Fisting double Coronas and shouting abuse in Spanish at the Lucha Libre wrestlers, I was having a brilliant time copying my new Mexican friend. We’d made it to the Arena Coliseo de Guadalajara for the traditional wrestling thanks to a last minute decision after visiting Lake Chapala (and saving a dog!).
I was loving it.
Even parking the car had been entertaining. About 10 Mexicans guided us into our spot, unasked, to charge for the pleasure. Everyone was getting involved. You don’t pay parking meters in Mexico, a group of locals will guard your car for a fee as chosen by them. I was told not to speak, not in English anyway, which doesn’t give me much option, as the tourist tax would at least double it. My good foot taller than most and blonde hair didn’t seem to give it away.
Just 70 pesos later (£3.21) and we were in.
What is Luche Libre?
Of course I’d heard of Luche Libre, I’d seen the masks and knew it was a ‘thing to do’ in Mexico but I didn’t actually know what it was.
I soon found out as the action had already started when we arrived.
Basically men and women train to fight as if they’re not really fighting. In the ring in front of a bloodthirsty audience they look like they’re kicking the hell out of each other, but in reality they’re experts at stage fighting. Some of the moves looked like just that, but others looked absolutely brutal. One particular move that had the crowd retracting and cooing in sympathy went as follows…
A beautiful female wrestler came out to fight – think Jet off Gladiators, but Mexican – and then there was a cool Japanese one. Everyone was whooping the ‘fit one’ so she did a bend and snap thing, like on Legally Blonde, and as she came up she stroked her body and hair teasingly and flicked her glossy mane back. The male crowd were appreciative, and the female too. Then the Japanese one ran back, launched herself from the rope at the sides of the ring and just booted her foot first in the face and then quickly in the chest too. Ooo that had got to hurt, and the crowd were not happy.
The Japanese woman copped some abuse for that!
The Lucha Libre banter
The expensive seats – the ones flanking the ring – start verbal fights with the cheap seats and vice versa. There’s a huge fence between us and it’s all just banter, but the abuse goes back and forth through the whole night. We were in the cheap seats and I joined in as much as I could, although I didn’t have a clue what I was saying. Probably for the best.
I’ve never been to a fight before, I can only compare the auditorium to a football ground. We were all sat around the edge, it wasn’t full, and people were in and out, up and down, some were stressed and well into it, others just there for the craic.
Unfortunately we’d already had dinner before we went out but they were coming round with all kinds of delicious food – popcorn, huge donuts, nachos, tacos, all sorts.
They have a few warm up fights before the big one and there are up to six people in the ring at a time. The women fighters formed two teams to beat the hell out of eachother, while the men were every one for themselves.
The Big Fight
And then came the time for the big fight. More beautiful girls in bikinis came out and did a little dance on the runway to announce the arrival of the headline fighters. One by one they came out from the smoke, hamming it up for the cameras and revelling in the theatre of it all.
Now the big fight was huge. Six big Lucha Libre wrestlers kicking, smacking, punching and slapping the hell out of each other? Very entertaining.
No idea who won in the end but it was definitely a night I’ll remember for a long time!