Monday, May 31, 2010

Lucha libre: wrestling with Thunder Boy and Princessa Maya

Divino has his way with Thunder Boy on the ramp up to the ring, whose ropes are sometimes insufficient to contain all of the action and drama. Cameras aren´t allowed in the arena, but I snapped some images with my iPhone before an usher told me to desist.

You can´t live in Mexico without taking in a match of Lucha Libre (freestyle wrestling).

It´s a combination of morality play, superhero drama and acrobatics. Masked Mexican wrestlers are folk heroes. In movies they fight vampires, criminals and other forces of evil. The masks have a historical and cultural significance in this country whose indigenous roots run deep.

Here is the official website of the World Council of Lucha Libre and here is an article about the history and meaning of the sport.

On Sunday night a friend from the University who is a big fan took me to the Arena Coliseo to see six matches.

Siluetta throws Princessa Maya to the canvas.

Women wrestlers

It was family night. Adults pay $2 to $12 and kids get in for 40 cents. There were maybe 1,000 people for a two-hour spectacle that started at 6. A beer is $2, a bag of microwaved popcorn $1.50.

Not on the card was the leadoff match between two women wrestlers, Princessa Maya and Siluetta (a more appropriate name might have been Big Shadow).

They did some impressive acrobatic and gymnastic moves as they threw each other around the ring for a few minutes. Part of the deal is to create a villain who takes cheap shots. Then the aggrieved makes a comeback and overcomes evil. But sometimes evil wins.

Siluetta won out over Princessa Maya.

Kids love the wrestlers´ masks. Stores have hundreds of different styles and colors.

Aerial combat outside the ring

The top-billed match was between three guys without masks -- Strong Man, Gigante Bernard and Blue Panther -- and the three masked heroes, Atlantis, Averno and Mephisto.

Gigante Bernard and Strong Man were gringos who had a Mexican ally, the Blue Panther, and they beat the snot out of the three masked wrestlers. I wonder if the gringos always win in these dramas.

Gigante Bernard and his two partners claim victory, while the vanquished lie at the right.

Strong Man shakes hands with the fans. Sorry about the light.

In any case, the referee was completely ineffective at keeping the wrestlers inside the ring. A favorite aerial maneuver is to stand on the ropes in the corner and launch oneself onto an opponent.

They execute these flying maneuvers outside the ring as well, which looked awfully dangerous to the wrestlers, not to speak of the audience and vendors.

Leo, a handsome young guy without a mask, was a favorite with the young crowd. He took on the Exterminador.

Wrestler action figures.

The wrestler Alpha pose is everything. The jersey is for the Black Lions, the University of Guadalajara´s professional soccer team.

1 comment:

  1. nice picture, I hope you enjoyed "lucha libre".

    greetings, Luis