I’ll start this with an honest statement: I haven’t followed a lot of Lucha Underground. I dipped in and out at the start, and have then tended to follow results more than watching the actual matches. Ironically, I’ve spent more time trying (and, more often than not, failing) to get into ‘proper’ Lucha (CMLL, AAA, etc) than invest time in an arguably easier sell in Lucha Underground. What this does mean is that, similar to my WWE reviews, I don’t always know every little intricacy of the stories behind each feud and match on the card. I believe that a good match is a good match, and should work whether I necessarily know everything that is going on week to week (although I understand that that would contextualise certain elements of matches as well).
The Mack vs Cage (Falls Count Anywhere match)
Of the two men in the first match, I’ve only seen one in action, which would be Cage. Whilst I wouldn’t argue that I’m his biggest fan, he can definitely go when necessary. The Mack looks like the type of wrestler I’d enjoy – a no-nonsense big guy who can get about the place when needed. I was surprised to see Cage in the opening spot, as he had been around the title picture when I was last watching, but it does allow the event to start with the proverbial bang.
The match is all action from the get go, with Cage jumping The Mack before either man gets to the ring. Mack controls most of the match, which also surprised me, as I was expecting it to be a lot more even in nature. The Mack exploder suplexing Cage onto the wooden stairs was a particularly impressive, if a little cringeworthy, moment. It seems to be the catalyst for a range of good spots, as The Mack spears Cage through an office door, gets DDT’d onto a stop sign and then channels Stone Cold Steve Austin, downing a couple of beers before nailing Cage with a stunner for a two count.
A sitout powerbomb through a table gets a two count (perhaps should have been a spot that gets three, but quibbling really) before heading back up on top of the office. This is where Cage gets advantage, and shortly afterwards, he has won the match – a surprisingly sudden ending, though brutal. Following a sitout spinebuster by Mack, Cage hits a guardrail assisted suplex, before a curb stomp into a conveniently placed cinder block is enough for Cage to get the three count. Gimmicky, sure, but very, very enjoyable opening.
Team Havoc (Son of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico) (c) vs The Disciples of Death (Lucha Underground Trios Title Match)
I’d seen Team Havoc’s birth, and couldn’t fail to stumble across a number of gifs showing Angelico’s attempts to kill himself by jumping off the highest thing he can find on any given week. Ivelisse is on crutches, and my basic research suggests that she had a legitimate broken foot. It is bad ass that she is even at ringside, let alone in the match, so you have to hand that to her at least.
The Disciples of Death are led by Catrina, using a stone in an ‘Undertaker Urn’ style manner, with the Disciples getting stronger than more she raises it. Not surprisingly, Ivelisse is attacked and left at ringside for the majority of this short match, and the DoD take over in the initial stages, including a nice torture rack spun into a bomb by one of the DoD. Both Havoc and Angelico do get their opportunity to show their athleticism, Havoc nailing two topes and Angelico flying over the top rope with a cannonball senton. Team Havoc’s time in control of the match is limited, further highlighted when Ivelisse is dragged into the ring and locked in a stretch muffler.
Even with the short amount of time given to this match, we still get Angelico’s big dive off of the top of the office onto the three members of DoD in a frankly insane move, even more insane after Angelico landed awkwardly following a backdrop on the bleachers. With Catrina in the ring to try and rouse her team, Ivelisse gets the crowd going by throwing her crutches to one side and going at Catrina. They roll around, only for Catrina to grab the stone and nail Ivellise in the face! Brutal looking, and enough to give the DoD the three count and the Trios Titles! Short, but understandably so – still gave the fans what they wanted from Angelico and Son of Havoc.
Drago vs Hernandez (Believers’ Backlash match)
People have been fairly cutting over the years about Hernandez and what he brings to the ring, but I think that this was a good match, highlighting his strengths, hiding his weaknesses and telling a good story in the process. If anything, it maybe limited Drago a little to be in the ring with someone who couldn’t match him for speed, yet a match that didn’t do enough to accentuate Hernandez’s power advantage.
The first time Drago hits the floor, we see that the Believers (given straps for this match) refuse to attack Drago; Hernandez isn’t so lucky, getting laid into the second he hits the floor. Every time during the match that he ends up at ringside, the fans wail on him, and he does a good job of ‘showing ass’ insofar as moving around the area to allow himself to take a bit of a beating. Outside of the beatings at ringside, there isn’t necessarily a lot of action in the ring. Hernandez does use his power to take the fight to Drago, dropping him with a sitout bomb variation, as well as Border Tossing him over the top rope onto the Believers at ringside! He shows an impressive athleticism with a dive over the top rope, only for Drago to move and blast him with the mist.
This sees us head towards the finish, as the fans chases Hernandez under the ring. As he tries to move away, Drago sets up a table and grabs a set of nunchuks. Hernandez turns into a nunchuk attack from Drago, before ending up on the table. One dive through the table leads to another dive in the ring and Drago is the winner of the main event of the first part of Ultima Lucha.
In the first hour, each match did exactly what it needed to do. None of them were the best pure wrestling offering by any means, but given gimmicks, constrictions and injuries, a thoroughly enjoyable 43 minutes was offered and happily watched. Leaves me looking forward to next weeks two hour special.