What’s up, Believers? How did you like last’s week season premiere of Lucha Underground Season 3? What did you like? What didn’t you like? Any particular moments of violence that were especially tasty? Any predictions? Let’s take a look!
Dario Cueto’s Release
I don’t have as many icky feelings for Dario Cueto as I did way back in the first season. We’ve gradually learned as the series as gone on that he’s not the biggest villain the Lucha Underground world (even though he’s still pretty darn shady). Early in Season 2, we learn about his past with his brother, Matanza. (Yes, I’ve talked about it a million times, but it’s so cool, darn it.) Their mother was El Diablo, the devil, and Matanza had to kill her for the sake of his and his brother’s safety. However, in the process, Dario learned something about himself as he watched Matanza murder who was probably the most powerful supernatural being in this world – that he loved violence.
I actually felt bad when I learned the Cuetos were raised by Satan. Plus, at the same time, doesn’t it make sense that these dastardly characters were raised by someone hellish? (And, on that note, maybe possess some weird powers that just haven’t been revealed on the show yet, aside from Matanza’s super strength.) It also plays into the inspiration for LU’s storylines, telenovelas, or Spanish soap operas, which incorporate supernatural themes.
So to go back to this segment, it’s interesting seeing Dario get scared when he leaves the prison and returns to the one he’s been working under all along, whose identity we’ll hopefully see before Ultima Lucha Tres. We first saw the henchman late last season, in the events leading up to and during Ultima Lucha Dos, but overall, his role is still kind of vague. Let’s let it stew. In the meantime, let’s all get the chills together when Dario is at ringside telling Matanza to Remember mother.
Lucha Underground Championship: Son of Havoc vs. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto (c)
Dario’s Cueto’s Dial of Doom makes it seem like Son of Havoc’s match was completely random, but if you take a look at the progression of his singles career since the disbanding of The Unlikely Trio (though it feels like they’ll get back together, albeit way down the line), there’s definitely some teasing and buildup happening. He had an incredible Tag Team Trios title run with Angelico and Ivelisse, so it makes sense that Son of Havoc will have an equally incredible singles run. But in order to make that incredibleness, um, incredible, he’s going to be quite vexing for the fans.
He had great singles matches last season, and some seriously explosive moments during Ultima Lucha Dos. He was handpicked by Dario Cueto for A Unique Opportunity and won the finale, despite being at odds against the likes of Texano, Jr., The Mack, and “The Machine” Brian Cage. But all of that work meant absolutely nothing – because he lost $250,000, a contract for a Lucha Underground Championship match at Ultima Lucha Tres, AND a match against the legendary Dr. Wagner Jr. Of course, he lost again on last week’s season premiere against Matanza.
The problem? He’s an incredible luchador with plenty of experience to boot. All of these singles matches he’s had since losing his third of the Trios titles have been excellent. That’s what’s going to make all of this explode in everyone’s faces when it comes time for Son of Havoc to get another taste of Temple gold.
My favorite moments from this match were the repeated attempts on Havoc’s part to pin Matanza and his demonstration of his no-nonsense athleticism by the apron:
His picture-perfect moonsaults also never get tiring. Also, it’s worth noting that Matanza puts on an incredible match, despite the many title defenses he’s had since becoming Champion early last season. He’s had such a long title run that it seems like it’s almost time for a new champion, but has succeeded in every single feud he’s had with the luchadores who have threatened to take his spot.
Ultima Lucha Tres Match Announcement: Ivelisse vs. Catrina
YES. YES. YES. FUCKING CALLED IT! Remember when I was freaking out over half a year ago about this possible matchup? A matchup that never really existed? WELL, GUESS WHAT? I CALLED IT!
Gloating aside, we all knew this was going to happen eventually. The heat between these two has just been nonstop. Catrina’s in-ring debut has been long-awaited, as well. It’s also pretty amazing how she’s going from being by Mil Muertes’s side to becoming a fighter of her own. And taking kayfabe into consideration here – she doesn’t even need to fight. She’s a ghost. She can just disappear over and over every time Ivelisse takes a shot at her and the match would just go on forever. But of course, it wouldn’t be the least bit interesting if Catrina didn’t have materializing abilities to make her humanly solid (which I’m assuming is what’s happening here for it to be physically possible have a match).
