Hello faithful Lucha following, and welcome to the first Analysis in a few weeks, as well as the first of the new year. Following a brief holiday break used to build hype for the crowning of Lucha Underground’s very first champion, it’s time to find out just who is going to walk out of Aztec Warfare making history.
And that’s what I primarily love about this promotion in a nutshell (even though I’ve repeated it about 50 times)… it can literally be anyone. This isn’t a match where I’ve pretty much narrowed down the likely contenders and the rest are just filler. They’ve done an exceptionally great job of making every single person seem important, or at least appear that they can score an upset if need be.
I’m going into this watching the episode for the first time, therefore I don’t know what happens and that’s just the way I like it. To the video!
We head to the temple where some exquisite ritual dance is going on to promote Aztec Warfare! Dario stands in the ring with the title on his shoulder, claiming that this is going to be a monumental year for the promotion. Tonight is Aztec Warfare, and the rules are that 20 competitors enter, one per 90 seconds after the first two, and they can be eliminated by pinfall or submission. Not only that… but anything goes! It’s essentially a No-DQ Royal Rumble meets Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational (if it wasn’t one fall to a finish) and I’m so, so ready.
Being that I believe the match lasts the entire episode, please understand that while I LOVE me some Lucha Underground, I will only give brief match recapping when a female isn’t involved. I write enough as it is, I don’t need to make you sit through a recap the size of Crime & Punishment.
Without any further ado, we get things started with our first two entries…
(as given by his loss to Mil Muertes from when we last left off)
The crowd is pumped as Mundo and Fenix engage in a stare off before going to war as we kick things off. Both men exchange moves for the opening ninety seconds, before we begin a crowd countdown!
The fans are not here for Cisco at all, and can I just get it out of the way that I can’t say his name without thinking of The Thong Song? Anyways, he kicks Johnny out as Fenix gains control and the two then double team him to score the elimination!
We head to a break and return to see the countdown in process as out comes our next entrant…
Cuerno ends up getting both competitors in opposing corners and taking them down with a set of knees and monkey flip. He then leaps outside the ring with a HUGE dive! The countdown is underway again, as Fenix jumps off the top rope as well!
It’s Mr. Ivelisse himself! Son of Havoc methodically steps down the stairs and then jumps right into the action with a huge mule kick. He squares off with Mundo, then showing off impressive athleticism as we await the countdowns impending return.
Pimpi! Escarlata goes insane with some nice moves on Fenix and Cuerno… sealed with a kiss to Fenix! He then targets the referee, but Cuerno puts a stop to it.
My favorite (not counting Catrina, Ivelisse, Sexy Star or Angela Fong of course)! Puma and Mundo restore their rivalry instantly, that of which has been building since the premiere back in late October. A beautiful moonsault off the ropes for just a two count as the action continues, soon followed by the countdow—
Gasp! Wait! Angela Fong Alarm!
We have an Angela Fong sighting, as she looks on from the crowd and continues her scouting while the clock counts down to our next entrant…
Holy plot-twist! I wasn’t expecting Ivelisse at all as I assumed it would be comprised of the same 20 from the two ten person bouts we saw back in December.
But I am so, so ready.
Ivelisse zooms out from the back and heads up top, leaping off with a beautiful hurricanrana to King Cuerno! She then gets taken onto the ring apron, but decks Fenix with a huge jump kick, followed by a rope assisted tornado DDT! Pimpi tries to go after her, but then goes for Cuerno instead and receives a dropkick. Ivelisse continues watching on, as she ends up decking Pimpi with a sick spin kick. Son of Havoc goes up top as Ivy sets Pimpinela up… and bam! Havoc scores with a huge shooting star press for the elimination.
Cuerno targets Havoc, then turning his attention back to Ivelisse as she stands right up to him with some kicks. Countdown time!
Ivelisse continues trying to fight through these competitors, but gets taken down by Drago and rolls towards the outside. Drago continues dominating, before Ivelisse runs in and interrupts King Cuerno’s finisher to kick him right in the abdomen. For her troubles, Cuerno then hoists her up and drills her with Thrill of the Hunt… sad face right now.
