7/25 Moore’s Lucha Underground TV Review: King Cuerno vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. The Mack vs. Son of Havoc vs. Ivelisse for the Gift of the Gods Championship, Jake Strong vs. Sammy Guavara, Matanza absorbs another person

By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired July 25, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 7
Taped February 2018 from Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse

The cold open for this week’s Lucha Underground showed Matanza absorbing Jessie Godderz and Ricky Reyez, Jake Strong (f.k.a. Jack Swagger) beating up Sammy Guavara and Famous B, The Gift of the Gods medallion ceremony, an Mil Muertes being eliminated by Willie Mack via an impromptu battle royal. This week’s episode was titled “The Gift That Keeps on Giving”…

Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. Metalachi was the house band for this episode (which means we’re in a new set of tapings?). Vampiro was super hyped up. Striker hyped the Gift of the Gods match. Striker said they got an update on Famous B and that the doctors were able to “save his leg” and he’s in recovery. Matt Striker told viewers to send their get well wishes to Famous B’s phone number. Sammy Guavara was already in the ring and Jake Strong got a full entrance (to some very weird and generic entrance music)…

John’s Thoughts: I took one for the team for you guys again. I’m guessing they were supposed to update the 423-GET-FAME message but I called it and it seems like it’s two seasons behind because B is still referencing his feud with Mascarita Sagrada (who was killed by Killer Kross and Paul London two weeks ago).

1. Jake Strong vs. Sammy Guavara. Strong started off the match with a series of German Suplexes on Guavara. Strong followed up by hitting Guavara with a Vader Bomb. Guavara ducked a lariat and then hit Strong with a running crossbody. Strong rolled Guavara into the wooden seats like he was a bowling ball. Guavara tried to climb a ladder but Strong put Guavara in the ankle lock. Guavara kicked Strong into a wooden structure. Strong then went in pursuit of Guavara up the ladder but was kicked off. Guavara then hit a moonsault from the second story of the Temple, onto the first floor. Sammy then hit a series of superkicks on Strong. Sammy went for a springboard move in the ring but Jake Strong caught him and locked him in the ankle lock for the submission win.

Jake Strong defeated Sammy Guavara via submission in 4:00.

Strong wouldn’t let go of Guavara’s leg. Strong then “snapped” the leg of Guavara. You could tell he snapped the leg because they put a post-produced sound effect to tell you that the leg was snapped. Strong also took Guavara’s shirt that was at ringside. Striker noted that Strong likes to take souvenirs of his opponents to show that he’s getting “Stronger”…

John’s Thoughts: Not as good as his match with Big Bad Steve, but they are doing a decent job establishing Jake Strong to the LU audience. They’re giving him the Goldberg singles introduction. A bit odd and forced as to why he joined Famous B’s band of losers, but they did that to get two squashes out of it. Guavara is good but I would like to see more from him down the road. So far in my experience watching him, he’ll sell most of the match, hit some crazy flip that most people can’t do, and then lose. He’s like Ricochet without the psychology and hopefully he gets the psychology down the road because the guy does indeed have Ricochet-like agility.

It was time for a sacrifice. This week’s victim it was Lucha Underground’s designated enhancement wrestler, Vinnie Massaro. Antonio Cueto explained this match as him dealing with Lucha Underground contracts. Antonio Cueto also bought Vinnie a pizza and Vinnie didn’t like it because it was pineapple…

2. Matanza Cueto vs. Vinnie Massaro in a loser gets sacrificed match. Matanza put the boots to the pizza boy first. Vinnie Massaro gave Matanza a slap to start the match. Vinnie then dominated Matanza for a bit with a series of forearms and yes Matanza did sell them. What? Vampiro pointed out that this was the longest sacrifice match so far. Vinnie then did a comedy spot where he ran the ropes until he got gassed while Matanza just stands there. Matt Striker said the cholesterol caught up to Vinnie. Matanza gave Vinnie a headbutt. Matanza hit the Wrath of the Gods on Vinnie on top of the pineapple pizza for the win.

Matanza Cueto defeated Vinnie Massaro via pinfall in 1:07 to win the sacrifice match.

