You can keep your Arthur Millers and Harold Pinters, Mexico City Lucha Libre is the new high-brow theatre. It has everything you could want: comedy, tragedy, betrayal, love, heroes, anti-heroes, twists, and tropes. I only wish I had been more often whilst I was here. It was an experience it would take me a long time to get bored of, if at all.
Mexico City Lucha Libre is not like wrestling you know. There is none of the steroid-pumped 45-minute long dialogues between characters or slow, uneventful rolling on the mat. It is as action-packed as you could possibly want. From the minute the first masked-up hero jumps into the ring till the final full body slam from the top rope.
The athleticism of the men and women in the ring is unreal. For about an hour, each class fights to a superhuman level. Big men and women are lifted well above heads or thrown through flips and trips across the ring. Big bodies (and sometimes small) seem to float around in gravity-defying aerobatics and lifts that leave a rabid crowd howling for more. I fell in love.
I am nearing the end of my time in Mexico City for now. There is little doubt in my mind I’ll return at some point, but it could be a while. I knew I wanted to visit the Lucha Libre but I hadn’t got around to it yet, so I threw up a proposition in one of the groups and quickly had a crowd. A WhatsApp group I started was quickly commandeered by one of the ladies in it. She offered her home beside the arena and a spread laid on for pre-drinks before the main event. I was more than happy to let her take control.
Before I made my way to hers I had a few drinks with my housemate, I had managed to find some cider. We took the edge off the week and caught up. Before I made my way out, I had a quick smoke, which resulted in the 45-minute walk being significantly longer. I kept losing focus and wandering off the wrong way. On my walk, I came to realize the inefficiency of the roads in a lot of places around the city. Often, two, and even three, four-lane roads will converge in a total fuckery of congestion. These take an age to cross. Whilst stood in the middle/side/top of one of them in my cloud of haze, it dawned on me that it had taken five minutes to just get halfway across.
I was the first to arrive and her flat was a beauty. It was small but spotlessly cleaned. The shelves had books, the lamps had a warm glow, and the table was spread with some unbelievable food. I was immediately aware that this was no regular host, she had to be a chef. She had managed to source burrata, candied figs, patés, and cheeses. She had made her own crisps from plantain and potato and truffles that were the best chocolate I had eaten since I had arrived. The smoke was all of a sudden an amazing decision.
Bit by bit, the rest of the folks turned up. The conversation was good and the atmosphere was excited. Some had been before but for most, it was their first time. We enjoyed the spread, chatted away, and made our way to the arena using our ears to guide us there more than anything, you could already hear the roar of the crowd.
The queue was what you would expect in Mexico City. There were stalls selling snacks and full Lucha Libre outfits, which I’m still annoyed I didn’t pick up. The box office was crowded with people getting last-minute tickets, and just to the right of it was a crowd of people eagerly pushing their way through the doors. I had already bought my tickets, I wanted to ensure I was so close I was splashed with sweat. The group we were in split, some with me who had bought tickets together, and the rest to the nosebleeds because they bought their tickets there. It’s worth mentioning that the tickets, even right by the ring, were only 300 pesos.
We arrived during the first show, the Mini-Estrellas. This is the round for the short people and they get the crowd going ballistic. I didn’t know what to expect. There was a part of me that thought there would be an element of tastelessness about it, but I was wrong. They spared no moves and the crowd loved them just as much as the main event. Watching someone less than four feet tall jump from the top rope to the floor eight feet below is something to behold.
The audience was already baying and stomping their feet as the first round of duos destroyed the opposing team of Mini-Estrellas with acrobatics I was already struggling to believe. The second round made its intro with cacophonous music and wild pyrotechnics. The ladies’ round had begun.
Making their way around the seething crowds are snack and beer vendors. For a few pesos you can get your hands on a liter of beer poured right there at your seat, cold and foamy as you like. They really have the whole thing down, the only reason to leave your seat is to stand and cheer on the fighters, and that’s encouraged as much as possible.
The crowd has chants, a lot of them, and they are not family-friendly. I learned a lot of new words and they’re all ones I can’t repeat. The crowd is full of children and they are the most foul-mouthed and vocal of them all. One little guy in front of me was swinging his Libre mask above his head, flipping the wrestlers off with his free hand, and screaming the word ‘Ass Fucker’ and ‘Chinga Tu Madre’ as loud as he could. His parents didn’t bat an eye until he stood on his chair where they gently coaxed him to only sitting on the back of the seat instead. This all blended with the booming stomping on the wooden floors around the multi-platformed stadium and the howls of the crowd.
The atmosphere induced a sense of delirium I can only really compare to drugs and loud pounding music. I felt myself almost out of my own body, being a part of the roaring masses rather than sitting in my seat. Every new move, reversal, and betrayal coaxed the audience into a passionate reaction, the ego was gone, and the only people to exist were the stars on the stage. I was blissfully lost in the whole experience.
There was a late arrival to the night who seemed to know the host. He wasn’t so into it, or so it seemed. The only thing he spoke about was the asses of the ring girls, he wasn’t impressed it turned out. I’m not really sure he understood the main spectacle of the night, but I guess everyone has their passions. How he could think about butt volume when a 250lbs man was getting launched into the air with a triple axle was beyond me.
After the event, we all made our way back to the original hosts’ house for a few more drinks and to decompress after the insanity of the Mexico City Lucha Libre. I was buzzed and I think the rest of us were too. We had a few drinks, listened to some music, and the guy who had an obsession with butts slowly attacked everyone in the room until it was just me, the host, him, and another left. He had an obsession with everyone being racist, I don’t think anyone would have even noticed he was there if it wasn’t for the fuss he was making. Either way, he soured the room so me and the other left.
I had met Suavek before, we had met a few times, one being at the gallery opening a month or so ago. It turned out he was also going to be in Peurto Escondido when I was which was nice. We had been sharing bowls all evening and had a good buzz going so decided to see what all the noise was about in the building next door.
It was a parking garage I think or some kind of underground concrete structure. The entry was supposed to be a few hundred pesos but Suavek haggled the guy on the door down to a lot less. We made our way in.
The crowd was young, entirely Mexican, and very gangster. I think we were the only people in there without face tattoos and half a ton of gold on. We turned a few heads but it didn’t feel hostile. The bar served us a liter and a half of Mojito and we carried the buckets of booze into the crowd.
The guy on the stage had hair like the bad guy in despicable me. It looked like you could pop it right off like lego hair. He rapped along to the typical reggaeton beat that this part of the world just seems to love. They found one drum beat and they’ve run with it. No variation, just that same beat, over and over again. I honestly cannot get my head around it. His bars were sick as fuck though.
The buckets of Mojito turned out to be mostly lemonade after we broke our way through the four ounces of white rum on the top. We were both pretty plastered by this point and we had more or less gotten the idea of what the gig was about. I had managed to get to the point of faded where people start to look weird, not in an unpleasant way, just in a slightly surreal one. We took a look around, spent some time bopping, admired the street fashion, and dipped.
I climbed into bed buzzing. The whole night was wild and I loved it. I cannot recommend it enough.
I’ve started to make videos. They’re rough currently, but I read my writing over them. Have a look and give feedback. Comments help the algorithm.
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