Every road must come to an end. It’s all come down to this. The final night of Ultima Lucha Tres, the final night of the season, and perhaps the final night of Lucha Underground.
This momentous night kicks off with The Monster Matanza Cueto vs Dragon Azteca Jr. in a Steel Cage match. Within the first five seconds, we get a moonsault off the cage onto Matanza. As insane of a way that was to start the match, the craziest spot of the match came when Matanza belly to belly suplexed Azteca through the cage wall, throwing him to the floor. Usually, that would cite the end of the match, but Dario Cueto intervened and told Azteca he could not escape his destiny, or Matanza. Dario restarted the match with the stip that the only way to win was via pin or submission. Matanza and Azteca brawl through the crowd for a bit–something that happened in most of Ultima Lucha Tres’s matches–before Matanza drags Azteca back into the ring. Matanza plows into him, pulls apart his mask, beats him down for a few minutes, etc. Just as Dragon Azteca starts to mount a comeback, Black Lotus (Azteca’s Ultima Lucha Dos opponent from last year) dives from the top of the cage and onto Azteca. Matanza follows that up with Wrath of the Gods for the win.
After the match, while Matanza celebrates on the top rope, Black Lotus low blows Matanza, and roughs up Dario calling him a liar. Looks like she finally knows that Dario had her parents killed. After Dario admits he lied, Matanza hits her with Wrath of the Gods.
First off, let’s talk about the match itself. Dragon Azteca was always a guy who was hard for me to get into. There was just never anything special to me about him and he always came off as nothing but a credible job guy; the Dolph Ziggler of Lucha Underground. However, it felt like the guy brought his A-game tonight. The added stip after Azteca exited the cage helped turn him into a believable underdog that I could buy into. He was getting screwed and everything was stacked against him. It made me want to see him win. He played the underdog role well and, at this point in his career, it goes without saying that Matanza played the perfect monster. They were on their way to having a good match, until the ending. The ending cut the match’s legs from underneath it. Black Lotus’s interference/return kind of felt random, and even worse seeing her attack both guys. Why even help Matanza win if she planned to attack him anyway? It was a wacky ending that hurt the match. Still, the match was alright.
Next up, it’s Jeremiah Crane vs Cage vs Mil Muertes for the Gauntlet of the Gods. Before the match is underway, Dario comes back out to say that the gauntlet has consumed these three men wanting his ultimate opportunity. To make sure there are no excuses, Dario books this to be an Elimination match. As soon as the bell sounds off, this three way dance turns into an all out war. One hard kick after another. One tooth knocking clothesline after the next. One death defying dive followed by another body flying through the air. A bloody Crane flings a trash can left and right. Mil chokeslams Crane through a table, followed by a hurricanrana onto Cage. Just pure chaos from bell to bell. Things go from violent to downright disturbing when Crane drives some bamboo skewers through Cage’s head, then DDTs him. Crane goes to the supply closet and pulls out a glass window, as if we didn’t get enough of those during Killshot vs Fox a few weeks back. Mil is immediately sent through the glass and for good measure, Cage hits Mil with a big hammer. Back in the ring, Crane and Cage trade moves until Cage suplexes Crane from the ring to the table that Mil is on outside. Then brings Crane back in the ring, lays him out with Weapon X, and we have our first elimination of the match.
When we return from a commercial break, Mil and Cage duke it out for a bit. Cage sets up Weapon X on Mil, but an eliminated Crane cracks a chair over Cage’s back. Cage throws Crane out the ring, only for Mil to clothesline him. Afterwards, Mil hits a Flat Liner on a chair to Cage for the win. After the match, Dario rewards Mil with the Gauntlet of the Gods and truth be told, he looks pretty badass with it. He Superman Punches the mat and the punch is so powerful, that all of the power goes out in The Temple. Dim lights come back on and in the shadows, a returning King Cuerno (who hasn’t been seen since Mil beat him at Ultima Lucha Dos) attacks Mil and Catrina. With them both laid out, King Cuerno leaves the ring with the gauntlet.
This was a super fun match. Honestly, my match of the night (well, it was close). It was uber violent, but what got me into it so heavily is that it was just filled with high octane action. It was a thrill a minute type of match without it ever feeling like too much was going on. It helped emphasized just how important this Gauntlet was seeing everybody go at each other without missing a second and doing so in such a manic way. Also, I have to say, give Crane a title already. Or something. Guy was the MVP of the match and killed it, while looking like he was gonna kill himself just to win. Nothing against Crane and Mil, who were just super entertaining hosses. Great match.
After that, Taya films and interviews Johnny Mundo on why he is “the best in the world.” It’s an over the top montage basically painting Johnny Mundo as the Jesus Christ Superstar of the lucha wrestling scene. It’s like a parody of that one scene from Boogie Nights with the footage from Amber. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you seen it. Funny stuff.
Last and certainly not least, we have our main event. It’s a Career vs Title match between Prince Puma and Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo. These two have been going at it since the very first episode of Lucha Underground (first main event in LU history). If this is really the last main event in Lucha Underground history, what a way to go out then.
