10/17 Moore’s Lucha Underground TV Review: Johnny Mundo vs. Jake Strong, The Gift of the Gods Elimination Battle Royal, Willie Mack vs. Killshot, more build towards Ultima Lucha 4

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

Lucha Underground on El Rey Network
Aired October 17, 2018 – Season 4 Episode 19
Taped in March 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California at the Union Central Cold Storage Warehouse

This week’s Lucha Underground intro teaser started off with highlights from the Son of Havoc and Killshot feud, Johnny Impact and Taya Valkyrie’s wedding, Jack Evans and Joey Mercury getting sacrificed, and Jake Strong breaking ankles. This week’s episode was titled “Savagery” (this must be a Jack Swagger episode)…

Antonio Cueto was in his office putting the Gift of the Gods medallions in their felt pouches. Jake Strong (a.k.a. Jack Swagger walked in wearing a business suit for a meeting with Antonio. Strong wondered why he was even here? Antonio bragged about how dominant Strong is. Antonio offered to put Strong in the main event at Ultima Lucha against either Pentagon Jr. or Marty the Moth. Jake rejected the offer said he didn’t want to just be handed a title shot by Antonio on a silver platter.

Strong slammed his fist on the table for some reason. Antonio said he was going to give Strong a Gift of the Gods medallion. Cueto said that Strong will prove his worth in a match on this episode. Strong (in a very robotic voice) said he has seen the sacrifices that Matanza has gotten. Strong said to save some sacrifices for him. Strong tossed the coin back at Antonio and started to leave. Before he left he said this wasn’t Antonio’s temple. He said, “It’s mine!” in a cheesy distorted demonic voice. Strong left and Cueto’s hands were shaking…

John’s Thoughts: I’m all for bringing back cinematics in LU. Thumbs all the way up there. Antonio Cueto is still a dud compared to his “son”. I remember Swagger being fun and good on the microphone when he was WWE Champion and when he was paired with Dutch Mantel. Here he sounded like an absolute robot.

Matt Striker and Vampiro checked in on commentary. El Conjunto Nueva Ola was back to being the house band and they were singing their “This is Awesome Song”…

Antonio Cueto was in the temple with the Gift of the Gods belt on an easel. Antonio Cueto talked about how he already awarded the medallions to seven wrestlers: Aerostar, PJ Black, Shawn Hernandez, Big Bad Steve, King Cuerno, “The Savage” Jake Strong, and the returning Dante Fox. Matt Striker was excited at the Fox return. Antonio Cueto booked all seven wrestlers in the same match he did earlier in the season where the winner of the battle royale will be able to eliminate one person from the match…

John’s Thoughts: I get it, they’re scrambling to put together an Ultima Lucha card, but they knew their taping schedule and they couldn’t book any long-term storylines way out? Weird. Also, Dante Fox is randomly back! And no vignettes, cinematics, or damns were given by the creative team.

1. Gift of the Gods Elimination Battle Royal. Striker said Steve, Strong, and Hernandez look like the favorites due to their size. Vampiro said Aerostar’s black attire turns him on, yes Vampiro said he’s turned on by Aerostar, so he picks Aerostar to win. Aerostar hit Steve with this crazy multi rotation huracanrana. Aerostar then hit Steve with a corkscrew armdrag. Steve tried to say his catchphrase on the apron but was hit with a Tiger Feint Kick to get eliminated. Hernandez told Steve to “Suck it” from the apron and got eliminated himself.

PJ Black put Cuerno on the apron. Jake Strong gave both opponents a lariat to the apron. Dante Fox hit both men with a dropkick to eliminate them. Striker started gushing over Dante Fox. Strong eliminated Aerostar with a simple shove. Fox then milked the moment of possible elimination. Fox also caught Strong with a step up enzuigiri. Jake Strong hit Fox with a kick and then tossed him out.

Jake Strong won the GotG Elimination Battle Royal 3:13.

