Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lucha Underground 4/6/16 Review

We get the usual recap montage of recent events. The focus is on the story line involving Joey Ryan and Officer Reyes, the Sexy Star/Moths angle and Matanza killing Pentagon last week.

Vampiro is standing at a sink when Dario Cueto comes up to him. He calls him Vampiro, Pentagon's master. He knows that a part of Vampiro wants to beat him up and go after Matanza. Vampiro says all of him wants to, not just a part. Dario says that Pentagon is lucky to be alive and if Vampiro tries something, he may not be so lucky. Dario says Vampiro is valuable to him as the voice of LU and tells him not to make the same mistake as Pentagon. Vampiro stares at the pills in his hands and takes a few.

We see Ryan and Reyes with their captain. The captain is happy that Dario is back and Ryan takes credit for it. She wants hard evidence on the stuff Dario has been doing. Ryan introduced himself to Dario and got entered into the Trios Tournament, alongside the Crew. If you forgot, Officer Reyes is Cortez Castro of the Crew.

Ivelisse def. Kobra Moon in 6:29
Pardon me, but there's a lot of booty in this match. They started with some nice back and forth. Kobra Moon hisses while doing offense which is a nice little touch. Both girls showed off a fair amount of submission ability and it became a game of trying to one up each other. Ivelissed fired up and busted out a T-Bone suplex. After an exchange of kicks, Ivelisse nailed Code Red and handed Kobra Moon her first loss. A fun opener and easily the best showing for Kobra Moon so far. **3/4

A vignette is shown for Killshot. He talks about being a sniper, which is how he got the name. He has 37 confirmed kills. "All bad guys. Or so they told me." He was put on an elite squad that had to do hand to hand combat as well. He talks about being prisoner for 13 months by his enemies until he escaped. He we clips of him killing the men that held him captive. He's also unsure if his brothers made it out since, according to the government, they never existed. It was a great piece to shine more light on Killshot.

FAMOUS B TIME! He gives Mascarita Sagrada his card to make him famous. Call 423-GET-FAME! He passes by Sexy Star and the Mack. It's weird when Mack says "Hey Sexy" beause it sounds like he's hitting on her. He says that Dario put him on a team with Mariposa and Marty for the tournament. He wants Sexy Star to accompany him to the ring but she declines as she hears the cackling laugh of the Moths in her head.

Trios Tournament: Cortez Castro, Joey Ryan and Mr. Cisco def. The Mack, Mariposa and Marty Martinez in 8:32
Joey Ryan as a slimy undercover cop is so perfect. No word on what the winner of the tournament gets, but we all love Dario's "unique opportunities." The crowd was actually into Cortez Castro and the Crew, which was very different. Cisco even showed respect to Mack. Ryan came in and asked for Mariposa, who he flirted with at first before getting serious. Mariposa got a lot of shine here, which was great. The Moths seemed to ignore Mack and stopped tagging him in. Mack decided to tag himself in and entered with hot tag offense. Things broke down into a brawl and Mack took out everyone with a front flip senton. Marty tagged himself in, leading to a chop exchange with Mack, who just decided to him him with a Stunner. That allowed the Crew to hit their finish and Ryan got the pin, taking all of the credit. A lot of fun in this match. Non-stop action and, the bigger key, fantastic character work from everyone involved. Ryan and Marty nail their characters. ***1/2

Mariposa let out her frustrations by attacking the Mack after the bell. Sexy Star slides in to stop this but still looks scared of Mariposa. Sexy fires up and lays into Mariposa with chops. She tosses Mariposa by her hair. Marty makes the save and I sense a tag match coming soon.

Dragon Azteca Jr. is seen outside. Rey Mysterio comes up to him and knows that he wants to take out Matanza for what happened to his father. Rey says that Matanza kicked his ass in Aztec Warfare so he should worry about fighting for honor and not revenge. Rey says that they got a spot in the Trios Tournament. Dragon asks who their partner is and Prince Puma comes up. He simply says "me", which I believe is his first word said on TV. That teams should be fun.

