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Posted in: The Green Room
SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: S3E36 - Rise of the Ring Announcer
By Ryan "Leaf" Plant
Sep 23, 2017 - 2:10:24 PM




Season 3, Episode 36
The Rise of the Ring Announcer


It's the last show before Ultima Lucha Tres. I'm hyped, I imagine you're hyped too. Let's do it!


In a darkened room, perhaps in the Temple, perhaps elsewhere, Melissa Santos trains ferociously with Fenix in the middle of the ring. Her trainer overpowers her for several moments and yet Melissa continues to spar. “Let's go.”

You've seen the same scenario play out in several fighting films, right? Eventually the student overpowers the trainer, and that's exactly what happens here. Santos reverses a waistlock with the use of several backelbows before slamming the Firebird onto his back. She leans over to kiss him but something stops her dead in the moment:

“I want to see you without your mask.”

As she begins to unfasten the straps, she is suddenly flipped right back onto the canvas hard. Frustrated, she walks away from the man she adores.

“My mask is everything to me. Before I wore it... I was nobody. But when I put it on... I became the Fenix. I was reborn... and I rose... from the ashes of my past life.”

“Mask or no mask, you're still Fenix to me.”

Melissa looks dejected in spite of the statement that just left her lips. Her lover looks to console her.

“No. If this mask is taken from me... I will have lost everything.”

“Well you won't lose me.”

She turns to walk away once more but is suddenly pulled back. Turning the tables, she puts the Firebird into a Dragon Sleeper position, yet awakens him with her kiss.

This was needed to sell exactly how important that mask is to Fenix. Though that is most often the case in Lucha Libre, it was great to hear it personally from the tecnico just weeks away from when he could potentially lose “everything”. Great stuff here, but someone ought to tell him that she's pregnant with Cage's baby.


***

Slapbak are rocking the Temple for the 2042942842942th week in a row. I'm not complaining. Matt Striker and Vampiro tell us that tonight's show will feature the Seven Way Gift of the Gods Title Match. Wow! I did not expect that before Ultima Lucha! We already knew that this show would feature Melissa Santos and Fenix taking on the Moths so already this looks like a very good episode with plenty of twists and turns. It gets even better as Vampiro introduces our special guest ring announcer: Famous B! And Brenda is our timekeeper!

The slinged-up Famous B has still been able to earn a paycheck tonight with this new role. He introduces Dante Fox to a few jeers but mostly adulation from the Believers. He deserves it. He has been putting on insanely good matches all season long! He confidently skulks knowing that he is back in the battleground.

Famous B's introduction for the next man is unique as hell. He's the man who should be hailing from his own agency, that we learn is now called Infamous Incorporated. He's the man who Famous B saved from having a broken arm. Finally, he's the man who he hopes will see the light and become his client: Texano!

This brings about the arrival of the Blue Collar Brawler who looks ready to go tonight. He gets right in the face of Famous B which gives Fox the opportunity to strike. Brenda rings the bell of course to start this match!


LUCHA UNO:
Dante Fox vs. Texano

Despite the early onslaught from Fox, Texano manages to get the better of his opponent and hits two big clotheslines on him. This causes Fox to retreat the ring to gather himself again, either that, or lure Texano into a trap. The big man storms out of the ring which allows the One Man Army to slide back into the ring, fake out on the senton, and eventually hit one hell of a standing moonsault takedown from the apron. Matt Striker describes it as “Classic Dante Fox” to rival Michael Cole's “Vintage”.

Speaking of rivals, Killshot stands on top of the office and stares down his former brother in arms. He gets to watch Fox pick up a near fall back inside the ring as his splash from the ropes earns him a two. They say an angry fighter is a sloppy fighter and it seems to be affecting Dante here; in spite of a fancy kip-up, he allows Texano to clothesline down him once more and is struck with a nasty elbow to the chest. Rick Knox can only count two though!

