“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Final Medallion Melee
– Ultima Lucha has become a stacked card with eight announced matches. It’s a lot for a two-hour special, so the announcement that it’d start a week earlier made sense with a two-hour special still on August 5 with the rest of the show. It’s going to be a great show if it lives up to the matches’ buildup thus far. The opening video did a decent wrap-up of The Aztec Medallions and their significance (a big focus on this episode; the one loophole left that finally got closed), the Chavo Guerrero Jr/Blue Demon Jr. alliance and where Big Ryck counted into things as the man who fights where the money is.
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Vampiro Comes Alive
– Ultima Lucha is on a fast approach and to no surprise, Lucha Underground cranks out another quality show, this one more focused on the on-and-off saga of the Ancient Aztec Medallions, which are supposed to promise immortality when they all come together. Also a hot topic headed into the show was the Pentagon Jr.-Vampiro mini-feud, and that wasted no time getting to the point as to what Vampiro’s answer would be.
– Lucha Underground is doing an excellent job on the build to Ultima Lucha, as you feel the presence of a new era is upon us from our friends at the Boyle Heights Temple. Of course, the big match is Mil Muertes vs. Lucha Underground Champion Prince Puma for the Title and that is coming along great, as Mil Muertes is an ultimate, revamped badass. You can almost sense a change coming where he’ll take reign of the company and we welcome it. Puma has been a fun fighting champion in every facet and it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches the challenge. Another large focus of this particular episode involved the conflicts between Pentagon Jr. and Vampiro, but we’ll touch up more on that below.
– With the first season of Lucha Underground winding down, at least they’ve seemingly saved the best for last: Ultimo Lucha, a two-hour spectacle. Think of it like the “WrestleMania” for Lucha Underground. At least it’s being set up that way. The storyline of the Aztec Medallions is starting to take shape and the opening video highlighted the winners so far – Fenix, Drago and Jack Evans. On this episode, we would see the development of Mil Muertes and Drago, fighting for a chance to get a Lucha Underground Championship match. The key here has been that both characters have returned as a stronger version of their former selves, with completely different backgrounds, yet culminating beautifully to collide at the same time in battle. Also announced for Ultimo Lucha was Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Mundo, which made a lot of sense from a storyline perspective. It was pretty much a set deal when we heard the “Shot Heard Around The Mundo.”
A Sacrifice Unfulfilled
– The Chavo Guerrero Jr.-Dario Cueto segment in the office revealed that Guerrero was out to assist Cueto in informing him of Black Lotus’ intentions to kill the caged brother “Matanza” at all costs, while working with El Dragon Azteca to wipe off his debt, but his loyalty to the highest bidder fit the character and if we know anything about Cueto, he had money galore. This set the tone for the later segments as Cueto summoned Guerrero to bring back Lotus to him in exchange for round-the-clock protection from Mexico.
– The opening video did a solid job of wrapping up current storylines, like Pentagon Jr. probably seeking revenge after being thwarted by Sexy Star on last week’s show as he attacked Super Fly, the unlikely “trios” of Son Of Havoc/Ivelisse/Angelico and Lucha Underground World Heavyweight Champion Prince Puma beating Cage with the appreciated yet forced help of Konnan and Hernandez.
– The segment with Dario Cueto, Puma and Konnan in Cueto’s office set the tone for the episode with Puma being told to find two tag partners for next week’s Trios Tag Tournament match he’d be a part of, as Cueto also revealed that on the opposing team would be King Cuerno and that Puma’s Title was on the line later in the show. This made Cueto come across the ruthless, sleazy promoter he is. Things only got more ruthless later.
– The Trios Tag Team Tournament match between Ivelisse/Son Of Havoc/Angelico and Drago/Aerostar/Fenix already sounded interesting on paper. Liked the interaction of Drago/Aerostar wanting to be the one to get the pin – their tension spilling over from their unfinished best-of-five series. The problems with all the competitors bled into the match’s finish and Ivelisse’s walk-off was good and it was intriguing to see that Angelico/Havoc/Ivelisse will advance. Only problem here was Fenix getting lost in the shuffle, considering he had a career match recently and Catrina wasn’t even out there at his side. An eventual confrontation between her and Ivelisse down the road would be fun to see.
– They continued on with the story of Konnan making choices for Puma, like forcing him and Hernandez to team up, saying it’s for the best, while disapproving Johnny Mundo as Puma’s other partner once he volunteered to join in. It’s good in making Konnan look like he still has heel tendencies as Puma’s manager, but then why all the effort to build Konnan as a hero? Pick one road and stick with it.
