By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired July 11, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 5
Taped February 2018 from Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse
On this Week’s Lucha Underground cold open, the teaser replayed clips from Paul London’s Rabbit Tribe seeking the “White Rabbit”, Antonio Cueto handing out Gift of the Gods Medallion, the booking of Mil Muertes vs. Brian Cage, and Matanza “sacrificing” one half of the BroMans tag team. This week’s Lucha Underground episode was titled “Sacrificio”…
Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. Mariachi El Bronx was the house band again this week (which makes me think we’re still in the February tapings). Matt Striker noted that it was Gift of the Gods medallion season. Vampiro explained how the Gift of the Gods belt works (it’s LU’s Money in the Bank). Ricky Reyes was already in the ring because he’s usually already in the ring without entrance music. Antonio Cueto walked out and pointed out that he knows that Reyes was not named Cortez Castro and Cueto’s “sources” tell him that Reyes is also an undercover cop and Cueto was about to report a homicide in the ring. Antonio Cueto set this up like last week where Ricky Reyes is the latest victim in the sacrifice matches against Matanza Cueto…
John’s Thoughts: I think you know what is going to happen to the last remaining member of Big Ryck’s Crew…
1. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto vs. Ricky Reyes in a Loser gets “Sacrificed” match. Matanza stormed the ring and was met by Ricky’s kendo stick. He no-sold this of course. Matanza gave Reyes a headbutt and Wrath of the Gods for the quick win.
Matanza Cueto defeated Ricky Reyes via pinfall in 0:16 to win the Loser Gets Sacrificed match.
The lights flashed and Ricky Reyes disappeared. I guess he also got absorbed by Matanza and the last remaining member of the Crew is finally dead (?). (soooo… Is Matanza Cueto Lucha Underground’s version of Majin Buu?). Matt Striker hyped up Ivelisse Velez vs. Joey Ryan for after the break… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Similar to last week, I’m a bit disappointed that Ricky Reyes got absorbed. Despite his comedy storyline with Joey Ryan being pretty bad (due in part to Lucha Underground presenting a comedy storyline over as their main event story), Ricky Reyes vs. Joey Ryan in an LAPD Street Fight was one of the top three in-ring matches of season 3. It was my personal favorite. So, it’s a shame that Reyes just gets “killed” off immediately in season 4. Maybe his contract is up? Maybe he’s going to do more work as a producer which he has experience in. Maybe he’s due for a masked repackage similar to what they did with Lil’ Cholo as a member of Paul London’s rabbit thing.
Joey Ryan was already in a ring acting like a sleaze. He poured baby oil on his crotch as usual. His opponent was Ivelisse. Matt Striker noted the history of injuries that Ivelisse has had which also led to her not competing in a Gift of the Gods medallion match…
2. Joey Ryan vs. Ivelisse for Aztec Medallion #3. Justin Borden held up the red felt pouch before the match. Joey Ryan put his lollipop down his underwear. Vampiro speculated that Joey has some sort of hidden pouch down there. Joey Ryan grabbed Ivelisse’s hand and teased forcing her to do his famous internet meme, The YouPorn Plex. Ivelisse slapped Joey away. A very loud fan in the crowd chanted “touch his dick” (ugh… oh lord). Joey Ryan overpowered Ivelisse and rubbed her head on his hairy chest. Ivelisse grabbed Joey by the chest hair and tossed him. Ivelisse chopped Ivelisse and then hit him with a springboard armdrag. Ivelisse hit Joey with a huracanrana. Joey Ryan clocked Ivelisse with a right hand to end Ivelisse’s momentum.
Joey Ryan rubbed Ivelisse’s face into the mat. Joey then went for three pin attempts. Joey Ryan claimed, “That was six!” (okay, that was great). Ivelisse fought her way out of Joey’s cravate. Ivelisse used a huracanrana to set up an Octopus hold. Ivelisse sent Joey outside and teased a Suicide Dive. Joey caught Ivelisse with a superkick. Joey Ryan made a cocky pin attempt. Joey Ryan took the lollipop out of his trunks and Striker yelled yet again that he sees a hair on Joey’s lollipop (this has been a catchphrase for Striker when he calls Joey Ryan matches for some reason). Ivelisse hit a rolling snapmare and Listo kick on Joey. Ivelisse hit a series of takedowns and an enzuigiri. Joey Ryan whipped Ivelisse to the other corner and did his tanning pose against the ropes.