Matanza went to get orders from Antonio. The pizza guy decided to frisk the prone Vinnie. The pizza guy grabbed the wallet and tried to bribe Matanza with it so he would spare him. Matanza chokeslammed the pizza and then sacraficed him. Vinnie Massaro and Pizza Guy have now been absorbed… [c]

John’s Thoughts: One thing I do like is the creative “Sacrifice” concept in terms of trimming off the fat from the roster. It beats wishing a talent the best in their future endeavors. It’s also serving the same purpose as the “Dial of Doom” concept that I was a proponent of last season when they were using the gimmick to build up Matanza with progressive squash matches. I did not like this segment though. It was just too hokey. Why does Lucha Underground give Vinnie Massaro so much offense against their serious monsters? This happened when he wrestled Cage too. This took Matanza down a a few pegs, at least for a week, for selling for Vinnie’s comedy too long. I’m okay with this comedy, but only when they keep it relegated to the undercard like in Famous B segments. Not in the serious mid-card to main event stories.

Melissa Santos handled the ring introductions for the main event Gift of the Gods match. Credit to Dragon Azteca for not wearing a giant cartoon bird and looking like a watermelon (he looks more like Kick Ass now). Vampiro noted that it was interesting seeing the crowd cheer King Cuerno. After everyone made their entrance, Antonio Cueto walked out of his office to pull a Dario Cueto Swerve. He turned this into a trios match which will turn into a triple threat between the winners. Antonio let Ivelisse and Son of Havoc choose their trios partner since they were former (and one is a current) trios champions. They easily choose Mack… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A bit too cute and Teddy Long-ish. Honestly, I would also prefer Teddy Long to fake old man voice Antonio Cueto (Seriously, this old man act turned the charming Dario Cueto into a generic authority figure). Where it’s too cute is them trying to do the old Dario Cueto swerve thing which got old after a while. I actually like the trios to a triple threat concept, but they should have advertised this a head of time which also has me thinking that we are in for a shorter match than it would have been if they did multiple episodes.

3. Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, and The Mack vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr, King Cuerno, and Dezmond X in a trios match to qualify for Gift of the Gods match. Killshot (Shane Strickland) was shown being emo on the top of the steps. Mack gave Azteca an armdrag and then hit Xavier with a flying knee lariat. Mack then hit corner lariats on both Xavier and Azteca. The camera kept focusing on Killshot crossing his arms at the top of the steps. Mack hit Cuerno with a Samoan Drop and standing moonsault. Havoc tagged in. Havoc set up and hit Cuerno with a springboard crossbody.

Ivelisse tagged in via crowd request. Ivelisse hit Cuerno with a running huracanrana. Dezmond Xavier went for a German Suplex but Ivelisse armdragged Xavier out. Ivelisse gave Azteca a scorpion kick and an armdrag. Ivelisse locked in an octopus hold but Cuerno broke it up with a front kick. Matt Striker said the X in Dezmond X may mean “X marks the spot” (but his tights clearly say “Xavier”). Xaver used his legs like a wedge to attack Ivelisse’s arm. Xavier gave Ivelisse precision strikes. After an exchange, Ivelisse separated herself by hitting Xavier with an enzuigiri. Mack got the hot tag and beat up all three opponents Stone Cold style. Havoc tagged in.

Ivelisse took out Cuerno with a ringside cannonball senton. Mack hit Cuerno and Azteca with an impressive running corkscrew plancha. Havoc sent Xavier to ringside and hit all three opponents with a somersault into a Tope Con Hilo. Havoc went for his finisher but Cuerno got out of the way and hit the Thrill of the Hunt for the victory.

King Cuerno, El Dragon Azteca Jr, and Dezmond X defeated Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, and The Mack via pinfall in 6:14 to qualify for the Gift of the Gods Match.

Killshot was still acting emo and looked like he didn’t like the result. Mil Muertes ran out to beat up Havoc and Mack due to last week’s decision. Killshot got up as Mil and Havoc brawled to apparently save his tag partners. Killshot then “accidentally” (?) gave Havoc a high knee. Mil then punched Killshot to the ground. Mil Muertes marched to the back after leaving the Trios Champions lying…

John’s Thoughts: A fun trios match for the time they were given. Lucha Underground continues to do a good job establishing Mack and Havoc as two genuine good guys. It was also cool to see Ivelisse get some offense in. As Striker pointed out, Ivelisse is the sentimental favorite due to her missing most of the last three seasons due to injury. This match also did a decent job forwarding Killshot’s descent into darkness (though they didn’t have to keep panning the camera to him. That was overkill).

4. King Cuerno vs. Dezmond X vs. El Dragon Azteca Jr. in a Triple Threat Match for the Gift of the Gods Championship. Cuerno gave everyone tilt-a-whirl backbreakers to start. Cuerno gave Xavier a running meteora and then a step up enzuigiri. Cuerno gave Xavier a frankensteiner which sent him into Azteca. Cuerno gave Azteca a dropkick that led into the nearfall. Vampiro and Striker did their “didn’t hook the leg” running joke again.

