Lucha Underground S3E08: Gifts of the Gods
Watch: El Rey Network, Sling
Lucha Underground Temple – Boyle Heights, California
The opening recap has the best-of-5 series with Cage and Texano Jr., Johnnny Mundo’s quest for a title shot against Sexy Star, and the storyline with Ivelisse and Jeremiah.
In Dario’s office, Sexy Star wants to cash in her title, but Dario reminds her that she first has to defend the title against Mundo tonight. He further adds the stipulation that if any the trios champions interfere in her match, they’ll be banned from the Temple.
Ivelisse vs. Marty the Motheh
For me, Marty works best as a foil, but the problem here is that there has to be something else interesting going on in the match, and it’s hard to get into anything that Ivelisse was trying to do, which makes this match feel bland. It’s obviously the story that they want to tell during this match, so mission accomplished, I guess, but that doesn’t help the match rating at all.
Marty the Moth def. Ivelisse by pinfall in 4:18.
Jeremiah, to whom we had been introduced in episode 5, runs in after the match to help Ivelisse, who, as she’d made clear previously, does not welcome his assistance.
We get a new Rabbit Tribe promo, this time with a member of the tribe (ostensibly Paul London, though unnamed for now).
Jeremiah and Ivelisse continue to argue outside the Temple; Ivelisse finally reluctantly accepts the idea of partnering with Jeremiah in the ring, though, in a seemingly foreboding tone, warns of the possibility that Dario might eventually pit the two against each other.
The next vignette has Dario talking to his boss about a new “host body” in order to reunite the gods, revealing that his choice will be linked to the “ultimate opportunity” for which Cage and Texano Jr. are fighting. Dario’s boss hands him a mysterious large box, with the implication that this will be going to the new host.
Texano Jr. vs. Cagegood+
Texano comes into this match having lost the first two of the best-of-5 series, so he has to win in order to stay alive. The early part of this match is primarily brawling outside the ring, culminating in Texano tossing Cage into the seats. Oh wait, if that weren’t enough, he powerbombs Cage on the floor shortly thereafter. When the action returns the ring, Cage gets in his usual power moves, though Texano surprisingly has an avalanche headscissors and leg lariat in him, and shortly after pulls off the win with a small package.
Of the series so far, I’ve liked this match best.
Texano Jr. def. Cage by pinfall in 7:36.
In Dario’s office, Rey wants Chavo Jr. gone, to the point of asking for a Loser Leaves Lucha match between the two of them. Dario happily books that as the main event for next week.
Gift of the Gods Title Match: Sexy Star (c) vs. Johnny Mundobelow average
Going into this match, I was not excited, because I’m not sure how many more carry job experiments disguised as title matches I can stomach. This ends up not being so much a carry job as time filling followed by a lopsided mess of tropes imported from AAA.
Mundo dominates early (and for most of the time), until Sexy Star counters his moonsault by raising her feet. Sexy Star’s comeback consists of a frontcracker, a backcracker, and then… the shenanigans start. Johnny Mundo helicopters Sexy Star to induce the ref to take a bump. And then spears him for another ref bump. Worldwide Underground runs in to interfere at length. Another referee comes out at one point, but Worldwide Underground quickly (and flagrantly) takes him out too. With the trios champs unable to run in, The Mack obliges, and Sexy Star manages to land a chairshot on Mundo. But this isn’t enough, and Mundo gets the win – finally! – with the aid of brass knuckles.
I think I’ve made this point before, but if Sexy Star is supposed to be this strong female figure, why do all her big matches in season 3 end up being gigantic interference nuclei? At least it wasn’t overtly like this in season 2. I get that they’re stacking the odds against her, and the payoff is probably that she’ll overcome them, but it looks comically bad in the process. (Note that this is a rhetorical point; I think that Sexy Star is technically and charismatically limited and this is one way of working around those limitations.)
Johnny Mundo def. Sexy Star by pinfall in 11:30.
In the closing scene, Vampiro interrupts Prince Puma’s training to make the point that defeating Mil Muertes was a great “first step”, but that he needs to avenge Konnan by stuffing Mil in a casket.
LUCHA UNDERGROUND S3E08: GIFTS OF THE GODS
Subpar - 4/10
This is a rather weak show headlined by a mess of a main event. Cage vs. Texano is worth watching, and the stories look like they're headed places, but for me the match quality has to be there, and this episode doesn't provide enough of it.