INTERACTIVE WRESTLING RADIO INTERVIEW - RICKY 'MUNDO' MANTEL

Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Ricky "Mundo" Mandel
Date: 10/30/18
Your Host: James Walsh

 

Lucha Underground star Ricky "Mundo" Mandel stopped by for an interview to promote Lucha Underground's "Ultima Lucha 4" which

premieres Wednesday night, October 31st on El Rey Network. The season finale of the wrestling inspired series is basically their Super Bowl,

their World Series, their WrestleMania. It is Ultima Lucha! And, in one of the featured contests, Ricky Mundo himself will face Taya Valkyrie.

Ricky, with help from his posessive doll, ruined the wedding of Johnny (Impact) Mundo and Taya earlier in the season by releasing the

"Monste" Matanza Cueto who obliterated the ceremony and all involved. Johnny is going after the "Monster" with help from the Guantlet which

posessed Cage last season and was gifted to Johnny by Aerostar and Drago. Meanwhile, Taya will take on Ricky Mundo for revenge on his

part of the disaster that was the wedding.

 

Ricky Mandel is a 13 year veteran of the ring who admits himself he's still learning every time he gets in the ring. After doing this interview, I gained more respect than I previously

had for him as a performer as he really seems to get it. If he is not on your radar, he should be. So, tune in and find out about this rising star in Lucha Underground and

throughout the wrestling scene!


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RICKY 'MUNDO' MANDEL

 

On facing Taya Valkyrie at Ultima Lucha 4 tonight:
"To be honest, I've never wrestled females. I know inter-gender wrestling is a big thing now but I just haven't been exposed to it as much. So, it was definitely something I was looking forward to because I know Taya. I knew it was going to be fun. But, I'm sitting there thinking... Watch my stuff. I'll pull out something here or there but for the most part, I'm a punch and kick guy. So, I'm sitting there thinking, "Can I, like, punch a woman? Is that a thing? Forearms?" So, when they brought that up (the match), I realized they're not just women, they're super heroes! Especially at Lucha Underground! So, I just looked forward to it. I knew Taya was going to bring it. She is tough as nails. She's going to bring it. I'm going to bring it right back!"

 

On falling in love with pro wrestling:
"It all started going back to when I was a little kid. My dad was a wrestling fan. I didn't think much of it. But, he'd tell me about all these guys - Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake", Ultimate Warrior, all these guys. It was one of those things where, "Dad likes it, it must be cool." But, it wasn't until my parents and I moved from Chicago to California to where I really discovered it. When I went back (to Chicago) to visit my sister and my frneds, one of my friends, apparently, and I grew up with this kid and apparently he was an avid wrestling fan this whole time. So, he takes me to a live show. At the time, this was August of 1998, so, Attitude Era. Again, I'm only familiar with Hogan, Jake the Snake, Ultimate Warrior, and all the guys from the "Golden Era" if you will. He takes me to the show and I'm like "whatever, I'm just going to hang out with my friend." It was a house show in Chicago, Rosemont Harizon if you can believe that... I just fell in love with it! I still remember the main event. I still remember all the guys that were there. At the time, I didn't know who they were! "

 

On deciding to become a wrestler:
"From then on, I started doing my research on everything wrestling. I knew I wanted to do it. Looking through WOW Magazine, World of Wrestling, they had a lot of little articles on how to become a wrestler and different schools. One of them had one on UPW! So I knew, when I graduated high school, I was going to go to UPW. So, that was the goal from that time on. And, that's what I did!"

 

On joining Lucha Underground:
"I started in '05 and I didn't get loooked at. Obviously, Lucha Underground came along 9 years later. During that time, I was just working, working, doing my thing. I was always familiar and, to this day, still close with Marty Elias. I remember getting a call, just random, and it was from Marty Forton. He was the casting director for Lucha Underground. He said, "We're doing this show. Would you be interested in coming in for an audition?" I said, "Ok, sure." So, we went in and I cut a quick promo, just talking. They said, "Ok, we're going to be filming on these dates, are you available?" I gave them all the dates that I was available but I think even if I wasn't available, I was going to make myself available! (laughs) It was one of those things where you're going to do what you've got to do. I went to those shows. The first set of tapings, I was just there - not under contract. I just was going to meet the guys. Once again, that was Marty Elias telling me, "Hey, come with me. Be my guest." The next day, I think it was Chris DeJoseph, he called Marty and said, "Hey, you got the kid with ya?" He said, "I vot him." "Does he have his gear?" "Of course." "Good, he's got a tryout with Hernandez tonight." Dark match. Apparently it went well! (laughs) I'm still around! That's when they offered me the deal."

