Hello there and welcome back, my fellow Believers! So it’s been a little while since I was able to have these to you, due to some unforeseen circumstances on my end, and I do apologize for the long wait, but don’t you worry! I still didn’t forget that we’ve passed by yet another Wednesday! I’m sure you know what that means, right? I’ll tell you anyways, because I’m in an awesome mood today! It means it’s time for us to head back into the Antonio Cueto’s Ice Temple and bear witness to the offerings we have in store. I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s time to recap the latest episode for Lucha Underground Season 4!
We’ve come an very long way since we first started with the death of Dario Cueto and the introduction of the new Ice Temple under Antonio Cueto’s control. We’ve seen Aztec Warfare, we’ve witnessed the death of Matanza and his rebirth as a god. We’ve even witnessed poor Mascarita Sagrada becoming the human equivalent of goop via Paul London’s appetite for smashing things with other things. I’m sure you’re probably wondering two things by now: A) Is this guy alright? What was really in his cup when he did that WWE Extreme Rules Predictions Video? and B) There’s way too many things that have occurred! How can I catch up with everything? Well, don’t you worry because I promise you it was coffee (cue the awkward silence) and these recaps now have a built-in list that will link you to my recaps of all the past episodes for Season 4! If you ever need a moment to take a breather and refresh yourself on the season or if you would like to support me (because I’m so lovable and I will shed on all of your carpets if you don’t), all you have to do is click on any of the episodes below and you’ll find yourself in that episode, ready to assist you!
Episode 1: El Jefe
Episode 2: Darkness and the Monster
Episode 3: Rest in Pieces
Episode 4: Pain, Love and Sacrifice to the Gods
Episode 5: Sacrificio
Episode 6: Break the Machine
Episode 7: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Episode 8: The Ranks of Reptiles
With that being said, I think it’s about time for us to see what Antonio Cueto has in store for us today in the Ice Temple, don’t you? Well, let’s get a move on then!
We kick off our show this time with a super-brief recap of just three of the main stories going on currently in Season 4: Matanza Cueto’s ascension into godhood, El Dragon Azteca, Jr.’s victory and crowning as the new Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Champion and Johnny Mundo and Taya’s infiltration into The Reptile Tribe’s Throne Room and the beheading of Vibora. It’s nothing fairly new if you’ve been following along with the season so far (or if you’ve been following up on those recaps, which are right up there, by the way *wink wink*) but it does highlight a very morbid theme for this season: death. So far, we’ve seen one death almost weekly (mainly due to Matanza’s sacrifices) but, even then, the Ice Temple has become a lot more morbid, with the possibility of death looming around the heads of the competitors. Granted, all of this will inevitably tie into something by the end of the season but Catrina’s words have never rung so true: death surrounds us all.
After that recap, we’re taken into the Ice Temple, but not into the ring this time! Instead, we’re taken into Antonio Cueto’s office, as he is talking to somebody on the phone and noting that he’s planning another sacrifice to the Aztec Gods (guess we’re guaranteed another death this week) before he finishes his conversation. As he hangs up the phone, the focus shifts over to Cueto’s office to see a rather…*ahem* fashionable Mariposa entering through to confront Cueto. Mariposa sweet-talks Cueto, noting that her father had told her many stories about him but that they never really did him justice, as she never would’ve thought him to be so handsome. However, she didn’t go to his office to seduce him (despite the fact that’s exactly what she was doing for the past minute), but rather, that she wants a match with El Dragon Azteca, Jr. for the Gift of the Gods Championship. Cueto, however, immediately dismisses her request, saying that she does not deserve the match. Mariposa, however, rebukes the denial, saying that her family has a lot of money and that they always get what they want, as she drops $20,000 in $100-bills onto his desk and twirls her hair. Cueto, in return, stated that money is ‘the ultimate aphrodisiac’ (he’s not kidding, feel free to find an alternative and I’ll be here to tell you that you’re most likely wrong) and that he could never say no to someone as beautiful and as dangerous as Mariposa. Mariposa notes that she wouldn’t have taken ‘no’ for an answer before leaving Cueto’s office as Cueto drinks his beer from an unlabeled bottle that’s clearly a Modelo beer as the show starts (Modelo sponsors Lucha Underground, their logo is all around the ringside area and it’s clearly a Modelo bottle just based off numerous commercials so why bother removing the label? It just seems a bit unnecessary, but I digress).
