Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lucha Underground 6/8/16 Review

This comes a day late since I missed Lucha Underground to cover TakeOver: The End instead.

The show begins with Black Lotus entering Dario Cueto's office. She brings up Dragon Azteca Jr. knowing where Matanza is kept, which worries Dario. She warns him that if he lied to her about who killed her parents, he would have to answer to the Black Lotus tribe. He promises that he told the truth and announces the first match for Ultima Lucha Dos. Black Lotus vs. Dragon Azteca Jr. It's four weeks away by the way.

Killshot vs. Marty Martinez ended via double countout in 1:21
Marty Martinez creeped on Melissa Santos again, probably worse than usual. He had Killshot's dog tags still and called him out for another match. Killshot appeared behind him and the fight was on. They brawled outside and the referee gave them a chance to fight but it never reached the ring and they got counted out. NO RATING.

Their battle continued after the bell. After a big kick, Killshot reclaimed his dog tags but Marty got in and German suplexed him. He took back the dog tags and escaped while manically laughing.

We see Mr. Cisco in an interrogation room when Cortez Castro and Joey Ryan enter, as well as their boss, whatever her name is. He still feels betrayed by Castro. The boss lady wants him to wear a wire in her attempt to get Dario Cueto. She believes Dario is the linchpin to the "end of days". We never hear if he agrees to wear the wire.

Nunchucks Match: Aerostar and Drago def. Jack Evans and PJ Black in 7:53
This was set up back when these four were involved in a nunchuck battle in the bathroom. You read that right. There were nunchucks hanging around the Temple at random spots. The match was fought under tornado style rules. They did a lot of cool double team stuff early but once they went after the nunchucks, the match really got going. They hit each other with them and it was loud. Evans added in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reference for good measure too. The match went all around the Temple, including on Dario's office, before Drago pinned Evans with an interesting rollup. Really fun match as everyone brought it and it was a good time. ***1/2

A big six on six match is coming up. The winning team advances to a six person elimination match soon to determine Matanza's challenger at Ultima Lucha. Chavo Guerrero was going to be in the match but Pentagon Jr. showed up in his wheelchair. He said that Chavo always supported him and helped him, but he was there to destroy him now. Pentagon beat him up and broke his arm. Dario came out, with Black Lotus, and put Pentagon into the match to replace him.

Fenix, Ivelisse, King Cuerno, Johnny Mundo, Pentagon Jr. and Taya def.The Mack, Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio, Sexy Star, Son of Havoc and Texano Jr. in 12:52
We saw some new combinations, including Sexy Star and Taya, which was disappointing as it felt awkward. When Son of Havoc came in, Taya smacked Ivelisse, constituting a tag. They gave a small handshake and their exchange reminded you that they know each other well. Speaking of those fresh matchups, we got things like the Mack and Pentagon, as well as Cuerno and Mysterio. As the match progressed, we got high spots from everyone and it was glorious. Fenix, Puma and Son of Havoc had the highlights for sure. Rey was going to be the last one to dive, but Mundo tripped him up and tried his own, only to get dropkicked by Puma. Rey hit him with 619 and went to set up Puma for the 630. Mundo kicked him away right into Puma, crotching him. Mundo went up top and finally got a pin on Puma with a top rope Spanish Fly. Great main event that was a ton of fun. ***3/4

The final thing that we saw on the show was King Cuerno's cabin. Mil Muertes was still in the glass coffin but creepy ass Catrina was somehow there. She used to the stone to awaken him again. MIL MUERTES IS COMING BACK!

Overall: 8/10. Lucha Underground delivers again. Two really good matches, solid angle advancement and some forward movement for Ultima Lucha Dos. I can't ask for much more.

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 with!

