matanza no-sold the dropkick by stepping back. Godderz thought he hit a clean dropkick (he does hit a nice dropkick to give him credit). Godderz started doing some of his BroMans poses. Matanza crept up behind Godderz and gave him a German Suplex. Matanza stompped a mudhole in Godderz. Vampiro said that Matanza is (kayfabe) Spanish (he’s actually an Asian/Pacific Islander under the mask). Matanza hit the coolest move he’s ever hit in Lucha Undergroud by using the wheel barrow to put Godderz in the air and set him up for a gut wrench suplex while he was flying. Matanza hit the Wrath of the Gods for the win.
Matanza Cueto defeated Jessie Godderz via pinfall in 0:51.
The lights flashed off for a sec and Godderz disappeared. Matanza absorbed (?) or ate (?) him I guess. The crowd chanted “sacrifice”. The best thing to get out of this is hopefully this means that Bromans is truly dead (now he needs to eat DJ Z to finish the job)… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A part of me smiled from that. If you read my TNA Impact Wrestling reviews from a few years ago, you will know that Bromans was the bane of my reviewing existence. This is exactly how I would have booked things, Matanza murdering Bromans. What does have me a bit disappointed is, is this the end of Jessie Godderz already? While I hated Bromans, Jessie Godderz was the guy in the trio who impressed me the most with his growth in the ring. He was best utilized under the Billy Corgan and Dave Lagana regime where they presented him as a amateur athlete and Godderz played the role surprisingly well. Anyway, this was also one of Matanza’s better performances and he showed off some of the good Jeff Cobb stuff we don’t usually see from him.
4. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. King Cuerno for the Deer Tribe Medallion. Chavo gave Cuerno a suicide dive during Cuerno’s entrance. Chavo punched Cuerno at ringside. Chavo worked on Cuerno at ringside. Cuerno turned the tide by catching a high risk Chavo with a dropkick. Cuerno hit a chop on Chavo. Chavo dodged a knee and pushed down Cuerno. Cuerno came back with a lariat on Chavo. Cuerno sent Chavo outside. Chavo expected the Arrow from the Depths of Hell but Cuerno changed on a dime into a baseball slide to dodge Chavo’s intercepting steel chair.
Chavo kicked the chair back at Chavo. Chavo backtossed Cuerno into the balcony area. Cuerno yanked Chavo into the steel barricade. Cuerno had the fans hold him to the top of the barricade and Cuerno hit Chavo with a flying crossbody. Cuerno called his shot by going to the top rope and hyping up the crowd. Chavo crotched Cuerno on the top rope. Chavo gave Cuerno a superplex. Chavo tossed around Cuerno around the ring. Matt Striker noted that Chavo was banned from Dario Cueto’s temple but not Antonio Cueto’s which is why he is here now. Chavo hit Cuerno with a catapault into the bottom rope for a nearfall. Chavo exposed the top turnbuckle.
Cuerno blocked Chavo shoving him into the top rope several times. Cuerno hit a series of punches on Chavo. Chavo tried to catapult Cuerno into the exposed turnbuckle but Cuerno dodged the top rope. Cuerno hit a sunset flip on Chavo but Chavo rolled through it. Cuerno sent Chavo outside with a knee. Cuerno then hit Chavo with the Arrow from the Depths of Hell. Chavo tried to steal one with a small package but Cuerno escaped and grounded Chavo. Chavo blocked the Thrill of the Hunt by holding onto Marty Elias. Chavo hit two of the three amigos on Cuerno. Cuerno reversed and hit Chavo with Thrill of the Kill for the victory.
King Cuerno defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. via pinfall in 10:01 to win the Deer Tribe medallion.
By the way, Cuerno was showing a shiner on his eye before the match. Cuerno opened his medallion bag and held the coin up. Cuerno rubbed some of Chavo’s sweat off and wiped it on the medallion. King Cuerno walked out of the temples and Lucha Underground ended without a post-credits stinger…
John’s Thoughts: A good match that did a good job establishing King Cuerno as a badass babyface. Cuerno doesn’t have the most exciting of styles, which is why his talent doesn’t shine as Fantasma in AAA where he is just a generic luchador. The guy playing Cuerno is great on the mic and in the ring and I’m happy he’s proving all of my superlatives for him right in his performances this season. This was also one of Chavo’s better matches on the show since he wasn’t playing superman this time and moreso the slimy Chavo that fits him well. By the way, make sure to check out some of Chavo’s great work as the in-ring producer of GLOW Season 2. Chavo did some really good work with those women and I would definitely recommend you check it out. Chavo may be the most valuable player on that show?
This was a good episode of Lucha Underground which had a lot of solid segments that pushed forward stories. They’ve done a good job this season of separating their mid-card from main eventers when last season it seemed like almost everyone other than Rey Mysterio was a main eventer. I don’t know why, but I think Rey leaving the show might be the best thing to happen because it seemed like things were getting really chaotic creative-wise when they had to write for him. To Rey’s credit though, he did have some of his best matches this decade in that season, so I would recommend Season 3 to see some great Rey matches. I’ll be by later today with my members exclusive audio review and Will Pruett should be by with his Hit List whenever he gets to watching the show.