– There was an obvious goal to get as much heat on Cueto as possible as the evil mastermind, which we got a taste of when he booked the Sexy Star-Super Fly Mask Vs. Mask match, obviously intending to break up the Sexy Star/Super Fly alliance. Despite average ring work, both competitors carried on with a sense of urgency and there was a slight pace of emotion in their maneuvers. Matt Striker and Vampiro discussing the “lack of buildup” to a match this magnitude was good in getting Cueto heat for TV viewers, but things just felt incredibly uneventful, despite following through with the stipulation, as Sexy Star pinned Super Fly, forcing him to unmask. They did a good job of teasing this as a turning point for Super Fly’s career, questioning if this was the start of something great or the end of his career. The moment came across as emotional as it could get, allowing the perfect opportunity to have Pentagon Jr. make his move, attacking both of them, breaking Super Fly’s arm, sending him to indefinite bedrest. This also felt like the company’s first real attempt to get Pentagon Jr. heat, though they sort of failed on that front. The crowd just likes Pentagon Jr. too much.
– The Lucha Underground World Heavyweight Championship match between Puma and Cuerno had the reveal of Cage and Texano as Cuerno’s trios partners next week. We can see where Cage fits in, but what’s Texano’s beef? Not to mention Texano looks like a pushover after his feud with Alberto El Patron. He doesn’t resemble the top heel he is in AAA, but rather just another guy here in Lucha Underground. The match itself was okay, not fantastic. A little too much interaction between those on the outside -while hyping next week’s match pretty well, took away from the in-ring action on this show. The interaction between Hernandez and Puma was at least good, but you never felt that Puma’s chances of retaining were ever in danger, making it feel somewhat predictable.
– Trios Tournament Match – Son Of Havoc/Angelico/Ivelisse def. Drago/Aerostar/Fenix via pinfall to advance
– Mask Vs. Mask Match – Sexy Star def. Super Fly via pinfall
– Lucha Underground World Heavyweight Championship – Prince Puma (Champion) (w/Hernandez, Johnny Mundo) def. King Cuerno (w/Cage, Texano) via pinfall to retain
– The opening video was a good review/blend of the latest storylines: The Crew on the rise and their interactions with Sexy Star and Big Ryck and the latest developments in the Drago-Aerostar Best-Of-Five series for a “unique prize,” emphasizing Aerostar needing one more win.
– There was a lot of Dario Cueto in this episode, but that’s far from a compliant. He’s charming, mysterious, well-spoken, devious, a whole package, basically. Quite compelling authority figure, the best in wrestling right now. This was a good time to bring Ryck into the mix, being that he heard Cueto was behind having a “hit” put on him with help from The Crew. He entered with two new big, burly guys – Killshot and The Mack, his cousin. They had an ominous presence and while their intentions appeared to be right, their actions said different, as they pretty much cornered Cueto into giving them big money. Granted, Cueto used this opportunity to introduce the Trios Tag Team Tournament to crown the first Trios Tag Team Champions, slithering out of the tense situation like a snake, but something felt off about it. Do we root for Ryck and his men or against them? Either way, the news of new tag belts is great for the promotion.
– The Angelico-Johnny Mundo match was everything like it sounded on paper – a Red Bull-inspired aerial affair. We knew this had potential when this was announced and thankfully. it lived up to it. Striker and Vampire were solid on commentary, though Vampiro commented that there was something large at stake, though never explained further what it was. Despite that, Mundo going over clean was okay – but they need to be careful in inadvertently burying Angelico, who has loads of potential, but has more losses than wins as of late.
– The Black Lotus (Angela Fong) hype video explained her history, being trained by El Dragon Azteca after he stopped her from killing the caged mystery figure, instead making her wait to deliver the long-awaited final blow to her parents’ killer when the time is right. Sure – it’s a lot to digest, but the sleek production tactics (aka Quentin Tarintino/Robert Rodriguez) made this quite fun to watch. Knowing their fingerprints were all over it, who knows exactly where it will lead?
– The interaction backstage between Mundo and Alberto El Patron was solid yet tense, keeping in mind their past relations. It was essentially them saying to each other, “Hey – don’t forget that I’m here to get the same thing you want.” It was a nice nod to the past, present and near future.
– Cueto is portrayed as a manipulator mastermind who’s in it for the dinero. On the surface, he wants big things for Sexy Star (entering her in the Trios Tag Tournament) but is making her jump through unnecessary hoops to get there – like forcing her to team with Pentagon Jr. and Super Fly, strange bedfellows themselves – and making them face Ryck/Killshot/The Mack in said tournament? The intrigue was definitely there.
– We’ve reached that portion of the Drago-Aerostar Best-Of-Five series where the pressure grows with every move, every pinfall and submission attempt. It’s beautiful storytelling of two individuals whom respect each other turning it up a notch and vying for a prize. Striker/Vampiro were great in reminding us of the “technico” relationship the two have. The story here was told in less time than their other matches, but the main interest was seeing if Drago could tie the series and that’s what happened. With the tension rising for the “unique prize,” it made sense to showcase that with the two combatants in the form of a hesitant, yet powerful handshake. May the best man win the last match.
