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Lucha Underground recap and review: Darkness and the Monster

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Gold galore. LU, Trios, and a Gift of the Gods medallion were on the line. A golden-clad Jack Swagger debuted as well. The second episode of season four (June 20) for Lucha Underground was headlined by Pentagon DARK vs “The Monster” Matanza Cueto.

Let’s snap into it.

Catrina ghosted into King Cuerno’s trophy room

The camera glanced across King Cuerno’s prizes and weapons upon his trophy room wall. There looks to be some sort of futuristic armament.

Lucha Underground

It reminds me of a Predator weapon. Has Cuerno hunted a Predator? I think it is time for an Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo as Dutch in Lucha Underground.

Bzzzzt. Catrina ghosted into the trophy room.

Catrina has superb aim as she appeared perfectly seated in Cuerno’s chair. Cuerno must have the air conditioner on full blast, if you know what I’m saying. Catrina’s eyes focused on the pedestal that housed the precious gauntlet. She removed the cloth cover, but it was empty.

Cuerno now on the scene holding a stabby thing. “Even I know that some trophies are too dangerous to display.” Cuerno explained, “The Gauntlet of the Gods is the hand that could strike down the descendants of the seven Aztec tribes. I can’t let that happen.”

Without the gauntlet, Catrina won’t get her life force back. Cuerno doesn’t give a shit. “I gave it to someone of safe keeping. I don’t know where or when he hid it.” Catrina vanished.

A mounted deer head was mean mugging as the scene faded out.

Trios championship match: Killshot, Mack, Son of Havoc vs Infamous Incorporated (Big Bad Steve, Sammy Guevara, Jake Strong)

Mariachi El Bronx played us into the Temple.

Melissa Santos announced the challengers as Texano, Dr. Wagner Jr., and Famous B, however, Famous B was quick to correct her announcement. Texano and Wagner are busy making money in Mexico.

Famous B introduced his team of new clients. First was Big Bad Steve, who I think might have been Pindar in another life. B found Steve when he took his Cadillac to the shop. Second was Sammy Guevara, a young up and comer. Third was, “The Savage,” Jake Strong (formerly known as Jack Swagger).

This was an all over the place trios bout with a nice pace. Highlights include Guevara flipping the bird to Killshot after an ignored handshake, Havoc suicide diving onto Guevara, and Killshot fireman carry tossing Guevara into a running should block pounce from Mack.

The finish began as Famous B distracted the ref while Killshot was on the top turnbuckle. Mr. Strong slapped on an ankle submission.

The ref refused to turn around despite B’s pleas. Mack broke the hold. Steve entered to be stunned by Mack, then a shooting star press by Havoc. Champs retain.

Killshot, Mack, Son of Havoc defeat Infamous Incorporated to keep their Trios gold.

After the match, an upset Jake Strong beat up his partners then snapped B’s ankle. They added a bone crunching sound effect for maximum impact. Strong pounded his chest chanting, “Strong.” The crowd joined in. I had no idea what he was shouting until Matt Striker clued me in.

Drago vs El Dragon Azteca Jr. for a Gift of the Gods Aztec medallion

Antonio Cueto introduced the next match as a bout to start the process of crowning a new Gift of the Gods champion. “Let’s put some red blood in this blue ice house.”

Drago is still drugged out and chained up by Kobra Moon.

I thought I saw Vanilla Ice in a crowd shot, but I wasn’t sure. Turns out I did.

This was a very even match. One for one, tit for tat. Highlights include a Drago over the top rope flying maneuver, an overhead release suplex into the corner by Azteca, some kind of pretzel flapjack slam by Drago, and a flipping blockbuster DDT by Drago.

In the middle of the match, Drago fiddled with Azteca’s mask. He actually ripped it all the off. Azteca clutched the material to his face to avoid exposure before putting it back on properly.

Matt Striker and Vampiro were up to their goofy antics. The crowd chanted, “Culero,” toward Drago. Striker asked, “Vamp, can you translate culero?” Vampiro answered, “Yes, I can. It means Matt Striker in Spanish.” That got a chuckle out of me. For those that don’t know, culero pretty much means asshole.

For the finish, Drago was set upon the top turnbuckle. Azteca jumped to kick Drago in the head. Azteca hopped up to execute a rolling slam off the top turnbuckle.

El Dragon Azteca Jr. defeated Drago to win an Aztec medallion.

Matt Striker stated that Azteca is part of the Eagle Tribe. I don’t think I picked that up before, if it had been previously mentioned.

After the match, Johnny Mundo confronted Kobra Moon in the ring. “Your boy couldn’t even beat Dragon Azteca. What are you gonna do when one of your snakes has to face the Mayor of Slamtown?” Meanwhile, Taya was sneaking up from behind. Boom. Taya smashed Kobra Moon and Johnny kicked Drago in the cojones. The Lucha Underground power couple smooched in the ring. I think that is the first time Johnny and Taya have kissed in the Temple.

Antonio Cueto and Catrina office segment

Antonio Cueto was drinking what looked to be a Modelo Especial beer without the label on the bottle. Like Dario, Antonio also has a bull on his desk, except Antonio’s bull looked emaciated. Antonio took out the big key for Matanza’s match in the main event.

