Entertainment

Mexico’s Lucha Libre Has Basically Taken Over The World And These 13 Iconic Wrestlers Made It Possible

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Mexican wrestling is much more than mere popular entertainment. The theatrical mix between professional sport and kitsch spectacle is where popular fears and desires meet, where good and evil fight, and where the audience can let go of worries and just scream their lungs out. Even though the main fights take place in the legendary Arena Mexico in Mexico City, wrestling matches are staged all throughout the country. The mythology or rudos against tecnicos, or the buenos contra los malos, has permeated Mexican imagination for decades. Of course, legends like El Santo and Blue Demon also filmed now classic B-movie projects that pit them against monsters and all sorts of inmundicias.

We have chosen some of the most popular luchadoresof all time, both classic and recent, so you are up on your lucha libre game when you next chat with your abuelito and primos. Lucharaaaaaan de dos a tres caidas, sin limite de tieeeeempo! 

1. Psycho Clown

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If you were terrified by the movie IT then this wrestler is your worst nightmare. Born on December 16, 1985, this enmascarado has taken on three personas: Brazo de Plata Jr., Kronos, and his current Pyscho Clown. He is obviously a rudo and his extravagant outfits are worn alongside Monster Clown and Murder Clown, with whom he forms the team Los Psycho Circus. He is obviously a big fan of KISS.

2. Bestia 666

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In a primarily Catholic country, being named after The Antichrist is great publicity when it comes to selling yourself as a rudo. Leonardo Carrera Lizarraga was born on May 14, 1989, in Tijuana, a wrestling crazed town. He built his impressive physique playing American football as a defensive back, but after a few injuries he decided to follow on his father’s footsteps: his dad was Leonardo, better known as Damian 666, a persona of clear Satanic overtones.

3. Mil Mascaras

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After El Santo and Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras is perhaps the most venerated Mexican wrestler of all time. Aarón Rodríguez Arellano was born on July 15, 1942, in San Luis Potosi. He comes from a wrestling family. His brothers are Dos Caras and Sicodelico. He starred in over 20 films and became the face of wrestling worldwide, taking on the legacy of the two great ones, El Santo and Blue Demon.

4. Dr. Wagner Jr.

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Juan Manuel González Barrón took his name from that Cold War tradition of naming villains with German names. He was born on August 12, 1965. His first moniker was El Invasor, but it wasn’t until he became Dr. Wagner that he really found his footing. In the early 2000s, he fought regularly in Japan, an expanding market for the kitsh paraphernalia of lucha libre.

5. Espectro 1

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Antonio Hernández Arriaga was born in 1934 and died in 1993, aged 59. He was a pioneer in introducing elaborate theatrics into the world of lucha libre: he would usually be carried into the ring in a coffin, which added to his personalida de ultratumba. His legacy was carried on by his nephew, Espectro Jr. 

6. Blue Demon (no, we hadn’t forgotten about him of course, nomas faltaba!)

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One cannot talk about Mexican wrestling without mentioning this true legend. Alejandro Muñoz Moreno was born in Nuevo Garcia, in 1933 and died of a heart attack aged 78, in the year 2000. His blue mask is a national treasure. He was the son of farmers and started his wrestling career in 1948 after his coworkers noticed his huge hands, ideal for the sport. He was a rudo, and often fought alongside The Black Shadow in a team known as Los Hermanos Shadow. 

7. An now…. el enmascarado de plata, the unrivaled El Santo! 

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Lucha librewould not have become a huge national and global entertainment industry if it wasn’t for Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, the unparalleled Santo, who was born on September 23, 1917, in Tulancingo, a small town in the state of Hidalgo. His legacy in the ring was built over five decades, and his status as a popular icon derives from his acting career in over 50 movies between 1958 and 1982. He became an industry in himself. His kitschy films, by the way, are now being studied as serious examples of Mexican surrealism. He died in 1984, aged 66.

8. Rayo de Jalisco

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Another great legend, an old-fashioned wrestler that with his simple black mask captured the imagination of millions. He was born in 1932 and died in 2018, aged 85. Because the wrestling world is pretty much concentrated in Mexico City, this hero from Jalisco really resonated with Guadalajara natives. He also partook in the luchador film genre in titles such as Superzam el Invencible (“Superzam the invincible”; 1971), El Robo de las Momias de Guanajuato (“The Robbery of the Mummies of Guanajuato”; 1972), Vuelven Los Campeones Justicieros (“Becoming the Champions of Justice”; 1972) and El Triunfo de los Campeones Justicieros (“The Triumph of the Champions of Justice”; 1974). They are true masterpieces of campy moviemaking. 

9. Blue Panther

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Genaro Vázquez Nevarez is a true performer! Instead of acrobatic jumps from the ropes, he developed a style known as “Ras de lona”: he would defeat his opponents through locks, holds, takedowns, and submissions. He overpowered his adversaries with indomitable strength and skill in applying knots to their legs!