These two trade blows and duck each other’s moves masterfully. They make this kind of stuff look easy. About halfway through the match, ref gets knocked out and Worldwide Underground run interference. When the ref is revived afterwards, Puma kicks out regardless, Mundo isn’t happy and hits the ref. During another Worldwide Underground beatdown, Angelico (who was injured for 5-months thanks to Worldwide Underground) makes the save. In the midst of taking them out (at one point, making Mundo accidentally hit Taya upside the head with a chair), the ref does a suicide dive on Worldwide Underground for payback, which was wild. After Angelico chases the heels to the back, Puma hits a splash off the top rope onto Mundo for the closest near fall you can imagine. The two trade blows, Mundo hits a crazy looking Moonlight Drive from the top. Puma kicked out of that, and then kicked out again after the End of the World. Mundo goes for his finisher again, but Puma gets the knees up. Puma goes to the top himself, hits a 630 Splash, and wins his second Lucha Underground Championship.
Remember when I said the Triple Threat was match of the night? I’m tempted to go with Mundo/Puma instead. Both are great and fun matches, but this one was great for a different reason. While there was no blood, weapons galore, or unnecessary chair shots to the head, Mundo/Puma told a story that read like poetry. Not only in that this feud has been three years in the making, but it was Puma’s underdog story. The odds and the world (or more appropriately, Worldwide Underground) have him stacked against the wall, but he’s fighting to push forward as hard as he can. Every kick out was a split second away from the end of his career and he did all he could to keep fighting. Made for some great dramatic moments. Puma was always a perfect foil to Mundo and while I’m not sure if this was their best match (I’ll have to rewatch their classics, like All Night Long), it certainly was another excellent contest on their resume.
Following the match, Dario Cueto comes out to congratulate Puma, only to tell him his night is not over yet. After being champion for no more than 5 minutes, Puma must defend his newly won championship against Pentagon Dark, who told Dario Cueto last week he wanted to cash in the Gift of the Gods Championship against tonight’s winner. And to put some extra spice on the match, Cueto announces that the title won’t be the only thing on the line. It’s going to be Career vs Career. One man will leave the temple with the title, while the other will leave The Temple forever.
Early on, Pentagon breaks Puma’s arm. Puma puts on some emergency tape from the doctors after popping his arm back into place. After that, not only is he fighting even harder, he’s basically a one armed man and does most of his moves without use of his injured arm. He even does his signature Northern Lights/Brainbuster combo with one arm, which had to take some crazy super strength. After both men throw everything they’ve got at each other, Puma goes for the 630 Splash, but Vampiro comes out of nowhere and pulls Pentagon out of the way. Even Pentagon looks shocked for a second before he crushes Puma with a Pumphandle Driver. Puma miraculously kicks out, but he fails to kick out of the Package Piledriver. And just like that, we have a new LU Champion, and Puma’s career is over. Pentagon cuts an awesome promo while Puma somberly walks away.
Like the last match, this told a story. Puma fought even harder than he did in the last match and appeared all the more like a desperate underdog. It made for a captivating viewing. Granted, the story was kind of botched when everyone in The Temple was cheering for heel Pentagon instead of the underdog, but everybody wanted to see Pentagon finally win that title. They didn’t dislike Pentagon, they just wanted an all new champion. The story would have worked better if they were more on Puma’s side, but they didn’t hurt the match. What hurt the match was the ending. That ending sucked. Vampiro got decimated by Pentagon last year, took on Puma as an apprentice so he can beat Pentagon, and when he’s about to get the job done, he helps Pentagon instead? What’s that about? Puma’s just been a pawn all along? No, that’s not a good enough explanation, especially when no explanation was given. This felt like this was just a swerve for the sake of having a swerve, or at least to shock the fans. At the very least, it was a good match and a fine sendoff for Puma. It perfectly personified how he was an underdog who kept on swinging. You know, until a dumb finish happens.
And that ends Ultima Lucha.
But wait! There’s more!
We get a few backstage vignettes of wrestlers on the roster. Here were the most notable: Puma pulls off his mask, tosses it on the ground, and walks away from The Temple. During a press junket, a little girl whispers in Sexy Star’s ear that “she hasn’t forgotten about you” while handing her a box with a spider in it. Vibora gets murdered by some new guy while Kobra Moon laughs in glee. Vampiro talks with his “master,” telling him Pentagon’s ascended to new heights, and The Master promises he will make him fall. Rey Mysterio is in a cage right across from Matanza’s own.
Lastly, Dario promises Agent Godfrey that he’ll get the gauntlet back, but Godrey says he gets a pass…because in a moment, he’ll be dead. Just like that, he shoots Dario Cueto and walks away. Dario Cueto is dead as a doorknob after three seasons of running the Temple. If Lucha Underground comes back (God I hope they do) they’re gonna have one hell of a game changer to follow up.
Looking back on the season in retrospect, this season was great. Might be the best one yet. Definitely the best Ultima Lucha to date. This season had a lot of ups, a few downs, but mostly ups. The first half of the season was a little rough and in some areas, forgettable, but when things picked up in the second half (let’s say All Night Long 2), the season remained consistently great. Granted, there were some clunkers in there, but for the most part, I enjoyed almost every episode. Lucha Underground proved once again why its the most creative and unique piece of wrestling programming out there. Love it or hate it, and for better or worse, Lucha Underground features wrestling you won’t find anywhere else. Certainly not on television. How this show got away with as many bloodbaths and uncomfortable beatdowns as they have this year, I’ll never know. But the fact remains that it’s different and that’s saying something. When the majority of wrestling feds are either too vanilla or run along the same similar course, Lucha Underground took wrestling in places no one could have possible imagined that the sport was capable of going. If this really is the end, then it is an unfortunate loss for the wrestling community. Not just because it ended on such a huge cliffhanger, but because Lucha Underground gave us something no other wrestling fed gave us before, and probably never will again. If they’re gone, I’m gone a miss ’em, but at least they went out with one banger of a finale.