Bzzzzt. Catrina ghosted into the office. Antonio responded, “Oh, hey. I heard you could do these things, but I thought it was all a load of crap. What are you, some sort of fantasma (ghost)?” Catrina explained that she is stuck between this place and the spirit realm. She wants a Grave Consequences match (Mil Muertes vs Fenix), so she can use Fenix’s life force after Mil wins.

Antonio asked, “Does that mean you will have to knock next time?” “Yes.” “Consider it done.” Ghost out.

I’m not sure if Antonio was drunk, had bad allergies, or was acting like his normal self. He was kind of wheezy and physically weak.

Lucha Underground championship: Pentagon DARK vs Matanza

No special stipulations for this match.

Pentagon DARK attacked early. He maintained control with kicks, punches, and chops. The tide turned after Matanza eluded a chop against the ring post. Pentagon slapped that post hard.

The match was slower paced. Not boring slow. More like methodical slow while also working to the crowd. When attack moves connected, they were with powerful intention. Highlights include an overhead pumphandle slam by Matanza, a lung blower followed by a Code Breaker from Pentagon, and various brawling techniques.

At the end, Pentagon hit a Mexican Destroyer. Not once, but twice. Then a package piledriver for the win. Pentagon didn’t even hook a leg.

Pentagon DARK defeated Matanza to retain the Lucha Underground championship.

After the match, Pentagon attempted to break Matanza’s arm. Antonio Cueto exited his office holding the big key high. That appeared to give Matanza a boost of energy to escape.

Antonio was none too pleased with Matanza. “What’s wrong with you? You are weak. Dario spoiled you. You are totally useless.” A sad Matanza followed his father.

Antonio Cueto and Jeremiah Crane office segment

Jeremiah Crane wanted in on Grave Consequences. Cueto abides. Next week will be a 3-Way to the Grave match.

A very solid episode overall. The wrestling was enjoyable, but it didn’t really suck me in this time. The non-wrestling scenes, in and out of the ring, were dandies though. I’m very interested to see what happens in the future.

The onion is getting peeled for King Cuerno’s character. Potential layers might have been exposed. I have been curious if Cuerno represented an Aztec tribe. I don’t remember if he was presented clearly as one before, but now it seems so. His knowledge of the Gauntlet of the Gods leads me to believe he is a descendant. Cuerno has been a lone hunter thus far, so it is interesting that he trusts Aerostar, who I assume is the one that hid the gauntlet. Was that weird gun on the wall a gift by Aerostar from the future? The scene also makes me question the age of King Cuerno. Is he a regular badass fellow or is there something more we have yet to learn?

Excuse me while I search the nooks and crannies of my house to make sure Aerostar did not hide the gauntlet here. I don’t want that voodoo anywhere near me.

Jake Strong (Jack Swagger) was fine. He did what we’ve seen him do before. One thing I’m not yet buying is the hype job from commentary. They made it sound like it is the same wrestler with a different name. I’m going to need a vignette to explain why I should believe he can be a top contender after he couldn’t cut it in WWE. Something like he went through expert training and is now better than ever. One match I am eager to see is Strong vs Texano. That would be physicality at a strong level.

I liked the subtle maturing in the ring by El Dragon Azteca Jr. In the past, Azteca has been brought down by overzealousness. In tonight’s match. Azteca did the little things to show his growth. For example, Drago offered a handshake then kicked Azteca. Later, Azteca returned the favor with a test of strength tease then kicked Drago. On another occasion, Kobra Moon grabbed Azteca’s leg. Azteca confronted her, but he was smart enough to move out of the way of a Drago ambush. On the win, Azteca slyly crossed Drago’s legs on the pin. It will be interesting to see if they are setting up Azteca to win the Gift of the Gods and challenge Pentagon DARK.

One thing I did not like in the Drago vs Azteca match was messing around with Azteca’s mask. That is one of my pet peeves when watching AAA. Sometimes it feels like every match on a major show has someone getting their mask ripped. The lucha libre mask is supposed to be sacred. The rudos go to that well of cheap heat far too often, and there are no consequences. I really hope that booking trend does not make its way to Lucha Underground.

Speaking of masks, is Drago wearing a mask or is that supposed to be his actual face? I never thought about it before. Since Drago is a literal dragon, it made me wonder.

Oh, yeah. 3-Way to the Grave next week. They are wasting no time this season in putting on gangbuster main events. I assume it will be three men enter, one man leaves. The storyline implications of two “dead” characters will be huge. I wonder how Jeremiah Crane knew about the match so quickly. I suspect Catrina hedged her bets by dropping a hint to Crane. With three competitors, that increases the odds of Fenix in a coffin.

During the main event, I felt like something was off about Matanza. Antonio Cueto bringing out the key after the match showed why. I didn’t realize that the key was such a vital factor under Dario’s guidance. I knew that object was important, but I didn’t think it was a power source. I thought it was more for motivation. Credit to the Lucha Underground writers for setting up those little details and following through on them.

Did you feel sympathy for Matanza after his match? I did a little. His father can be quite cruel. I wonder if Matanza will have a heroic role down the line. I expect one of the main bad guys to see the light of good eventually. Could it be Matanza?

What did you think of the episode? Who would you like to see Jake Strong wrestle in Lucha Underground? How did you feel about Sammy Guevara and Big Bad Steve? Is Pentagon DARK living up to expectations as the main man?

See you next week for 3-Way to the Grave between Fenix, Jeremiah Crane, and Mil Muertes.