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Lucha Underground recap & review (Sep. 12, 2018): Fenix is a fink

The fourteenth episode of season four (Sept. 12) for Lucha Underground featured a number one contender match and two championship bouts. One new trios team formed, well, technically two if you count Jake Strong by himself. Fenix flipped, in more ways than one. And Antonio Cueto made backroom deals.

No one died, however, the Fenix we have grown to love may be dead on the inside.

El Conjunto Nueva Ola played us into the Temple. Matt Striker mentioned that Fenix is back and Vampiro made a funny face.

Lucha Underground

Gift of the Gods Championship: El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Ivelisse

Ivelisse took charge early, but El Dragon Azteca Jr. rebounded to make it an even match. Highlights include a deep Boston Crab by Azteca and a flying DDT by Ivelisse.

Late in the fight, Azteca went high-risk and paid for it. He attempted a springboard flying attack to the outside but smashed his face onto the banister. Ivelisse hesitated then tried to capitalize anyway. She rolled him into the ring to execute a sunset flip powerbomb. Only a two count though.

Matt Striker’s call of, “Slaps designed to disorient,” made me laugh for some reason. Maybe because Ivelisse looked like a little kid doing it and not the experienced fighter that she is.

For the finish, Azteca headbutted Ivelisse off the corner ropes. A shrug and a top rope leg drop gave Azteca the victory.

El Dragon Azteca Jr. successfully defended the Gift of the Gods Championship.

After the match, Ivelisse was disappointed in defeat. XO Lishus and Joey Ryan came out from the stair entrance. XO on a mic proposed they form a trio.

Lucha Underground

Ivelisse looked to the crowd then accepted.

Number one contender match: King Cuerno vs Mil Muertes

King Cuerno was in the ring when Antonio Cueto exited his office. Cueto set up a fight against Mil Muertes for the winner to have a chance at Pentagon DARK and the Lucha Underground Championship next week. Mil Muertes looked a little more cut than usual. He’s big, he’s strong, and he has cuts. Unlike Big Ryck.

These two punched the crap out of each other. Mil had the advantage more often than not, but Cuerno stood tall with a fighting spirit. There were some wrestling moves as well. Highlights include a snap powerslam by Mil, a superplex by Mil, and a chokeslam by Mil.

The action spilled to the outside. Punch for punch with neither luchador backing down. Referee Marty Elias tried to corral them back into the ring. He stepped in between to stop the punches. Mil and Cuerno stared at each other then together pushed Elias into the fan seats.

Back to punching each other. Elias called for the bell.

Double disqualification.

The Believers booed the official outcome. Antonio Cueto saved the day. This time he came out from the sliding doors atop the stairway.

Mil and Cuerno were still pummeling each other. Cueto yelled, “Stop fighting for a second.” Cueto does not punish violence, he rewards it. Thus, a triple threat next week for the Lucha Underground Championship.

Mil and Cuerno went back to fighting each other. Pentagon DARK posed on a stoop. Mil and Cuerno beat their way off stage through the car wash flapper door.

Trios Championship: Reptile Tribe vs Super Friends

Kobra Moon, Daga, and Jeremiah Snake versus Aerostar, Drago, and Fenix. Fenix was looking out of the ordinary. He was drooling and jerky. If I didn’t know any better, I would say he has rabies. Jeremiah’s pre-match Frankenstein’s monster walk was more pronounced than before.

Before the entrance of the Reptile Tribe, Jake Strong came out to cut a promo. If the Super Friends win, he will fight them solo next week. “I’m big, I’m strong, I’m a wrestler. And we all know a wrestler defeats a luchador every single time. I’m going to snap your ankles because I can. I’m going to snap your ankles because it makes me strong!”

The Trios title match was controlled by the reptiles. The good guys had their spurts of offense, but the bad guys set the pace. Highlights include an improvised DDT by Drago, a cutter by Fenix, and pretty much everything else Fenix did with his kicks and rope bouncing.

At one point, it was Kobra Moon vs Fenix. Despite Fenix’s odd demeanor, he was still hesitant to fight a lady. That was always part of his personality and showed he isn’t completely out of his mind yet.

When Aerostar called for a tag, Fenix slapped him in the chest. Aerostar wasted no time on a corkscrew crossbody to Jeremiah. Aerostar cleaned house.

Later, Drago used shifty techniques to send Jeremiah and Daga out of the ring. Aerostar followed with a springboard flying crossbody. Drago called to Fenix for the next maneuver, but Fenix stood on the apron in a trance. Once Fenix focused, he helped Drago in a teamwork flying assault.

Fenix was in the ring gearing up for his turn to fly. Aerostar entered to cheer Fenix on. Fenix meandered, so Aerostar ran the ropes. Fenix promptly kicked Aerostar in the face. Swerve!

Fenix continued with a Fire Driver on Aerostar. Jeremiah entered the ring to slap on a double underhook shoulder breaker and pin Aerostar.

The Reptile Tribe retained the Trios Championships. Fenix is a fink.

