Watch: El Rey Network, Sling
Air date: July 13, 2016
Lucha Underground Temple – Boyle Heights, California
The brief recap at start previews the two matches tonight: the Gift of the Gods championship and the death match between King Cuerno and Mil Muertes.
Gift of the Gods: Night Claw vs. Killshot vs. Sexy Star vs. Marty the Moth vs. Mariposa vs. Siniestro de la Muerte vs. Dagavery good+
Interestingly, six of the participants start in the ring, and only Night Claw gets an on-screen entrance.
For reasons that I get into in a separate article, I can never be fully objective about this match, but for me, the match breaks down into two distinct phases, and the split point is Killshot’s elimination. The earlier phase is much more interesting, and I just can’t invest myself in the storyline with Marty, Mariposa, and Sexy Star. The other four — Night Claw, Siniestro, Daga, and Killshot — contribute most of the fun, and unfortunately they’re the first four eliminated.
Early on, Daga, Siniestro, and Night Claw have some fun sequences in the ring, while the other four brawl outside. If somehow you’ve managed to avoid spoilers as to Night Claw’s identity, the corner 619 and standing Spanish Fly finisher, better known as the Flame Fly in other contexts, are very big hints. At the same time, the Phoenix Splash, which he used as a finisher against Daga, is not one of his mainstays. At one point, Night Claw does a huge moonsault off the top of Dario’s office, which gets him over huge. (Personally, I popped more for the headscissors into the armdrag, which is one of my favorite moves.)
— Lucha Underground (@LuchaElRey) July 14, 2016
There’s a lot of other fun stuff that happens, far too much to list, but through what I call the first phase, it’s a great multi-person chaotic match. Once Killshot eliminates Night Claw with a Storm Cradle Driver and Mariposa eliminates Killshot with the Butterfly Effect, my interest in this match drops to nil. I suppose if you’re invested in Sexy Star’s story, it might be exciting, but the action in the ending parts of this match is a far cry from that of the earlier phase, and the emotional weight of the singles match between Mariposa and Sexy Star earlier in the season just isn’t there for this one. The submission finish feels flat, forced, and anticlimactic.
I have the first phase as “great+” and the much shorter second phase as “good”, which I’ll call “very good+”. A more compelling finish would have pushed it to “great”, and I can see an argument for rating it as such or higher even, but for me this match is too much a tale of two matches.
Before the next match, we get a vignette with Cisco, who’s supposed to confront Dario while wiretapped, but is worried that Dario will kill him.
Death Match: King Cuerno vs. Mil Muertesexcellent
Matches seem to get elevated when they spread out to parts of the Temple other than the ring, and this is no exception. Close to the start of the match, our floor section ends up utterly destroyed by Mil Muertes tossing Cuerno into it, and things just get wackier from there. King Cuerno does a plancha to the floor, we get brawling on the band’s platform, and we get heads smashed through the Temple windows in the back.
The match culminates in a crazy sequence where Mil Muertes springboards off the stairs and lariats King Cuerno through a table and then powerbombs him through a few more tables for good measure. After they return to the ring, Mil hits him with a crowbar and piledrives him, resulting in a win for him and a stretcher for King Cuerno.
I’m not normally one big on death matches, but this one feels different by having a really hot crowd and by using the Temple environment effectively. This is a progression of using more and more foreign objects as the match goes on, as with any death match, but there are also some creative spots amidst the pure carnage, and I think the balance of the two elevates this match for me. I liked it a lot live and I liked it as much when it aired.
At the announce table, Vampiro tosses out his pills, saying that he’s going to get his student, Pentagón Jr., ready for his match vs. Matanza.
Meanwhile, in the office, Dario quickly and correctly suspects that Cisco is being wiretapped and kills him with his bull figurine.
OVERALL: This is a great episode of Lucha Underground. Both matches are well worth watching (even though I’m not a fan of the the Gift of the Gods match ending), and I’m glad that they got sufficient air time.