Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Top Fifteen Matches of Lucha Underground: Season 2

Taking a look at the very best from the 2nd Season of Lucha Underground!!

In this review, I'll be taking a look at fifteen best match from Season 2 of Lucha Underground, plus a couple of honorable mentions. Similar to my review of the best matches from Season 1, I won't be looking at any matches from Ultima Lucha Dos, as that show will be getting its own review.

Lucha Underground: The Best of Season 2 (Top Fifteen Matches)

1.) Episode 7: Death Comes In Threes (3/9/16) - Lucha Underground Title - Triple Threat Match - Mil Muertes (with Catrina) vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Prince Puma: ****1/2

So there was a lot of story behind this match taking place, most of it surrounding Pentagon Jr. One the first episode of Season 2, Pentagon Jr. broke Mil Muertes’ arm. He then went on to have a match with Prince Puma that was really good, but it ended in controversial fashion. A subsequent rematch between the two was cut short when Mil Muertes (now fully recovered) destroyed both men. I thought this was a fantastic triple threat match and, in my opinion, it was the best match of the entire season. What I loved about this match was that there was almost no downtime whatsoever. It was packed with action from start to finish, with all three guys going balls to the walls right from the opening bell. The fans were going crazy throughout (which obviously helps), and they also managed to tell a bit of a story in here as well, with Pentagon Jr. & Prince Puma teaming up on the larger Mil Muertes at certain points, before turning their attention back to each other. Aside from my #2 match, I truly believe that no other match in Season 2 of Lucha Underground had as much action as this match did. It was just incredible to watch, and all three guys did an amazing job. The finish was very interesting, as Mil Muertes essentially gained a second wind, hitting a Double Flatliner on both Pentagon Jr. & Prince Puma, and pinning them both simultaneously. It takes a lot of guts to do a finish like that with two of your bigger stars, but it really put over just how dominant Mil Muertes can be at times.

After the match, Catrina administered her infamous lick of death to both Pentagon Jr. & Prince Puma, but the deadly duo were soon interrupted by Fenix, who announced that he was cashing in his Gift Of The Gods Title for a shot at the Lucha Underground Title next week!! The two rivals had a staredown as this particular episode came to a close.

2.) Episode 8: Life After Death (3/16/16) - Lucha Underground Title - Mil Muertes (with Catrina) vs. Fenix: ****1/2

After having a pretty intense series of matches with King Cuerno, Fenix was finally able to cash in his Gift Of The Gods Title, just one week after the #1 match on my list took place. Of course, these two had a pretty big rivalry in Season 1, which was highlighted by the first-ever Grave Consequences Match. That was easily the best match of Season 1, and I think they came close to having the best match of Season 2 here. I thought this was absolutely fantastic!! Similar to the #1 match on my list, that took place just a week prior, it was packed with a ton of action, and the fans were really into it. However, the match was worked a lot differently. Unlike the frenetic triple threat match from the week prior, this was much more of an intense, bloody brawl, with the high-flying underdog of Fenix trying to overcome the monstrous Mil Muertes. They went all over the building, and over the course of the brawl, Fenix’s mask got ripped up, and he started bleeding. Later on in the match, Fenix returned the favor, and actually ripped up the mask of Mil Muertes! I don’t what it is, but these two have an incredible chemistry. Every time they meet in a big singles match, it’s something special, and this was no exception. Both men played their roles so well, and this was simply a fantastic match from start to finish. In the end, Fenix was able to catch Mil Muertes in a rollup to score the victory, and captured the Lucha Underground Title!!

After the match, Fenix celebrated with the fans in The Temple. Catrina, who was definitely not happy with this result, decreed that Fenix would be defending his newly won title in Aztec Warfare II. She then added that, just like the first Aztec Warfare, Fenix would enter at #1, while Mil Muertes would enter at #20.

