SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: S3E19 - Gods Among Men (MID-SEASON FINALE)
By Ryan "Leaf" Plant
Jan 13, 2017 - 5:27:45 PM
Season 3, Episode 19
Gods Among Men
Lucha Underground Season 3 is done until Summer 2017.
There, I said it.
It isn't any easier to type. Let's just get on with the show and we will talk about it later shall we Believers?
“It's perfect. You're going to see him in action tonight.”
“And he will be wearing... the gauntlet?”
Dario Cueto shares a glass with Counselman Delgado in his first visit inside the Temple. Of course, it's Dario's office where this altercation takes place, where almost every altercation takes place! Cueto tells his suited associate that Cage is consumed by the power but he does not realize the power that's consuming him
“You know soon, we will be nothing more than Men amongst Gods.”
Cueto likes the idea of this as the Gods will owe them a great deal of gratitude. They will be Gods Among Men. They drink to that, or at least they try to, yet El Jefe's door is knocked once more this season.
It's El Dragon Azteca.
Cueto tries to introduce him to Delgado, though the warrior announces that he is not here to make new friends, just to defeat old enemies. He tells him that he wants his brother in the ring tonight, and it doesn't matter whether Cueto released Matanza or not, he still tried to break Azteca, and he tried to break Rey.
The Counselman is impressed. He likes this kid, he has balls.
Damn right he does, which is exactly why he wants The Monster in a death match.
They'll drink to that too.
The red phone is picked up, but will that denote blood?
“So we have a new main event for tonight...”
This is the best thing Azteca has done so far in Lucha. They've turned his hotheadedness into full on badassery which was desperately needed for the character. To be honest, I wonder if this is a hint that they will turn Azteca into the next God, who now has to reluctantly trust Matanza. It would make a hell of a change from turning the big men into them. I think this segment might be one that we look back on come the end of the season.
Metalachi are playing again, looking every bit like a thrash metal band, but once again playing upbeat Latin American and Mexican anthems. Alrighty then! Of course, this means that we're in the Temple, and Matt Striker has just heard about that new main event! It's El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto. Striker notes that the last time we had a death match, it “seemingly” ended the career of King Cuerno. Amazing, he'll be back then. Thanks Matt. Before he can continue, Vampiro looks into the camera with pure rage, points at the camera, and tells Mil Muertes that his time will come. Disturbed, Striker tells Melissa to PLEASE take it away with a voice trembling with uncertainty.
The voice of Santos is very different however, as she roars out the first combatant of the very first match... TEXANO! The Believers roar and it's fair to say they have really got on his side after the series. And so they should. He always puts in a great match. We go from blue collar to blue movie though, as none other than Joey Ryan makes his way out. Of course, we know what comes next, and well, maybe that wasn't the best choice of words. The oil is out and down his pants quite frankly. He's sucking on his lollipop and well, I wouldn't be surprised if it gets punched right down his throat here. Let's find out if it does!
Texano vs. Joey Ryan
There's the bell and speaking of the lollipop, it is once again put down his trunks for safe keeping, bringing about one of the best expressions of the series from Texano. The blue collar brawler puts his name to use with a collar and elbow tie up. Eventually, Ryan retreats and tells the referee to break up the hold as he squirms into the corner. Striker calls Ryan Tom Selleck as he puts the tecnico in a headlock before he promptly shoved against the ropes. You can't outmuscle the youngest ever and current AAA Mega Champion. Texano hits the shoulder tackle, yells at the cop and drops an elbow on Ryan as he tries to burpee out of the challenge. Joey is brought back up just to have his head sent into the corner and to receive a diving splash from the ropes. There's a cover, 1...2... Not enough!
