Sports Lists

A Look into the World of Mexican Wrestling

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterApril 9, 2014

A Look into the World of Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    On the heels of WrestleMania 30, essentially the Super Bowl of WWE, it feels like just the right time to take a peak into the colorful world of Mexican professional wrestling. Spoofed in the Jack Black comedy Nacho Libre, Lucha Libre, which means “free wrestling” in Spanish, is one of the most popular sports in Mexico. 

    Now, before anyone starts getting all huffy about it, recognizing wrestling as a sport and appreciating it for its spectacle does not mean anyone is saying it’s “real.” Wrestling fans have to deal with a constant echo of strangely angry people parroting the same thing at them on a regular basis—“It’s all fake!” 

    Why should enjoying, or even simply respecting, the sport hinge on whether or not the action is scripted. The story lines in professional wrestling may be scripted, but the athleticism of the athletes and the dramatic atmosphere is very real. 

    In Mexico there are two very different worlds of Lucha Libre. There are the elaborate shows that take place in massive arenas in the country’s largest urban areas. Although they don’t look that much like a WWE show, they are of the same scale. 

    On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Mexican street wrestling. There is a high demand for wrestling events in the country, but a large percentage of the impoverished population is unable to afford the cost of a ticket to a professional show. That’s created a secondary market for traveling backyard events, where wrestlers on Mexico City's underground circuit for the crowds. 

    So let’s take a look inside the world of Lucha Libre and Mexican street wrestling. 

     

Mexican Wrestling

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    Alexandre Meneghini

    Date: May 13, 2012

    Event: Mexico Street Wrestling 

    Lucha Libre wrestlers Super Tarin repeatedly breaks fluorescent lights on the back of Leon Dorado during a performance on the outskirts of Mexico City. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Alexandre Meneghini

    Date: April 30, 2012

    Event: Mexico Street Wrestling 

    Wrestler Johnny Villalobos lands among the crowd during an independent backyard show. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    A wrestler with a very elaborate headdress in the ring prior to the start of a match. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    One of Los Calaveras luchadores takes a swift kick in his masked dome, courtesy of Lil Chicken. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    A male burlesque dancer, Cassandro, hangs from a rope suspended from the ceiling as he maneuvers with (what looks to be) a hula hoop. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    The raucous crowd cheers in delight as confetti rains down upon them during one of the evening’s premier matches. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    Burlesque dancers prepare to go on stage at the event, which combines Lucha Libre with American burlesque. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    Burlesque dancers prepare to go on stage at the event, which combines Lucha Libre with American burlesque. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    David McNew/Getty Images

    Date: May 5, 2009

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Combines with Burlesque Review for Cinco De Mayo Act 

    Wrestling duo Los Cavaleros and one of the Crazy Chickens lucheros are tossed from the ring, landing amid the audience after flying over the ropes. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

    Date: July 5, 2008

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Wrestlers Battle in London 

    A wrestler makes a very dramatic entrance. Suspended from cables above the ring, he flies in, delighting onlookers. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

    Date: July 5, 2008

    Event: Mexican Lucha Libre, Wrestlers Battle in London 

    Wrestlers mid-match during a performance. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Date: August 18, 2007

    Event: Tijuana Lucha Libre

    Luchador Masks for sale outside the Auditorio Muncipal De Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Date: August 18, 2007

    Event: Tijuana Lucha Libre

    A wrestler lays temporarily motionless in the ring after being defeated. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Date: June 1, 2007

    Event: Tijuana Lucha Libre 

    A wrestler takes a dramatic leap from the ropes of the ring, flying face-first towards his opponent. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Date: June 1, 2007

    Event: Tijuana Lucha Libre 

    Wrestlers gather together in a hallway prior to their performance. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Alexandre Meneghini

    Date: May 27, 2012

    Event: Mexico Street Wrestling 

    Please don't freak out! The photo is graphic, but the blood is actually artificial, which is used for dramatic impact at an independent backyard show on the underground wrestling circuit in Mexico City. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Alexandre Meneghini

    Date: May 20, 2012

    Event: Mexico Street Wrestling 

    Again, don't freak out. The blood is artificial. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Alexandre Meneghini

    Date: November 12, 2011

    Event: APTOPIX Mexico Street Wrestling 

    Lucha Libre masks on display for sale at a wrestling show in Mexico City. The independent backyard event at a local school yard is put on for the poor who cannot afford a $22 ticket to see a pro wrestling event at one of the city’s big arenas. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Alexandre Meneghini

    Date: November 6, 2011

    Event: Mexican Street Wrestling 

    Mexican wrestler Chicago Rouge (center) sits with another wrestler prior to a performance in a makeshift ring in Coacalco, Mexico. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Marco Ugarte

    Date: March 18, 2012

    Event: Mexico Peace March 

    Although those masks look a little menacing, wrestler Blue Demon Jr. is actually leading a peace march through Mexico City, hoping to end the violence associated with the drug cartels. 

Mexican Wrestling

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    Marco Ugarte

    Date: March 18, 2012

    Event: Mexico Peace March 

    Pictured again is Blue Demon Jr. at a Mexico City peace march. 

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