3.) Episode 19: Judgment Day (6/1/16) - Lucha Underground Title - Matanza Cueto (with Dario Cueto) vs. Cage: ****1/4

Here we have the first appearance of Dario Cueto’s brother, “The Monster” Matanza Cueto, on this list. Matanza was easily the biggest addition to the Lucha Underground roster in Season 2 (aside from Rey Mysterio Jr.), and he made an instant impact when he destroyed the competition in Aztec Warfare II to capture the Lucha Underground Title. A number of his initial matches were (essentially) extended squashes, but as the season progressed, and he faced tougher opponents, Matanza seemed to get slightly more vulnerable. Easily his toughest title defense, prior to Ultima Lucha Dos, came against Cage, who got this title shot after he announced he was cashing in his Gift Of The Gods Title. I thought this was an incredible match that was definitely the best outing of the season for both men. If you’re into two big guys just beating the crap out of each other, then you’re going to love this match. It was incredibly entertaining to watch from start to finish. Cage looked very strong here, particularly in the opening minutes when he really had Matanza reeling. The back & forth action towards the end of the match was great, and again, put over Cage as a beast. Despite his best efforts, however, Cage ultimately fell to Matanza, who retained his Lucha Underground Title.

4.) Episode 21: Six To Survive (6/15/16) - #1 Contender’s Six-Way Elimination Match - Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix vs. Johnny Mundo vs. Taya vs. Ivelisse vs. King Cuerno: ****1/4

These six got here after they were on the winning end of a big twelve man tag the week prior. Now, they’re battling for a shot at the Lucha Underground Title against Matanza Cueto at Ultima Lucha Dos. I could be wrong, but I think this was the only match in Season 2 (aside from Aztec Warfare II) that lasted the entire episode. As a whole, I thought this was pretty awesome! We did get a ton of fast-paced action (which we’ve come to expect from Lucha Underground), but the fact that the match lasted the entire episode didn’t really hurt it as much as you might have thought initially. It allowed the match to breath a little bit, and I think that definitely helped. They almost managed to tell a number of different stories here, from Mil Muertes returning to take out King Cuerno, to Ivelisse & Taya continuing their issues. The final stretch of the match between Fenix & Pentagon Jr. was especially great. They were doing a lot of their usual stuff, but there was more time between the moves, as both men were exhausted by this point in the match. In the end, Pentagon Jr. got the victory to earn a shot at the Lucha Underground Title at Ultima Lucha Dos.

5.) Episode 9: Aztec Warfare II (3/23/16) - Lucha Underground Title - Aztec Warfare II: ****1/4

Of course, one of the highlights of Season 1 was first-ever Aztec Warfare Match. Essentially, it works like a Royal Rumble, but you eliminate people via pin or submission instead of over the top rope. Additionally, there are No Disqualifications and No Count Outs. As decreed by Catrina, Fenix was defending his Lucha Underground Title in this match, and he was forced to enter at #1. The #2 Entrant was the debuting Rey Mysterio Jr., who got a big reaction from the crowd. For the most part, this was just as entertaining as the first Aztec Warfare Match. I really like the fact that they essentially took the idea of the Royal Rumble, and added a unique twist to it so that it was fresh take on the match type. Some of the highlights of the match included Joey Ryan handcuffing himself to a railing on the outside (so he couldn’t be eliminated), Cage continuing his issues with Johnny Mundo & Taya, the debut of Dragon Azteca Jr., and the quick elimination of Mil Muertes following a sneak attack by Pentagon Jr. (who was purposely left out of the match by Catrina). Then, Dario Cueto made his return to The Temple, and announced that there would be a 21st Entrant in the match, in the form of his brother: “The Monster” Matanza Cueto! From there, the match turned into a Matanza showcase, as eliminated multiple competitors one after the other. Finally, it came down to Matanza & Rey Mysterio Jr., and eventually, Matanza put away the lucha libre icon to capture the Lucha Underground Title!! The first part of the match was fun, and the debut of Matanza Cueto came off pretty well, in my opinion, as he looked like an absolute beast.

6.) Episode 6: Gift Of The Gods Ladder Match (3/2/16) - Gift Of The Gods Title - Ladder Match - King Cuerno vs. Fenix: ****1/4

This was the third and final match in the series between these two. King Cuerno initially won the Gift Of The Gods Title from Fenix on the first episode of Season 2 (which I’ll get to in a little bit), but Fenix earned a shot to regain the title after defeating King Cuerno in a Last Luchador Standing Match (when the title wasn’t on the line). Honestly, I thought this was the best of their three matches. Fenix, of course, did some insane stuff throughout this match, and King Cuerno really showed off his vicious side here. When people think of a Ladder Match, they usually think of a crazy spotfest, and while those matches are awesome to watch, another kind of Ladder Match that always seems to delivered and the more methodical, more brutal Ladder Matches between two heated rivals. When two people are just beating the crap out of each other before they even try to go for the title, I think that works just as well. Fenix ultimately regained the Gift Of The Gods Title after he put King Cuerno through a table, which incapacitated him long enough for Fenix to retrieve the title. The reaction of Mil Muertes (who was watching from his throne) was also pretty cool, as he was furious that his greatest enemy scored such a huge win.