Ivelisse ran at Joey but Joey surprised Ivelisse with a spinebuster. Joey Ryan was about to hit Ivelisse with the BoobPlex but Ivelisse pulled away Joey’s hands. Ivelisse hit Joey with a few shortarm roundhouse kicks. Ivelisse yelled what I think was “BoobPlex!!!” and hit Joey Ryan with her own BoobPlex. This got Ivelisse a nearfall. Ivelisse teased a finisher but was caught by Joey. Ivelisse fought out of a power bomb position. Ivelisse hit Joey Ryan with a running version of the Code Red for the victory.
Ivelisse defeated Joey Ryan via pinfall in 5:38 to win an Aztec Medallion.
Matt Striker advertised the Trios Champions challenging each other for the next Aztec Medallion after the break… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A good return match for Ivelisse, who has been on and off with this company due to chronic injuries (which was also spotlighted on the season of Tough Enough that she was in). Joey Ryan is a very interesting wrestler. He reminds me a bit of No Way Jose where the guy is a midcard comedy act, but his gimmick makes you underestimate that this guy is an extremely great in-ring worker. Ryan might also arguably be the hardest working independent wrestler in North America with the large amount of indie shows this guy works any given week. I swear the guy is like the indie Goku (sorry ACH) in his ability to instant transmission from Southern California to Sacramento on back-to-back days to work long matches.
Melissa Santos introduced the Trios Champions for the upcoming medallion match. Matt Striker noted that Killshot (who is also MLW Champion Shane Strickland) was starting to act a little different when he went into business for himself during Aztec Warfare. He was insinuating that Killshot may be showing rudo (heel) tendencies. Antonio Cueto interrupted the in-ring introductions. He talked about how as a promoter he always thinks of making his matches greater. Antonio Cueto said that he was putting two medallions on the line. Antonio Cueto said that the match will not have two winners and the loser of the match will be the person who takes the pin, who leaves without a medallion… [C]
John’s Thoughts: While I think this stipulation would have worked better with a friendlier trio like Team Havoc or Aerostar, Drago, and Fenix, I like the added stipulation to add more intrigue to the match while also building up these medallions a bit more. I am a bit disappointed that we aren’t getting the symbology on the Medallions this week and they are just reverting back to generic colored pouches.
3. Killshot vs. Son of Havoc vs. Willie Mack for Aztec Medallion #4 and #5. Referee Marty Elias held up the yellow and black felt pouches. Willie Mack tried to play peacemaker and wanted this to be a respectful battle while Killshot was acting like a hot head. Killshot shoved Mack away and brawled with Son of Havoc. Mack missed a spinning roundhouse on Killshot to show that he wasn’t going to lie back and let Killshot run rampant. Killshot wanted Mack to help him double-team Son of Havoc but Mack still wanted this to be a respectful fight.
Because Mack didn’t agree, Killshot tossed Mack at ringside. Son of Havoc tried to talk some sense into Killshot but Killshot wasn’t listening. Havoc ran the ropes and hit Mack with a suicide dive. Killshot did a handstand flip to the outside. Havoc caught both of his partners with a Asai Moonsault. Mack taunted Havoc with a handstand spot in the corner, which is impressive given Mack’s body build. Willie Mack caught Killshot with a nice leg lariat. Mack hit his partners with a flip dive to the outside. Vampiro said he wants to hug Mack like a big cuddly teddy bear (that makes me chuckle for some reason). Killshot got Mack to his knees and hit him with a punt to the arm and an axe kick to the chest. Vampiro noted that Havoc was watching at ringside.
