The Modern Way – Lucha Underground Series 2, Episode 1

I didn’t really use to watch Lucha Underground. I dipped in, dipped out, fast forwarded through episodes and checked out results, but didn’t watch it week in, week out for some reason. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about the show that just didn’t work for me initially, which left me cold as the show progressed. I blame Chavo Guerrero and Johnny Mundo, because why not? Still, it has been difficult to avoid the build-up to the new series ever since the protracted negotiations saw LU get renewed for a second season. Having checked out Ultima Lucha, I was ready to try and get in at the ground floor this season, and if the premiere is anything to go by, I think I made the right choice.

The tone is set from the start with Vampiro (or Ian, as he is referenced) being released from a Mental Institution, not before imagining beating up several of the staff and biting a chunk out of the man who is judging him sane enough to be released back into society. It is this edgy, grindhouse thriller style that has won so many people over to Lucha Underground, making it a valid outlet for those looking for something a little different in their wrestling viewing. Matt Striker is there (black low-rider in tow) to take Vampiro away, and we are off and running with the first episode of Season 2.

The second segment of the show brings us our first match, as Catrina (…I’ll be honest, my limited knowledge of LU meaning I don’t always know exactly who people are – she is Mil Muertes’ manager, but I’m a bit lost outside of that) orders Fenix to defend his ‘Gift of the Gods’ title, which would allow him a shot at Mil Muertes’ Lucha Underground Title. His opponent? King Cuerno.

Ominously, Mil Muertes is sitting on a throne, watching from high above the crowd.

Fenix vs King Cuerno for the ‘Gift of the Gods’ Number One Contendership

I found that early matches in Season one didn’t engage me as much as they perhaps should have done – they don’t make the same mistake twice. An early trading of holds ends up with a standing moonsault by Fenix and the speed and athleticism from the get go is clear for all to see. Cuerno heads to the outside early to re-group, but blocks a baseball slide and nails a DDT to the outside for good measure. The man has one of the best suicide dives going, and he nails Fenix and gets a two count upon return to the ring. Not content with this, he boots Fenix in the gut for good measure.

A handspring and back suplex reversal allows Fenix to hit a springboard dropkick, before he bounces on three ropes to land a beautiful looking armdrag. A springboard ace crusher is followed by a step up corkscrew senton to the outside on an escaping Cuerno. They begin to trade big moves – a Yakuza kick into the corner by Fenix sees Cuerno up the ante with a flying forearm, before a superkick by Fenix sees Cuerno match him with a jumping kick. A second handspring cutter is held onto and turned into a modified dragon sleeper, but Cuerno shows his technical chops by slipping out the back and locking in his surfboard/dragon sleeper variant, launching Fenix into the turnbuckle upon release. A charge by Cuerno allows Fenix to place him onto the top turnbuckle, taking him out with a vicious double foot stomp to the back of the head! This only gets a two, and a Fenix roll through is caught and turned into the Thrill of the Hunt, but it only gets a two count as well. Cuerno rushes into a superkick, only for Fenix to miss the resulting springboard 450 splash. Cuerno debuts a new finisher, a package tombstone piledrive, and wins the ‘Gift of the Gods’, making him the number one contender.

The Lucha Underground Title will be on the line later on in the show as we see Catrina offer Son of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico a show at the title. The catch? They have to face each other in a triple threat match first – the winner gets the shot. Ivelisse promises to win the title and return to get Catrina as well.

Before we get the triple threat match, we see Catrina talking to King Cuerno backstage about a deal – is Cuerno going to use the Number One Contendership to keep people away from Mil Muertes’ title?

Angelico vs Son of Havoc vs Ivelisse

The weakest match on the show, though this still offers some unique and interesting spots throughout. They all trade pinfalls early, before Ivelisse gets annoyed by Angelico toying with her during a three way test of strength, blasting Angelico with kicks before hitting Son of Havoc with a slap for good measure. A huracanrana takes down Angelico, though Ivelisse gets nailed with an Angelico knee in the corner that was aimed at Havoc – the spot looked effective and nasty. Havoc gets the first near fall with a springboard crossbody, before Anglico uses a mixture of kicks and knees to drop Havoc for his own two count.

Angelico’s attempted superplex on Ivelisse fails when Havoc grabs him off of the turnbuckle, allowing Ivelisse to hit Angelico with a crossbody for her own two count, Havoc pulling her leg to break the pin at the last second. She manages to avoid an Angerlico punch and hit him with a kick to the face for another close pin, but Havoc soon has her down with a vicious spinning backbreaker. This wouldn’t be Lucha Underground without some high flying, and following a blocked throw over the top rope, Havoc puts Angelico to the outside and hits two suicide dives, one on each opponent. Havoc seems to have things going his own way, and almost gets the victory with a double stomp to the back and standing moonsault. After some struggles over a superplex, Havoc attempts another top rope move, only to be tripped by Ivelisse. One La Magistral cradle on Angelico later, and have our new number one contender!

We have a short segment of three men looking for an underground fighting show. They run into Black Lotus (…she is one I’m not too sure about – linked to Matanza if I remember correctly), who promises to show them the way.

Mil Muertes is now in the ring, but the Disciples of Death hit the ring to remove Angelico and Son of Havoc from the ringside area. It will be Mil Muertes versus Ivelisse, one on one.

Mil Muertes vs Ivelisse for the Lucha Underground Title

This match was booked incredibly well to make Muertes seem strong, yet for their still to be enough of a suspension of disbelief that Ivelisse might steal the victory. In the early going, it is all Muertes. He shoves her down by the face, blasts her in the back, deadlift gutwrenches her into a holding backbreaker, throws her across the ring by her hair and blocks a takedown with a kick, wagging his finger to taunt his challenger. Throughout all of this, Ivelisse is offering resistance, but it is futile against a man as dangerous as Muertes. Ivelisse’s first real offense sees her lock in a guillotine choke – Muertes just crushes her in a bear hug and throws her to the ground. This at least allows her to try and lock in an arm triangle, only for Muertes to lift her off of the mat. This initially seems like a mistake, as we end up in a rope-assisted arm lock, yet Muertes isn’t fazed and blasts Ivelisse with knees to the back and head area – vicious.

Ivelisse seems to sense it is desperation stations for her, and manages to get a two count off of a multiple spin tornado DDT. Catrina is worried for her charge and gets into the ring – she is down second later after Ivelisse avoids a charging Muertes and he crashes into Catrina. The following schoolboy roll-up almost had me believing we had a new champion. Just like that, Muertes catches an onrushing Ivelisse in a powerslam, planting her into the mat with the flatliner to retain his title.

Catrina is not happy and tells Muertes to hit her with another flatliner. As he holds her up, Prince Puma hits the ring and manages to escape with Ivelisse following a superkick to Muertes. As the champ is focused on Puma, Pentago Jr. jumps him from behind (a legitimate holy shit moment for me, even as someone who isn’t hugely into Lucha Underground) and ‘breaks his arm’. It will be great to see Pentago Jr. more central to proceedings at the top of the card this season, if that is where things are heading.

Mid and post-credits, we see the three guys delivered to Dario Cueto by Black Lotus. Little do they know that they are paying $20 to be eaten by Matanza. Nice knowing you guys.

A great opener that picks up where the momentum of the first season left off. A really great opener, a decent three way and a well booked main event, with exciting segments that build intrigue as to the next steps for the programme mean that Lucha Underground might find its way into my weekly rotation. I look forward to episode 2 with baited breath.

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