On what would have been his 99th birthday, Google is honoring legendary Mexican luchador El Santo with his very own Google Doodle.
Casual Googlers might not know the history behind the man, the myth, the legend, but El Santo is one of the greatest luchadores in Mexico’s illustrious wrestling history. Knowing they couldn’t honor Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta with just a basic drawing, Google devoted several beautiful, biographical panels to highlight El Santo’s life and career.
This is the town of Tulancingo, El Santo’s hometown located in Hidalgo, Mexico.
Born on Sep. 23, 1917, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta was the fifth of seven children.
Though his time in Tulancingo was brief, the town is obviously proud of their connection to El Santo.
Tulancingo honored El Santo with his own statue, as well as naming as street – Boulevard Rodolfo Guzman Huerta, El Santo – after the famous luchador.
When he was barely a teenager, Rodolfo’s family moved to Mexico City, where he was introduced to the sport that would change his life.
So entranced by the spectacle of luchadores he saw in Mexico City, Rodolfo began training to become a professional wrestler. Though no official record exists, it is believed that Rodolfo’s debut was at the Arena Peralvillo Cozumel in June 1934, a little before his 17th birthday.
In his early days as a luchador, Rodolfo wrestled under his real name and was a rudo, a rule-breaking bad guy.
Rodolfo decided to drop his real name in favor of an wrestling alias, a common practice among luchadores. Some of Rodolfo’s earliest stage names include Rudy Guzman, El Enmascarado, El Hombre Rojo, El Demonio Negro, and El Murciélago 2. He was forced to give up the name El Murciélago 2, because it was infringed on Jesus Velazquez’s alias, which was El Murciélago.
At the suggestion of his manager, 24-year-old Rodolfo officially took the title of El Santo and donned his now iconic silver mask.
El Santo’s official first match was at the Arena Mexico in 1942. No longer a rudo, Santo wrestled as a técnico, a good guy, which gave him the chance to show off his technical abilities for the fans. This change in approach was a success.
With his new name, El Santo was unstoppable, engaging in feuds that were as exciting as they were career defining.
Depicted above is Santo’s feud with Blue Demon. Fans will notice the last panel may imply an unmasking of Blue Demon, which never happened. It was Blue who defeated Santo in a well-publicized series of matches that propelled both wrestlers to the heights of stardom.
El Santo’s popularity eventually grew beyond the boundaries of the ring.
Outside the ring, El Santo tackled the entertainment industry, appearing in movies as well as the very popular comic, “Santo.”
In Jose G. Cruz’s comic book, El Santo was pitted against enemies too big for the ring.
Over the course of 35 years, Santo put his heroic strength to good use, defeating mummies, vampires, and even the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
The comic books are rare, but they can be found on internet auction sites.
CREDIT: TLOCEPOSTER / EBAY
These Santo comics are typically priced for serious collectors. This one runs for about $40.
El Santo also became one of Mexico’s biggest movie stars, appearing in over 50 movies during the course of his acting career.
Like the comics, Santo’s movie counterpart often found himself fighting off hordes of supernatural creatures.
“Santo vs The Zombies,” was Santo’s third movie, but was the first one to connect with audiences already familiar with the luchador.
CREDIT: ZOMBIESLANG / YOUTUBE
Thanks to fans of Santo (or zombie enthusiasts) “Santo vs The Zombies” is available online in its entirety.
At 64 years old, and 48 years of wrestling under his belt, Rudy “El Santo” Guzman finally retired from lucha libre.
Barely a year after retiring, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta passed away. He was 66 years old at the time. With a legacy lives on in the hearts and imaginations of the fans he inspired, El Santo is a true hero, in and out of the ring.
Happy Birthday Santo!
CREDIT: tejanaselena5sos / INSTAGRAM