The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with Johnny Mundo
Hosts: John and Chad
Interview available at Tmptow.podomatic.com
Being the face of Lucha Underground and what makes the difference in creating a world outside of traditional wrestling: One of the cool things about Lucha Underground is since day one everyone involved has done a really good job creating a world that feels self contained, free of some of the constraints that wrestling shows have. So being this larger then life and somewhat supernatural world of Lucha Underground it feels as if the characters are multi faceted and have more layers and depth than any wrestling show. The characters are darker also and that accompanies the feel of the production of Lucha Underground being almost like a gritty action film. It’s really cool for me to be a part of and I like that you called me the face of Lucha Underground because I’m one of the only dudes not wearing one of those funky masks.
The Temple being the key environment for the Lucha Underground product: I think so. I got the chance to work in the warehouse where we shoot Lucha Underground a few years back while doing a movie with Danny Trejo and in that movie we were shooting the warehouse and it was supposed to be beneath the subway system in New York. There was no set then and at the time it was a really dirty, gross, dingy warehouse and it felt like it was a good double for the subways of New York and with the Lucha, it’s still a dirty, dingy warehouse but that is how it’s supposed to feel and I feel like that vibe permeates “The Temple” and it almost comes across through the camera the feel and the energy of the place.
Seasons of wrestling being the next step for pro wrestling: I don’t know. I always felt that live wrestling is one of the coolest things about wrestling. There are pros and there are cons to everything. The look of Lucha Underground requires post production and you can’t have a live wrestling show in that way that Lucha does. As far as the evolution of wrestling from my standpoint as a pro wrestler, the seasons are great. If there is a season that means there gets to be an off season to recover and have a little bit of a personal life which you don’t get if you are working year round. It also presents the option of both who will become champion storylines or who screwed who to become number one contender. The options with the seasons of Lucha Underground open up and have become like a TV show where we can have much more personal history for each wrestler and between wrestlers and much much more back story that can be developed and that is something that I feel people watching Lucha Underground are really identifying with. Wrestling fans aren’t stupid, wrestling is a very sophisticated thing and this is the first time that these layered characters are presented in this way and that I feel is the future of wrestling.
How his feud with Prince Puma renewed his love for wrestling: Prince Puma / Ricochet is I think athletically the most talented wrestler performing currently. To be able to feud with him is amazing. It really has made me passionate about wrestling again. Being apart of Lucha Underground has given me the opportunity with King Cuerno and Phoenix, Son of Havoc, Helico and a lot of the roster to think about wrestling in a way that I never did with WWE. Because of that I feel like my idea of wrestling and psychology has been affected for the better.
Looking forward to working Rey Mysterio again and their history together dating back to MNM’s debut in WWE: That’s one of those questions that is hard to describe with words. He is one of the guys that when you are standing in the ring and his music plays you get goosebumps. When I was in MSG and MNM debuted and him and Eddie (Gueerero) were walking to the ring, I can barely describe the mix of excitement and adrenaline and a little bit of anxiousness and nervousness that washes over you and I still feel that when I am in the ring with him. He is maybe the most famous, well known “Luchador” of all time and everybody that has worked with him praises his talent in the ring and just who Rey is outside the ring too.
Immediately being thrust into working with legends like Eddie Guerrero and Mysterio and being in awe of his position: A lot of my WWE career you find yourself standing in the ring when Eddie Guerrero’s music plays or the Undertaker’s music hits or Shawn Michaels music hits and every once in a while you think, I remember watching WrestleMania’s and Summer Slam’s with my friends when I was a kid and going nuts when that music hit and now I am standing in the ring with Undertaker or here comes Eddie. It’s to me all about being a pro wrestler and having that be my life.
Advice he received from his tag team partner Joey Mercury and how Mercury was a mentor of his: A lot of times your mentors are people that are much older than you. But Joey and I are about the same age and the only difference is he started wrestling when he was 14 and by the time our paths crossed he was almost a ten year veteran. His mind for the business of wrestling and the psychology of wrestling even then was on another level. There was one TV taping that we were at in OVW where he laid out his idea and Bill DeMott dropped his papers and said Joey you should just run this place and that was 2004. Being able to be around that and learn from Joey and see what he thought about and learn from Joey about telling stories in the ring and figure out the business of a match and working for the pop. He used to use different metaphors and one was about a piggy bank. Every time you crack open a piggy bank you start from zero and to build a story during a match you are building a piggy bank and you have to decide when it is time to break it open and get a reaction and the more full the piggy bank is the more of a reaction you will get from the crowd. He had dozens of different metaphors and analogies to wrestling like that.
Other topics include his singles run in WWE, working as an actor, what he loves about independent wrestling, what is next for him in Lucha Underground, and his favorite matches.