Ryan wisely chooses to escape the ring, and even more wisely, calls for the raging bull to follow him and trap him. For when the corrupt cop heads into the ring, he catches Texano with a rope guillotine. He exits the ring to send his opponent into the railing AND the ring apron. What's Ryan doing now? Oh god, he's not taking advantage of the situation, instead he's resampling the lollipop. The Believers think it is awesome, and of course they are in high spirits, as those there at the tapings have no idea that we're going on such a long hiatus after this particular taped episode. Ryan puts on the most disturbing of leg chokes in the corner as he rubs his thigh before throwing the lollipop at him. That's the most foreign of foreign objects, isn't it? I mean, it came from down under! Ryan hits a dropkik and wait, what is this?! That's Famous B dressed as a cowboy with a terrible accent and a supercalifragilistic Brenda with him. Texano is absolutely stunned by this but somehow it gives him the strength to kick, punch, and hit a huge leg lariat from the top rope for two!
It's all Texano now! He reverses a Sunset Flip into a roll of his own and a kick. He hits a huge tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before putting Joey Ryan in his least favourite place, crotched on the top rope. Texano dumps Ryan out of the ring and runs but Joey and tells us he is too smart for that, leading to his opponent vaulting onto him the very moment he turns around of course! As Famous B and Brenda lasso the air as if they're listening to Apache, Joey Ryan has some moves of his own as he knocks Texano off the rope, hits a pumphandle bridging plex and a huge kick to the face. Pinfall? No! There's too much heart in him. Speaking of heart, Famous B does the kind thing by stopping Joey Ryan using the bullrope and wait, Brenda has just licked a horseshoe and handed it to Texano. Not this way! Don't succumb to them! He is debating whether to use it and... well... he does! Some of the Believers jeer the recently-popular fighter as he picks up the win. 1...2...3.
I think Matt Striker puts it best: “I'm not so sure if Texano may be calling 4-2-3 Get Fame but he may be calling Brenda.” He seems certainly reluctant to join Famous B as he shoves the promoter though he certainly likes the idea of being dragged towards Brenda by the bullrope. Famous B looks stunned for a moment but:
“HE LIKED ME! HE LIKED ME! CALL ME! CALL ME! 4-2-3 GET FAME TEXANO! CALL ME!”
Famous B seems pleased with himself, as I realise that he is exactly how Kel from Keenan and Kel would be like if he was a rudo in an Aztec-inspired wrestling promotion.
This match was all about the story and as Texano chose the foreign object, shoved Famous yet seemingly embraced Brenda, I'm certainly intrigued now by it. It did its job. Speaking of which, that's all Joey Ryan seems to be doing lately in the Temple – jobbing. Can we please get more backstage segments with Dario? I need that laugh again!
We cut back and Johnny Mundo is in the ring now with a microphone. In any other promotion, that would sound like a normal occurrence, yet it doesn't happen often in Lucha so I'm very intrigued what the Champ has to say. He gives a shoutout to Taya who he knows is working on his documentary and he tells the Believers that they miss her - meaning him, and the men who camera now shows perching on the ropes, Jack Evans and PJ Black. You have to remember folks that this will have been shot whilst Taya was still injured so I do wonder whether Mundo said the documentary line as a joke and Lucha decided to turn it into a real thing with the backstage segments filmed afterwards. It wouldn't surprise me.
Johnny introduces himself as the Mayor of Slam Town, the face of Lucha Underground and no matter what the fans call him, he's the Lucha Underground Champion, something that brings laid down applause from his cohorts. He tells the crowd that he came to the promotion as the only star and he beat everyone. He tells the fans that they are not Believers for not one of them believed in Johnny Mundo, though one fan is desperately trying to tell him that he believed in him. The Champion though only thanks PJ and Jack who he calls not only his friends, but people that he loves. The three raise their hands to the sky before Mundo asks them to moonsault out of the ring, which they do, quite literally.
He tells Mack that he knows he is listening. Mack isn't built to last all night long. “You were built to be sat on a couch next to hot tub guy, eating funions.” He tells the Believers that this is his world, and every single one of them, especially the Mack, will be forced to believe that. As his brand new lyrical theme plays, out comes the Mack to silence him!
