What's Lucha Libre?

Photo: Chris Schneider Photography

Lucha Libre is a term used in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries to describe Professional Wrestling. But the Mexican brand of wrestling is probably the most unique form in the industry. When you watch Lucha Libre, you will see people who closely resemble comic book super heroes. They are Luchadores. 

Masks, bright colors, intricate costumes, and gravity defying moves, also known as "high flying," are all characteristics of the style. The mask, in particular, is one of the most important aspects of Lucha Libre. A mask is a wrestler's identity. What he looks like underneath is not important. His aura and celebrity is tied to the mask. Occasionally, a luchador is challenged to put his mask on the line by his most hated rival. A mask vs mask or mask vs hair match are rare and considered special events. Should a wrestler lose his mask as the result of a loss, it is considered the ultimate defeat and carries more weight than losing a Championship belt. But for the most part, the wrestlers compete for pride, glory and titles. Tournaments are often held to crown the best of the best.

Some Luchadores have been successful enough to cross over into other forms of Mexican popular culture. Performers like El Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras were considered movie stars. They stayed in character for every film. To this day, their likeness can be found on merchandise all over the world. 

Today, Lucha Libre is still very popular, with different events happening in many different towns on any given night. In one of Mexico's biggest traditions, thousands of people go to Arena Mexico every Friday night to witness live wrestling. Currently, several companies are looking to branch out and transition to the United States. Lucha might become bigger than ever.