Entertainment

These Are The Legendary Wrestlers From The Golden Age In Mexico

Most of the legendary wrestlers come from a time and age when heroes were not as flashy as the ones we see in the top grossing movies. Rather, when disguised under the mask, they could’ve been our next-door neighbor. Many of these gladiators live in the hearts of the people who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s. Funny enough, most of this phenomenon developed in Mexico from where it was exported to the rest of South America, the US and even East Asia.

1. El Santo

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If there ever was a legend, this was him. The elegance of a plain silver mask was all it took to launch Mr. Rodolfo Guzman into legendary status as El Santo. Although he was a swift and agile athlete, comic book and cinema executives saw the endless potential of Santo as a hero. He filmed dozens of movies, with some of the wackiest scripts ever written, but nonetheless they became classics and still are today.

2. Blue Demon

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Alejandro Munoz was another legend of the cinema. Following the same path as Santo, he made the jump from the ring into the movie screens with great success.

Producers and scriptwriters really didn’t break their heads back then trying to make elaborate plots. They simply followed what worked, made some little adjustments here and there, and produced an endless stream of films designed to entertain the masses.

3. Dr. Wagner

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Manuel Gonzalez traveled back and forth to the U.S. to work as a migrant worker while saving up enough money to pay for his apprenticeship in a wrestling gym in Torreon.

His trainers saw great potential in the young man who adopted the name Dr. Wagner in honor of the German composer. Wagner’s best years were the late ’60s and ’70s where alongside Angel Blanco he formed an almost invincible tag team that filled arenas all over the world.

4. Rayo De Jalisco

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With movie titles such as “Robbery at The Mummy’s Tomb,” one can easily imagine young and old people like flocking to the movie theaters. From the mid ’60s until well into the ’80s Max Linares captivated audiences with his impressive body, agility and dexterity.

One of the most memorable fights he had was against Blue Demon, in 1974, who had come out of retirement just to face the newcomer in a loser-removes-mask match. To the amazement of many, the old-timer prevailed and Rayo had to show his face for the first time.

5. Mil Mascaras

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When a major movie executive in Mexico didn’t have the availability of his regular stars for another wrestling movie, the hunt was on to find someone capable of filling those shoes. Then he stumbled onto this quirky character that changes masks for every presentation, thus the moniker Mil Mascaras, or 1000 Masks.

Featuring some very interesting designs, his masks became trademarks, and kids during the ’60s couldn’t keep up with all the new designs that were showing up in shops. Aaron Rodriguez enjoyed a great string of popularity in the ring and the movie theaters imposing fear on rivals and fans with his impressive biceps.

6. Huracan Ramirez

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After overcoming many difficulties, including opposition by his family to become a wrestler, Daniel Garcia from Mexico City, was the first ever wrestler to star in a movie. The plots and scripts really are nothing to write home about, but the almost magnetic attraction it had on audiences had producers scrambling to keep up.

Nobody really thought much of him as a wrestler because of his svelte physique, but he had speed and would dart away from his opponents leaving audiences in awe because of his pirouettes. Like many wrestlers of his day, his children continue the legend.

7. Tonina Jackson

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Also known as “Babyface”, he may have not had the agility of his peers but just one smack of his powerful fists would send his rivals asleep for a while. He also took part in many movies, not as the central figure, but more in a supporting role. His popularity extended into the USA, South America and Asia. Unfortunately, he died at a relatively young age in 1969.

8. Perro Aguayo

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Some guys really didn’t need a mask to arrive at superstar status, and Pedro Aguayo was definitely one of them. He enjoyed a great string of success from the ’70s and well into the ’90s. His fights were almost always sanguinary blood fests, simulating ancient Roman sacrifices at the Coliseum, which in turn created expectation among fans. We all know now that most of the blood is really fake, but don’t tell that to a raving fan in the stands. He retired in 2002 and, like many, was followed by his sons perpetuating the legend.

9. Ciclon Veloz Jr.

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He may have been the first Mexican pro wrestler to use the “Jr.” after his name, honoring his father, the original Ciclon Veloz (Fast Hurricane). Though he did hold his own as a top-notch athlete in the 70s, his greatest contribution to the sport was as tireless promotor in his hometown of Monterrey.

He would defeat many of the stars of his day and stripped the masks of several rivals and also shaved the heads of others after winning “mask vs mask” or “hair vs hair” matches, thrilling audiences with his elusiveness.

10. Canek

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Felipe Estrada started like many, as a fan, but developed the physique and skills necessary to jump into the ring. And he created quite a splash! In the early 70s several promotors saw the potential in the young man and brought him under their wing because of his colorful persona and wonderful dynamics in the ring. He won several World Titles and he’s been inducted in the Wrestling Observer Magazine Hall of Fame.

11. Tinieblas

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Another super star both on and off the ring, Manuel Leal, coming from Mexico City, was a body builder discovered by Black Shadow because of his impressive musculature and swiftness.

After Santo, he was the second pro wrestler to have a comic book named after him. Dubbed the “Wise” wrestler because of an intellectual aura, he was one of the first Mexican wrestlers to conquer the Asian market becoming a legend also in Japan. His filmography is also quite remarkable, with around 10 feature films under his belt.

12. Lizmark

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Although his ring name was a word play on the legendary Bismarck battleship, on the canvas he was anything but play. Having recently lost the battle to heart ailment, Lizmark was an admirable star of worldwide wrestling, even becoming tag team world title holder alongside Atlantis. He introduced new forms of grappling his rivals, including some aerial moves that delighted spectators during the 70s and 80s, his heyday.