 

On working under a mask:
"I was Trece (in the Disciples of Death). For me, it is much easier working without the mask. Here's a little short story. Right before they had me as Trece, they had me doing dark match stuff, never made it to TV, as El Americano. The Trece mask was fine... I had them make it tigheter and tigher, make the eye holes bigger. But, that El Amreicano mask? That thing sucked! (laughs) It didn't have a bottom to it... That was hard times! (laughs)"

 

On the limitations of the mask:
"Facial expressions. You know what I did learn as Trece? I learned mreo body language. It wwas like, "You're a dead guy." Well, what am I going to do? So, I tried moving my hands and this and that out."

 

On Lucha Underground killing, literally, the Disciples of Death:
"I love it because it is different. Looking back, a character on a typical wrestling program is just gone. "What ever happened to that guy? They lost a match and now they're gone?" It comes to the point that you don't even realize that they're gone. So, I think it is fun. Plus, like you said, it is Lucha Underground. They're their own thing! They're their own universe!"

 

On being made Johnny Mundo's lacky Ricky Mundo:
"What had happened is they sent me the script for the death fo Trece. I'm like, "All right, well, I guess I'm dying. Damn!" Well, you don't go to a picnic without potato salad. Well, you don't go to a wrestling writers meeting without an idea. "Ok, you want to kill me off. Well, here's an idea!" We can get into the doll stuff, that's when I pitched it! They were like, "Oh, we love it! But, in the meantime, we want you to do this Mini-Mundo gimmick because you look just like John!" "What? Really?" John was a guy I grew up watching too. At the time, I was just a fat kid. If people had said to me, "You're going to be his Mini-Me in a couple years", I'd have been like "Yeah, right! Me, the fat kid?" (laughs) It worked out!"

 

On the origins of the Rosa doll that posesses him:
"I've always been fascinated with not necessarily any horror movie but certain characters like Freddie Kruger. He was his own thing. Pennywise the Clown, same thing. So, yeah, there is Chucky. But, I've always been fascinated with these toy movies where the toy comes to live and goes on a rampage. Whether it be Puppet Masters or Child's Play, Dolly Dearest, or Dead SIlence. I've always been fascinated by it. So, when I came across a documentary on Child's Play, I had to watch it. I'm sitting there watching it and how they do the animotronics and what went into it. I'm like, "That's cool. Boom, done." Two days later, I'm on Facebook. You know how they have those "15 Creepiest Places in the World". Of course, the picture is of the Island of the Dolls. I'm like, "I don't care what else is on there. I need to find this one!" So, it is in Mexico. That's when I got the script fr the killing of Trece. I'm in bed thinking, "I've got to have something." That's when it came to me... This vision of the Tempe and this doll just popped into my head. I was like, "Oh my God! Mexico, Lucha Underground. Island of the Dolls! Ricky Mandel has to be posessed by a doll!" Obviously, it came off a little different. But, I had to go in with something. And, as long as there was a doll and it was creepy, I was happy!"

 

On if his character could have been turned face by the Worldwid Underground's bullying:
"Not really. I kind of laugh though when people say, "Yeah, Ricky needs to get his ass kicked!" Do they not see this character has been getting bullied from the beginning?"

 

On acting training:
"I did acting from 7th grade through high school. But, it was just at school. No actual training training. But, then in senior year of high school, my high school had a film program. That's where they kind of had us make our own movies. I was like, "All right, I know how to act in front of a live crowd. But, I've never done any camera acting or backstage stuff." I want to be a wrestler, this is what I want to do. So, I wanted to get a jump start in working in front of the camera."