Watch: El Rey Network, Sling
Air date: July 20, 2016
Lucha Underground Temple – Boyle Heights, California
The opening recap starts all the way back at the first episode with Vampiro’s medical instructions to avoid triggers – which, as we’ve seen, have been thoroughly ignored – before covering the usual lead-in to the episode’s matches.
We next get a vignette with Pentagón and Vampiro, who tells his student, “You must destroy the man you once were.” This entails Pentagón entering a cave to fight apparent clones of himself, and then later Vampiro with a Pentagón mask. Vampiro then has Pentagón extinguish a candle so trhat he can become Pentagón Dark.
This vignette was a fun take on the master-training-student trope of Star Wars and countless video games. I actually thought of this as, in a sense, a corruption of the ending of Zelda II: here, we’re embracing the dark within, rather than fighting it.
Lucha Underground Trios Championship: Fénix, Aerostar, Drago vs. Jack Evans, Johnny Mundo, PJ Black (c)great
The story of this match for most of its duration is that Worldwide Underground gets their way most of the time, helped a little bit by the referee blocking a triple dive attempt by the técnicos. Boo! But Aerostar’s creativity is unbounded; early on, he hits a crazy tornillo from the outside in by springboarding off the second rope. Drago also has a great assisted apron headscissors.
The rudo shenanigans reach a new level, though, when Jack Evans interferes to pull the ref out of the ring while he’s counting a Fénix pin. Then the reigning champs use their belts copiously as weapons.
The turning point comes when Angelico surprisingly appears on crutches, which he uses to take out Worldwide Underground. Técnico dives (including a crazy imploding reverse cannonball by Aerostar that landed about 3 feet in front of me live) and a Fénix piledriver variant on Johnny Mundo then suffice for the win.
This was a very fun match, both live and watching on TV, although it lost just a little bit for me on rewatch. Interference finishes can be (and are) overdone, but this one somehow felt different because it was from an unexpected source: Angelico had been out of the picture for so long. It was a satisfying finish.
Dragón Azteca Jr. vs. Black LotusNR
This is a short match with a couple cool spots, including a missed dive to the outside that Dragón Azteca has to roll through. But it ends abruptly in a no-contest when Pentagón Jr. interferes to attack both combatants and break their arms.
As such, this match is more of a lead-in to Pentagón vs. Matanza more than a proper match in its own right.
Afterward, Pentagón Jr. cuts a promo to state that, as Ian Hodgkinson was destroyed by Vampiro, so too “Pentagón Jr. is dead”, destroyed by Pentagón Dark, and he now considers himself ready for Matanza.
The name change is a LU-specific one ostensibly for trademark reasons. I’ll leave aside commentary on that matter for another time, but one thing to keep in mind when watching this is that the live crowd doesn’t get subtitles. A good portion probably understood what he was saying, but not everyone could.
Lucha Underground Championship: Pentagón Dark vs. Matanza (c)good+
Dario stipulates that there must be a winner, which essentially means that the match cannot end by countout or disqualification. Pentagón takes advantage of this to choke Matanza with a camera cable outside the ring shortly after an opening tope con giro. Brawling continues outside for a good while, with the usual floor sections having to vacate for fun spots.
Aside from a chair-in-the-turnbuckle spot, the match becomes a bit tamer when it finally returns to the ring, although I say that in relative terms: a guy like Matanza doing a standing shooting star press is always pretty crazy. The two exchange big moves for a bit until Vampiro introduces a barbed-wire baseball bat. This scares Dario sufficiently for him to interfere, and Matanza retains with the Wrath of the Gods after Pentagón becomes preoccupied with breaking Dario’s arm.
This finish killed the live crowd, and it’s a good thing that this was not the last match on the card. Frankly, the finish was one of the three things that I would change about Última Lucha 2 (the other two are Dr. Wagner Jr. showing up and Sexy Star winning the Gift of the Gods match). But it was an enjoyable match until the end.
Taya vs. Ivelissegood
This is another match features early brawling outside the ring and copious rearrangement of the floor seating sections. The highlight here is a plancha by Ivelisse off the metal barricade in front of one of the raised side sections.
Ivelisse has Taya pinned at one point, but Catrina makes the lights go out, and attacks Ivelisse so that Taya can win. Ivelisse gets Catrina’s lick of death afterward. This match actually exceeded my expectations and was fun while they were brawling outside, especially live. For the finish, Lucha Underground actually did make the lights go out for the live crowd, which was a neat (and very confusing at first) effect.
Before the main event, we next get a Prince Puma vignette focusing on his origins and how Konnan and Rey mentored him.
Rey Mysterio vs. Prince Pumaclassic
If you watch only one match from the first two seasons of Lucha Underground, make it this one. Both Rey and Puma have an absolutely mind-blowing match with lots of insanely creative sequences involving multiple layers of counters. There are far too many great spots to list, but one of the early bits of craziness is a sequence in which Rey is in the electric chair position on top of Prince Puma, and the two manage to roll outside the ring while still maintaining the electric chair, only for Rey to hit a Misteriorana to send Puma into the apron.
As I said, lots more amazing stuff happens throughout the match. The ending moments are fantastic, involving a blocked 619 that turns into a series of attempted counters before Rey sends Puma back into the ropes shortly thereafter to hit a 619 and springboard huracarrana for good. After the match, Rey leaves the ring to Puma, sing that the Temple faithful are his people.
In short, this was an amazing match in front of a hot, somewhat divided crowd. This is the match that everyone who was there live was talking about in vague glowing terms afterward.
By the way, in case you haven’t read what my ratings mean, “classic” is my descriptive equivalent of *****. Yes, this match is that good.
As Matt Striker and Vampiro are about to sign off, Pentagón, ostensibly frustrated about his loss to Matanza, attacks Vampiro with the barbed-wire bat that Vampiro had brought earlier and busts him open. Pentagón calls himself the new master and licks Vampiro’s blood. As a side note, I remember the live crowd endearingly chanting “you sick fuck” at Pentagón at this point, but that was understandably censored in the broadcast.
In the final scene, we see Dario in police custody, being transported out of the Temple.
OVERALL: The only real dud on this show is the Dragón Azteca Jr. vs. Black Lotus match, which seemed more of an excuse to have two more arms for Pentagón Jr. to break. It’s an unfortunate waste of Dragón Azteca not to give him a proper match. The trios title match is also thoroughly recommended, though there are some bits in it that may or may not annoy you. The main event is easily the best match of the night and of the season, in fact, and LU ended season 2 in the strongest way possible, at least in-ring.