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Posted in: The Green Room
SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: S3E15 - En La Sombra
By Ryan "Leaf" Plant
Dec 31, 2016 - 12:41:11 AM




Season 3, Episode 15
En La Sombras


Happy Holidays folks! It's Ryan “Leaf” Plant here with a flurry of columns. This is the first of which and I will have the other two up on New Year's Night along with the start of my new Progress Series during that same week, A Story in Progress. I hope your Christmas has been as merry as possible. Let's take it away!

Speaking of taking it away, it's Vampiro who introduces everything that's happening over these next two episodes. They'll be two more first round matches of the Battle of the Bulls tournament on this episode, but on the next will be the FINAL as well as a Steel Cage Lucha Underground Championship match pitting Sexy Star against the title holder, Johnny Mundo. It's all happening, and Melissa Santos is ready to kick things off!

The first Luchador that she introduces is Killshot, who looks poised and calculated, ready to snipe! Perhaps this is why, as Melissa Santos introduces Dante Fox next who aims his own finger gun at his most personal rival. We go from barrels locked to butterflies as Mariposa is the next combatant, pacing around the ring with not only grace but an air of danger. Interestingly enough, the final contestant is introduced from The Last House on the Left, which we know is a well known horror film. Perhaps we'll have some light shed in the coming weeks as to why this relates to Jeremiah Crane. Anyway, ramble over, there's the bell!


LUCHA UNO:
Battle of the Bulls Tournament Match
Killshot vs. Dante Fox vs. Mariposa vs. Jeremiah Crane

The bell is rung and, well, so is Fox's face! And Mariposa! Crane and Killshot's superkicks cause havoc. They then engage in a war of strikes that is only settled by a hurricanrana from Killshot and a uranage! A low dropkick gets a two count before the Butterfly breaks up the pin with a diving dropsault! Fox dives too, but his body splash only eats canvas. Mariposa takes out Killshot and once again owns Fox with a huge strike. She even sends Crane out of the ring before Fox gets his revenge with a huge kick. He then takes out Crane with a huge vaulting press, slides back into the ring, and lays out Killshot on the other side with a senton! This match has been very spotty so far and it probably reflects in this write-up. It has still been fun though.

Fox is finally thwarted by a back elbow from the female Moth Tribe member as he re-enters the ring, then she too springs outside of the ring to take out Killshot. Striker makes a good point that Sexy Star's recent success has inspired the luchadoras in the locker room, perhaps none more so than Mariposa who has been her biggest rival to date. Speaking of rivals, Fox looks like he's going to attack Killshot again yet Jeremiah knocks him to the outside with a clothesline from the apron, he then unleashes probably the second best tope dive behind King Cuerno! I miss Cuerno, don't you? Not to be outdone, a recovered Killshot springs from the outside with a leaping rewind senton! Much to the point that Striker made earlier regarding Crane looking for the most powerful option at all times, he throws a chair into Killshot, throws a further three into the ring, and blasts Fox over the head with one! He seems pleased with his handiwork but even more pleased by the next two chairs that he gathers! There's eight chairs in that ring it turns out! Wow!

Crane is like a man possessed here. As the Believers chant “Musical Chairs”, I certainly think that Ivelisse's Love Interest has another tune in mind. It's not sweet music either. He props up Killshot on the turnbuckle though Fox saves his rival! Why?! That's because he wants to send BOTH men into there. It's Mariposa though who completes the tower of doom and SENDS THE THREE MEN THROUGH THE PILE OF CHAIRS! Crane has only made things worse for himself as his contraption has allowed Mariposa to grab every chair repeatedly, throwing them into every single body in that ring! Just as she charges at Jeremiah, he evades the onslaught, beats his chest and... GETS PUMP KICKED BY FOX! Who gets superkicked by Killshot! Crane is hit by a pump kick from Crane! Who hits Mariposa with a Shining Wizard in the corner! He then gets hit with a flying leg lariat by Killshot! Who is then floored by a Springboard Modified Codebreaker! Oh my days.

