After last week’s Lucha Underground was a bit of a disappointment, it was great to see the show get its footing back tonight. This was an episode that will likely convert no one to the cult of the Temple while faithful Believers will assuredly find a lot to like here. The matches and segments, both with their broad strokes and subtle details, gave us new insight to our heroes and villains and entertained at a steady clip.

What did the Moth and the Butterfly do to Sexy Star? For the powerful, confident Sexy Star to be reduced to a quivering child at the mere sight of the debuting Mariposa, something severe must have happened. At this point I’m not even sure if I want the show to answer that question. By allowing your imagination to run wild, it sucks you in better than many explanations probably could. (The ol’ Jaws trick.) Especially when paired with the spectacularly disturbing Marty the Moth. From his creeping on Melissa Santos (who gave a solid performance running in terror as soon as physically possible) to his leering at Sexy Star during the match, the man wears despicable rather well.

And what a debut for Mariposa! The eerie toy music is a fantastic touch that gives her an ominous vibe. The weathered hide wings look great and paired with the headdress cast an impressive silhouette. The mask doesn’t do a ton for me, but I suppose it does add to the oddity factor. Her character looks like she might fit in well on Hannibal. It would seem we’re building to a big match between Sexy Star and Mariposa way down the road after Sexy Star regains her confidence and breaks the spell holding her back.

Jack Evans and Drago took their rivalry a step farther on the show in a segment that was peak Lucha Underground. Entirely consistent, yet completely ridiculous. Straddling that line makes for fabulous television and is what Lucha Underground does so well when at its best. A dragon man assaulted someone in a bathroom and destroyed a light fixture in an act of intimidation (or the dragon’s well-documented distain for artificial lighting). He was interrupted by a man with nunchaku leading to, naturally, a 2-on-1 nunchaku fight that culminated in a star-man’s return complete with his own glow in the dark nunchaku. Look, if you can’t get into this, I just don’t know what to tell you. It was totally corny and awesome at the same time.

More conventionally, we had a solid build to next week’s title match between Mil Muertes and Fenix. Fenix got a promo talking about how he got started doing this by proving people wrong and is going to keep proving them wrong all the way to a title win. It was simple, it was potent, it set up the final shot of the show; I have no complaints about it. It was very effective, even if it didn’t set the world on fire (no pun intended).

The main event built the other half of next week’s title match as a bonafide monster. The top two wrestlers in the whole company threw everything they had at the Man of 1,000 Deaths and it still wasn’t enough. This was probably the best match on the show all season to this point.

Don’t look now but Matt Striker actually added to the match, at least at the beginning. He ran down rapid fire what was on the line for each guy, why they were in this match and where they were headed. It’s a great example of the little things in Lucha Underground that add up to such an enjoyable final product. There’s a certain wrestling show on Monday nights that claims to tell stories, but never does so with anything remotely resembling the clarity we saw here tonight.

The match itself was a spotfest, but an incredibly fun one. Prince Puma and Pentagon Jr threw everything they had at Mil Muertes and each other, but it wasn’t enough. There were so many great moments in the match itself. Puma’s tope into a tornado DDT is always impressive. Puma countering being thrown into the ring with a backflip off the apron was not only a cool move, but it built to Pentagon anticipating it and countering it with a sick back drop on the apron. The little one upmanship games the two challengers played were fun, with dueling planchas and superkicks both being brought out. One of my favorite moments was the look on Katrina’s face while holding up the stone to power Mil to victory and then watching him be thrown a superkick party. The finish, Muertes winning with a Flatliner on both men, solidified Mil as a scary monster, yet the match allowed both Puma and Pentagon to also look like stars. This was great.

Not so great was the match between Cage and Taya. The crowd was super into Taya, even bringing out the “Guera Loca” chant from AAA. I appreciate what they were trying to do with Johnny Mundo in the match and thought it made him look exactly like the cowardly weasel we’re supposed to regard him. The match itself, however, showed a bold disconnect regarding the intergender matches on the show.

Am I supposed to watch this and forget about gender or aren’t I? Because Matt Striker is always there to lecture us that wrestlers are just wrestlers man… and we’re wrong if we don’t want to give women their chance to compete. Meanwhile, Vampiro is telling me that what Cage is doing to Taya is criminal. Which is it? Because to me, in this episode, they sent two very different messages.

Regardless, the story telling it accomplished was great. It made Johnny Mundo utterly loathsome and built anticipation for Cage getting his hands on him. It made Cage look like a human wrecking ball, surviving a pipe shot and shrugging off two bottles to the dome like they were mosquito bites.

The Matches

  • Marty the Moth def. The Mack – More story than match, but the match itself wasn’t half bad, either. These two guys are far more agile than you’d assume given their size. Was short, but was good while it lasted and served well as a conduit to the Mariposa debut. Thumbs Up
  • No Disqualification: Cage def. Taya – Incredibly uncomfortable. I would imagine many people will have severely negative reactions to this and I find it hard to blame them. As a piece of story telling though, it really was effective. A Thumb Up Mired in Self-Loathing
  • Lucha Underground Championship: Mil Muertes def. Prince Puma and Pentagon Jr. – So much fun. Having three guys allowed the match to keep a rapid fire pace and led to a bunch of cool spots. Worth going out of your way to watch. Thumbs WAY Up (****)

Random Thoughts

  • I miss the live bands from season one.
  • “No means no” is a pretty solid chant.
  • “You say you’re the Dragon Slayer?” “The people named me!”
  • Aerostar’s chest piece screamed Iron Man here.
  • That pipe’s fake, of course, but the shot Cage took from it to the head looked nuts.
  • “There’s nothing my analysis can lend to this.” – actual quote from Matt Striker.
  • The number Famous B gives in his infomercial actually works, I tried it.
  • Just once, I want to see someone in WWE give the same awkward smile Famous B gave when the camera was left on him for too long.