TV Review: Lucha Underground S02, E22-24, “Ultima Lucha Dos, Part I”

Published on July 19th, 2016 in: Current Faves, Matshifter, Pro Wrestling, TV, TV Reviews, Underground/Cult |

By Sachin Hingoo

wagner

This whole batshit season of Lucha Underground, starting with the rise and fall of Mil Muertes, the introduction of the monster Matanza, and everything in between, has led to this moment. The final three episodes for the year comprise “Ultima Lucha Dos,” Lucha Underground’s season finale, and all the pieces are in place for some wild confrontations.

This first part of Ultima Lucha is a four-man tournament for one of Dario Cueto’s “Unique Opportunities.” These opportunities are like our old friend the Monkey’s Paw, conferring valuable rewards in exchange for unpredictable and usually terrible consequences for those that claim them, entirely based on Dario’s whims. Of course, neither the reward nor the consequence are revealed until the prize has been won because that would be silly and would severely restrict Dario’s ability to fuck around with the luchadors in his Temple.

dario 1

Tonight’s “Unique Oppor-tournament” (Dario’s as big a fan of dumb wordplay as I am, it seems) is between The Mack, Cage, Son of Havoc, and Texano. Havoc is the clear popular choice here, and it’s nice to see that he’s given a chance to do something on Ultima Lucha since his partners Ivelisse and Angelico are both injured, both for real and in the storyline.

In the first round of the tournament, Havoc will face off with Texano while The Mack takes on Cage. It’s this latter match that kicks off Ultima Lucha Dos and it’s fitting, since Mack and Cage had the opening match at last year’s Ultima Lucha as well. This isn’t lost on Dario Cueto, and he comes out of his office to make it a Falls Count Anywhere match, just like Cage and Mack had last year, in order to replicate its success.

pinatas

Cage and Mack leave it all out there in their match, and it’s one of the wildest brawls I’ve seen on Lucha Underground since Sexy Star and Mariposa’s No Mas match. The two fight in the bleachers, all around the ring, and even right into Dario’s office. They hit each other with framed pictures, a stop sign, a toolbox, a guitar emblazoned with the Mexican flag, and even several piñatas (!) This latter weapon earns a “piñata” chant from the Believers, and I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m doing the same in my living room. Hilariously, some of the piñatas contain weapons—Mack pulls a wrench out of one and brains The Machine with it—but Cage’s contains nothing but candy. Mack gets lucky again by finding a piñata full of beers, which he uses both to hit Cage with and to drink in a tribute to beer-swilling brawler, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

mac jumps

The violence literally escalates as Mack places Cage on a table and ascends to the Temple’s balcony before doing a frog splash off of it, breaking both Cage and the table as the crowd and I say “holy shit.” Somehow, Cage kicks out at two, goes to stomp Mack, and slips in some of the beer spilled earlier. This allows Mack rolls him up for the win to end this chaotic affair and to advance in the tournament. This was wild and an amazing start to Ultima Lucha that should be a tough act to follow. I find it funny that these guys murdered each other with every weapon under the sun, but the finish of the match was a slapsticky pratfall. I’m not mad at it, though, because the match was a mix of violence and comedy that I quite enjoyed overall.

texano keg

Back from the commercial and Texano and Son of Havoc are already in the ring for their match. Dario calls attention to a bar that’s been set up next to the ring and I wonder where that was when Mack had to plumb the depths of a piñata for a cold one. Dario explains that since this match is between a cowboy (Texano) and a biker (Havoc), it makes him think of bars. He turns this match into a Bar Brawl, which has pretty much the same rules as the last match except there’s a bar nearby, I guess. Weapons used include; a keg that Havoc knocks Texano into with a dropkick, a bunch of bar glasses that Havoc gets slammed into, and some bar stools that are smashed and used to cushion the landing of a suplex like only splintered wood can. Havoc double-stomps Texano into some broken glass and does his running pump-kick for the win. It’s fun enough but maybe a little overkill after the last weapon-heavy match. A referee helps Texano pull broken glass out of his back and, ew.

son of havoc

Our final match is between Havoc and The Mack, and the two Temple favorites have a fairly unremarkable match that’s propped up by the Believers being really into both luchadors. This is kind of like storytelling in reverse since we had our big climax at the beginning of the show, and progressively less exciting matches as the tournament wears on. Havoc pulls out a cool shooting star press for the win, though, and the Temple goes wild.

Dario presents Son of Havoc with a briefcase full of money, $250,000 to be exact. However, he says that Havoc can trade that in for another briefcase, this one containing a guaranteed title shot at Ultima Lucha Tres next year. Havoc says that there could be 250 million dollars in the first case, and he’d still take the title shot.

dario havoc

But Dario’s not done. In order for Havoc to take the second case, he’ll have to take on one more luchador. At the top of the stairs, here comes Famous B, snake-oil salesman and manager extraordinaire.

Now, during this season of Lucha Underground, Famous B took on Mascarita Sagrada, a midget wrestler (or “mini”) who’s tremendously popular in the Temple, as a client. Sagrada fell short in several matches, though, leading Famous B to drop him like a hot rock.

famous b

So Famous B comes out, and asks Havoc if he’s feeling a little sick to his stomach. If so, there’s a Doctor in the house! Famous B turns around, showing the logo for lucha libre legend Dr. Wagner, Jr. on the back of his suit jacket as the Believers go nuts. Matt Striker compares Wagner’s popularity in Mexico to that of the Rolling Stones, which might be overstating things a bit, but he’s certainly become one of the most famous and decorated luchadors in Mexico over the course of his 30-year career.

Dr. Wagner comes out with Famous B’s associate Brenda, mugs for the crowd, and goes to take on the surely-exhausted Son of Havoc. The match is short, but the biker luchador fights valiantly against the veteran, ultimately missing another shooting star press and eating a pin. Poor Havoc: for all his efforts tonight, he walks away with nothing at all.

havoc flip

Wagner stands and poses over the fallen Havoc and Famous B and Brenda come in to join the festivities. Famous B pulls out a stethoscope and checks the lifeless Havoc’s pulse Wagner stands tall to close out the show.

wagner famous b

Though a little strangely-paced, the kickoff to Ultima Lucha Dos was a perfect start to the climax and sendoff to Lucha Underground’s second season. We got Dario Cueto’s nefarious scheming which is a great throwback to season one, and the show had a bit of a lighter feel (save for the shards of broken glass in everyone’s bodies) since it was just a tournament. There’s an argument to be made that this was kind of separate from all the other stories going on, and as such shouldn’t be considered part of Ultima Lucha at all, but a match as crazy as Mack/Cage absolutely deserves to be part of the event.

Next week, though, Ultima Lucha Dos continues in earnest and folks, my body is ready.

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