John’s Thoughts: Are people really into this, “didn’t hook the leg” joke?

Xavier then hit CQC combos on both opponents. Matt Striker said he noticed that Xavier relies on CQC (The Boss would be proud). Xavier use more CQC to set up a jumping thrust kick on Cuerno. Xavier hit Azteca with a face wash. Azteca escaped and hit Xavier wtih an armdrag. Cuerno got both opponents at ringside and then hit Azteca with arguably the best Suicide Dive in pro wrestling, the Arrow from the Depths of Hell. Azteca and Cuerno had an exchange that ended in a sunset flip. Xavier broke up the subsequent pin attempt. Xavier put Azteca in the corner and went back to the precision strikes. Xavier then hit his signature waterfall kick on Azteca for a nearfall.

Cuerno gave Xavier a simple yet effective front kick. Cuerno locked Azteca in Muta Lock position but then stayed at the Deathlock and grabbed Xavier into a Full Nelson. Marty Elias was watching for a submission from both men. Both men escaped. Cuerno fended off Azteca and Xavier with kicks. Xavier caught Cuerno with a standing frankensteiner. Cuerno gave Azteca a knee and walked into a forearm. Azteca gave Cuerno a huracanrana at ringside. Xavier used the turnbuckle to hit Azteca with a Tiger Feint Kick. Xavier did a wall run to escape an Azteca move. As the two men brawled, Cuerno took down both opponents wtih a double lariat.

Cuerno parted the sea of fans. Cuerno gave Xavier snake eyes on the ringside barricade. Azteca got to play bowling ball when Cuerno rolled him into wooden chairs. Somehow Dezmond Xavier got to the top of the entrance a story above the other wrestlers and he hit Azteca and Cuerno with a cannonball senton from the second story. Dezmond Xavier went for the Final Flash (a.k.a. The Spiral Tap used by AJ Styles) but Dragon Azteca rolled out of the way. Xavier used a palm strike to stagger Azteca on the top rope. Azteca escaped and hit a victory roll bomb on Xavier to pick up the win.

El Dragon Azteca Jr. defeated Dezmond X and King Cuerno via pinfall in 11:29 to become the new Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Champion.

The crowd gave Azteca a respectful “Azteca” chant. Cuerno was shown calmly walking away. Striker reminded viewers that it’s up to Azteca to choose when he is going to cash in his Gift of the Gods title. The credits rolled and Lucha Underground ended…

But wait? There’s more! It was time for the weekly post-credits stinger. Marty the Moth Martinez was shown lying down on a carpet in his suburban home. Mariposa poured water from a vase to wake him up. Marty said he was dreaming about making Melissa Santos a necklace out of Pentagon Jr’s teeth. Mariposa said she attacked Marty at Ultima Lucha because Marty is unfocused. He’s dreaming about the wrong things like Melissa Santos or teeth. Marty said he’ll rip every molar out of Pentagon’s mouth as revenge for breaking his arm. Mariposa said it’s not “teeth” he should be taking, it’s the “title”. Mariposa said that even though she wears the Mariposa mask, Marty is the one destined for greatness. Marty then figured out that he has to bring the Lucha Underground Title to the Moth Tribe. Marty did some creepy laughing to close the show.

John’s Thoughts: After all was said and done, I like them finding a somewhat logical way to filter down the match because with less wrestlers the individuals were able to stand out more. The star that stood out the most was Dezmond X[avier]. This was the best match I’ve seen Dezmond compete in in all the matches I reviewed with him. Credit to Striker and Vampiro for focusing on how Dezmond was more than just a high flyer and more focused on close quarters combat strikes. Cuerno was as solid as ever. Azteca is always a treat to watch and he needed the win since he needs to be rebuilt a bit after two very unimpressive seasons. What I’m hoping for is Azteca defending the title for a month or so rather than cashing in the title immediately. We got a great series of matches when King Cuerno, Fenix, and Mil Muertes were battling around the Gift of the Gods two seasons ago. After this match, I would love seeing a Azteca vs. X feud next. Azteca vs. Cuerno will be great. X vs. Cuerno will be cool too.

It was also cool to see the cinematics return in the closing segment. We need more of those this season. I’m interested to see where they go with Marty the Moth because they always put some effort into adding layers to this Marty the Moth  character every single time we see him. Marty is very unique in that he’s put in a lot of goofy or odd situations, yet he makes the most out of it and has pulled out some of the most memorable storylines in this company’s history. This will be a interesting encounter because Pentagon’s world champion push has been done to perfection. That’s it. Make sure to check out my audio review later today if you are a Dot Net Member.


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