Dante is getting battered here as Texano is bringing the pace. A number of shots to the chest, a clothesline and a backbreaker see Lucha Underground's cowboy take firm control of this match-up. An elbow in the corner and a beautiful enziguri gets 1...2... But it doesn't matter anyhow as Fox's foot was on the ropes right from the start of the count. Speaking of Dante, a jumping cutter turns the momentum in his favour before a 450 Splash gets him a two count!

The next near fall comes from Dante Fox's crucifix bomb which again causes Rick Knox to tap the mat just twice! When both men get back to their feet, a Tiger Backbreaker from Texano also causes Knox to tap the mat only twice yet in spite of this, Famous B takes the microphone:

“And here's your winner, Texanoooooooo!”

Our commentary team is stunned by this, as are the Believers. Even Texano is lost for words as his hand is raised by the audacious agent. Saying that, it might be because he's just been called “Tay Tay” too in the process. Swifter than Taylor though, Dante Fox rolls up the Blue Collar Brawler for the official 1-2-3!

WINNER: Dante Fox

Famous B puffs out his cheeks: “I guess I made a mistake...” before announcing the true victor of the contest. It's something that causes Killshot to stir, only slightly as Matt Striker tells us that he will be taking on Fox at Ultima Lucha Tres.

As Texano grabs Famous B in anger, who stops the violence but... Dario Cueto?! There's a reason behind this though: He needs Famous B to be his announcer tonight! Instead, he says that he can a get a match next week with Mr. 4-2-3 Get Fame.

“DAMN! Are you crazy?! I still have a broken arm.”
“Well, I guess that makes it a handicap match...”

As everyone in the arena sees the funny side apart from the panic-stricken B, Dario decides to raise the stakes. He says that if somehow, someway, he can beat Texano, then Dario will personally hand over the former AAA Mega Champion's contract to Infamous Incorporated. Both men seem happy with this – Famous B because he may potentially get his client and Texano because he is confident that this won't happen. With that, we have another match for Ultima Lucha Tres!


Well there we go, we have a pay-off for one of the longest running storylines of the season! My own personal prediction is that Famous B will win with Dr. Wagner's help. I don't know where he has been for the absolute majority of the season and I hope that we get a backstage segment explaining this. With Dario calling it a handicap, I can see Famous B exploiting that phrasing by taking it literally, inserting the Doctor into the match. We shall see!

As for the match that we just had, it was more about setting up the angle but Fox looked especially good out there. As always.



***

We take our usual trip to Dario's Office next as Son of Havoc places his Medallion into the slot in the belt. He looks directly at Dario and tells him that he is going to use the Gift of the Gods to put himself directly into the Ultima Lucha Tres main event – the same main event that he was screwed out of at the close of Ultima Lucha Dos if you remember!

Havoc remembers of course, as he stares directly at the promoter who wishes him good luck all the same. He turns to face an entering Pentagon Dark who gets right in his face.

“Save it, save it for later guys.” This is what a beaming Dario tells both men, and with that, Pentagon allows Havoc to exit.

The skeleton ninja fills in the middle and final slot before telling Cueto that he is going to win the title and break everyone's arms as he is Pentagon Dark and he has Cero Miedo.

Just before you think Dario has lost his touch tonight, stopping violence on two occasions, he picks up his red phone to ask for a couple of medics on standby for the main event. With that, he rubs his hands together and beams. Of course he does.


I can only think that Pentagon wasn't happy with Son of Havoc as he wanted to cash in during that exact same moment so that he could screw over Prince Puma at Ultima Lucha Tres. This segment did many things but honestly, I'm just glad that the end reminded us that Dario is still a violence-loving maniac. I had started to worry.


***

We cut back to the lovely... sorry... the flashy Famous B who announces that our next match is a tag team match. He introduces Mariposa and Marty “The Moth” Martinez to quite the rudo reaction from the Believers. That isn't always easy. Marty has his lunchbox and we know full well what is in there. Fenix does, especially.

