Johnny Mundo and Prince Puma

I'd recognize those torsos anywhere. Of course, I know their owners better by other names. Johnny Mundo caught my eye early on MTV's Tough Enough III a dozen years ago. Prince Puma I've had the privilege of watching live in the ring, without the mask, and can testify that up close and in person his ass is irrefutably the best there is in mainstream wrestling. Here they are paired up in last Wednesday's Lucha Underground on the El Rey Network. They wrestled each other the week before. Now bonding (in a manly way), they face a couple of villainous street fighters called Cortez Castro and Cisco, in an impromptu match specially authorized by Lucha Underground's owner, Dario Cueto. 

I don't get cable TV, so I don't get El Rey, but fortunately the network is posting complete matches on YouTube (see this match here) on the network's official channel. I suppose the plan is to generate fan interest in the TV show. Lucha Underground attempts to popularize Mexican-style wrestling for mainstream American audiences--sort of the way Chipotle peddles "burrito bowls" to gringos like me. It's all pretty flashy, with high-$ production, colorful costumes, and state-of-the-art camerawork. 

As I have noted before, I prefer the old grunt-and-groan school of sweaty catch wrestling, so I enjoy the aerial derring-do of Mundo and Puma mostly for the torsos and posteriors. So far, anyway. I do find the slug-outs and pin-falls exhilarating, just not particularly sexy. Mundo-Puma make a tight, thrillingly coordinated team, countering Castro-Cisco's thug tactics with Zorro-like precision and grace. And I am genuinely fascinated by the color and energy of lucha libre, what little of it I have been exposed to. If this show catches on, maybe my dream of a Robert Rodriguez-directed lucha movie like El Santo vs. the Martian Invasion will become a reality. (It so happens that Rodriguez launched El Rey last year, in cooperation with Univision. So my fantasy may not be far-fetched.)

I hope the eventual unmasking of Prince Puma is in the planning stages. The kid's face is just too beautiful to hide for long. Meanwhile, we can bask in those shoulders and those glutes, like granite.


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