The fans believe this to be awesome. I was worried this was just a spotfest at first but the introduction of the chairs has made this match differ than some of the high octane matches we've seen in the Temple previously. In fact, Fox and Killshot slow the pace down a little when the former halts himself following a whip. He thinks he has avoided crashing into a corner-placed chair but his greatest adversary whip-kicks him into it regardless. Rewind 'Rana! No! Just two. The Black Heart, Jeremiah Crane, broke up the pin and has now set up a chair in the middle of that ring. The two both try to outdo each other, each looking for what seems like a Full Nelson Slam on the other, onto the propped chair mind you! Suddenly, Crane turns the struggle into a Death Valley Driver which narrowly avoids the steel. A Sit Out Powerbomb connects for 1...2.. Not quite! With no wasted movement though, Jeremiah Crane turns it into the Stretch Muffler submission! Some of you may know that as the old Brock Lock that Lesnar used to use, but it's Crane who is the beast here! Following Mariposa's submission break-up, he chooses the lock the hold on her this time yet Killshot breaks it up this time! It looks as if Killshot is about to go for a Brainbuster Falcon Arrow yet Mariposa reverses and turns it into a cutter! Wait though, there's that propped chair... AND KILLSHOT TAKES THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT ONTO IT! He's saved... by Fox?!

For his own opportunity of course!

Dante tries to grasp it by going after the Butterfly but she is on fire here, a series of strikes gets the best of Fox but Jeremiah pushes her out of the way, kicks her right in the face, looks in the underhook and... gets taken out by Fox! This is absolute madness. It's Fox and Crane who brawl next and the latter goes flying from the Springboard Seated C4! That has to be it, right?! 1...2... NO! How is that not it?! The former soldier is bewildered by this and goes for the 450 Splash, yet he meets the two knees of his opponent! Jeremiah hooks in the double underhook piledriver! CRANIAL CONTUSION! 1...2...3! JEREMIAH HAS HIS FIRST SOLO VICTORY IN THE TEMPLE!

WINNER: Jeremiah Crane

With that, the weird, dark, quite possibly insane Jeremiah Crane joins the playing field in the #1 Contenders Fatal Four Way finale of the Battle of the Bulls tournament. He looks truly bewildered by everything that has happened before exiting to the cries of “That Was Awesome!”

As the dust clears, Fox looks down at his fallen brother, and as he crawls to his knees, he Scissor Kicks him! He no longer feels unable to fight his rival, the ill feelings are no longer unrequited! The Double Stomp forms an exclamation point and it's quite obvious now that the next time they will meet will be simply incredible.

What a brilliant match. I'll be honest folks, and you probably gathered that from reading, after seeing so many matches lately in which the Luchadors go for spot after spot, I was prepared to potentially find this one tedious. What I actually found was that all four fighters used the steel chair to tell a brilliant story. Crane laid the trap, Mariposa took on just about everyone with the steel and Killshot/Fox only wished to butcher one another with the object. In the end, it's now Jeremiah Crane who sits amongst the host of names in the final of the Tournament.

Also, the feud between Killshot and Fox intensified with the revelation that the tecnico no longer felt like he had to shy away from battle. They have a match of the year within them both, I'm sure of it.



***

“And action!”

Jack Evans looks like an excitable cub scout whereas PJ Black looks highly unimpressed. After several cuts, Taya seemingly gives up on trying to get both men to answer her questions in the documentary, as the two of them only seem to do one thing in unison – shred some sweet air guitar! With that, their fellow red banded member and leader of the group, the Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo, asks both men why they are not training for tonight's match. He needs some backup in the tournament of course!

Even Taya is scolded by Mundo who shoots down everyone around him. Of course, when his girlfriend reminds him that he is on camera, he quickly gives his best Bert Reynolds voice and calls Worldwide Underground the greatest team in Lucha Libre. Of course, he cannot keep up the act as he threatens both of them with their place in the group before leaving.

“And cut!”

I worry about the tension shown here as for Johnny Mundo to work as champion, I think he desperately needs his group. He's talented enough without a stable but what are you going to do when the likes of Matanza and Mil wish to challenge for the gold? You NEED the Worldwide Underground to play believable foils. That being said, this was an entertaining segment, with Evans/Black stealing the show with their underrated bromance.


***

Sexy Star trains within the ring. She shadow boxes, shadow kicks, and just about shadow dominates. Stepping out of the shadows, the punch bags are no illusion now and they feel the full force of her anger. For however badass this segment makes Sexy Star look, she is then rendered very much human as she screams aloud at a tarantula within her locker. Okay then.