Since her match at Ultima Lucha Tres is already set, it looks like Ivelisse is going to have a kickass singles run this season to prepare for it, much like her former tag team partner and ex-boyfriend Son of Havoc. It’s a good thing. She’s the Baddest Bitch in the Building. Ivelisse needs awesome matches because that’s what she fucking deserves.
Gift of the Gods Championship Match: Sexy Star (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie
Oh, Mundo. Why can’t you just let your GF do her thing? His and the Worldwide Underground’s interference obviously pissed off Taya, and maybe we’ll see some of that tonight. But when the Super Friends team of Fenix, Drago, and Aerostar came out, I marked out at the possibility of an alliance forming between them and Sexy Star.
I can’t imagine LU taking the title off of Sexy Star so quickly, even though it’s well-coveted. She just earned it at Ultima Lucha Dos. She’s a huge contributor to the women’s wrestling revolution happening all over the world, and that itself adds to the building reputation of the title. It also adds to the fact that LU doesn’t discriminate when it comes to their female competitors.
Overall, this title defense both added serious development to storylines for several characters at once and also showcased the abilities of Sexy and Taya. Match interference is a major cliche in American pro wrestling, but for those reasons, I think it was fine here. Sexy and Taya are not average in the ring. Had they not delivered, it wouldn’t have worked. Boys, you have the ladies to thank here.
Also, notice how Taya missed a couple moves during this match, particularly the double knees and the leap off the turnbuckle, both of which were partly due to Sexy simply dodging them fast enough. This works because Taya’s character is still in development. I’m sensing a face turn down the line accessorized by a possible departure from the Worldwide Undeground and/or Johnny Mundo. As I recall, during Season 2, either Striker or Vampiro mentioned how Taya resembled the way Ivelisse used to act in Season 1, and look where Ivelisse is now.
My favorite moments were the equal exchanges of moves, counters, and dodges between both luchadoras, particularly during the beginning of the match. The exaggerated headlock at the beginning also felt like symbolism to me. Sexy Star doesn’t give breaks.
Main Event: Pentagon Dark vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
You can check out the full match here! LU takes care of their own.
The company made a terrific choice to showcase this match in the main event of a season friggin’ premiere. The storyline between Pentagon Dark, his evolution, and his ongoing relationship/feud with Vampiro captures the essence of the violence and darkness of the series, and Rey Mysterio, Jr. embodies what lucha libre is all about. Mysterio’s time with both American and Mexican promotions creates a bridge between the two, part of what Lucha Underground aims to accomplish. What better opponents, what better luchadores, what better legends to square off than these too? If there should be a compilation of the best Lucha Underground matches to date – and the series certainly deserves one at this rate, even though we’re only on the third season – this match would certainly be included. (And also Prince Puma vs. Rey Mysterio at Ultima Lucha Dos – sound off in the comments guys, which matches would you want to see in such a compilation?)
Am I getting too technical, too obsessive? Am I getting a little too ahead of myself? Too bad. Deal with it.
It’s almost like… What more could these two possibly have to accomplish? What more can we see from such seasoned luchadores? What more can they offer? It’s matches such as this one that put such questions to rest: A hell of a lot.
My favorite moments in particular were the numerous examples of the incredible momentum between two opponents that results when you can tell they know each other well. That’s when pro wrestling completely eliminates that line between “sport” and “entertainment” and is simply art.
But I also liked Pentagon’s examples of his relentlessness.
And this awesome sunset flip by El Rey. Pentagon did his part in this move, as well.
Let’s discuss, Believers! Air your grievances or answer my many questions to you below.
Photo credit: Lucha Underground & El Rey Network
Tags: "The Monster" Matanza Cueto, Catrina, Dario Cueto, Gift of the Gods, Gift of the Gods Championship, Ivelisse, Ivelisse Velez, Jeff Cobb, Karlee Perez, lucha, Lucha Libre, Lucha Underground, Lucha Underground Championship, Lucha Underground S3E1, Lucha Underground Season 3, Matanza, Matt Cross, Pentagon Dark, Pentagon Jr., pro wrestling, recap, Rey Mysterio, Rey Mysterio Jr., Sexy Star, Son Of Havoc, Taya, Taya Valkyrie, Ultima Lucha Tres, wrestling