On that note, it's the Firebird who Famous B announces next, along with his tag team partner, Melissa Santos! The Believers seem shocked because I'm sure they weren't aware that this was happening and oh my goodness she looks great. I'll leave it there as that shouldn't be the point but she definitely looks the part here. She looks absolutely thrilled to be taking her in-ring skills to Lucha Underground for the first time.

Despite all of the fanfare though, we start with Fenix and Mariposa!


LUCHA DOS:
Mariposa and Marty “The Moth” Martinez vs. Fenix and Melissa Santos

The two feel each other out and exchange wrist locks to start before Mariposa slaps the Firebird. Big mistake. She gets a huge strike to the face for that one. This only fuels the Butterfly who powerslams Fenix for a one count. She gets a kick to the face for even trying and that brings in Marty!

The Moth has been waiting for this. He throws Fenix right into the corner but that's where the tecnico is most comfortable. He jumps from the corner with a leaping armdrag, sending Marty to the ropes. Whilst he's there, the Moth receives a guillotine choke and a spinning uppercut for good measure. For the second time tonight we get a big time cutter as Marty avoids an aerial attack, only to be caught by the first Triple Crown Champion via the handspring off the ropes. 1...2... Only two!

Sending Marty to the outside, Fenix takes flight with one hell of a plancha to his nemesis. As the Moth is rolled back into the ring, the masked man blocks Mariposa's punch and strikes down his rival's sister. He backs into his own corner only for Melissa to tag herself in?! Fenix insists that she stays on the apron and with that, the Moth is able to attack the Firebird and drag him back to his own corner by his mouth. It looks like the referee has continued the match with Fenix as the legal man, for what it's worth. Come on Justin...

As Matt Striker tells us that Melissa Santos is not a trained competitor, in spite of the fact that away from Lucha she actually is, Mariposa starts to beat on Santos' love interest.

Mariposa quickly tags out to Marty who flaps his wings and gets superkicked right in the mush! As he collapses to the mat, it becomes apparent that he needs to make a tag but Marty grabs the leg! The Firebird flips him over and right into the raised leg of Santos in the corner. A superkick stuns the Moth further before he eats the plancha of Melissa Santos! The feisty ring announcer is whipped by her partner into Mariposa with a huge forearm before joining him in superkick combos on both Marty AND his sister! As Mariposa falls straight into her brother's crotch, quite comically I might add, the siblings aren't any safer when Fenix wheelbarrows his partner onto Marty... twice! That gets 1...2... But not the three! Santos tries to pin both of them again for another two.

It looks like the beginning of the end now though as Melissa locks in the short-arm-scissors on Marty and Fenix takes to the top rope... only to be shoved off by a recovered Mariposa! Melissa goes to check on Fenix and unfortunately that distraction has allowed Marty to stalk his prey. In the meantime, Fenix is now tied to the corner which causes our usual ring announcer to desperately scurry to try to free her man. The Moth continues to follow her in a Frankenstein-like manner, in the words of Matt Striker. It's really one against two at this point as both Moths surround Melissa and all Fenix can do is watch. She tries to kick her stalker but is caught in the assisted Pedigree by the Moths for 1... 2... 3! Now THAT got a shedload of heat!

WINNERS: Mariposa and Marty “The Moth” Martinez

As Melissa writhes in pain and the Moths continue to gang up on her, it's at that moment when Fenix frees himself and whips furiously with the rope around his hand. He caresses his fallen partner and holds her tight as the Moth Tribe lick their lips and laugh. It's ONNNN at Ultima Lucha!


Melissa looked to be pretty skilled during her brief spot in the match and it's a great thank you to her for all of her hard work over the past 101 episodes. This match told a great story, with Fenix seeming reluctant to let Melissa into the match and taking the beating for the sake of his partner. You can see why he wasn't confident to let her into the match, as the Moth Tribe found a way to render him useless and beat on her. I do wonder now if Marty is finally over Melissa as he decided to hurt her, proving that maybe this rivalry with Fenix has become something bigger inside the head of the Moth.;


***

We cut back to Matt and Vamp who run down the Ultima Lucha Tres card, complete with ADDED MATCHES!

