9/5 Moore’s Lucha Underground TV Review: Pentagon Dark vs. Hernandez for the Lucha Underground Championship, Aerostar travels through time to make things right, Catrina vs. Melissa Santos in a cinematic street fight, Matanza Cueto vs. Joey Mercury in a Loser Gets Sacrificed Match

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

Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired September 5, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 13
Taped March 2018 in Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse

This week’s intro teaser recapped Grave Consequences, the death of Fenix, the rebirth of Catrina, Catrina beating up Melissa Santos and ditching Mil, Killshot ditching his tag team partners, Johnny Mundo’s wedding, Joey Mercury’s debut, and Matanza throwing Taya through the wedding cake. This week’s Lucha Underground episode was titled, “The Circle of Life”…

The opening cinematic was located in the shrine of Mil Muertes. Catrina told Mil that she was done with him (she is now “alive” after all). Catrina said she has her life again. Mil held on to Catrina’s elbow for a sec. Catrina said she wasted a lot of her life in the Temple with Mil. Catrina said they ruled the underworld together, but she never really loved Mil. Catrina said she only loves the man who truly gave her freedom (Fenix?). Catrina gave Mil something to remember her by, his magic rock. Melissa Santos confronted Catrina in the shrine and called Catrina a bitch. A cinematic martial arts scene ensued. Mil was just chilling staring at his magic rock.

The two women brawled to a different part of the building. Catrina tossed Melissa’s head into the glass window, but Melissa fought back. Catrina laid in some good gut punches on Melissa, but Melissa came back with the Wing Chun counters to toss Catrina into the glass. Catrina tossed a chain at Melissa and missed, and Melissa’s face sold “who throws a chain? Honestly?”. Melissa gut punched Catrina back and there was a back and forth. Catrina retreated upstairs when she was losing the fight. The two women brawled to an attic with Melissa continuing to have the upper hand. Both women took each other out with axe kicks.

Catrina surprised Melissa with a boot from the grounded position. Melissa threw water at Catrina. Catrina used her own jujitsu to get Melissa in the Cross Arm Breaker so she can taunt her about how much Fenix loved her more than Melissa. Melissa said she agrees that Fenix died for Catrina but Catrina will die for Melissa. The brawled carried over to some sort of roof top area scaffolding. The jackets came off. More gut punches occurred by both women. Catrina got the choke in on Melissa as she took the half-immortality Medallion to try to choke Melissa to death. Melissa fought out and got the Judo throw on Catrina. Catrina was hanging for dear life at the edge of the roof. Mil Muertes told Melissa to step aside and then told Catrina “something to remember ME by” as he treated Catrina like he was Scar and she was Mufasa. Mil gave her the magic rock and had her fall off the roof. Catrina fell into the depths of a cheap green screen.

Melissa and Aerostar stood over the “Dead” (?) body of Catrina (hell to the yeah for Aerostar in cinematics! They should just turn this show to the Aerostar and Drago Tokusentai). Melissa said she didn’t kill her. Aerostar said he knows (because he’s a badass time traveling power ranger!). Aerostar said he needs Melissa’s help and she must give him the half of the Aztec immortality medallion. Aerostar then looked like he was about to shoot a Kamehameha wave and he sucked the dark energy (?) out of Catrina. Aerostar said “I’ll be right back”…

But wait? There is more cinematic! (and I love it). The show cut to ten weeks earlier where Catrina sucked the 1000 lives out of Fenix. But it wasn’t a flashback because Aerostar is a g-damn time traveling sentai time cop! Aerostar then took the energy from his Iron Man arc reactor and shot a Kamehameha wave into the “dead” Fenix thus giving him back the life that Future Catrina stole from him (this is really getting into some DBZ shiz). Aerostar then said, “come with me” and teleported Fenix to the present timeline (oh boy, I’m cracking up out of joy).

