Lucha libre is a Mexican wrestling style that evolved from a Greco-Roman wresting and has been popular in Mexico since as early as the 1930's. Lucha libre means "free wrestling" in spanish, and from watching a fight or two, you can see that this wrestling style is about as free as you can get. Don't get it mistaken for that WWE Thursday night yawnfest, this wrestling style might be a bit too intense for younger viewers.
While it is pretty obvious that, like the WWE, lucha libre is an act, the matches are as engaging as any UFC match. Lucha libre has always had a hero vs. villain aspect which they destinguish; "tecnicos" are always more clean and rule abiding fighters and "rudos" are dirty fighters that are willing to do just about anything to win. For some reason, the ref's are on the rudos' side, but this just adds to the theatrics of a match.
Friday night, The Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) hosted an event called En La Noche which had tequila tasting, museum tours, a photo booth, and a full sized wrestling ring. This event was put together with a colaboration between Suja Lowenthal, the 2nd district councilwoman, and the LA County Arts Commission.
The crowd was a diverse bunch with a lot of them wearing masks and being involved in the matches as the high flying acrobatics forced "ooo's and aaahh's" from them. Some of the wrestlers looked like they we're slightly less than athletic, but this didn't stop them from jumping off the top rope or spinning around their opponent in some impossible manner.
"I have never been to one of these live before, I wish a lot more people would have come check it out. I hope they have more nights like this," said Richard Gomez as he took a sip from his Corona.
These little events go on all over Long Beach, and the atmosphere at the MoLAA was electric; when the fights were over, I was wanting more. The MC of the whole night had a heavy accent but this just added to the authentic feel of the event, he even made fun of the fact that someone forgot to bring a bell so he had to say "ding ding" to open each match.
Have you ever seen a lucha libre match? Do you think there's a difference between the wrestling you might watch on TV and this style? What do you think would make events like this more appealing to the community?
562CityLife is in part funded by a Long Beach Community Foundation Connected Corridor grant supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Transformation Initiative.