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Lucha Libre fundraiser to benefit Red Cross

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

The origins of Mexican wrestling (lucha libre) are not well known, but the sport is as popular here as soccer. Beginning in the 1950s wrestling gained even more popularity through the movies, with wrestlers-turned-stars such as El Santo and Blue Demon. Toy shops offer wrestler action figures for children, and when the popular song “El Santo vs. El Cavernario” is played at a party or nightclub masks are often distributed to add to the celebration.

Wrestling Event: Fundraiser for San Miguel Red Cross. Sun, March 4, 5pm. Plaza Real del Conde (former Gigante), Boulevard de la Conspiración 302. 150 (ringside), 120 (VIP), 80 pesos; children 40 pesos. Info and tickets: 152-1616

A Mexican wrestling match is a spectacle that brings together the entire family. Here in San Miguel, on March 4, Day of the Family in Mexico, a special event to raise funds for the Red Cross will feature some of the heroes of lucha libre, including local lucha talent.

Help gain two new ambulances

The president of the municipal Red Cross, Rosalba Rangel Bautista, said that currently in the municipality the paramedics have five ambulances to respond to emergencies. Fundación Azteca will donate a new ambulance to the Red Cross if the organization can buy another, which costs 900,000 pesos. A few months ago, The San Miguel Community Foundation donated 450,000 pesos toward an ambulance, so the Red Cross needs 450,000 pesos more. To help raise the money, the organization will hold a wrestling exhibition, through which they hope to collect at least 200,000 pesos, and raise the rest through donations. If they achieve this goal, by the end of March San Miguel de Allende will have seven ambulances that could operate in good condition for five years.

Wrestling stars show their support

The nationally known wrestler Tinieblas Jr. visited San Miguel de Allende on March 19 to support the Red Cross at a cake sale. People attended the event to get an autograph or a picture with their lucha libre idol. The wrestler commented that as a public figure it is important to support nonprofit organizations and that he will participate free of charge in the Red Cross fundraiser on March 4. He will be joined by other national wrestling stars who will appear at half their regular fees, including Parka (skeleton), Electroshok, Chesman, Octagoncito and Mascarita Sagrada (Sacred Mask), among others.

Nonviolent family entertainment

Tinieblas said that in Mexican wrestling there is no real violence, and that as professional wrestlers they are trained to control their anger and aggression to avoid injuring their opponents. He also said that the audience must understand that it is a spectacle, like theater, and they, as heroes fighting in the ring, must show that it is an art. This kind of spectacle is interactive; the audience participates by cheering or booing the wrestlers, but fights never break out as they do sometimes in soccer stadiums. Tinieblas also commented that the aggression displayed in this sport is nothing compare to that shown in cartoons, and of course is nothing compared to the violence in movies. Of US-style wresting he said, “The WWE and RAW have emerged and adopted a lot of our Mexican model of wrestling, but they also have taught us that we need more production and more infrastructure.”

San Miguel’s professional wrestlers

Pequeños Gigantes (Little Giants) is a group of wrestlers in the municipality that emerged three years ago and is made up of members that participated in now-defunct groups in the city. This group has its own stars, such as Pancho Robles, Skud Xtreme, Astaroth, Calavera López, Astillero, Máster Killer and Tarzán Torres. The Little Giants will also take part in the wrestling event.

Master Killer, whose moniker connotes skill and aggression, has been participating in wrestling for 10 years. He says that when he is in the ring the emotion that fills his heart and encourages him to keep fighting actually comes from the audience’s disapproval.

Tarzán López has been a professional sanmiguelense wrestler for 16 years ago, and he does not wear a mask. He adopted this name because when he was a child he used to climb trees wearing just his underpants, so his friends started calling him “Tarzan.” “I used to think that wrestling was just a circus, just a performance, when I started. My trainer hurt me so badly that for two days and I could not even stand up, but I liked it,” he recalled.

A wrestling match is not completed without a referee, the mediator between the contenders and also between them and the audience. “Many times the audience is not happy with the referee’s decision of who the winners are, but that is part of the show,” says La Fierecita (Little Beast), who is the referee for the San Miguel wrestlers. “My function is to generate controversy. Sometimes I decide that the winner is the wrong team, but it is part of the emotion.”

Wrestling: reality or fantasy

“The falls, our throws from the third line, are not a lie. What happens with the hits is that we know where and how to hit. We are trained, we have a routine to make it a spectacle and not to hurt our rivals,” said Tibieblas Jr.

“There are regulations in wrestling that dictate what we are allowed to do, and what we should not do. ‘La lucha’ is not just a performance. It is not a circus; it is real and we are trained,” said Tarzán López. He said that if people want to find out whether it is real they can come to their training center and see for themselves.

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