7.) Episode 1: A Much Darker Place (1/27/16) - Gift Of The Gods Title - Fenix vs. King Cuerno: ****

As I mentioned previous, Fenix spent much of the early portions of Season 2 trying to regain the Gift Of The Gods Title from King Cuerno. This match, which took place during the first episode of Season 2, was the match where Fenix lost the title to King Cuerno. I thought this was great. The match itself went about only seven of eight minutes, but they packed a ton of great lucha libre action in that timeframe. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a match that’ll probably be forgotten (since it occurred so early in the season), but don’t sleep on this one. It was one of the best matches of Season 2.

8.) Episode 23: Phoenix, Dragon, And Spaceman (6/29/16) - Dragon Azteca Jr. (with Rey Mysterio Jr.) vs. Prince Puma: ****

We now make a jump from the first episode of the season to the final episode before Ultima Lucha Dos. After these three won the Lucha Underground Trios Titles, the team quickly dissolved after they lost the titles to the Worldwide Underground (Johnny Mundo, Jack Evans, & PJ Black), as well as the subsequent rematch (when Prince Puma kicked Johnny Mundo low right in front of the referee). Tension rose between Dragon Azteca Jr. and Prince Puma, which led us to this match, which was right before Prince Puma wrestled Rey Mysterio Jr. at Ultima Lucha Dos. Much like the #7 match on this list, this was relatively short (clocking in at just under nine minutes), but it served as a spectacular lucha libre showcase. Both guys are incredible athletes, and we saw a ton of really cool action throughout this match. Again, this is another match that might not get the attention it deserves, but it was definitely one of the highlights of Season 2. Prince Puma ultimately got the win here, and made it clear that his sights were set on Rey Mysterio Jr. as they prepared to do battle at Ultima Lucha Dos.

9.) Episode 14: Cage In A Cage (4/27/16) - Lucha Underground Trios Titles - Four-Way Elimination Match - Ivelisse & Son Of Havoc vs. Joey Ryan & The Crew (Cortez Castro & Mr. Cisco) vs. Fenix, Jack Evans, & PJ Black vs. Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma, & Rey Mysterio Jr.: ****

This match was the conclusion of Trios Tournament, though it really wasn’t a tournament in the traditional sense. It basically consisted of three qualifying matches, with the winners meeting the Lucha Underground Trios Champion in a Four-Way Elimination Match. Once again, Dario Cueto decided to put together some makeshift teams with people who don’t necessarily get along too well. Unfortunately, an injury to Angelico (in real life, not as part of the story) forced him out of this match, and it was explained by Dario Cueto that Angelico had an “unfortunate accident”. This meant that Ivelisse & Son Of Havoc were at a big disadvantage going in. As a whole, this was a really entertaining title match. There were a ton of fun spots throughout (as you would expect), and managed to continue some stories in this one, such as the dissent between the two undercover cops of Joey Ryan & Cortez Castro who, along with Mr. Cisco, were the first team eliminated. Ivelisse & Son Of Havoc put up a good fight, but they were the second team eliminated. Ultimately, the trio of Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma, & Rey Mysterio Jr. got the victory to capture the Lucha Underground Trios Titles.

10.) Episode 3: The Hunt Is On… (2/10/16) - Non-Title Last Luchador Standing Match - Gift Of The Gods Champion King Cuerno vs. Fenix: ****

As I mentioned earlier, King Cuerno won the Gifts Of The Gods Title from Fenix on the first episode of Season 2. Catrina (who had taken over as the matchmaker in Lucha Underground, since Dario Cueto was MIA) granted Fenix this rematch, but the Gifts Of The Gods Title wasn’t on the line. While this match was probably the weakest of the Fenix/King Cuerno series, this was still a great match. There was a lot of brawling involved, and of course, weapons did come into play. They also managed to tell a nice story, as King Cuerno continually tried to put Fenix away, but the bird of war kept coming back. The match ended on a really cool spot, where Fenix (who was on top of Dario Cueto’s office), pushed King Cuerno off of a ladder and through a table. This was a really good match that featured a memorable finish. Fenix’s victory here would lead to the Ladder Match that I already discussed earlier in the list.
11.) Episode 16: Graver Consequences (5/11/16) - Lucha Underground Title - Graver Consequences Match - Matanza Cueto (with Dario Cueto) vs. Mil Muertes (with Catrina): ****

