SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: S3E17 - The Gauntlet
By Ryan "Leaf" Plant
Jan 4, 2017 - 2:04:52 AM
Season 3, Episode 17
We see smoke fill a familiar room. That room is the Dojo. The face that appears from it is familiar too – yet he looks angrier, and stands in his darker mask and a black hoodie.
“Rise my son!”
Puma scowls and says he is ready after Vampiro tells him that his journey into the darkness begins tonight. Vampiro asks him to pledge himself, and with one flip backwards within the smoke, Puma has only one response.
“I Do, Master!”
That... that was awesome. Dark Puma is something that the world needs, but the likes of Johnny Mundo and Pentagon would never wish for in a million years.
We're getting La Bamba again! Do they know any other songs? Metalachi, you unoriginal folks! Vampiro is back to being his Ian Hodgkinson self, as he tells us that Cage vs. Texano Match 4 out of 5 takes place tonight! This has become heated following the Battle of the Bulls Tournament. Speaking of Battle of the Bulls, Jeremiah Crane is in the ring ready for his match that he requested against Mil Muertes! That might not be wise but we'll see what he can do here!
Of course, this gets him closer to Catrina who accompanies the man from Beyond The Grave as per usual! The Man of a Thousand Deaths makes his way to the ring and it feels like an age since we've seen Mil in the ring – not since his Battle of the Bulls qualifier I believe! Mil slams his fist into the seal as Catrina raises the stone and JEREMIAH PUMP KICKS HIM STRAIGHT AWAY! Oh we're on. We're on alright.
Jeremiah Crane vs. Mil Muertes
Crane runs against the ropes and he gets pounced for good measure! I think The Last House On The Left just got demolished. Jeremiah falls victim to the ten punch and he then gets thrown straight into another corner, and another! Crane manages to avoid Muertes for now as he runs back into the post though he gets a running powerslam for his troubles. The Immortan has become a new level of beast ever since his most recent rebirth. Catrina is enjoying what she is seeing as Mil gets Crane ready for the Flatliner, but WAIT... HERE COMES PUMA WITH A KENDO STICK! He hits Muertes twice in the back as the referee is distracted by Catrina! Jeremiah follows this with a huge pump kick and... CRANE WINS!!! WOW!
WINNER: Jeremiah Crane
Crane wisely escapes the ring quickly as the black-hooded Puma goes mad with the kendo stick. He sends Mil retreating and throws the weapon towards him. Vampiro couldn't be prouder as Puma flips off the rope and instead of kneeling at the seal, kneels towards Vamp.
As much as this was an angle, I still don't know whether I would have Muertes lose so fast. That being said, Crane now has bragging rights for his next war of words with Catrina and Puma looked absolutely badass so there was a lot to love here! I loved the genuine sound of surprise from the Believers who must have felt that Puma had headed somewhere else, put it that way, following being buried alive!
In the latest edition of “Two People You Never Thought You'd See Interact In Lucha Underground”, Sexy Star is greeted by Ricky Mandel. He tells her that he thought it was awesome how she was the first woman to hold the main gold. She's taken aback by this, though the flattery stops right there when the jobber of the Temple tells her that she shouldn't feel bad for losing against Mundo... “a bunch of times”.
“After all, he's the best!”
Just as Sexy looks to depart the scene, Mandel tells her that he had something for her, that he found in catering. It was addressed to her. He pulls out a gift and says that it could be from a secret admirer or a fan, and that he used to send Johnny Mundo mail all the time which, he never heard back from sadly. Nevertheless, he gives the gift and departs the scene.
Of course, we know what comes next. She opens the present and there lies the tarantula, causing her to scream once more but this time out of pure anger than fear. Thank God.
Tarantulagate continues. My theory? This is Taya's doing. “Tayarantula” sounds like too much of a terrible pun for her not to use, the 'gift' was delivered by a Mundo superfan, she is filming a documentary which will no doubt find a way to catch her in the act, or at least the coaxing of Mandel, and it makes sense as she would have originally done it to put Sexy off when she challenged Mundo. It might be an anti-climax to some as it's still Sexy feuding with the Worldwide Underground but hey, it makes sense.
Also, Mandel was wearing Mundo-like headwear. That was a nice touch.
Texano is working out in the Temple when none other than Famous B puts him off his game. He is quick to tell Texano that he ALMOST has all the tools – he's big, he's strong but he's just not translating to the audience. He's just not connecting with them! They're not invested in you, not just yet.
