News broke this week that the young El Rey network had cancelled its first original program, “Matador”. From what I understand Lucha Underground is guaranteed at least two seasons on El Rey, and early ratings indicate that the show is a strong performer (by the standards of the network) in the all important 18-45 demographic. In other words, the small ripple of panic that spread through the wrestling Twitterverse due to the Matador news seems to be unfounded. With that said, I have no idea how the LU budget compares to that of Matador, and budgets are something that certainly factor into network decisions when ratings push comes to ratings shove. As someone who casually follows the business side of television, it’s been very hard to get news on anything related to El Rey, let alone LU specific news, because the network is essentially still a baby that barely registers a blip on the television landscape. At this point though, I wouldn’t be concerned with LU’s fate until we see where we are towards the end of season two. And keep in mind that I haven’t even mentioned the Spanish language version of the show that airs on UniMas, which is a factor in all of this as well.
Let’s get to this week’s episode.
We start off this week in Dario Cueto’s office, with Konnan complaining to Cueto about Big Ryck’s gang attacking Prince Puma. Cueto is all like, hey man, I don’t control Ryck’s gang, Ryck does. So Konnan proposes a solution. He wants a match tonight between Ryck & Puma. But not just any match. He asks Cueto if he knows what a “Boyle Heights Street Fight” is. Cueto says no, and i’m so glad he did, because nobody knows what the fuck a Boyle Heights Street Fight is. It would have been so silly if Cueto had rubbed his hands together and said something like “Ah yes! The legendary BOYLE HEIGHTS STREET FIGHT, that’s exactly what we need to settle this!”. Konnan explains that it isn’t just a match, it’s a fight with no rules. Like a “Chicago Street Fight”, or a “Whatever City RAW Happens to be in Street Fight”. Konnan didn’t actually say that, but he should have. Cueto agrees, so we have our main event.
Mil Muertes vs Drago – Drago used his impressive speed early to keep away from Muertes, and did just enough to not make this look like a total squash, but also not quite enough to keep Muertes from continuing to look unstoppable. King Cuerno (thankfully without the embarrassing head gear that looks like it was found in The Barbarian’s garage) was watching the match while slithering around the balcony area, and attacked the already dead Drago after the match. Cuerno is a hunter, so I guess because Drago is a dragon, it’s a natural feud. As for Muertes, I have never been a fan of any previous in carnation of Ricky Banderas/Mesias, so for me this is the most interesting he’s ever been in his entire career. **
A video package for Johnny Mundo airs next. This guy has been severely underrated for his entire career, but to me he’s doing some of his best work during the early stages of this promotion.
A shocked Cueto runs into Catrina & Muertes in the back bowels of the Temple. Cueto gives them a half hearted congratulations on their win and tries to scurry away, before Cartina makes some cryptic comments about “darkness” & the key hanging around his neck.
Son of Havoc vs Mascarita Sagrada – Sagrada steps up in class here from the dude Cueto found hanging around at the Mexican restaurant last week. SoH isn’t that much taller than Sagrada, which Vampiro pointed out. Even so, it was kind of silly to watch Havoc sell for a mini (Sagrada sloppily “kicking out” of a pin attempt, where Havoc had to give him tons of help to do so, was one spot that looked particularly bad, to the point the announcers couldn’t even ignore it), but a lot of this wasn’t unlike watching El Torito doing goofy spots with somebody like Heath Slater, so it wasn’t completely stupid. If he starts going toe to toe with people like Muertes or Big Ryck, that’s the kind of stuff that’ll lose me. Sagrada did a dive to take out Ivelisse (who was constantly interfering), and then quickly cradled up SoH to pick up the win. A mysterious woman was lurking around the balcony during this match. Striker & Vampiro didn’t know who it was. *1/2
Sexy Star vs Chavo Guerrero Jr – This was more of an angle than a match. Chavo was dominating Sexy Star and in full control, and even planted a kiss on her for good measure. Sexy Star slid out of the ring and came back with a chair, looking to deliver a receipt for the big Chavo chair shot from a few weeks ago. The referee was having none of that chair business, so Sexy Star kicked him the balls and took the DQ. Everybody’s new favorite wrestler (seriously, he needs to be your favorite wrestler) Pentagon Jr ran in and snatched the chair from her. Without really making it clear which side he was on (but subtly leaning Team Chavo), Fenix ran down and chose a side for him, kicking the chair into his head with a Van Dam kick from the top turnbuckle. Fenix & Sexy Star cleaned house, presumably setting up a tag bout down the line. NR
Big Ryck vs Prince Puma – Psychology issues right off the bat, as this no rules street fight was being worked exactly like a normal match. The stip eventually came into play following a momentum turning tornado DDT by Puma, and a subsequent big dive onto Ryck & his gang on the outside. Puma was overwhelmed by all three men, and despite making a brief comeback with a kendo stick (which prompted Striker to make a super dated reference to Mo Vaughn, a baseball player who retired in 2003) he found himself strapped to a ladder in the corner with Ryck ready to finish him off with his own weapon. Johnny Mundo flew (literally) into the ring out of nowhere (he dove in from the balcony), grabbed a chair, wound up to nail Ryck…but Ryck ducked and Mundo leveled Puma. Doh. The heels dispatched the shocked Mundo, allowing Ryck put the already unconscious Puma through a table and pick up the easy pinfall victory. Hard to rate as a match, but it did effectively move the Puma/Mundo story along. Remember, a few weeks ago Konnan warned Puma to not get involved in Mundo’s business, and while Ryck’s gang gave Puma no choice, it will be interesting to see how Konnan reacts to the accidental chair shot. **1/2
Even thought the main event was fun, for the first time there was no great match this week. This was more of a move the story along sort of episode, with the ongoing Ryck/Mundo/Puma strife, Drago being hunted by Cuerno, Catrina seemingly being on to Cueto’s secret concerning the key, and Chavo, who everybody hates, (possibly) finally having somebody on his side in Pentagon.