It’s the Season 2 premiere of Lucha Underground! I was at the taping for this episode. This was one of quite a few tapings where I stood in the balcony. For most of these episodes I was right on the railing but for this episode I was behind a row of people because the balcony was so packed and I didn’t know how necessary it was to line up early to get a good spot. Going to the tapings this season at the Temple in Boyle Heights has been amazing. It’s some of the best wrestling I’ve seen live and the energy of the crowd is awesome. It definitely requires a lot of patience as you have to stand in line to get into the lot, then stand in line to check in, then stand in another line to get your seat assignment, then stand in line again until they let you in to the Temple. It’s a lot of hours of standing in line, but like I said, it’s worth it.
The first set of tapings was a bit rough as I then stood up in the balcony for the whole show. That’s a lot of hours on your feet but it was an amazing experience. At the audience tapings they only film the matches and the in-ring promos. We aren’t shown the vignettes and unless you are sitting in the section behind Striker and Vampiro, you can’t hear the commentary. Vampiro would come out occasionally and tells us a few things about what was going on, such as the fact that Dario Cueto was missing and that Catrina was now in charge of the Temple. Where there was once a band, a throne has been erected for the Lucha Underground Champion, Mil Muertes. Let’s get to the show!
We start off with a shot of Vampiro. But this is not Vampiro. It’s Ian Hodgkinson. He is in a psychiatric hospital. A doctor asks him if he knows what day it is. Ian says graduation day. He has flashbacks to the match with Pentagon. The doctor asks if he is having hallucinations and violent thoughts. Ian says they are all gone. The doctor gives him an anti-psychotic medication and says he must avoid the people and places that trigger his violent impulses. Ian/Vampiro then attacks the doctor and smashes his head into the table. He then bites the doctor. We then discover this was a hallucination and Ian tells the doctor he can do what he asks. Striker picks up Vampiro and they head to the Temple. Striker says the Temple is a much darker place now. These vignettes are nuts and awesome.
Next we’re in Catrina’s new office. Fenix enters, holding the Gift of the Gods championship. He says he is back for Mil Muertes and the title. Catrina says as the new ruler of the temple she will make him wait until next week, but this week he will face King Cuerno with the Gift of the Gods Championship on the line. Mil Muertes is seated on his throne and will be watching. Vampiro and Striker welcome us back to the Temple!
King Cuerno vs. Fenix
It’s really dark in the Temple for these episodes and since I was in the back I don’t think I’m really visible. Cuerno and Fenix exchange armdrags. Some great chain wrestling and Fenix nails a standing moonsault for a two count. Fenix goes for a dive but Cuerno catches him and nails him with a DDT to the outside from the floor. Cuerno gets back in the ring and nails him with his big spear dive. Cuerno drags Fenix inside and gets a two count. He hits Fenix with a stiff kick. Fenix hits a slingshot dropkick and then walks the ropes and nails him with a headscissors. He then hits his slingshot cutter off the ropes and Cuerno gets out of the ring. Fenix hits an amazing corkscrew plancha to the outside. The crowd is going nuts. Fenix hits a big kick to Cuerno in the corner. Cuerno responds with a huge diving punch. Fenix then nails Cuerno with a superkick but can’t capitalize as Cuerno nails him with a jumping sidekick.
Both men are down but Cuerno is the first to get up. He irish whips Fenix but Fenix counters with another slingshot cutter and then gets Fenix in a headlock submission. Cuerno gets out of it and gets Fenix in a bow and arrow submission but Fenix powers out. He hits a huge stomp off the top rope onto Cuerno and gets a near fall. Fenix hits a series of kicks and strikes but Cuerno counters with Thrill of the Hunt for a near fall of his own. Cuerno charges into the corner but Fenix counters with a huge kick. He springs off the ropes and misses a 450 onto Cuerno. Cuerno scoops up Fenix and hits a new crazy piledriver finisher and gets the pin to win the Gift of the Gods championship. This match was amazing and super fast paced.
We see the former Trios Champions Ivelisse, Angelico, and Son of Havoc arrive at the temple as we cut to commercial. Catrina tells them that Mil Muertes wants to see them face each other and that whoever wins the match will face Mil Muertes for the title tonight. Ivelisse accepts the challenge and says that when she wins the championship she’s coming for Catrina.
Catrina comes to the ring and beckons for Melissa. She whispers in Melissa’s ear and Melissa then announces the next match.