We're getting a rare commodity in Lucha Underground as we have a steel cage match. As I say, we don't do it very often but it's a fitting time to pull the stipulation out when El Dragon Azteca Jr finally gets his match against Matanza!

Ivelisse is officially announced to return at Ultima Lucha Tres and her match with Catrina is still on! Finally, literally years of frustration will boil over, and I wonder if she knows what Jeremiah has been up to...

Fenix takes on Marty “The Moth” Martinez in a Mask vs. Hair match. Matt Striker puts it best: “One of these men will leave Ultima Lucha with a very different look.”

Sexy Star takes on Taya in a Last Luchadora Standing match. When things don't go her way, expect Sexy to pull out a sword or something and take this too far. That's kind of what she does.

In the match that I'm most looking forward to – Killshot will take on Dante Fox in the Hell of War which is basically a Three Stages of Hell match. What I can confirm is that the stipulations will be First Blood, No DQ and an Ambulance Match.

Also, Prince Puma will be taking on Johnny Mundo, putting his career on the line against Mundo's Lucha Underground Championship. That match might even change depending on the winner of the following contest!


Famous B is in the ring again tonight and he introduces the seven combatants for the Gift of the Gods Championship!

He introduces Paul London, Mala Suerte and Saltador separately and actually, everyone is being announced in this same manner to the same theme. Here's Cortez Castro with his kendo stick, now Drago being led to the ring via his chain by Kobra Moon. Son of Havoc makes his way down and slaps the hand of every Believer and there's a wait before the final combatant. That's when Pentagon Dark is announced and out he comes with his own entrance. Did everyone else just get the jobber entrance then?! The fans are chanting Cero Miedo repeatedly for the skeleton ninja and this continues all the way up until the bell sounding. Let's go!


LUCHA TRES:
Gift of the Gods Championship
Paul London vs. Mala Suerte vs. Saltador vs. Cortez Castro vs. Drago vs. Son of Havoc vs. Pentagon Dark

I'll do my absolute best to call the action here as the fight breaks out into several sections. It's Son of Havoc and Pentagon Dark who stare each other down in the ring before Saltador makes the unwise decision of throwing Havoc out in order to go up against Pentagon himself.

Saltador stops the polarizing figure's taunt before almost replicating the hand movement himself. He gets superkicked square in his checkered face for that! In an impressive move a moment later, Saltador jumps on the back of Pentagon and turns it into a hurricanrana. The man with Cero Miedo is flipped right out of the ring!

In comes Drago, and Cortez Castro! Saltador tries to hold the Dragon back for Castro but the Trios Champion ducks the running sprint of the cop and the Rabbit is taken out by Castro's kick. Officer Reyes is thrown out of the ring and the entering Paul London is blasted in the face too.

It's Son of Havoc who has a bit of luck here against Drago, whipping him out of the ring before going for the suicide dive... but he runs right into the boot of Pentagon Dark!

The former(?) student of Vampiro goes to deck Paul London but the Rabbit decides to jump backwards off the apron instead, landing safely onto the crashing combatants behind him on the floor.

Mala Suerte enters the squared circle and sways his hands. Surprisingly, he manages to get a crucifix pin on Pentagon for just a two count. Pentagon resumes normal service though when he catches a diving Suerte off the ropes and catches him, sending him to the mat with the Penta Driver. 1... 2... Drago breaks it up!

It's Skeleton Ninja vs. Dragon time now, and judging by that running blockbuster, the Dragon wins! At least that battle anyway, for Cortez Castro breaks up the pin.

Castro hits one hell of a powerbomb on Drago and a neckbreaker that's just as stiff! It gets the two, as you might expect, as Saltador runs in to break up the fall!

The checkered member of the Rabbit Tribe hits a springboard leg drop on the undercover cop before Son of Havoc breaks up that particular pin.

