Colourful masks and comic book-style battles between the téchnicos (“good guys”) and rudos (“bad guys”) have earned Mexican wrestling millions of fans in its home country and around the world.
This weekend London is set to be gripped by “lucha libre” mania when professional Mexican wrestlers including world heavyweight champion Blue Demon Jr and El Hijo del Fantasma make their Royal Albert Hall debut.
Top luchadors will take to the ring in a one-off extravaganza at the 144-year-old venue, promising to “bring a slice of Mexico” to the capital.
Mexican-born El Hijo del Fantasma, 31, is taking part, along with 15 other masked wrestlers, including female “luchadoras” and “mini-Estrellas” — little stars, who must be about 5ft tall.
Fierce moves: Mexican wrestlers in action (Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) The fighters will battle it out to live music from Mexican electro and techno band Nortec Collective.
El Hijo del Fantasma, who weighs 90kg and is 5ft 10in tall, is also known in the ring as King Cuerno and was crowned the Asistencia Asesoría y Administración World Cruiserweight Champion in 2014. He says he is a “baddie” and “not afraid to pull out all the stops and pull some fierce moves in order to win”.
He added: “This show is going to be a really spectacular event. Lucha libre is a big part of Mexican culture and is a big sport in our country and in others around the world. But not many people know about it here. I think once Londoners get a taste for it then will want more and more. It is super exciting and very entertaining. I am sure the ladies will also be a fan of the wrestlers as our costumes aren’t that big.”
The Royal Albert Hall has a history of hosting wrestling and boxing matches featuring greats such as Henry Cooper and Muhammad Ali. El Hijo del Fantasma added: “I am very excited to be here and to be performing in the Royal Albert Hall where some greats have taken to the ring. Lucha libre will be very different but equally as exciting.”