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    Thursday, June 1, 2017

    Good Lucha Things (5/31/17): All Night Long, Again!

    Welcome to another serving of Good Lucha Things, and more importantly, welcome to the midseason premiere of Lucha Underground!

    Mack, Mundo, and the Hour-Long Marathon

    What a hell of a way to welcome people back to the show.

    That All Night Long match between Johnny Mundo and the Mack was amazing, and is probably the best possible way to kick off the rest of Lucha Underground’s third season. It took some time to get going, but by the second pinfall the match really picked up. They told a similar tale to the first-ever All Night Long match between Johnny Mundo and Prince Puma—Mundo sought out every advantage he could for a dominating lead, only for his opponent to stage a furious comeback towards the end. It did look a bit overbooked at a certain point, but that’s something I’m only saying in hindsight because the match was just that damn fun. The ending does give you a dose of blue balls, though they at least found a way to remedy that thanks to Dario Cueto’s thirst for violence.

    One of Lucha Underground’s biggest strengths is that they’ve mastered the art of getting people to care. This match is a very, very good example of that. When Striker or Vampiro hyped up a move or marked out over a death-defying stunt, you understood how special it was. When Mundo stood up after faking an injury or when Mack hit Mundo with a piledriver through a table, you lost your mind. When Sexy Star and Son of Havoc were egging on Mack to make the final pin, you could feel the urgency of the situation. The way Lucha Underground is aired allows for these small things to really come together—from the random shots of fan reactions in the audience, to the amplified sounds of fans stomping their feet and chanting, you almost feel as if you’re right there with them.

    The best thing about it is that they didn’t even need to put on something completely new. Johnny Mundo and Mack didn't have to go out of their way to do something cool—the former was still the arrogant, cocky champion with lots of chicanery, and the latter was still the plucky fan favorite whose moveset belied his size. Those are still what we got here. This match was the right mix of serious, violent and funny (like beer having the same effect on Mack as spinach does on Popeye!), and the result is a match that is just a ton of fun.

    Even the run-ins and interruptions were done well. PJ Black’s switcharoo with Mundo fits their style so much, as was Ricky Mandel as the Mundo fanboy who couldn't stand to see his idol lose. It's weird that neither Jack Evans nor Taya made their presence felt here, especially given that they've been doing that throughout the entire season. Son of Havoc making the cane-assisted save was fun, and it fit considering he's had problems with the Worldwide Underground as of late. Sexy Star’s surprise attack after hiding as a part of the live band was also a cool moment, and it was a nice throwback to that time Taya disguised herself as a fan and attacked Sexy Star. It made sense for her to come out and help the Mack because she, of all people, should know just how crazy the Worldwide Underground's antics can get. Turnabout is fair play, folks!

    One thing that might get lost in all the chaos was just how well they handled the ending of the match. Sure, it sucked having Mack be this close to winning, but they found the a great way to continue the carnage. Having Dario Cueto “extend” the match into a sudden death portion until next week is something you would expect him to already do. It fits because we know Dario Cueto as the guy who loves large amounts of violence, but still tries to keep things within a series of laws and structures. It’s a classic action from a guy that is built up as lawfully evil, and it works. I also love how the decision doesn’t do any favors for Johnny Mundo, because it plays to the fact that Dario dislikes Mundo and the Worldwide Underground. I wouldn’t expect this match to go all night long again (probably half of next week’s show, though!), but I do expect things to be just as crazy as this week.

    Overall, you couldn’t have given Lucha Underground a better start to this half of the season. The All Night Long match between Johnny Mundo and the Mack was just a solid wrestling match with the right amount of fun in it. It was a great way to get people invested into the show and looking for more, and it sets a very high bar for the remaining episodes to even match. This was a quality episode, no doubt. A-

    Photos taken from 411mania.


    Anthony Cuello is an HR professional and training designer. When he’s not sleeping or reading the Harvard Business Review, he covers Lucha Underground for Smark Henry. A psychology nut, he tends to watch wrestling looking for these small nuances of in-ring behavior. He dreams of a wrestling business with good people management practices, and hopes to help make that happen one day.
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    Item Reviewed: Good Lucha Things (5/31/17): All Night Long, Again! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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