We’re taken over to the Battleground, where we’re being hyped up by Metalachi once again and they are really going at it for this set. Come to think of it, it seems that whenever their sets are so energetic, the show seems to be a lot more ramped up. That sort of energy might be needed to recover from last week’s average show but, nevertheless, our announcers, Matt Striker and Vampiro, welcome us to the Ice Temple as Vampiro notes that he’s wearing glasses today so he can believe what he’s seeing (that was pretty clever actually, kudos) as Striker runs down the main event for the show: an Eight-Man Atomicos match between Worldwide Underground and The Reptile Tribe. If Worldwide Underground wins, Johnny Mundo gets one wish from the Reptile Tribe’s Queen, Kobra Moon. However, if the Reptile Tribe wins, Johnny Mundo must join the Reptile Tribe. Don’t forget, however, that Striker and Vampiro, as well as the Believers, are still unaware that Vibora is now dead and that may be an important factor in this match, but now it’s time for our wish to be granted as Vampiro kicks it over to Melissa Santos.
In the ring, we’ve got the alluring Melissa Santos ready as she introduces us to the competitors already in the ring: The Rabbit Tribe, consisting of Paul London, Saltador and Mala Suerte. As the trio are huddled in a corner, we suddenly hear a familiar gruff voice call out to London from somewhere in the Ice Temple. The voice turns out to be Antonio Cueto, who was pleased that The Rabbit Tribe volunteered for the match but, as discussed over phone, only one of them will be competing. London, in turn, volunteers a confused Mala Suerte as punishment for being pinned in last week’s Lucha Underground Trios Championship match and failing the White Rabbit. Sadistically stating that Mala Suerte now gets to prove his worth in this match, London leaves the ring as Saltador follows behind. I’m sure you can guess what’s about to happen now but, just in case you didn’t, Cueto declares Mala Suerte to be the next ‘Sacrifice to the Gods,’ sending the Believers into a frenzy and causing the lights to dim to a blood-red setting. This, in turn, brings out Matanza Cueto, who looks ready to kill.
Match 1: Mala Suerte (w/ Paul London and Saltador?) vs. “The Monster” Matanza Cueto (Sacrifice to the Gods Match)
Paul London and Saltador are both at ringside for this match but, while Saltador looks to be pleading with London to spare Mala Suerte, London looks to be psychotically pleased with the events about to unfold. Neither of the men seem to be available to help Mala Suerte in this match, as Matanza makes his way down to the ring. Mala Suerte, likely sensing the impending danger, immediately goes on the offensive by dropkicking Matanza on the outside before he could enter the ring and forcing him into the ring. Suerte immediately rushes Matanza with stiff forearms to the head, followed by a series of knuckle-taps on Matanza’s head (as portrayed by the cartoon sound effect that occurs when Fred Flintstone starts his car up). Mala Suerte immediately leaves Matanza on the corner and heads to the corner on the opposite side of the ring across from Matanza and heads to the top rope for some reason (if he could cover that distance, he’d have more hang-time than Shane McMahon). Instead of jumping, however, Mala Suerte hops off (and I literally mean, he hops off, like a bunny, with sound effects playing in the background) to the mat and hops a few more times before landing a running drop kick onto Matanza. This has as much of an effect as a cotton swab on a gorilla, as Matanza immediately retaliates with a headbutt to drop Mala Suerte to the mat, followed by Matanza nailing him with Wrath of the Gods onto the Aztec Seal in the middle of the ring for the pinfall victory.
Post-match, Saltador pleads with London to save Mala Suerte but London holds him back as Matanza raises his arms, causing the lights to go out and thunder to echo. When the lights come back on, Mala Suerte is gone as London creepily smiles while consoling Saltador on the outside.
Winner: Matanza Cueto (R.I.P. Mala Suerte)
Analysis: It looks as though we’ve finally got some more development on the Rabbit Tribe following their new guidance under the White Rabbit. London is now coming into his own as the sadistic leader of the Rabbit Tribe, which is actually really good on his part. It actually makes me wonder where this type of character ever was for him from the start. Mala Suerte (the former Mr. Cisco if you’ve been following Lucha Underground from the start) has now been sacrificed to the Aztec Gods but we still don’t know the end game to these sacrifices and what the ultimate purpose. As for the match itself, it’s not really a match, honestly, so there’s not much to rate here but I can definitely say those sound effects were pretty unnecessary. I know that I said a little bit of humor was sometimes needed to break up the serious nature of Lucha Underground’s stories and it’s kind of the Rabbit Tribe’s thing to be a little ‘out there’ but we already had the small laugh with Vinnie Massaro’s pizza. The sound effects here came off as corny and detracted from the seriousness of the situation that Mala Suerte finds himself in at this point. While the competitors don’t know about Matanza’s godhood, they have to be aware of the recent sacrifices in the Ice Temple as it’s happening in front of them, so it’s safe to assume they know that a match with Matanza at this point could be their last moment alive (this doesn’t include Pizza Delivery Man, who was only delivering pizza on that day). The comedy before the match is alright if done right, but it shouldn’t be present during the match itself as it just undersells the seriousness of these Sacrifices, especially when it involves Matanza taking silly hits and selling them for a moment.
