mexican wrestlers

I was reading an article at a wrestling site and a topic was about Rey Mysterio Jr., a masked wrestler in the WWF er I mean WWE, and it mentioned that the tradition of masks in Mexican wrestling are very important.
Why? I can only guess that the best wrestlers are the ones who wear masks or it might be some Mayan or Aztec thing from their culture.

They sideline as superheroes, so their identity has to remain secret.

“I am El Niño! That is Spanish for… The Niño!”

I believe it was first adopted from masked Irish-American wrestler Cyclone Mackey, who participated in some of the first Mexican wrestling matches in the early 1930s.

It was popularized to the point of being de rigeur by El Santo, who when he wasn’t busy bashing Black Shadow was battling infernal men, evil brains, zombies, monsters, vampire women, kings of crime, diabolical hatchets, witches, stranglers, graverobbers, martians, kidnappers, mummies of Guanajuato and other assorted riffraff.

Hey…anybody remember Mil Mascaras?

I find it amusing that the WWE is harping about the tradition of masks in Mexican wrestling, while at the same time they told Misterio to put his mask back on after he had lost it in the ring years earlier. This is a HUGE no-no in Mexico. Once the mask comes off, it’s supposed to stay off for the rest of your career. I’d imagine he’s pretty much killed any chance of ever wrestling in Mexico again because of this. Granted, WCW forced him into it so he’d be more “marketable”, but them’s the breaks.

And ironically enough WWE made him put the mask on so he’d be more “marketable”

Maybe after you can explain why American culture has made such a big deal out of masked superheroes for so many years it will become clear.

raisin, this is the second thread of yours of run across recently asking about Mexican culture. I don’t mean this in a bad way - that’s cool that you seem to have developed an interest in Mexican culture. It just seems like you’re quick to see differences in cases where there are more similarities than differences. Mexico has its own traditions and indigenous groups, but gringos and Mexicans have a lot of shared history and culture.

Sure… and Blue Demon (pronounced “DEH-mon”, not dee-mon) :slight_smile:

And Mariachi Loco, those movies were an absolute trip…

I thought the masks function to hide the fact that the same wrassler is wrassling under several different identities at the same time.

Let’s look at Mysterio’s options:

  1. Wrestle in Mexico, U.S. (non-WWE), Japan et al unmasked
  2. Wrestle for WWE masked

In number 1, he probably works higher in the card but gradually exits the consciousness of non-rabid wrestling fans.

In number 2, he earns more money, gets better care, and gets more exposure even though he’s lower in the card.

There may be some grumbling backstage when and if he returns to Mexico after his WWE run, but promoters know that his major U.S. runs with the big 2 will translate to $$. He’ll work Mexico if he needs to, although as long as his body holds up, there is probably more money in Japan.

I went as a luchadore for Halloween last year…they had generic-ish Mexican westler masks here in Austin at Tesoros, so I picked one p for about $20. Unfortunately, everyone thought I was supposed to be a Power Ranger or something…hmmm…

It’s true that wrestlers often adopt different roles by switching masks. The mask allows the wrestler to adopt a cartoonish persona more showbizzy than his own background.

Viva Superbarrio!

Actually I spoke with my upstairs friend who could be the Wrestling Geek on Beat the Geeks and he said that Mexican wrestlers wore masks so they could wrestle twice in a night and get two paychecks. Plus Rey didn’t want to take off his mask in WCW, he wanted to wear the mask.
And what was the other question about Mexico that I asked? I don’t remember. I guess wrestling and living in Colorado Springs has made me more interested in the country. That and the episode of Insomniac that takes place in Tijuana.

Well, at least part of the Mexican Wrestler mystique was the fact that the wrestler supposedly never took the mask OFF, whether in the ring or having lunch at a cafe or meeting with his attorneys to discuss investment banking or whatever.

El Santo, in particular, supposedly NEVER took his mask off except in the privacy of his own home, with his family and a few close friends. It was part of the macho thing, you know? If you weren’t one of the family, you had to BEAT him to get that mask off and have a look at him!

Mexican wrestling as we know it today evolved from the American professional wrestling scene of the 1940s and 1950s, the age of TV pro wrestling. On this side of the border, it evolved into the megaglitz WWF style. Down there, it went in a slightly different direction – watching a classic-style Lucha Libre match is kind of like watching a pair of those highly skilled Chinese acrobats trying to kill each other, sort of. It tends to be faster, more frenetic, more… KINETIC than American style pro wrestling, fueled by the image of the Mexican Wrestler as part wrestling pro, part supermacho dude… and part superhero, kind of.

Another common practice, was for the big top-o’the-tour match for any given season to be a “mascara contra cabellera” (“mask vs. hair”) match, the enmascarado against an unmasked opponent, the loser being either unmasked or having his head shaved.

Even when he died the public viewing of Santo’s body was with his mask on. That’s how big a deal it was.

He does earn more money, yes, but the rest of your points aren’t neccesarily valid.

Fans in Mexico and Japan are usually more hardcore than their American equivalents and some are almost even deified. Wrestlers like El Santo, El Hijo Del Santo, Rikodizan (or however it’s spelled) and various others are more popular in their own countries than Steve Austin, the Rock, and Hulk Hogan could even think of being here in America.

Hell, even people that most fans here in America have already forgotten about like (El) Vampiro (Canadiense) and Konnan are (or were) legitimate superstars in Mexico.

In other words, not working in America isn’t banishment by any means.

It was about Mexican wedding rings. In that case, there wasn’t any real difference between Mexican and American traditions. Unless I’m remembering wrong and that wasn’t you, but the purple font kind of stuck in my mind.

Actually “lucha libre” has a long history and and has many traditions based in mexican society and folk lore and is vastly diffrent than most american pro wrestling in style and rules and tends to be more japanese oriented

Its been around since the early 1900’s and its been brought to the states with various degrees of success

But there are sites talking about the diffrences and whats the same

Also the wrestling commentator/columinist mike tennay <sp?has written many articles on it and was/is considered the modren american expert of lucha wrestling in fact that expertise along with japanese knowledge was the sole reason he was with wcw in their hey day

So he might have articles on the net and in print talking about the history and such

Tenay. Great commentator… I miss him. He’d be a thousand percent improvement over the Hoss fellating Jim Ross.

“Vastly different”? That’s an exaggeration. You have to be a wrestling aficionado (which I’m not) in order to distinguish them.