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Lucha Underground Review – Ultima Lucha Night 2

8/6/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters

 

If night one of Ultima Lucha was a passable first hour of a wrestling PPV, then night two was a groundbreaking one. From its inception, Lucha Underground has combined the time-honored wrestling tradition of telling personal stories that translate into physical confrontations, but it has left its mark with its stunning and creative production value. Ultima Lucha was the best example of that combination to date; the show used vividly beautiful moving pictures to tell variations on relatively simple wrestling stories. The result was outstanding, and will likely only be fully appreciated after the passage of time.

 

Mil Muertes def. Prince Puma to Become Lucha Underground Champion

Grade: A

There might not be a wrestler who has done more breathtaking work in the ring over the last two years than Prince Puma (Richochet). From his win in New Japan’s Best of Super Juniors tournament to his PWG Battle of Los Angeles triumph, he has done things in the ring that I have never seen before. His run culminated at Ultima Lucha, where Mil Muertes sought to become the first wrestler to beat him for the Lucha Underground Title. Given the history, it seemed likely that Muertes would win the match, but the way they executed it kept everyone on the edge of their seat.

 

The innovation started right away, as Puma used Muertes’ manager Catrina as a weapon to hit his opponent while they brawled in the stands. He followed that with a gravity-defying, spinning step-up enzuigiri off of the ring apron. He was never going to be able to dominate the full match, though, and Muertes stated to use his power. He hit a powerbomb onto a set of wooden ring steps and swung a metal chair to hit Puma while he ­­tried a­­ suicide dive.

Puma continued to use his athleticism in creative ways when he leapfrogged Muertes and hit him with his Benadryller (fireman’s carry into a kick) for a near fall. After he missed a Phoenix Splash, he rebounded with a backflip into a Pele Kick and a Northern Lights Suplex that he rolled into a modified vertical suplex. Muertes turned the tide again when he speared Puma off of the apron and through a table on the floor and powerbombed him through the shards of the table for good measure.

 

Puma could not be pinned and he hit a series of kicks to stun Muertes again. With Muertes down, he hit his 630 Splash, but Muertes became the first opponent to kick out of hit. He missed a second attempt at the same move and Muertes responded with a spear. Puma suffered a Flatliner, but answered Muertes and became the first wrestler to make it up from that finisher. The continued to fight on the turnbuckle and Muertes exploded into a Super Flatliner to get the win and become the second LU Champion.

 

The way Mil Muertes has been developed in LU is reminiscent of WWF’s original development of the Undertaker. His power is mystical, yet his ring prowess makes him undeniably dangerous. The win over Puma validates him as the most devastating wrestler in the company and creates the opportunity for some very interesting title chase stories as season two begins.

 

Pentagon Jr. def. Vampiro in a Cero Miedo Match

Grade: A

The rivalry between Pentagon and Vampiro is the best example of LU’s dedication to detailed storytelling. For months, Pentagon attacked and maimed vulnerable opponents in service of an unknown master. Finally, he turned his sights to Vampiro, the announcer and retired wrestler who was once a hardcore specialist. It took him weeks to coax Vampiro into a match, which left doubts about Vampiro’s ability to even wrestle at this point in his life.

 

It turned out that this match was fantastic without much wrestling at all. Vampiro entered in a black version of a Papal vestment with creepy white face makeup. Pentagon jumped him with a chair, slammed him on the concrete floor, and hit him with chair shots until the referee stopped the match and the EMTs started to put Vampiro on a gurney.

Naturally, Vampiro struggled off of the gurney and staggered back into the ring. He hit a spinning heel kick and dropped Pentagon on a pile of tacks. Pentagon answered by smashing Vampiro over the head with a light tube to draw significant blood, but Vampiro hip tossed Pentagon into another light tube. He climbed the turnbuckle and hit a superplex onto a pile of tacks and retrieved a table from outside the ring. Just as he lit the table on fire, Pentagon recovered and slammed Vampiro into it. Vampiro was lit on fire, which gave Pentagon the chance to easily pin him.