Back from the commercial break, we’re immediately introduced to two of the competitors for our next match: Joey Ryan and Jack Evans. Striker made a quip about these two being in a sitcom called, “Loud Mouth and Sleazy,” which would be a decent name for them, honestly. While Joey begins to oil up his third tag team partner (don’t think about it too hard), Melissa begins to introduce their opponents to the ring: XO Lishus and Ivelisse. The Believers immediately chants for XO as he twerks and shakes his way to the ring and they cheer Ivelisse as she enters into the ring as well.
Match 2: XO Lishus and Ivelisse vs. Joey Ryan and Jack Evans
Jack Evans and Joey Ryan look to have revenge on their mind as they face off against the very competitors that beat them in their respective matches: the ever-energetic XO Lishus and “La Sicaria” Ivelisse. With Jack Evans here, it’s safe to assume he won’t have any involvement in the Eight-Man main-event (which was pretty obvious because Jack doesn’t do snakes anyways, despite defeating Drago before). This already promises to be an interesting match as the Believers are already hyped for the latter team but can they topple the strange duo of Joey Ryan and Jack Evans here or will Evans and Ryan gain comeuppance against their rivals?
Ivelisse and Evans start this match up with a fake-out knuckle lock by Evans, leading Ivelisse’s hand down before she slaps the hand away, leaving her susceptible to a kick to the gut and a quick wrist-lock. Ivelisse manages to counter into a hammer-lock on Evans and dodges a back elbow to spin him around and take him down with a leg-sweep. Evans attempts to catch Ivelisse with a sweeping kick from below but his leg gets caught under Ivelisse’s arm, forcing him into a pseudo-handstand position. Ivelisse stomps on Evans’s right hand, forcing him to roll through and back up. Evans throws a wild side kick but misses Ivelisse as he rushes to the ropes and springboard moonsaults over to end up behind Ivelisse, which allows her to catch Evans with a quick hurricanrana to subdue him again. Evans immediately rushes over to his side and tags in Joey Ryan, who adds his lollipop into his tights (how does he even wrestle with that where he puts it?) and rushes Ivelisse. Ryan’s momentum, however, results in him getting arm-dragged into the corner by Ivelisse, who follows up with chops to the chest and tags in XO Lishus, who locks Joey in a headscissors and holds the corner ropes for leverage as he slams Ryan’s face into his ‘assets’ multiple times. Ryan ends up seated in the middle of the ring but he seemed to like what just happened, as XO blushes in the corner and the Believers begin to chant, ‘Joey likes it!’ (I’m not even going to question it) at the moment. Joey invites XO for a kiss and he begins to crawl towards Joey but XO fakes Ryan out with a basement dropkick and attempts the ‘Twerk-sault’ (not the official name but I’m calling it that now) but he misses it, allowing Joey to tag in Evans.
Evans immediately catches XO with a springboard side kick and exclaims that he would deal with Ivelisse later, as he corners XO. Evans whips XO but XO reverses the whip, sending Jack into the corner. XO then proceeds to deliver what I initially assumed to be the handspring back elbow but he stopped right at the end and turned it into the loudest slap ever (with extra sass added in for measure). Evans attempts a lariat out of anger but XO Matrix-dodges it and spider-walks towards Evans to freak him out a moment before nailing him with the catapult kick. XO goes for the pinfall but leaves his back exposed to Joey Ryan, who breaks up the pinfall. XO breaks through an attempted attack by Ryan to roll over and tag Ivelisse, who drops both Ryan and Evans with forearm tackles (including one that turns Evans inside-out) and catches Evans with a Scorpion Kick. Evans, however, manages to counter through and flips out of a countered kick by Ivelisse to nail her with a beautiful clockwork spin-kick (which Vampiro compares to being hit with a baseball bat, not that he’s ever hit anyone with one, mind you) for a two-count. Evans tags Ryan in and the offense continues on Ivelisse with a snapmare and her face being rubbed into the mat. Ryan continues with a chin-lock back in, and grounds Ivelisse and rubs her face into the mat. Ryan attempts to whip Ivelisse into the ropes but she manages to lock into a wheelbarrow-body-scissor position on Ryan and drops him with a DDT, leaving both competitors down.