Antonio Cueto asked Strong who he was eliminating. Strong said “nobody” because he wants all seven in the match so he can destroy every single one. Antonio said this was a “Seven to Survive” match which means it was elimination. Strong asked for more competition. Cueto booked Strong vs. Johnny Mundo for the main event of this show… [c]

John’s Thoughts: I question LU’s decision to do last minute booking due to lack of time, but I also question waste of time segments like this one. I get that they’re going hard with Strong showing confidence, but him winning for nothing didn’t really drive that point better then the preceding cinematic. Strong vs. Johnny should be a good encounter between two former WWE blue chippers and I forget if they’ve wrestled before because they did come from the same OVW era.

Killshot made his entrance back from the break…

2. Killshot vs. Willie Mack. The crowd chanted “Return of the Mack” (in reference to the famous 90s song). Son of Havoc was shown walking around the upper deck area. Mack started the match off with a loud chest slap on Killshot. Mack then out dodged Killshot and hit him with a basement dropkick. Mack caught Killshot with a standing moonsault. Mack tagged Killshot with a forearm and running facewash. Killshot hit Mack with a flying Gamengiri. Killshot blocked a Stone Cold Stunner. Killshot trapped Mack at ringside with the bottom rope and hit him with a double foot stomp.

Mack reversed Killshot with an armdrag. Killshot hit Mack with a kick combo which Mack countered with a German Suplex. Killshot shook up Mack with a knee. Mack reversed the Killstomp with an RKO. Mil Muertes ran in for the DQ.

Willie Mack defeated Killshot via apparent DQ in 2:55.

Mil went to ground and pound on Mack. Son of Havoc flew in and hit Mil with a double stomp that Mil no sold. Killshot set up Havoc for a chokeslam by Mil. While Mil was distracted Mack went for a Stone Cold Stunner. Mil hit Mack with a flatliner…

Matt Striker hyped an Ivelisse and XO Lishus interview after the commercial… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A decent segment, but I can’t help but feel like this is the kind of basic build we see for rushed WWE Raw feuds. Again, they’re scrambling, but in scrambling they’re pushing out underdeveloped feuds and poor matches. Longer matches are a component of good pro wrestling storytelling and without that this show might as well be a cheap tv soap opera.

Matt Striker conducted his interview. Ivelisse said that her trios team was put in a triple threat Trios Championship match against The Rabbit Tribe and the Reptile Tribe. Ivelisse said Joey Ryan can’t make it so they found a new badass partner. XO announced that their new partner is Sammy Guevara. Guevara made his entrance to some very cool entrance music (but LU royalty free standards). Striker was about to recap how Guevara has been gone since Jake Strong broke his ankle. Famous B walked in with a comically large stack of papers where he told Guevara that Guevara signed a seven year contract to exclusively wrestle for B.

Famous B said Infamous Inc. owns Guevara. B said he was going to send Ivelisse and XO a cease and desist. B also said that Guevara will be teaming in a trio with Dr. Wagner Jr. and El Texano Jr. who are currently hanging out in Tijuana. Famous B then tried to shoo Guevara to the back. Instead, Sammy gave Famous B with a Corkscrew Tope Con Hilo. Sammy then threw the stack of papers in a trash can, put the can over Famous B, and then superkicked the can into B. Striker said that looks like Sammy has quit Infamous Inc. Striker then hyped Mundo vs. Strong for after the break… [c]

John’s Thoughts: This is obviously a self deprecating jab at El Rey’s ridiculous contract structure. Anyway, I’m disappointed that we never really got anything out of Joey Ryan being a part of the trio since the build to him joining was well done. That said, this was a WAY better introduction of the LU viewers to Sammy Guevara than Guevara’s initial introduction as glorified cannon fodder for Jake Strong. Sammy look like he aged ten years (since he does have a baby-face look) since we last saw him. Sammy Guevara has Ricochet-like agility so if built correctly LU might have a potential star on their hands. Having that baby-face and sick agility reminds me of a young Jack Evans too so there’s that upside.

Matt Striker announced that Ivelisse’s match announcement is now confirmed. They also announced Taya Valkyrie vs. Ricky Mundo. Matt Striker ran through the rest of the card…

John’s Thoughts: LU is usually good with their attention to detail, but there are glaring plot holes here based on the matches they are trying to run. Dante Fox is back, so shouldn’t Killshot be less petulant or at least have a reaction to the source of his current heel modus operandi? Johnny is having a match against Matanza, but shouldn’t he be more pissed off at Ricky Mundo who admitted that he’s the mastermind behind the whole thing last week? I know LU fans will rationalize this with forced logic, and trust me I like LU too, but I’m not going to lie to myself and say this is great writing. It’s not like LU has bad writers too because Chris DeJoseph as proven to be an amazing writer. I’m just disappointed that their cut funding has hurt their storytelling so much.

