By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired August 8, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 9
Taped March 2018 in Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse
This week’s Lucha Underground cold open focused on Matanza’s sacrifice matches, Dragon Azteca Jr. declaring that he’s going to cash in his Gift of the Gods at Ultima Lucha 4, and the Indiana Johnny Segment. This week’s Lucha Underground episode was subtitled “A Match Made in Heaven”…
The show started off with an Antonio Cueto office cinematic where he was talking to someone on the phone. He said he was going to have another sacrifice match soon. He told the person on the phone to send best wishes to “the lord” (so they’re bringing him back into play). Mariposa walked into Antonio’s office wearing seductive clothing. She was flirting with Antonio Cueto. Mariposa said she wasn’t here to seduce Cueto, but rather for a Gift of the Gods title match. Antonio told the “young butterfly” that she doesn’t deserve it. Mariposa then bribed Cueto with stacks of Benjamins. Cueto said that money was his aphrodisiac, so he gave her the match. The segment ended with Antonio Cueto chugging his Modelo, because that’s what he does…
Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in from the Downtown LA Temple. Metalachi was the house band. Striker hyped the main event Atomicos match (eight person tag) match where it’s a wish vs. Johnny’s servitude match…
Paul London and the Rabbit Tribe were already in the ring. Antonio Cueto walked out to do his usual Sacrifice thing. He told the Rabbit Tribe to choose one person to compete in the sacrifice match. Paul London said that Mala Suerte failed the white rabbit and will not prove his worth by tussling with Matanza…
1. Matanza Cueto vs. Mala Suerte (w/Paul London, Saltador) in a loser gets sacrificed match. Matanza did his usual abrupt rush to the ring. Mala Suerte didn’t waste any time and dropkicked Matanza during Matanza’s entry into the ring. Suerte pummeled Matanza with punches in the corner. They even played Looney Tunes sound effects during Suerte doing speed bag punches (that was a bit too hokey). Suerte went for his signature fake Coast-to-coast and hit Matanza with it. Matanza no sold it. Matanza hit Wrath of the Gods for the win.
Matanza Cueto defeated Mala Suerte via pinfall in 0:52.
Matanza did his usual thing of making his victim disappear. Matt Striker talked about how Mala Suerte has crossed over. Paul London was smiling and embracing Saltador… [c]
John’s Thoughts: An okay squash, but I’m not a fan of them subjecting their big bad monster to comedy antics two matches in a row. You never saw them do this with Mil Muertes because Mil Muertes is a “real” monster. I’m also a bit disappointed that Mala Suerte is dead because the guy is actually a good wrestler, Lil’ Cholo. This is his second death though because Dario Cueto already killed him in season 2. Maybe that can be a running joke, that Lil’ Cholo just dies every season now. By the way, where in the hell is Killer Kross? He made his cinematic debut and disappeared to Impact Wrestling ever since.
2. Joey Ryan and Jack Evans vs. XO Lishus and Ivelisse. Matt Striker reminded viewers that Jack Evans isn’t involved in the Reptile Tribe war because of his fear of snakes. Jack Evans started the match with a fake-out crane kick to Ivelisse. Ivelisse turned it into a hammerlock legsweep. Ivelisse caught Jack with a huracanrana. Joey Ryan tagged in and put his sucker in his trunks. Ivelisse powered Joey to her corner to tag in XO. XO then used his legs to put Joey in XO’s booty. XO then pulled a Keijo by punching Joey Ryan with his booty. Joey and XO then shared flirtatious glares at each other. Joey asked for XO to kiss him. XO instead kicked him with a dropkick.
XO did a twerk and missed a standing moonsault. Jack Evans tagged in and hit XO with a slingshot Sobat. XO reversed and did a somersault into a slap. XO then did an impressive matrix dodge into an even more impressive walking crab walk which surprised Jack Evans. XO caught Jack with a flip kick for a two count broken by Joey. XO tagged in Ivelisse for the hot tag where she cleaned house. Ivelisse caught Jack with a scorpion kick. Jack Evans kicked Ivelisse with a Capoeira kick. Joey Ryan tagged in and cut the ring in half on Ivelisse. Joey rubbed Ivelisse’s face in the center of the mat.
XO rallied the crowd to get behind Ivelisse. Ivelisse hit an impressive popup DDT on Joey Ryan for an opportunity at tagging in XO. XO and Evans tagged in. XO hit a kickflip, a shoryuken, and a kick combo on Jack. XO hit Jack Evans with the split leg drop for a pin attempt that Joey Ryan also broke up. XO assisted Ivelisse in a kick combo. Joey got rid of Ivelisse but XO caught Joey with a fan kick. XO twerked over the prone body of Joey Ryan and hit Joey with the standing moonsault. Jack Evans was the legal man and he hit XO with a slingshot flying roundhouse. Jack Evans locked in a modified gogoplata on XO. XO didn’t tap out and instead passed out.
Jack Evans and Joey Ryan defeated XO Lishus and Ivelisse via ref stoppage in 6:52.