Both competitors tag in their respective partners and XO and Evans go to war, with XO dropping Evans with a series of kicks before sweeping Evans’ legs and rebounding the ropes with a split-leg drop for a pinfall attempt but Ryan breaks up the pin. Ivelisse, in turn, responds with a kick to drop Ryan and the two work together, as XO catapults Evans into a superkick by Ivelisse, which drops Evans back down onto XO’s knees and allowing Ivelisse to catch Evans with a downward kick to the ribs for a two-count. A little bit of miscommunication follows here between Ivelisse and XO, who assumed he had the match won. This leads to Ivelisse being distracted as she pursues Ryan, who flips her over to the apron and drops her with a superkick. XO manages to drop Ryan with a kick and lands the Twerksault onto Ryan. However, Evans manages to catch him with a springboard spin kick and locks in a Locoplata submission (it’s not totally locked in properly, as Jack should have his arm around XO’s head and grabbing his left boot while pushing on his left heel with his right foot and holding XO’s left hand with his right hand). Nevertheless, XO passes out without tapping, forcing the referee to stop the match for a submission victory.
Post-Match, Evans refuses to relinquish the hold, wrenching back even harder on XO as he’s unconscious. Joey Ryan comes in and attempts to plead with Jack to relinquish the hold to no avail. Ivelisse eventually comes in and stomps on Jack to break the hold up, forcing Ryan and Evans to back away as Joey scolds Jack for the antics and Jack continues to shout that it wasn’t over between them until XO was dead (more ‘death’, go figure). Ivelisse checks on XO in the ring as he starts to awaken.
Winners: Jack Evans and Joey Ryan
Analysis: This was definitely a pretty good match between all four competitors from start to finish. There were very little lull-periods between the two teams and each person got their chance to shine in moments throughout the match. Jack Evans played the vengeful-driven role very well and you felt that he was out for blood in this match, which is exactly what he needed to do in this feud. Ivelisse was also really good here and the Believers are firmly behind her and XO Lishus at this point, which is a major plus for their positions in the Ice Temple. XO Lishus was already on my radar at first after his first match with Jack Evans but this match solidified me as a fan of his work, as he has such a solid grasp on his character and he just owns what he does so well, especially that bit with Joey Ryan during the match. Speaking of Ryan, he definitely toned the sleaze down a little bit here but, when he had that moment with XO in the ring, that was absolutely hilarious. I’ve officially now shipped the two together and we will fight if you disagree so let’s move on, yes?
Striker announces that the next match is going to be El Dragon Azteca Jr. in his first defense of the Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship against Mariposa.
Back from commercial break, Melissa Santos is back in the ring as she introduces us to one of the competitors in the next match, Mariposa, who is already in the ring, as she stares Melissa down (which is a nice nod to their feud last season, when Mariposa’s brother, Marty, was obsessed with Melissa). Our next competitor, the Gift of the Gods Champion, El Dragon Azteca Jr. comes out next as he’s adored by the Believers on the way to the ring. I just want to say, on a side-note, the Gift of the Gods Championship looks beautiful and I’d love to own a replica of it, if possible, but I’d completely understand if Lucha Underground doesn’t sell belt replicas, as it just adds to the honor and prestige of the title itself to only have one out there.
Match 3: El Dragon Azteca, Jr. (c) vs Mariposa (Gift of the Gods Championship)
El Dragon Azteca, Jr. is riding a wave of momentum following his crowning as the new champion and his declaration that he would be exchanging his gift for the chance against the Lucha Underground Champion at Ultima Lucha Cuatro. That event, however, is a long ways off so, until that time comes, Azteca must defend his championship against all contenders, who will undoubtedly be vying for the same opportunity Azteca has currently. The first contender on the list is Mariposa, who bribed Antonio Cueto for her chance earlier in the show. Can Mariposa capitalize on her opportunity or will her $20,000 chance go bankrupt via Azteca’s indomitable spirit?
The referee receives the championship from Azteca and raises it in the air as Mariposa extends her hand out for a handshake in good sportsmanship. As the referee has his back turned to hand the belt to the outside, however, Mariposa punt-kicks Azteca’s dragon eggs, dropping him to the floor before the match even begins. As the bell rings, Mariposa catches a cornered Azteca and props his leg against the rope to deliver a kick onto the inside of Azteca’s thigh (dangerously close to his groin) for a two-count. Mariposa attempts to whip Azteca into the adjacent corner but Azteca reverses the whip to send Mariposa into the corner and follows up with a discus lariat into the corner. Azteca continues the momentum and rolls away to gain some distance from his challenger before rushing in with a running forearm to his challenger, followed by a snapmare to seat Mariposa into the middle of the ring as Azteca rushes the ropes for a quick leaping side-kick to the side of Mariposa’s head for a two-count. Mariposa is reeling at this point as Azteca rebounds into the ropes one more time for an attack but Mariposa catches him with a Samoan Drop for a two-count as the Believers begin to chant ‘Fight Forever.’
