“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Life After Death
– The opening video solidly previewed the upcoming death match between Mil Muertes and Fenix as well as the Lucha Underground Championship match between Prince Puma and Hernandez, also mixing in the newest threat of one Johnny Mundo.
A Two-Man War
– If you’ve been keeping up with the product lately, then the opening video wasn’t anything riveting, as it mainly hyped the initial moment when Alberto El Patron and Johnny Mundo met, and looked back at when The Crew lost to Angelico/Son Of Havoc/Ivelisse for the Trios Championships, subjecting Dario Cueto to threaten them with his literally caged brother if they lost again.
– The opening video did a good job of putting into retrospective the stories surrounding the feuds of Big Ryck-The Crew and Fenix-Mil Muertes, with Catrina mixed in. The idea of this show was one of “payoff,” and that was indeed what happened.
– With every match they have, it seems Aerostar and Drago tighten up their in-ring chemistry – scouting each other’s moves and taking it up a notch, as we saw in the third match of their best-of-five series, with Aerostar getting the nod here in another evenly contested bout. Also like that they’re dragging this series out, not having them fight every single week for the repetition. You have to know this will likely go to a fifth match, but we have to wonder just what the winner of the series will get and if the respect between the two remains intact.
– The latest Konnan hype video compared his struggle to chess and combat. Well-shot in terms of camera work as usual, but sort of random. The insertion of Prince Puma as his chess opponent was a great metaphor of him as Puma’s mentor and possibly making a message of wanting to chasing for the Title, which his protege holds. Either way, it makes Konnan’s return feel more anticipated. Seems like he will be the next big heel, even though Cage took him out, so he could even go the face route.
– So, Big Ryck essentially won a chance to fight in a 3-on-1 elimination handicap match (who wants that?), but the story here was Ryck vowing for revenge, which has been handled well so far, even making Sexy Star look good in the process. The only problem with The Crew is that while they make a strong unit together, since Ryck left, no one has stepped up as a “new leader,” so they come off as a pack of three followers. Mr. Cisco would make a good leader, if they let him step up more. Ryck eliminated Bael first after good use of the kendo stick, which broke upon impact. He eliminated Cortez Castro next. If you’re going to tell this story right, it would come down to Ryck and Cisco and that’s what happened. Sexy Star coming out to send Cisco back to the ring upon an escape attempt was a great way to tie her into the match. The finish with the chair was brutal-looking and was appropriate as Ryck got his revenge. What happens from here, as this seemed like the big payoff?
– The announcement of the AAA Championship bullrope match between Alberto El Patron-Texano and a Boyle Heights Street Fight between Cage-Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground World Heavyweight Championship already makes next week sound like a huge show, on top of an already newsworthy show here.
– It was cool seeing the nod to Mexican death culture (Dia De Los Muertos) with the “Grave Consequences” match between Fenix-Muertes which turned out to be one of the best Lucha Underground matches in its short history. Seriously. Check it out. Fenix gave in probably his most memorable performance and both guys literally took it all over the arena, even using the coffin in the ring as a weapon. Brilliant. Even the brutal touch of Muertes biting Fenix in the face and spitting out his blood fit the brutality, as he tried to rip Fenix’s mask off. The finish was excellent with Catrina helping Fenix bury Muertes, so perhaps this is a way of writing off Muertes, though his character was great. Can’t say enough good about the match. Fenix got his big moment here and we hope the followup is as satisfying as the payoff.
– Best-Out-Of-Five Series – Aerostar def. Drago via pinfall to gain 2-1 series advantage
– 3-0n-1 Handicap Elimination Match – Big Ryck def. Cortez Castro, Mr. Cisco, Bael via pinfall
– Grave Consequences Match – Fenix (w/Catrina) def. Mil Muertes
– The opening video highlighted last week’s events, such as The Crew’s eye-burning cigar attack on Big Ryck and Cage’s assault on Lucha Underground World Champion Prince Puma after Puma successfully defended against Fenix. The Crew and Cage would be the stars of this episode, so to open with these highlights made sense.
– The backstage cinematic cutscenes seem a bit soap opera-like, which takes away from the “gritty” realism of pro wrestling, especially when the Broadcast team refers to the Temple arena building the matches take place in as “run down.” Which image are they going with? Nevertheless – the interaction between Dario Cueto and Cage made sense, as Cueto saw him as the new guy to potentially become new World Champion.
– Mil Muertes was built up by Matt Striker/Vampiro as a credible threat pretty well during his match with Fenix. This was all done to set up the surprise pin and victory as Fenix used the bounce off a superplex to catch Muertes. A rematch is bound to happen, but what does this feud do for either guy?
– The Cage hype video couldn’t have been more cheesy if it tried to be. This could’ve been a good chance to see Cage in the ring training, but instead he beats up a doofus and throws him on a car, like a wannabe Terminator. He’s got the muscles though. WWE would love a guy like him.
– The six-man tag between Argenis/Super Fly/Aerostar and Cortez Castro/Mr. Cisco/Bael was your usual action spot-fest as you’d expect from these guys. The Crew has been built solidly as a group, as TNA’s Beat Down Clan could learn from these guys. The top rope hurricanrana spot to the floor was insane. The Crew convincingly went over and they just can’t be stopped right now. They need better competition though, as it seemed the masked Luchadors they took on were just teamed up for kicks.
– The Vampiro interview segment set Konnan out to be Puma’s assertive mouthpiece, as he didn’t let Puma talk. Vampiro was good in calling Konnan out on this, before the two nearly came to blows. This was okay in making the viewer see that Puma would be better off without Konnan and when he eventually turns on Konnan, people will love him more, but this segment was the reason why the show’s ending lacked emotional impact.
