Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lucha Underground The Machine Review

Things start with a video package recapping the Mundo/Cage and Texano/Chavo feuds.

Pentagon Jr. is shown in some strange setting, talking to his master. We hear a Vampiro voiceover where he says that he was in control and not Ian Hodgkinson. He took Pentagon Jr. under his wing as his apprentice. Vampiro tells him to let nothing stand in his way, not even "her", which is Catrina.

Jack Evans def. PJ Black in 3:57
Evans steals the microphone from Melissa Santos to address the Temple. He calls himself the dragonslayer again and basically spits some bars on him.They worked a fun match with some good laughs in it. Drago showed up atop the Temple with nunchucks to distract Evans. Evans tossed a water bottle at him and PG Black scored with a big near fall. Drago comes down and accidentally sprays mist in PJ's face, allowing Evans to roll him up and steal it. A fun opening contest. Something I'd see in PWG to be honest. I wish it got more time. **1/2

Non-Title Match: King Cuerno def. Killshot in 5:30
I've mentioned before that I like Killshot. His stuff with the hunter, King Cuerno, last season was great and this is a renewal of that short rivalry. They played off of their knowledge of each other and worked a solid enough match. Cuerno was able to win with the Thrill of the Hunt. After the match, he tried to take out Killshot with his tombstone variation, but Fenix came out to make the save. **1/2

Gauntlet Match: Chavo Guerrero, CIsco and Cortez Castro def. Texano in 5:46
While I enjoyed some of what the Crew did in season one, Texano and Chavo are among my least favorite performers in Lucha Underground. Chavo sent Cisco in first. Texano superkicked him instantly and eliminated him. Cortez Castro was next in. Their interaction was obviously longer and Texano got rid of him. Chavo snuck in with an attack from behind. Texano started to make the comeback but they did the cheesy, overdone finish where the face goes for a suplex and the guys outside trip him up and hold his feet, giving Chavo a dirty win. *3/4

Finally, we see more from Dario Cueto and Black Lotus. Lotus is annoyed that they have been away for so long. Dario wants his brother to be ready. He tells a story about how their mother would hurt them. He stood up to her one day but wasn't strong enough, so Matanza stepped in and killed her. It was on that day that Dario learned how much he loves violence.

Catrina is walking backstage when Pentagon Jr. shouts at her. He says that Prince Puma humiliated him and needs to be taught a lesson. Catrina declines because of what he did to Mil Muertes. They get into it, with a very action like fight scene that ends with Pentagon holding her in place to break her arm. The lights flicker and she appears away from him. She gives him the match next week but says it was a mistake to put his hands on her. I love when LU does those cool fight scenes.

Johnny Mundo def. Cage in 7:58
These two had a solid match early on in season one when Cage was the heel and Mundo was the babyface. Things have flip flopped this time around. Mundo was a total dick, even bitch slapping Cage early on. They played the big man/high flyer dynamic but I enjoyed the twist of Mundo being the heel. When it looked like Cage was setting up for the win, Taya Valkyrie made her debut to run out and distract Cage and the official. She slid a pipe into the ring, which Mundo used to defeat Cage.  After the match, Taya and Mundo put the boots to Cage and hit him with a variety of moves, standing tall. ***

After teh credits, we see Catrina in her office again. King Cuerno comes in and is tired of not being able to kill Fenix so he wants to cash in the Gift of the Gods Title and face Muertes next week. Catrina says he is going back on the deal so he'll defend it next week against Fenix. In a ladder match. That should be great.

Overall: 6.5/10. Even when the show doesn't feature a bunch of great wrestling, it's always pretty easy to enjoy Lucha Underground. The opener was a fun, short bout. I enjoyed Killshot/Cuerno and the main event. The gauntlet match wasn't very good though. While the wrestling wasn't at the best LU can put out, they advanced multiple stories.

If you do want to check out Lucha Underground and don't get El Rey Network (like me), you can sign up for the streaming service Fubo.TV. It's a great way to support the company and channel while streaming the show online. You can sign up and get Lucha Underground right here with

Top Ten Thursday: Shane McMahon Matches

With the news that Shane McMahon has not only returned to the WWE, but will be facing the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania, I figured now would be a good time to look at the best Shane McMahon matches. The only criteria is that Shane McMahon had to be involved in the match. It could be singles or tags. At the time of this writing, Shane vs. Undertaker is still set but there are rumors that it could change. If it does, oh well, just enjoy Shane McMahon's Top Ten Matches.

10. Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton – No Way Out 2009 

In early 2009, the WWE was in full on Randy Orton push mode. He had just returned from an injury with fresh ink on his arms and a more vicious attitude. Orton would win the Royal Rumble and proceed to punt Vince McMahon in the skull. Never one to let his family get hurt, Shane returned and came after Orton. It led to some odd moments during the build, like the infamous gif of Shane’s phantom punches, but the match itself was pretty good. Shane has never been a technician or a catch as catch can guy. He plays to his strengths, which are brawling and big spots and it works for him. Brawling was key here because the feud called for a match that felt personal. While I love Shane McMahon, a lot of his matches aren’t really great, which is why this one makes the list at pretty good. Orton had his Legacy buddies with him, which only meant that Shane had to overcome some odds, leading him to nail Cody Rhodes with his Van Terminator. After a fair amount of hardcore spots, Shane tried to get revenge for his dad by punting Orton, only to get hit with the RKO. Orton picked up a win on his road to WrestleMania XXV.

9. Shane McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels – Saturday Night’s Main Event

Leading up to WrestleMania 22, the McMahons were embroidered in a feud with Shawn Michaels. Mainly it was Vince targeting Shawn, leading to a match at Mania. Shortly before that clash though, the WWE brought back Saturday Night’s Main Event and gave us Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon. Shane is indeed always at his best in the Street Fight, which is what this was. You believed in the hatred again when Shawn attacked Shane during his entrance. Weapons were quickly brought into play as Shawn brought out a chair and table to take it to the young McMahon. Not to be outdone, Shane got a ladder, which both men fought atop. In one of the craziest bumps I remember seeing, Shawn superplexed Shane from the ladder in the ring, through two tables outside. I know Shane has done some absolutely insane shit in the past, but this had to be ridiculously scary and extra points to Shawn for doing this with his eternally bad back. Somehow, there was still match left after this. The spots slowed down a bit after until Shane’s Van Terminator hit Vince instead of Shawn. Still, the McMahons pulled a screwjob on Shawn, giving Shane one of the rare wins on this list.

8. WWF European Championship: Shane McMahon (c) vs. X-Pac – WrestleMania XV

The earliest match on this list. Thanks to his last name and the Corporation angle, Shane McMahon found himself as the WWF European Champion. Shane was the epitome of unproven in the ring though he would end up getting the fans to love him for his daredevil stunts. This match didn’t feature anything like that but was a well worked match that the crowd was hot for. X-Pac was just about at the peak of his popularity, while Shane was never more hated than he was here. They did very smart things, like having Shane, knowing he’s way out of his depth against X-Pac, look for a countout victory. Shane has the help of Test at ringside, who he would go on to have a great match with down the line, giving him all of the odds in his favor. It was one of those times where you felt like the babyface HAD to win. He would get revenge on Shane and the Corporation. Instead, they pulled off a good old fashioned Russo swerve. Triple H, leader of D-Generation X showed up to seemingly help X-Pac. Instead, he planted him with a Pedigree, allowing Shane to retain his title and move to 1-0 at WrestleMania.

7. Last Man Standing Match: Shane McMahon vs. Kane – Unforgiven 2003 

People are really split on this rivalry. Some thought it made the recently unmasked Kane look rather soft, while others felt like it was a ton of ridiculous fun. I’m with the latter. I love Shane McMahon and really found this to be mostly insane fun. Where else can you get an angle where a dude electrocutes another man’s testicles and have it be a blast? An unstable Kane Tombstoned Linda McMahon, causing perennial “mama’s boy” Shane to return and come to her rescue. Some of what they did could be considered wrestlecrap, but certainly not all of it. Again, it’s a recurring theme, but Shane is at his best in the insane brawl environment. He had to pull out all of the stops against the monster known as Kane. You could feel for Shane and you understood that he was doing this in honor of his mother. By this point, Shane was now well known for his insane stunts. You had to figure that he would need to pull out one of those to have a chance at Kane. You would have figured correctly. The crowd wanted it and Shane obliged, climbing the entrance structure and diving out, falling through the stage. Kane got to his feet, winning the match.

6. Hell in a Cell: The McMahons and the Big Show vs. D-Generation X – Unforgiven 2006 

Unforgiven 2006 is one of those rare shows that had some big time stipulation matches on the card. Besides the TLC main event, there was the first ever handicap Hell in a Cell match. It’s fitting to list this here considering Shane’s upcoming Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker. The McMahons were in the midst of a long rivalry with D-Generation X. Clearly on the losing side, they recruited the ECW Champion Big Show. Show was in rough shape here, reaching his heaviest weight and looking like he could literally die at any point during the match. This was the last Cell match that comes to mind that really went all out. There were multiple weapons, tons of chaos and buckets of blood from nearly everybody involved. It certainly wasn’t Shane on his own like some other matches on this list, as everyone more than did their part, but he was still involved. I wasn’t a big fan of the childish finish where Vince has his face shoved in Big Show’s ass, but other than that, this is a brutal war.

