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Lucha Libre - Luchadors
The Luchadors Of Lucha Libre
Mexican professional wrestling (Lucha Libre) is not just a sport in Mexico, it is a tradition.
Although some of the big promotions there like Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) can do storylines that make the WWE's storylines look like Masterpiece Theatre.
Most people are familiar with the wrestling masks (mascaras) that are a huge part of Lucha Libe.
But not all the wrestlers wear masks.
Though a lot do start out with masks until they get good enough to make a name for themselves in the ring.
Unlike in American wrestling, the masks are considered part of the wrestlers honor, and removing an opponent's mask during a match can be grounds for disqualification.
Lucha Libre is also known for its high flying (and high risk) aerial moves and lightning fast chain wrestling moves.
Lucha stars are not just famous in the ring.
Luchadors like Huracán Ramírez, El Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras became the stars of their own movies.
You may have even seen Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro ("Samson vs. the Vampire Women") on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Here are some of the stars of Lucha Libre from the past and present.
You can't mention the history of Lucha Libre without talking about Rodolfo Guzman Huerta, better known to his fans as Santo.
Santo was born on September 23rd, 1917, in Tulancingo, Hidalgo.
He was trained by luchador Black Guzman, and made his wrestling debut on June 28th, 1934 in Arena Peralvillo-Cozumel, Mexico City.
Before he became Santo, Rodolfo wrestled under the names Rudy Guzman, El Hombre Rojo (the Red Man), El Demonio Negro (The Black Demon) and El Murcielago II (The Bat II).
Then in 1942, Rodolfo's manager was creating a new team of wrestlers and he wanted Rodolfo to be a part of it.
His manager suggested three names, El Santo (The Saint), El Diablo (The Devil), or El Angel (The Angel).
Rodolfo chose the first one and on June 26th, 1942 El Santo made his wrestling debut at Arena Mexico.
It didn't take long before Santo became a huge hit with the fans, eventually being elevated to the point of Lucha Libre legend.
Rodolfo passed away on February 5th, 1984, and was laid to rest in his famous silver mask.
The Legend of El Santo - Part 1, Incredibly Strange Film Show
The legend of El Santo from a series of documentaries focusing on the world of psychotronic movies hosted by Jonathan Ross.
What is a Psychotronic movie?
Well Wikipedia sez:
"Psychotronic movie is a term coined by film critic Michael J. Weldon - referred to by a fellow critic as "the historian of marginal movies" - to denote the sort of low-budget genre pictures that are generally disdained or ignored entirely by the critical establishment"
El Santo at Amazon
One wrestler that to my knowledge never wrestled masked was Salvador Guerrero Quesada, better known as Gory Guerrero.
Yes, if you watch American wrestling at all, you know that name.
Gory is the father of wrestlers Mando, Chavo, Hector and the late Eddie Guerrero and the grandfather of Chavo Guerrero Jr.
But Gory gave more to Lucha Libre than that.
He created the wrestling moves The Gory Special and the Camel Clutch and I have no idea how many young wrestlers he trained.
Gory also tag-teamed with Santo, and appeared in a few of his movies.
El Santo's greatest rival, Blue Demon.
I always kinda looked at them as Santo being Superman, and Blue Demon being Batman.
The man under the mask was Alejandro Munoz Moreno, born April 24th, 1922 in Rinconada, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
He was trained by Rolando Vera and made his wrestling debut not in Mexico, but in Laredo, Texas on March 31st, 1948, some six years after Santo debuted.
Several years later, Santo and Blue Demon engaged in a rivalry that would span two years (1952 and 1953) and see a series of matches that Demon eventually won.
Even though they later appeared together in a series of films, the rivalry was always still alive.
Blue Demon passed away on December 16th, 2000 and like El Santo, he was buried in his mask.
To me, one of the greatest luchadors of all time (maybe because I actually got to see him wrestle live).
Aaron Rodríguez Arellano was born in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico on July 15, 1942.
He is better known to fans world wide as Mil Mascaras (A Thousand Masks).
He was trained by "El Turco" Jose Hermes and Diablo Velasco, and made his lucha libre debut on July 16th, 1965 at the Arena Mexico, Distrito Federal, Mexico.