Mariposa starts to get frustrated at this point, as she twirls her hair and prepares for a punt kick onto a prone Azteca. Azteca, however, dodges and catches an incoming Mariposa with a pump kick to drop her to the mat. Azteca then positions Mariposa and ascends to the top rope to deliver a 450 Splash onto his downed opponent but gets a shocking two-count. Azteca begins to get frustrated and picks up Mariposa but she manages to dodge an incoming lariat and manages to secure Azteca to land the Butterfly Effect for another shocking two-count as the Believers are now in a frenzy with ‘Lucha’ chants! Mariposa beats her chest and sets Azteca up for another Butterfly Effect but Azteca pushes out and manages to roll Mariposa up in a press-roll up, crossing Mariposa’s legs to compromise her hips and securing the quick pinfall victory!
Winner: El Dragon Azteca, Jr. (Title Retained)
Analysis: This was a bit of a quick match but so much happened in this period of time that it came off as a battle fairly quickly. Mariposa can definitely be a contender for any championship with her dangerous fighting style and quick reaction and it definitely showed here, as she could’ve believably put away Azteca with her Butterfly Effect for the victory and walked away with the championship. El Dragon Azteca, Jr., in comparison, looked even tougher in this match as he managed to fend off a game Mariposa while managing to adapt to her style and put her away quickly enough to avoid sustaining any further damage. I would’ve honestly preferred for this match to go a bit longer as too much happened in a short time to allow everything to digest smoothly but, overall, I’m alright with this result. Azteca now has his first defense under his belt and he’s now starting to build his legacy as a fighting champion in the process, which is a great way to continue his story and structure him as a viable challenger for the Lucha Underground Championship in the process. I’m looking forward to seeing what Azteca will do with this title reign and how his story will build in due time.
Striker notifies us that the main-event is next as the Reptile Tribe and Worldwide Underground prepare for an all-out war!
Back from the commercial break, Melissa Santos is back in the ring to introduce us to the competitors for our main event! Melissa runs through the stipulations one more time: if the Reptile Tribe wins, Johnny Mundo must join the Reptile Tribe. If Worldwide Underground wins, Kobra Moon must grant Johnny Mundo one wish. Melissa introduces the first half of the match as the Reptile Tribe, consisting of Drago, Daga and Kobra Moon make their way to the ring. Striker and Vampiro quickly note that Vibora is not present with the group at this point but believe that he may become a factor later in the match (he probably won’t as his ‘head’ isn’t in the game for this one…sorry, I had to). Kobra Moon grabs the microphone and states that what Mundo did to Vibora was cold-blooded and that she respects it, as it only proves that he belongs in her tribe. However, she came prepared as she has a substitute for Vibora. She notes that she brought this man back from the dead with her venom and he has been reborn. She introduces the newest member of the Reptile Tribe: Jeremiah Snake (a resurrected Jeremiah Crane, now under the control of Kobra Moon). Jeremiah Snake slowly makes his way into the ring, looking as if he is under a hypnotic spell.
Melissa then introduces Worldwide Underground, consisting of Johnny Mundo, Taya, Ricky Mundo (w/ Rosa) and “Darewolf” PJ Black. Mundo has a microphone as well and notes that he digs the last-minute change to the Reptile Tribe’s line-up and that he was thinking the same thing. With that in mind, he decides to eject Ricky from his team, sending him to the back as he felt that he needed someone that can handle his business. Mundo states that he needed someone that he could count on to do whatever it took to cut off each of their slimy serpent heads, like they did to Vibora (pretty sure no one actually caught that part live, based on the reaction, which makes sense because no one in the Temple knew that Vibora was beheaded by that point). With that in mind, he introduced his newest partner: Aerostar! The man from the Cosmos is back, sporting a Worldwide Underground headband (which is hilarious not only because it looks so goofy, but because of the feud between Aerostar, Drago, Fenix and the Worldwide Underground back when the former were Lucha Underground Trios Champions) as Aerostar makes his way down the stairway, intent on saving his friend Drago once more!
Match 4: The Reptile Tribe (Kobra Moon, Daga, Drago, Jeremiah Snake) vs. Worldwide Underground (Johnny Mundo, Taya, PJ Black and Aerostar)
**Editor’s Note – Due to the nature of Lucha Underground’s programming, the image above notes that Vibora and Ricky Mundo are in the match. However, in the last episode, Vibora was decapitated by Johnny Mundo and Taya, unbeknownst to the live audience (as the promos are filmed after all of the tapings) and Ricky was replaced just before the match. As the result, the image above, which was present in the show, promotes both men in this match, but the recap will cover Aerostar and Jeremiah Snake as the replacements.
