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Tu Vez Blast-From-The-Past Truck: The World Impact of Luch Libre

Marty McFly and Doc Brown had the Delorean to go travel through time; We have the Tu Vez Blast-From-The-Past Truck. Every week, we’ll hop in our time traveling machine, gun it to 88 MPH, and go back in time to bring you the best from the good ol’ days. Will it be a clip from an old telenovela? An old school music video? Stick around and find out!

By Jack Tomas

This past week I was in Paris, (Paris, France not Paris, Texas).  In my wandering around the city, I turned down a random street and was confronted by an unexpected sight. Among all the gaudy Louis XIV palaces, baguette stores, and smoking Parisians was a Mexican restaurant called La Lucha Libre. It was decorated with Lucha Libre stuff and the sign had a luchador chick on it. I went inside and ordered some tacos. They tasted…well…like they were made by French people. But it did get me thinking about the worldwide impact of Lucha Libre.

We tend to think about Lucha Libre and luchadors as a purely Latino phenomenon. In Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, and elsewhere, Lucha is one of the most beloved sports around. In the States, Lucha is broadcast on some Spanish TV channels to huge ratings. Some Lucha stars such as Rey Mysterio, Jr. and La Parka have made the transition to American pro-wrestling. Still, this makes sense given the amount of Latinos here in the U.S. What has surprised me in my travels is how often I’ve run into it in non-Latino countries. I’ve personally seen El Santo’s movies dubbed into English, Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Turkish. There are Lucha themed restaurants and bars in several countries all over the world. I’ve seen luchador matches on TV in England and Italy. In Japan, some wrestlers have adopted the luchador masks as part of their costumes. These include Japanese wrestling legends like like The Destroyer, Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Último Dragón, El Samurai, The Great Sasuke, ant Dragon Kid.

Once, on a trip to Greece, I was wearing a t-shirt of El Santo. I walked into a cafe, and the guys behind the counter started pointing at my chest and yelling, “El Santo! My hero!”. They explained to me how big he was in Greece. I later found “El Santo Vs. Las Momias De Guanajuato” at a Greek video store. If Lucha Libre can be that popular in the place where wrestling was born, you know something is going on. Maybe, the luchador taps into something in our collective unconscious with their masks and stories of good verses evil. Or maybe the Greeks just got tired of wrestling naked covered in olive oil.

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