Lucha Libre (free fighting or wrestling) has its origins in ancient Olympic and Greco-Roman wrestling. It arrived in Mexico in the early twentieth century, but it was on September 21, 1933 when the first formal match took place at Antigua Arena México. This first match laid the foundations for Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling Enterprise). In 1991, this body became the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (World Wrestling Council), which still exists today. In the 75 year history of Mexican wrestling, the council has helped make it among the best organized free fighting in the world. At first, wrestlers in the country were mainly foreigners, like Bobby Sampson from America, Leung Tin-Kit from China and Cyclone Mackey from Ireland. Gradually, national competitors emerged such as Tarzan López, Rito Romero, Cavernario Galindo, Perro Aguayo, Murciélago Velázquez, Blue Demon and Santo, among others, who were the pioneers of modern Mexican wrestling.
The matches take place in a 6 x 6 meter ring. Generally, there are fights between two opposing groups referred to as rudos (“tough guys”) and técnicos (technicians/“good guys”). The encounters can be one-on-one (called hand-in-hand), two-against-two (simple tag team), three-against-three (Australian tag team), and four-against-four (atomic tag team). All matches are moderated by one or two referees who are in charge of instilling order. A fight is normally divided into three falls, although sudden death competitions may be agreed upon as well. To win a match, you must cause two falls. There are two ways to defeat a rival: by touch fall, where the wrestler must pin his opponent to the mat for three seconds; and by surrender, where one of the wrestlers is hit or put into a hold until giving up. One way to gamble is by competing for hair, which results in the loser being shaved in the center of the ring. But the most important bet, because of its symbolism, is when a mask is at stake. In this case, the loser must reveal his or her face and share personal information.
A rivalry can lead up to the championship match. Depending on the weight or number of rivals, there are classifications such as welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight, championship pairs and trios. Women’s wrestling also exists, where females risk their physiques with spectacular holds and throws while being refereed by the same rules. Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre holds events every week at the Arenas Coliseo in Guadalajara, Acapulco, Puebla, and at Arena México in the country’s capital, which has capacity for more than 16,000 spectators. The current structure of Arena México opened on April 27, 1956 and is considered the cathedral of Mexican wrestling. Fights are broadcast nationally and internationally by Televisa, FoxSports, Channel 52 and Channel 3.
Text adapted and translated by Con Acento Latino from www.cmll.com/historia.htm. Con Acento Latino strive for the knowledge of the Spanish language and Latin culture among executives and students throughout the world. For the comfort of the students, the classes are tailor-made and held in their offices or homes.