I actually really hated this segment. I think that's the first time I've ever said that about anything in Lucha Underground. Why give us an intense training package just to have her freak out over this creature? This had better lead to something good.


***

Back in the Temple, Melissa Santos introduces none other than an outstretched Kobra Moon. Of course, her opponent should come as no surprise, especially when she announces “From the El Inframundo”. It's Drago! And he finally has a chance to settle his issues with the woman who has been stalking him since just before Aztec Warfare. Strangely enough though, it's Kobra who asked for this match according to Matt Striker! The bell sounds and this strangeness is now official!


LUCHA DOS:
Kobra Moon vs. Drago

One third of the Trios Champions rolls across the ring and rises to meet the slithering Moon. Some Greco Roman rolls lead to a pinfall attempt for Drago before a waistlock takedown slams his opponent down again. He takes too long to look down at Kobra who is able to spring back into action with a snap-fire arm drag before, well, literally springing with a rope-assisted hurricanrana. She then looks to run at her opponent but eats a Drago Kick! Credit: Vampiro.

The very moment Kobra gets to her feet, she eats a kick in the corner and a clothesline. He was rolled across the mat and is kicked once more. Moon tries to get back into the match but a series of kicks and a dragon screw see Drago retain his dominance. As she rises to her feet, Kobra gestures for someone to come closer and it certainly throws off the Trios Champion. Since that moment, he regularly looks at the stairs before hitting a Dominator on Kobra. Still, Moon won't die as she gets back to her knees and looks to be scaling the arena, pun completely intended, with her eyes. She is kicked back to the mat for her troubles and HEY! This must be why! Another competitor has entered the ring and has shoved Drago off the top rope!

Is that Pindar?!

WINNER BY DQ: Drago

This Lizard knees the Dragon and hits him with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. But speaking of popping up, so does Fenix on the apron and he rushes to the ring to floor the Lizardlike competitor with a hurricanrana. Aerostar joins him, and he STUNS the Lizard with a Satellite DDT. Wait though, Kobra is seductively dancing and, oh my, a HUGE new competitor joins her!

Our commentators are stunned by his size and the Believers go deathly silent. This dinosaur of a man absolutely kills the Spaceman with a big boot before sending the Firebird to the mat with another! Kobra seems pleased with her handiwork as Drago's partners are sent to the canvas with a double chokeslam. The Believers suspend their disbelief by chanting Luchasauras. Notably, Vampiro points out that Kobra is shouting Vibora. The meaning? Giant Snake. This absolute Undersnaker of a man hits the Tombstone Piledriver on Drago now as he is rolled out of the ring.

You know things are about to go down when ominous music hits in the background as Drago is carted away by Kobra, Pindar and Vibora. What awaits him, I wouldn't want to know!

Actually, I do. This was a lot of fun and things can only get better as far as this story is concerned. This is easily the most personal story told him in the Trios division which I think is desperately needed right now. The question is? Does Drago remain loyal? I'm confident a rudo turn is coming. It would be effective as the last thing you want to see is the awesome Drago-Aerostar bromance to be broken up of course!


***

Mariposa is seen walking down the hallway when she is confronted by her former rival Sexy Star. She pants aloud angrily, causing the Moth lady to chuckle. The Butterfly attacks but Sexy sees it coming. Eventually, Mariposa is slammed against the wall and screams about how she was treated for six months of her life.

“Yeah? And what's your point?”
“Don't play dumb... It was you who put a spider in my locker.”

Mariposa claims to be innocent but Star is having none of it. She absolutely rages and reminds her of the No Mas match, yet Marty's sister is the one telling Star to give it up now. If she wanted to leave something in the former Lucha Underground Champion's locker, it wouldn't be ugly like a spider: It would be beautiful like a butterfly.

Star takes exception to this and punches so hard that the wall breaks, only because Mariposa moved! Imagine what her face would have been like if she hadn't moved!

THIS is what we needed from Star. Please disregard that earlier segment. Why they had to make her scream and cower, I do not know! I think anyone with any sense will see that this will not be Mariposa's doing – that will make for a better story. The question is, who did it?