Mil is generally credited with bringing the lucah libre style to not only the US, but Japan as well.
Like El Santo and Blue Demon, Mil appeared in movies in Mexico, debuting in 1966's Mil Mascaras and appearing in a total of twenty films, with Mil Mascaras: Aztec Revenge set for release in 2010.
Without a doubt, one of the best known (and coolest looking) luchadors in the US is La Parka (or L.A. Park or L.A. Parka) born Adolfo Margarito Tapia Ibarra on November 14th, 1965 in Queretaro, Mexico.
During his acreer, he has worked for wrestling promotions like Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, Independent Wrestling Revolution / Revolucha, World Wrestling Association, Xtreme Latin American Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
La Parka was trained by Alberto Mora and Raul Reyes and made his lucha libre debut in 1982 at the Deportivo Arena 47, in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico.
Although La Parka is his most famous idenity, he has also wrestled under the names El Gringo, El Minero, El Asesino de Tepito, Principe Island and Invasor del Norte I.
Here's a very famous Mexican luchador...who's not even Mexican.
Ian Richard Hodgkinson was born on May 31st, 1967 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
While "Ian" may not sound like a luchadore name "Vampiro" sure does!
Vampiro was trained by the legendary Abdullah the Butcher and made his pro wrestling debut in 1984.
Although he worked for WCW (World Championship Wrestling) from 1998 to 2001, he gained his most fame south of the border in Mexico.
He has worked for both major wrestling promotions down there, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL).
In Mexico he has wrestled under the names El Vampiro Canadiense (Canadian Vampire), Canadian Vampire Casanova, Vampiro Casanova, El Vampiro and of course, Vampiro.
AAA: Vampiro vs. Konnan
Mistico / Sin Cara
The man known as Mistico was born on December 22nd, 1982 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico.
Like a lot of current luchadors, we don't know his real name.
We do know that he is the son of luchadore Dr. Karonte, the nephew of Tony Salazar and the brother of Astro Boy, Astro Boy II, Argenis and Dr. Karonte Jr.
Mistico was trained by Fray Tormenta, Tony Salazar and Dr. Karonte, and he made his lucha libre debut on April 30th, 1998 in Mexico City at the age of fifteen.
He became wildly popular in CMLL (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) where he held numerous titles.
But he also did some work for other wrestling promotions like Festival Mundial de Lucha Libre, International Wrestling Revolution Group (IWRG) and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
You get to see Mistico now on the WWE where he is known as Sin Cara (Without Face or Faceless).
Luchador Victor Manuel Resendiz Ruiz was born on October 25th, 1967 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
He is better known to lucha libre fans as Latin Lover.
LL was trained by luchadors El Vasco, Blue Fish and Shibata, and made his wrestling debut on June 7th, 1992 at the Arena Solidaridad in his hometown of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.
During his career, he has worked for wrestling promotions like Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) promotion, the Perros del Mal, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
With his name, the way he looks and his dancer gimmick, it would be easy to take him lightly as a wrestler.
But during his career so far, he has held the AAA Campeon de Campeones Championship, the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship, the Mexican National Light Heavyweight Championship, the Mexican National Tag Team Championship (twice, once with Heavy Metal and once with Panterita del Ring) and he won the Rey de Reyes (King of Kings) tournament in 1997.
Latin Lover in CMLL
Another luchador that you will be seeing a lot more of here in the US is Averno.
Because in May 2011, Averno signed with the WWE.
Averno was born on March 9, 1977 in Mexico City, Mexico, but his real name (like many masked wrestlers in Mexico) has been kept secret.
Although we do know that Averno's father, Rodolfo Ruiz, is a CMLL referee.
Averno started out as Rencor Latino, but another luchador, Satanico, used his powers of evil to transform him from Latino to Averno.
He has had a running feud with Mistico (who is now in the WWE as Sin Cara) and they once had a 30 to 40 minute match on January 1st, 2005 in Arena Coliseo DF.
Compare that to the 10 minute (if you're lucky) matches in the WWE and TNA.