– The trio of Ivelisse, Son Of Havoc and Angelico have been inseparable on this series this year. They’ve faced each other in a variety of matches and last we saw, Son Of Havoc was a newly single man, dumping Ivelisse to the curb. This should’ve meant big things for his character and keeping him away from Ivelisse – at least for a little while – would’ve helped him out. Cueto did his thing again – forcing the three to team up next week. At the same time, in the midst of the Trios era, we can’t think of a more entertaining dysfunctional team than these guys. Son Of Havoc’s turn is sealed, so their dynamic should be interesting to see now. They could even become a top team in the tournament.
– The Sexy Star/Pentagon Jr./Super Fly-Big Ryck/Killshot/The Mack Trios Tag match main event was as perfect a blend of intrigue and dysfunction you could churn. One on hand, you had Ryck and his new peeps needing to look strong and dominant and we got that, while on the other, you had the dysfunctional team of Star, Pentagon and Super Fly – Pentagon who broke Super Fly’s arm in the past and ripped his own partners in a pre-match promo – before it all went down. Overall, strong performance from all involved. Sexy Star saving Super Fly was a good hook for next week, as we can assume she is next on Pentagon’s hit list, never where you want to be.
– Johnny Mundo def. Angelico via pinfall
– Best-Of-Five-Series – Fourth Match – Drago def. Aerostar via pinfall
– Trios Championship Tournament Match – Big Ryck/Killshot/The Mack def. Sexy Star/Pentagon Jr./Super Fly via pinfall to advance
Can’t Cheat Death
– The Mil Muertes-Chavo Guerrero match was already billed as Muertes seeking revenge on Guerrero. Catrina’s absence was first noticed with crowd chants. Lucha Underground has this bad habit of putting a giant spotlight on anyone who makes an appearance during a match, it can distract the viewer from in-ring action. The blatant DQ finish with the chair was lame, but the story here was bigger than the match. Muertes developed his own heat by pulling Catrina by the hair, grabbing her by the throat (questionable) and was about to do his finisher on her on the chair. This was a great spot for Fenix to make the save and it was sealed with Catrina’s tongue kiss to make Muertes jealous. This tied everything together and we now know a showdown with Fenix-Muertes over Catrina is in the cards.
– The segment with Dario Cueto and The Crew in his office was decent in that it established Cueto’s ruthless nature in making The Crew want to “eliminate the weak” as he targeted Sexy Star, Pimparnela Escarlata and Mascarita Sagrada. This would be natural heat, as this was seemingly easy pickings for The Crew.
– Having Ivelisse fight Son Of Havoc’s battles, calling out Angelico was a good way to progress the ongoing storyline of her relationship with Havoc, challenging his manhood. Angelico was in a tough spot as he was popular and couldn’t put too much offense on her to risk drawing heat for attacking a woman, but he sold well enough for her to make his retaliations believable. The match was okay, nothing special. The finish made sense as Havoc interfered to help Ivelisse win, with her practically ignoring the fact. Angelico’s proposal to fight Ivelisse without Havoc around could be something to look for in the future. Could Ivelisse turn on Havoc for Angelico?
– The interview with Vampiro and Tejano put over Tejano’s focus to destroy Alberto El Patron and take back what he felt was stolen from him. Showing footage from AAA also helped a lot here, to show fans the magnitude of their feud elsewhere and how it has now spread to Lucha Underground.
– The Super Fly-Texano match served as enhancement to put over Texano as a big threat. The attack by El Patron on Texano with the bullrope was well-done and believable that this was indeed personal. Having this early in the feud was also a wise call.
– The segment with Cage and Cueto in his office hyped his match next week with Prince Puma well, as it’s no secret Cage looks to be World Champion, demanding to be called Champion and wanting a better belt. This established Cage as fearless to get what he wants. Chavo coming in quitting was a ho-hum development. Have we really seen the last of Chavo in Lucha Underground?
– The segment with Angela Fong by the cage was too vague to make anything of.
– The No Disqualification Trios match with The Crew and Mascarita Sagrada/Pimparnela Escarlata/Sexy Star had good storytelling, as The Crew systematically eliminated it down to Sexy Star, who gave fans hope in the match. Big Ryck making his appearance in the arena and coming down, distracting The Crew long enough to see Sexy Star pull out the win makes you want to see how Cueto will punish The Crew for not getting the job done and then obviously, the showdown between Ryck and The Crew will be the ultimate payoff. Keep in mind The Crew needs a slight pick-me-up, as they couldn’t even beat Sexy Star, though they clearly had moments in the match they could’ve pinned anyone. They could use this to push Sexy Star, but how far could her character really go? The Crew could’ve won this match and nothing would’ve changed in terms of that.
– Mil Muertes def. Chavo Guerrero via DQ
– Ivelisse (w/Son Of Havoc) def. Angelico via pinfall
– Texano def. Super Fly via pinfall
– No Disqualification Trios Match – Sexy Star/Pimparnela Escarlata/Mascarita Sagrada def. The Crew via pinfall
– 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