13. Cavernario (Caveman) Galindo

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There are some wrestlers feared by their foes for their strength, and other because they were just plain ugly! Caveman Galindo was one of them. Al old timer in the Mexican market, his scars from an auto accident during his youth became his trademark aspect of ruggedness in the arena, and then an injury to the vocal chords gave him his raspy voice, scary also. He was part of the “rude” gang, and many of his fights were true bloodbaths that kept fans glued to their seats. He died in 1999 at the age of 76.

14. Rey Mysterio

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One of the newest idols in the ring, this Mexican-American athlete, he is considered the best Mexican wrestler to work under the WWE. His flashy style, flying all around the ring with elegant and acrobatic moves, has thrilled fans all over the world. Originally from San Diego, he’s still active, albeit in a lesser degree, but fans still clamor for his presence in different venues. Three times he’s held wrestling titles.

15. Fray Tormenta

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Call it bizarre or what, but a priest as a wrestler? Only in Mexico! The story of “Friar Storm” is worthy of admiration. He started life extremely poor, 17th out of 18 children, he was a pickpocket, addict and into petty theft to feed his addictions.

One day a priest kicked him out the church and he thought that if clergy were really more interested in troubled youth, they might have a chance, so he turned to religion. And from there on, it’s been quite a story. Father Sergio became a hero to many kids needing someone who’s been in their shoes to help them get back up.

16. Espanto Brothers

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They were one of the first trios of “bad guys” gracing the arenas in Mexico, these guys were the embodiment of badass since their origins in the border town of Juarez. Originally comprised of two, childhood friends Jose Vazquez and Fernando Cisneros, they began fighting in the late 50s, joined later by Jose’s kid brother Miguel forming a dynasty of rude, no-holds-barred, dynamos that people loved to hate because of their antics and plain silliness. As expected, they have been succeeded by their offspring forming the “Sons of Terror”.

17. El Solitario

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The lonely guy was anything but with his enormous popularity beginning in the early 60s and well into the 90s. His moniker is a take on old-time TV character “The Lone Ranger”, with his mask an adaptation of the ranger’s mask.

He switched sides, becoming a “good guy” and that was when his fame skyrocketed with fans. Unfortunately, all the bruising, blows and acrobatics took a toll on Roberto Gonzalez, who after sensing abdominal pain, was taken to the ER where he died of internal hemorrhaging in the stomach, and he didn’t endure the surgery.

18. Super Muñeco

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The whimsical Super Doll was a fan favorite for many years with his crazy maneuvers and high-pitched cries in the ring, wreaking havoc with his opponents, some of whom disliked losinmg to someone dressed as a clown. His most famous move is a complicated leg trap that renders rivals to a mere pulp, while always laughing and, of course, clowning around enticing the fans to cheer more enthusiastically. He is still active in spite being over 55 years of age. He’s a loveable foe!

19. Gory Guerrero

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Born in Arizona, initially raised in California, but residing most of his life in Guadalajara, Salvador Guerrero was one of the very first internationally acclaimed Mexican wrestlers. His bouts with Caveman Galindo in the 40s became blood fests that attracted fans from far away. Later, he tagged team with Santo to fight against Galindo and Black Panther in an oversized version of the original fights. His trademark grapple, “Camel Clutch” was popularized later by Santo. He passed away in 1990, at 69 years of age. A true legend…

20. Rene Guajardo

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Copetes, or “the one with bangs in his hair” was more than just a great wrestler in the 50s and beyond, he, alongside Ray Mendoza and Karloff Lagarde, were instrumental in demanding that athletes receive better wages for their efforts in a time when promoters were getting the lion’s share of the revenue stream in a sport that was the largest money maker in Mexico.

He always fought on the bad guy’s side, but was nonetheless admired by all for his elegant moves, among them his signature “body-slam”. Many consider him a plus for the sport and its athletes. Died in 1992 at a relatively young 59.

21. Ray Mendoza

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Jose Diaz was instrumental in creating, along with Rene Guajardo, the UWA – Universal Wrestling Association, spearheading a movement in favor of better working conditions for his colleagues. But, politics aside, he was fierce like few ever!

After deciding boxing wasn’t for him, in the late 50s Diaz was invited to practice wrestling, and it was an instant fit! He held many different world titles defeating the cream of the crop of his time. His kids, in spite of Dad’s advice to rather become lawyers or doctors, also turned pro wrestlers. Diaz died in 2003 after a prolific life.

22. Vampiro Canadiense

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Ian Hodgkinson may not sound too Mexican, but the Canadian Vampire owes his career to the country South of our Border. From Thunder Bay, Ontario, he started doing most every and anything, even becoming a bodyguard for the infamous pop band Milli Vanilli. But with a body like his, and all that ink, he was a natural fit for wrestling and Mexico practically adopted him as one of its own. The flamboyant and somber personality that were his trademarks captivated fans that flocked to the arenas where he fought. He held several titles during his wrestling years, and now works as paranormal reporter for TV.

23. Mano Negra

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“Black Hand” had an interesting reason behind his professional moniker: he didn’t want his face to be seen in photos, so he covered it with his hand, always appearing as black, thus “the black hand”. Born in Northern Mexico, his Dad worked as reporter for a local paper and would take his kid to the matches, turning his attention to the sport itself.

Jesus Reza began fighting in the early 70s after an apprenticeship in Monterrey with legendary instructor Rolando Vera. He held many world titles and stripped a few rivals of their masks and hair. Nearing 60 years of age, he does still appear now and then in support of a function.

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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