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All Night Long II: Mack vs. Mundo (A Lucha Underground Preview)
You may have missed this, what with watching Best of the Super Juniors, complaining about Jinder Mahal and that Alexa Bliss segment all going on, but Lucha Underground is returning tomorrow night! Praise be Wanda, praise be. It’s returning with a bang too; the first show back features only one match, the second ever “All Night Long” bout between Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo and his challenger, The Mack. It’s big, it’s huge, it’s potentially a Match of the Year candidate, and I’m here to break it down for you, Marty vs. Killshot/Soberano vs. Rey Cometa style. So strap yourselves in and make sure that Surge soda is iced real good. Here’s what you need to know about All Night Long II.
What can we say about the Wednesday Night Delight that hasn’t already been said about Wonder Woman; he’s awesome. After a long stint with WWE, Johnny Mundo took a few years off from wrestling to try his hand at acting before appearing in LU’s debut episode. At first he was the hero we deserved and needed; then he put Alberto El Patron’s head through Dario Cueto’s office window and became the most diabolical hater since the so called Beautiful. You know you’ve got heat when attacking Alberto gets you booed. After that Johnny has spent his time weaseling his way to success while also forming the Worldwide Underground stable to support him, featuring his girlfriend Taya, “Darewolf” P.J. Black and Jack “FIFA Champ/Dragonslayer/Star Destroyer/Inventor of Modern Lucha Libre/WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY NICKNAMES?!” Evans. Together this group has helped Johnny become one third of the Lucha Underground Trios Champions (with Evans and Black), a former Gift of the Gods Champion and, obviously, Lucha Underground Champion. And again, it all started because he threw Alberto head first through a window, something almost everyone in wrestling wishes they could do these days. Is it wrong that I feel worse for Dario’s office looking back on it? Between all the window and roof destruction, maybe El Jefe needs find better reinforcement.
Big Willie Mack couldn’t be more of a polar opposite to Mundo if he tried. For one, everything about Mack just screams likability; he comes across both as the super laid back dude who just wants to cook shit in the microwave all day who can suddenly transform into the ultimate asskicker if you cross him. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s been a long road for Big Willie to get to this point. Whereas Mundo was a Tough Enough winner with millions of eyeballs on him from day one, The Mack scratched and clawed his way through the Californian indie scene before finally getting a shot with WWE, only for Vince and the gang to reject him due to “concerns about his knee and blood pressure.” In the end it was a blessing in disguise, allowing Big Willie to come into LU midway through season one and become a cult hero known for his great Steve Austin impression, cool friendship with Sexy Star and a series of really good matches with Cage. In fact, they’ve had two straight classic Falls Count Anywhere matches at the first two Ultima Lucha’s, which means a third Falls Count Anywhere match at Ultima Lucha Tres is pretty much a must. We need a tie breaker dammit!
How Did We Get Here?
The catalyst that brought Big Willie and Mundo together (besides the LU title) is the polarizing Sexy Star. Big Willie and Sexy have been close ever since coming together to fight off Marty the Moth and Mariposa in season two, so it was no surprise that he had her side when Mundo and the Worldwide Underground came after her in season three. Ultimately Mundo and the group would prove too much for Sexy (even with Mack’s help), defeating her to win the Gift of the Gods Championship, the Lucha Underground Championship and then retaining the LU title in a cage match. That was enough to send Sexy back down the ladder, and fittingly Big Willie became the one to take her place as Mundo’s next challenger by winning the first ever Battle of the Bulls tournament. The two then faced off to determine the stipulation for their title match, with Mundo coming out on top and choosing “All Night Long.” And thus, here we are.
What to Expect
Honestly? I don’t know. It’s been so long since this match was taped (I believe over a year now) and so long since LU last aired that I’m honestly not entirely sure what we’ll get from this. I think the same goes for everyone else watching as well. The one thing everyone will agree on is that this match needs to be something really, REALLY strong coming out of the unexpected hiatus. Whether it was LU’s fault or not (it wasn’t), the break did a lot to cool any momentum LU had, and you could make the argument it’s been cooled even more due to the numerous Dorian Roldan created controversies that occurred during the break. It’s imperative that LU comes back hot to remind people just what they were missing, meaning there will be a shit ton of pressure on this match to deliver. I’m talking pressure valve in Poseidon levels of pressure here; Kurt Russell knows what I mean.
There’s a ton of good news here though. First, like I said earlier, this match was filmed over a year ago. It’s not like Mundo and Mack will be working this live while feeling all the pressure to deliver; they worked this match long ago, with the only pressure on them being to have a good match. That will definitely help things. Second, the first All Night Long match was a rousing success back in season one and it’s been long enough since it happened that the concept will feel fresh. Third, and most importantly, both these guys are awesome. Mundo has really come into his own as the cocky, cowardly champion and you won’t find many workers out there more underrated than Big Willie, who can work multiple styles at a high level. Combine all of that with them both being given one whole hour to work their magic and there’s absolutely no reason to believe this match will be at least really good. And that’s at least; if these two getting going like they can, this could be a potential Match of the Year candidate when all is said and done. I expect we’ll see some crazy spots, some Stone Cold Steve Austin homage’s, appearances by Sexy Star and the Worldwide Underground to help their respective pals and a nail biter of a finish that’s going to break a few hearts. It’ll be something folks; I just hope it’s the something that can get the show jumpstarted after the long layoff.
It certainly seems like Johnny Mundo has held that LU title for forever, but the truth is the dude has only had one title defense during his reign. On top of that, Big Willie, as talented as he is, feels more like a stop gap challenger right now than someone who’s a serious threat to take the title away from the Wednesday Night Delight. It’s not out of the realm of question that the underdog can steal the match and I’ll be rooting for him with everything I’ve got. In the end though, it just feels like there’s more to be done with Johnny Mundo as champ right now, so look for him to remain Lucha Underground Champion after 60 minutes, with the winning score of 4-3. Sorry Big Willie; it’s going to happen for you eventually, it’s just not going to happen tomorrow night.
That’s game sports fans. I’ll have another LU article up later tonight and as of now the plan is to do a running diary of CMLL’s Tuesday show (headlined by Terrible vs. Marco Corleone. The battle of the left fists!). Till we meet again, THIS!