Countdown is back!
Fenix takes another huge dive out to Cuerno, as all of these candidates brawl on the outside until Puma and Havoc get back inside the ring. Puma with a huge kick!
Puma then scores a monstrous flipping dive over the top rope, as the countdown starts up once again.
Cortez and Bael immediately target Mundo and Puma as all hell has essentially broken loose on the outside to boot. Fenix now paying the price as well, and we’re back with another count!
Ricky with a nifty dropkick, then targeting I believe it was Cuerno on the outside. Puma hits a variety of beautiful moves, eliminating Bael!
Mundo goes after Cortez and then scores the victory as well!
Talk about bad timing… just when you think you’ve eliminated an entire stable, out comes our next entrant…
Ryck storms down as Puma and Mundo look on and we head to another brief break. Upon the return, Ryck just enters the ring (Side Note: The way Lucha Underground handles commercials without making you feel like you’ve missed a ton of stuff is a personal favorite thing of mine). He goes crazy on everyone, nailing Ricky with a chokeslam for the easy elimination.
Thrill of the Hunt! Drago is gone!
I can’t keep up! Mundo with a crucifix on Cuerno for the one, two, three!
The countdown is back on! 3… 2… 1…
Pentagon runs right into the ring, but it’s Big Ryck who feels the pain early as Puma and Mundo hit a double team superkick! Everyone is going crazy, as Puma gets drilled with a huge powerbomb on the knee… and then Fenix with a backdrop bomb! We’re back for our next entrant…
Super Fly with an array of quick maneuvers, decking Mundo with a dropkick and nailing a hurricanrana to Fenix. The crowd is in love with what they see, as everyone continues going to town on each other.
Chavo decks Super Fly with the chair! Womp womp.
So much for friendships! Chavo then blasts Pentagon Jr. with the chair and hooks the leg.
Might we also take a moment out to give credit to our faithful ring announcer, Melissa Santos for keeping up with the eliminations and informing us of what goes on throughout the match? Lord knows she is my savior at times when I’m trying to type and can’t make my eyes look at both the match and this post simultaneously.
Brief commercial break, as we then return to see Sagrada with a series of crossbodies to Chavo… until he then gets taken down. The crowd gets behind him and he proceeds to send Chavo out with a headscissors! Fenix now combatting with him as Sagrada leaps off the ring apron right into a huge dropkick!
5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
She goes right for Chavo with a wheelbarrow arm drag! He headbutts her in the stomach and goes for a suplex outside… but she lands on the ring apron and kicks him off, then jumping with an attack as the crowd gets behind her! Ryck and Sagrada fight each other in the ring, but Ryck scores the elimination with a huge clothesline.
Loco runs down the steps as I think he is becoming my new favorite guy (behind Puma) if just for that backstory alone. He goes after Ryck immediately, executing a beautiful never-ending double team combination! Puma back in the ring now as he goes toe to toe with Loco! Noooooo, Ryck decapitates Loco… but to my happiness, he doesn’t go for a cover! No wait, he does. Kick out!
Muertes and Catrina eloquently step down, with him going right for… well, everyone. No, Muertes, noooo! Flatliner… but again to my happiness, no cover! No, wait, he’s covering. And just like that I’m upset seeing my newfound fav eliminated.
Ryck and Muertes have a huge stare down between monsters, as they fight each other off briefly to not much avail at all. Catrina continues to watch on, as Sexy Star is back inside! They’re all going after Ryck and Muertes, but it’s quickly backfiring for now. Fenix and Chavo each score the pin over Big Ryck!
Fight Sexy Star fight! And in the case of needing a back-up plan, fight Puma, Fenix and Muertes fight! Suddenly my odds of attaining a champion I support heavily are looking snazzy. Chavo whacks Fenix right over the head with the chair and… noooo!
