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Lucha Underground recap and reactions (Aug. 9, 2017): Bloodlines

Lucha Underground returned (Aug. 9) from the Temple of Boyle Heights with a trios match between the Rabbit Tribe and Worldwide Underground for Aztec medallions along with Cueto Cup action of Texano vs Pentagon DARK and Jeremiah Crane vs Mil Muertes. Here’s what happened and what we learned.

What Happened:

Taya, PJ Black, and Ricky Mandel were the representatives for Worldwide Underground as Jack Evans provided ringside support when they faced off against the Rabbit Tribe for three Aztec medallions. The match was approximately four minutes and featured the zaniness and shenanigans you would expect from these two factions.

After Saltador took flight to take out Taya and PJ Black, that left Ricky Mandel and Paul London in the ring. London capitalized on the window of opportunity opened by Mandel's trash talking to execute a victorious shooting star press. The Aztec gold goes to the Rabbit Tribe.

What We Learned:

Ricky Mandel recently graduated from DeVry. It's nice to see him put that degree to use in obtaining an internship with Worldwide Underground. Let's hope he won't get punished with toilet cleaning duty after taking the pinfall loss.

Worldwide Underground still doesn't operate like a well-oiled machine when their head honcho is not around. They had less bickering than before, which may have been due to Jack Evans temporarily lacking the ability of coherent speech, but they also weren't a cohesive unit.

What We’ve Yet to Learn:

The message on Jack Evans' white board. Since his jaw is wired shut, Evans accompanied his mates and brought along a communication device. He had an elaborate Pictionary message before erasing it during the match. Matt Striker and Vampiro couldn't decipher the code. Neither could I. Could you?

Who else will be competing for Aztec medallions? Put yourself in Dario Cueto's shoes as Lucha Underground promoter. What kind of matches would you book and who would be involved? (Settle down, settle down. Yes, I know being in Dario's shoes would be really freaking awesome. Try to contain your glee to a three squeal maximum. And yes, I know. Easier said than done.)

What Happened:

Worldwide Underground agent Benjamin Cooke wanted to fire the cronies for losing their match. Luckily, Johnny Mundo has a heart of gold, so their membership to the exclusive club was spared. Mundo is focused on keeping his championship. If they don't step up, El Chingonsisimo will move on to greener pastures.

What We Learned:

Mundo has his head in the game. He doesn't want to risk getting ill before the big match against Rey Mysterio by taking photos with sick kids. Smart move.

What We’ve Yet to Learn:

The specific offers flooding Mundo. Movies, TV shows, other underground fight promotions. And musical theater? I hope it is Planet of the Apes. (Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius, ooohhhh, Dr. Zaius.) What offers would you like to see Johnny Mundo entertain?

What Happened:

Mil Muertes opened his match against Jeremiah Crane with an entrance ambush upstairs. Commercial break. Upon return, Matt Striker explained that El Jefe just made it no disqualification. They lost track of the fight and cameras were searching for the two. Then Crane got thrown through a door to reveal themselves back in the ring area. Fantastic. (I'm imagining behind the scenes that Crane ran full speed through the door without aid from Mil. It seems like something he would do, and I love it.)

Ahhh. Ohhh. Owww. Wowww. Goodness gracious. This... is... awesome. Mil and Jeremiah beat the stuffing out of each other for the rest of the contest. The end came when Mil caught Jeremiah by the goozle off the top rope and Flatlined him for the win.

Instead of the Lick of Death, Catrina treated Crane to an open mouth kiss. Crane smiled delightfully. Agony and ecstasy. Mil didn't take too kindly and Flatlined him again.

What We Learned:

Jeremiah Crane is more than a lucha death machine. He showed excellent acuity to execute a guillotine choke on a spearing Mil. He didn't have the technique locked down, but it did provide a nice moment of dramatic action.

What We’ve Yet to Learn:

Why the kiss? Did Crane open Catrina’s heart with his effort during the match? Or is Catrina hatching up a scheme to use a manipulated Crane? As a fan of Mil Muertes, I'm not liking how Catrina is treating his love. As viewers, we know Mil isn't her true love, but I don't think Mil knows that. I felt that public smooch was blatant disrespect for Mil's feelings.

What Happened:

Agent Winter, FBI, visited Dario Cueto. "You come to arrest me?" "Ha ha ha. Hell, no." Winter kind of reminds me of Keith David, whose work I enjoy. The Order has named Winter as Delgado's replacement. They shot the bull a bit. Winter is a huge fan of Pentagon DARK. "Alas, his flesh will fry like everyone else's when the war comes." Damn. "Later, gator."

What We Learned:

Dario didn't know Councilman Delgado was dead. Dario looked saddened by this news, even though he claimed he didn't like Delgado anyway. Could this scene be a turning point for Dario Cueto's character? He wasn't his usual jovial self in this scene. Alot was going through his mind. After last week's pep talk with Matanza, I get the feeling Dario might be put in a position to rethink his choice of sides down the line. El Jefe is the Believers' homeboy. It would make for a great story if we could somehow root for him in the end.

