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April 19, 2015 / barrylad

Vampiro vs. Pentagon Jr from Lucha Underground 2015

Match Analysis by Barry Murphy:

This was a match without rules. Add ‘Cero Miedo’ to the never-ending list of ‘no rules match’ pseudonyms in wrestling.

Pentagon Jr has an incredible aura as he enters the temple, menacingly prancing to his under-rated theme. He is donned in all white gear tonight, which was an immediate sign of trouble. Vampiro had an awesome ‘dark Pope’ costume, which made for a great entrance. Striker was spouting on about how he knows ‘Ian’ and not ‘Vampiro,’ which is the crux of this angle. I like a lot of things about Striker, but this was the type of verbiage that would sound better coming from someone else – he sounded very canned, overly prepared.

While Vampiro was posturing for the crowd, Pentagon clobbered him with a series of chair shots to the back. Vampiro was not moving very well at all, even early on. It’s important to remember that, along with his litany of wrestling injuries, Vamp also broke his back in 2009 during a home invasion.  Vampiro escaped into the crowd momentarily, where they brawled for a brief stretch. Back at ringside, Pentagon uncovered the concrete floor. Vampiro then took an Attitude Adjustment style bump onto the exposed floor. I cannot fathom this guy taking such a bump – even if he was ten years younger. Nasty. Pentagon laid in more chair shots and choked Vamp with a cable as we cut to commercial. Striker was doing his somber ‘go to commercial’ voice as EMTs entered the fray.

Rick Knox threw up the ‘X.’ Vamp was loaded onto a stretcher but struck a paramedic and struggled back into the ring. He did an excellent job feigning the struggle of even entering through the ropes – at least I hope he was feigning it. Pentagon went immediately back on the attack but Vamp countered with a rough looking wheel kick. The crowd went INSANE for Vamp on offence. He got a bag of thumbtacks. Pentagon was immediately scoop slammed onto them. Vampiro went for a TWISTING SENTON OFF THE TOP ROPE (yes), but Pentagon moved. Vamp crashed and burned into the thumbtacks, but really it was the bump that was the scary part. Melissa Santos’ reactions at ringside were great. The crowd was on their feet from this point on.

Pentagon fetched a light-tube and broke it over Vampiro’s head. Vamp was immediately covered in blood. Pentagon stuck a broken shard of light-tube into Vampiro’s face. They had some amazing reaction shots of audience members looking repulsed. Pentagon licked a spattering of blood off his arm. Michael Shivallo on commentary said he was an animal who should be locked up. Pentagon threw some stiff strikes but Vamp didn’t seem phased and started to will the crowd behind him. Vampiro stopped in his tracks before Pentagon could whip him into another light tube, and then hip-tossed the luchador into the weapon himself. This wasn’t a pretty hip toss, and after the fact Vamp just kind of stood there with a ‘goddamn I’m tired’ look on his face. But the crowd were unglued. Vamp ripped Pentagon’s mask, almost clean off. He ripped it to such a degree that it almost looked like an accident. He broke a light tube over Pentagon’s head resulting in a big blade-job. Both men were now destroyed in blood. A low-blow from Pentagon, followed by an attempted top rope attack was stopped by Vamp. Vamp then shouted out to Matt Striker and hit a top rope belly-to-belly into the thumbtacks and glass. For the big finale, Vampiro fetched a table and set it ablaze. As soon as the fire went up, Pentagon immediately grabbed his foe and gave him a VERY ugly urinage through the table. This was scary, even after several viewings. Vampiro was momentarily engulfed in flames, and as he rolled away, much of his lower body was still on fire. He quickly flopped to the floor where he was extinguished but Jesus, this was a spectacle. Pentagon got the pin on the outside for the big win.

After the fact, Vampiro insisted Pentagon break his arm, as he had been doing for weeks on the show. Pentagon obliged. He then asked where his master was. Vampiro grabbed the microphone and revealed that it was him all along. The crowd loved the reveal went nuts during the post-match celebrations. Given the nature of Lucha Underground’s tone – the story here was that ‘Vampiro’ is a very literal demonic side of Ian Hodgkinson, who had seemingly enlisted the services of Pentagon as a protege, to destroy the more human, reformed side of the man.

Conclusion:

This was a triumph of drama and storytelling over athleticism. There certainly wasn’t much of the latter, but there was an abundance of the former. I’d be interested to see how this match translates to a non-follower of Lucha Underground, or someone who doesn’t have an intimate knowledge of the angle up to this point – feel free to let me know on Twitter, should you happen to fall into either category. Other than the shock value of seeing light-tubes on an actual televised wrestling match, I don’t know that the minute-to-minute action would engage non-fans due to how limited Vampiro was. With great crowd investment and the sheer brutality of it all – it was an enjoyable spectacle however you slice it, but I don’t know if it would resonate as any more than that without the built-in investment. The promotion did an excellent job of building Pentagon as a merciless anti-hero, while subtly teasing at the duality of Ian Hodgkinson and Vampiro. The match fittingly felt like a battle of two larger than life characters, who could and would do anything to hurt one another. The symbolic destruction of Hodgkinson’s body to free his monstrous alter-ego is one of Lucha Underground’s most commendable achievements in story-telling – one that fused both deliberate, slow-burning teases and the fantastical, other-worldly aspect of the show’s universe. ****1/2

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