Here we go! Sexy Star is staring right into the soul of Chavo Guerrero and his chair, as she takes the gloves off and shows no fear. He swings! But she kicks! Sexy now unleashes on Chavo, kicking him and going crazy until he grabs her and slams Star back first on the chair. Guerrero places the chair on her face and steps on it, now heading up top until Blue Demon Jr. runs in and attacks Chavo!
Sexy now has the chair! Chavo turns and BAM! She whacks him and covers. One… two… three! Sexy Star eliminates Chavo!
We’re down to four! And this scene displays, in a nutshell, why I love Lucha Underground. Mil Muertes, Prince Puma, Johnny Mundo and our very own, Sexy Star, stand in each corner of the ring as the last remaining participants. Following a brief commercial, we return to see the four still standing off, as Muertes tries to nail a clothesline on Star… only, she matrixes out! Sexy now on the attack as Puma and Mundo target Mil. They commence a double team, with Star nailing a headscissors takedown on Mundo, followed up with a hurricanrana to Puma! She gets the crowd fired up, but Muertes spears the taste out of her to score the elimination. Tears.
We are now down to Muertes, Puma and Mundo as Catrina looks on from the outside. Mundo goes to work on Mil, but Puma takes him down and tries fighting the giant himself. Beautiful running plancha by Mundo, with slight assist to Muertes. Mil with a suplex back into the ring, as Mundo continues the brawl. Superplex attempt! Puma now in for a double team superplex!
All three men are down as Catrina looks concerned, begging for her client to take the title. Puma drills Mundo with a sharp kick, as Catrina now gets involved! He grabs her by the hair and brings her to the ring apron, as Mil charges trying to take him down. Puma ducks, and he nearly collides with Catrina! Thankfully, he stops short though. Johnny Mundo runs off the ropes and goes for a kick, but Muertes moves and he BLASTS Catrina! Holy shit.
*INSERT CATRINA GIF*
I need a pause break right now because you know my love of the woman with a thousand wrestling personas, but I never, ever, ever saw that coming. Is it possible for me to like her more than I already did? Because I didn’t think it was but I think I might. That was incredible.
They all take a second to pause in shock, as Mundo tries to deny blame but Muertes attacks. Puma with a springboard set of knees! They both leap off the ropes with a set of 450’s and eliminate Muertes!
Catrina is still down on the outside, as the crowd is going apeshit! We’re down to Puma and Mundo, the perfect final two as far as I’m concerned because these are the same duo we started our journey watching. Muertes carries Catrina to the back as the two stand off in the ring, exchanging holds with Puma on the early advantage. The fans look to be on the side of Puma, as Mundo locks in a single leg Boston Crab! Puma struggles hard, trying to escape, and finally does!
A “This is Awesome” chant breaks out, with Mundo sending Puma to the corner. He goes for a springboard maneuver, but Puma blocks it and sends him outside.
Oh hey random shot of two women in the crowd… are you upcoming valets?
Back into the action, Puma slaps Johnny in the face and the two ascend to the top rope. Puma with a MONSTER standing C4! One… two… NO. Johnny kicks out and the electric crowd breaks out in a “Lucha” chant. Puma goes back up top, but Johnny gets to a vertical base and they’re both on the second rope again. Johnny with a reverse hurricanrana from the top rope! Jesus.
Johnny goes for and nails The End of the World… two count! Both men fighting each other as much as they can right now, with Johnny in control as a child in the crowd can’t even look and has to shield his face. Johnny goes up again, looking to hit a C4 of his own, but Puma escapes! He knocks Johnny down. He’s up top! 630 SPLASH! One, Two… THREE!
Prince Puma celebrates and I love everything. Konnan is now out to scout him, and I lied, I don’t love that. But I love everything else!
