We opened this week with Dario Cueto giving Cage a pep talk for his big championship match with Prince Puma, as Cage’s big push continues. This wouldn’t be the only main event caliber match scheduled this week, as we opened up the show with two top stars facing each other in a rematch from a bout that took place before the late December holiday break.
1. Mil Muertes vs Fenix – This was an interesting match up between a top heel vs a top babyface. Muertes hadn’t been featured over the last few weeks, which to me was a positive. Not that it’s possible anyway on a one hour show, but I think an underrated negative in modern television wrestling is the insistence of shoehorning all of the top stars onto the show each week. I don’t think it would hurt to let the fans miss some of these guys sometimes. Fenix used his speed early, but Muertes hit a huge lariat out of the corner that helped him take control for the rest of the bout. Fenix bounced around plenty for the Muertes power stuff, but this was not the usual Muertes squash where he physically dominates and destroys his opponent (which was how the first match between these two played out). Muertes hit a superplex, but as they hit the ground Fenix hooked a leg, trapped the big man, and scored a surprise pin. This was some clever booking. It protected the aura of Muertes while keeping Fenix strong with a big win. Muertes is doing the best work of his career in this promotion. **
A Cage vignette aired where he was beating up dudes in a junkyard. At one point he was cracked in the back of the head with a glass bottle and didn’t even flinch. Very manly. His catchphrase is “I’m not a man, i’m a machine!” This reminds me of a pitch I heard years ago for a Christopher Daniels robot gimmick. It probably would have worked great in a place like Chikara or DDT. Daniels is almost too smooth and mechanical, almost as if he’s programmed. Have you ever seen the guy blow a spot or be in the wrong place at the wrong time? He’s like a stage actor who refuses to toss in his own sighs or mannerisms or personality tics unless it’s explicitly stated in the script. He’s too perfect, to a fault. Do something sloppy once in a while, Chris. Prove you’re human!
2. Argenis, Super Fly, Aerostar vs The Crew (Cortez Castro, Mr. Cisco, Bael) – Ring announcer Melissa “Future Mrs. Lanza” Santos made it a point to emphasize the “mister” in Mr. Cisco this week after Cisco insisted on it last week. So now he’s officially MISTER Cisco. I was shocked at how smooth The Crew were working together here, because to this point they hadn’t really shown much at all aside from being Big Ryck’s designated bump takers. This wasn’t the usual crazy spot fest that a lot of the Lucha Underground trios & multi-man matches tend to be, as it had a more southern style tag vibe to it with Aerostar as the babyface in peril. When he finally made the tag, the process started all over again with Argenis. I liked that, because I really dig non traditional match structures, so the small touch of doing back to back F.I.P. spots worked for me. The faces finally made the comeback, highlighted by Aerostar doing a springboard flip dive (similar to the ACH” Air Jordan”) which took out everybody on the floor. The finish came when Mr. Cisco lifted Aerostar for an assisted Cortez Castro Codebeaker. The faces barely registered more than a few hope spots, so instead of the usual wild match where everybody shines, The Crew really came off looking strong. This was a lot different style wise than what you normally see on this show, and I could see some people really liking it even more than I did. ***
Next up was a sit down interview with Prince Puma. Vampiro got annoyed with Konnan doing all of the talking and with Konnan’s sassy attitude, and they did some pushing & shoving. So as expected, it looks like they’re building to a Konnan vs Vampiro match. Yikes. That would be beyond terrible. Let’s hope that this all instead leads to Vampiro mentoring his own young star to face Puma, or something else that keeps both of these old dudes out of the ring.
Konnan & Vampiro have a long history of being both professional and real life rivals, and later friends. While the two jockeyed for position as top star of CMLL in the early 90’s, Konnan became a mainstream TV star after taking over an acting role originally that was originally earmarked for the very Canadian and very non-Spanish speaking at the time Vampiro. This added to the rift, but years later they patched things up, became friends, and even briefly booked AAA together.
Here’s how bad they looked against each other in 2009, in a mach that relied heavily on Jack Evans & Teddy Hart to mask their deficiencies. I can only imagine how awful a match between these two would look in 2015 after six years, a Vampiro broken back, and multiple Konnan surgeries later:
3. Lucha Underground Championship – Prince Puma (c) vs Cage – PWG! PWG! Puma wasted no time here, flip diving onto Cage during Cage’s ring walk. From there, this was the best overall bell to bell performance for Puma since the show debuted. Much like the previous trios match, this was worked at a very deliberate pace by Lucha Underground standards, with Puma making Cage look like a million bucks with some great selling and creative hope spots. Cage reportedly was cut from WWE years ago due to attitude issues. He must have been a complete and total asshole during his time there, because otherwise I have no idea how a guy with his total package of size, look, and athleticism slipped away from VKM. He’s essentially a Vince McMahon wet dream. He should probably limit his catch suplex/jackhammer combo to special situations, but holy shit does it look great. He also did a second rope moonsault that had amazing snap. He does things athletically that a guy his size has absolutely no business doing. Puma is his perfect opponent, because he’s small enough for Cage to rag doll around, but they’re also close enough in height to where it doesn’t look silly for Cage to take Puma’s offense. This was well on it’s way to peaking at just the right time when Cage was disqualified for kicking Puma in his feline nuts. I was wondering how they’d get out of a clean finish, but that was disappointing. Konnan limped into the ring to save Puma from a post match beat down, but then took a beating of his own. Konnan was left bleeding as Cage RIPPED THE TITLE BELT IN HALF. Cool angle, but the finish of the match was really, really lame. ***, but would have went a little higher with a better finish. Puma really worked his ass off, and Cage continues to look great.
Cueto was shown in his office peering through the blinds at the carnage in the ring with the best shit eating look on his face when he was startled by the mysterious Asian woman. She finally spoke, claiming that somebody in the Temple owed her a debt. Cueto welcomed her to shake down his stable of fighters, but she mentioned a name Cueto had never heard of before and flew away. Seriously, she literally flew out the door to a WHOOSH sound. This show is always good for one goofy moment like that one. Cueto is at his best is two situations. Being a smarmy asshole, and when shitting his pants at the prospect of getting his ass kicked. And that folks, are the two key attributes to an effective heel non wrestler character.
Another week, another sold show. This was a better show than last week’s story advancer edition, but didn’t quite have the match quality of the two weeks prior to that. Still, this week featured two solid matches and the continued push of Cage, who has pretty much looked fantastic since his debut. The finish of the main event was weak, but i’ll cut them a break since the booking of everything else on this show is generally so good.