This is such a trippy sight to witness, only because Aerostar is now with Worldwide Underground for the time-being, but it makes absolute sense here. Think of the adage, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Aerostar had spent the last season trying to rescue his friend and his partner, Drago, from the clutches of Kobra Moon’s Reptile Tribe while contending with Worldwide Underground. With Fenix now incapacitated due to Catrina stealing his life-force and Worldwide Underground now at war with the Reptile Tribe, Aerostar is down to his last-resort as he must now team with his former bitter rivals as a last-ditch effort to break-through to his spellbound friend. Will this attempt work and allow Aerostar to finally rescue his friend? Will Johnny Mundo escape the clutches of the Reptile Tribe and walk away with one wish or will the Reptile Tribe dismantle Worldwide Underground and walk away with their leader in the process?
Before the match even begins, The Reptile Tribe members are all in the ring as the Worldwide Underground surround them on the outside. Once the bell rings, however, all hell breaks loose as all eight members brawl with each other. Snake ejects PJ Black to the outside, while Taya and Moon end up on the outside as they continue to brawl. Mundo and Snake continue to battle on the inside, with Snake being tossed into the corner and Mundo dropping him with a springboard kick. Mundo tears off his headband and slaps Snake with it before rushing to the ropes. Snake, however, follows suit and rebounds the same ropes as Mundo, attempting to land a short-arm clothesline but missing. The two trade off with this same tactic for a few rounds Snake stops and catches Mundo with a quick reverse-arm lariat. We get a quick shot of Taya and Moon still brawling on the outside while Mundo rolls to the outside. Snake follows suit and props himself up on the apron, rushing Mundo with a punt kick and dropping him on the floor, where all of the competitors are located. Immediately after, Aerostar sneaks back into the ring and dropkicks Snake onto the floor next to Mundo and PJ Black. Aerostar then immediately follows suit with a Triangle Plancha, taking out everyone on the outside. Right after, Daga and Drago are back in the ring and Daga catapults Drago to the outside with a Corkscrew Plancha onto everybody as well. At this point, Taya manages to sneak around to the side of the ring to re-enter and shotgun-dropkick Daga to the outside before heading up to the top rope and dive onto everyone on the outside, taking them out once again (it must really suck to be outside the ring right now).
At this point, Kobra Moon slithers around to the opposite side of the ring as Mundo gets ready for his turn to murder everyone on the outside. Fortunately for all involved, Snake manages to come back in and attempts to clothesline Mundo on the apron. However, Mundo ducks it and throws a wild hook to Snake, who ducks and throws a kick at Mundo to stun him. Moon comes back into the ring at this point and, following an assisted-wheelbarrow into a back suplex position, Snake tosses Moon onto Mundo as she locks him into a cutter, driving both competitors again into everyone on the outside (seriously guys, there’s a lot of space around the ring, you know).
Snake leaves to the outside and the brawl among the competitors resumes yet again as Snake grabs Mundo in particular (while Vampiro rants about Satan and Lucifer for some reason). Dragging him to the announcers’ side, Snake spits in his hand and lets the saliva drip back into his mouth as he chops Mundo’s chest and leaves him on a nearby chair (which was pretty gross, to admit). The rest of the The Reptile Tribe position the other members of Worldwide Underground into the same chair, as Snake begins his lap around the ring, building momentum and cannonballs into the entire pile of bodies as the Believers are in a frenzy. big floor brawl continues, and Snake hits a cannonball into the pile, sending bodies into the chairs. Daga sends Taya back into the ring and actually tags Snake on the outside (which I seriously love that they actually kept that thought of the legal competitor in mind the entire time).
Taya and Snake are now in the ring as Snake slithers towards a cornered Taya. At this point, the match has finally turned into a normal eight-man tag team match, with each side on the corner. It only took over almost 10 minutes, but I digress. The Believers chant ‘Wera Loca’ (which is supposed to translate into ‘Crazy Girl’ but the ‘Wera’ part is a bit off) to fire Taya up as she flips the finger into Snake’s face, which expectedly led to Snake biting the finger. Taya manages to catch Snake with a series of strikes to stun him but Snake manages to recoil and drills Taya with a bicycle kick to send her to the mat. Snake begins to take control, clubbing Taya with a blow to the back and an Irish Whip, but Taya reverses and gets waist-control onto Snake to deliver a German Suplex. Taya manages to make it to the corner to tag in PJ Black, who catches Snake with a springboard cross-body and dispatches all of the members of the Reptile Tribe. Black continues the offense with a series of shoulder-tackles on Snake and counters a trip-up by Snake to catch him in an arm-drag/leg-trip/double-stomp combination, finished with a pose as he only can do. However, Snake takes advantage by rushing Black into the ropes, but Black holds on as Snake rolls back and gets caught with a jumping side-kick to the head for a two-count due to Drago breaking up the pin. Drago fires off a forearm onto Black, who reels back to tag in Mundo. Both men proceed to double-team Drago, with shots to the gut, followed by a dual-snapmare and stereo kicks to the side of the head. Both men work on Snake as well but it isn’t as successful, unfortunately, as Snake drops both men with a split-legged dropkick. Snake picks up Mundo but he shoves Snake into Moon, dropping her onto the floor and catches Snake with a leg-lariat before dropping Daga with a springboard kick as well.
