Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lucha Underground "Life After Death" Review

The episode is dedicated to the memory of Hayabusa. The show opens with Fenix looking at his Gift of the God's Championship in the back. Catrina appears and says that she desires his power since she has tried everything to destroy him. She says it can give her life again and she wonders if she made the wrong choice going back to Mil Muertes instead of staying with Fenix. They get a bit intimate and make out. She calls it their final kiss because Mil will destroy the Fenix once and for all.

Trios Championship: Angelico, Ivelisse and Son of Havoc def. The Disciples of Death (c) w/ Catrina in 4:53
The former champions get their rematch after losing the straps at Ultima Lucha. The fans got their first knowledge of the stipulation that if the challengers failed, they'd leave the Temple. We saw some great teamwork from the challengers, which is a beautiful contrast from season one. Ivelisse was the face in peril for a bit until Son of Havoc came in hot and Angelico did the same shortly after. Catrina got involved and the Discples tried pulling the old Killer Bees trick but Angelico kicked out. He hit the Fall of the Angel and SOH scored on a shooting star press to win back the belts. Solid enough little match. The Disciples were never meant to be major threats as they were just minions for Mil and Catrina, so the title change coming now was good. **3/4

Prince Puma is warming up when Johnny Mundo comes up to him, bringing up their past. He wants Puma to make the Aztec Warfare finals with him again but he won't take it easy this time around. He says that it's his time to be champion.

Cut to Rey Mysterio, who is still working with Dragon Azteca. Mysterio says that Azteca's training is complete and hands him an invitation to come compete in Aztec Warfare next week. Rey also got an invitation and they're heading to the Temple next week!

Bullrope Match: Texano def. Chavo Guerrero w/ the Crew in 6:02
Usually, matches involving Texano or Chavo Guerrero tend to disappoint in Lucha Underground. Putting them together didn't excite me. Chavo wanted the Crew to do his bidding but they backed off the apron and left him alone.They worked the match as a personal affair which was good considering the program they've built. I also rather liked the use of the bullrope as they made sure it was used in different ways and this wasn't just a singles match with the rope randomly there. This wasn't bad, I just wasn't fully interested or invested. Texno won with a powerbomb. **1/2

A pissed off Mil Muertes abuses the Disciples of Death in the locker room. It's pretty great.

375 miles away, Dario Cueto is standing outside of a building while we hear Matanza destroying/eating people. Black Lotus is there too. Dario smiles at the sounds before saying that Matanza is ready and it's time to take back the Temple. For the first time ever, we actually get to see Matanza. Man, they did a great job of making him look imposing as he steps out of the shadows covered in blood.

Lucha Underground Championship: Fenix def. Mil Muertes (c) w/ Catrina in 13:38
In season one, the Grave Consequences match between these two was and still is my pick for the best Lucha Underground match in history. Despite the size difference, Fenix was able to trade blows with Muertes. It made sense since their "life" vs. "death" story has built then as equals in a way. Both guys hit impressive cutters in the early stages. In a callback to the match last season, Muertes ripped away at Fenix's mask. Muertes brought a chair into play, busting Fenix open and he even bit away at the gash. They fought through the crowd where Fenix continued to take a beating until he jumped off the railing and splashed Mil. Again they called back to prior matches when Mil powerbombed Fenix on the announce table. Fenix still rallied and then even rippe Mil's mask in a beautiful twist of fate. He used Mil's own power against him, blocking a punch with a chair. Fenix nailed a gorgeous double jump springboard 450 splash for a near fall. I know this is more play by play than normal, but this match was too good not to do it. Muertes got two on a spinning chokeslam and Fenix got two on a sick German suplex. As Muertes went for the Flatliner, Fenix countered into a clutch rollup and captured the gold! Just an amazing match. It's great on its own but when you add the history, story between them and the moment of the title change, you get my new match of the year. ****3/4

Fenix celebrates in the crowd but Catrina gets on the microphone. She announces that next week, instead of a number one contender's match, Fenix will defend his new title in Aztec Warfare. Just like last year, Fenix will enter at #1 and Muertes comes in last at #20. They did the "One vs. All" Royal Rumble angle before the Rumble and will probably pull it off better.

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 here at Fubo.tv!

Raw History: Episodes #29-30

Raw History
Episode #29

August 9th, 1993 | Castle Recreation Center | Attendance: 1000

Another show taped back in July here as Macho Man returns to commentary. Also, tonight will feature the contract signing for the Lex Luger/Yokozuna WWF Title match at SummerSlam.