He has held the CMLL World Middleweight Championship, the CMLL World Tag Team Championship (three times with Mephisto) the Mexican National Trios Championship (with SatÃ¡nico and Mephisto) the NWA World Middleweight Championship/NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship (twice) and in 2008, along with Rey Bucanero, Ãltimo Guerrero and Volador Jr., he won the TNA World X Cup.
Another masked wrestler that is very popular today is Crazy Boy.
He works for the Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) wrestling promotion in Mexico.
Crazy Boy was born on March 30th, 1978 in Tulancingo, Hidalgo and was trained by Rey Cuervo, Super Crazy, Sabu and Masato Tanaka.
As a matter of fact, Rey Cuervo and Super Crazy are both cousins of Crazy.
You may remember Super Crazy from his stints here in the US wrestling for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Anyway, Crazy Boy made his Lucha Libre debut in 1996 and besides AAA, he has wrestled for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and other Indy wrestling promotions in Mexico.
In 2007, Crazy Boy started the Desastre Total Ultraviolento (DTU) wrestling promotion.
During his career he has held the AAA World Tag Team Championship (with Joe Lider), the Mexican National AtÃ³micos Championship (with Juventud Guerrera, Joe Lider and Psicosis II), the XLAW Extreme Junior Championship and the NWG Extreme Championship.
Another luchador that you may have seen here in the United States is Octavio Lopez Arreola better known as Cibernético.
He started out as a bodybuilder, then went into lucha libre, getting his training under luchadors Karloff Lagarde, Ray Mendoza, Villano I, Villano III and Ãbano Ruiz.
Octavio made his wrestling debut working for the Universal Wrestling Association promotion in March of 1992 at the Arena Queretaro in Queretaro, Queretaro, Mexico.
He left UWA when it closed down and went to Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA)becoming Cibernetico.
I mentioned earlier that you may have seen him because from 1996 to 1997, Cibernetico (or Cybernetico as he was billed here) and Pierroth, Jr. both showed up in the then WWF.
During his career he has held the AAA Campeon de Campeones Championship (three times), the AAA Rey de Reyes, the AAA Parejas Increibles Tag Team Championship (with Konnan), the AAA World Heavyweight Championship, the IWC World Heavyweight Championship, the GPCW SUPER-X Monster Championship, the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship, the UWA World Heavyweight Championship and the WWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Just for fun...CibernÃ©tico's Burger King Commercial
Masked luchador Volador Jr. was born on January 26, 1981 in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico.
His father is Volador/Super Parka his uncles are both luchadors Johnny Ibarra and El Desalmado and two of his cousins are lucha libre stars as well, L.A. Park and El Hijo de Cien Caras.
Lucha libre really is a family affair.
Volador Jr. was trained by his father Volador and Satanico.
He made his pro wrestling debut in October of 1997 at the Arena Neza in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico.
Volador Jr. works mainly for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) but has also worked for TNA and Lucha Libre Azteca.
He has held many titles during his career so far including the CMLL World Tag Team Championship (with La Sombra), the Mexican National Light Heavyweight Championship, and the Mexican National Trios Championship (three times with Safari and El Felino, La Sombra and El Sagrado, and OlÃmpico and Psicosis II).
Andres Alejandro Palomeque Gonzalez was born on July 1st, 1971 in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, but he was better known to his fans as the masked luchador, Abismo Negro (Black Abyss).
Although he was best known as Abismo Negro, he also wrestled as Alex Dinamo, Pequeno Samurai, Samurai, Furor (CMLL) and The Winner/Winner's.
He worked for the big two in Mexico, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), but he also appeared her in the US working for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).
And he worked in Japan for Michinoku Pro and Pro Wrestling Noah.
He was trained by luchadors Diablo Velazco, Ray Mendoza, Delio Soto and El Noruego.
During his career he held the AAA Mascot Tag Team Championship (with Mini Abismo Negro), the Mexican National Middleweight Championship, the Mexican National Tag Team Championship (twice with Electroshock), the AAA Rey de Reyes (2000) and won the TNA America's X Cup in 2004 along with Mr. Ãguila, Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza and Heavy Metal.
Abismo Negro was not only a wrestler, but a teacher as well with his own wrestling school, Gimnasio Abismo Negro.
There he taught many men and women that would go on to become successful luchadors and luchadoras.
He passed away on March 22nd, 2009 from drowning.
