Hey, Believers! Welcome to the Lucha Underground Season 2 Episode 5: The Machine recap! You can check out the accompanying live coverage of the episode here.
This episode successfully carried on some of the rivalries that were carefully yet quickly established in the first few episodes. While we’re getting a couple rematches and some of those “intervention” and “distraction” tactics that we usually see in American pro wrestling, Creative isn’t constantly milking the same stuff over and over. In other words – I don’t feel like I’m watching WWE when I’m seeing that on Lucha Underground. The characters are strong. The performances are exceptional. The rematches are between deserving talent. Producers and Creative are booking like nobody’s business, and the Proprietor is more than just a specter with a pretty face.
The interventions consist of debuts (Taya Valkyrie) or badasses looking for more (Drago). The tables are turning now that Taya is in the picture, and it looks like PJ Black is getting involved in the Jack “The Dragonslayer” Evans/Drago feud. I’ll get into those in a second, and explain what I like about how LU handled what we see a lot of in other promotions: those recurring methods of how to make the matches exciting but fail because those same methods are used so often, that they’re cliches.
Famous B is also a great touch and adds an air of reality, especially since you can actually call the number below (and if you haven’t – what the heck are you waiting for?)
Promo: Vampiro and Pentagon Jr. (Plus Pentagon Jr. & Catrina)
Beautiful dialogue from Vampiro and, as usual, cool cinematography and images. Vampiro says that he’s searching for a “protégé” as hardcore as him, and the obvious choice to him is Pentagon Junior. Since the final moments of the last episode of Season 1, Pentagon views Vampiro as his Master. We’ve seen how much Pentagon has affected Vampiro mentally, and despite that, he still wants this complicated alignment. This is going to get even more interesting, considering that Pentagon has a title shot in the upcoming Episode 7.
Vampiro also advises Pentagon to “let nothing stand in [his] way, not even her” – her meaning Catrina, the new Temple Proprietor. Obviously, Pentagon is heeding his advice. Catrina isn’t noticeably scared of Pentagon, even somewhat enjoying the arm-breaker – perhaps more so out of the fact that she can escape the deadly submission with her phantom powers (I mean, I probably would enjoy it too, if I had that extra leverage – just sayin’). But Catrina doesn’t take shit from anybody, so. Also, while the promos are filmed separately and likely with multiple takes, it was great to see Catrina’s actress’s wrestling background emphasized in the promo.
Let’s watch where the Vampiro/Pentagon alignment goes, since there aren’t too many hints at this point. However, I do like how closely LU began their complicated alliances between seasons.
Singles Match: Jack “The Dragonslayer” Evans vs. “The Darewolf” PJ Black
Winner via pinfall: Jack “The Dragonslayer” Evans
This match was much-anticipated for me because it’s a new match-up and wasn’t sure to expect (in a good way), besides skill from both wrestlers. There was a typical face/heel act in the beginning when PJ showed sportsmanship, which was met with a kick by Evans. PJ delivered a great counter afterward and gained TONS of momentum. “Stay down, son!” said Vampiro. But Evans came back, but only shortly before Drago’s appearance in the balcony.
That ruined Evans a bit (after retrieving a chair and water). Then PJ recovered. Then PJ got misted on. Oops. That lead to Evans pinning PJ for the win.
Not good for Black, of course, especially since he hasn’t had a win so far since debuting. It sucks, but he will get a win eventually. Okay, even though it’s way too early in his LU run to be saying this, let alone thinking it, I’m just going to say it to clear up whatever anybody’s thinking: I just can’t see LU making a wrestler as talented and experienced as Black a jobber. There’s also a chance that we’ll see him Aztec Warfare II in a couple weeks, as well. Black’s loss may have also incorporated him into the Drago/Evans feud.
I’ll go back to my point earlier about clichés that us pro wrestling fans know too well, like match interventions such as Drago’s mist. I don’t think that element was used in the same way that many of us are used to (and sick of) seeing. Black isn’t sitting in the sidelines taking losses until Creative decides he gets a storyline. From the looks of things, he’s getting pulled into this one with Drago and Evans, and it’s only Black’s second match and that’s pretty good. Drago vs. PJ Black might be in the near future, a possibility I’m excited for – or maybe something will happen between the three at Aztec Warfare II, but that seems a little predictable and a good setup for any of the feuds so far (or the birthplace of new ones). But at the same time, anything can happen at Aztec Warfare.
Two more thoughts on the intervention trope: it’s kind of funny and ironic how Evans claims he’s defeated Drago, but then he shows up in the middle of his match like a badass with nunchunks. As a result, I think it adds to the nature of Evan’s heel character – how he’s so sure he’s slain a dragon, only to see his resurrection. The match itself, minus Drago, was great though. Both luchadores shined and were able to effectively display their talents. I’ll say it again: you have to admit that, while you love to hate him, Evans has a cool moveset.
