In Swing Time, a film from 1936, Ginger Rogers plays a dance instructor who is trying to teach a sandbagging Fred Astaire how to dance. He pretends to be afraid of hurting himself over his two left feet and she sings to him a chorus that has now become iconic.
Don’t lose your confidence if you slip
Be grateful for a pleasant trip
And pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again
I thought of this tonight after watching the main event of Lucha Underground. Deep down, I want to believe that this attitude was at the heart of the show I just watched. It seems that Matanza has been grounded a tad. That he’d been brought back to Earth and made a credible, dominant champion, rather than an unstoppable monster who can’t even be hurt.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Superman. Part of it always felt to me like a 5-year old designed the character. “He can fly! And bullets can’t hurt him. And he’s got laser eyes!” “The Flash is really fast.” “Superman can also run faster than the Flash!” Who is this fun for? I mean, I get livid when I’m playing EA UFC 2 and can only seem to find online matches against Jon Jones. When a character is perfect, I get disinterested quick.
Matanza was never the flawless hero, of course, he was the flawless villain. He came in and was untouchable until he ran into Mil Muertes. The two had a back and forth fight or two, with Matanza coming out on top ultimately. For some reason, throughout their feud, it never gave me any inclination that there was anyone else on the roster who stood a chance against the monster. It seemed like Muertes could at least beat him up a little, but everyone else was hopeless.
Wisely, until tonight’s title match, Cage and Matanza had never crossed paths. Cage was eliminated from Aztec Warfare courtesy a cement block and a window pane well before Matanza showed up. We never saw the two characters talk about each other or be seen together at all. You’d think this would have built up intrigue for the match, but my skepticism had already grown too large. My interest in Matanza had waned.
By the time the match was over, it seemed for now as though they’ve rethought Matanza’s relationship with the other wrestlers on the show. It’s as if the show is a video game and they’ve just released an update to nerf Matanza and buff the other main-eventers. Matanza is no longer Galactus. He’s now more like the Juggernaut, which I think is a much better role. He’s still a one-man wrecking crew, but he’s not invincible. His finish is the only thing that seems to be bulletproof.
You have to give Cage credit for an outstanding performance tonight. It’s insane to see a guy his size and shape do some of the things he can do athletically. The opening part of the match featured him working like a junior and showcasing his unbelievable athleticism. The crowd got behind him in a major way and he fed off it and delivered bell to bell one of his best matches in his entire Lucha Underground run. You could almost believe he was going to win… right until he lost.
Matanza was not the only character who showed a bit of a change tonight. Prince Puma, previously a white meat babyface of the highest order, seems to have taken on a bit of an edge. He takes what he does very seriously and is not going to allow anyone to rob him of the titles he works so hard for. We saw a couple new sides to Puma this evening.
First, a backstage squabble between master and student threatened to side-track his chances at the trios titles. Rey and Dragon Azteca Jr. disagreed over the course to take regarding Matanza and were taking their eyes off the prize. Puma showed up to set them straight and get their heads back in the game. And to literally growl like an actual puma, let’s not forget that.
Later, in the match, the rudo champions were cheating again to try to win. For all the bashing Jim Ross gets over some of his opinions, cheating sure as heck got the heels over the past two episodes, but I digress… After one low blow too many, Puma got in the ring, lined it up, and drilled Johnny Mundo in the pills. It was tremendous. Then, he tries to deliver a superkick to Mundo, but hits Taya instead, just continuing to throw bags of seeds in the soil for a split between those two down the road.
It was great to see something a little different from Puma here, as well. When he’s not busy killing the business, Prince Puma had been having good, but sort’ve bland matches in Lucha Underground. This wasn’t as far as I’d like to see them go, (I don’t think that mask is doing the man any favors) but it was something a little different that added some personality.
Last week, I’d felt like Lucha Underground had hit a serious rut. This week, they managed to keep it rolling just enough to be interesting. I was trying to think this afternoon of things they could do to really grab my attention again. I’d settled on them needed to have another wild, outlandish story. I thought we needed some more faces being eaten off or time traveling space adventures or something big and bold. It turns out, some tweaks and nudges in the right direction were enough for this evening.
There are definitely some concerns I still have about the future direction of the show, but as for tonight this episode was an easy, breezy watch. It featured good wrestling, it moved characters forward, and it was fun while it lasted. At the end of the the day, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
- Son of Havoc def. Daga – Daga is a joke here! He’s being connected to Kobra Moon, who is also a joke right now. Vampiro tried to convince us that people everywhere are dying to watch Daga, but I’m not buying it. This match was fine, but the post-match was WEIRD. One Thumb Up
- Trios Title Match: Jack Evans, PJ Black, & Johnny Mundo© def. Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio Jr., & El Dragon Azteca Jr. – Jack Evans & Co. are fantastic as heels. Evans and Mundo wrestling with their sunglasses on was spectacular. They’re just so detestable. Not sure where the técnicos go from here. Match was good while it lasted. Thumbs Up
- Lucha Underground Title Match: Matanza© def. Cage – Pretty great little match here. Incredible performance from Cage. This may have been my favorite match of his from his entire Lucha Underground run. Not a MOTYC or anything near it, but was quite good. Thumbs WAY Up
- Voodoo Glow Skulls, consider yourselves added to my Spotify library.
- Can’t remember the last time Son of Havoc used the flagpole splash in Lucha Underground. Love that move.
- Kobra Moon actually does look more attractive when you change her out of those ugly green pajamas.
- So, Matanza definitely killed and (presumably) ate Black Lotus’ parents, right?
- That German suplex Cage took on the floor was no joke!