10. Charly Manson

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This dude obviously took his name from the famed serial killer Charles Manson. His real name is Jesús Luna Pozos and he was born on February 17, 1975. He is obviously a rudoand his style is characterized by Satanic themes and heavy metal music, to which he often walked into the ring. His bad ways also defined his life outside the ring: in 2011 he was sentenced to jail after he got into an altercation with two police officer. He was released in 2015 due to good behavior. 

11. Super Muñeco

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Formerly knows as El Sanguinario Jr., this wrestler was born in 1963 and his ring persona was clown-like. His real identity has not been revealed yet. He is the son of another professional wrestler, El Sanguinario, on whose legacy he took before finding his calling as Super Muñeco. He often teamed up with El Hijo Del Santo, which increased his popular appeal. 

12. Dragon Lee

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Mexican lucha librehas expanded globally, in part because of the multinational personas that its wrestlers take. This is the case of Dragon Lee, who obviously references Bruce Lee and Hong Kong action cinema. He comes from Jalisco and is a young legend: at merely 24 years of age he has captured the sport’s imagination. He is one of the good guys. He tales a lot of risks, like jumping out of the high rope and towards the outside of the ring.

13. Demus 3:16

OMG, this dude is like really scary. He was born in Tijuana in 1980 and has established himself as a household name of el bando de los rudos. He has had other ring names such as Mini Eskeleto and Troll, all referencing dark forces. He has won several championships and is married to a female professional wrestler, Hiroka Yaginuma.

READ: Here’s Why This Lucha Libre Star Is Waving A U.S. Flag And Praising Donald Trump In Front of Mexican Fans

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks Bu Thank You Anyway

Entertainment

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks Bu Thank You Anyway

It has been more than a decade since Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna established themselves as power players in the Hollywood game. Other Mexican actors like Kuno Becker have also broken into the United States mainstream, but they are few and far apart. The new kid on the block is actor Luis Gerardo Mendez, an actor that has done it all in a few years: he has made indie films, a highly successful Netflix show, one of the most successful Mexican movies of all time and now films with Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and the new Charlie’s Angels team of kickass queens. 

He was born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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Contrary to what some might believe, not every Mexican actor comes from the capital Mexico City! Luis Gerardo was born in the city of Aguascalientes on March 8, 1982. 

Remember how Jude Law seemed to be on every single movie released in the early 2000s? Well, that is what the very prolific Luis Gerardo is for the Mexican film industry today.

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From the beginning of his career, he has been willing to work with anyone who wants to tell a story. He has collaborated with first-time directors such as Ivan Morales, whose film Sincronia is available on YouTube (it is a delightful film about love and loss). He has taken on peculiar projects such as Camino a Marte, where he plays an alien trapped in a human body. He doesn’t shy away from challenges, ever. 

BTW, you just can’t miss his Netflix film Time Share (Tiempo compartido).

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Time Share (2018) is a dark comedy that explores the sect-like practices of the tourism industry and how it lures clients to get lifelong commitments to spend holidays in particular all-inclusive resorts. Filmed in Acapulco, it starts as a comedy of errors and soon becomes a much darker film: a true indictment of capitalism and its deathly methods for controlling people through impossible dreams and promises of achieving a higher social status.

Fame and fortune no se la ha subido a la cabeza and he remains humble and con los pies bien puestos sobre la Tierra.

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We love his Instagram account, where you can follow his daily life (how cool is this shot from a nightclub toilet in grungy Berlin?), from his trips to life behind the sets of his movies and TV shows. 

He is a true supporter of Mexican cinema.

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Luis Gerardo had one of the leading roles in the super successful film Nosotros los Nobles (The Noble Family), which tells the story of an upper-class family that suddenly sees its fortune evaporate. Luis Gerardo often collaborates with new and emerging directors and often takes an active role in the production. He believes in and loves the industry which saw him become one of the most recognizable of Latino filmmaking. 

We will always remember his character in Club de Cuervos, Salvador Iglesias Jr, Chava pa los cuates.

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Some actors are always linked to certain characters, and that is the case of Luis Gerardo, who played the extravagant and frankly kinda dumb Chava Iglesias in the Netflix show Club de Cuervos, which explored the world of Mexican professional soccer. Mendez revealed himself as a comedic genius, navigating the thin line that separates slapstick and high-quality comedy. He gave an apparently shallow character multiple layers of both dramatic and comedic depth. 

We mean, no one has worn a vest better.

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Chava Iglesias was so ridiculously full of himself that it was uncomfortably fun to watch! He left us plenty of memorable moments, such as successfully hiring the best soccer player in the world out of pure necedad!

He is an animal lover.

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The actor collaborates with PETA Latino, particularly in a campaign to treat domestic pets as they deserve: with care and respect. He particularly cares about dogs that are left alone in rooftops all day, a common practice in Mexico. 

He has his own collectible figurine!

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Once you have a Funko POP! toy made a tu imagen y semejanza you know you have made it! 

You can’t miss Bayoneta either (it’s on Netflix).

