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Tope 10: Lucha Underground (Dec. 28, 2016)

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Each and every episode of Lucha Underground features maneuvers, quotes, outfits, props, scenes, and stories that deserve recognition. That is where the Tope 10 comes in. This list shows appreciation for the moments which are more exciting than a flying tope.

If you are new to the Lucha Underground scene, you can catch it Wednesdays at 8pm ET/PT on the El Rey Network or buy seasons one, two, and three on iTunes. See if El Rey is available in your area.

If you haven't had a chance to watch this week's episode yet, check out the preview, live blog & open thread, recap, highlight package, and match 5 in the best-of-five series between Cage and Texano.

10. A 'good old-fashioned beating' match

I'm not sure what the rules would be or even if it is an actual stipulation, but count me in anyway. After receiving a spider in a box, Sexy Star demanded another match with Mariposa and Dario Cueto obliged. If it will be anything similar in quality to their No Mas match, then we will be in store for a violent treat next week.

9. "Driving a Volkswagen into a full speeding train."

A nice line from Vampiro as Mil Muertes clobbered Jeremiah Crane.

Speaking of the Mil Muertes vs Jeremiah Crane match, I found it to be very satisfying as a big fan of Mil. I don't like Crane interfering with Lucha Underground's royal couple, so it was nice to see Mil basically steamroll Crane. Yeah, Mil lost, but that was more the doing of Punk Puma than Crane. If Mil and Crane meet in some variation of a hardcore match, I would be a little concerned for Crane's life. That might actually work to Crane's benefit though. If Crane can't have Catrina in this world, maybe he can get her in the ghost realm.

8. Vampiro's makeup during Prince Puma's pledge

I know we've seen it before, but it still gets me going. The blacked out eye sockets, busted nose, and gash wound on his head creep me out in a good way. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure if it is a ghoulish makeup job or if Vampiro's ringside appearance as Ian is some kind of magical facade to cover up his true form. That is credit to the kind of awesome atmosphere Lucha Underground has created to make me even question it.

Side note: Booooooooo you, Prince Puma.

He just made the list. He's a punk for attacking Mil Muertes. Puma lost fair and square to Mil. I'm not going to hate on Puma for desiring another go at Mil, but attacking from behind with a kendo stick is a weasel move.

If Prince Puma is heel Puma now, then they succeeded in earning my ire. If he is still hero Puma, then I'm not looking forward to a feud with scumbag Pentagon. I'll have no one to root for, even though the matches should be dynamite.

7. Jumpin' Jack Evans

He's a gas, gas, gas. Jack Evans had a sweet corkscrew backflip splash from the second turnbuckle to successfully pin Son of Havoc.

6. "It's really FREAKING AWESOME."

After Texano won a relatively quick match 4 by way of exposed turnbuckle assistance and a sitdown powerbomb, there was still 19 minutes left in the episode. Never fear when Dario Cueto is near. Cueto came out to set up match 5 with a fantastic line. "Wow, look at this. You guys both must really want my ultimate opportunity. And I can't blame you, because it's really freaking awesome." The way he said freaking awesome with gleeful emotion was stupendous.

5. Flying beef

While brawling in the upper level, Texano pushed Cage down to the floor. He followed via flying crossbody. That got the crowd to their feet, or at least the ones who weren't already. Sexy Star had a similar maneuver last week off the top of the cage, but I enjoyed this one more because, "Mass times force."

4. "You're just not translating to the audience."

Famous B admiringly interrupted Texano's workout. "He's all man, ain't he?" Texano's face of utter disbelief at the claim he wasn't famous cracked me up. B tried his sales pitch, "You got all the tools. You're just not translating to the audience. You're not connecting with them, man. ... They cheer you, but they don't care about you. They're not invested in you."

This was an excellent case of bringing reality into the story. Forget that played out rebelling against the pusher man spiel. I prefer this kind of 'turning a shoot into a work' story. The scene acknowledged a real issue and brought it to the forefront to hopefully fix. If the comments here at Cageside Seats are any indication, Texano has some appeal but doesn't resonate much or at all with Cagesiders. I'm interested to see if they can make Texano engaging, aside from the occasional heavy-duty brawl.

3. Artistic camera work

Around the 37:30 mark of the episode without commercials, Cage bludgeoned Texano with a chair. As both men were down and out, the camera produced an iconic image from a mat-level viewpoint. In the foreground was a pool of Cage's blood. In the background were both bodies heaving at the point of exhaustion. Very cool shot.

2. Godly gauntlet of power

Cage receiving the ultimate opportunity was a fantastic scene all the way around. There was humor in Cage's unenthusiastic bewilderment and refusal of the gift. I also chuckled when Cage lifted up Dario by the neck. I want to imagine that Cage lifted him with natural power alone instead of any hidden harness assistance.

There was intrigue in why Dario wanted Cage to try the gauntlet on. There was awesomeness as Cage placed his hand inside resulting in the surge of power flowing through him. And there was possible foreshadowing in the final seconds as thunder crashed in the background. I get the feeling we are one step closer to that epic showdown involving the gods and the seven ancient Aztec tribes.

1. The last three minutes of match 5

With a grueling bout between beef vs machine approaching its climax, it was either man's match to win at that point. The drama of the final three minutes sucked me all the way in.

Spinebuster to Cage on a chair. Slingshot back splash onto a chair for Texano as Cage rolled away. Cringeworthy chair shot to Texano's head. Two count kickout by Texano. Alternating clobber shots. Jumping knee by Cage. Discus lariat reversal into a crossface submission for Texano.

At this point, I was fully invested into the match. Years of wrestling logic would tell me that it wouldn't end on that submission, but logic flew the coop. My eyes were wide as Cage did his best to reach for the ropes.

Cage countered with a pin attempt which forced Texano to break the hold. Powerbomb escape by Cage into a discus clothesline. Two count. Oh me, oh my. I thought that would have gotten the job done.

Bull rope whips by Cage. "He won't get up from this!" Sitdown piledriver. One, two, three. Cage was right. Texano didn't get up from that.

Match 5 was one of the better matches this season. These two behemoths gave it everything they had, and I thank them for that. Having match 4 and 5 in the same night turned out to be an excellent decision. The story of Cage being groggy from the exposed turnbuckle and loss of blood added an extra layer of intrigue and unpredictability to the final bout. Not to mention the violence of ANYTHING GOES!!!

In last week's poll, 33% of 96 votes went with Killshot vs Dante Fox as the feud to have the most memorable match. Mil Muertes vs Jeremiah Crane was not far behind with 30%. Johnny Mundo vs Mack came in with 18%, while El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Matanza received 13%. Last on the list was Cage vs Texano with 6%. They set the bar pretty high with match 5. If this poll turns out being true, then we will be getting some stellar matches in the near future. Believers, rejoice.

How does this week's Tope 10 stack up to your list? Any favorites not included? If you were late to the viewing party, feel free to share your thoughts about anything in the episode. While waiting for next week, listen to Mack hype his championship match against Johnny Mundo next week.

Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!

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