– The Puma (w/Konnan)-Cage World Title match was okay until the pointless low blow by Cage. Did he not know he was fighting for the World Title? Konnan sought revenge by attacking Cage with a pinstick, only for it to be turned around on him and also hit with the belt. Konnan was established as Puma’s heel manager earlier and seeing a heel attack another heel – no matter how brutal – just won’t have an emotional impact on the viewer. Cage ripping the Belt in half was a good visual to close the show, but we needed more of a reason to hate Cage other than attacking another heel and ripping a newly debuted Belt. They didn’t have to have the World Title match this week if this was all they’d set up.
– The Asian woman cornering Cueto in his office looking for “Matanza” was one of those things we can’t really judge at the moment until we see where it leads. For now, it’s intriguing, but doesn’t make it “must-see” stuff.
– Fenix def. Mil Muertes (w/Catrina) via pinfall
– Cortez Castro/Mr. Cisco/Bael def. Aerostar/Super Fly/Argenis via pinfall
– World Championship Match – Prince Puma (w/Konnan) def. Cage via DQ
Right In The Eye
– Matt Striker and Vampiro seemed to be on their game on this episode, with exceptional commentary work. These two just gel and constantly push the product. All you can ask for. They solidly hyped the Last Luchador Standing match between Drago and King Cuerno.
– Cortez Castro/Mr. Cisco (w/Bael) took on Pimpinela Escarlata and Mascarita Sagrada in a match that showed off Pimparnela’s sleekest assets, among other things. Some imaginative spots here, but decent action overall, with Castro/Cisco going over. Big Ryck, who observed the match from the crowd, put out a fierce promo that declared his quest for the Big Gold no matter who held it. His disrespect towards Castro, Cisco and Bael prompted them to attack him unexpectedly and silence him, as Cisco put out Ryck’s Dutch cigar on his eye. He kind of had it coming to him, but it was still shock-worthy and as we would find out later, put out by Dario Cuerto, who paid them all in his office.
– Vampiro’s interview with Cage set him out to be someone who was there for the Title, no matter what anyone thought of him or the “heat” he had backstage. Vampiro was a great interviewer here, clearly no pushover. Cage has good mic skills too. He’s definitely got the muscles too. He can go far.
– The Super Fly-Pentagon Jr. Match was all about Pentagon trying to break out since he was eliminated by Chavo Guerrero Jr. in Aztec Warfare. The loudest chop in history may had happened here by Pentagon on Super Fly. Pentagon won with a brutal-looking small package piledriver. He cut a promo on Chavo about being betrayed by him and having someone willing to join him, which provided a hook for viewers.
– The Sexy Star-El Mariachi Loco match was entertaining, but not just for the mere fact it was an intergender match. Star had a good showing and Mariachi Loco held his own with no regard, chopping her at one point. Star won the match with no harm or foul.
– The Last Luchador Standing match between Cuerno and Drago was expectedly a great way to end a blood feud, as they tore each other apart to get to a 10 count. Or so it seemed. Cuerno used his brains to beat Drago by using a rope to tie him to the ring multiple times. Cuerno put the deer’s head on Drago to add insult to injury. Kind of a disappointing finish, but the action was good.
– Cortez Castro/Mr. Cisco (w/Bael) def. Pimparnela Escarlata/Mascarita Sagrada via pinfall
– Pentagon Jr. def. Super Fly via pinfall
– Sexy Star def. El Mariachi Loco via pinfall
– Last Luchador Standing – King Cuerno def. Drago
– The opening video was sleek and dramatic as it introduced the “Aztec Warfare” match concept; basically a glorified version of the Royal Rumble with entries by wrestlers every 90 seconds, but different in that eliminations were by pinfalls and submissions and “anything goes” rules.
– Off the bat, Matt Striker and Vampiro sounds like an odd pairing for a commentary booth, but it works. Could it be better? Of course. However, Striker’s expertise – both of the subject and as a wrestler, combined with Vampiro’s in-ring experience, makes them credible to both the casuals and diehards.
– The Dario Cuerto promo was straight-forward about the match, with a heelish confidence in being the match’s mastermind. His delivery was similar to the former Alberto Del Rio in WWE.
– The match itself had action aplenty with a little bit of everything. The concept of the Pimpinela Escarlata drag queen character was definitely an eye-opener, but that’s good for a company that is making strides for being different. Women were even in the match, so gender was no factor. Katrina even took a kick to the face on the apron. The final sequence between Mundo and Puma was superb athleticism with great near falls. Konnan even showed up at the end. All in all, the match showcased many – Puma, Mundo, Ryck, Chavo and Muertes had memorable performances.
– Entries: #1 Fenix (pinned by Chavo), #2 Johnny Mundo (pinned by Puma), #3 Mr. Cisco (pinned by Mundo), #4 King Cuerno (pinned by Mundo), #5 Son Of Havoc (pinned by Puma), #6 Pimparnela Escarlata (pinned by Son Of Havoc), #7 Prince Puma (winner), #8 Ivelisse (pinned by Cuerno), #9 Drago (pinned by Big Ryck), #10 Bael (pinned by Puma), #11 Cortez Castro (pinned by Mundo), #12 Ricky Mandel (pinned by Big Ryck), #13 Big Ryck (pinned by Fenix and Chavo), #14 Pentagon Jr. (Pinned by Chavo), #15 Super Fly (pinned by Chavo), #16 Chavo Guerrero Jr. (Pinned by Sexy Star), #17 Mascarita Sagrada (pinned by Big Ryck), #18 Sexy Star (pinned by Mil Muertes), #19 El Mariachi Loco (pinned by Mil Muertes), #20 Mil Muertes (w/Katrina) (pinned by Mundo and Puma)
– Prince Puma Becomes New Lucha Underground Champion