Melissa Santos handled the ring introductions for the main event… [c]

3. “The Savage” Jake Strong vs. Johnny Mundo. Mundo and Strong started the match with some amateur wrestling. Striker went into Strong’s real life wrestling background in the NCAA. Johnny showed off some quick agility and stopping on a dime. Strong stopped Johnny with a Belly to Belly. Johnny caught Strong with a Flying Chuck kick. Strong tossed Johnny into the ringpost to gloat in front of the crowd a bit. Strong gave Johnny a loud chest slap against the apron. Strong went into methodical offense on Johnny. Strong caught Johnny with running corner lariats.

Strong grounded Johnny with a Northern Lariat. Johnny blocked the Vader Bomb with his boots. Striker noted that it looked like Strong hurt his pectoral. Johnny caught Strong with a hanging delayed DDT. Johnny hit Strong with a Superman Forearm and then a running knee. Johnny hit a standing Shooting Star on Jake for a two count. Jake blocked a Moonlight Drive. Johnny did a few of his signature corner parkour moves. Johnny was turned inside out with a simple top rope trip. Johnny blocked a whip at ringside by doing Parkour into the stands. Johnny did some parkour to leap from one balcony to another. Johnny put some extra effort and then hit Strong with a sunset flip bomb. Johnny hit the Impact Elbow on Strong for a two count.

Johnny played to the crowd and gave Jake double middle fingers. Jake and Johnny brawled to the top rope. Johnny blocked a superplex. Johnny gained the upper hand with a thumb to the eye of Jake. Jake came back with an overhead toss. Jake hit Johnny with a Vader Bomb for a two count. Johnny held on the ropes to block a Swagger Bomb. Johnny did a side slam on Jake. Jake reversed a Starship Pain with a rollup and Ankle Lock. Johnny escaped the lock and hit Jake with a superkick and Moonlight Drive. Yep, I’m reacting positively because they showed a close-up of me (and new Dot Net Staffer Anish) clapping in the crowd.

Johnny and Jake beat the ten count. Johnny and Jake traded yay-boo punches. Johnny got a rally but Jake countered a superkick into an ankle lock. Johnny then crawled like a wheelbarrow around the ring. Swagger wouldn’t let go. Johnny threw his arm pad to distract Marty Elias so he can kick Jake in the balls. Johnny hit an awkward Starship Pain (Purposely since he’s selling the ankle injury). Jake kicked out and locked Johnny in the ankle lock for the clean submission win.

Jake Strong defeated Johnny Mundo via submission in 13:08.

Jake didn’t go for the ankle break after the match. Instead he did his strong chest slap dance (is he the new Moose?). Strong then went at Johnny’s leg but Matanza entered the ring. Strong laughed and rolled Johnny for Matanza. Matanza then hit Johnny with rapid fire headbutts. Taya Valkyrie ran in to try to save Johnny but was slammed to the ring by Matanza. Matanza hit Taya with Wrath of the Gods and then went back to ground and pound on Johnny. Johnny bladed (or at least used a blood capsule). Matanza stopped when Antonio Cueto walked out and nodded in approval.

John’s Thoughts: A really good main event. The match started slow, which had me a little bummed because of the quality of the overall show recently, but once Johnny got on a roll he made Swagger look money while also looking money himself with his seamless integration of parkour ninja moves.

This was a good second half of a show that had me feeling better about how Lucha Underground is going to end up heading into Ultima Lucha. It is also a bit refreshing seeing them looking forward to season 5 as far as storytelling is concern. I’m not saying Season 5 isn’t happening. Season 5 will happen if they can find more funding. Hopefully Season 4’s miscalculations teach them how to better allocate their funds for the potential next season. I’ll be by later today with my LU audio review for the Dot Net Members.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and former NWA Champion Nick Aldis.


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