With Lucha Underground providing only one hour per week, a great deal can occur in a short period of time. Sometimes it is best to let things simmer before critiquing. Let's look back at the good, the bad, and the super cool for episodes one through four of season three.
Storytelling/Feud building - The overarching story of epic war between the Aztec tribes and the gods continued to be cultivated with the introduction of the Piedra Immortal. Slowly but surely, it is coming along. One layer beneath that was the cop drama. Dario Cueto was released from jail. Joey Ryan had child support payments to make, so he joined sides with Dario. Ryan also snitched out Cortez Castro, who now has a broken arm via Pentagon DARK. Thumbs up so far.
As for feuds, it looks like we will be getting Prince Puma vs Mil Muertes, Johnny Mundo vs Sexy Star, Rey Mysterio vs Chavo Guerrero, and Son of Havoc vs Dr. Wagner Jr. Each one has been built nicely. Those stories make sense and have had entertaining bits to make us care. There is also the series between Cage and Texano, which has the "ultimate opportunity" to give those matches an air of importance.
Keeping Pentagon DARK busy - Pentagon lost his title match against Matanza, so that chapter is closed for now. They needed to do something intriguing with the character to keep him active and away from the title picture. Continuing the broken arm story with El Dragon Azteca Jr. fits the bill. Oh, there is also a triad ninja hit squad coming after Pentagon too. And let's not forget his beef with Vampiro. Perhaps I'm jumping the gun, since many things have yet to transpire, but I'm excited to watch Pentagon's future.
Ladder stomp to end the feud between Killshot and Marty Martinez - A satisfying way to finish a feud. It had a sense of finality and rose to an appropriate level of brutality for the feud. Plus, it made me involuntarily vocalize nonsense noises. That is a stamp of approval in my book.
Dario's Dial of Doom - What I like about the spinning wheel concept is that it gives us matchups that we otherwise wouldn't see. Son of Havoc and Mack most likely weren't going to get a number one contender push anytime soon. They definitely have the ability, but they aren't big enough stars yet. Dario's Dial of Doom gave us a shortcut. Even though Matanza's victories seemed inevitable due to the Cueto family storyline, we were still treated to two entertaining matches.
Bagel Bites - A wacky bit of comedy. Son of Havoc was convalescing in his mother's basement with his chum, Mascarita Sagrada. While hatching a plan to take down Famous B, Havoc's mother, Linda, offered up some tasty snacks. It was one of those ridiculous scenes that Lucha Underground executes so well.
Catrina inhaling souls - Catrina might be the most fascinating character in the Temple. There is still much we don't know about her in both history and abilities. Whenever a little facet is revealed, it is amazing. We knew Catrina had resurrection powers, but we didn't know she could inhale souls and reroute that energy back into Mil Muertes. It provided a very cool visual.
No match of the season candidates yet - One of the strong points of Lucha Underground has been the frequency of fantastic matches. I haven't crunched the numbers, but it feels like we have gotten one or two match of the season candidates in every month since the show debuted. Heck, sometimes there were four in a month.
Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed the matches that have taken place this month, however, it hasn't lived up to the lofty precedent previously set.
Injuries - Injuries always stink. The injury bug bit before season three began taping with Angelico, Ivelisse (or not?), and Jack Evans all on the mend. Those three can add alot of excitement whenever on screen. Just look at what Jack Evans has been doing with his jaw wired shut.
Episode four saw Sexy Star get a black eye and Taya possibly suffering a painful leg injury. News broke yesterday that PJ Black broke his ankles. Even though season three is already in the can and won't be affected by this, it is still a bummer to hear. Hopefully, all of the luchadores can stay healthy to prosper in the Temple and prosper in life outside the Temple as well.
Ivelisse vs Catrina at Ultima Lucha III - I thought Ivelisse was injured and would miss most of season three. That was my rationale to justify booking that match 8 to 9 months in the future.
Then I saw Ivelisse advertised for the upcoming episode (#5) this week. Knowing now that Ivelisse is alright, it makes the whole thing a real head-scratcher. Not even prize fights are announced that far in advance. In hindsight, it makes the decision to have Catrina interfere at Ultima Lucha II even worse, since there is zero reason it needed to occur. The feud has potential to be hot fire, but I hope the flame doesn't falter by the time we get there.
Dario Cueto - From doing pullups to matchmaker to gifter of photos to crooked cop enabler to wrestling manager to giver of opportunities to alleged cocaine sniffer, the man has been marvelous in each and every scene. He has been that way since day one. Not only does he entertain in his own right, he also acts as a catalyst for stories and lets others play off him.
Piedra Immortal - I was already fully enthralled with the Aztec tribal war storyline, then they floored me with that new wrinkle. The Piedra Immortal is an amulet that gives immortality, but only to women. It was given by a dying father to Aerostar's young girl buddy from the ancient past. Adding in the mystery of the two halves being possessed by Catrina and Captain Vasquez makes me mightily intrigued.
Honky Tonk Man - His cameo as a prison processor was a stupendous surprise. Honky Tonk Man has never moved the needle with me before, but they got me giddy on that scene. I was mimicking his shimmy shake all week long after his appearance. I hope cameos become a recurring thing.
Monthly Grade: C+
This grade is based only on the standard set by previous Lucha Underground seasons. It is not a comparison to any other wrestling shows.
The backstage scenes remain top notch. The storytelling, long and short, remain engaging. The wrestling is what drags down the grade for this month. Being that three-quarters of the each episode is spent in the ring, the action needs to deliver. I have yet to be truly captivated by the matches this season. However, there is no need to fret. I think it is safe to say that things will be picking up very soon with all the feuds that are brewing.
How do you feel about the first month of season three? What did you love? Was there anything that wasn't to your fancy? What was your biggest mark out moment?