5. WWF Hardcore Championship: Shane McMahon (c) vs. Steve Blackman – SummerSlam 2000 

SummerSlam 2000 is one of my all-time favorite events. I’m not saying it’s one of the greatest, but it holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. One of them is that it was the first ever PPV that I purchased on DVD. One of them is that I went to my first Raw on the road to this show. One of them is Shane McMahon vs. Steve Blackman. When you think about McMahons holding titles (seriously, all but Linda have done so), the one that would make the most sense to me would be Shane as Hardcore Champion. It just fit him so well. However, his run came at the expense of Steve Blackman, who was billed at the time as one tough son of a bitch. This caused Shane to run at the sight of Blackman, but once the bell rang, he could run no more. Or at least we thought so. He fought to try and survive but Blackman was too much, forcing Shane to run away. He ran all the way to the entrance and when he ran out of places to go, he had nowhere to go but up. Literally. Shane climbed the structure and must have gone up at least fifty feet. Blackman followed and hit him with a kendo stick, causing Shane to take one of the sickest bumps ever, falling back off the stage. Blackman climbed lower and hit a big diving elbow to regain his championship.

4. Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon – WrestleMania X-Seven 

It’s no secret that the Invasion angle was a pretty big debacle. WCW and ECW were booked to be incredibly inferior to the WWF. Hell, even most of the Alliance guys to shine were WWF guys who “defected”. Before any of that though, there was a lot of buzz and hope after Shane showed up on the final WCW Nitro to say that he purchased the company right from under his dad’s nose. It helped add fuel to an already red hot fire between Shane and Vince, culminating in a Street Fight at arguably the greatest WrestleMania of all time. This match was great for two reasons. Violence and storytelling. Vince and Shane held nothing back, proving that even though they aren’t regular wrestlers, they more than deserved the spot on the show. The red hot crowd was invested throughout and everything was laid out so well. From Trish wheeling out Linda to Trish turning face and brawling with Stephanie to Mick Foley as referee and finally to Linda rising and giving Vince his comeuppance, this was all tremendously done. It was here that Shane debuted his Van Terminator and beat his father. Following this and the Invasion PPV, WCW was 1000% inferior to the WWF the rest of the way.

3. Love Her or Leave Her Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs. Test – SummerSlam 1999 

While the match against X-Pac at WrestleMania of this year was good, I’d say this was the first Shane McMahon match to just about hit great status. His sister Stephanie fell in love with Test and Shane didn’t approve like most brothers would. It all came to a head at SummerSlam, where Test put his love on the line. If he would lose, he’d have to leave Stephanie, but if he won, Shane would approve. Shane and Test went out and completely stole the show at SummerSlam 1999. This was the first time I remember Shane busting out his trademark elbow through the announce table. I’d like to point out that I think Shane legitimately has a top three elbow in history, behind only Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels. They used weapons throughout, but added enough story in there that it wasn’t just some typical hardcore match from the era. The Mean Street Posse got involved to even the odds for Shane but Test fought them back. He won the right to love Stephanie after a big flying elbow of his own. The celebration with Stephanie was one of the better feel good moments you could find at the time. Not only would they be together, but Shane would approve, while also earning Test’s respect.

2. Team WCW vs. Team WWF – Survivor Series 2001 

I truly believe this is not only the best match on the list, but if you recall my first Top Ten Thursday, I also consider it to be the greatest Survivor Series elimination match in history. The only reason it isn’t topping it is because it wasn’t purely a Shane McMahon performance. However, Shane, and literally everyone else involved, all more than held their own. From the Big Show’s elimination to the Undertaker and Kane teaming up to Rob Van Dam being the most popular heel on the show to Shane’s sweet elbow drop to Jericho going heel and everything in between. It all just clicked. If Shane shone brightest in Street Fights, I’d say he was at his second best in tandem environments. Matches like this helped to hide the fact that Shane isn’t the best worker. This match was fantastic and Shane was able to score a pinfall over the Big Show. Shortly after, he was eliminated by Chris Jericho before the match continued for another thirty minutes or so.

1. Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle – King of the Ring 2001 

Oh look, it’s another Street Fight. This is the absolute pinnacle of Shane McMahon and everything he stands for in the ring. Kurt Angle was lightyears out of Shane’s league and again, Shane entered this match as the underdog. He made sure Angle won an earlier match so he could face a second opponent and be tired heading into their match. Early on, Shane surprised Angle by outworking him on the mat, angering the Olympic Gold Medalist. Angle went nuts and this fight just picked up and never let up. Shane McMahon is absolutely nuts. He took some sick bumps throughout this. The most infamous moments came when Angle tried to belly to belly suplex Shane through some glass in the entrance. Just going through them would have been enough for a great visual but what actually happened made it so much more legendary. The glass didn’t break but Angle kept going at it, so Shane just kept getting dropped on his head. I still cringe at the sound of his head thudding off of the concrete floor. Angle finally put Shane away after over twenty minutes with a top rope Angle Slam. Shane is one of the gutsiest performers in wrestling history and this match proves why.