By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired August 22, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 11
Taped March 2018 in Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse
This week’s Lucha Underground Cold Open focused on Pentagon Jr. vs. Cage, Drago being a free man, and Willie Mack eliminating Mil Muertes from Gift of the Gods. This week’s episode was titled “Last Man or Machine Standing”…
Melissa Santos was shown putting on her makeup backstage. Sad music was playing so probably signify that she’s sobbing over Fenix’s “death”. El Dragon Azteca joined Melissa to console her. Azteca also told Melissa that he empathizes with her being a professional and coping with her loss. Melissa acknowledge that she misses Fenix and thinks about him every day. Azteca said that means that Fenix is alive and well (in her heart?). Azteca then put Catrina’s half immortality medallion on Melissa. Azteca said the Melissa gave Fenix’s life meaning and he was lucky to have her. Melissa said she’s lucky to have Azteca, as a friend. Azteca said it was showtime…
John’s Thoughts: Huh, who knew that Rey Horus was a decent actor. That was good. Rey and Ricochet leaving was an absolute blessing in disguise for Azteca who’s getting a ton of development this season. Looking back, instead of messing up so many storylines in the process, making Melissa Azteca’s girlfriend wouldn’t have been a bad thing because it’s not like they were doing anything of note with Azteca other than have him bicker with Black Lotus like a child. I’m curious how they bring back Fenix. Hopefully not as a Zombie like Zombie Callihan. Maybe the medallion but the ancient Los Angeles witchdoctor said the medallion only works on women. Can we call the medallion sexist?
The show cut to a temple and a lightning bolt was shown overhead in Downtown Los Angeles. Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. There was no house band at the moment. Instead, stock Halloween music played, and Nickelodeon graphics flashed on the screen to show that Lucha Underground was going to have a “Haunted House Match”. The commentators were shamelessly plugging David brand sunflower seeds with Striker holding his bag up for the camera. Vampiro hyped Cage vs. Pentagon Dark in the main event…
Melissa Santos handled the introductions for the Haunted House Match. It was essentially TNA’s Lethal Lockdown match with kid-friendly decorations. Catrina joined Mil Muertes wearing her red dress as she does these days. Mil didn’t forget to shove camera people. Catrina yanked the mic from Melissa Santos and pointed out that Melissa didn’t introduce her as she usually does. Catrina called Melissa a “bitch” and told her to redo the introductions. Melissa responded with a loud “no” with some stank on it. Catrina then beat up Melissa Santos. Catrina licked Melissa and smashed a (hopefully sugar) glass vase on her head with some flowers in the vase. A crew member went to check on Melissa heading into commercial… [c]
1. The Mack vs. Mil Muertes in a Haunted House Match. Marty Elias was the referee. Striker noted that Melissa Santos was taken to a local medical facility. Mil no-sold Mack’s punches early on. Mil no-sold a Mack leg lariat. Mil responded with an emphatic chokeslam. Mil beat on Mack with a kendo stick. Mil played baseball by smashing Mack with a Kendo Stick while he had a trash can on him. Mil beat on Mack with a trash can and a crowbar. Mack fended off Mil with a boot. Mil used his strength to block a sunset flip and he hit a quick snap power slam on Mack.
Mil picked up a conveniently placed pumpkin and smashed it on the back of Mack. The Pumpkin didn’t give which shows how hard those pieces of squash are. Mack took down Mil with a kick combo and hanging DDT. Mil pummeled Mack while he was trapped between Cage and rope. Mil speared Mack through the cage and the cage broke, but didn’t break 100%. Mack rolled outside to escape the cage (this isn’t a cage match). Mil continued his attack on the outside. Mil put Mack inside and quickly climbed back in the cage. Mil hit Mack with a crossbody for a nearfall. Mil set up a table that had the word “spooky” painted on it. Mil grabbed an F’n scavenging knife. Mil then “hit” Mack with the knife several times in the head (Mack bladed).
Mack sidestepped Mil several times and managed to spinebuster Mil through one of the tables. Mil shoulder tackled Mack into the spooky table. Mil grabbed and set up another table. This one had the word “haunted” on it. Mack used elbows to block a Flatliner. Mack hit Mil with three Stone Cold Stunners. Mack went high risk. Mil recovered and hit Mack with a super Flatliner through the table for the win.
Mil Muertes defeated The Mack via pinfall in 9:42.