***

We're back in the Temple for our main event! Melissa seems to keen to announce Jack Evans, perhaps because she knows that there is going to be hilarity any moment now. The handstand signals the arrival of the Dragon Slayer who springs into the ring! “God damn right I'm the Star Destroyer!”. Of course, that was the latest in a long line of awesome nicknames!

Speaking of awesome, PJ Black oozes it these days as he has really found what finally feels like natural confidence as part of the Worldwide Underground. There appears to be some tension as he looks at Jack as neither take part in any tomfoolery; they simply gesture that each man will win this match.

Next comes the fighter from the Open Road, Son of Havoc! “This is your hero?!” screams Jack. Absolutely, judging by the consistently loud reaction for Havoc! Striker brings up a good point, this is the latest line of opportunities for Havoc who has always been so close!

Speaking of close, the man who he used to tag with is making his return to Lucha Underground in this match. That man is the South African Sensation, Angelico! God knows what on earth his hype-killing music. Never mind, it got heavier! He seems thrilled to be back and I'm sure we're all happy to see him too! As the ovation fails to settle down when Angelico enters the ring, it might be easy for some people not to notice the bell that sounds. It sounded though alright, and it's on!


LUCHA TRES:
Battle of the Bulls Tournament Match
Jack Evans vs. PJ Black vs. Son of Havoc vs. Angelico

The Worldwide Underground instantly strike the fan favourites though the members of the former first-ever Trios Champions won't settle for that: Angelico hits a 'rana on Black and Havoc big boots Evans respectively!

Havoc and Angelico are left in the ring and instantly this more aggressive version of the South African locks in a headlock on Havoc. The Worldwide Underground try to re-enter the fray but are sent back to the outside for their efforts. They get a senton and a suicide dive respectively. As both of the rudos are rolled into the ring, Evans tries to steal a pin on his partner! Before they can argue though, the tecnicos take it to the rudos once more and they try to unleash one of their old tag moves: the exchanging of opponents in each corner! They run from corner to corner with strikes on their mind yet the Worldwide Underground members evade the onslaught and Evans is able to attack Angelico via all fours of his partner.

As Striker tells us that Evans needs some cheat codes to beat Angelico, it certainly seems to be the case as the neon green fighter hits both men with kicks, including a sweet Pele to the Star Destroyer! Son of Havoc re-enters the match and hits a double stomp combination on an Angelico-shoulder-assisted Evans and a crouched Black! Nice! A Standing Shooting Star Press is good enough for a pin attempt yet it's only for a two. Plus, Evans was Death Valley Drivered by Angelico to almost break up that pin!

With the WWU members taken out, this leaves the tecnicos to brawl. Havoc gets the early advantage with a crossbody and a standing moonsault for two! Havoc charges into Angelico's corner but eats a big boot. Again though, the masked man gains the advantage with a backbreaker for two! The Worldwide Underground broke it up and they send Havoc into the corner. The Biker tries to crossbody onto both men but they catch him, counteract the unfavourable chants of the Believers with their own- “Big Dump!”, before Fall Away Slamming him to the outside!

Both men celebrate that spot with the most handstandy of handshakes before feasting on their remaining prey like Lucha vultures. Evans' jumping kick allows Black to kick a stunned Angelico, but he ducks! He fights off both men and evades several strikes in a row. He hits Black with a Capeoira kick, gets the knees up from an Evans Standing Moonsault attempt and rolls him up! Just two! Angelico sets him up for Fall Of The ANG- no! Jack 'ranas out of it, sending Angelico into the corner! Here comes the Backslide Into Bridge yet Havoc breaks it up with the Double Stomp. A re-entering PJ Black gets a springboard cutter for his troubles and gets a 2! That's not enough.

Havoc is in disbelief as he then climbs the buckle but Black keeps up with him to get him in the Electric Chair position. Evans takes to the top rope and hits the Doomsday Device but wait, Havoc flipped off the shoulder so the Star Destroyer hits PJ! A Big Boot stuns Evans and Havoc seems poised to hit that big Shooting Star! Evans messes with the rope though causing Havoc to almost fall. Suddenly, Black and Angelico join Havoc and Evans on the apron. It looks as if a Tower of Doom is just moments away yet Black wisely exits the fray. The Biker won't let him escape as he unleashes a Suicide Dive leaving Angelico to Superplex the Worldwide Underground member to the outside onto both of the other men! Angelico sends Black into the ring and hits him with a big knee yet Evans is there to push the Neon Fighter into the barricade. Havoc tries to re-enter the match with a Back Elbow, which PJ avoids. Evans takes the blunt of it though the Biker is quickly sent outside of the ring himself by the Darewolf!