Jack Evans held on to the hold after the match. Joey Ryan had to come in to try to rip off Jack Evans but Evans wouldn’t break the hold. Ivelisse put the boots to Jack to break the hold. Joey Ryan tried to tell Ivelisse that he was trying to help XO. Joey then went to ringside to argue with Jack. Jack yelled that this isn’t over until XO is dead. Matt Striker announced that Dragon Azteca will defend his Gift of the Gods title against Mariposa after the break… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Can we get XO Lishus into that Impact Wrestling-MLW shared roster because pro wrestling needs more XO Lishus on television. Pro wrestling also needs more Jack Evans, but XO Lishus is just so unique and smooth in the unorthodox ring style. XO is almost like a pro wrestling drunken master. This was a fun match as expected with three fun wrestlers and a badass. Another fun aspect is Jack Evans picking up the win with the submission maneuver which gives him more in-ring credibility and XO gains from the babyface pass out spot.
Mariposa was already in the ring. Striker built up Mariposa’s credibility by referencing what she did to “Former Lucha Underground Champion Sexy Star” (not bad, I like that they aren’t retconning Sexy Star out of existence). Matt Striker also recommended that the viewers go back and watch the No Mas match from Season 2. Dragon Azteca Jr made his entrance and he no longer wears a carton parrot on his head…
3. El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. The Mariposa for the Gift of the Gods Championship. Referee Justin Borden held up the championship before ringing the bell. Matt Striker noted that Marty the Moth hasn’t been around ever since Pentagon Jr. broke his arm. Dragon Azteca agreed to shake the hands of Mariposa and Mariposa kicked him in the balls. The bell didn’t ring yet, so there was no DQ. After the bell rang, Mariposa kicked Azteca in the inside thigh. Azteca recovered and hit Mariposa ith a corner forearm. Azteza then hit Mariposa with a jumping thrust kick.
Mariposa caught Azteca with a Samoan Drop for a nearfall. Azteca grounded Mariposa with a pump kick. Azteca hit a clean looking 450 on Mariposa for a nearfall. Mariposa improvised and hit Azteca with a Vertebreaker for a nearfall. Azteca escaped another vertebreaker attempt. Azteca then crossed up Mariposa’s legs and then rolled her up for the win.
El Dragon Azteca Jr. defeated Mariposa via pinfall in 3:09 to retain the Gift of the Gods Championship.
Matt Striker hyped up the main event again which got a jpeg fight poster… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A bit of an underwhelming match especially after the way Matt Striker was building up the in-ring credibility of Mariposa. The match didn’t really tell a story and was rather just a series of moves that ended in a rollup finish. Here’s hoping we get some wars over the title down the road with Dragon Azteca as the weekly television champion. Prince Puma played this role greatly in season 1. Azteca has a chance to be built up in a big way, especially since he’s been buried in the background under Rey Mysterio and Prince Puma in the last two seasons.
Melissa Santos laid out the stipulations of the eight person tag where it was Johnny’s servitude vs. a wish match. There was a “Free Drago” chant during the Reptile Tribe entrance. Melissa Santos introduced Vibora during the ring introductions, but he couldn’t make it due to him being decapitated. Kobra Moon said she respects what Johnny Mundo did to Vibora because it was cold blooded. Kobra then introduced a new member of the Reptile Tribe who was “brought back from the dead with venom”. It was Sami Callihan, now being called “Jeremiah Snake” (that is the most face palmy villain name in recent memory). Jeremiah Snake walked out like a zombie for a bit (Can we call him Zombie Callihan? That’s lame too, but better than Jeremiah Snake). He then went back into OVE mode and did his thumbs up thing.
John’s Thoughts: I’m not sure what I think yet, but I do have fighting games on the mind with EVO on Twitch this past weekend and NXT having a jobber Ryu from Street Fighter show up today. Is Sami Callihan playing Zombie Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat Deception?
The Worldwide Underground made their entrance next. Ricky Mundo brought his “creepy ass doll” (Vampiro’s words) with him. Johnny Mundo said he also has a last minute change to his team. He told Ricky Mundo that this is one “job” that he can’t do (Because Ricky has been Lucha Underground resident enhancement wrestler for the last three seasons. That was a fun joke). Johnny sent Ricky to the back to play with his doll. Johnny said he wanted Jack Evans here but he was afraid of snakes. He then said he needed someone he can trust. Johnny joked about cutting off Vibora’s head. Johnny Mundo introduced Aerostar as his tag partner. Aeroster emerged from the Temple elevator with a Worldwide Underground bandanna. Matt Striker noted that this makes sense due to Aerostar being the friend of Drago who is enslaved… [c]
4. “The Worldwide Underground” Johnny Mundo, Taya Valkyrie, PJ Black, and Aerostar vs. “The Reptile Tribe” Kobra Moon, Daga, Drago, and Jeremiah “Snake” in a luchas de apuestas match. Eight person tag madness ensued with both teams brawling in the ring. Johnny and Jeremiah brawled in the ring when everyone else cleared. Johnny hit Jeremiah with a Flying Chuck. Jeremiah hit Johnny with a simple and effective lariat. Jeremiah was dropkicked outside and Aerostar hit a quick tightrope crossbody on everyone left outside. Taya hit everyone with a crossbody of her own. Drago was also a part of this outside dive party.
