Stardom Invades Lucha Underground on 11/30/16

Event: Lucha Underground Season 3, Episode 13: Breaker of Bones
Air Date: November 30th, 2016
Location: Lucha Underground Arena in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Announced Attendance: Unknown

Eight months ago, Io Shirai, Mayu Iwatani, and Kairi Hojo traveled to the United States to tape a few epsiodes for one of the most entertaining wrestling promotions currently on national TV – Lucha Underground. I follow Lucha Underground loosely and am still about six episodes behind, but I jumped ahead to this one so I could watch this show. I won’t go into all the backstory, but the three were brought into Lucha Underground by Black Lotus to help defeat Pentagon Dark (aka Pentagon Jr.) after Pentagon Dark broke her arm at Ultima Lucha Dos. It was announced that on this episode, Pentagon Dark would wrestle Black Lotus and the “Black Lotus Triad” in a gauntlet match (a series of 1 vs. 1 matches). Kairi is up first, followed by Mayu, then Io before Black Lotus wrestles last.

Pentagon Dark vs. Doku (Kairi Hojo)

luchaunderground1Pentagon and Doku start the match slow as they feel each other out, Pentagon pushes Doku into the corner but Doku switches positions with him and hits a series of chops. Low kick by Doku but Pentagon dropkicks her hard into the corner, Doku fires back with elbows and she hits a spinning chop. Superkick by Pentagon, he pushes Doku against the ropes and chops her hard in the chest. Pentagon slides Doku out of the ring and goes out after her, tossing Doku first into the wall and then into the ring steps. He press slams Doku onto the apron before throwing her into the wall again, superkick by Pentagon and he finally slides Doku back into the ring. Kick to the leg by Pentagon, Doku goes for a spear but Pentagon catches her. Pentagon goes off the ropes but Doku does too and hits the spear this time, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and deliver a diving elbow drop. Doku goes up top again and goes for another diving elbow drop, but this time Pentagon catches her arm and breaks it with The Sacrifice! The referee calls for the bell as a wrestler can not continue with a broken arm, Pentagon Dark is the winner of the first match in the Gauntlet.

Pentagon Dark vs. Yurei (Mayu Iwatani)

luchaunderground2They skip the feeling out process this time as Pentagon kicks Yurei in the stomach, armdrag by Pentagon but Yurei returns the favor. Yurei armdrags Pentagon out of the ring, Yurei goes up top and she dives out onto Pentagon with a plancha. Yurei throws Pentagon into the railing and kicks him repeatedly in the leg before throwing Pentagon into the chairs. Yurei gets the ring bell and hits Pentagon with it, she then throws Pentagon into the bleachers but Pentagon fights back with kicks. Yurei regains the advantage and slides Pentagon back into the ring, running knee attempt by Yurei but Pentagon catches her leg and applies a cross kneelock. Pentagon chops Yurei in the ropes, Pentagon flips Yurei out to the apron and Yurei connects with a diving hurricanrana. Yurei goes back up top and hits a diving footstomp, cover by Yurei but it gets a two count. Pentagon throws Yurei into the corner but Yurei kicks him back and hits a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Yurei goes up top and goes for a cannonball, but Pentagon catches her in mid-air and drops her with the Package Piledriver. Pentagon grabs Yurei’s arm and snaps it with The Sacrifice, and again the referee immediately rings the bell! Pentagon Dark wins the second match in the Gauntlet.

Pentagon Dark vs. Hitokiri (Io Shirai)

Hitokiri wastes no time and dropkicks Pentagon before the match starts, sending Pentagon out of the ring to the floor. Hitokiri quickly jumps up to the top turnbuckle and sails out onto Pentagon with a moonsault, she gets back in the ring but immediately charges the ropes and hits a tope suicida down onto Pentagon. Hitokiri gets a chair and hits Pentagon with it a few times, she throws Pentagon into the table before slapping him in the face. Hitokiri throws Pentagon into the chairs at ringside, she then removes the mat on the floor and scoop slams Pentagon onto the concrete. Hitokiri slides Pentagon back into the ring, elbows by Hitokiri but Pentagon kicks her in the face when she goes for a back bodydrop. Kicks by Hitokiri, she goes off the ropes but Pentagon dropkicks her in the stomach as she goes for the handspring. Snapmare by Pentagon and he kicks Hitokiri in the back of the head, he puts Hitokiri in the ropes and chops her hard in the chest. Kick to the face by Pentagon and he throws Hitokiri out of the ring, Pentagon follows her out and throws Hitokiri into the chairs at ringside. Pentagon grabs the camera cable and chokes Hitokiri with it, he then grabs a chair and hits Hitokiri in the leg with it. Pentagon sets up the chair before kicking Hitokiri in the ribs, after a moment he grabs Hitokiri and throws her into the chairs again. Pentagon gets Hitokiri on his shoulders and hits a Death Valley Bomb on the still exposed floor, kick to the chest by Pentagon and he tries to throw Hitokiri into the chair, but Hitokiri slams on the breaks and drop toeholds Pentagon into the chair. Hitokiri quickly jogs up the stairs, she goes over to the roof of Dario Cueto’s office and dives off of it onto Pentagon! Hitokiri recovers first and slides Pentagon back into the ring, she picks up Pentagon but Pentagon kicks her in the stomach. Pentagon goes for the Package Piledriver but Hitokiri blocks it, front flip piledriver by Hitokiri and she picks up the three count! Hitokiri wins!

luchaunderground3After this, Black Lotus comes down as Pentagon Dark still has one match left, but Black Lotus doesn’t wait for the match to start and instead breaks Pentagon Dark’s arm with The Sacrifice. Pentagon Dark’s other enemy, Dragon Azteca Jr., comes down and breaks his other arm, as the show ends with Pentagon Dark writhing in pain on the mat.

I hope that people that watched this without ever seeing the Stardom wrestlers before now understand why Joshi fans such as myself talk them up so much. All three are not only well trained wrestlers but great at selling and telling a story in the ring, they easily adapted to Lucha Underground style that took them far away from their normal comfort zone. Of the three matches, the one against Io Shirai clearly stood out as it was not only the most violent but also had the bigger spots with Io looking incredible throughout. The Kairi portion was perfectly fine wrestling with a great ending, while Mayu bumps like a mad person but doesn’t have as strong of strikes as the other three wrestlers in the match which was noticable in a few sections. Course the first two matches were more the set-up for the last, which is why I wouldn’t “rate” each match individually, it was a package deal.

Io Shirai’s dive off the roof will be a highlight shown for a long time. Io has always enjoyed jumping off things but that was the highest dive of her career, and it was even more dangerous as she only had one wrestler to catch her (in Stardom usually they have a blob of wrestlers to break the fall). She showed no fear (pun intended) throughout and took crazy strikes and bumps while never looking out of place against one of the most popular wrestlers of Lucha Underground. If one of Triple H’s minions isn’t on the phone right now with Io to up her offer to join NXT, then they are dropping the ball, as this shows that Io is able to go to a new environment against someone she has never wrestled before and still excel. A really fun Gauntlet Match that told a solid story within the bizarre Lucha Underground universe, and required viewing for anyone that hasn’t gotten a chance to see three of the best Joshi wrestlers in the world.  Highly Recommended