Aerostar walked to Melissa Santos and right behind him was Fenix. Fenix and Melissa hugged. Aerostar told Melissa that since he did some time traveling shenanigans, that Fenix is not like he was and will take time to get back to where he was before (so now can Zombie Fenix and Zombie Callihan form a Zombie tag team?). Melissa said they have all the time in the world and she told Aerostar “gracias”. Melissa handed Aerostar the half immortality medallion and then Aerostar blasted off again into the time stream. Yep, he did that. The scene ended with a close-up of Fenix’s irises which showed that the dark energy was forming around his pupils… [c]

John’s Thoughts: Ho boy, that was a lot to take in. That was the best cinematic in Lucha Underground in a long time. It may be the best cinematic in this company’s history and therefore the best cinematic in pro wrestling history since they innovated the technique. That was great. This was the first time I thought Melissa Santos clicked as a character because the brawl hid her acting weaknesses and her in-ring weakness and it spared the viewers from what could have been a mediocre live match. That fight was great! Mil was great in his limited time! Time traveling is great. While XO Lishus may be the wrestling MVP of this season, Aero freakin’ Star is the Cinematic MVP of this season with his time traveling and Kamehameha waves and stuff. Aero is surprisingly a good actor. In the end, I’m glad they righted course with Catrina latching back onto Fenix because that forced lovey-dovey thing with Melissa was just too weak. As I keep pushing for, they might as well kill the entire roster and release them to the pro wrestling world. I want to see an Aerostar and Drago standalone series, either a Super Sentai (power ranger) or Anime please!

After that nice piece of cinematic and the break, Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in from Downtown Los Angeles at the temple. It was a new day of tapings since El Conjunto Nueva Ola were making their first appearance this season as this episode’s house band. Matt Striker noted that Johnny Mundo was scheduled to challenge for the Lucha Underground Championship but the Matanza attack delayed that match. Vampiro said he’s hearing that Johnny Mundo might not wrestle again. Matt Striker noted that Joey Mercury (going under the non-copyright name of Joey Wrestling) survived the attack. Striker said that even though he doesn’t have LU contract, he wants a fight.

Melissa Santos was back to being the ring announcer as she introduced Joey Mercury. Striker noted that Joey used to be tag team partners with Christian York but later became a three-time (WWE) Tag Team Champion with Johnny Mundo. Antonio Cueto walked out to give Joey his match. It was a Sacrifice match of course. Antonio Cueto made a paparazzi joke due to Joey’s MNM history (that must have been a Chris DeJoseph add). Joey’s probably going to die…

1. Joey Mercury vs. Matanza Cueto in a loser gets sacrificed match. Mercury tried to get the upper hand but Matanza lifted Joey up and hit a few gutbuster knees on him. Vampiro noted that Joey Mercury does look badass but it’s not practical wearing Jeans due to it being constricting. Mercury recovered and hit a few punches on Matanza. Matanza escaped a fireman carry and knocked down Mercury. Striker noted the cauliflower on Joey’s ear. Matanza hit Joey with a corner splash. Matanza locked a bear hug on Joey. Joey fought out with forearms and punches. Matt Striker noted that this was the first competitive sacrifice match in the temple. Joey Mercury hit Matanza with an Attitude Adjustment which Striker did make the WWE allusion.

Joey chased Matanza to ringside and continued to attack. Matanza tossed Joey into Marty Elias which allowed Joey to sneak in a low blow kick on Matanza. Joey hit a superkick and front kick on Matanza. Joey Mercury then hit Matanza with the Paul Levesque Pedigree. Matanza no sold the pedigree and then hit Joey with a headbutt. Matanza hit Joey with the Wrath of the Gods for the win.

Matanza defeated Joey Mercury via pinfall in 2:55 to win the loser gets sacrificed match.

Matanza killed, or absorbed, the prone body of Joey Mercury… [c]

John’s Thoughts: Not bad. I’m a bit disappointed again that we’ve only got to see so little of Joey Mercury before they “killed” off his character. I still wonder if some of these “sacrificed” wrestlers can be saved as if Matanza Cueto is the pro wrestling Majin Buu? And is Joey Mercury the WWE version of Mokujin with his copying of WWE main eventers moves? That was only three minutes but it was really good and it was good to finally see a credible Sacrifice match that didn’t involve Lucha Underground jobbers.

