Masks. Vulgarity. Stretchers. Slapping. Crotch shots. Spandex. Fake seizures.
My first experience with lucha libre (freestyle fighting/wrestling) took place at the Arena México when a friend of a friend was visiting from Seattle. It’s a great activity to get a taste of Mexican culture for not too much money.
However, it’s also very violent– even if the fighting is fake. After the first hour of the show, I was exhausted from wincing!
Some background on the sport:
- It’s been around for over 100 years and was inspired by Greco-Roman wrestling
- If you’re a masked wrestler, it is imperative that you not let another wrestler pull it off and thus reveal your identity
- Each fighter is classified as a villain/tough guy (rudo) or a hero/good guy (técnico), who fights more formally and with fewer tricks
- It’s a very aerial type of wrestling. The luchadores spend a lot of time setting up highly theatrical jumps by using the ropes
Here are the fabulous names of the luchadores we saw that night:
A few translations: Golden Angel, Brave, Sorcerer, Pegasus, Diamond Prince. My favorite might be Sangre Azteca (Aztec Blood) because of the crazy headdress he wears as he enters the arena:
And then there’s Vangellys. I loved this guy.
The cool aspects of lucha libre include:
- Listening to people yell vulgar but very creative things at the fighters and the scantily-clad ladies who “dance” in the background
- Checking out the wrestlers’ crazy costumes and unique personalities
- Eating and drinking all kinds of delicious things. Interestingly, Cup O’ Noodles is sold at many sporting events in Mexico City, along with cueritos (chewy, pickled, gelatinous pig skin).
- Cheap tacos in front of the arena. Just don’t let them put the super spicy sauce on it.
All in all, it was a neat experience, but not one that I’m keen to repeat for a while.