After the first encounter between these two ended with Mil Muertes giving Matanza a Flatliner through the roof of Dario Cueto’s office, their big rematch was a Graver Consequences Match. It’s essentially the same thing as Grave Consequences, but with more caskets. I might be in the minority on this match, but I thought it was great. The action was a little slow at times, at it was nowhere near as good as the original Grave Consequences, but the match did feature some entertaining action and incredible moments. Almost all of the casket lids were broken at one point or another, and really did the best they could to make this match memorable. Even with the issues, it was still one of the best casket matches in wrestling history, so again, credit to Lucha Underground. After placing Catrina (who got knocked out) in a casket, Matanza eventually slammed Mil Muertes into a casket and closed the lid to seal the victory. However, there were some interesting post-match developments. When Dario Cueto opened the casket that Catrina was in, she had vanished. Additionally, when the casket containing Mil Muertes was taken away, one of the handlers of the cast was revealed to be King Cuero. That reveal would play a part in the events that led to their Death Match at Ultima Lucha Dos.

12.) Episode 14: Cage In A Cage (4/27/16) - Aztec Medallion Steel Cage Match - Cage vs. Johnny Mundo (with Taya): ***3/4

Not only was this the second Steel Cage Match in Lucha Underground history (interestingly enough, Johnny Mundo was in that first Steel Cage Match), but it was also for one of the seven Aztec Medallions that make up the Gifts Of The Gods Title. These two have been feuding for several weeks, and this was the ultimate conclusion. While this was a very good match, I was also left very conflicted with it. What really hurt this match was the fact that Taya kept interfering constantly, and eventually, got inside the Steel Cage. It’s so frustrating because the whole point of a Steel Cage is to keep someone from getting involved, yet it didn’t stop Taya from passing weapons to Mundo (like a kendo stick and a steel chair) through or over the Steel Cage. I could let that go, but once she got inside the Steel Cage, it got a little ridiculous. What was the whole point of making this a Steel Cage if Taya was just going to interfere at will? At the same time, however, there were some incredible spots throughout this match. As frustrating as the interference was, that can’t possibly take away from some of the crazy stuff that these two did in the match. They really put their bodies on the line, and it resulted in a very good match, despite all of the issues. Cage ultimately emerged victorious over Johnny Mundo, earning himself one of the seven Aztec Medallions.

13.) Episode 20: The Contenders (6/8/16) - Twelve-Man Tag - Fenix, Ivelisse, King Cuerno, Johnny Mundo, Taya, & Pentagon Jr. vs. Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio Jr., Sexy Star, The Mack, Son Of Havoc, & Texano: ***¾

This twelve-man tag would determine which six competitors would battle for a shot at the Lucha Underground Title at Ultima Lucha Dos. Chavo Guerrero was originally scheduled to be in this match, but he was attacked by a returning Pentagon Jr., who broke this arm. This was a pretty fun match from start to finish. As you might imagine (with so many people involved), it turned into a wild spotfest at times. The fans were very much into it at points, and everyone seemed to get a chance to shine. It wasn’t a spectacular match, but it sure was entertaining. The finish saw Johnny Mundo shove Rey Mysterio Jr. into Prince Puma, who was on the top rope. That led to Mundo hitting a Top Rope Spanish Fly for the win. The finish did a good job in teasing a bit of dissension between Prince Puma & Rey Mysterio Jr., who would go on to have a singles match at the end of the season.

14.) Episode 23: Phoenix, Dragon, And Spaceman (6/29/16) - Fenix vs. Johnny Mundo (with Taya): ***¾

Here’s another match that I feel like might get forgotten in the grand scheme of things, but was very much a hidden gem of Season 2. Essentially, this was a singles match that served as a preview for the Lucha Underground Trios Title Match at Ultima Lucha Dos. It was only about seven minutes or so, but for what it was, I enjoyed it a lot. There was some really good action in here, and that should come as no surprise, considering who was involved. Fenix might by my in-ring MVP of Lucha Underground: Season 2, while Johnny Mundo continues to excel in his role as a heel. They worked at a pretty fast pace, and the crowd was really into it. Towards the end of the match, Taya distracted the referee, which allowed Mundo to hit Fenix with his Lucha Underground Trios Title belt, and that led to him getting the win.

