The red cover of El Diablo Lucha Libre shows a fearsome devil. Open the card to a fiery El Diablo Lucha Libre mask surrounded by flames and embers. Wrestlers wearing imaginative masks are popular wherever there are Mexicans, from Mexico City to Boaz, Alabama.
Lucha Libre means free-style wrestling. The spectacle has more in common with circus arts than combat sports. The moves are acrobatic and dramatic, but they’re practiced over years, and the wrestlers rely on a common language to keep from getting hurt. There’s more danger in soccer.
Wrestlers keep their identity secret behind their masks. They wear colorful outfits, sometimes decorated with capes and feather boas. Campy and flirtatious, these fighters body slam in between blowing kisses to the crowd.
This is a card for a wrestler, a boyfriend, a birthday, a collector of kitsch.
You’re a Devil.
I’d rather throw ya than know ya.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Wrestling begins at the end of your comfort zone.
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Wrestling is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you are tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired.
They say I’m insane; I say thank you very much.
More Lucha lore:
Mexico’s version of free-style professional wrestling is one of the country’s biggest spectator activities today, eclipsed only in popularity by soccer. Characterized by colorful masks, flamboyant personalities and a whole lot of Spandex, it’s an edge-of-your-seat spectacle like no other and something that shouldn’t be missed.
A typical lucha match involves the técnicos, the ‘good guys’, battling it out against the evil rudos, the ‘bad guys’, with an incredible array of dropkicks, backflips and leg locks. You’ll see both luchadores and luchadoras (female wrestlers) whirling around the ring, as well as wrestlers in drag known as exóticos.
The mask worn by a luchador is called a mascara. Traditionally, Mexican lucha libre stars do not reveal their identities to the public, choosing to be known only by their ring identities. El Santo, one of the originators of the style, revealed his identity just days before his death. The masks are so important that Santo and Blue Demon, legendary luchas, were buried wearing their masks.