Mundo capitalizes on the momentum by dropping Snake with Moonlight Drive. However, as he picks Snake up, Snake digs into Mundo’s eyes with his thumbs and tags in Moon, who immediately tags in Drago as Moon ascends to the top rope for a cross-body on Mundo. Mundo catches Moon but is vulnerable to dual-superkicks from Snake and Drago. Mundo rolls through the kicks with Moon still in hand, but the duo fire off two more superkicks on Mundo, dropping him on his back as all three attempt to cover Mundo but leave his left shoulder exposed, which Mundo lifts up for a two-count. Mundo is seated with Drago, Snake and Moon near him and immediately throws punches and kicks to fight them all off temporarily but he makes the mistake of running the ropes, leading to Mundo eating a vicious triple-superkick, followed by a tilt-a-whirl DDT to drop Mundo down for a pinfall, but Taya and Black break it up at a very close two-count (Striker pointed out that Mundo did not kick out, indicating that could’ve potentially ended the match, keep doing that Striker, I love that style of commentary).
Taya and Black send Snake and Moon to the outside but they’re both pulled by the Reptile duo as they brawl outside again. Aerostar gets back into the ring and comes face-to-face with Drago for a moment before telling him to watch as he springboards to the apron and catches everyone on the outside with a springboard multi-corkscrew plancha. Drago pauses for a moment but goes right back on the offense towards Mundo, who catches Drago with a kick to the gut and attempts Moonlight Drive, but Drago counters and superkicks Mundo. Mundo rebounds and hits a Superman-Forearm to the face of Drago. Drago rebounds the ropes and catches Mundo with a forearm as well and ducks Mundo’s forearm to springboard off the ropes, attempting to lock Mundo in the Dragon’s Whip pinfall but Mundo manages to roll through and rock Drago with the running knee strike and follow up with End of the World for the pinfall!
Post-Match, Worldwide Underground are recouping from their victory as the Reptile Tribe attempt to slither out of the Ice Temple. However, Mundo stops Kobra Moon before she gets further and reminds her that she owes him one wish. Noting that he wanted to honor the man that stepped up to join Worldwide Underground, Mundo offered to use his wish for Aerostar, which leaves Taya visibly upset. Mundo reveals his one wish: set Drago free! The Believers wildly cheer while the Reptile Tribe are in shock and Taya becomes extremely upset at this notion (while PJ Black just stands there awkwardly). The Reptile Tribe leave Drago behind, chain-and-all, and Aerostar heads to his brainwashed friend to undo the collar, while Taya continues to scream at Johnny, who retorts to give them a moment. Once Drago is free, he seems unsure of what to do at that point until Aerostar guides him to the back. Drago yells out a scream of freedom as he follows Aerostar to the back. Taya, in the meantime, furiously grabs Johnny’s microphone, calling him an idiot for helping Aerostar and believing that everything they just went through was for nothing. Taya tosses the microphone to the mat and leans on the corner as Mundo picks it up and says that Kobra Moon couldn’t grant his wish, only Taya could do that. At this point, Mundo calls PJ Black over, as he hands Mundo an engagement ring! Mundo gets down on his knee and proposes to Taya in the middle of the ring (with the best Macho Man impression he could muster after the battle he went through)! Taya says ‘Yes!’ as the two share a passionate kiss in the ring and Mundo lifts Taya up (like the Macho Man/Miss Elizabeth moment, complete with Macho’s theme playing)! PJ Black awkwardly sits on a corner before eventually leaving the ring, closing the show on a really feel-good moment!
Winners: Worldwide Underground (Johnny’s Wish: Free Drago)
Before we’re off-the-air, however, we get one quick snapback to the locker room, where a visibly upset and angry Ricky Mundo is present. Ricky declares that he has a wish as well. He wishes that both Johnny and Taya are ‘happily together until death do them part’. While he says this, he stares into a mirror with a creepy, sadistic smile and laugh, while Rosa the Doll also laughs with him. I’m visibly creeped out by that doll and the way it’s being portrayed so whatever they’re doing with Ricky is definitely working. That scene closes the show for the night as we go off the air.
