Things That Matter

El Santo Puts A Sleeper Hold On Today’s Google Doodle

On what would have been his 99th birthday, Google is honoring legendary Mexican luchador El Santo with his very own Google Doodle.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

Born on Sep. 23, 1917, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta was the fifth of seven children.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

Though his time in Tulancingo was brief, the town is obviously proud of their connection to El Santo.

El más grande. #ElSanto #tulancingo #luchalibremexicana #elenmascaradodeplata #losrudoslosrudoslosrudos

A photo posted by PonyRosa (@ponyrosa23) on

CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

Outside the ring, El Santo tackled the entertainment industry, appearing in movies as well as the very popular comic, “Santo.”

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

In Jose G. Cruz’s comic book, El Santo was pitted against enemies too big for the ring.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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.

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CREDIT: GOOGLE

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

The legend.

READ: Mexico’s “Creepiest” Director Gets His Own Exhibit At LACMA

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Legendary Mexican Wrestler La Parka Has Died And Social Media Is Mourning A Lucha Libre Icon

Things That Matter

Legendary Mexican Wrestler La Parka Has Died And Social Media Is Mourning A Lucha Libre Icon

MrLuchaMX.com

Wresting or lucha libre is a cornerstone of Mexican popular culture. The ring is a symbolic battlefield where issues such as morals (good vs evil, rudos contra tecnicos!), gender identity, sexuality and class are solved through punches, kicks, voladoras and plenty of melodrama. Legends such as El Santo, Blue Demon and Tinieblas have become important icons in Mexico and overseas, and lucha libre remains a multi-million dollar business. Luchadores come out of every corner of Mexico and often travel as far as Japan to showcase their athletic prowess and histrionic skills.

So when a beloved luchador passes away thousands, if not millions, of fans mourn him or her, remembering all the high drama that they gifted us. So when news broke that popular wrestler La Parka passed away, many were left brokenhearted. 

La Parka, aged only 54, died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring.

His real name was Jesús Alfonso Huerta Escoboza and he was a force of nature full of charisma. He adopted a ring persona that resonates with millions of Mexicans: he personified Death itself, with whom Mexicans have a peculiar relationship that verges on the religious. La Parka reminded us of the religious figure of La Santa Muerte, patron saint of many in the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

La Parka sustained injuries in the ring back in October 2019 and these injuries ultimately led to his untimely death. The fall was horrific, as TMZ reminds us: “La Parka — aka Jesus Alfonso Escoboza Huerta — did a leaping dive through the ropes at an opponent in Monterey, Mexico … but tragically hit his head on a guard rail before falling to the ground.”

La Parka was born in the northern city of Hermosillo in the state of Sonora. He had a long and successful career, as CNN reports: “He won titles including the Triplemanía Cup and Antonio Peña Cup. He was also the top winner of King of Kings, an annual tournament produced by Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.” Rest in peace, legend! 

There needs to be a serious discussion about combat sports and potentially deadly injuries.

Credit: Wrestler Deaths

His kidneys failed. He was put on assisted breathing when he started presenting issues, and he died the next day when his lungs and kidneys failed. The wrestling association for which he worked, Lucha Libre, AAA said on Twitter.  “We are very sad to report that our friend and idol of Mexican wrestling Jesús Alfonso Escoboza Huerta ‘LA PARKA’ has passed away. We extend our support and condolences to his whole family and raise our prayers so that they may soon heal from this.”

There are some who think that wrestling is not dangerous, but fighters often end up disabled in their old age or, as in the case of La Parka, die as a result of injuries sustained in the ring. There has to be some serious debate around the risks involved in professional wrestling and in other contact sports such as boxing. It is a long, difficult conversation that needs to be had sooner rather than later.

Wrestler Latin Lover, who retired while still in good health, released a social media message lamenting his friend’s passing and saying that he left wrestling to avoid a similar fate: “They don’t know how it hits me that this happened, so I retired, so I wouldn’t end up dead. I quit that job because the only way I could be home was to be hurt.” Professional luchadores often fight well into their 50s even though reflexes deteriorate, which can lead to fatal injuries. Lucha libre is like a well-coordinated dance with the only difference that a misstep can leave you disabled for life or even dead. 

People are sharing their memories of him.

Thousands of fans enjoyed his work inside the ring for more than three decades, so whole generations saw his evil antics and funny moves unfold. He was one of those luchadores that people love to hate. 

And even pictures of his actual face, which was hidden under the now iconic mask.

Wow, he looked totally badass even without his mask on. He was a sort of rock and roll cowboy biker dude kinda guy! This photo was released by his family by mistake, but now fans are using it to honor the man who dared to become Death.

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

Entertainment

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

bluedemonjr / immortalwrasslinempire / Instagram

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

Credit: ruperto_pantleon_sebastian / Instagram

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

Credit: robertobaezgonzalez / Instagram

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.

Credit: robertobaezgonzalez / Instagram

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

Credit: robertobaezgonzalez / Instagram

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

Credit: karmadeperro / Instagram

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

Credit: ruperto_pantaleon_sebastian / Instagram

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

Credit: ruperto_pantaleon_sebastian / Instagram

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

Credit: ruperto_pantaleon_sebastian / Instagram

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

Credit: karmadeperro / Instagram

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

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