Entertainment

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

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

Mexican Artist Transforms 1,527 Deadly Guns Into Life-Giving Shovels To Plant Trees

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Mexican Artist Transforms 1,527 Deadly Guns Into Life-Giving Shovels To Plant Trees

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A Mexican artist and activist embarked on a project to gather as many firearms as he could from Culiacán, Mexico, the city with the highest death by gun violence rate in Mexico, and transform them into shovels that would instead plant trees. Artist Pedro Reyes, a Mexico City native, has long been using his art to illustrate how evil can be transformed into good, with the right perspective. While the United States has, by far, the highest number of firearms per capita (120.5 per 100 persons), Mexico ranks 60th in the world. Pedro Reyes wanted to do his part in getting the deadly weapons off the street.

Reyes set out in Culiacán, Mexico, to trade civilian’s weapons for coupons for electronics, and residents traded 1,527 weapons.

Pedro Reyes’s project, known as “Palas por Pistolas” publicized the gun exchange on television ads and through local media.

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 All of this was made possible by the botanical garden of Culiacán, which has been commissioning artists to perform social impact interventions for years. Reyes made a proposal to the garden to organize a city-wide campaign for a voluntary donation of weapons. The commission was able to pay for television advertisements and liaise with local media to promote the project. Soon, the whole city knew that residents were invited to give up their guns in exchange for a coupon. Those coupons were then traded at a local store in exchange for domestic appliances and electronics.

Of the 1,527 weapons collected, 40 percent were automatic weapons, “exclusively” used for the military.

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The second phase of the project was put on public display. All 1,527 guns were taken to a military zone and were crushed by a steamroller in a public act. Then, the pieces were taken to a foundry and melted down to its original form. Once again, the same metal that was transformed into guns became a ‘blank page,’ available to transform into absolutely anything. Reyes worked with a major hardware factory to create molds that would create exactly 1,527 shovels. 

Since they’ve been repurposed, 1,527 trees have been planted.

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The shovels have been on display at a variety of art institutions. Admirers could read an inscription of the shovel’s origin story on the handle. Later, children and adults alike would feel the weight of what was once a gun in their hands as they dug up dirt to plant new life. Trees have been planted at the Vancouver Art Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, Paris’s Maison Rouge, Lyon Biennial, Marfa, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.

“This ritual has a pedagogical purpose of showing how an agent of death can become an agent of life,” Reyes said of the project. 

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Like every other Reyes project to date, the gift is a change in perspective. For whoever might have been injured or died at the hands of those 1,527 guns, as many trees have been planted in their honor. Reyes breaks down the concept of a gun to what it is: human intention and scrap metal. With a simple shift in intention, that metal has created lasting memories for children and created oxygen-giving life on this planet.  

Since “Palas por Pistolas,” Reyes has also installed “Imagine,” a similar concept that instead turns guns into musical instruments.

Credit: Pedro Reyes

In April 2012, Reyes was given the opportunity to transform human intention once again. “I got a call from the government who had learned about Palas por Pistolas,” Reyes said. “They told me a public destruction of weapons was to take place in Ciudad Juarez and asked me if I was interested in keeping the metal, which would otherwise have been buried as usual. I accepted the material but I wanted to do something new this time. 6700 weapons, cut into parts and rendered useless, were given to me and I set out to make them into instruments.”

“A group of 6 musicians worked for 2 weeks shoulder-to-shoulder turning these agents of death into instruments of life.”

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Reyes said it was far more challenging than simply turning the metal into shovels. The metal had to create sounds. “It’s difficult to explain but the transformation was more than physical,” Reyes writes. “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.”

Living in a community free of guns ought to be a human right. Many liberties that we enjoy today were considered utopian, and the first step taken into that direction was to Imagine.” Reyes continues to draw attention not only to where guns are used, but where they are made. It is an industry and one he continues to reclaim for life.

READ: Mexicans Are Questioning Their Government’s Decision To Release El Chapo’s Son After A Massive Gun Battle

Mexico Becomes The World’s First Country With A Highway Paved From Recycled Plastics

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Mexico Becomes The World’s First Country With A Highway Paved From Recycled Plastics

Inhabitat

One of the biggest assets of the great and complex country known as Mexico is the creative and even ludic way in which people reuse materials. This is done on an everyday basis. You just have to go to a traditional mercado to see, for example, Barbie doll dresses made with scraps from old clothes. Need a swing for the backyard? No worries, that used tire will do! 

But sometimes this sort of creativity extends to public works that set a good example that other governments can follow. 

Introducing the world’s very first eco-highway! Recycled plastic on the road! 

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The state of Guanajuato in central Mexico is home to the first ever highway paved with recycled materials. The effort is modest at the moment and involved a 4 kilometer stretch that required 1.7 tons of plastic. The stretch communicates the municipalities of Irapuato and Cuerámaro. If we don’t continue to implement solutions like these, the only highway that we will be paving as humanity is a highway to climate hell!

The number of plastic packages required to accumulate 1.7 tons will surprise you!

According to Dow Plastics Technology Mexico, the 1.7 tons of eco-pavement equal up to 425,000 plastic packaging units. The development of the highway plastic was a private affair that involved the companies Dow, Vise, Surfax, Lasfalto and Omnigreen, and its use in the highway was championed by the federal body Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT). Regardless of the politics that are surely involved in the project (governments loooove to take credit for this sort of initiatives and present themselves as super eco-friendly), this project sets a great precedent. 

And the new recycled material is much more durable too!

Credit: Inhabitat

Through a press release, Dow praised the durability of the new eco-material, which could become the standard in the years to come: “This new technology not only offers a possible solution to the management of plastic waste, it also theoretically prolongs the life span of highways by 50% compared to conventional asphalt. The advantage of using recycled plastic products is that they can be used on all types of highways, not only in high-performance products, which can extend the life span of any paved road”.

It is important to note that the world at large is facing a crisis when it comes to the management of recycling materials. Many developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand traditionally send their plastics to China to be recycled. However, China is no longer accepting them and a lot of plastic is either being stored (a costly and not very useful solution) or, worse, it ends up in landfill. This was a pilot study, but it will surely at least trigger the curiosity of other governments and companies. And remember: they both love good PR, and what could be better PR than being eco-friendly in these times of true environmental distress? 

Mexicans have done some other pretty cool eco-friendly things with roads!

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If you have been to Mexico City chances are that you have been stuck in traffic. If the traffic lasts for more than, say, 45 minutes, chances are then that you are in the infamous Periferico. This artery, which connects the city’s Sur y Norte, was so busy that the government decided to build a second floor on top of it. This was a very controversial project then championed by now president AMLO.

A new project, Via Verde, is creating vertical gardens on the pillars that support “El Segundo Piso”. This is intended not only to provide a pretty view for tired drivers, but also to alleviate some of the air pollution caused by the thousands of cars that cross “El Peri” every day in what is perhaps one of the world’s busiest commutes. We only hope that CDMX becomes a truly green megalopolis… 

And don’t forget the nopal leather made by a duo of Mexican superstars!

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A few days ago this wonderful invention made its rounds on the media: Adrian Lopez and Marte Cazarez, two Mexican inventors, have created an alternative to plastic faux leather by using nopal, a cactus variety that is as delicious to eat as it is durable when used as a material. If this vegan and eco-friendly is commercialized on a large scale it will not only provide more fashion alternatives to vegans, but it will also have an impact on the cattle industry, which is one of the main culprits of climate change. The material is also much more breathable than plastic faux leather… seriously, that things makes you sweat like there is no tomorrow!