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The outstanding boxing drama Bayoneta is also available on Netflix. It tells the sad story of a has-been fighter from Tijuana that makes a living in Finland by training young boxers. He gives a deep, challenging performance that was physically tough.  

His movie Murder Mystery has been one of the most watched Netflix originals.

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Yes, of course, it is mainly because of his costars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, but Mendez’ film was watched by more than 30 million people in the first three days after its release. That is much more than what many theatrical releases get. Streaming services are truly revolutionizing how movies are produced, distributed and watched, and are giving actors like Mendez a platform in which they can explore different genres. Netflix is very fond of Luis Gerardo, and we are sure we will see more of him in the years to come. 

Next up, a crazy scientist in the girl-power action film Charlie’s Angels.

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He will play a minor role, but he will give comedic relief to the highly anticipated remake directed by Elizabeth Banks. We just can’t wait to see him in this! 

His next project deals with US-Mexico relationships: Half Brother sounds truly amazing.

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In an exclusive interview for Mitú, the film’s producer and writer, Eduardo Cisneros (one of the leading Latino voices in the industry), said about the actor: “When Jason Shuman and I started fleshing out this story, I immediately thought of Luis Gerardo, because there aren’t many people out there with all the qualities the role required. First of all, he’s a gifted actor, capable of giving a layered dramatic performance, but at the same time, he’s immensely adroit at comedy. We needed a redoubtable leading performer, the kind people come to expect from a Focus movie, but also someone who had a great appeal within the Mexican and Latinx moviegoers. We approached him at the early stages of the project, and little did we know he had a personal, almost autobiographical, connection to the story. So it was almost kismet. He came on board not only as a star but as an executive producer, so we are lucky to have his input and artistry in this movie”. 

Cisneros explains what this movie is all about: “Luis Gerardo Méndez stars as Renato, a successful Mexican private aviation entrepreneur based in San Miguel De Allende, who is shocked to discover he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher, played by Connor Del Rio. The two very different half-brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to the US.  The central idea of the movie is the need for learning how to see things from your neighbor’s perspective, which is kind of an allegory for what we’re going today in our global society.”

READ: 8 Times Netflix’s ‘Club De Cuervos’ Reminded Us How Intense Sibling Rivalry Is

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

Entertainment

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has brought sweeping changes to the country since he took office last year. Whether it’s crime reform, government overhaul or even cutting his own salary. But according to the Washington Post, Lopez Obrador has also slashed the budget of the Mexican Olympic Committee. The cuts are a huge blow to the day-to-day operations of the sports organization which will now no longer be able to offer food, lodging, and medical services at its central sports training complex.

The budget cut is just the latest to come from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration which has already cut back on other services such as government jobs, researchers and archaeologists.

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The call for more budget cuts comes as a surprise to some as Lopez-Obrador, a self-described leftist, has consciously spent less on government-funded efforts. In just the first seven months on the job, the administration has pushed efforts to reduce spending, which even includes Lopez-Obrador’s own salary and plans to sell off the presidential plane.

The Mexican Olympic Committee says it doesn’t have the $4.7 million needed to operate the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full resources due to these cuts. The sports complex has various track and pool facilities that include a gymnasium and velodrome. Just this year alone, government funding for sports is about 25 percent below last year’s spending.  

Critics of these budget cuts say the government is spending the same amount of money but instead reallocating it to different areas and needs. This has resulted in fears that the cuts will result in not having enough money to perform and essential tasks and duties. 

President Lopez Obrador has described his new financial plan as “republican austerity.” This is causing some concerns in Mexico. 

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Besides just athletics, there is increasing stress for other civic services. Researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History told the Washington Post that almost 200 employees have been cut since the year began. These latest announced cuts have renewed fears of more layoffs coming in the near future. 

“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute told the Washington Post. Many of these employees are scarcely paid and are on temporary contracts, which already places a big burden on their pay and livelihood. 

Throughout the government spectrum, there has been visible cuts and elimination of positions like consultancy and management positions. All while thousands of more public servants have resigned or quit altogether. 

Some of these funds being cut are essential to certain projects being worked on throughout Mexico. 

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While Mexico’s budget, $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion), may look similar to last year, it just means that Lopez Obrador is putting it to use in different areas. These decisions are well in his power and are following his budget plan that he crafted back in December. 

“There is money,” Valerie Moy, an economist told the Washington Post. “It’s just being redirected to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be almost whims that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.”

There are some concerns that these cuts are being made without proper consideration. Finance Minister Carlos Urzua left his position just last week due to what he says is the public policy decisions the administration is doing “without sufficient sustenance.”

“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” Moy said.

There is no say when or what will be cut next but it may have a huge effect on things bigger than sports. 

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Back in May, Mexico City was hit with severe smog that was caused by nearby wildfires. Experts say that the looming air pollution could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the budget cuts to environmental services that deal with this type of detection.

“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” Mexico’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum said in a statement this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”

READ: The Peso Plummets After Mexico’s Finance Minister Quits And Calls Out Corruption In AMLO’s Government

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