Speaking of the Darewolf, he gestures for Jack to pin him. Not this way! Wait, he reverses it and rolls up his stablemate! 1...2...3! Wow! I did not expect for it to be Black to win this with his first solo win in the Temple!

WINNER: PJ Black

“HE TEABAGGED ME!” is the unique cry from the Star Destroyer who stares down his partner. There's some obvious dissension between them as they tease a handshake but can't reach it. What does this mean for the Worldwide Underground? We'll find out next week!

That was a pretty fun match. I think the ending really added to it as throughout the match, part of me couldn't get into it as I felt the Angelico win was obvious, then Lucha threw us a curveball as suddenly a man who had never won a singles match in the Temple until this point is now just one match away from a Lucha Underground Championship match. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing, you have to say that Lucha's format makes us forget about wins and losses and that's a definite strength of the product.

Moment of the match? It's got to be that Superplex. That was a thing of beauty!



***

Mysterio is recovering in what looks like a hotel room. He is unable to sit up without the help of Dragon Azteca Jr. who tells him that Matanza's attack was a good thing.

“What do you mean a good thing?” A perplexed Rey enquires.

He didn't realise why he wore the mask until he was hit by the Wrath of the Gods. Once more, Mysterio tries to tell Azteca that this is not a fight he can win.

“I don't care about winning.”

Mysterio tells him that this is his battle, not yours. Azteca takes some offence to this and tells him that he is bulding his own legacy now, and it starts with ending Matanza's life.

Even whilst in excruciating pain, Rey is still able to facepalm.

Though Azteca is a hard tecnico to get behind as he is consistently hotheaded, that's the same reason you must praise LU for this: He has a consistent character and it breaks the norm of him simply being a respectful young student babyface character to his mentor. It looks as if we are getting Azteca vs. Matanza until Mysterio's return – no doubt to save him. This could be fun!


TEMPLE GOD

14th December – Jeremiah Crane

7th December – The Mack
30th November – Vampiro
23rd November – Johnny Mundo (2)
16th November – Sexy Star
9th November – Mil Muertes
2nd November - Rey Mysterio Jr. (2)
26th October - Johnny Mundo
19th October - Drago
12th October - Chavo Guerrero Jr.
5th October - Cage
28th September - Prince Puma
21st September - Jack Evans
14th September - Killshot
7th September - Rey Mysterio Jr.

Crane becomes the 13th individual Temple God of the season out of 15 episodes thus far, in a season that is giving us a widespread collection of talent.

The former Sami Callihan has definitely found something within the Temple. His unique character works in such an environment. He is dark enough to keep us guessing about his background yet human enough to have us wonder whether he truly is supernatural or not. His relationship with Catrina hinted at that just a week ago.

I think this is the best televised performance that Crane has put on since he debuted in NXT, which makes me more and more excited for his further Lucha Underground performances. Great showing and great win.


UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY SWEEPSTAKES

Time to put MisterMizery out of his, well, you know the drill. I'm starting to wonder if the Lord really will appear this season. I want to give away this prize! It won't be happening though until at least episode 20 now though as we see a lull of numbers chosen until then!

20- KamNewton
21- g3sshoku
22- RVDMark
23- Maximilliean
24- @HBK4EVER17
30- Kblitzko
34- TNJacktion
35- StuartGosling
36- Grimjac
37- Ralph83
38- TheImplications
39- JSR-13
40- BeaverCleavage


FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a paint-by-numbers episode of Lucha. We filled out the remaining places for next episode's BOTB finale, set up some hype for the Championship match next week and we even got a couple of debuts. If that's not Lucha in a nutshell, I don't know what is?

I'm late getting this out there but any comments and tweets are always appreciated.

As always, hit me up @ LeafLOP or comment below! Thank you.







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