The Nomad Biker boots his opponent right in the face, shows him how to really unleash a double stomp, and gives him a Standing Shooting Star Press! That's one, that's two, but Paul London saves his partner!

A huge spinning wheel kick to Havoc gives London a two count and that one was uninterrupted, I must say. Nevertheless, Drago and Castro enter the ring straight afterwards and duke it out. A lively Mala Suerte becomes the decider as he joins the fray and runs to dropkick Castro right off the apron. Drago soon dispatches of him but in comes Saltador!

When Saltador looks to send Drago flying, the rudo ducks, which allows this particular Rabbit to hit a senton to the outside to Castro AND Suerte as opposed to simply falling with style. Drago decides to throw himself to the outside group as well before Son of Havoc goes for the suicide dive too!
He hits this twice before going back in the ring and catching an unsuspecting Paul London with the handspring cutter for 1...2... and probably three if it wasn't for Saltador's intervention!

Pentagon Dark has crept into the ring at this point as well as he runs and dropkicks Son of Havoc right into the corner. Both Saltador and London seem thrilled about the prospect of double teaming Pentagon until the latter decides to toss one of these men right into the other and use their own bodies as weapons against themselves. The Package Piledriver on Saltador would be good enough for the pin but it's not good enough for Pentagon! He hits Paul London with the same move as well but wait... SON OF HAVOC HAS JUST HIT A SHOOTING STAR PRESS ON SALTADOR IN THE BACKGROUND! Both men make their respective covers... 1...2...3! What?!


WINNERS: Pentagon Dark and Son of Havoc?!

Before there can even be a second of confusion, out comes our owner and promoter Dario Cueto.

“Hold on! Hold on! I understand the confusion because I've seen it with my own two eyes. Both Son of Havoc and Pentagon Dark did earn a victory... BUT, there can only be ONE Gift of the Gods Champion! So... since neither of you currently have a match at Ultima Lucha, how about I put you in one against each other? Pentagon Dark vs. Son of Havoc with the Gift of the Gods hoisted high above my ring.”

We know what's coming now!..

“Because you two are going to fight for that title in a...”

Say it with Dario.

“LAAAAAADDER MATCH!”

The animosity from earlier in the show picks up right in the middle of the ring as both Pentagon and Havoc lock their eyes on one another to the dueling chants of the biker's name and Cero Miedo. With that, Ultima Lucha just got even bigger! I can see why it's four nights!


You know, I'm not even mad about the bait and switch here. They surprised us by giving us this match this week anyway and not at Ultima Lucha, and now it makes perfect sense with the follow-up. Ultima Lucha Tres is LOADED with stipulations and to get to hear Dario Cueto announce a ladder match again was just wonderful. I can't wait to hear the dueling chants throughout the whole of that match and I fully expect these two men to put on a clinic. Brilliant.


***

Dario Cueto looks unnerved. He enters the limousine and looks directly at Agent Winter.

“I have retrieved the Gauntlet. I'm worried -”

“- You should be worried. You told us that Cage was the perfect man for the job.”

“That's just it. I'm not so sure he is a man. Maybe he really is a machine and that's why he has not been so easily possessed.”

“But I thought you witnessed the change in his behaviour. As if the Gauntlet took hold.”

“I did... maybe I'm worried for nothing but, just in case, I have an idea. There are two men who hunt this prize: Jeremiah Crane and Mil Muertes. Either would be a worthy host to our... friend.”

With that, Agent Winter looks to the other side of the limo.

“What do you propose?”

“At Ultima Lucha, a three-way match. The winner will receive the Gauntlet.”

Winter contemplates this but asks the all important question firstly:

“And what if Cage is victorious?”

“Then he gets the Gauntlet back and the descension fails.”

With that, both men look at the Lord. It's Dario who speaks once more.

“I personally invite you to my Temple, to destroy Cage yourself... My Lord.”

