Lucha Libre Reviews

Lucha Underground Review (7/5/2017): Left for Dead

Source: @LuchaElRey on Twitter

Lucha Underground S3E25: Left for Dead

Watch: El Rey Network, Sling

Lucha Underground Temple – Boyle Heights, California

The first round of the 32-competitor Cueto Cup wraps up in this episode. The opening recaps the history between Dante Fox and Killshot (hence the subtitle of the episode), Prince Puma and Vampiro, and the introduction of Son of Madness.

We start with an extended vignette in which Dante Fox jogs through Boyle Heights, mentally flashing back to his time in Afghanistan, where he was held prisoner and Killshot escaped without him. As Fox approaches the Lucha Underground Temple, he sees Killshot ominously motioning toward him from the temple roof.

Cueto Cup 16th-final: Sexy Star vs. PJ Blackok

It’s been a while since I’ve criticized Matt Striker for an oddball comment, so let’s bring back that feature, shall we? Striker mentions at the start of the match that Sexy Star has a speed advantage. Um… PJ’s a much better flyer, and doesn’t look uncomfortably awkward half the time in the ring, so… LOL.

PJ puts quite a bit of effort into his bumps and sells here, including taking a tumble from the turnbuckle to the floor at one point. But there’s something a little unnatural with the way he takes Sexy Star’s headscissors; it looks like he lets go slightly earlier than practically everyone else who takes headscissors and throws himself a bit more, leading to an exaggerated feel. It’s a minor detail, but it I couldn’t pinpoint why this felt so weird to me until I had the chance to watch the spots again.

Sexy Star hits a few big moves, including a plancha to the floor, but it’s PJ’s basing and selling that mostly defines the main part of match. Toward the end, Taya comes out and covertly interferes by leg sweeping Sexy Star and giving PJ some brass knuckles. However, it’s Sexy Star who’s able to ultimately grab them and, after a pause, use them on PJ. The ref actually happens to turn around in time to see this, so PJ advances by disqualification. Sexy Star’s complete lack of body language during her hesitation in using the knuckles makes it impossible to tell whether she’s supposed to be afraid of getting caught or channeling pent-up anger into the weapon. Given their portrayal of the character, I think it’s supposed to be the latter, but she doesn’t do anything to make that clear.

We get another hype video for Rey Mysterio vs. Johnny Mundo; this one has extended promos from the two of them

Cueto Cup 16th-final: Son of Havoc vs. Son of Madnessgood+

Son of Havoc and Melissa are confused at the announcement of his opponent. Havoc decides to rush Son of Madness on the stairs and promptly tosses him off of them. From there, this match is a mix of brawling and wacky spot sequences. Lucha Underground has featured more technically advanced craziness than the those here, but given that this is Son of Madness’ introduction to the Temple, the counters against Son of Havoc’s usual repertoire seem fresh. Son of Madness has a cool tope, going across the corner under the bottom rope.

The only part that feels a little weird, perhaps anticlimactic, is the ending: after Son of Havoc misses a shooting star press, Son of Madness tries to roll him up, but only gets a two-count. Havoc, however, immediately gets a three-count on the same pin immediately afterward.

After realizing that he has lost, Madness jumps Havoc and takes his jacket.

Cueto Cup 16th-final: Prince Puma vs. Ricky Mandelok

Mandel is introduced as an intern for World Wide Underground and cuts a promo. Puma’s response is a superkick and two suplexes. This doesn’t quite finish Mandel, but Puma nonetheless quickly disposes of him soon afterward in the expected short squash.

Backstage, Rey Mysterio finds Dragón Azteca Jr. Azteca’s hoping that he can win the Cueto Cup so that he can have a match with Rey. Having already won his match, Prince Puma interrupts, looking forward to a rematch with Rey.

Cueto Cup 16th-final: Dragón Azteca Jr. vs. Dante Foxvery good

Rey accompanies his student to the ring; this turns out to be a significant detail.

Of the first-round matches, this probably has the most technically challenging spot: a double-springboard armdrag by Azteca. There’s also an absolutely nutty legdrop by Fox from the turnbuckle to the apron.

Most of this match is crazy, enough to earn a spot on my recommended viewing list, but the ending isn’t so hot. World Wide Underground runs in to attack Rey, and naturally, Azteca gets involved (by means of a tope) to defend his mentor. Fox takes advantage of this distraction to hit a Fox Catcher on Azteca for the win. I know that this is World Wide Underground’s schtick, but the problem is that (a) mass run-ins tend to feel like the same derailing mess when you’ve seen enough of them, and (b) it’s a shame that this match has to become subsumed by the run-in. As much as I complained about the ending to last week’s match, I find this week’s ending worse, at least on the eye-roll factor. I do not care to see World Wide Underground in a match involving Dragón Azteca Jr. and Dante Fox, unless Jack Evans wants to start an impromptu three-way.

  • Decent - 6/10


There are two pretty good matches on this episode; neither is making a MOTYC list, but they're entertaining for what they're worth, at least until the end. The Azteca/Fox match in particular has some wacky spots.

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