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 V.19 No.50 | December 16 - 22, 2010 

Feature

Mucha Lucha

Mexican wrestling finds a new home in Albuquerque

The gimmick of a mask was first adopted by American wrestlers wishing to take on another identity and grapple in other leagues. In Mexico,   mascarados   are considered sacred and are never removed in public. The legendary   enmascarado   El Santo was buried in his gimmick. A wrestler who is stripped of his mask in the ring is shamed.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
The gimmick of a mask was first adopted by American wrestlers wishing to take on another identity and grapple in other leagues. In Mexico, mascarados are considered sacred and are never removed in public. The legendary enmascarado El Santo was buried in his gimmick. A wrestler who is stripped of his mask in the ring is shamed.

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.

Enthusiastic ringside fans—dressed here as Psicosis, Tiburon, El Oriental and El Santo—get into the spirit.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Enthusiastic ringside fansdressed here as Psicosis, Tiburon, El Oriental and El Santoget into the spirit.

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 showbroadcast on MTV2 and Tr3sis using Albuquerque as a base to shoot its second season. Though Americanized to some degreesingle-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!

Rudo   wrestler Charly Malice pays tribute to recently deceased LLUSA star Chris Long (“Solid”), killed in a nightclub shooting in Atlanta.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Rudo wrestler Charly Malice pays tribute to recently deceased LLUSA star Chris Long (“Solid”), killed in a nightclub shooting in Atlanta.

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.

Even Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry is absorbed in the drama of lucha libre.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Even Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry is absorbed in the drama of lucha libre.
The crowd filling the showroom at Hard Rock Albuquerque was diverse. Spanish and English were heard in equal measure. Young fans like this tyke stood arm-and-arm with old-school enthusiasts. "  Pero  , back in the day ..." was a phrase heard more than once.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
The crowd filling the showroom at Hard Rock Albuquerque was diverse. Spanish and English were heard in equal measure. Young fans like this tyke stood arm-and-arm with old-school enthusiasts. " Pero , back in the day ..." was a phrase heard more than once.
The tag team of El Oriental and Tinieblas Jr. makes its presence known with a splashy entrance to the ring.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
The tag team of El Oriental and Tinieblas Jr. makes its presence known with a splashy entrance to the ring.
Rellik enters the arena in appropriately ominous style.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Rellik enters the arena in appropriately ominous style.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
American   enmascarado   Sydistiko breaks free from Mexican favorites El Oriental and Tinieblas Jr.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
American enmascarado Sydistiko breaks free from Mexican favorites El Oriental and Tinieblas Jr.
Writhing and posing
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Writhing and posing
Tigresa Caliente previously wrestled under the name Rhaka Khan for TNA Wrestling.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Tigresa Caliente previously wrestled under the name Rhaka Khan for TNA Wrestling.
Mini-Estrella wrestler Mini Park takes a leather belt beating ringside from Tigresa Caliente. This is perfectly legal during a Canadian-style "Lumberjack Match."
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Mini-Estrella wrestler Mini Park takes a leather belt beating ringside from Tigresa Caliente. This is perfectly legal during a Canadian-style "Lumberjack Match."
Rosetta Park takes out her aggressions on Mini Park in a special grudge match. No idea what kicked off the rivalry, but we're betting it's clothing-based.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Rosetta Park takes out her aggressions on Mini Park in a special grudge match. No idea what kicked off the rivalry, but we're betting it's clothing-based.
Blue Demon Jr. was a special guest for a "Legends Match." He’s been wrestling since 1985. Although he’s not the actual son of the original Blue Demon, he carries on the gimmick of one of lucha libre's most famous figures.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Blue Demon Jr. was a special guest for a "Legends Match." He’s been wrestling since 1985. Although he’s not the actual son of the original Blue Demon, he carries on the gimmick of one of lucha libre's most famous figures.
American wrestler Chris Chavis, who grapples under the name of Tatanka, works the crowd during his "Legends Match" with Blue Demon Jr. Chavis has worked for a number of different wrestling organizations since his debut in 1989.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
American wrestler Chris Chavis, who grapples under the name of Tatanka, works the crowd during his "Legends Match" with Blue Demon Jr. Chavis has worked for a number of different wrestling organizations since his debut in 1989.
Tatanka gets a noogie from Blue Demon Jr.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Tatanka gets a noogie from Blue Demon Jr.
 
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