The right hands are thrown now with a hell of a lot of intensity, and here come the stomps! He is on fire but of course, here come Black and Evans to try and put it out! They struggle, as Mack shoves Evans into the corner though PJ's hands from the back lead to both of these men getting the advantage and... JUST AS I SAY THAT MACK HITS A STUNNER ON PJ! He crotches Evans! STUNNER AGAIN! Mundo slowly grabs his title and stares down his angered challenger. He screams for security and he gets it, but Mack almost gets HIM as he breaks free! Mundo escapes but the security don't! Stunner to one! Irish whip to another! Clothesline to the next! Stunner to another! And another! And of course, one more whip for good measure. Mack destroyed everyone here apart from one man – Johnny Mundo.
In the midst of the carnage though, Mack has the title. He tells Mundo that this will be his, “but more importantly than that, I'm going to whup your ass, and I'm going to whup your ass ALL, NIGHT, LONG!”
Mack raises his title as that's apparently enough to get the holy sh*t chants from the Believers. I hate to be negative here but that's the second bizarrely-timed chant of the night from the fans and they're coming across as bad as the modern Full Sail audience here. At least the segment was fun!
I don't mean to be negative here but the Believers saw Mack take out an entire security force along with Evans and Black and then they say the “holy sh*t” chant simply because Mack has hold of the title? It just seemed bizarre. My only guess is that maybe they filmed this before the other segment where Mundo announces the match type, and they didn't catch on to the Champion's hints during his part of this promo. After all, different events are filmed out of order.
Speaking of the promo itself though, this was nicely done, and they've done a great job of building Mack up as a potential champion within the space of a few weeks by having him Stunners on COUNTLESS men. It worked for Austin did it not? I still don't see the leader of Worldwide Underground surrendering his belt so soon but they've made it seem like a small legitimate possibility, and I don't think we could ask for any more than that.
We're still in the ring but Melissa Santos is back this time. She introduces the wrestler from the 559 who we call Cage, and out comes the wrestler who is not a man, but is now more God than Machine! The Believers who slap the gauntlet of Cage look somewhat confused as they do so. He still seems himself here, so I can only imagine that the Gauntlet makes him lose himself over the time, judging by the conversation that Cueto and Delgado had earlier.
Interestingly enough, the next combatant is a debutant – Veneno! Well it's certainly not the former CMLL star. Judging by his look, that can only be one Cortez Castro. He doesn't catch a break does he? Ever. Pentagon, Matanza and now Cage. Sucks to be you Officer Reyes. I do love the character work as he slinks into the ring whilst Vampiro tries to remember the name of a certain blue and red web slinger. I don't think Reyes will remember the name Spiderman either after this match. The bell rings and Veneno is pounced upon. Yup.
Cage vs. Veneno
Surprisingly though, Veneno does enough to slide under the Machine as he runs again and catch him with a beautiful headscissor takedown. He kicks Cage in the lower abdomen and chest before Striker curses him by praising the offence. He throws the newcomer into the corner and, well, Veneno surprisingly gets in some more offence in the corner AND he slips out of a samoan drop to hit a big enziguri! Never mind though as he gets Discus Clotheslined to another planet. Cage tells him that he isn't getting up from this before he absolutely decimates him with the Lucha Destroyer. With that, the outcome is inevitable.
Vampiro tries to tell us that Cage has been more aggressive than usual, which is an impressive observation considering Veneno looked to get more moves in during the match. Nevertheless, his statement is proven true as he shoves the referee and threatens him with the glove. He appears to break out of the trance of the God for a moment as he lets him go and raises his gloved hand to the Believers. He departs the scene, still as Cage for today at least.
Suddenly, Sexy Star slides into the ring because that's exactly what this solid show needed. She yells at Veneno screaming that it was him before kicking him in the face. As aggressive as she may seem, her happy-go-lucky theme song might as well be screaming “BRIE MODE!” at this moment and it's a good job that these themes don't air live to the Believers during the show. With that, Sexy once again wrongly accuses someone, albeit a man in a spider mask, of planting the tarantula on her. Actually, can we make it Winter 2017 for this storyline alone?