Lucha Underground Championship: Matanza Cueto (c) w/ Dario Cueto def. Fenix in 4:46
The fans absolutely believed in Fenix and they have every right to since he has overome some big odds in the past. Fenix fought valiantly throughout, giving plenty of hope spots but Matanza is too dominant. Fenix tried a handspring elbow but got caught in a sick German suplex. Matanza was a monster again and won with Wrath of the Gods. A really fun  match despite being a relative squash. Similar to the Mil/Ivelisse match from the season premiere, this told a great story. ***

Dario loved the violence and wanted Matanza to continue to assault Fenix. Catrina appeared atop the steps to stop Matanza. With him distracted, Mil Muertes entered the ring and sent Matanza packing, doing the most damage to him so far. Dario convinced Matanza to leave and we were left to ponder if Catrina sent Mil out there to not just go after Matanza, but also to save Fenix, who she has a past with.

Overall: 8/10. Man, Lucha Underground delivered again. We were treated to a fun little opening contest, very strong Trios Tournament match and great storytelling in the main event. I thought that we got some fantastic character development for a lot of people and even some of the best vignettes/segments all season long. A very easy to watch hour of wrestling.

If you do want to check out Lucha Underground, which you absolutely should, 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 at Fubo.TV!

PWG All-Star Weekend XI Night Two Review

PWG All-Star Weekend XI Night Two
December 12th, 2015 | Reseda, California

Following a pretty good night one, PWG looked to end its year with night two of All-Star Weekend. While there would be no PWG Title match on this show, there was a massive Guerilla Warfare main event.

Chuck Taylor def. Kikutaro in 9:26
I first saw Kikutaro in Ring of Honor, working some fun spots with Delirious. Kikutaro cut a promo about how happy he was to be in PWG. He tricked Taylor into a handshake, only to get pinned instantly. It seemed like it would all be over in three seconds but he got Taylor to come back out and restart things. They teased the same finish again before having a good old fashioned comedy match. Sometimes comedy in wrestling is done really well and this was one of those occasions. So many things to laugh at and they creatively even used referee Rick Knox in several spots, including a few involving low blows. Taylor won via a pinning combination in the definition of a fun opening contest. ***

After the match, Kikutaro cut another promo, saying he was going to stay in the United States. Mount Rushmore ran in and attacked him from behind. All they basically said after was that if you aren’t down with what they did, they got two words for you. Suck it.

Timothy Thatcher def. Marty Scurll in 17:06
Okay, this had my attention. Two really good guys, especially Thatcher, who I’ve grown to truly enjoy. I found their styles to mesh rather well. Both guys are talented grapplers but Scurll showcases more charisma, while Thatcher is a no nonsense kind of guy. It was great that Thatcher allowed Scurll to get into his antics, not giving a fuck. A vast majority of the match took place on the mat and that was good since both guys know what they’re doing there. Scurll escaped the armbar, while Thatcher survived the chicken wing. Scurll made a crucial mistake in the end, slapping Thatcher around. Chris Hero warned that was a bad idea on commentary and it rang true. An angry Thatcher leveled Scurll with a headbutt that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Shibata/Ishii match and won. While they were relatively even on the mat, it was Thatcher’s striking ability that made the different. ***¾

The Unbreakable F’n Machines def. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in 16:31
While I didn’t fully enjoy the Unbreakable F’n Machines on night one, they were more fun here. I loved them switching off on stalling vertical suplexes on Gargano, though doing it to Ciampa too was a bit much. Gargano and Ciampa kind of worked as the heels, especially Ciampa, who would mock his opponents with pushups and squats. It worked because the fans were into the power offense of the Machines. At one point, they caught Gargano on a tope and threw him into Ciampa when he tried one. Not something you see every day. When I watch Elgin and Cage, I want to see them wreck shit and they did that here. A flurry of power moves, ending with a powerbomb from Elgin made the Machines 2-0 this weekend. Things were much better here with about five less minutes than on night one. ***¼