At his funeral, many famous masked luch libre stars attended, unmasked and anonymous, so as not to draw attention away from the funeral.
Abismo Negro vs. Black Abyss
From February 18th, 2009 at Parque Revolucion in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico
Marco Corleone (Mark Jindrak)
Now here's an interesting story.
Mark Jindrak was born on June 26th, 1977 in Auburn, New York.
This six foot six, 265 pound beast was well suited for pro wrestling and he enrolled in the legendary WCW Power Plant and trained under "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.
He wrestled for WCW until they were bought out by the WWE and then he went to work for them until his release on July 5th, 2005.
After spending some time in Japan, he went to Mexico and began wrestling for the promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) under the name Marco Corleone.
He started out as a rudo (heel), then turned into a technico (face) basically because the crowds loved his character which was a stereotypical Italian mobster.
Mark left CMLL (after an incident with Shocker, El Terrible and El Hijo del Texano, when they were all four suspended from wrestling in the city of Tijuana, Mexico for one year. Something about pulling an opponents trunks down in a match....) and went to work for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), then Perros del Mal before returning to CMLL.
He has also appeared on MTV's lucha libre show, Lucha Libre USA.
Mark has arguably had his greatest success in Mexico, winning the CMLL World Trios Championship (with Maximo and Rush) and the 2007 Suzuki Cup (with Kensuke Sasaki and Ultimo Dragon).
So not all luchadors wear masks...and some aren't even from Mexico!
La Sombra (The Shadow)
CMLL luchador La Sombra (The Shadow) is not the first to use that name, actually he's the third.
The first was Tony Lopez who wrestled in the 1980s.
Then the second La Sombra was Hector Navarro who wrestled in the 1990s.
And the current La Sombra's real name is unknown, other than his last name is Andrade and he was born on November 3rd, 1989 in Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico.
He has held the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) World Tag Team Championship with Volador, Jr., the Mexican National Trios Championship with El Sagrado and Volador, Jr., the NWA World Welterweight Championship, the CMLL World Trios Championship (with Mascara Dorada and La Mascara), the NWA World Welterweight Championship, the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship, the CMLL Universal Championship and he won the Torneo Gran Alternativa in 2007 with Mistico.
Alberto Del Rio (Dos Caras, Jr.)
Long before Alberto Del Rio was a WWE Superstar, he was masked luchador Dos Caras, Jr.
He mainly worked for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), and was a four-time CMLL World Heavyweight Champion.
Famous luchador Dos Caras is his father, Dark Phoenix is his brother, Mil MÃ¡scaras and Sicodelico are his uncles and Sicodelico Jr. and Hijo Del Sicodelico are his cousins.
Again...I'll bet their family reunions are a blast!
Besides pro wrestling, Alberto has also fought in MMA with a 9-5 record.
And yes he wears his mask.
Luchador El Audaz
Luchador El Audaz (Doménico Bazán León) was born on May 16, 1947 in Veracruz (3 veces Heróica Veracruz), Veracruz, Mexico.
He was five foot ten, 205 pounds and made his wrestling debut in 1966.
The word "audaz" means bold or audacious.
He once held the UWA World Light Heavyweight Title and he lost his mask in a match with El Solitario on April 12, 1976 at the Palacio de los Deportes.
After wrestling, he had a singing career.
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo Guerrero Jr. has been around a long time.
Chavo is the son of Salvador "Chavo" Guerrero and he made his wrestling debut in 1994.
He wrestled in Mexico and Japan then joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
When WCW was sold to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), he moved there.
Chavo and his uncle Eddie Guerrero, formed the tag team Los Guerreros, and became very popular, before they started a feud with each other.
He stayed with the WWE until 2011 when he went to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) for about a year.
In 2014, Chavo went to Lucha Underground where he is today.
He also still wrestles for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA).
Masked Mexican luchador Aero Star was born on October 22, 1984 in Mexico City, Mexico.
This high flying técnico has worked for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) since his debut in 2003.
Though he debuted as El Acuático and then worked as El Chamagol and Chiva Rayada II before finally becoming Aerostar in 2006.
Besides AAA he has also worked for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), Chikara, and Lucha Underground.