You see, Texano doesn't even need to call 423-GET-FAME, just say the word and he will come down to the ring and together they will take down the Machine. Brenda though definitely wants the call as she places her hand on the big man's shoulder. He is left to contemplate the decision or at the very least, finish himself off.
The workout I mean.
GENIUS. Lucha Underground just used a genuine concern about Texano to lead him into his next storyline. That's brilliant. You know what that means though? Can you really see Famous B managing a God? I think Cage has this now! Also, where was Wagner?
Striker asks Vampiro what that was about, however, he tells us that whatever is between him and Puma is exactly that – between him and Puma. Nevertheless, Striker tries to hype up the announced Lucha Underground Championship match between Mack and Mundo next week in spite of his colleague's weird mood.
We could do with a mood change here, and we get it as the lovely Melissa Santos appears on our screen... just to announce the ever cocky Jack Evans and the “Darewolf” PJ Black of the Worldwide Underground! The two showboat and give the best handshake known to the man, the handstand handshake, before cockily screaming aloud. The next team though know something about chemistry – it's Son of Havoc and Angelico! We've got two thirds of two sets of former Trios Champions in action right now! What a sentence that was.
The Worldwide Underground vs. Son of Havoc and Angelico
It's Angelico and Evans starting this off and you have to imagine that the neon ninja wants revenge against the man that he knows extremely well, Evans. Jack tries to cartwheel out of an armbar but the furious Angelico keeps it locked in and already we see what this edge is doing for the South African. The two then embark in an amazing combination of evaded dragon screws, capoeira kicks, you name it! Both sets of partners applaud for their respective combatant. Evans continues the respect with a handshake but it was all a ploy, a ploy that Angelico saw all too well as he blocked a kick and tagged in Havoc.
Black is in the match too for the rudos. PJ grabbed onto Havoc's beard before putting in a headlock. That's one way to do it! He then tags in Evans after a quick knee!
It's Jack back on the attack now. Well, for a moment, he gets springboard back elbowed for his troubles and both Havoc and Evans tag out again already! Okay then.
Angelico hits a big right hand, and another, and another! The Darewolf is getting sheared here! Just as I say that, Black manages to come back with some of his own though at one point, Angelico crouches precariously on his ankle, jumps back up and hits quite the kicking combination on Black. He runs against the ropes, scales the back of PJ lands on his ankle gingerly once more before hitting that capoeira kick once more to the face of his opponent. All is going well but I'm definitely concerned about that foot.
Evans enters the match to save Black from a pinfall just as Striker tells us it is good to see Angelico back. Is that soon Matt?
Evans is officially tagged in as the two WWU members try to whip Angelico against the ropes, he once again scales over their backs which allows Havoc to come in and take both men out with a diving body block but his partner is most definitely hurt here, and thus he rolls to the outside. Damn.
Black is sent to the outside by Havoc, who kicks Jack straight up in the jaw! Lord have mercy! The Biker elbows Evans in the face as Angelico is back with a big knee strike off the ropes! Here comes PJ Black now with the 450 splash off the ropes onto Angelico and damn, he instantly hold the arm and is seen tugging it afterwards. If not the ankle then the arm is most definitely injured. He's came back too soon unfortunately. This is a real shame.
The action continues now with Black and Havoc though the Worldwide Underground member escapes the ring to buy some time. This allows Evans to kick Havoc this time and work on the Biker slowly as referee Marty Elias looks at the elbow of Angelico. Yeah this just isn't good at all. The Dragon Slayer goes for an incredible Corkscrew 630 and that's enough for the pin. Sorry for the somber tone here folks, the injury(s) was just hard to watch.
WINNERS: The Worldwide Underground
Even Striker doesn't know what to say as he just tells us they'll get a report on Angelico. Evans and Black do no showboating as they simply leave the ring.
I don't know what to say about this. I feel like the match was drastically cut short because of the elbow injury so it's hard to say anything other than Damn Angelico. He's one of THE stars of Lucha for his diving moments which I know have personally brought a lot of people to the product (I always use the clips of his madman moments to get people watching!) and I just feel terrible that things are going drastically wrong for him. This was a neat match all the same, it just could have been so much more, understandably, but that is completely beside the point here.