Jeremiah tossed Kobra Moon at Johnny to allow Kobra to bulldog Johnny on everyone on the outside. Brawling madness ensued on the outside. Jeremiah Crane hit the Worldwide Underground with his victory lap cannonball. Jeremiah Crane stalked Taya in the ring. Taya shoved a middle finger in Jeremiah’s face and Jeremiah bit it. Taya then hit Jeremiah with a flurry of strikes. Jeremiah responded with his signature pump kicks. Both teams made it to their ring aprons. Taya hit Jeremiah with a snap German Suplex. This allowed her to tag in PJ Black. Black showed flashes of his old self by hitting Jeremiah with some fast paced offense. Black hit Snake with a spinning sobat.
Johnny tagged in and he and PJ double teamed Drago. Jeremiah hit both opponents with a dropkick. Johnny shoved Snake into Kobra and hten hit him with a single leg dropkick. Johnny hit a springboard roundhouse on Daga. Johnny hit Snake with the Moonlight Drive. Vampiro compared Johnny’s focus to Mitsuharu Misawa. Jeremiah stopped Johnny’s rally with a thumb to the eye. Jeremiah tried to use Kobra Moon as a Rocket Launcher but Johnny caught her. Jeremiah and Drago kicked Kobra into Johnny but Johnny rolled through. Jeremiah and Drago then kicked Johnny for a nearfall with all three Reptile members going for the pin.
Dragon caught Johnny with a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Taya broke up the pin attempt. Striker noted that Johnny isn’t kicking out and had to be saved. Aerostar then entered the ring and pointed at his friend Drago. Aerostar hit the non-Drago reptiles with a corkscrew moonsault. Dragon and Johnny had a chain wrestling exchange. Drago went for the Dragon’s lair but Johnny hit Drago with the running knee. Johnny hit Drago with Starship Pain for the victory.
The Worldwide Underground defeated The Reptile Tribe via pinfall in 8:43 to win a wish from Kobra Moon.
Aerostar and the Worldwide Underground shared a group hug in the center of the ring. Johnny told Kobra Moon not to leave yet due to the one wish being owed. Kobra stayed and locked up Drago in his leash. Johnny teased giving Taya and PJ Black the wish to work with but instead he said he was rewarding the wish to Aerostar the wish for being a good guy and stepping up. This caused Taya to visably cry because she wanted the wish. Johnny told Kobra Aerostar’s wish and that was to free Drago. Kobra Moon sold it with shock and refused to unleash Drago. Taya was pissed off at Johnny being selfless. The crowd chanted “set him free” which was led by Johnny. Kobra Moon then left Drago to stay as they left. Aerostar took the key and unlocked the chain on Drago’s neck. Drago was now free. Drago roared with his newfound freedom and he left with Aerostar…
Taya was crying and called Johnny an idiot. Taya said Johnny made them fight for nothing. Johnny said Kobra Moon couldn’t grant his wish because only Taya could do that. PJ Black then pulled an engagement ring out of his crotch area and handed it to Johnny (did he wrestle the entire match with that down his trunks or did he add that later?). Taya then cried out of joy. Johnny got on one knee and growled the words “will you marry me” in a cheesy (but cute) way. A si chant ensued. Taya grabbed the mic and cried the word “yes”. Pomp and Circumstance then played as Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie made out in the ring. The credits rolled…
But wait? There’s more! It was time for this week’s post-credits stinger cinematic. Ricky Mandel was talking to his creepy ass doll.He said he has a wish too, and that was to see Johnny and Taya until “Death do them part”. Ricky and his creepy ass doll laughed into a mirror…
John’s Thoughts: This was a really fun ending all around of Lucha Underground. Johnny really flipped the switch here from heel to babyface with him both being very selfless to Aerostar and then the heartwarming engagement scene. Of course they were already engaged before this, but this was cute and it might have been a reenactment of the actual scene (just minus ring being in the underwear of PJ Black. Hopefully that didn’t happen). The match was fun too with PJ Black even looking like his old self before the freak failed parachute accident. They have Drago put in a good spot as a babyface. The heel turn was well done, but for some reason LU decided to put that great heel turn on hold to tell that weird Melissa Santos love story.
The only thing I’m not fully on board with is Sami Callihan as a reptile, because why? I get that they had to raise him from the dead, but Catrina has a thousand lives to work with now and she just had to give him CPR to shove one of those lives into him. I kid, but this is still random after killing Vibora who was looking like a promising young wrestler. As for the entire closing segment, it sets up a pro wrestling wedding, and as wrestling viewers we all know that wrestling weddings draw. They are also telegraphing that Ricky Mundo might crash the wedding somehow with that stinger. After a couple of “off” weeks, Lucha Underground delivers a highly entertaining and extremely fun episode this week. There still is a noticeable lack of cinematics though which was a hallmark of Lucha Underground the last few seasons. They still exist, but they are used sparingly. This was also noticeable tonight since every commercial led right into a Melissa Santos ring introduction. Last week was stranger with Lucha Underground doing WWE-style in-ring promos. I’ll be by later today for the Dot Net Members with my audio review of this show.