NXT TakeOver: The End Review

The opening video package focused on NXT’s history in Full Sail and the successes of former NXT stars, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Paige. It then turned the focus to Sami Zayn, Neville, Kevin Owens, Charlotte and Sasha Banks. It then showed a bunch of quick shots of everyone from NXT that has moved to the main roster. We then see the end of Bayley’s and Finn Balor’s title reigns. It now says “TakeOver: The End of the Beginning”.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Tye Dillinger

Tye is sporting a fancy new vest and the “10” stuff is super over. Almas comes out with a white hat and suspenders. There’s a giant feather in his hat as well. He removes the suspenders and pants to reveal some cool blue tights. “Let’s go Tye”/”Cien” dueling chants. They do quick mat work and Tye cartwheels away before doing the “10” stuff, which the fans eat up. Tye takes him to the mat and works the arm. A “He’s 100” chant beaks out. Almas drops down and leaps over Tye before Tye tries the same but Almas dropkicks him low. He snaps off a rana, sending Tye outside. He goes for a dive but Tye moves and Andrade does the Rocky Romero/TJP latch onto the ropes spot. Tom Phillips mentions Almas holding the IWGP IC Title in the past. Tye tries to back drop Almas over the top but he basically headstands on the turnbuckle to block it. Tye hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Almas tires a second rope moonsault but Tye rolls away, only for Almas to go right into a second moonsault instantly. He tries another headstand spot but Tye connects on a loud superkick for two. Tye drops the knee pad but Almas elbows out of the Tyebreaker. He hits an elbow in the corner but runs into one too. He then does a handspring double knee strike. He comes off the ropes and hits a lucha style bulldog. Cien hits big running knees in the corner for the win.

Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas in 5:21
A solid debut. Not as good as Kevin Owens’ but better than Apollo Crews’ to me. Tye is super under appreciated for the work he does for NXT, while also managing to be very over. The crowd being invested made this better. The finisher was weak though. ***

There is a Q&A with Triple H on Facebook after TakeOver.

NXT Tag Team Championship: American Alpha (c) vs. The Revival

These two tore it down in Dallas. Very pro Alpha crowd. Dawson begins with Gable, but a quick tag goes to Dash. Dash takes him to the mat with some arm work and pulls the hair to stay in control. Dawson is in and decides to just chop and beat up Gable. Gable fires back with his own shots. Gable snaps off a big arm drag and some headscissors before tagging Jordan who hits a huge dropkick. Dash runs in, Jordan ducks some shots and takes him out with a dropkick too. Dawson kicks out and rips at Jordan’s knee pad to get him in their corner. Everyone comes in and we have a standoff in the middle of the ring. They let loose and we get a slugfest. The Revival regroup outside and we almost get the stereo Germans spot from Dallas, but the Revival instead go for double back suplexes. American Alpha land on their feet and do stereo ankle locks, but the Revival escape to the outside. Tag to Gable as things calm down. Gable wears down Dash but we get a false tag spot that allows Dash to rake his eyes. Dawson legally comes in now but gets pulled into a backslide for two. Gable does another rollup for another near fall. Dawson connects on a vicious uppercut that sends Gable outside. With that, the Revival try to attack Jordan but he avoids them and allows Gable to come off the top with a cross body. Stereo dropkicks connect and they send the Revival packing before getting some barks from the crowd. Jordan does his best Rick Steiner around the ring. The Revival seemingly turn the tide on a cheap shot where they pulled out a variation of the Shatter Machine onto the top rope, like an assisted stun gun. Now the Revival are in their wheelhouse, clubbing away at Gable in their corner. “Save the Gable” chants as Dawson wears him down. Gable gets an opening and hits both opponents before rolling up Dawson for two. He nearly gets the hot tag but Dawson cuts him off and hits a big spinebuster for two. They continue to cut the ring in half on Gable until he’s up top and catches Dash in an armbar over the ropes. Again, behind the referee’s back, Dawson and Dash do an assisted leg drop off the second rope spot but Gable kicked out. I may have missed a nasty spill by Jordan. The announcers mentioned it but I looked down to correct a typo. My bad. Tag to Dash but Gable slips under both and tags Jordan. Double clothesline, big right hands and a dropkick. T Bone suplex, flapjack and THE STRAPS ARE DOWN! Running shoulder thrust in the corner and an exploder for two. Dawson drop toe holds Jordan into their second turnbuckle before they do a clothesline, sunset flip combo for a very close near fall. Now the Revival have Jordan in trouble and they’re loving it. Jordan tries a back slide and tags Gable. He flips Dawson over right into a German from Gable, for two. They look for the finish but Jordan gets pulled off the apron. Gable knocks Dash away and drops Dawson into the ankle lock. Dawson kicks him off into an uppercut from Dash. Dawson rolls him up with a handful of tights for another near fall. Now the Revival try a big powerbomb/clothesline off the top spot, but Gable catches Dawson with a huge belly to belly. Dash saves the pin and tries to roll up Gable but a blind tag was made to Jordan. He comes in with the shoulder thrust but they cut off Grand Amplitude by sending Gable outside. The Revival hit the Shatter Machine and regain the belts.