After the match, there was a big brawl to close the show involving all four members of The Worldwide Underground, along with Fenix, Drago, Aero Star, & Ivelisse.

15.) Episode 12: Three’s A Crowd (4/13/16) - Trios Tournament - First Round - Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma, & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Cage, Johnny Mundo, & Taya: ***3/4

This was one of the qualifying matches in the aforementioned Trios Tournament. Dario Cueto continued the theme of putting together trios that don’t get along when he paired Cage with Johnny Mundo & Taya. They had zero chance against the cohesive unit of tecnicos that they faced off with, but still, they managed to put on a very good trios match. There were some really entertaining spots between the high-flying team and Cage. The last few minutes in particular were very strong, even with the feud between Cage & Johnny Mundo leading to their team dissolving here. The fans were into the action, and the trio of Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma, & Rey Mysterio Jr. were very impressive in their first outing together. Fun stuff all around.

Honorable Mentions

16.) Episode 18: Enter The Mundo (5/25/16) - Lucha Underground Trios Titles - Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma, & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jack Evans, Johnny Mundo, & PJ Black (with Taya): ***¾

This is the match where the team that became known as The Worldwide Underground won the Lucha Underground Trios Titles. I thought this was (for the most part) and incredibly entertaining trios match (which is something I’ve said a lot in this review). Even if they’re not the best matches of the season, Lucha Underground Trios Matches always find a way to be enjoyable, in one form or another. The match was very good as a whole, and it did feature a lot of really cool stuff (as you would expect, considering who was involved), but unfortunately, a bunch of heelish shenanigans towards the end knocked it down a few pegs. They really went a bit overboard towards the end, as the heels first tried multiple balls shots, and then finally succeeded with steel chair shots. I understand that heels cheat to win, but that felt like just a little too much, in my opinion. If not for that, this match might’ve actually made it into my Top 15.

17.) Episode 4: Cero Miedo (2/17/16) - Pentagon Jr. vs. Prince Puma: ***¾

I could be wrong, but I believe this was a first-time ever match in Lucha Underground. This was another match on this list that wasn’t very long (it clocked in at just under eight minutes), but managed to pack in a ton of exciting action. These two are arguably two of the most popular stars in Lucha Underground, and seeing them go at it was fun to watch. It’s another “hidden gem” from Season 2 that’s worth checking out, if you haven’t seen it already. The finish was pretty interesting, as Pentagon Jr. had Prince Puma in a Romero Special (I think that’s what the move is called), and turned it into a pin, but Pentagon Jr.’s shoulders were down as well, and at the last second, Prince Puma got his shoulders up, and he ended up winning the match.

Pentagon Jr. was really frustrated with the result, and he thought he had won the match. He took out the referee, and went to attack Prince Puma, but he fought back, and it looked like (for a second) that he was going to break Pentagon Jr.’s arm! He ultimately opted not to, and whispered something to Pentagon Jr. before leaving.

18.) Episode 15: No Mas (5/4/16) - Aztec Medallion No Mas Match - The Mariposa vs. Sexy Star: ***¾

The final match in my Honorable Mentions category was another match in Season 2 that had an Aztec Medallion at stake, which also being the climactic match in a heated feud. After being kidnapped by Marty “The Moth” Martinez and presumably tortured by him and his sister, The Mariposa, Sexy Star was looking for revenge here in this No Mas Match, which is essentially an I Quit Match. This was a bloody brawl that went all over the building. They event went all the way up to the rafters, but fortunately, they didn’t do some crazy stunt that could’ve killed someone. There were some pretty brutal moments in this match, as both competitors took a ton of punishment. Marty “The Moth” Martinez did get involved, but The Mack came out to combat his interference. I didn’t love this match like some people did, but I also wasn’t someone who hated it either. For what it was, I thought it was very good, but I wouldn’t call it great by any means. Eventually, Sexy Star fought back, and finally got The Mariposa to say “No Mas” after locking her in a submission hold. Sexy Star continued to attack The Mariposa after the match, proving that she was no longer afraid of her. She celebrated with The Mack as the show came to a close.

There you have it!! The best matches from Season 2 of Lucha Underground!! Be sure to keep an eye out for my review of Ultima Lucha Dos!!

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