The show begins with a tribute graphic for Hayabusa. Fenix is in the locker room slapping his title, while Catrina teleports in saying she’s tried to destroy him. She wants his powers so she can have life again. She says she wonders if she made the wrong choice turning on him last season – then they could rule the Temple together.
They make out for a bit and we get a closeup of Fenix’s bacne before she says that his final kiss because Mil Muertes will destroy the phoenix tonight. This was one of the better dramatic skits they’ve done yet. Also, Catrina is apparently a witch now. Trios Title match starts things off.
Son of Havoc, Angelico, and Ivelisse vs. Disciples of Death – Trios Title
The challengers are mid-ring with Ivie in her booty shorts and gold chaps deal on. Vamp says he’s a fan of the champs since they represent death and destruction. Melissa says that if the challengers lose, they’ll break up and leave the Temple forever. Ivie beats up the purple-clad disciple in the corner. Faces just beat the crap out of the heels for a bit before Havoc gets crotched.
Ivie eats a missile dropkick and then a jump-up kick on the ropes for 2. Purple dude locks on a dragon sleeper, but Ivie knees her way out of it. Ivie flips out of a move and kicks him in the ass to get some space and tag in Havoc.
Havoc runs wild for a bit before a blind tag to Angelico leads to a double knee and a Pele kick to the head. Giant dive from the faces to the heels on the floor. Angelico goes for a splash mountain, but Catrina prevents Havoc from helping by pulling the leg. Killer Bees switch gets 2 for the heels before the faces comeback with an SSP from Havoc and a dive from Angelico to win. Striker says we’ll have Chavo vs. Texano next, followed by Mil vs. Fenix for the LU Title.
In the gym, Prince Puma kicks a bag before Mundo talks smack to him about losing last week. Mundo has a new shirt with the LU logo with MUNDO as the text and his shades. Puma is shoulder-butted as Mundo leaves, so he punches a hole through the heavy bag. Rey and Dragon Azteca are in their dojo – Rey says their training is complete and he has a gift. It’s a bright gold envelope with a silver seal – an invitation to Aztec Warfare. Rey reveals his invite – and he says he has something to prove, and the best man will win next week. They celebrate with El Rey-branded tequila.
Texano vs. Chavo Guerrero – Bullrope Match
Chavo is put over as the final member of the Guerrero clan. The Crew is on the floor, and Chavo tells them to come into the ring – but since Chavo has insulted them too much, they leave. Chavo is now stuck in the ring all alone, and rightfully terrified. Texano chops and kicks him in the corner. Texano just tosses him over the top, and for his age, Chavo takes great bumps.
Striker does what sounds like badly-edited voiceover work rattling off exposition about the family lineage of Texano and Chavo. Chavo tosses him into a series of seats while we get more exposition from Striker about the bullrope match stipulation.
Vamp talks about how hard Texano had it living in Mexico and being able to look across the street at the first world and seeing his own plight – eating tortillas because he had nothing better. Vamp begs for Texano to pull the rope into Chavo’s crotch, but he doesn’t – so he’s a bit pissed and Vamp says that when he’s on his meds, he’s good. Now Chavo gets crotched and tossed off the rope. Chavo blocks a superplex and sends Texano down.
He goes for a frog splash by…shortening his slack, resulting in Texano pulling him down and powerbombing him to win. Well, Chavo had a really awful plan there. Texano then celebrates his win by beating the daylights out of him with the rope some more. There was zero 50/50 crap here – Texano was better in the match and after it.
Backstage, Mil Muertes roars and beats up the Disciples of Death while lightning strikes go off with every punch. As you do, and then he goes to kill the purple-clad one and Catrina tell shim not to. 373 miles away, Matanza kills people while the Streets of Rage scream sounds with each kill. Dario tells Black Lotus that he’s ready, so it’s time for them to take his Temple back. Dario opens the door and we see Matanza. He’s a thick human being with huge arms, wearing an Erick Rowan-style getup – only it’s cakes in blood as are his arms.
It’s a fantastic look, and they did a nice job building up Mil Muertes vs. Matanza here by showing each guy just destroy dudes back to back in different ways. Everything here was so simple, but absolutely perfect. Fenix comes down to face Mil, who stands tall his his headdress and Catrina by his side.
