Watch: El Rey Network, Sling
Air date: June 15, 2016
Lucha Underground Temple – Boyle Heights, California
We get the usual recap of recent events to open the show, but then immediately jump into the introductions for this week’s Six to Survive match to determine who faces Matanza for the Lucha Underground title at Última Lucha Dos. This was surprising as in: wow, this match is actually going to be the entire show? (It was.)
Six to Survive: Johnny Mundo vs. Fénix vs. Pentagón Jr. vs. Taya vs. Ivelisse vs. King Cuernoexcellent
A word about lucha elimination matches is perhaps in order. A match of this size would probably normally be expected to go 15–20 minutes, and would have three distinct phases: The initial action, up until the first elimination; a cluster of eliminations in relatively quick succession; and finally a more drawn-out singles match to determine the winner.
This Six to Survive match was decidedly not cast in that mold.
Instead, the eliminations were much more evenly spread out. As a result, it felt as if, within the context of the larger elimination match, there were five separate sub-matches, each with its own dynamic that led to one more elimination.
Early on, Johnny Mundo and Taya established themselves as a de facto team, and so did Fénix and Pentagón Jr. It therefore seemed natural that King Cuerno and Ivelisse ended up being the first two eliminated; King Cuerno’s was with the help of a Mil Muertes run-in. I was actually slightly annoyed with the pacing of the match up through this point. However, things seemed to really pick up once sub-match 3 started, and in the long run, it contributed to the feeling of intensifying action as the hour wore on.
Sub-match 3 aligned Fénix and Pentagón against Mundo and Taya. Even though the match was still officially everyone for themselves, this phase very much had the character of an unofficial tag match. This was really where the craziness started, especially Fénix’s lanza to the outside.
Pentagón’s elimination of Taya with a package piledriver gave rise to sub-match 4, a three-way featuring more insanity from Fénix and Johnny Mundo. The finish for this sub-match was insanely creative: Fénix set Pentagón up for a Storm Cradle Driver, but instead of actually taking that, Pentagón threw Fénix on top of Johnny Mundo to pin him. I’ve never seen anything remotely like this, and only the GIF can do it justice:
— Lucha Underground (@LuchaElRey) June 16, 2016
With only Fénix and Pentagón left standing, sub-match 5 was a more or less traditionally crazy singles match. This final part began with matwork, notable because this was both how one would expect a traditional lucha singles match to begin, and yet simultaneously highly unusual to see so late in the context of the larger elimination match. The match proceeded mostly along the usual high standard for Fénix and Pentagón, but there were some spots that were crazy even for these two (missing a lanza to land on the apron!). This was understandably more slowly paced than a standalone singles match would normally be, but that only seemed to add to the intensity as the culmination of a long elimination match. Pentagón eventually won with a springboard Canadian Destroyer followed by a package piledriver.
In summary, this was a really unusual match, both for the pacing and the palpable match-within-a-match structure. It ended up benefiting greatly from both qualities. This is even before we get into the crazy spots, and there were certainly plenty.
By virtue of winning the match, Pentagón earned the right to face Matanza for the Lucha Underground title at Última Lucha Dos. Matanza and Dario Cueto appeared after the match, and Pentagón cut an angry promo on them, saying that he wants to break both brothers’ bones.
OVERALL: This is a unique episode of Lucha Underground. We’ve had one-match shows before, but this one provides an unusual (and great!) take on the elimination match, which is typically not nearly as long as the Six to Survive match was here. It’s definitely worth watching.