Dario gazes at his gift from Councilman Delgado but he is quickly interrupted by a fuming Sexy Star. She wants Mariposa.
“Another No Mas Match?”
No, she just wants to give her a good old fashioned beating.
That's fine by Dario who grants the match, lets her storm out of the office, and continues to look at his prized possession.
That worked well. I still feel odd from having watched the previous match but there's nothing bad here.
We're back in the arena for what has to be our main event. Looks like it's getting plenty of time. Awesome! Melissa Santos introduces match 4/5 for the Ultimate Opportunity. You know the drill by now, they call him Cage and... well... if the other segment is anything to go by, we might even call Texano famous soon! The bell sounds and here we go!
Best of Five Series for the Ultimate Opportunity – Match 4
Cage (2) vs. Texano (1)
Both men sprint at each other and lay each other out with the most ferocious forearms and back elbows I have ever seen either many deliver. A quick shoulder-breaker and running knee get Texano a two and he is as aggressive as anything right now! Cover! No! They're back to their feet and Cage hits a swift mule kick and a T-Bone suplex. The Machine throws a retreating Texano off the turnbuckle yet the Blue Collar Brawler tries a roll-up. No luck!
They're on the turnbuckle together next but not for long as he swipes Cage's feet and sends his face into the exposed turnbuckle. When did that happen?! Cage is bleeding heavily! He gets a kick to the face and hits a Sitout Powerbomb for good measure! 1...2...3! That's it?! We had all that time and everything!
Texano has evened the series just like that and he has gained some serious momentum here. Wow!
Wait, that's Dario Cueto's word, not mine, as he says he cannot wait to see which man earns the Ultimate Opportunity. Because of that, WE'RE NOT GOING TO WAIT, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE MATCH FIVE RIGHT NOW! Texano is loving this, he gets a broken Machine one more time!
“Ah! And I forgot to mention! This match! Anything goes! RING THE BELL!”
Best of Five Series for the Ultimate Opportunity – FIFTH AND FINAL MATCH
Cage (2) vs. Texano (2)
Here we go! Texano chokes Cage in the corner and licks his lips as the blood of his opponent ends up all over him. In fact, he even swipes the blood on his chest like war paint. Vampiro used the same description! The Blue Collar Brawler becomes a monster as he continuously chokes the Machine with his boot and takes him out of the corner, though Cage catches his foot and hits a huge DDT! He still continues to fight in spite of the crimson mask and he uses the ropes to drag himself to his feet. Have we ever seen Cage this vunerable, or vunerable at all?!
Texano stops him in his tracks with several big kicks, leads him onto the top buckle and hits a huge Frankensteiner! He comes crashing off the top rope one more for a two count. I am loving Texano's expressions here as this series has brought up about a ruthless side of him. He goes for the Sitout Powerbomb once more but Cage rolls through and hits a beautiful Shining Wizard! Both big men get to a rope each other and Texano makes the mistake of charging, he goes through the ropes following the Machine's evasion and speaking of which, Cage joins him with a huge vault to the outside!
Cage delivers several right hands on the outside before throwing his opponent right into the barrier. He hits him with a trash can before looking at the office which he has been sent into before. Actually, he has something else in mind, he's taking Texano straight to the Believers, the same fans who Famous B accused Texano of not connecting with! He hits a huge suplex to Texano on the bleachers and celebrates, baring a HUGE crimson mask at this point. However, he cheered for too long as he gets spinebustered by the working man! The Machine retreats to the apron to collapse against as Texano stays with the believers, taking some water to fuel himself with. They're chanting his name repeatedly here so perhaps all he needed was this edge, and not fame after all!
Texano comes down to join his foe and sends the big man right into the turnbuckle and then the table. Maybe God-Powered Texano could be something special after all! He slams Cage into the railings and that has to be dangerous with the rust and the open wound! Texano brings Cage up to the rafters and he is all over the Machine here. He's slamming his head against the rail and against a chair too! He's so on fire, THAT HE DOESN'T EXPECT THE MACHINE TO KICK HIS HEAD OFF! He too slams his adversary against the chair now, climbs onto the railings, gathers the appreciation of the Believers and... gets punched off all the way to the Temple floor! AND HE GETS TAKEN OUT BY A BIG CROSSBODY! This is incredible.
