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Lucha Libre In The USA

I’m a huge fan of lucha libre or as I called it when I was little “Mexican wrestling.” While flipping through channels I would land on the Spanish station and instead of the WCW/WWE huge monsters screaming at me while I ate cereal there were these smaller guys without abs flipping around what I guess would be considered a ring. It didn’t have four sides so what the hell was with that? One of the things that struck me was the fact that almost everyone was wearing a mask.

Though these luchadores had been around for a while their exposure to me and many in North America was through ECW and then WCW. It was cool to see a lot of these guys I had seen on national TV here. My favorite by far was La Parka even though he was one of the larger guys. These guys didn’t just do an arm drag when tossing someone. They would grab their arm, run up the ropes, flip while twisting, and then hit the mat flinging their opponent…who would immediately pop up! This was years before terms like “selling” were heard of by me.

In lucha libre their masks are their…I don’t even know the word. Its their pride. Their identity. Their soul. Having your mask removed was like someone shitting on your mothers grave. Hmm. That sounds a bit extreme but you get what I’m saying. Guys would have their masks ripped off and just let themselves get pinned while covering their face. Careers have ended because of a mask being removed. Then there’s hair. Hair vs. mask matches were the equivalent of a Hell In A Cell match back when those meant something.

Quick rules of lucha libre! There are still pins and submissions. Refs will not stop counting even if there are multiple guys pinning one. Why? Because it looks cool. There are twenty counts outside the ring instead of ten. Rope breaks apply. Illegal moves are the piledriver, low blows, weapons, hitting a ref, and ripping someone’s mask off. During tag matches once your partner leaves the ring because he figured it’d be a good idea to do a 450 splash onto four guys outside the ring.

For whatever reason in WWE the only guy they’ve been able to get huge is Rey Mysterio Jr. Calm down, calm down! I am fully aware that guys like Eddie Guerrero, Konnan, and Alberto Del Rio have wrestled with masks but not in WWE. Del Rio wrestled as Dos Caras Jr. and was awesome. Dude was bigger than most of the guys and could fly his ass off. He hasn’t had a chance to do what he did south of the border in WWE. And then there’s Sin Cara. Wow.

I have watched plenty of Sin Cara’s matches when he wrestled as Mistico. Years ago people were saying this dude was the next Rey Jr. When I heard he was coming to WWE instead of being happy I thought “This should’ve happened years ago…” and “Who in the hell is he gonna wrestle?!” Then there’s the fact that, like Rey Jr., Sin Cara loves his drogas. I watched his debut and his entrance was flashy and all but I could do without his raver lights.

As much as I like lucha libre it has no place is WWE. Not that it isn’t good enough, its just that it doesn’t fit with their current product. Rey Jr. is coming back very soon and I cant even picture him doing anything of relevance anymore. Lucha libre is a style all its own and it is rare when a company can mix it with wrestling. Still. If La Parka showed up on Raw I would lose my shit.

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