For the first new episode of 2017, Lucha Underground starts off with a bang. That bang being a Lucha Underground Championship contest between Johnny Mundo and The Mack, but this is not just any championship match. This match is going to go ALL…NIGHT…LONG! All Night Long refers to the typical hour long Iron Man Match, but as we should know by now, nothing is typical at the sacred Lucha Underground Temple. For the show’s entire hour long runtime, we get some non-stop zany action from bell to bell.
If there was ever a match that could perfectly personify everything that Lucha Underground is about, this would be that match. If you ever need to show somebody just how wacky Lucha Underground matches can be, let this be one of the matches you show them. This also happens to be the perfect match which follows the basic wrestling formula, but tweaks it in a way that it feels new, fresh, and entirely different from what came before it. Think of it as a much more over the top version of The Rock and Triple H’s Iron Man match from Judgement Day 2000. Like the Judgement Day match, there are dozens of run-ins, but unlike any other Iron Man Match of its kind, this has mariachi bands and a beer bash. This match features the kind of wackiness which fans have loved, detractors have loathed, and the kind of oddities which help make Lucha Underground memorable to begin with; love it or hate it.
The Mack and Mundo work very well with each other. They have such a contrast of styles, but at the same time, those contrasts in both in-ring ethic and characters work to their advantage, especially in terms of telling a story. You’ve got the cowardly heel champion in Johnny Mundo who goes through all the stops to guarantee a victory tonight, including getting help from his buddies, PJ Black and Rickey Mandel, and even pulling a page out of Eddie Guerrero’s book by faking an injury to snag a pinfall (which, for his troubles, inspires The Mack to push Mundo down a flight of stairs while strapped to a stretcher). You’ve got the blue collar babyface in The Mack who you can’t help but love, but you also can’t help but think he has no chance at winning. Yet, the longer the match progresses and the more we see The Mack fight tooth and nail against the odds, we can’t help but desperately hope that the guy pulls an upset. That is great storytelling.
We also get to see some incredible visuals which make the match all the more fun to watch. There’s one spot where The Mack is basically dead and needs his pal Son of Havoc to revive him with beer; it’s like watching Super Mario get an extra level up after eating a mushroom. Then, we see Sexy Star make a run-in dive onto Black and Mundo after impersonating a mariachi singer. We even get thunderous kendo stick shots and table breaks galore that the crowd just adored. For all the insane spots that this match had to offer, I have a feeling that the spots will take away from the actual wrestling that The Mack and Mundo showcase in the ring. Again, they have a contrast in styles which compliment each other and they have some surprisingly good chemistry. If you take out the run-ins and the weapon spots, you’ve got two athletes showcasing the best of their ability and bringing the best out of each other. From beginning to end, the entire match is both a wrestling clinic and an eye popping spotfest.
The final moments of the match were some of the most nerve wracking final seconds of an Iron Man Match that I have ever seen. Mack is standing atop a ladder, Mundo on a table. The score is tied 3-3 with one whole minute left and the clock is ticking fast. It’s hard not to bite your nails while just waiting for Mack to dive off the ladder. When he finally does, catapulting off Mundo’s prone body and through a table, he’s too weakened to capitalize. He takes forever to cover the champion and when he finally does, we get the count: 1…2…DING DING DING! And just like that, we have ourselves a draw with Mundo declared the retaining champion. As soon as that announcement is made, the crowd is deflated and you get deflated right along with them. To be fair, if the objective was to get Mundo a cheeky heel win while making Mack out to be a strong babyface, it works. On the other hand, for the last hour, we went on the most wild ride that a company like this can provide. For this to end in a tie is wildly disappointment.
But right at the very end, Dario Cueto comes out to reassure us that ties do not happen in his Temple. Seeing as we’re about a minute before the episode goes off the air, we’re not going into overtime. However, Cueto promises that next week, we’ll get a Sudden Death Championship rematch between these two. Cueto promises that there MUST be a winner. Even if it takes ALL…NIGHT…LONG!
Keeping all that in mind, All Night Long was a fun night despite a not so fun finish. Can’t say it didn’t end on a high note though and we should all still be looking forward to what LU has in store next week for the rematch. I hadn’t realized how much I missed Lucha Underground, but as long as the show continues to deliver unique and unpredictable wrestling like this every week, I’ll be watching.