Spectacle, acrobatics, heart, and heat. That is what Latinos bring to wrestling. But it’s more than our flavor and pride. Latinos have transformed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and added international fans and considerable amounts of money to the WWE ranks.

But why do Latinos love wrestling so much? 

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Since time immemorial, professional wrestling has been a popular sport among Latinos. It has a soap opera flavor — a theatricality — that appeals to us. Some would say it’s in the blood. 

Its popularity can be sourced to Mexico’s version of professional wrestling — Lucha Libre, or freestyle wrestling. It is one of the country’s most significant spectator activities — second after soccer.

Lucha Libre is as energetic as it is an entertaining form of pro wrestling worldwide 

This popular sport is characterized by flying scissor kicks, spectacular masks, colorful personalities, and lots of tight costumes made of spandex. 

Its roots are firmly entrenched in Mexico and date back to 1863. Enrique Ugartechea, the first Mexican wrestler, developed and invented Mexican lucha libre from Greco-Roman wrestling during the French Intervention.

Lucha Libre’s history is not only part of Mexico’s cultural identity; it’s crucial to the evolution of pro wrestling in the United States and worldwide.

According to Nielsen, Latinos are now almost 62 million in the US, the country’s second-largest racial or ethnic group, behind white non-Latinos, with a median age of 28.

Of that number, 42 percent of Latinos are more likely to stream WWE pro wrestling than non-Latinos, and 54 percent more likely to have purchased WWE merchandise than non-Latinos.

It translates to one thing — money.

Latinos have had a major impact on WWE’s history

There are many superlative Latino names in WWE history. Sin Cara, Essa Rios, Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, Mil Mascaras, Rey Misterio, and Eddie Guerrero — just to name a few

If anyone still doubts how much Latinos love wrestling, just look at how the Boricua crowd went wild as Bad Bunny entered the ring during the recent WWE’s ‘Backlash’ event on the island

The Boricua superstar hosted ‘Backlash’ in Puerto Rico, the sports entertainment giant’s first premium live event on the island since 2005.

The crowd went even crazier watching Bad Bunny beat the live daylights out of Damien Priest. 

El Conejo Malo — Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio — was a nerdy kid from Vega Baja who loved WWE. It is easy to imagine a curly-haired Benito sitting close to the television on a hot Caribbean night, cheering on his favorite wrestlers. 

“In 2005, when I was a kid, I wasn’t able to attend New Year’s Revolution at el Coliseo,” said Bad Bunny in a recent interview.  “Finally, 18 years later, WWE returns to the island with a massive event, and this time I won’t miss it.”

Benito has brought his power and popularity to the WWE. The Boricua star pulls in his 8.3 billion streams on Spotify; he had the first all-Spanish No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, won a Grammy, and has seven Premios lo Nuestro, among other accolades.

What does this translate into? 

According to Fightful Select, the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority and Puerto Rico Tourism Company are paying WWE $1.5 million to play host to Backlash.

As we see it, the future of the WWE is Latino.