When John Hennegan, now known as Johnny Mundo on Lucha Underground, took part in the final MTV season of Tough Enough, and ultimately won it, he already had the makings of a future champion. By the time he left WWE in the fall of 2011, nearly 8 years after he'd been co-champion (with Matt Cappotelli), his resume included an ECW title and multiple Intercontinental & tag titles. Surprisingly, he opted not to follow the Stamford-to-Orlando shuttle to TNA, and for all intents & purposes, dropped out of sight.
Resurfacing with the launch of Lucha Underground in the fall of 2014, as Johnny Mundo, Hennegan sought to pick up where he'd left off as John Morrison in WWE, only to find that despite some former WWE writers on staff, he was floundering. Only after turning heel did creative finally decide Mundo was worth pushing toward the title.
And, then, there was the Worldwide Underground. As we've documented, the group was formed as a vanity vehicle, the storyline mirroring the early days of Triple H's Evolution group (2003-05), with Mundo in the Triple H role, and his new armpiece, Taya, in the Ric Flair role as manager. After a brief run as trios champs, the group now focused on getting Mundo the prize he had sought from the start of LU. Unfortunately, to get it, he went lower than anyone thought possible.
He stole both the Gift of the Gods and Lucha Underground titles from Sexy Star in consecutive matches, both times using brass knux to KO the luchadora. Because LU tapes too far in advance, there's no way to convince Chris DeJoseph, Chavo Guerrero, Jr., and the rest of LU Uncreative to change any of that.
But wait, it gets worse.
Take this week's show (review now available). Originally scheduled to defend the title vs. Sexy's friend, the Mack, Mundo weaseled his way out of a title defense, making it non-title, with the winner picking the stipulation. PJ Black & Jack Evans, two more guys who deserve better than this, held the attention of the referee so Mundo could hit Mack below the belt for a cheap pin. They then proceeded to fat-shame Mack, drawing & quartering him as Mundo cut a promo for the title match.
Here's where the story needs to change, despite heel owner Dario Cueto (Luis Gil).
You know El Rey Network has to have gotten some angry e-mails and faxes about the humiliating way Mack was treated in terms of today's society. It now falls upon El Rey founder and LU co-executive producer Robert Rodriguez to do something about it NOW!
This is how it should be done:
The talent is notified of a "emergency taping" at the Boyle Heights "temple". Once there, Rodriguez and Mark Burnett announce that due to the complaints from viewers about the 1/4 Mundo-Mack match, some changes need to be made immediately, and footage for 1/11 and forward needs to be re-edited. With the series hitting the mid-point on 1/11, the changes begin with the 1/18 show.
We open "live" at the temple with Dario Cueto. His office has been flooded with complaints about the behavior of the Worldwide Underground (save for Taya, who was not on the 1/4 show) in the match vs. the Mack. He has cancelled the stipulation for the title match, and has ordered a do-over, but this time, if Black and Evans or even Taya or anyone else interferes, Mundo will be stripped of the title on the spot, and a tournament would commence the following week. In storyline terms, this would be an incentive for Cueto's "brother", Matanza, to return, distracting him from his quest for Rey Mysterio.
Cameras show representatives from a number of activist groups outside with picket signs as Dario talks.
Pre-match, Mundo is called on the carpet. As much as Cueto loves violence, he is also a businessman, and can't afford to have Mundo and WU embarrass him again like that. Black, Evans, & Taya are ejected from the building. Mundo has no choice but to go it alone.
The match takes up half the show. With 5 minutes of television time left, Mundo looks to finish it with End of the World, his corkscrew split legged moonsault. Mack gets the knees up. Abruptly, Ricky Mandel, virtually a Mundo lookalike now, and ignorant of the stipulation, gets on the apron to distract Marty Elias. Security promptly gets Mandel off the apron and out. Mundo went for the belt, but Elias stops him, and warns the champion that if he tries a belt shot or any other shortcut, he loses the title. Moonlight Drive gets just 2. Mack makes the superman comeback. Pounce gets 2 as Mundo forces a rope break. Mundo tries again for End of the World. This time, Mack pops up, and lands a hanging diamond cutter. Elias tolls the 3, and Mack gets the win he should've gotten in the first place.
Mack names the stipulation. Believers' Backlash, but with WU and Mandel banned from participating. If any of them get caught, Mundo loses the title!
As an overweight man myself, the fat-shaming of Mack upset me to the point where I had to write this. Whomever wrote the outline for that farce of a match, whether it was DeJoseph, who the last I knew wasn't exactly svelte himself, dating back to his WWE days, or some other party, has to be held accountable. I wouldn't be at all surprised if in fact El Rey's offices have gotten a few angry voice mails, e-mails, and faxes since LU signed off last night.
Bottom line, it's time to get it right. As a heel champion, Johnny Mundo is missing something right now. Credibility and respect. It's the latter that disappeared last night.