After the match, Melissa Santos acted unprofessionally. She stated that she would not make the announcement, so Kobra Moon did the honors. Jeremiah was on his back rolling around like a dog scratching its back in that same position. Side note: Kobra Moon had a huge hump in the back of her top piece. I’m guessing it was a mic pack, since we could hear her speaking during the match. They could have chosen something more discrete.

Melissa tried to talk to Fenix. More like ask stupid questions. Fenix turned toward her with menace. He grabbed her then pushed her to the ground.

El Dragon Azteca Jr. ran to Melissa’s side. Fenix stood a little ways away. In the background, Drago made the hand to head cuckoo motion and shrugged his shoulders.

Antonio Cueto & Marty Martinez office scene

Antonio Cueto was in his office opening a beer with a hammer. Life can be rough for a wrestling promotion proprietor. Someone banged on the door.

”It’s Marty! Hee hee haa haa.” Marty Martinez dropped two stacks of cash onto Cueto’s desk. Marty wanted a Gift of the Gods title match. Cueto accepted. The contest will be next week.

Two more stacks of cash. Marty wants something else. End scene fade to black.

This week’s episode of Lucha Underground was weird. It had highs, lows, and a bit of baloney. As always, the wrestling was dandy and the positives outweighed any negatives.

The Gift of the Gods match felt flat. Maybe it was just me. Ivelisse and El Dragon Azteca Jr. seemed a step slow, like they just woke up from naptime after a huge lunch. The action was fine but something wasn’t clicking. I can’t put my finger on it.

I’m in for the new trios team of XO Lishus, Joey Ryan, and Ivelisse. I’m not in for the idea that they can challenge the Trios champs next. Hey Papá Cueto, make them earn it with at least one victory. I don’t recall Dario handing out free title shots that often. It seems to be a trend this season. As I look through the list of season four matches, every single championship defense has been a hand out. Step your game up, Mr. Promoter Man. The show’s writing has explained most of the contenders via Antonio Cueto scenes, but it would be nice if those title opportunities weren’t all so willy-nilly.

Speaking of, I do like how there was a number one contender match between King Cuerno and Mil Muertes. That fight was the definition of a slugfest. I liked it. A triple threat next week with Pentagon DARK sounds good, but I am more eager to see a rematch between Mil and Cuerno. I forgot they previously had a Death Match until Matt Striker mentioned it. I need to rewatch that fight posthaste.

Marty Elias got what he deserved. Of all the matches to start enforcing rules, he picked Mil Muertes vs King Cuerno. With big stakes to boot. What a nincompoop.

So, about the main event story, what the heck? I’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out, but my initial reaction is that it was not very well executed. Lucha Underground walks a fine line on the ridiculous. The acting of Fenix crossed that line, not in a good way. His drooling and labored breathing were hokey to the point of being lame. It looked like he was channeling his inner Festus. That is never a good idea.

Then there are the simple questions I have. These shows are a week apart in their universe. Did Melissa not notice anything out of the norm for an entire week? Not to be crude, but we know they must have been knocking boots all day every day during that week. I imagine that would be appropriate behavior for a being reunited with a resurrected lover. Still no signs something was amiss with Fenix? I find it hard to believe that Fenix changed five minutes before the match.

Aerostar had no clue either? It didn’t sound like that was the first time he aided someone in the same fashion as he did Fenix. He couldn’t tell Fenix wasn’t all there while standing next to him on the ring apron? Maybe Aerostar is not as smart as I believed he was.

I think the stupid prize of all that happened would go to Melissa. Why was she shouting a question at Marty Elias about what was going on with Fenix after he attacked Aerostar? Why would he know anything more than what she just saw with her own two eyes?

To close out the craptacular, El Dragon Azteca Jr. came to stand by Melissa and ask her what happened. Yo, why don’t you walk ten steps over to Fenix and ask him yourself? It looked like Azteca was white knighting while not actually doing anything about the situation. I had a feeling he was feening for Melissa.

Lucha Underground usually does not have scenes that are ‘stupid’. In my opinion, this might be the first of the entire series. That is why I am a little shocked at what I saw. That said, always remember that one person’s garbage could be another person’s gold. To those that loved the Fenix dilemma, more power to them.

On the plus side, Fenix pushing Melissa to the floor was quite surprising. It got a whoa reaction out of me. All whoas are good whoas in terms of being a fan.

The episode was titled, “Pet Cemetery.” I assume it refers to Pet Sematary. I’ve never read the book or seen the movie. To anyone familiar with that story, is there a correlation to Fenix’s behavior? Nothing else in the episode seems like it relates to that title. Please, chime in the comments.

At least the show closed strong with Marty Martinez buying favors from Antonio Cueto. Plus, intrigue about the second favor. My favorite part of that scene was Cueto opening a beer bottle with the back side of a hammer. I guess he opens his beer bottles in the same manner that he books his wrestling shows. Haphazardly.

Share your thoughts about the episode. What do you think of Ivelisse, XO Lishus, and Joey Ryan as a new team? Any theories about Fenix’s dark turn? How about Marty Martinez’s second favor?

See you next week for El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Marty Martinez and King Cuerno vs Mil Muertes vs Pentagon DARK. It also seemed like there will be Jake Strong vs both Aerostar and Drago. That sounds like a delightful evening of luchas.

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