Lucha libre

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.


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