Mr. Hughes w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. Tatanka
This is the big match that Vince McMahon hyped last week. If this is the best we get tonight, then this is going to be a dire Raw. Tatanka has gotten more TV time than anyone in 1993. Hughes immediately doesn’t do his part of a leap frog spot right. Mind you, his part was simply to duck under Tatanka, but he can’t even do that right and he headbutts the Na├»ve American. Tatanka gets two on a cross body before Hughes goes back on the offensive. After a commercial break, Hughes has a nice vice applied because his offense blows. Tatanka starts to “Hulk Up” and fires away with chops, knocking off Hughes’ shades. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his eyes. His rally ends when Hughes sends him outside and he is sweating like Shaq at the foul line. They fight outside and Tatanka hits a back body drop to win via countout.

Winner via countout: Tatanka in 4:57
I expected this to be beyond awful but it was actually watchable. Granted it wasn’t good but it exceeded my very low expectations. *

After the match, Harvey Wippleman gets in Tatanka’s face, allowing Mr. Hughes to nail him with the urn.

ICOPRO. YOU’VE GOTTA WANT IT!

We go to yet another video package of the interview with Lex Luger about his life before wrestling. Again, the problem is that his life was dull and he’s a dull interview. Vince McMahon needed to understand that his top babyface had to be likable and Luger has a face you just want to punch.

Blake Beverly, The Brooklyn Brawler and Little Louie vs. The Bushwackers and the Macho Midget
Okay, why the hell were the Bushwackers still employed at this point? The Macho Midget spends the first few seconds breakdancing. They do the expected stuff in midget matches, with the Macho Midget doing fun stuff. He and Little Louie do the crisscross spot, with Macho outsmarting him. This continues down a basic path until the Macho Midget splashes Brawler and pins him. Yes, Brawler did the job here and not Little Louie.

Winners: The Bushwackers and the Macho Midget in 6:28
This went a bit too long, but at least the midgets were entertaining. The crowd was hot too. *

The ring is set up for the contract signing for the WWF Championship match at SummerSlam. Vince McMahon is hosting and is appalled to see that Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji hired Jim Cornette to be their official spokesperson. This was a stroke of brilliance because Yokozuna wasn’t good on the microphone and you couldn’t understand anything Fuji said. For some reason, there are a ton of nonsense men in suits in the ring, along with President Jack Tunney, Macho Man and Bobby Heenan. Lex Luger arrives as Heenan is back on commentary. Both men sign the contract. Cornette mentions the clause which states that Luger only gets this one shot. Umm, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t Luger’s only title shot. Luger says that’s fine and cuts a sickening patriotic promo. It’s seriously too much. This was before the time of contract signings always ending in a brawl.

Razor Ramon vs. Dan Dubiel
Razor Ramon is one of the first examples of a cool heel being so popular that he was turned face. The fans are already big on the guy. Bobby Heenan informs us that Razor will face Ted Dibiase at SummerSlam. Razor has strange red, white and blue wristbands on. Maybe he got them from the Lex Express. After a sick looking top rope back suplex, the Razor’s Edge finishes this.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 2:12
Entertaining for a squash. Razor nearly killed Dan with the back suplex and kept this short. 

SummerSlam Report: It’s so strange to know that SummerSlam was set for a Monday instead of a Sunday. He doesn’t give us any real news that we didn’t already know.

The Heavenly Bodies vs. Bobby Who and Mike Bucci
Mike Bucci, for those unaware, would go on to become Nova in ECW and Simon Dean in the WWE. Considering Jim Cornette laid down a challenge to the Steiner Brothers last week, the Heavenly Bodies need to impress. They do just that with some nice double team moves including a superkick into a DDT. Their nice flurry ends with a moonsault from Jimmy Del Rey to win.

Winners: The Heavenly Bodies in 2:37
The best part of the show so far. The Heavenly Bodies were a pretty good team and got to showcase their stuff here. **¼

Next week is a special interview with the Giant Gonzalez. I can hardly wait. Plus, Ludvig Borga will be around, while IRS and Men on a Mission are both in separate action. Man this sounds putrid.

Overall: 4/10; Weak. Nothing on this show was offensive, which helped but it still wasn’t great. The marquee match between Tatanka and Mr. Hughes was better than expected, but still not very good. The contract signing was fine but a bit overdone on the patriotism, while the Heavenly Bodies stole the show.

Raw History

Episode #30
August 23rd, 1993 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York | Attendance: 3000

Even though SummerSlam is two weeks away, this is the go home show as the following Monday, there was no Raw due to the “SummerSlam Special” or whatever. Then, the Monday after that was the actual SummerSlam so there’s not another Raw until September. We are live tonight.

