Johnny Mundo talks Lucha Underground’s roster, intergender wrestling, Netflix, and more
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Johnny Mundo Transcription
Ring Rust Radio: Lucha Underground is on a midseason hiatus, but the company is still making news with the announcement that it will begin airing on Netflix March 15th, becoming the first sports product Netflix has launched and the first wrestling product on the platform. What does the jump to Netflix mean for the company and how do you feel about the move as a performer?
Johnny Mundo: For me as a performer, it means more people are going to be able to see Lucha Underground, Season 1 and 2, which is awesome because the work I’ve done in Lucha Underground is some of the best work I’ve done in my wrestling career. Netflix has around 100 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. That means the potential audience now for Lucha Underground could exceed any other wrestling promotion besides the WWE. It puts us in a category where we have the potential to heat up, get really hot and build Lucha Underground into something bigger than anyone ever thought. For the network, anything I’m saying now for what it could be is just speculation, but it’s kind of fun to speculate. Just so you know, there’s going to be more Lucha Underground regardless. This could lead to more Lucha Underground as it becoming a weekly show, as in an hour and a half or two-hour show, really any of those things could happen. The most exciting thing for me is the idea that all those people now have the option to watch Lucha Underground and watch the full episodes. There’s tons of people when I travel abroad that seek out clips on YouTube and try to watch it before they get pulled in foreign countries where there are not supposed to be posted. The real exciting thing is that so many people will now get to watch the show that I believe in so much.
Ring Rust Radio: Lucha Underground has already revolutionized the wrestling business in so many ways, and joining forces with Netflix is another barrier-breaking accomplishment. Apart from how important the partnership is for Lucha Underground, how do you think it might impact or change the business as a whole?
Johnny Mundo: The entertainment business in general and as a whole is trying to figure out exactly how and when people are consuming content nowadays. The idea of binge watching is really becoming of Netflix and the idea that you can watch subsequent episodes all in a row which is how I like to watch TV. I remember when Stranger Things came out, if I had to watch one episode a week, I wouldn’t have been nearly as into it as I was when I just sat there and watched the whole thing in like two days. For the wrestling industry, as a whole that idea means that more of an episodic feel could start becoming the norm with potential wrestling shows. Lucha Underground really is the first episodic professional wrestling show. There are storylines in every promotion, but the way Lucha Underground is crafted really is more of a TV show than your traditional wrestling show. It’s more of a blend. This could be the first evidence of how wrestling is changing and how people consume content with the shortening attention spans and the wants and needs of wrestling fans. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a wrestling fan say they don’t have enough time to watch Raw. Maybe it’s less about not having the time to watch a three-hour show, but it’s more about the time and the patience. You can usually sum up your three-hour Monday Night Raw in a five-minute conversation. I think that’s exactly what Lucha Underground is nailing is respect to people’s time. It moves quickly and there’s relevant information throughout the show. There’s not a ton of recap during our shows.
Ring Rust Radio: Ever since joining Lucha Underground, I feel like you’ve taken every aspect of your game to the next level, from your in-ring work, mic work and character. Do you feel the past few years have been the best of your career or does another time period stand out for you?
Johnny Mundo: You nailed it, it’s all those things. The idea of leveling up my athletic move set so to speak, but there’s also the intangibles like my mic work. A big part of why I feel like my mic work has improved so much is the schedule with Lucha Underground. I have a lot more time to do the things I want to do now. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time writing, acting and making films. Because I’m doing all this extra writing, acting and creating short comedy skits with my friends in improv shows, I feel like that’s really filled out my confidence on the mic. My mic work I never really thought was super lacking, but has been a perceived weakness of mine since my run in WWE. I guess I’m really proud of that and being able to do a radio interview and have people like you say I have improved in every area means that people that are watching wrestling have noticed it.
Ring Rust Radio: As someone who wrestled Sexy Star to win the championship and wrestled alongside Taya, what do you say to the critics who continue to complain about the intergender wrestling in Lucha Underground?
Johnny Mundo: In Lucha Underground, wrestlers are treated like superheroes. To the critics who are complaining about the intergender wrestling matches, I think those people should talk to the female wrestlers like Taya, Sexy Star, Ivelisse and Mariposa. Those women are talented and powerful women who have trained their entire lives to participate in the sport of professional wrestling. They love being in the ring with top performers and they don’t see it as an intergender match, they see it as two characters competing in the ring. So, for people who are trying to criticize that, I think there been a bit myopic of what professional wrestling is. We’re looking at ourselves as larger-than-life characters.
Ring Rust Radio: Lately a lot of big-name talent has been hitting the free-agent market in the wrestling world with the Hardy Boyz standing out as the biggest example. Is there anyone out there that you’d like to see Lucha Underground go after? Anyone you’d like to mix it up with or think could have a positive impact on the product?
Johnny Mundo: It’s tough to pick anyone person because the Lucha Underground roster is so deep already. I think with Rey Mysterio, PJ Black, Pentagon, Fenix, Jack Evans and Angelico, the roster that we have now is so deep. I don’t know if we need any specific star to help Lucha. As far as people that I would like to see in Lucha Underground just to wrestle them, I’ve always been a big fan of the Hardy Boys, I had great matches with Jeff and Matt. Kenny Omega, a lot of the New Japan guys would be cool. Ethan Carter, ACH, there’s so much good talent out there that any of them would be cool because I would get to have matches with them in Lucha. I don’t really know if any of those guys are free agents though. I don’t know if they signed somewhere by now or what they plan on doing. I don’t think we plan to tape Season 4 until the fall, so it really is all speculation for now.