Havoc got back involved and ran into a backbreaker by Killshot. Killshot gave Mack a superkick to continue his rally on offense. Killshot slapped Havoc’s ear several times. Havoc fired back with forearms. Killshot hit Havoc with a knee. Havoc hit Killshot with a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Mack and Killshot made it to their feet first. Havoc got up and all three men had a punch battle. This turned to a kick battle. Mack dodged an elbow from Havoc and hit Havoc with the Monty Brown Pounce. Mack no-sold a Killshot German Suplex. Mack hit Killshot with a Clothesline from Hell which Killshot no-sold into his own double footstomp on the back of the knelt Mack. Striker noted the high amount of fighting spirit shown.
All three men were left lying selling the effects of the high impact moves. Havoc caught Mack and Killshot with a double stepping stone stomp. Havoc then nailed Killshot with the Lethal Injection. Mack hit Havoc with an enzuigiri, forearm, boot and inverted cannonball. Mack hit Havoc with a Samoan Drop, Kip Up, into a standing moonsault. Havoc blocked a Superplex from Mack with some clubbing blows. Havoc went for his finisher on Mack but had his beard grabbed by Killshot. Killshot hit Havoc with an Attitude Adjustment on the ring apron. Killshot hit the Kill Stomp on Havoc but he walked right into the Stone Cold Stunner by Mack. Mack was put in the awkward position of having to pin one of his partners and he showed reluctance over the decision he had to make. Mack chose to pin Killshot.
The Mack defeated Killshot and Son of Havoc via pinfall in 9:24. Mack and Son of Havoc win Aztec Medallions.
Mack respectfully picked up Havoc first. Mack and Havoc tried to pick up Killshot but he went back to acting like a spoiled child. Killshot shoved Havoc and slapped the coin out of the hand of Mack. Killshot left as Son of Havoc held up his tag team partner’s hand in victory. Matt Striker hyped up Mil Muertes vs. Brian Cage for after the break… [C]
John’s Thoughts: That was nice. I mean really nice. I mentioned in my NXT review, sometimes storytelling gets lost in high energy spotfests. This match told several great stories here. Havoc and Mack were established as two of the top white meat babyfaces on Lucha Underground. Killshot was established as petulant and selfish (it would help if the commentators point out that Killshot is petulant due to missing his former military best friend yet again who was considered as Killed in Action in one point). This was a well worked match and that decision moment that Mack was put in was well done.
Melissa Santos introduced Mil Muertes and sold a bit of disgust when mentioning Catrina’s name (good subtle acting there). Mil entered the ring from his elevator and Catrina wore her new red dress to the ring (which was given to her after she “sucked the lives” out of Fenix). Striker said he thinks that Catrina’s red represents blood and power. (Melissa’s real-life boyfriend) Cage made his entrance next to a favorable reaction…
4. Mil Muertes vs. Brian Cage for the Skull Tribe Aztec Medallion. Cage and Mil traded strikes early on which included some impressive high knees. Both men also traded some impressive power lariats. Cage surprised Mil with a huracanrana. Striker noted that Mil doesn’t do high flying moves light that. Right on cue. Mil surprised everyone by hitting Cage with a huracanrana. Mil hit Cage with a Lungblower to send Cage into retreat.
John’s Thoughts: Random side note, after weeks of being pretty dead on commentary, Vampiro has come back to the commentary team and is doing some fun work.
Cage caught Mil with a superkick and he tossed Mil into a wooden seat. He pummeled Mil while Mil was on the seat. Cage teased attacking Catrina but Mil saved her. Mil slammed Cage around ringside. Cage caught Mil with an enzuigiri. Cage hit Mil with his outside-in deadlift suplex. Striker noted that Cage usually does this only to lightweight wrestlers. Cage leapfrogged Mil causing Mil to give Marty Elias a spear. REF BUMP!!! Cage hit Mil with the Tornado Claw but Marty Elias was ref bumped (Welcome to TNA/Impact Wrestling Cage? I’m kidding.)