Singles Match: Gift of the Gods Champion King Cuerno vs. Killshot
Winner via pinfall: King Cuerno
Incredible match-up. There’s no way we can ever get tired to these two together in the ring. Slaps and hits were exchanged. We saw Killshot’s impressive acrobatic athleticism. Cuerno took an arrow from his quiver, the Arrow From the Depths of Hell. They took the fight outside of the ring, and gave the audience and us watching at home a nail-biting ref count until 9. Killshot also saved himself from a possible injury during one of Cuerno’s counters.
Cuerno took the win with his Thrill of the Hunt, followed by a pin. Fenix also entered the ring while Killshot was suffering from a beating from Cuerno!
It’s a little weird how even though Cuerno (up until this episode, anyway) has had matches while he’s had the title, but is not necessarily defending it. The commentators also mentioned this. What makes it even more interesting is that the last time we saw Killshot and Cuerno in the ring was last season for the Aztec Medallion. Hmm.
It would have been impressive to give Killshot a title match, but it would been even weirder to give him the chance, not have him win, and then not incorporate him into a storyline. So it looks like Creative wanted this as a way to push Fenix/Cuerno further – and this was another example of the intervention trope. But it worked because it gave us reason to continue anticipating Fenix’s eventual Gift of the Gods title run, plus it added excitement for Cuerno and Killshot. We asked. Creative answered. Hopefully Killshot will get some revenge at Aztec Warfare, as well.
Gauntlet Match: Texano Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero and The Crew
Winner via pinfall: Chavo Guerrero
In a Gauntlet match, one luchador is faced against several others and must defeat them all – here, Texano was pitted against Chavo Guerrero, and Mr. Cisco and Cortez Castro of The Crew. Cisco was first in the ring and pinned by Texano almost immediately. Cortez put up an awesome fight though, covering Texano more than once and delivering great counters.
Chavo and Texano had an intense match as well. Chavo beat up Texano as soon as he entered the ring, and Texano returned the favor. Texano also did a body drop, and Chavo left the ring with Texano dragged him back in – but, as we should have expected, Chavo collected a dirty win when Texano is held down by Chavo and The Crew by his own lasso.
We’re seeing an old feud (Texano/Guerrero) continue – yet another pro wrestling trope. There’s been some criticism online (no naming names) about how we’re going to see this feud beaten to death until Ultima Lucha 2. I disagree. Highly doubt it. The Crew will disband sometime this season because of Cortez’s undercover mission to take down Dario Cueto with Joey Ryan. Chavo has been aligned with The Crew for a long time, so if anything, we might see the four of them in a feud together. But if Chavo’s alliance with The Crew eventually falls apart from the seams (let’s face it – it will, finally), I could see Texano moving on to another feud while the other three fight among themselves – but even that could get stale.
The feud could end at Aztec Warfare if the storyline is pushed in time, but that’s super unlikely. But for now, it definitely feels like something is going to happen. It’ll be fun to see Chavo helpless. Maybe Mr. Cisco will stick around.
Dario Cueto’s back story though – anyone else feel a small twinge of pity? I think that was needed for Cueto’s character. Makes him a tad more well-rounded, even though his present self is reflected when he says he realized his love for violence. And let’s hope this was a sign that we’ll get to see Matanza soon!
Main Event: Johnny Mundo vs. “The Machine” Brian Cage
Winner via pinfall: Johnny Mundo
An amazing main event with a surprise luchadora debut and promises for more in the future. You can check out this incredible main event below!
This match worked for Taya Valkyrie’s debut. Not only was her debut long-awaited (as well as much deserved), but it gives Mundo’s road to a possible title shot more credibility and accentuates his heel status. We should also expect some serious vengeance from Cage – Valkyrie vs. The Machine, maybe? Eventually? But first, we need to see more of Valkyrie. And, there are certainly plenty of other match-ups for her. Ahhh, I’m just super excited she’s finally on LU. It’s also confirmed that we’ll see a continuation of this match in a future episode.
And don’t forget what the boss had to say about next week’s Gift of the Gods Title Match: “It’s a ladder match!”
Tags: "The Darewolf" PJ Black, Black Lotus, Brian Cage, Catrina, chavo guerrero, Cisco, Cortez Castro, Dario Cueto, Drago, Famous B, Jack "The Dragonslayer" Evans, Jack Evans, Johnny Mundo, Killshot, King Cuerno, Lucha Underground, Lucha Underground S2 E5, Lucha Underground Season 2, Mr. Cisco, Pentagon Jr., Pentagon Junior, PJ Black, Taya Valkyrie, Texano Jr., The Crew, The Machine Brian Cage, Vampiro