Lucha Underground has returned tonight on El Rey Network for their Mid-Season Premiere. Tonight's episode saw Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo face off against challenger The Mack in an All Night Long match.
What is an All Night Long match you may be asking? Simple. It's an Iron Man match taking place during the run time for the episode. Iron Man matches are tough to pull off. In the days where the audience was not exactly aware of the fact that what they were seeing was entertainment, pulling off hour long matches would be the norm. The biggest wrestling organization until Vince McMahon came along was the National Wrestling Alliance. They would send their champion to territories around the world facing challengers in matches that routinely went an hour. While the matches mostly ended up in a draw, the popular wrestler in a territory would end the match looking like a million bucks while the champion left town with the title.
In the modern era, Iron Man matches are tough to pull off. While some will call the Iron Man match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 12 a classic, a close look at the audience will show that a large portion of the crowd made their exit during the match. Triple H and The Rock had an Iron Man match in 2000 which is only memorable for the first appearance of the American Badass version of The Undertaker. It's tough to keep the audience interested when the crowd is aware of the fact they're watching a show.
The All Night Long match between The Mack and Johnny Mundo was hard fought. To knock the athleticism involved in putting on a match for that duration would be an insult to those two as athletes. The problem I had came with the fact there was a number of segments in the match that will built simply as rest times for the performers. "But aren't there elements like that built in any wrestling match?" you may be asking? Of course, but when they're placed correctly in a match, you as the viewer won't even realize it's happening. Long story short, I lost interest in the match during multiple segments.
The final minute of the match could have ended things on a high note. The Mack had placed Johnny Mundo on a table in the middle of the ring. He brought out a ladder that had to be at least fifteen feet tall. He climbed to the top, taking his sweet time to do so, appearing to be tired but clearly killing time. With less than thirty seconds remaining, he hit an awesome frog splash on Johnny through the table. Just as three seconds hit the clock, The Mack finally made the cover...and you saw the referee blow his spot. The referee blew the spot by only counting two when, thanks to the clock on the television screen, he had more than enough time to count three and give The Mack the win. To top that off, Dario Cueto comes out after the match and states there will be no tie in the temple and next week, the match will continue until there is a winner. All this wait for the All Night Long championship match...and we have to wait another week to see who walks away champion.
This was a disappointing start of the season. While shows like this are built on trying to hook the viewers to watch next week, the fact that the entire reason for this match was to determine a winner yet found a lazy way not to left me shaking my head. Lucha Underground is a great show. You can't possibly expect a great show to hit it out of the park every episode. Unfortunately for this episode, it failed to win me over.
Stay tuned to LRM for continuing coverage of Lucha Underground. Coming soon, we'll be presenting an exclusive interview I had with The Mack.