Justin Borden ran in and counted to two. Matt Striker joked that this was a Charles Robinson moment. Cage gave Justin Borden a lariat out of anger. REF BUMP number 2!!! Mil hit the flatliner on Cage but Justin Borden and Marty Elias were in the middle of their ref bumps. Rick Knox ran out and counted to two. Mil was angered and given a choke slam by Mil. REF BUMP NUMBER THREE!!!
John’s Thoughts: TNA! TNA! Somewhere out their Double J shed a tear (again, TNA fans, I’m kidding).
Cage and Mil brawled out of each others moves. Cage hit Mil with a Pumphandle Falcon Arrow. Cage then hit Mil with a cannonball Tope to the outside. Mil hit Cage with short-arm lariat. Cage superkicked a steel chair out of the hands of Mil. Cage body slammed Mil. Cage cleared the front few rows and was celebrating with a few of the fans. Suddenly a fan wearing a hoodie and King Cuerno Halloween mask teased a surprise to the crowd. He took off the hood and mask to reveal another mask. It was Pentagon Dark! Cage didn’t see it coming and was hit Cage with a roundhouse. Pentagon hit Cage with an unprotected chair shot to the head (it did hit mostly shoulder, but still unnecessary). Mil took advantage of the beat-up Cage by hitting Cage with a shoulder tackle and a Flatliner. Marty Elias recovered from his ref bump to count.
Mil Muertes defeated Brian Cage via pinfall in 7:19 to win the Skull Tribe Aztec Medallion.
Mil ordered Catrina to do her traditional lick of death to Cage. Catrina shook her head and wasn’t going to lick another sweaty wrester this time. Catrina and Mil Muertes left and Mil made sure to do his usual random shoving of the camera people…
John’s Thoughts: A really good super heavyweight match between two super heavyweights who know how to wrestle matches without any lull time. This was a great match. The only thing that this match could have done without is a handful of the overbooking at the end of the match. The Pentagon in-disguise was fun (and oddly timely due to Sami Callihan/Jeremiah Crane doing a good Pentagon disguise on last week’s Impact Wrestling). The multiple ref bumps were totally unnecessary and reminded me of a Jeff Jarrett booked TNA show. The only thing missing was a guitar shot to the head, but we did get an unprotected chairshot to the head in the place of that. Other than that, great match.
Pentagon had a microphone with him and told Cage not to be sad because he didn’t win the Aztec Medallion. Pentagon said that’s because Cage and Pentagon will do battle next week for the Lucha Underground Championship. Pentagon said just like the end of the Aztec Warfare match, Pentagon will come out of the match holding the title in his hands. Pentagon said “Y Tu! Mi Amigo! My Friend!” Cage will come out of the match with his arm broken into little pieces. Because Why? “Por qué Yo Soy Pentagon Dark, El Cero Miedo!!!”. Pentagon ended his promo with a hip thrust as his theme played and the credits rolled…
But Wait? There’s more! It was time for this week’s Lucha Underground post-credits stinger. This one started from some sort of sideways house/hallway where Paul London and his rabbit tribe guys were enjoying some oddly sized and sideways furniture. Paul London (who’s playing a Mad Hatter character) didn’t really like the small furniture but Saltador the checkerman (now a stripe man) thought the small chair were quite charming. Stripeman also had an accent that made him sound like he came straight from a 70s Disney movie. Mascarita Sagrada made his entrance and told the Rabbit Tribe to follow him to finally meet the “White Rabbit”. Sagrada and The Rabbit Tribe guys were shown teleporting to Wonderland (?) and they teleported to some dark underground area with a bunch of roots. The White Rabbit was revealed to be Kevin Kross! Or Killer Kross?
John’s Thoughts: Kevin Kross is becoming really good at these slow burn character reveals.
Kross was sitting on a throne of roots with his very own Gandalf staff and little guy laughing in a twig cage next to him (the little guy is played by the same guy playing Mascarita Sagrada I believe). He’s the Wonderland version of Jabba the Hutt? Kross said he’s been waiting and asked Paul London what they want of him. London said they wanted the guidance of Kross, the great one. Kross asked London what they are willing to give Kross in return for the guidance. London said, “anything you wish”. Kross had a smile and said “anything?”. Kross took of his glasses and since we all know that this guy calls himself Killer Kross, he demanded Paul London murder Mascarita Sagrada right in front of him. Kross used magic to float his Gandalf stick to London.