The Believers certainly agree as they chant “This Is Awesome.” Cage meanwhile is thrown into in the reserved seats. On the subject of chairs, Texano grabs a steel one and hits Cage with the biggest chairshot known to man. The big man has been unleashed! With the bullrope, he strikes his rival repeatedly, raises his hand and goes for yet another strike to the back! The Believers chant for Cage this time as perhaps Texano gets a little too ruthless. There's a cover. 1...2... 2 and a half, no! Texano brings the Machine to his feet just to Spinebuster him onto a steel chair. He goes to catapult himself off the top rope BUT CAGE AVOIDS IT AND SENDS TEXANO'S BACK ONTO THE CHAIR! The Machine absolutely smashes his rival with the chair and then collapses next to his foe. One... two... no! Even Knox cannot believe it and he's the one making the counts. That's a good point, I like how it wasn't Marty doing this, it's a great way to make us think this came out of nowhere!
Both men are to their feet. Cage hits a high knee, goes for the Discus Lariat but his opponent turns. He then gets his foe down in a Crossface! Oh my! Look at all of the blood! Cage couldn't get to the rope so he turns it into a pinfall by getting Texano on his back. 1...2... Texano is forced to break his hold. The big man goes for the Sitout Powerbomb BUT CAGE BREAKS FREE AND HITS A DISCUS CLOTHESLINE! This is so fun. What a match. What. A. Match. It's no fun for Texano though who is hit with his own Bullrope AND A LUCHA DESTROYER! 1...2... 3! YES!!! Cage wins the opportunity! Against all odds!
As Cage soaks in his victory, and his own blood, Dario tells him that because the prize is so powerful and so great, he'd rather not give it to him in front of the Believers. They won't understand it. He yells at Cage to come join him in the office as the Believers jeer. You'll find out what happens soon enough folks, but for us viewers, we find out now.
Second best match of the season – second to only Weapons of Mass Destruction but I think I'd put this slightly ahead of Puma vs. Mil – Grave Consequences and Pentagon's third gauntlet match. This is going to be hard to look over again come the Season 3 Match of the Year column, and we haven't even had the third Ultima Lucha yet which will no doubt be announced! Incredible stuff, as we saw Texano almost win the series by unleashing a new venomous side, and Cage too had to win by being the underdog which we hadn't seen. Great story told and great match performed.
“So, what did I win?”
Dario presents the chest:
“The hell is that?!”
“Pretty cool huh?”
“No, not really!”
Cage is taken aback. He's not much of a renaissance guy. As The Machine turns to leave, Dario convinces him to try on the glove and instantly the lightning flows through him. He looks at Dario as the glove matches the steel that he is known for. Staring at Dario, he hoists him high and tests its power.
“You know, on second thought, I think I'll keep it”.
He thanks Cueto who recovers his breath and most importantly, his grin.
Yes! My biggest concern is that they would have Cage lose a lot of his personality by becoming a God but it seems like he certainly just got an upgrade. Amazing stuff!
28th December – Cage (2)
21st December – The Mack (2)
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.
Performance-wise, I'd give this to Texano, who I think just bested out Cage here. How can you not award this to the winner of the series though, especially considering he has now LITERALLY become a God with the prize that was revealed to be a Gauntlet.
Given his new status, I would not be surprised if Cage becomes the first man this series to pick up more than two wins. He certainly was a trailblazer in that regard last season.
UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY SWEEPSTAKES
Cage might actually be embodied by the Lord now but I don't think so, given the fact it look like this Lord had already descended to Earth. The wait goes on. I want to give this prize away!
This was a great show but when all is said and done, we'll remember it for that final match in which The Machine became The Machine 2.0.
I won't ramble on here nor will I pose a question as there is a new episode tonight that I really want to bring a lot of attention to. Glad to finally, FINALLY, be caught up (which I thought was the case a number of weeks ago before some real life stuff that is best left undisclosed this time came up!).
Thanks as always for sticking with me, next thing I want to do is go back and reply to the heaps of comments. Speaking of which...
As always, hit me up @ LeafLOP or comment below! Thank you.
WANT TO GO DEEPER UNDERGROUND?
The Lordsofpain Columns forum is FULL of next-level talent just waiting to break out on the Main Page. Plus, the END OF THE YEAR AWARDS are taking place right now. I'm eligible for both Best Main Pager and Best Main Page Column Brand, and there's plenty of Columns Forum awards too! See what all the celebrations are about – join the Columns Forum too!