Last Tuesday night, we showed up at Arena Querétaro for a night of Lucha Libre not really knowing what to expect. The only thing I could come up with in my mind was stretchy pants, ridiculous and over-dramatic fighting, and slightly overweight middle-aged men. So with a cerveza in hand, I sat down in a section complete with a fence barrier topped with barbed wire. I was next to grown men, children, whole families....you name it. An extremely interesting atmosphere. Lots of beer, foul language, and a lot of people just extremely passionate about the event we were about to witness. The lights went down as the referee and first fighters were announced. We watched several "warm-up" fights that consisted of 2 on 2 or 3 on 3 situations. The fights (or "acts" if you will) got progressively better. All I can say is that if you have seen Nacho Libre you have gotten a pretty darn accurate picture of what Lucha Libre is. Slightly overweight (but actually pretty strong) middle-aged men wearing stretchy pants, throwing themselves dramatically around (and out of!) a ring.
In the last little break between fights I ventured over to a lady selling Lucha Libre masks. She very patiently explained to me the names of the fighters that each mask belonged to. Knowing that I couldn't leave without one, I selected a sparkly green, white, and gold mask with a giant gold cross on the forehead. I slipped it over my head and became "Rey Misterio."
The biggest and best fight was saved for last. After an intense fight full of slams, punches, slaps, kicks and aerial maneuvers, Atlantis and La Mascara emerged victorious. I was reminded that night that "Sometimes, when you are a man, you wear stretchy pants." But also...."Beneath the clothes, we find a man... and beneath the man, we find his... nucleus."
Something in that nucleus gives rise to Lucha Libre.
Lucha Libre from Jordan Bleecker on Vimeo.