All you need to know about Mexican wrestling
Officially known as Lucha Libre, Mexican wrestling is known for the vibrant personalities, distinctive masks and flamboyant style of fighting that abounds in the ring.
Just as in the US, there is a huge fan following of wrestling in Mexico, with many of the stars of the sport being household names.
The roots of Lucha Libre can be traced back to the 1900s, a time that saw Mexico experience a great deal of political unrest.
Uprisings against dictator Porfirio Diaz were becoming increasingly common and violent, and it was during this time that Lucha Libre emerged as a form of escapism for those wanting some entertainment amid the turbulence.
Giovanni Reselevich and Antonio Fournier therefore created Lucha Libre, developing a type of wrestling in which opponents would engage in hand-to-hand combat without any weapons – or indeed rules.
Dubbed ‘Lucha Libre’, or ‘free fight’, there was virtually nothing in the way of restrictions or rules, meaning the fighters, luchadores, were pretty much free to fight at will.
Although the creation of this type of wrestling took place in Mexico, it actually did so at the hands of two Italian businessmen. However, the birth of Lucha Libre’s popularity throughout Mexico is widely accredited to a native Mexican, Salvador Lutteroth Gonzalez, who became enthralled with the sport after watching it in Texas.
He founded the Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre – EMLL – with a partner, determined to promote the sport by hosting events in large cities.
Today, the EMLL is now the CMLL – Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, and its situation in Arena Mexico in Mexico City is widely considered to be both the home and birthplace of modern Mexican wrestling.