Thoughts: What can I say that I didn’t already? I love this show and this is the perfect episode to sum up why. We had one match that took place over the full hour, to crown their first ever champion, and not only did they put Sexy Star in it, but they also gave us a really fun Ivelisse moment, allowing her to be in the match as well. Catrina got a huge spot to boot, and even Angela Fong’s storyline continued despite there being no segments or anything but this one match. Nothing was dropped, everything had a purpose… it just rocked my world. They even allowed Sexy Star to score an elimination over her arch rival with the assist of Blue Demon Jr., perfectly returning him into the story while sort of giving hers a fitting conclusion so she can move on to something else now that he’s back.
The final four staredown was everything to me, and I just love how she stood toe to toe with the men without backing down or showing any signs of weakness. So many times we see the woman take on a timid role in these intergender bouts. She has to look like she’s scared or afraid of what will happen should the man take her down. Here, Sexy Star was ready to throw down. She was putting her dukes up and she wasn’t having any of their crap. It wasn’t even just one man she was doing this to, but it was three. I love it and I want it in every company.
I also want to give credit for putting Ivelisse in the match, because I was so not expecting to get two women at all. They didn’t even restrict her either! Sure, she was an early elimination, but she got to shine and hit a variety of great maneuvers on some of the other competitors first. My one problem with Lucha Underground so far is that I feel both Ivelisse and Son of Havoc deserve a bit more spotlight on them than they’ve been getting, and I get all of these were taped together so I’m fine with waiting to see if that changes heading into the upcoming ones. Tonight was a good night for the duo though, as even in defeat, I feel this is one of the better showings we’ve gotten to see from Havoc (in terms of being allowed to show off how athletic and great he is) and it’s by far my favorite match Ivelisse has had so far since she can be a bit more wild and free fighting the men, without needing to restrict herself to a more heelish moveset. So fun!
I know I say it a lot, how Lucha Underground is breaking down gender roles when it comes to wrestling, but tonight was just the epitome of it. I love that they aren’t afraid to put women in such an even spotlight. Crowning a champion is a big deal – crowning your FIRST is an even bigger deal. I just can’t get over the fact they placed two females in it, and then one of them advanced to nearly winning. It rocks my ever loving world.
And can we discuss Catrina? I need to.
I said it above, but I never expected to see her take that kind of bump… especially on a show that was filmed in the first batch of tapings when she was still just freshly returned to the wrestling scene. My jaw fell to the floor and the entire arena sold the crap out of it. Seeing them all stop in the ring, the crowd being so electric, and her absolutely looking like she was just bulldozed for the entire rest of her time out there. She can do no wrong for me, and tonight just went on to show that she still has tricks up her sleeve to pull out whenever possible. I’m so ready to see what’s next for Catrina, and I hope it involves a handicap match against Mundo to get retribution for what he did. Puma now being champion would be the perfect way to set up a three way feud between them, or if Puma has another challenger to get through, Mundo vs. Muertes is absolutely ready to go following tonight.
There’s just so many good things to talk about, and then on top of it, we still get continuation with Angela! I’m suspecting we won’t find out what her character is really up to until the new tapings take place, so for now, I’m very much enjoying the brief segments. As long as the continuity remains each week, they can take all the time they need to in order to ensure the payoff is worth it.
Also, yes for Prince Puma! Ricochet is so great and I could not be happier with their selection for the inaugural champion.
In closing, I lied and actually did write my version of a Crime & Punishment sized redux, but I couldn’t help myself. I really, really like how 2015 is starting out. There’s actual variety in mainstream wrestling now, with WWE doing solid work, NXT turning into its own special entity, TNA returning to TV and New Japan getting a ton of buzz at the moment in addition to Lucha Underground. I even personally went back and watched a years worth of AAA matches over the few week break following my introduction to Lucha Underground (as the roster contains some of the same persona’s thus I felt familiarity… side note: SIGN JENNIFER BLAKE PLEASE) so I can add that to my weekly viewing as well. Sure, WWE is in the lead as far as North American audiences go, but I don’t mind that as long as I personally have different outlets to check out. I like knowing that if one episode isn’t my cup of tea for a certain week, there’s others that are consistently ready to make my happiness levels skyrocket. It’s really all I could ask for and it’s really all I want. Keep it up everyone!