 

Even after the pin, Vampiro rolled back into the ring and demanded that Pentagon break his arm, like he had done to so many victims before. Pentagon broke his arm and knelt once again, only for Vampiro to praise him and reveal that he had been Pentagon’s master from the beginning. Vampiro explained that he needed to bring the viciousness out of Pentagon and his training was now complete. Even though the reveal was not shocking by the time it happened, it gave me chills because it was perfectly executed. More importantly, the teacher-student relationship makes Pentagon look incredibly dangerous and formidable as a fan favorite going forward.

 

Johnny Mundo def. Alberto El Patron

Grade: A-

The show opened with the two best-known wrestlers on the roster to most American fans. Mundo spent the opening minutes of the match running from El Patron and got an early advantage when he threw dust in his face from beneath the ring. El Patron rallied with an inverted superplex, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and a back stabber for a near fall. Mundo duked a superkick to counter with an enzuigiri, but his missed 450 Splash prevented him from capitalizing.

 

The first time El Patron went for his armbar submission, Mundo quick reached the ropes. El Patron dove into the ring post, and Mundo’s End of the World only got him a two count. He pulled the referee in front of a superkick, which meant that there was nobody to call for the bell when he tapped to the subsequent armbar. El Patron became frustrated and locked him in the armbar in the ropes, but LU newcomer Melina emerged from the crowd and hit El Patron with his own AAA Mega Championship belt. Mundo took advantage with another End of the World to get the cheap win and he kissed Melina to celebrate.

After the finish, El Patron got retribution. He beat up Mundo and put him through the same office window that El Patron hit to initiate their rivalry. Mundo was a bloody mess as El Patron taunted him and stood tall at the end of their confrontation, though it’s certainly possible that there is another chapter yet to be written.

 

Fenix def. Big Ryck, Sexy Star, Aerostar, Bengala, Jack Evans, and King Cuerno to Win the Gift of the Gods

Grade: B-

Although this match initially looked like one of the highlights of the card, it followed the Vampiro-Pentagon emotional roller-coaster and functioned as more of a come down from that high.  It was a solid match that gave everyone a chance to showcase their aerial ability (save for Ryck, who just plowed through everyone with his size). Marty “The Moth” Martinez appeared in the middle of the match to fight with Sexy Star, but she threw him outside and embarrassed him. It looked like Ryck might have the match won with a huge side slam on Sexy Star, but Davairi emerged and hit his old bodyguard with a chair. Finally, Fenix hit a fireman’s carry piledriver on Evans to get the pin and earn this version of Money in the Bank that he deserved from the beginning.

 

Remember that one of LU’s first transcendent storylines revolved around the Muertes-Fenix rivalry. With Fenix in possession of a title shot, that relationship can be kick-started again at any point.

 

Blue Demon Jr. def. Texano Jr.

Grade: C-

As discussed on this week’s episode of the Going Over Podcast, this storyline always felt more geared toward the lifelong AAA fans who have migrated to LU. The backstory between Blue Demon’s family, Texano’s family, and the Guerrero family was never explained in a way that effectively got heat on the rivalry independent of what came before. This match felt similar to that build.

 

Before the start, Demon revealed that his status allowed him to make the match a No DQ match. As a result, the Crew joined him in triple-teaming Texano. Eventually, Chavo Guerrero entered to save Texano, but quickly turned on him and sided with Demon and the Crew (which was not terribly surprising since Chavo seems to have had as many turns as appearances on LU). The group beat-down allowed Demon to get the win by standing on Texano in an anticlimactic finish to the one program that never really got traction before Ultima Lucha.

 


 

Throughout the season, Dario Cueto was involved in a backstage storyline about outside forces from Mexico, his beast of a brother, and the vengeful Black Lotus. In the finale, Cueto befriended Lotus and convinced her that Drago was to blame for her parents’ death. From there, they moved Cueto’s brother into what looked like a horse trailer and fled the temple.

The show ended with a montage of wrestlers leaving the temple in their own ways. Marty the Moth had Sexy Star tied up and threatened to introduce his sister. Havoc jumped on the back of Ivelisse’s low rider. Drago and Aerostar gave one another a respectful farewell, and Vampiro stood over Pentagon, dressed like Emperor Palpatine. It was another inventive way to sign off for the season and transition to whatever building and theme Season Two has in store. Even the idea of an “offseason” is novel in wrestling, but the real value in this closing montage was that it built anticipation for Season Two like a brilliant movie trailer.




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