Our friend in the limo. I thought the man in the limo was a wrinkled vessel, so Cage was chosen to inherit those powers via the gauntlet. I was wrong. They are two separate entities. The limo lord is still around and asked Winter to keep an eye on the Temple.

What We’ve Yet to Learn:

The Order. Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Apparently, the Order is the secret group pulling the strings. They have people everywhere and will do whatever it takes for the gods to rule again. I'm scared.

What Happened:

The main event. Texano vs Pentagon DARK was a slugfest. Famous B and Beautiful Brenda showed up. At a moment when Texano was in control, B decided to slide him a golden horseshoe. Unfortunately, the throw was terrible and landed in the hands of Pentagon. One power punch later and Pentagon was moving on to the next round.

After the match, Pentagon was going to break Texano's arm, but Famous B talked him out of it. Superkick to B. Broken arm to B. That wasn't all. Pentagon came back to break Brenda's arm too.

What We Learned:

Nothing new. We already knew Pentagon likes breaking arms and Famous B is a goof.

The Cueto Cup semifinals are set. Pentagon DARK vs Mil Muertes and Prince Puma vs Fenix.

What We’ve Yet to Learn:

Is Famous B making any headway toward Texano becoming a client? B's distraction helped Texano beat Mack, but the camera cut away before we could see if Texano had any reaction. B didn't do anything that would help his chances this week. Texano was in control of the match and B loused things up. Texano didn't make a rescue during the arm breaking spree, but he may have been too concussed to assess the situation. Overall, I'm enjoying the story, but I need some progress to keep me interested. It has been going on for many weeks and we're still basically at square one.

What Happened:

Oh, shit! Catrina visited Captain Vasquez in her office. "Send her in." Catrina teleported behind Vasquez's shoulder. Vasquez's needs her help. The gods are coming, but they don't scare Catrina. Catrina is a stone cold badass.

Cage's gauntlet is a gateway for the gods. Vasquez wants Mil Muertes to take the gauntlet. Eeeeeek! Mil vs Cage feud? Oh, yes! Upon delivery, Vasquez will exchange her half of the amulet for the gauntlet.

Catrina laid down a gauntlet of her own (figuratively, not literally), "The gods will soon learn to fear death. A thousand of them. Well, it seems like we have deal, mother."

Wait, say what? Mother? Whooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Mind blown. What a scene!

What We Learned:

Vasquez gave Catrina life. Twice. Not a deed Catrina is too pleased with. "This is not life. I'm stuck between two realms. Like a ghost."

I paused mid-scene to write the following for the what we've yet to learn section: Catrina's last name. An officer announced that a woman was here to visit Captain Vasquez, but that women (Catrina) didn't give a last name. There is usually more than meets the eye to small details like that in Lucha Underground. They have a strong track record of doing things for a reason. Was there a purpose or just a funny line for the scene? I would bet there was a point behind it, and that Catrina's last name is important.

We didn't have to wait long for that answer. Captain Vasquez is Catrina's mother. Of all the scenarios I envisioned, that reveal did not cross my mind. Another fantastic job by Lucha Underground of keeping me guessing.

What We’ve Yet to Learn:

Who is Catrina's father? And what caused her to die? Twice.

My match of the night:

Mil Muertes vs Jeremiah Crane. Terrific bout. Pure action and gripping drama. Crane is going to need a 24 hour ice bath. He took a major beating for the sake of our entertainment. Thank you.

My knee-jerk reaction is to proclaim it as match-of-the-season in Lucha Underground. I would need to look back before standing by that statement, but it would probably be top five if not top three. I encourage anyone who missed it to track down that match for your viewing pleasure.

My non-match segment of the night:

Captain Vasquez and Catrina. This was peak form for Lucha Underground storytelling. We were given intrigue in the reason for their meeting, delicious hoss meat of a tease in Mil Muertes vs Cage, and a major reveal in Vasquez being Catrina’s mother. It also let us look deeper into Catrina’s soul as she is stuck in the spirit realm. It will be interesting to see who turns out to be the good guy. But sometimes war has no good guys, just heroes for the greater good.

Overall thoughts:

Texano vs Pentagon DARK was lackluster for me. Their performances were fine. The overall picture, not so much. There was too much hullabaloo with Famous B. It took focus away from a match with big stakes. Texano was rocking and rolling a beating on Pentagon. I would have liked to see that match play out. Would it have been Texano taking his game to the next level? Or would Pentagon have used his cero miedo spirit to overcome? We’ll never know.

It felt like a curious decision to have Mil Muertes vs Jeremiah Crane not in the main event. I suppose the match order fit better with the order of the story scenes, but I think flipping the Cueto Cup bouts wouldn’t have had much effect on the impact of the stories. I still would have been shocked about Catrina Vasquez even if Mil’s match had just ended. I wouldn’t have thought the two events would have occurred literally right after each other.

Despite those gripes, it was an enjoyable episode overall. A fun trios match, a tremendous fight between Mil Muertes and Jeremiah Crane, and top notch story scenes.

How did you like the episode? Are you satisfied with the Cueto Cup semifinal matchups? Any theories for what we learned about the war that is coming? Make sure to stay hydrated. Excessive salivation over the hoss fight delight in Cage vs Mil Muertes could be hazardous to your health.

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