Mexico: it’s all About Tacos, Tequila and… Wrestling?

Rodeos, cock fighting and tequila drinking are Mexican national tradition well known by any traveler or pretty much anybody. But how about wrestling? Certainly not as well known among visitors wrestling has been a popular sport/ show in Mexico for well over 70 years; in fact some say  it was first introduced in 1783 during French colonization. In any case it was not until the 1930s that the sport grew in popularity and the first arenas were built, immersing itself within the country’s roots and allowing a show within reach of most of the population.

lucha libre mexico

As for me, I’ll begin by saying that Mexican wrestling (or that in the US) has never sparkled any interest in me, and I had never even considered attending one of these shows until Wayak Explore Mexico proposed I visit one during a free weekend I had in Mexico City. Well, why not? It would certainly be something out of the ordinary (at least for me) and if it is as popular among Mexicans as they say it is something I certainly don’t want to miss.

I first met a few other travelers at a popular hostel in central Mexico City, and were soon offered some tequila tasting to set us in the appropriate mood. Four shots later my stomach reminded me that I had not eating anything since 8 am (it was already close to 4:30 pm) so I quickly munched a torta ahogada (typical Mexican sub with meet, veggies and drenched in tomato sauce) before choosing my Mexican wrestling mask and following the group to the van.

lucha libre 1

The show took place in the “Arena Mexico”, a relatively small ring which is already 55 years old, and it is here that the e “rudos” (harsh) and the “tecnicos” (technical” fight each other every week to score points toward the overall title. I was explained that thee are the only these two teams in the competition, and when a new wrestler wants to join the business he has to choose which of the two he wants to join.

No sooner had we found our seats that a man was offering cerveza fria and some snacks, the delicatessen of choice for the show which began shortly after. The costumes of the fighters are simple yet colorful, and every fighter wears a full head mask that does not let you know who is behind it. As in other combat sports wrestlers are grouped by weight, but this did not keep a team from having a small person (I assume he was not a boy) who would kick the opponent’s groin whenever the referee was not looking. And surprisingly, the show was much more entertaining than what I expected. Sure, there’s a lot of theater and most are rehearsed moves, but I would not even attempt to do a double back flip and land on my stomach on top of an opponent who’s on the floor, or dive out the ring head first and land on another wrestler who is running away. I was also very much amused buy the cheers and screams of the crowd which definitely set the pace of the fights, and was surprised to learn that it is actually females and children those who get most excited- and swear the most (unfortunately cameras are not allowed and I was not able to take pictures or shoot video].

lucha libre mexico

The show lasted about 3 and a half hours, and I must admit that I was not bored for one second. It takes a few minutes to grasp what is happening around you and let the mood sink in, but once you’re at it the laughs and “ooohhhs” will pop without you noticing. Is it something I would recommend? Well, it isn’t a show for everybody and I really thought that I would not be entertained, but I was wrong. The crowd sets you in the right mood, the choreographs and fighting are really worth circus entertainment, and it is a cheap show to attend- around 15 usd if you go on your own, 30 if you join the tour ( you get the mast, tequila testing and transportation to the arena). Plus, you’ll get to see a side of Mexico you  did not expect to experience!

For information and a schedule of upcoming events visit the Mexican Professional Wrestling website [Photo credits: Comision Mundial de Lucha Libre]

I was invited by Wayak Explore Mexico to participate in this tour. As usual this  has not affected my review in any way and everything expressed here are my personal opinions.  This said you might want visit their website for this and other budget friendly  tours in Mexico.

Did you know about Mexican wrestling? Is it something you would like to experience at least once? Why or why not? Share your thoughts below and this post too if you liked it!

Leave a Reply 33 comments