The Mack mains Junkrat in Overwatch.
Junkrat seems to be one of the more underrated characters from the smash hit fighting game, but it’s easy to see the appeal for a wrestler like the Mack. A clever and chaotic thief, Junkrat’s design is a wiry man who seems to have rebuilt himself with prosthetic limbs during the course of his rough living in the Australian Outback.
At first glance he may not seem like the ideal character to go up against flashier, more famous Overwatch staples like D.Va or McCree, but watching competitive Junkrat players is a delightful cacophony of traps and surprise explosive hits—an apt metaphor for Lucha Underground’s new number one contender, The Mack, and his “All Night Long” opponent, current champion Johnny Mundo.
Willie Mack has had an impressive career in the indies since he debuted in 2006, including championship runs in Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and impressive victories in PWG against the likes of Kevin Steen, Chris Hero, and his future Lucha Underground rostermate Brian Cage. For a fleeting moment it seemed the West Coast star would be making his way to the WWE, but ultimately he wound up signing with El Rey Network’s fledgling wrestling promotion and debuted as a cousin to the villainous Big Ryck, paving the way for “The Mack” to stun his way to becoming the break out star of the show’s third season.
One of the strongest selling points of Lucha Underground is the huge variety of styles and wrestlers on the roster, and its willingness to give unconventional stars a chance to shine. “When you look at our roster, it’s like everybody pretty much has a purpose and they all have their own styles,” The Mack says. “Nobody is there just to be there. Everybody has a little role to play and showcase them every time they get out there in the ring.”
As for his role in Lucha Underground, amidst the intrigue and supernatural drama of Matanza Cueto and the various tribes making their way to the show, Mack says of himself, he’s “a hometown boy that people like.”
The Mack has transformed into one of the most likeable characters on the show since debuting as the cousin of Big Ryck, a villain who met an unfortunate and mysterious end in the show’s first season. Since The Mack has forged his own path and become a singles contender in his own right on the show, he’s gone from morally ambiguous associate to something of a do-gooder, building an endearing friendship with fan favorite Sexy Star that’s easily one of the most charming friendships on the show amidst a sea of romantic intrigue and constant double-crosses.
“It just happened. I stumbled on her coming out of the boiler room and I was just there to help out,” he says, describing an encounter last season after Sexy Star escaped from the eerie Martinez siblings, Marty “The Moth” and Mariposa. “We’re not a couple, everybody thinks that we’re a couple but we’re just good friends. I had her back when she went through a tough time and whenever it comes down to the odds are against me, we’re there for each other like that, like a strong friendship.”
It’s the friendship between The Mack and Sexy Star that gave them both the strength to get through some of their toughest battles yet this season. The two of them always had each others’ back in a pinch even with a potential championship win looming between them. The Mack frequently appeared to deliver stunners that could put the gloating, interfering Worldwide Underground in their place during Sexy Star’s battles with Jack Evans or Johnny Mundo, and Sexy Star’s staunchly supported her friend during his incredible run in this season’s first-ever “Battle of the Bulls” tournament, even when it meant they might end up facing off for the championship.
The Mack’s path to the championship got off to a rocky start with a loss early in the season to the monstrous Matanza Cueto, but in the face of el jefe’s bloodthirsty brother, he put on an incredible showing that made him a top contender in the “Battle of the Bulls” matches. “It felt good, because I would think going in I had a good chance of coming out to be the number one contender.” The Mack faced off with some of the strongest and most wily wrestlers in Lucha Underground, including PJ Black, Cage and Mil Muertes, and in the end bested them all to win a shot at Johnny Mundo. “I went in there, came out, now I’ve got that top spot—I’ve just got to cash it in and show them I can go all the way. It felt good.”
Johnny Mundo, true to form, managed to steal a win with a Worldwide Underground assist to choose the stipulation for his title match with The Mack when the show returns to El Rey on May 31. After firing off some petty insults, Mundo declared it would be an “All Night Long” match, an hour-long face-off where the man with the most falls at the end of the hour would get to walk out Lucha Underground champion.
“Expect to see a lot of sweat, because we’re out there for a whole hour,” the Mack said of their coming showdown. “A lot of stuff you haven’t seen before. It’s going to be something to watch, coming back from the midseason break. It’s going to be action-packed for a whole hour, and I hope we live up to the hype. It’s going to be something to watch.”
Lucha Underground returns with the “All Night Long” championship match on Wednesday, May 31st at 8 PM ET. Watch it on the El Rey Network or through on Amazon and iTunes.
C.K. Stewart is a freelance writer with a lot of opinions about comics, wrestling and wrestling comics. He can also be found at Newsarama or livetweeting terrible pay-per-views on Twitter @ckayfabe.