Son of Havoc vs. Angelico vs. Ivelisse (#1 Contenders Match)
I freaking love Angelico. I was so happy I got to see him at PWG and here in Lucha Underground. He was injured in January and had to miss the last part of the season but he is here for now and that is awesome to see. Before we go to commercial we cut to a quick vignette where Catrina congratulates Cuerno backstage. He tells Catrina she has nothing to worry about and neither does Mil. When we come back from commercial the bell rings and the action starts fast and furious. Havoc wants the three to do a test of strength but Angelico jokes around with Ivelisse and gets a big kick by her for his troubles. Angelico goes for a corner dive on Havoc but Havoc gets out of the way and Angelico nails Ivelisse instead. Back and forth between Angelico and Havoc. Angelico goes after Ivelisse in the corner but Havoc grabs Angelico from behind and Ivelisse nails Angelico with a top rope dive. She then brawls with Havoc and nails him with a series of kicks.
Angelico nails a splash on Havoc but Ivelisse nails Angelico with an enziguri. Angelico gets tossed to the outside by Havoc and Havoc nails a suicide dive on Angelico. He then nails a diving attack on Ivelisse on the other side of the floor. He throws Angelico back in the ring and hits some strikes followed by a standing moonsault. He gets a two count on the pin attempt. Ivelisse mounts a comeback hitting some big attacks on Angelico but Angelico regains control and tosses Ivelisse to the outside. Havoc nails Angelico with a series of strikes. He goes for a top rope attack on Angelico but before he can do that Ivelisse trips Havoc up on the turnbuckle and he goes down hard. With Havoc out of action she focuses her attention on Angelico and manages to roll him up and get the three count. Ivelisse will face Mil Muertes for the title tonight!
The next vignette starts with three random dudes in a car stopped somewhere trying to find an underground fight club. Black Lotus approaches their car and asks if they are lost. The guys tell her they are looking for an underground fight club that they were told about and Lotus tells them to come with her. When we come back from commercial Mil Muertes descends from his throne to face Ivelisse and defend his title.
Ivelisse vs. Mil Muertes (Lucha Underground Championship Match)
Catrina accompanies Mil Muertes to the ring and summons the Disciples of Death, who take out Angelico and Son of Havoc while Catrina and Mil Muertes restrain Ivelisse. The Disciples of Death carry Angelico and Son of Havoc out of the Temple. The bell rings and Mil Muertes slams Ivelisse to the mat with one hand. Ivelisse responds with a series of kicks and strikes that do nothing to Muertes. Muertes nails Ivelisse with a backbreaker. He then slams her into the turnbuckle head first. Ivelisse attempts to mount a comeback with a series of punches but Muertes tosses her clear across the ring by her head. He kicks her in the midsection, toying with her. Ivelisse manages to get Muertes in a choke but Muertes powers out. He slams Ivelisse to the ground.
Ivelisse attempts a triangle hold but Muertes powers through and pins her to the mat for a two count. He whips Ivelisse into the ropes and Ivelisse manages to get Muertes in a rope assisted armbar but Muertes again powers out of it and tosses Ivelisse to the outside. Ivelisse surprises Muertes with a big top rope spinning DDT and gets a two count. Catrina enters the ring and gets in Ivelisse’s face with the stone of power. Muertes tries to capitalize on the distraction and goes for a spear but Ivelisse gets out of the way and Muertes nails Catrina. Ivelisse then pins Muertes with a schoolboy and gets a near fall. I really thought she had it there. Great storytelling here. Muertes comes back with a huge slam and gets the three count for the pin.
Catrina goes for the lick of death but slams Ivelisse back to the mat instead and calls for Muertes to punish her some more. Puma comes in for the save and gets Ivelisse out of the ring. Pentagon comes from behind, hits Cuerno with the backstabber and then snaps his arm with the armbreaker. Pentagon stands tall as the injured Cuerno is assisted away by Catrina.
The final vignette has Black Lotus approaching a building with the three guys who were in the car. Dario Cueto is standing outside. Black Lotus tells Cueto that the guys are looking for some underground fighting. Cueto warns them that it can get kind of violent inside. The leader of the guys says he doesn’t buy it and asks why “the chick” is here. Lotus responds by smashing his face with an elbow. One of the other guys says they love violence and Cueto says the admission is $20. They pay Cueto and Cueto uses the key around his neck to open the building. As they go inside, the random guy asks Cueto who’s fighting tonight. Cueto tells him that they are as he closes the door and we hear screams.
This was an awesome first episode and as great as the in-ring action is, the vignettes really add so much to the overall storytelling. They’re what make this show unique. My biggest observation from being in the Temple for this is that Pentagon Jr. was by far the most over wrestler pretty much any time he came out. This first appearance was no exception as the crowd went nuts. Expect more great things to come as this season is just getting started!