Fenix vs Pentagon Jr vs Ivelisse vs King Cuerno vs Taya vs Johnny Mundo
Number One Contender’s Elimination Match
Taped 01/16/2016, aired 06/15/2016
Lucha Underground Arena, Boyle Heights, California, United States
(reviewed 01/03/2017) Just like the twelve-man tag from the week before, I remember this being fairly good, in no small part due to it being given a lot of time. They go right at it at the bell, brawling around, with people teaming up to take the advantage, feeling a bit like a miniature Royal Rumble. As everyone squares off for one-on-one encounters, things slow down quite a bit, which is the obvious downside of booking this match to be an entire episode. One week after saying that I liked the Mundo DUN DUN pose spot, it already feels forced. Not too long into the match, when Cuerno looks to have Fenix beat, Mil Muertes appears and attacks Cuerno, which allows Mundo to hit the End of the World and eliminate him. Bummed to see my favorite guy in the fed eliminated first, but realistically, of these six competitors, he should be eliminated first. Taya and Mundo are the established heels and should have a solid run. Ivelisse is one of their primary beefs, and certainly their biggest beef in this match, so she should remain for a minute. Fenix is real over with the crowd and Pentagon is Pentagon, so that leaves Cuerno to be eliminated first. While their eventual match was a big disappointment, having Muertes take him out to hype their Ultima Lucha bout makes sense. I just wish he lasted longer, as he’s eliminated about six minutes into a 35+ minute match (which is sort of a sad trend for him, as he was eliminated super early in the second Aztec Warfare match too). The match progresses, mostly based around Ivelisse vs Mundo and Taya for a bit until Taya eliminates her rival with a standing double stomp. Back from commercial, Pentagon hits a Shattered Dreams on Taya, which is curious, and kicks her in the ass a bunch out on the floor, which is lame. Mundo takes umbrage with it, calling Pentagon into the ring, but he and Taya work together to take out both him and Fenix. Eventually the brothers fight back, and Fenix connects with a double stomp off the top to Mundo’s back as he’s slumped over the middle rope, and it sounds super gross. Granted, so much of LU is sweetened in post, so it could just be some great Foley work, but still. Immediately thereafter, Pentagon eliminates Taya with a running package piledriver. Staring each other down, the three remaining men trade chops all around before Fenix sends Pentagon to the outside with a rana. A big ol’ gutwrench powerbomb gets Mundo a nearfall, but when he tries to top it off with a tope suicida on Fenix, Fenix baits him in and floors him with a really gross enzuigiri. Pentagon recovers and dives on them both for a triple down on the floor. The brothers trade some goofy strikes before Fenix again ranas Pentagon and Mundo hits them both with a rather impressive double jump corkscrew dive. Back in the ring, Mundo wears away at Fenix and his taped-up shoulder, turning his attention to Pentagon when he tries to interfere. Eventually, los hermanos team up and eliminate Mundo with a weak wheelbarrow shotgun deal, Pentagon barely able to keep his shoulders up to avoid being counted down as well. After staring each other down, the lads go at it with some goofy holds. It’s probably the closest the show comes to actual lucha libre, and it’s hilarious that the crowd doesn’t know what to make of it and isn’t exactly thrilled about it. Before long, they switch to the usual sort of Americanized highflying and striking. It’s again quite slow, with lots of downtime between spots, but it’s not bad necessarily, just annoying. Fenix hits a super impressive double jump 180 frankensteiner off the top for a big nearfall, and it’s followed up by a pair of sloppy slingblades by Pentagon. He goes for a third and Fenix superkicks, hitting him in the chest before both men collapse again for probably the fourth or fifth double down in this match. Here, the downtime is becoming actively bad, reminding me a lot of those HHH vs Taker WrestleMania matches. Out on the apron, Pentagon superkicks Fenix to the floor and catches him with a Canadian Destroyer on the floor for another double down. Back in the ring, Fenix hits a less-than-stellar gin-n-tonic before the brothers trade wild slaps back and forth. They trade a pair of superkicks, Pentagon hits another Canadian Destroyer, and holds onto it to flatten Fenix with a Package Piledriver for the win. Not… bad, really, but a match with a lot of problems. They don’t do a great job of populating the relatively lengthy match with life, as there’s a ton of downtime, even early on. What’s more, with the last portion of the match (Pentagon vs Fenix) being a bit over a third of the total run time, it really wears on you, especially since it’s practically two brothers giving their best backyard wrestling performance. They really blow through the eliminations early (at least it’s in the most sensible order) and don’t play with the multi-man stipulation enough for my taste, but aside from all those flaws, I do like this match quite a bit. It’s a refreshing bit of change from the usual Lucha Underground formula, and even though it’s the same usual sort of spots and ideas, the slower pace, despite being too slow, is appreciated and enjoyable.