Mil ordered Catrina to lick Mack’s bloody body. Catrina said “no” and didn’t want to lick a bloody man. She didn’t lick the last guy Mil beat too. The commentators advertised Aerostar vs. Jake Strong (a.k.a. Jack Swagger)…
John’s Thoughts: One thing I like about Mil’s matches is they really breeze by. That was nine minutes and none of it dragged. It felt like less in a good way. I’m not the biggest proponent of garbage hardcore, but this match had the right amount and it they came up with more cinematics they could have main evented a show with this. I definitely prefer this match to that unsafe WMD match from last season which involved too much head trauma. Mil’s someone that needs to get his mojo back because he’s been a background player to Catrina for a long time now.
Famous B had a microphone and thanked the people for the get well wishes. He then exaggerated his leg injury. B also talked about how he’s going to fill in as ring announcer since Melissa is injured. B said unlike Melissa, he’ll never leave the fans ever again. Famous B read the announcer card and let out an “oh shit”, it was Jake Strong who broke his leg (that was the best sell that Famous B has ever done in LU).
John’s Thoughts: Random note, Jake Strong’s theme is hilariously bad. This is the most basic of basic royalty free music. Impact Wrestling is using royalty free music these days and those themes are a lot better. This is goofy. Another random note, during one Jake Strong match they had his entrance theme be Britney Spears’s “Stronger”, which I approve (but they obviously can’t use that here).
2. “The Savage” Jake Strong vs. Aerostar. Jake stood right next to Aerostar to mock him for being much shorter. Aerostar picked up the pace and landed a flurry of offense. Strong slowed things down with a suplex. Aerostar used a boot to block Strong. Aerostar landed a crucifix rollup for a nearfall. Aerostar hit Strong with a series of tightrope dropkicks. Aerostar went high risk but was tossed off the top rope. Jake Strong locked in the Ankle Lock for the win.
Jake Strong defeated Aerostar via submission in 2:16.
Strong’s goofy (but somewhat funny) theme played. Strong didn’t let go of the ankle after the bell. Drago’s back! (After less than a week of soul searching). Drago was wearing his gold gear and had fur on it. Drago also brought his cool ass nunchaku to the ring and did his nunchaku katas to scare off Jake Strong. Drago helped up his best friend as Strong led a “Strong” chant. Striker hyped up the main event… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A surprisingly short match, but Aerostar is Teflon in that case and is one of the people in LU who aren’t damaged by losses. Aerostar did look credible in his short flurries of offense. The best part, of course, is babyface Drago being back and in full swing. Lucha Underground needs more Drago and his nunchaku. A very compact segment that has me looking forward to Jake Strong vs. Drago, even though I don’t expect Strong to lose due to the Goldberg push he’s getting…
The show cut to Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie’s cinematic wedding shower with the Worldwide Underground bestowing gifts on the husband and wife to-be. PJ Black gave them a gift certificate to the “Slamtown Spa and Resort”. Johnny Mundo loves that place! Before they could get to Jack Evans’ gift they opened Taya’s gift to Johnny, a portrait of Johnny Mundo doing his John Morrison pose with the Lucha Underground championship. Johnny Mundo cried in joy at first but then started to sob. He said he was sad since it reminds him of when the Lucha Underground Championship was stolen from him. Taya told Johnny that she had another gift and that she got Antonio Cueto to book Johnny Mundo vs. the Lucha Underground champion a week after their wedding for the belt. That made Johnny feel better as the four people in the room did a Slam Town chant.
Ricky Mundo wasn’t a part of the locker room party and was watching the door. Johnny Mundo’s agent Benjamin Cooke (played by host of the Game Night YouTube series Dave Arnott. I’m a fan of this guy) entered to join the party but was stopped by Ricky. Cooke bragged to Ricky about being invited to Johnny’s party because he helped forward Johnny’s career. Cooke talked about Ricky being useless and that’s why he’s stuck doing guard dog duty. Ricky’s creepy ass doll talked to Ricky and told Ricky to treat Benjamin like he did Angelico. Ricky showed Benjamin a pen. Benjamin joked that it was Ricky’s autograph pen because Ricky was Johnny’s fanboy. Ricky then proceeded to stab and murderize Benjamin Cooke. Corn Syrup (a.k.a. blood) splashed all over the doll, Ricky, and camera. Taya let out a yell, but that’s because Jack Evans gave her and Johnny cool matching bandanas…
John’s Thoughts: Dave Arnott didn’t add too much in season 3 other than be Paul Heyman lite. Arnott was really good here in tearing down Ricky, but just like most people this season, the moment they get good is the moment they die. They’re keeping up with their one murder per episode quota. Backtracking a bit, Johnny Mundo is doing a good job as a babyface these days. I also like the return to regular cinematics. They’re obviously setting up Ricky to be the “speak now or forever hold your peace” interruption, but maybe they have a twist on that?