Analysis: Holy saltine cracker, there’s a lot to discuss in this match so let’s break this up into parts. Even before the match began, we got a switch-up in the line-ups for both teams but it definitely paid off in spades here! Vibora, as good as he’s been in the last couple of episodes, would’ve never been able to pull off what we witnessed here (and the same could be said for Ricky Mundo as well). This entire battle was pedal-to-the-metal from the get-go and it was handled exactly as it should’ve been handled: as a straight-up brawl throughout the match. The feud itself had a bit of a weak start, admittedly, but it’s hard to deny that the build was definitely accelerating as it progressed, which is why I always say (or at least imply) in my recaps that I’m willing to be patient and let the story play out. The match itself was excellent and chaotic, which made the feud’s payoff that much greater. The Reptile Tribe is badly shattered as they lost Vibora and Drago, leaving Moon, Daga and Snake remaining. Mundo definitely came off as the star of this match, fighting off the Tribe by himself at many points but everyone here really stepped up and elevated this match to great heights.
Jeremiah Crane/Snake as a new member of the Reptile Tribe was definitely unexpected and, while he definitely played his role well here as a servant of Kobra Moon and Daga, it’s going to take some time to get used to seeing the once-independant Jeremiah Crane serve as a soldier to the Reptile Tribe. Conversely, it was such a weird trip to see Aerostar working with the Worldwide Underground but, as I mentioned before, given that they had mutual enemies and Aerostar’s desire to save Drago was so great, it made sense that the two would put their hatred aside for a common goal: defeating the Reptile Tribe. Johnny’s benevolent offer to free Drago with his wish has accordingly turned the Worldwide Underground (minus Jack Evans cause he’s crazy) into good guys and has reunited Aerostar and Drago (Fenix is taking a nap but they’ll wake him up at some point, right?) once more. I’m going to assume Aerostar is leaving Worldwide Underground after this but that image of him wearing the headband over his mask will forever be burned into my memory and that was funny!
The proposal at the end was very unexpected here but you knew it was inevitable with the way they portrayed Mundo and Taya’s relationship on-screen and the two are married in real-life (which makes me wonder how much of this was written out and if this was legitimately written in as a surprise because Taya seemed legitimately taken aback) and it was an awesome feel-good moment in the Ice Temple, which is really rare when cranky ol’ man Cueto’s running the helm. We even got a Macho Man/Miss Elizabeth moment, which was just as good as snapping into a Slim Jim (I’m not sponsored by them, by the way *ahem*call me*ahem). That ending with Ricky Mundo creepily smiling into the mirror with Rosa and declaring that statement means he’s definitely going to splinter off and feud with Johnny soon. Ricky plays this psychotic character so well and I legitimately get an uneasy feeling from watching what he does, which is extremely great work on his part! I felt bad for the guy when Johnny unceremoniously ejected him from the team before the match but now I’m interested to see how he retaliates (especially considering whatever he did to Angelico that has resulted in us not seeing him at all this season).
Full Show Analysis: Well, this show definitely picked up in comparison to last week’s show! We got some really good matches in this episode, followed by a lot of story advancement/conclusions. Assumedly, the war between the Reptile Tribe and Worldwide Underground is now over, with the release of Drago and Johnny and Taya’s engagement. Ricky Mundo seems to be near making his move on Johnny Mundo as his psyche is starting to crumble under all the abuse he’s taken from the Worldwide Underground. El Dragon Azteca, Jr.’s story is starting to build and his title reign is starting to become established as he grows with each match. We also got some more great action from XO Lishus, who’s growing to be one of my favorites in the Ice Temple, as well as the edge of Jack Evans slowly making him become more unhinged as he won’t stop until XO is ‘dead’. Lastly, we’ve got some development for the Rabbit Tribe as they begin to reveal shades of their sadistic and troubled side with the sacrifice of Mala Suerte.
The best part of all of this, however, is that we’re nowhere near the best parts of the season yet! Season 4 is starting to ramp up even higher and, if we can avoid episodes like last week, we may start to come closer to recapturing the magic of the past few seasons and tap into that energy that made us all Believers in the first place!
That’ll do it for this episode, fellow Believers! We survived another week without being sacrificed by Matanza Cueto and the Rabbit Tribe hasn’t taken us down the Rabbit Hole! Let me know what you thought of this show, your favorite standout moments and if you thought anything should have been handled better in the comments section and leave feedback with what you all think of these reviews so far. As I said, these reviews are for you, my fellow Believers, and I want them to be styled to your liking as well. I hope to see you all next week for the next offering from the Ice Temple. Take care and keep believing!
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Image Credit: Lucha Underground