Fenix vs. Mil Muertes – Lucha Underground Title Match
Vamp says that Mil is from the dark side, but Catrina has manipulated him – so we now have a reason for Mil to be a character babyface down the line. What an amazing use of time here. In five minutes, they built up both Mil vs. Matanza in an epic battle of giant monsters and also Mil being a babyface because Catrina has been manipulating him – possibly for his entire life since she’s a ghost and will seemingly live forever. Also, based on her appearance here – if she is a ghost, she was killed at a young age. That solves the prior logical issue of her saying she’s known Mil since he was a kid since they stated Mil’s birthdate before and it was before Catrina would have theoretically been alive.
Fenix lands a springboard dropkick, but a handspring elbow is met with a knee to the gut. Fenix recovers and lands the Lethal Injection handspring cutter. Fenix can’t land a tornado DDT to the floor, but settles a rope-assisted kick. Mil recovers and dives to the floor onto him. Mil tosses him into the ring by casually throwing him over the bottom rope, which is a cool visual. A Fenix chant leads to a brief comeback, but he eats a cutter in mid-flight. That was so smooth, and got a 2.
Mil tears away at the mask and goes for an inside-out suplex, but can’t get it because Fenix is clinging onto the ropes with his legs. Fenix goes for a dive, but eats a chair to the head…but at least it leads to blood logically as the unmasked portion of his head was hit. Fenix’s chest is already covered in blood and Mil lands a DDT. They fight into the crowd. Well, Mil drags him around into the crowd is more like it. Boy does it seem to just be asking for trouble to go into the crowd with blood coming out of your head. Fenix lands a giant kick that sends Mil from one level of the Temple to another. Fenix walks the barricade to land an “oh shit oh shit oh shit!” dive as Vampiro called it on the floor.
Mil smashes him on the announce table while getting a “Mil Muertes!” chant. Catrina gives Mil a kiss of death while Striker does another poorly-edited voice editing job explaining it. Mil stands on the apron and eats a double stomp to the spine! Fenix rips at the mask of Mil to expose his head for the first time ever on the show. Mil responds by punching the daylights out of him. The right side of Fenix’s mask is almost completely off and caked in blood while Mil gets another chair. Fenix uses it on him and Mil eats a few protected chairshots.
God, this is an incredible match. TNA had this guy nine years ago and just put him in garbage matches and in stupid storylines. Fenix lands some sick forearms and superkicks to the jaw. A big splash gets 2.9. Fenix struggles to stand, but does and runs right into a spinning uranage for 2. Striker does more exposition about the bird won’t die. Fenix avoids a lariat and a backfist before hitting a trio of kicks. Fenix lands a SLOW MOTION GERMAN SUPLEX on Mil. Holy crap, and it gets 2.! Fenix goes up top and eats a couple of punches up top before Mil lands a run-up flatliner – and it was an ugly one at that. Mil goes for a basic flatliner, but FENIX SPINS OUT, CRADLES HIM, AND WINS!
Holy shit – this was a classic and easily the best David vs. Goliath story in a wrestling match since Razor vs. 1-2-3 Kid. Catrina tells him to celebrate while he can, because next week is Aztec Warfare – and it’s now for the Lucha Underground Title. To stack the deck further, Fenix is number 1 while Muertes is 20. This is so great – they’ve set up about half a dozen interesting stories for Aztec Warfare, and last year’s match was already the best Rumble match in ages even without that being done. Striker, who had had plenty of awful calls over the years, gave Aztec Warfare the best hard sell since Jim Ross’s absolute best work in the Attitude era.
This was one of the best episode of Lucha Underground ever, and the main event is a classic that must be watched. Befitting a show dedicated to Hayabusa, whose nickname was the Phoenix, Fenix won the title. In a strange way, it was perfect and made this even more beautiful than it was. Next week’s show is shaping up to be a classic as well, and Lucha Underground’s run as the best episodic pro wrestling show since Mid-South Wrestling/UWF continues. El Rey might be losing their asses on it financially, but they’re leaving wrestling fans with something they will cherish for decades.
Tonight’s show alone was one of the best single hours of TV in years, and if there’s any justice, Lucha Underground is going to be sticking around and exceling for years to come.
To see all the screens for the show, just click here.