It’s Sunday night in the main showroom at the Hard Rock Casino, south of Albuquerque. The place is packed and excitement is high. “¡Otra! ¡Otra!,” shouts the crowd, encouraging a tall man in a gold mask to mete out “another!” viscous forearm smash to a beefy bodybuilder dressed like a cross between serial killer Jason Voorhees and an extra in Gladiator. Lucha libre has come to Albuquerque. And it’s got the locals cheering.
On Dec. 12, Hard Rock Casino & Resort Hotel became home to the second season of the professional wrestling TV series “Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors.” The show—broadcast on MTV2 and Tr3s—is using Albuquerque as a base to shoot its second season. Though Americanized to some degree—single-round matches, a “hexalateral” ring and plenty of between-fight melodrama—“Masked Warriors” replicates much of the high-flying stunt work, enmascarados (masked men) and técnicos (good guys) vs. rudos (bad guys) mythology of traditional Mexican wrestling. Plus, it’s got little people in capes!
From now until June, “Masked Warriors” will shoot a total of 13 episodes at Hard Rock Albuquerque. The show’s second season will begin airing sometime in January, with the next taping taking place on Jan. 22. Here are just some of the highlights the Alibi captured at the show’s Duke City debut.