Ricochet def. Mark Andrews in 10:48
Two of the more athletically gifted wrestlers around did battle here. As you would want from these two, they played right into that from the start. It was kind of insane to see somebody match Ricochet in the department that he excels at. They just bounced and flipped around the ring like crazy. Andrews nailed three straight Frankensteiner variations, all of which came off effortlessly. This style of match isn’t for everyone and shouldn’t be done all the time but I liked it here. It was the first really spot heavy match on the card and it accomplished its job. Two guys went out and stuck to their strong suit. After tons of fast paced action, Ricochet won with the Benadryller. A fun sprint that got the right amount of time. ***¼

Trevor Lee def. Matt Sydal in 13:18
As he did on night one, Trevor Lee attempted to attack Matt Sydal before the bell but someone did their homework and avoided it. That gave Sydal a short upper hand but things were really fun when Lee started to just kick his ass. He did a really strong job of hitting Sydal hard and grounding him. Sydal made the babyface comeback, which he’s pretty good at it. Lee barely nailed his backflip powerslam. It’s such a potentially dangerous move. Their finishing stretch was great, but not on the level of Lee/Ospreay from a night earlier. Sydal hit a funky reverse rana and tried the Shooting Sydal Press. Lee avoided it for a second time, but this time he got his knees up instead of rolling away. Using that, he pulled Sydal into an inside cradle to steal it. I thought this was a good match and I continue to find himself rather impressed by Lee. ***½

Kenny Omega def. Will Ospreay in 16:19
Yea, there was a ton of hype surrounding this match. Their early back and forth was good and was highlighted by Ospreay blocking a Fameasser like move with a handstand. Seriously, it was kind of jaw dropping to witness. Like Omega/Bailey last night, this had some comedy (Omega giving Ospreay a titty twister was a highlight) but not too much. There were tons of fast paced exchanges, counters and near falls throughout this and the crowd ate every single one up. Near the end, they teased the same finish from the last match as Omega got his knees up on an Ospreay top rope move and pulled him into a small package. Ospreay rolled through into his own for a near fall. He then fell victim to the One Winged Angel and Omega walked away as the winner. That Ospreay guy; he’s pretty great. If I would have actually seen it in 2015, this would have made my “Top 100 Matches of the Year” list, along with Ospreay/Lee from night one. ***¾

Guerilla Warfare
Candice LaRae, Chris Hero, Joey Ryan and Mike Bailey def. Mt. Rushmore 2.0 (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong and the Young Bucks) in 26:18

This got off to a very chaotic start. Roderick Strong cut a promo before he and Adam Cole took out the referee and ring announcer. The faces hit the ring and everybody just brawled in and around the ring. Things stayed chaotic with tons of dives and action throughout. Poor Joey Ryan had thumbtacks poured into his trunks and then got superkicked in the dick. Ouch. Some things worked better than others. A quadruple attack (three superkicks and a Strong knee) from Mt. Rushmore was good but the double Indytaker outside fell flat for example. Excalibur got targeted but didn’t give a fuck and dove off the stage where he does commentary. Once he got taken out, Cole and Strong posed when the lights went out. The crowd erupted as they came on and Kyle O’Reilly was in the ring. Kyle has a longstanding feud with former partner Cole and it was Strong that took the PWG Title from him a year earlier. He was involved in the match the rest of the way. Strong nearly killed Candice with a sick kick and an insane chair spot. Kyle and Roddy basically got taken out when they went through a table together. Finally, Matt Jackson got what was coming to him as Rick Knox and Joey Ryan combined on a doomsday device on him (Knox did the clothesline), Excalibur got him as well and then Hero laid him out with a thumbtack filled elbow pad to pick up the win. A great, chaotic main event that was pretty much exactly what it needed to be. Sometimes, the good guys do have to win and it should feel as big as it did here. ****¼

Overall: 8/10. A better show than night one. Highlighted by a great main event and two standout matches in Omega/Ospreay and Thatcher/Scurll, this show mostly ruled. In fact, impressively, nothing on the card got under three stars and there was an impressive blend of styles throughout the night. You had your high flying spotfests, mat based stuff, comedy, tag team matches and a massive war to end the show with the added bonus of a cool surprise return in the end. I’d have to go back and check my BOLA reviews but this might have been better.