Ultimo Lucha Tres is going to have to go a ways to top Payback Time. The seventh episode of Lucha Underground’s third season was easily the best 60-minutes of wrestling I’ve watched all year. Payback Time perfectly embodied everything that makes Lucha Underground so great.
Lucha Underground Season 3’s season three has gotten off to a solid start. Dario’s Dial of Doom has been a very clever gimmick in showcasing Matanza Cueto’s dominance. And any excuse LU can use to work in more camera time for Dario Cueto is a good thing. The ongoing storyline of Johnny Mundo and his Worldwide Underground’s quest to take the Gift of the Gods title from Sexy star has been surprisingly great. This season’s booking has definitely provided some ECW flashbacks with all of the roster members being smartly used to highlight their skills and call attention away from any weaknesses.
Backstage, Vampiro once again tries to offer his services to Prince Puma. I like how this plays into Vampiro’s longstanding issues with Konnan and his unstated desire to mentor someone after Pentagon Jr. turned on him.
Dario welcomes us for another installment of everyone’s favorite LU game show: Dario’s Dial of Doom. There’s still some big names left on the board — namely Johnny Mundo. I love how Dario plays to the crowd. That dude eats this attention up.
Matanza vs Killshot
Matanza pretty much obliterates Killshot. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the guy who was in an evenly-matched feud with Marty the Moth to suddenly go move for move with the champ. There were just enough hope spots where it looked like Killshot’s kicks could get him a flash pin. Killshot was protected though as Striker and Vampiro make sure to mention the toll his Weapons of Mass Destruction match took on him. It’s not so much of an excuse, but a reason for why Killshot isn’t quite at Matanza’s level … yet. Following Wrath of the Gods, Killshot goes down after a game effort.
His night isn’t done though as his presumed killed in action buddy surfaces. Killshot is probably the only one who doesn’t see this beating coming. His buddy, Dante, lays a massive beat down culminating in a wicked looking cradle brainbuster. Sure, LU is borrowing the old Cobra/Sgt. Craig Pittman angle, but it’s past the statue of gimmick limitations. And unlike Cobra, Killshot actually has genuine interest from the fans.
The Trios champions come out, but not to take on a new threat. Dario is ready for Aztec Warfare and offers his signature unique opportunity. Dario doubts anyone can beat Matanza so to have some fun, he has Matanza start at No. 1. The winner of the trios champs will gain the final number of No. 20. The losers won’t be in Aztec Warfare at all.
Fenix vs. Drago vs. Aerostar
Fenix might have the best thrust kicks in wrestling. They legit look like they hurt. Aerostar is the most Sabu-like wrestler on Lucha Underground’s roster. He does a slew of high risk moves that he won’t always hit, but when he does they look great. This isn’t LU’s best triple threat this year — that remains the Prince Puma vs Pentagon vs Mil Muertes match — but it was a fun high impact aerial encounter.
Drago gets the surprising win. Fenix seemed like the more natural choice, but I appreciate the booking throwing a curve ball. That doesn’t guarantee Drago the win, but it re-establishes him as a solo threat again.
Kobra Moon slithers in the locker room to make sure Drago delivers the LU title to their tribe. Some random dude brings some pizza into the men’s room and farts. That sequence was goofy stupid with a dumb payoff.
Johnny Mundo continues his quest for the Lucha Underground title. To help sway Dario, he brings back the $100,000 he grabbed back in Season 1. And now Johnny gets his long-awaited match against Sexy Star for the Gift of the Gods title. I like how in Lucha Underground, the heels screw each other too. There was no reason Dario needed to make Johnny jump through hoops besides being a tool. That’s totally fitting with his character.
Mil Muertes vs. Prince Puma
This match played out like the 2016 edition of Sting vs. Vader. In their first big encounter, Sting got rag-dolled en route to losing his WCW title. In the subsequent rematches, Sting stepped up his game to be able to rise to match Vader’s intensity. Quick note: Catrina’s catsuit is spectacular.
For their rematch, Puma gets a lot more offense with Muertes cutting him off with big power moves. In summary, Puma gets the whoa! moves while Muertes gets the ouch! moves. They have a very solid big man/agile babyface chemistry.
Puma gets the win after a savage thrust kick to the post and hitting the 630. This feud likely will keep going if evidenced by Vampiro’s approving smile. I’m really intrigued if Vampiro is working a long con with Muertes and Catrina to set Puma up.
Post credits, Rey Mysterio Jr. chats with Chavo
Classic Guerrero Sr. about Chavo Jr. The Temple can only contain one of them. I don’t know why Rey thinks Chavo would be down for him running his son out of LU, but that’s what makes Rey such an unsuspecting babyface.
The three matches exceeded expectations this week and there was major progression to other story lines. Maybe there wasn’t an obvious Match of the Year candidate here, but from a top to bottom enjoyment factor, Payback Time was one of Lucha Underground’s standout episodes.
Rating: 9.8 out of 10
Photo Credit: Lucha Underground