With that, the Lord lights his cigarette and Winter nods in agreement.

And it ends, STILL without seeing the identity of this all-powerful figure.

That's right. My competition will roll on but I really can't help but feel like this is going to be settled at Ultima Lucha now! After their brawl the other week, the three way match doesn't feel like anything new but knowing what happens now if Cage wins, you really have to root for one of the other competitors for his own sake. I'm personally pulling for Mil Muertes. If he dies, it's nothing new to him!


TEMPLE GOD

20th September – Son of Havoc (2) and Pentagon Dark (2)

13th September – Matanza Cueto
6th September – Cortez Castro
30th August – Son of Havoc
23rd August – Prince Puma (4)
16th August – Dario Cueto
9th August – Mil Muertes (2)
2nd August – Prince Puma (3)
26th July – Pentagon Dark
19th July – PJ Black
12th July – Marty “The Moth” Martinez (2)
5th July – Dante Fox
28th June – Jeremiah Crane (2)
21st June – Marty “The Moth” Martinez
14th June – Cage (3)
7th June – Prince Puma (2)
31st May – Johnny Mundo (4) and The Mack (3)
11th January – Dragon Azteca Jr.
4th January – Johnny Mundo (3)
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.

I've had to split the award again this week for just the second time. I could have declared Dante Fox, Mariposa or Marty “The Moth” Martinez the victors for their respective wins but Havoc and Pentagon's split decision has meant that they're one step closer to potentially becoming Lucha Underground Champion.

Instead of battling in a seven way match, they now have just one opponent to prepare for, and by the sounds of it, both men have the same idea as to when to cash in the opportunity. Though Pentagon hasn't declared his thoughts on television yet, the Lucha Underground Twitter posted a great video last week which brought his intentions to light.

I almost went with Melissa Santos who fought valiantly against her stalker and his sister, but again, in the grand scheme of things I just can't see Melissa stepping back into the ring anytime soon in the show. This feud needed it and had the history behind it, but I can't think what other feuds would require her participation.


UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY SWEEPSTAKES

At the start of the season, I asked commenters on Lordsofpain and Twitter to predict when they believe the “Lord” will appear during this season. The winner will receive a one-time joint column with myself on this very website AND a special prize that I am keeping as mysterious as the Lord itself. Sadly, we said goodbye to Grimjac this week who was ever so close! I really felt like we were about to see the Lord at the end of the show but alas, it was not to be... yet! Next up is the turn of regular reader Ralph83. Best of luck my friend.

37- Ralph83
38- TheImplications
39- JSR-13
40- BeaverCleavage


FINAL THOUGHTS

This show was all about building up the card for Ultima Lucha. It's funny, as before this show aired, it felt like the focal point was the tag match and the in-ring debut of Melissa Santos. Instead, it was a show that provided us with several brand new matches for Ultima Lucha tres throughout the night.

I'll keep it short and sweet here, as we now know that Ultima Lucha Tres will feature a ladder match, a contract on the line, a gauntlet on the line too, a last luchador standing match, a cage match, and a Hell of War match to add to many of the already-announced stipulations. This show is PACKED and has the potential to be the best Ultima Lucha yet.

My question this week is this. If you had to add a Trios Championship match, who would you have face the Reptile Tribe, and would you add a stipulation to that match? I've said it before but I would have Mack, Aerostar and a secretly surviving Daga take on the Reptiles in a Falls Count Anywhere match, if only just to see Aerostar jump from an insane height to pick up the win for his team.

Until next week my friends, comment below or catch me on Twitter @ Leaflop. And remember, don't stop believing. Thank you for reading.







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mizfan delivers my absolute standout of the week: the most moving tribute to Bobby Heenan that I think any of us columnists could ever possibly write in the sad but necessary The Life & Times of Bobby Heenan: Requiem for a Weasel

SirSam poses the question of whether the new era will emerge victorious in Will John Cena & Brock Lesnar Pass the Torch at No Mercy?

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