Melissa Santos introduced Killshot (Shane Strickland) who walked to the ring wearing a sleeved shirt with a skull and crosshairs on the shirt. His opponent was “he’s big, he’s bad, he’s big bad Steve”. Steve carried Brenda to the ringside. Brenda continued to act drunk in her cute, ditzy way…

2. Killshot vs. Big Bad Steve (w/The Beautiful Brenda). Vampiro said he likes Killshot’s tactical gear. Killshot noticed Steve’s leg was hurt (due to Jack Swagger) and he focused his attack on the injured leg. Son of Havoc (M-Dogg 20) appeared at the top of the steps with soda and a bucket of popcorn to watch the match. Havoc shared his popcorn with the fans after they chanted “we want popcorn”. Killshot still dominated Steve while continuing to be distracted by Havoc who was chilling eating his popcorn. Killshot laid on some palm strikes to the head of Steve followed by a basement dropkick to the injured ankle of Steve. Vampiro noted that his old tag partner Great Muta used to do that. Killshot locked Steve in a standing Indian Deathlock while taunting Havoc from a distance.

Brenda told Steve (because they always have her mic’d up) to “hit him with your hot rod”. Brenda then led a Steve chant. Steve showed his fighting spirit while daring Killshot to slap him in the face. Killshot reversed Steve into a nice knife edge chop. Steve hit Killshot with a nice Saito Suplex. Brenda continued to ask for the hot rod.

Steve held Killshot in the fireman carry and yelled “Big Bad Steve” to incite a chant. This allowed Killshot to land a nice dropkick reversal midair. The crowd was impressed by this move and turned in favor of Killshot. Killshot gave Steve a series of pump kicks but Steve continued to show fighting spirit by daring Killshot for strikes. Killshot treated his own feet as hands as he blocked and kicked Steve down to size with only his feet.

Brenda said, “you’re a bad man” and told Steve to “kill him”. Steve hit Killshot with an impressive pop-up cutter which got a cheer from Son of Havoc. Big Bad Steve hit a very innovate double pumphandle X-Factor. Killshot rolled away to get some recovery which Striker noted was the strategy. Steve had the visual pinfall but Havoc got his foot on the rope for the break. Steve pummeled Killshot in the corner with punches. Steve hit Killshot with an elbow and almost hit a delayed vertical Superplex but Killshot fought out and put Steve in position for the Del Rio footstomp. Killshot then hit Steve with the Killstomp for the win.

Killshot defeated Big Bad Steve via pinfall in 7:21.

Killshot gloated to the crowd and was heeling on them off mic. Brenda consoled Steve to the back. Striker noted that killshot had a new swagger to him. Vampiro noted that the crowd was celebrating Son of Havoc over Killshot’s win. Killshot argued to Havoc about not offering him some popcorn. Killshot slapped the popcorn out of Havoc’s hand and a brawl ensued. Havoc dominated Killshot and Unmasked Shane Strickland (who made sure to keep his face covered). Son of Havoc celebrated holding up the mask of Killshot… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A nice return to form for Killshot who put on a good match similar to the barnburners that he was putting on in Season 3. It’s matches like this that new Shane Strickland viewers need to watch to see how good he is (because he can also put on some forgettable matches too). Good post-match stuff which developed Havoc and Killshot. This Big Bad Steve guy has also impressed me from watching him live at the temple this season and he showed here that he has a lot of talent despite the enhancement wrestler 90’s WWF Sports Entertainment gimmick. If they do get a season 5, Steve is someone to look out for (and I hope they don’t kill him before this season is over). Brenda is starting to grow on me as the ringside ditz. I’d take her comedy over Famous B who is starting to get overbearing in a bad way.

Melissa Santos handled the ring introductions for the World Title match in the main event. Striker did note earlier that Johnny Mundo was out with an injury from Matanza and Ricky Mundo’s wedding ambush. Pentagon Jr. had the Chinese (and Japanese) symbol of “Darkness” on his ring gear (Yu-gi-oh viewers may know that at the Yami symbol). The crowd showered Pentagon in Cero Miedo chants. Pentagon Jr. said esta noche he wanted to give Johnny and Taya Valkyrie a wedding gift, a broken arm for Johnny. Pentagon said El Doctor told Pentagon that Johnny can’t wrestle tonight. Pentagon said that makes him sad but he’s in a mood tonight to break some bones.

John’s Thoughts: If Impact Wrestling can somehow have this guy wrestle at tapings in California, then I hope they allow him to cut these Stone Cold Steve Austin promos in front of live crowds because the guy is a money promo. That’s of course unless we see him in NXT in the next few months.