London was apprehensive and asked “really?”. Kross yelled “Tick Tock! Mr. London, time is already fleeting! KILL HIM!!!”. London shook his head in disappointment as some faux-Disney music played. London then bashed in the head of Mascarita Sagrada (why Sagrada didn’t run away when these guys were talking about killing him is beyond me? The guy speaks English in these cinematics). Some strawberry jam, I mean (corn syrup) blood, splashed into the face of Paul London. Killer Kross laughed and told London “Bravo! Mr. London, now THAT was entertaining!”. Kross said now it was time to see how far Paul London is really willing to go. Kross’s little friend laughed like Jabba’s pet. This week’s Lucha Underground ended…
John’s Thoughts: So… Kevin Kross is a cross between the Queen of Hearts, Killer Kross, and Jabba the Hutt? Okay, I’ll get back to that in a sec. Let’s look back at the post-match Pentagon promo first. I’m really a huge fan of the way they are presenting Pentagon Jr. as their world champion. They are booking him like Stone Cold Steve Austin and he’s carrying the Steve Austin-type promos on the microphone really well. Lucha Underground gets the knock on them sometimes for all of the super natural stuff (like Kevin Kross in Wonderland), but they also do some of the basic pro wrestling things right. Bravo, to whoever is booking and writing these simple and effective storylines. No supernatural, no nonsense, just simple pro wrestling build. That’s how they are building Pentagon as champion and Pentagon is one of the best built world champions in recent memory in any company. Part of it is his mic and in-ring skills. Really looking forward to Pentagon vs. Cage for the title and another props to the writers for doing a great job building towards Cage and Penta.
Moving along to the Kevin Kross debut. This might tick off your wrestling purists. I personally like comic book stuff and I think Lucha Underground does a great job having this supernatural stuff seamlessly fit into their narrative. I knew where they were going with Kross because I attended the tapings, but I made sure not to mention it in my LU or Impact reviews. Great to see him finally debut after spending all of Season 2 and 3 wrestling a bunch of dark matches that viewers couldn’t see. Kross has really impressed me from those dark matches and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does now that he made his debut on the weekly Wednesday (and Thursday) show.
Lucha Underground Season 3 has been pretty damn impressive and reminds me a bit of Season 1. Unlike last season, they aren’t trying to fit every single person into a storyline which led to contrived stories. They’re writing several stories and building them slowly and nicely. The highlight for traditional pro wrestling fans should be the build of Pentagon Jr. as the king of the hill type of champion. I’ll be by later today with my audio review.
Yeah, you’re just going to gloss over the unprotected chair shot in a single sentence and move on? If WWE or Impact had done this, they’d be lining up with torches and pitchforks to crucify the company. But here, John Moore just shrugs his shoulders and moves on? Classy!!!
But I didn’t just take a single sentence. I added a parenthetical aside, and I have been consistent over several years in my LU reviews for not being a proponent of the excessive amounts of concussive shots to the head that are employed by El Mesias and Rey Fenix (as well as others). My worst match from season 3 was the Martin Casaus vs. Shane Strickland “WMD Match” where both wrestlers worked a great match but ruined it with unnecessary bludgeon shots to the head, and only for a bit storyline and to pop the fans.
Several things we shouldn’t do as reviewers is: One, make this a WWE vs. [fill-in-the-blank] thing because that’s just needless complaining for the sake of complaining. Two, we’re not here to start a rally. We’re here to write/call what we see on the screen and provide quick and objective (as much as possible without being drab) commentary. The purpose of this review is not to start a rally or a revolution, but the details in it might inspire or open the eyes of others who are better positioned to tackle such issues. I decry concussive shots and CTE in pro wrestling, but this was not a CTE analysis article. This was a Lucha Underground match analysis and recap article.