Winners and New NXT Tag Team Champions: The Revival in 15:51
Another excellent tag match between the teams. It was better from an in-ring perspective than the Dallas match, but was missing some of the magic that the crowd on that night had. Still, they possibly had my two favorite tag matches all year. Will need to rewatch it but for now, I’ll go ****

As American Alpha are left in the ring and the fans cheer, two large men run in and attack them. They throw Gable into Jordan and squash Jordan with two big splashes in the corner.They hit a side slam/running big boot combination on Gable before a big clothesline/leg sweep one on Jordan. Legendary manager Paul Ellering appears on the stage and is apparently their manager. Interesting.

As Asuka is shown working out, a loud “HEY WE WANT SOME BAYLEY” chant is heard.

Austin Aries vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Austin Aries is doing his best DDP as his ribs are taped up. Commentary says they have no clue why the ribs are taped since there was no injury reported. The crowd sings Nakamura’s theme during his entrance and as the match starts. VERY pro Nakamura crowd with only small Aries chants. They go into the feeling out process where Nakamura takes Aries down and they jockey for position.and neither man gains a real advantage. Nakamura creatively gets out of a wristlock and goes to one of his own. Aries gets out and they go to the mat. Nakamura him in a head scissors and Aries nearly hits the trademark dropkick but Nakamura dodges. He goes for a big kick but Aries dodges. Nakamura goes for the cocky rope break but Aries shoves him away before running into a knee. ARies dodges more feet offense, does an arm drag and a dropkick. Aries goes for Last Chancery but Nakamura escapes to the ropes. Aries dares him to come forward. Nakamura fights him with big knee strikes and drops one on Aries. Nakamura does the foot choke/shake spot in the corner.He tries it again but Aries catches the foot and delivers a shin breaker. His focus is now on the leg, looking to take away the kicks of Nakamura. Aries hangs it on the second rope and dropkicks it. Aries hits a diving elbow to the back off the second rope for two. Aries chooses to wear down Nakamura now. Aries comes off the top with an elbow for another near fall. He also hit the old Eddie Guerrero slingshot splash. More rest holds from Aries. Nakamura finally gets in a kick to kind of turn the tide. Time for some strikes and kicks by Nakamura, as if the leg work was never really done. He hits the running knee in the corner for a near fall. Aries comes back with shots but Nakamura stops the rolling elbow with a knee strike. Aries rolls him up for two and goes right into Last Chancery. He can’t fully apply it though. Nakamura ends up outside and Aries hits the head seeking missile. He rolls Nakamura inside for two. Nakamura just catches him in a triangle choke from out of nowhere! He lets go and hits some big knees before a front suplex. Nakamura calls for Kinshasa but Aries catches it and hits a shinbreaker right into a back suplex. Last Chancery is locked in but Nakamura refuses to tap out. He reaches the ropes with his feet to break it. Aries comes off the second rope with a rana. He hits the big running corner dropkick and goes up top. He misses the 450 and Nakamura looks to capitalize. Aries dodges him and hits an ear clap to mess with him. He pulls Nakamura onto the apron, where they trade blows. Aries catches a kick, but eats an enziguri. Nakamura seps back and charges but Aries gets him on his shoulders and scores with a death valley driver onto the apron! As Nakamura gets up, Aries tries another heat seeking missile but misses and crashes into the guardrail. Nakamura rolls him in and hits a knee off of the second rope. Reverse exploder and Kinshasa end it.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura in 17:03
Much slower than Zayn/Nakamura, though that was fine. It didn’t feel like the major Nakamura performance he gives and came off like something we’d see from him on a B show in NJPW. I thought Aries played his role perfectly, working a slow offense and throwing in subtle hints. ***1/2

NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax

Asuka gets grabbed early and goes after the leg of Nia Jax. She goes behind and Nia tries to throw her off. She takes big back swings but Asuka ducks. Nia dodges a spin kick. Neither girl is showing any fear. Pentagon Jr. would be proud. Headbutt from Nia sends Asuka back and then she viciously tosses her across the ring. Asuka gets up and fights away but is put in the corner and Nia hits some thrusts. Forearm across the face by Nia. Asuka manages to apply an octopus hold, but Nia breaks free, followed by a big backbreaker for two. Nia is the first person to reall yhav eAsuka in trouble as she just aggressively rubs the paint off of Asuka’s face. She works a bow and arrow type move but Asuka fights off with kicks and locks in a guillotine. Nia reverses into a suplex for a near fall. Asuka again slips from her grasp and applies a triangle. Again, she can’t fully apply it and Nia powerbombs her into the corner to break it. She then takes Asuka and bends her across the ring post. Nia lifts her and applies the DREADED bearhug. Asuka gets free and tries a pin, but Nia pulls her up. Asuka counters into a kneebar but again doesn’t have a full grip. Nia reaches the ropes before planting Asuka with a vicious spinebuster. She goes for a leg drop after running off of both ropes, like the People’s Elbow, but misses. Asuka hits a running knee and both are down. Nia actually gets up first and shouts “IM THE CHAMP” Asuka kicks her arm and tries a whip but it fails. Asuka goes to the second rope and hits a missile dropkick. Strike and hip attack get the champion a near fall. Asuka goes for a big kick to the head, but Nia catches it and powerbombs her. Asuka kicks out right into an armbar. Nia gets to her feet but Asuka hits two kicks to get Nia to her knees. Nia lets out a loud roar before Asuka hits two more big kicks and wins.

Winner and Still NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka in 9:10
That was heading towards being really good but ended rather abruptly. I loved that it felt like a real struggle for Asuka as she could just never fully lock in a submission. ***1/4

An interview from earlier today is shown. Andrea interviews William Regal and Bobby Roode walks by in the background. Regal stops the interview and enters the room that Roode went into.

NXT Championship Steel Cage Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Finn Balor

Finn’s paint is seemingly mostly black and white. Joe goes for some early strikes but Finn backs away from each. It’s a surprisingly slow start for two guys that hate each other. Joe tries to exit through the door early but Balor stops him. Finn gets in some shots that I missed fixing another typo. Chops and strikes from Joe n the corner. Balor gets his feet up on a charging Joe and comes off the ropes with a flying forearm. Running chops from Finn. Joe goes up top but Finn hits a leaping kick to take him down. Joe then viciously tosses him into the steel. He does it again on the other side. Enziguri from Joe in the corner. Joe delivers forearms and facewashes in the corner, finishing with the big running one. Finn fights back from his knees but Joe just launches him into the cage again. Joe tries to leave through the door but Finn stops him and hits an enziguri. Joe grabs him to prevent him from leaving. joe takes Finn down and goes to climb out but Finn grabs the leg and chops it. He goes up with him but Joe leaps up and kicks him in the back, sending both men to the mat. Joe gets stuck between the cage and ropes, opening the door for Finn to fire off chops. Finn hits a dropkick there as well and Joe is barely standing. Finn uses Joe’s back to climb up but Joe stops him again. Finn kicks him right in the face, but Joe falls on the ropes, causing Finn to get crotched. Finn runs right into the STJoe and Joe quickly tries the Muscle Buster. Finn counters into a rollup for two. Forearm exchange in the middle of the ring until Finn hits the Pele. They go back up an Finn hits a slingblade off the top! He covers for two. Joe avoids the corner dropkick and hits a senton. He hits the Muscle Buster for a near fall. Joe says that he’s going to end Finn and delivers some loud kicks. He tries a Razor’s Edge into the cage but Finn slips free and sends Joe into the cage twice. Slingblade connects as does the corner dropkick. Finn hits another and Joe is down. He goes up and nails Coup de Grace for two. Finn looks for 1916 but Joe fights out and applies the Coquina Clutch. Finn runs up the ropes to counter and nails a double stomp. Both men are down again. Finn looks to escape and kicks Joee off. He climbs the cage and reaches the top, but Joe stops him. He grabs Finn and destroys him with a second rope Muscle Buster to retain.

Winner and Still NXT Champion: Samoa Joe in 16:08
Another good but not great match between these two. At first glance I’d rank it between their other two matches. The escape rule kind of turned me off at times though it made for a cool finish. ***1/4

Overall: 7/10