I like the slow-burn route they're going with Godly Cage. Here's an interesting thought – I wonder if the same thing happened with Matanza. Rather than the God simply possessing his body, were there times when the brother of Dario Cueto had to wrestle with his own identity. Did he resist giving an opposition player more than just a slide tackle whilst playing soccer on the streets? One thing is for sure, I enjoyed Castro as that Veneno character. I hope he continues to play it in the second half of the season.
I have to say though, I absolutely HATE this storyline with Sexy Star. It's my least favourite thing to happen in Lucha throughout any of the seasons. For all of the hyperbole that we've had to sit through regarding Sexy Star being more powerful than Jesus, the fact that she fears a spider and is going mad at everyone because of this instead of rising above it completely destroys what they're DESPERATELY trying to tell us about this character. Unless she turns rudo as a result and loses her mind, this storyline just makes me gauge my eyes out quite frankly. I've tried and I've tried to like it, but I digress. My prediction is still Taya, with this being a perfect way to reintroduce her to in-ring action, at the very least.
Puma embraces the darkness as he now strikes the punching bag with the kendo sticks. Flashbacks of Konnan roll through his mind.
“Remember what I've taught you... In this business... Remember.... Remember what I've taught you... Remember... Remember what I've taught you...”
Those repetitive streams are too much for Puma. He holds his head in his hands and turns around to...
“It's never the same once you die.”
Catrina. She tells him that after crossing into the spirit room, all those voices come back too. She strokes the chest of Puma who tells her that there is only one vision in his head. There's blood, there's pain but it's not his.
“But who's?” she asks
She's had a similar vision. It's not Mil's blood though of course, it's the conflicted Prince's.
She escapes from the scene as he flips backwards, strikes the punching bag as hard as one possibly can, and sends it to the floor. Symbolism. Gotta love it.
Here's what I love. We've seen Puma punching the bag before and putting his fist through it. It's great to see him training now with two kendo sticks. It's like he's not just relying on what Konnan taught him anymore, despite the fact that his voice is stuck in his head, he's settled for the more violent teachings of Vampiro. That's why he so desperately wanted to vanquish his head of his previous teachings. His soul belongs to the dark now.
Who does Catrina's love belong to though? Well, I went back and watched the segment from Breaker of Bones and yes, BeaverCleavage, you're absolutely right in specifying she didn't necessarily say that it was a man. It seemingly has to be Vasquez now, as both of them hold the amulet. Honestly though, I'm hoping it isn't as that would be too obvious and because they look like sisters. To be honest though, it's gotta be, I mean let's not forget the Captain's reaction when she dismissed Reyes in the initial cop scene in Season 2 when he revealed that the manager of Mil Muertes was running the Temple. She became angered very quickly did she not? Maybe this love is not returned.
If not Vasquez then as I said, it has to be Fenix, Dario or... What about a returning King Cuerno? Why did she turn to the Hunter specifically to take down Fenix, to protect Mil as Champ, maybe she even asked him to purposely repower her Beast to make him stronger and as a result she's let him survive death from the Death Match they had. This is much better than some stupid tarantula. It has to be said.
We return to Melissa Santos in the ring, who cheerfully announces a Death Match! Hurrah! She introduces El Dragon Azteca Jr first whose solo theme is certainly something I don't recalling here. I wonder if he has changed it or have the cheers been too loud for Rey Mysterio previously. This sounds epic, like Kashmir from Led Zeppelin meets some RPG boss battle. He's certainly going to need to power up to take on this man, sorry, I mean Monster, Matanza Cueto!
The Monster is once again accompanied by his brother Dario, and even he looks bewildered by his brother's recent reactions. When we cut back, Marty Elias calls for the bell and promptly runs out of the way!
El Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto
The green masked Luchador avoids a sprinting Matanza with a leap frog. He hooks the thick arm of the beast and performs a combination of kicks, leaps onto the turnbuckle and hits a big front dropkick. He continues to try to use speed here and when he cannot flip the Monster over, he turns it into an insane seated half-bearhug throw to the canvas. Dario's brother grabs a steel chair, re-enters the ring and places it into the corner. Azteca has him scouted with a pele style kick from the mat but that position doesn't allow him a lot of power and Matanza is still able to choke him against the ropes as he rises. He throws him against the ropes, Matanza throws him up but WOW! He springs from the shoulders of the beasts, and hits him with a humongous Satellite DDT. This only angers the former Lucha Underground Champion though who throws him into the chair. Or so he thought. The rookie stops himself, up-and-overs the battering ram, and kicks the now picked-up chair into the Monster's face. Azteca picks up the steel this time, throws it Matanza, and this sends the big man retreating out of the ring. The chair is used in a different way now as Azteca springs off it and hits a huge senton to the larger Cueto! Awesome.
The hotheaded Azteca continues to strike his opponent, clubbing his head. That's a big mistake as he simply grabs his rival and throws him into the corner, then the wall. He picks him up and slams him against the railings several times, carries him up with ease up the steps, not even using any hands at times, before slamming him on the top railing. What an absolute beast! With the hands wrapped around the throat of Azteca, the Monster starts to choke the tecnico. When that doesn't work, he looks to powerbomb him through the bleachers! Oh my! Azteca fights out and when the Monster tries again, he springs onto part of the ceiling. I'm not even kidding. He flips off it with a senton and wow! See, this is when the HOLY SH*T chant should happen! He could have just thrown himself all the way into the crowd or worse! This STILL isn't enough to halt Matanza though, as when Dario dangles the key, he gets up and hits Azteca with a huge thrust to the face. It's the Dragon though who fights the pain barrier now though as he stays up in order to evade a kick and send his opponent's face into the stair railings with a headscissor, almost sending him all the way down the steps. YET MATANZA JUST GETS UP, AND HEADBUTTS AZTECA! “Kill him!” Dario screams. That's the gimmick!
The rookie tries to guillotine Matanza's face into the railings and though he does, this has no effect. This only angers the beast who does something that even Dario screams “NO!” at. He grabs the upstart by the throat and chokeslams him into the cro- NO! THROUGH THE GOD DAMN BLEACHERS! Oh My God. Dario now screams “YES!” because of course, he loves violence really! And this one is over, but no music is played as the severity of the situation is what fills the air instead.
Eventually, we do in fact hear the call of Melissa, announcing this behemoth as the winner and his music now plays. As Dario raises the hand of his Monstrous brother proudly, out comes Rey Mysterio to check on his friend! The cheers of the fans give him away and suddenly Matanza has his true target. He rushes from the ring, punches fans, throws them against the railings, just to get to Rey, who takes the fight to the big man! The Monster throws him into the wall and over the railings onto another floor. Rey tries to fight off the impending doom that his foe possesses and for a while does, but eventually he succumbs to a, wait, no he doesn't! He uses the electric chair position to drive the Monster's head into the steel beam though...
OH MY! MATANZA JUST SLAMMED REY'S HEAD INTO A STEEL FIXTURE SUPPORTING THE UPPER CAGE! He is absolutely killing Rey here, throwing him against the netting and now he charges... But Matanza is flipped by Rey, THROUGH A ROOF! Oh my. Dario is desperately trying to get into the room. He tells everyone to leave the Temple and rings the bell! He's screaming ferociously as Rey Mysterio stands amongst the fans before, dropping down to check on Azteca. An editing mistake occurs as Matt Striker tells us we will be going all night long, yeah Matt, in the Summer we will. I'm glad then that that call wasn't the last moment of the mid-season finale but before I get to what happens next, let's cover what we just saw!
The action in that match was brilliant – I just wish it had more time. Those were two great spots though, as Matanza and Azteca both left the arena no doubt in pieces following those two big crashes. Rey's return set up for a big moment and just like that, they've got me wanting to see Rey vs. Matanza knowing all too well now that it won't be happening for quite a long time. Thanks Lucha.