Famous B handled the main event ring introductions. He tried his best to mimic Melissa’s “559” area code intro for Cage. Cage has a cool theme (why couldn’t they get something like that for Strong?)… [c]
3. Pentagon Dark vs. Brian Cage in a Last Man Standing match for the Lucha Underground Championship. Cage started off with a brawl on the outside to get the advantage. Cage ripped off the top part of Pentagon’s mask, exposing the part of his face above the nose. Pentagon hit Cage with a sugar glass bottle which Cage no sold. Cage took his own sugar glass and jabbed it into the head of Penta. Pentagon bladed during the camera cut. Cage pummeled Pentagon to maintain the advantage. Cage gave the crowd what they wanted, a table. Pentagon escaped a powerbomb and reversed a tornado claw attempt into a Death Valley Driver, driving Cage into the set-up table.
Pentagon hit Cage with an unprotected chairshot to the head (ugh… why? Mil and Mack didn’t have to do it?). Matt Striker talked about how smart it was to target “the computer” of Cage (so we’re complementing this now? no bueno). Pentagon dove a chair into the chest of Cage. Cage power bombed Pentagon into a metal barricade. Pentagon stumbled around to get more weapons. Pentagon then hit Cage in the head with a trash can. Cage withstood more Pentagon strikes and then hit pentagon with a deadlift suplex to the outside onto tables.
Pentagon and Cage brawled on the apron. Pentagon gave Cage a (protected) chairshot to the head (why didn’t they do this earlier?). Pentagon hit Cage with a Murphy’s Law into the table. Both men beat Marty’s count. Cage drilled Pentagon with the Tornado Claw and then followed up with the Drill Claw finisher. Cage brought another table into the ring along with a cinder block. Pentagon hit Cage with a trash can lid. Cage brawled with Pentagon to the top rope. Pentagon hit Cage with a Super Canadian Destroyer from the top rope and through a table. Pentagon set up chairs while cage was getting to his feet.
Cage staggered Pentagon with a tiger knee but was tripped onto the chairs. Pentagon punted Cage below the belt. Striker thought hamstring and Vampiro thought taint. Pentagon hit Cage with the Fear Factor through the six set up chairs. Pentagon “Pilmanized” Cage’s arm. Pentagon used that to tenderize Cage enough for him to hit the Sacrifice Arm Breaker on Cage. Pentagon broke both of Cage’s arms (complete with post production cheap sound effects. Pentagon then gave Cage the Seth Rollins Curb Stomp through the cinder block to knock out Cage for the ten count.
Pentagon Dark defeated Brian Cage in a last man standing match in 13:16 to retain the Lucha Underground Championship.
Pentagon held up his title and soaked in the Cero Miedo chants. Matt Striker advertised Johnny Mundo and Taya Valkyrie’s wedding for next week.
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts here in that I really liked this match but absolutely abhorred about three minutes in the middle of this match. Where the match was good, it was good. This was the match we should have got between Pentagon and Cage where their last title match was disappointing. That Super Canadian Destroyer was sweet. The three minutes of bad came from the sequence of unprotected chairshots to the head that take me out of it knowing how CTE is an issue today. The commentators didn’t make things better because they praised the wrestlers for the unprotected shots to the head, exacerbating the issue. Mil and Mack from earlier in this show showed that you can be creative and avoid head trauma. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa from earlier this week has a great Last Man Standing match and avoided all long-term life risks. If you extricated the three minutes of headshot targeting in this match, then this match would have been a damn good main event. It was good, but that cringe moment is not good.
So the cringe-worthy sequence aside, I’ll give this Lucha Underground episode a recommendation. It was good and I like that Lucha Underground is starting to get back to their Season 1 form of solid development and building towards matches. This episode was really efficient in that sense. They set up Catrina clashing with Melissa, Azteca as a cool BFF, Famous B being back, Drago being badass, Pentagon as a strong champ, and more. I’ll be by later today with my members exclusive audio review.
I miss chair shots to the head so I love that Lucha underground brings them. I’m sure they discuss it with the talent beforehand so it’s not like they are doing it without consent…. I know it’s your personal opinion but I would really like to see you lay off mentioning how much you hate it in your reviews.
it took 11 episodes for Lucha to finally deliver the best episode of the season so far
It’s not necessarily the chair shots that were egregious. It was the fact that they were unprotected that was disgusting in regards to everything we know about CTE these days…