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Lucha Underground Analysis (August 9th, 2017): A fateful reunion

Welcome to this week’s Lucha Underground review! We are back after a lengthy hiatus, which coincidentally coincided with my absence due to illness, but none the less we’ve got some intense integender action and some new developments in the Temple regarding Captain Vazquez‘s interest and stakes in the mystical happenings in Boyle Heights.

Let’s get into it. Our first match of the night pits Worldwide Underground members, Taya, PJ Black and Ricky Mandal against Rabbit Tribe members Paul London, Saltador, and Mala Suerte for three ancient Aztec medallions!

Last week Worldwide Underground met with Dario Cueto to demand more opportunities. However, Cueto pointed out that though the group is powerful, in spite of its aloofness and Johnny holding the LU Championship, they have failed to deliver when it counts. But, he’s giving them an opportunity tonight to prove their worth and grab three medallions which can be used for the Gift of the Gods Championship. Let’s get to it!

After the Rabbit Tribe makes their way to the ring, Ricky enters looking suspiciously like his idol Johnny as Taya just side eyes him. The match starts and Saltador ties up with Taya. He pushes her butt and Taya turns around, calling him a pervert.

She tags in PJ and he squares off with Saltador. PJ and Saltador go back and forth as Saltador hits PJ in the face with a super kick. Mala tags in and gives Saltador a boost as Saltador hits a flying headscissor on PJ. Mala hits a senton but it’s not enough to put PJ away.

PJ makes his way back to his feet and corners Mala. He begins hitting Mala with rapid fire punches. He tags in Taya and she slaps Mala in the face. She puts him in the corner and continues her beat down. She continues her assault and throws him into the opposite corner. She rushes at Mala but he elbows her in defense. He then clothes lines PJ off the apron.

However, Taya corners him again and begins to prepare to hit her signature knees on him. Saltador jumps in and hi-jinks ensue. He tries egging her on to also hit him. Paul then rushes in and places himself in front of his team to also take the move.

Taya hits all three of them in the face with her flying knees. The whole team goes down like dominoes. Taya attempts a cover but it gets broken up. She scrambles her way to tag in Ricky. He takes on both Saltador and Paul.

However, Ricky starts posing and the Rabbit Tribe encircle him. They all hit him in the face and he goes down. PJ jumps in and hits a dropkick on Paul. Ricky goes for a cover but it’s not enough. Ricky and Paul continue to go back and forth. Paul makes his way to the top rope but Jack Evans from the outside knocks him down. PJ runs in to take advantage of Paul but PJ gets thrown out of the ring and he lands on Taya.

Salatador takes down PJ, Jack and Taya with a flying cross body. Paul capitalizes on this window of opportunity opened to execute shooting star press for the win. The Aztec gold goes to the Rabbit Tribe.

After the match Worldwide Underground agent Benjamin Cooke meets with a defeated Worldwide Underground. He threatens them but then reneges, saying Johnny Mundo has a “heart of gold” and he will not expel them from the group because of this embarrassing loss.  However, if they don’t step up their game, he’ll be leaving them behind.

Up next Mil Muertes faces Jeremiah Crane. Their rivalry over Catrina is about to go to another level.

Before the bout begins Mil ambushes Jeremiah and suddenly it’s announced that the bout has now turned into a No Disqualification Match, so anything goes.

Highlights include Mil throwing Jeremiah through a door, a brutal beat down in the crowd, a fierce powerbomb by Mil to Jeremiah on the ring apron, a spear by Mil into Jeremiah during Jeremiah’s signature lap around the ring set up, nasty chairshots to Mil’s jaw and neck, a spear by Mil to Jeremiah onto the table at ringside, and a senton by Jeremiah into Mil through a table.

At the end of the match in which Mil is victorious, instead of the Lick of Death, Catrina treats Crane to an open mouth kiss. WHATTT?!

To close out the show we head to Captain Vazquez’s office as she is met with another officer who tells her a woman is there to see her. It’s Catrina? Vasquez needs her help, she says the Gods are coming but Catrina says she doesn’t fear them one bit.

Cage‘s gauntlet is a gateway for the gods and Vasquez wants Mil to take the gauntlet. She reminds Catrina that she has given her life, twice!

Catrina says, “The gods will soon learn to fear death. A thousand of them. Well, it seems like we have deal, mother.”

Thoughts: I just want to get it out of the way first that I’m still disappointed that there are no women involved in the Cueto Cup. We had Taya make it far, which means a lot since she is probably the strongest woman the Temple has right now as evidenced in her subsequent match ups, and I know the women’s roster is quite thin but, for a promotion that is usually pretty equal when it comes to gender, it’s a bit depressing not to see any of them make it.

The focus on this tournament has also made the show seem a little disjointed when it comes to resolving the many story lines that are happening at the same time. Where’d Sexy Star go? What’s left for the Snake Clan and how will Kobra Moon continue to assert her power over her team? What’s her end game? Where is Ivelisse (even though we know she’s injured here, we’ve barely heard about her status)? Sometimes I feel like adding an extra hour or at the very least 30 minutes would help. Although, LU does make use of all the time it has to advance stories and present strong matches, nothing is wasteful but sometimes I wonder if there could be a better balance?

Aside from my complaints, this week’s episode was a good return in the right direction for everyone! Johnny is so full of himself as the champion and will do anything it takes to retain it while Worldwide Underground struggles to even get a win most of the time. The only member of the group to really have any strength is Taya and now all of them are facing expulsion from Johnny’s inner circle. I’m curious where this could lead. I don’t think Taya needs to be a part of the group and it could be interesting to flesh out a solo path for her and her character, especially since Johnny brought her here. She’s part of the reason why he’s even holding the title. I would love to see her bring this up and take him head on, eventually. I’m hoping that’s where this is leading.

We’ve already known and seen her take vicious beatings before and hang with the best in the Temple. I’d like to see more of what she could do on her own in a high profile feud and one with Johnny could propel her there.

Onto Catrina’s shocking revelations. OH MY GOD! I’m so excited that we’ve gotten some more development in her back story. I wasn’t prepared or saw it coming at all that Captain Vazquez is her mother. There were some hints that the two would be involved in some way, which I was wondering if they could have been lovers perhaps, but I’m still very moved and open to the new narrative possibilities.

I really love Catrina’s work. She’s given the world of Lucha Underground so much depth with her role and redefined what it means to be a valet or manager in the wrestling world. I can not wait to see where this ends up.

*As an aside unrelated to last night’s show, since I’ve joined Diva Dirt I also covered NXT because I believed, and still do, in the brand’s ability to create stars and look toward the future, especially a bright one for the women. What the main roster does with them is another conversation entirely but each week I enjoyed watching the women grow. However, I am stepping aside from my NXT duties for now to take a breather. After I recently recovered from illness I need to get my work/life more in balance and this will give me a good time to refresh from the brand. My apathy has been apparent, I think, and I do not want that to be reflected in any of my reviews or work. I’ll still be covering Lucha Underground though and working hard to deliver other original creative content for the site.

So tell me, what did you think of this week’s episode? Are you shocked about Catrina’s revelations? What do you think Taya will do next? Sound off in the comments below.

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