This was Azteca's best showing to date. That flip from the steel support fixture of the ceiling was truly magical. His performance in the opening segment was great too. I'd argue that in spite of the ending, this was his night.
Following the show, some of the Believers stop for photos with the lovely Melissa Santos. I'd be waiting too if I knew the opportunity wouldn't come about again for another six months or so! Creepily enough, none other than the Moth is waiting, who is promptly kidnapped out of nowhere.
Turning the light on and off, none other than his sister stands tall, and Marty is embedded in rope.
“Bravo Martin, you have my attention. Maybe you're not that little boy anymore. Maybe The Moth has finally seen the light.”
Mariposa strikes the light, and then him. She exits the scene, and Marty makes one of his own.
“I did good!” He giggles, with the ropes controlling everything but his overjoyed emotions. “I did good!”
Nice to end this half of the season with one of the greatest characters of the show. Does this mean that Marty and Mariposa are still as strong as ever? Maybe stronger? Did he just have to prove something to his sister? What does this mean for Melissa Santos who he got closer than ever to? Has he now enlisted his sister's help? So many questions, not that we'll see them being answered soon!
11th January – Dragon Azteca Jr.
4th January – Johnny Mundo (3)
28th December – Cage (2)
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.
It's not often that I give this out in losing efforts. I think I've only done it twice before – to Evans once this season and to Marty one time in the last, both for their character work. Tonight, Azteca showed me everything that he is capable of. He finally came across as a badass at the start of the show rather than a petulant overbearing student. He may have impressed the man who could turn him into a literal God, and he took Matanza to the limit more than what most men have done. Let's not forget, the Monster still hasn't lost a one on one match in the Temple, though the opportunity was almost there!
I was tempted to give this to Rey Mysterio for that big return or Matanza for the win but honestly, it would have took away from the solid all-round performance that the rookie displayed here. Bravo.
UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY SWEEPSTAKES
Well, we've gone halfway through the season and there's still been no Lord. That's good in a way, as it means I can top my bank balance up after a hectic Christmas, so I can really fork out on a decent prize for the winner. Still, this competition has now spilled over several seasons. Madness!
Honestly guys, it's hard for me to even talk about the episode as a whole after hearing that this show will be gone for as long as that. You probably picked up on my thoughts during the column. I think it's something that, if we knew, we could have prepared for, but to hear that so soon is absolutely devastating. I can't help but feel disappointed that after the title match bait and switch last week, this has happened the very week after. This is not the fault of anyone who works so hard on the show itself, it has to be said, but it's still such a shame to see a product that deserves to be building some steam, be derailed off the tracks like this. Will it return with some steam? I hope so. If it begins with All Night Long I would be more than happy with that choice.
I hope you guys continue to stay with this column during the long wait, as I will be posting predictions for the directions of the different characters on a semi-regular basis, whilst finally getting started on my new side-series A Story in PROGRESS, focusing on some British wrestling too. Long live Lucha Underground though, as we wait for its return.
One last thing, my good friend Cult Icon wrote what I consider to be the best article I have ever read – regarding this subject and the causes behind it. I can't link to another column website here but I highly recommend checking out the article by going onto the pinned tweet on my Twitter page. If you want to know more reasons behind the hiatus, who might be behind it, and what we may need to do as fans to ensure the future of our favourite product is safe, THAT is the column to read. Anything I say right now would merely be replicating from a guy who is in the know regarding these things. Please, do find some time to check it out. It can't be any longer than my columns, right?!
With that in mind, there's even more reason to hit me up on Twitter @ LeafLOP and do please continue to comment below!
The choice of topic this week is obvious: How are you feeling right now? Hang in there, we'll get through this somehow.
Thank you for reading and through January, February, March, April, May, and then some combination of June and/or July and/or August, don't stop believing, and thank you for reading.
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