The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Ted Dibiase
Two weeks prior, on Superstars, the 1-2-3 Kid bested Ted Dibiase due to a distraction from Razor Ramon. Side note, this is Dibiase’s last ever match on Raw. The Poughkeepsie crowd is hot as always. According to Bobby Heenan, the Kid’s bedtime is 9:30 so he has to finish this match quickly. Razor Ramon calls in mid-match. I wonder if he had to pay those ridiculous hotline fees like fans did. Dibiase beats down on the Kid and he ends up staying outside for too long. Kid comes back with a sloppy head scissors before some dropkicks get him a near fall. He gets another with a cross body and attempts another but the always boring IRS shoves him off to cause the disqualification.

Winner via disqualification: The 1-2-3 Kid in 4:46
Decent enough, but disappointing overall. The Kid can be more entertaining but this was rather lackluster. ** 

As Money Inc. continue the beating, the Steiner Brothers appear to make the save. Now, they’re feuding with the Heavenly Bodies and set to face them at SummerSlam. Instead, we are building to the Steiners/Money Inc. match for the SummerSlam Spectacular next week. I feel like you should promote the show that people pay for over the free one.

The Headshrinkers w/ Afa vs. Mike Khoury and Dave Moraldo
One of these jobbers is sporting the pornstar mustache. Along with the Steiner Brothers, the Headshrinkers are very enjoyable when it comes to jobber killing. I think PJ Walker is still dead from a few weeks ago. Samu hits a savat kick on the pornstar and kills him. He’s literally out on the apron like Walker the other night. He brings the other guy in the hard way and they do a double flapjack on him. They follow with an assisted EDDIT GILBERT hot shot. Afa screams into the camera and tells Demolition that they are coming for the titles. What year is he in? A splash ends this as our resident pornstar hasn’t moved in minutes. He may really be dead.

Winner: The Headshrinkers in 3:08
I love me a good old fashioned jobber mauling. This was just that, which kept it entertaining enough. **

SummerSlam Report: Our newest updates to the card feature the Steiner Brothers defending the Tag Team Titles against the Heavenly Bodies and Ludvig Borga vs. Marty Jannetty. The fact that Jannetty and Doink had the match of the year a few months back and are not booked heavily at SummerSlam. Also, the Undertaker still hasn’t announced the rules of the Rest in Peace match. Sounds like he has an advantage doesn’t it?

Bastion Booger vs. Marty Jannetty
At the bell, we are told that the Lex Express is in Denver, Colorado. I have no clue why though since the rest of the company is in New York and the PPV is in Detroit. Marty has trouble with the size of his opponent though he does nail a hip toss. As he dropkicks Booger, the fatass can’t even sell right as he blatantly tries to leap over the top and it’s so slow. He gets stuck in the ropes even. Marty follows with a cross body to a pop. This lasts through a commercial break for some godforsaken reason. Booger gets in his basic offense now. He sits on Marty, who reverses into a sunset flip and earn the three. It’s a gross spot.

Winner: Marty Jannetty in 4:46
I don’t understand why this nearly got five minutes. That being said, it was about as good as one could expect from a Bastion Booger match. *

Vince McMahon is in the ring to interview Money Inc. Good lord, do I have to see IRS again? He calls the fans tax cheats. Surprised? It’s literally all he’s got. They promote the SummerSlam Spectacular. That’s it. IRS even stumbles over his words.

Men on a Mission vs. Barry Horowitz and Iron Mike Sharpe
Vince McMahon asks “WHOA WHERE AM I?” simply because the camera goes upside down during MOM’s entrance. So, how rare is it that the jobber tag team is FAR superior to the team squashing them? That’s the case here. Mo is quite possibly the worst wrestler in history. Sharpe’s incredibly loud selling is the best part of the match.

Winners: Men on a Mission in 2:08
Men on a Mission sucked. I have to watch these clowns for a while. One of the worst tag teams in history. ¼* 

Who is Lex Luger? The interview continues. He denies using steroids now but admits to using them in the past, before it was illegal. While these Luger segments suck, this was the best. It’s kind of crazy to hear steroid talk in the WWE.

Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon vs. Rich Myers
The fact that Luna was introduced as Bigelow’s “main squeeze” was kind of cool. This is, rightfully so, all Bigelow. He hits a splash in the corner. Commentary spends the entire match debating Luna being attractive. Bobby Heenan loves her while Vince seems repulsed. Also, Macho Man continues to promote this “surprise” that he has set. He mentioned it multiple times on the show so far. This ends with a headbutt.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow in 3:12
Completely one sided, but Bigelow falls into the category of people I don’t mind watching in squashes. 

Macho Man’s big surprise turns out to be the Macho Midget appearing with the Raw girls. Talk about a letdown.

Overall: 4/10; Weak. So, last week we had a bunch of stuff advertised that didn’t happen. Granted, I’m okay with no Ludvig Borga, Giant Gonzalez and an IRS match but still. What we did get was inoffensive for the most part. Nothing was terrible and the near murder by the Headshrinkers stole the show.