entertainment

This Latino WWE Legend Now Works As A Spanish Teacher

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, there was a Latino wrestler who cemented his place as a WWE fan favorite. His name was Tito Santana.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

The 6-foot-2 Santana, a former football player, was known for his athleticism, his Spanish-language catchphrase (¡Arriba!) and his awesome mullet.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana was a two-time intercontinental champ and two-time tag team champion. Despite his undeniable talent, Santana never won a heavyweight title.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Toward the end of his WWE career, Santana was given a new gimmick — El Matador — that Santana says he was never quite happy with.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana said he accepted the gimmick because he was promised higher-profile matches, but they never materialized.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana said it felt like a “missed opportunity” to neglect his El Matador gimmick when he remained popular with fans.

In 2004, Santana, who appeared in WrestleMania I through WrestleMania IX, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana, whose real name is Merced Solis, says he’s grateful for what pro wrestling gave him. The son of migrant workers, Solis says he worked in the fields and didn’t receive a full time education until he was a freshman in high school.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Solis, who played football at Mission High School, received a scholarship to play college ball at West Texas State University. It was there where he met the team’s quarterback — and future wrestling legend — Tully Blanchard. Tully’s father, Joe, was a wrestling promoter and helped Solis make a career out of wrestling.

After quitting pro wrestling, Solis wasn’t sure what he would do with his life. After trying his hand at Spanish-language announcing in the late ’90s, Solis eventually became a Spanish teacher.

Credit: CBS
CREDIT: Credit: CBS

Solis has been a Spanish teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in New Jersey since 2001.

Solis said he quit wrestling because he missed his wife and family. And unlike other wrestlers who played their characters 24/7, Solis said he kept the two separate to avoid falling into the lifestyle that has claimed the lives of so many pro wrestlers.

Credit: Sports Illustrated
CREDIT: Credit: Sports Illustrated

His wife, Leah Solis, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger: “When he was home he was just a regular guy. He could definitely separate it and so could we.” Santana’s rejection of the “rockstar” lifestyle allowed him to save money and put his three children through school. He also opened a hair salon that is run by his wife, Leah.

It appears that Solis has made a seamless transition from popular wrestler to popular teacher. Take a look at YouTube videos of Tito Santana, and you’ll likely find comments from former and current students:

Credit: Sports Illustrated / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: Sports Illustrated / YouTube

The 63-year-old Santana, who has continued making special appearances for small wrestling organizations, is confident he made the right choice.

Credit: CBS
CREDIT: Credit: CBS

“I know I’m making a difference and it feels good,” said Solis to CBS News.


READ: Eddie Guerrero was Much More than Just a WWE Superstar

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The Guy Behind Cholo Goth Band Prayers Says Donald Trump Has Moved Him To Be More Politically Active

politics

The Guy Behind Cholo Goth Band Prayers Says Donald Trump Has Moved Him To Be More Politically Active

CREDIT: CNN / YOUTUBE

If there’s one good thing about Donald Trump, CNN points out, it’s the unity he’s brought to the Latino music community. Case in point, the bands Prayers and Downtown Boys have been so inspired by the potential evil that Trump would bring as president, they’re taking every opportunity available to speak out against him.

Though Trump has tried to stereotype immigrants as rapists and criminals, “Prayers,” a band that created by two Mexican immigrant musicians who developed the cholo-goth genre, is anything but a cliché.

https://www.instagram.com/p/zK2aBTCJLi/

CREDIT: VICTOR MICHAEL / INSTAGRAM

“When you’re being under attack, then you pay attention,” Rafael Reyes, Prayers frontman, explains. “It wasn’t until Trump came into the scene that I started paying attention to more politics because I realized how it was affecting me and my community.”

Already a politically charged, socially aware punk band, Downtown Boys is putting in the extra effort to start the same conversation with their fans.

CREDIT: @ADHOCFM / TWITTER

“What we really try to do is open it up,” vocalist Victoria Ruiz explains. “Always try and create more dialogue and create more power to confront a lot of things that are holding a lot of people back right now.” Whether or not you feel that it’s the job of musicians to get political, Ruiz’s explanation is simple and to the point: “This is why we play music, so that we can participate.”

Check out the whole story at CNN: Donald Trump rhetoric sparks Latino musicians to speak out.


READ: A Gang Member from San Diego and a Punk from TJ are the Creators of ‘Cholo Goth’

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