Pentagon said he was putting out a challenge out there for any wrestler with the balls to challenge him for the world title tonight. Member of the OGz, Shawn Hernandez, made his entrance. Hernandez spoke in English. He said everybody knows that Hernandez has the biggest balls in this building. Hernandez called Pentagon a bitch. Pentagon comically mocked Hernandez’s strut and told Hernandez “Screw you dumbass (cabron) and come down to this ring”. Hernandez said that if Pentagon has the balls to face Hernandez then the title will come to Hernandez. Pentagon spoke in English and said “You have balls? But in your head… bitch”…

John’s Thoughts: This episode is great. They front-loaded the beginning with all of the fun cinematic stuff and now they are providing some great traditional pro wrestling promos courtesy of Pentagon Jr. Other wrestling companies somehow need to find a way to tap into Pentagon’s masterful in-ring promo delivery because Lucha Underground is the only company to put this guy in money positions. That was a great, albeit vulgar, exchange between Penta and Hernandez.

3. Pentagon Dark vs. Hernandez for the Lucha Underground Championship. Pentagon hit a series of kicks on Hernandez and then quickly followed up with a huracanrana. Hernandez retreated to outside but Pentagon kept up the pace with a huracanrana. Pentagon hit Hernandez with a low kick and chased him into the seats. Pentagon used an Irish whip to send Hernandez into the wooden chairs. Pentagon then hit his signature loud chest slap on Hernandez. Vampiro compared this to a kumite. Pentagon pummeled Hernandez against the apron. Hernandez then pulled off a slingshot shoulder block. Hernandez then pulled off a very impressive hands-free top rope Tope. Hernandez went for a pin for an early two count. Hernandez then locked in a camel clutch while the crowd chanted “Culero” (asshole) at him.

Pentagon recovered but ran into the giant Hernandez. Hernandez flipped the bird to the crowd and hit Pentagon with a backbreaker. Hernandez chopped Penta. Penta came back with a kick and a sling blade. This got Penta a two count. Hernandez was gassed at this point. Matt Striker noted that Hernandez is a bit out of shape due to not being in the ring for a long time (wow. I didn’t expect Striker to acknowledge that. Not bad). Pentagon hit another one of his signature chest slaps on Hernandez. Striker noted that what makes Pentagon unique is his timing. Hernandez recovered and kipped up to the top rope. Pentagon quickly brawled with Penta to the top rope. Hernandez hit a top rope splash on Pentagon for the nearfall.

Striker noted again that a top rope splash isn’t the best move for a man who is in bad conditioning like Hernandez for his long layoff. Hernandez did the suck it crotch chop to Pentagon. Pentagon recovered and hit Hernandez with a step up enzuigiri. Hernandez went for another slingshot shoulder block but was kicked out of the air by Pentagon. Pentagon went for and hit the Pentagon Driver for the win.

Pentagon Dark defeated Hernandez via pinfall in 7:05.

Striker noted how impressive it was to see Pentagon lift up the taller Hernandez into a Michinoku Driver. Pentagon went for his Sacrifice Arm Breaker on Hernandez but was stopped by King Cuerno (a.k.a. El Hijo Del Fantasma). Cuerno used the Lucha Underground title belt to smash Penta in the back of the head. Cuerno hit Penta with a jumping sobat. Cuerno then hit Pentagon with a (very safe) Thrill of the Kill (leg underhook Package Piledriver) on the Lucha Underground Championship. King Cuerno left the temple as Striker closed the show…

John’s Thoughts: Colored me surprised. Hernandez has been out of shape since his return to pro wrestling, to the point where Matt Striker was constantly pointing that out on commentary. While he may lack the conditioning, what has impressed me from Hernandez in LU and Impact is his hard work. Maybe Dixie Carter was right in making him her “Chosen one”. That was a better than expected match and give me some hope in a good LAX vs. OGz match in the future if Hernandez has been practicing his cardio. This wasn’t a five-star classic by any means, but I had low expectations and the two men managed to put on a good open-challenge main event.

Looking forward, Pentagon Jr. vs. King Cuerno has the potential to put on some match of the year candidates as long as they stay away from hardcore stuff. I hope that’s the case because Cuerno, who most fans know as El Hijo del Fantasma, is one of the premier technical wrestlers in the world. This was a fun episode of LU to cover. This is another one of those “Easy to jump into” episodes where you can watch it without prior knowledge because of the top tier cinematic work in the beginning followed by the beginning of a lot of story arcs. It was like the Johnny Mundo wedding episode was a mid-season finale. I’ll be by later today with my Lucha Underground audio review.

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