September 13, 2020

Breaking Mexico lucha libre wrestlers struggle to survive amid virus


MEXICO CITY — Few of Mexico’s cultural traditions hang been hit as arduous by the coronavirus pandemic as “lucha libre” wrestling. The demise toll amongst wrestlers has risen dramatically and wrestling arenas are closed, throwing nearly all and sundry out of labor.

One enterprising band of aspiring young wrestlers, the three Olivares brothers in Mexico City’s Xochimilco borough, hang assign up an impromptu ring on some of the district’s popular “floating gardens.”

They belief to provide livestreamed online exhibitions for now — and when restrictions on live sports actions are lifted, to manufacture for tourists taking part within the newly reopened canals that flee thru the floating fields.

They now originate their living promoting flora that they develop on Xochimilco’s synthetic islands — identified as chinampas — and peddle tacos and tortas in other locations within the borough.

“We said: ‘Why no longer? We now hang the ring, we hang the chinampa, we hang every thing,’” said the oldest brother, 25, who wrestles below the name “Ciclónico.” “So we determined to bring this reasonably sport to this fine panorama.”

With river boat excursions of the floating gardens exact reopening — though public lucha libre fits earlier than live audiences are silent largely banned — the brothers are making a wager they may perchance perchance perchance be part of the tourism rebirth.

Others wrestlers hang already taken the game online. Victor Gongora, who wrestles below the name “Herodes Jr.,” has been wrestling in fits live-streamed online for approximately $12, though other folks will pay as little as $3 to acquire tapes of the match after it is over.

Nonetheless he acknowledges that it is no longer the an identical without the roaring, swearing crowds that are a key part of the rowdy occasions.

“Or no longer it is part of the custom of Mexico. Lucha libre in Mexico has always been something performed in arenas plump of other folks,” said Gongora. “Or no longer it is a long way the preferable contrivance.”

Nonetheless unless arenas reopen — Gongora says his first match with followers at 30% ability will most seemingly be held next week — bouts that are transmitted online by video streaming are a brief repair. “It’s a long way a vogue to help out with the funds, barely enough to acquire by on,” he said.

Many less technologically savvy wrestlers are no longer even that fortunate.

“The majority of us approach from very wretched backgrounds, decrease class households,” said the pinnacle of the Mexico City Boxing and Lucha Libre Price, who wrestles below the name “Fantasma.”

“The savings they (the wrestlers) had are gone, they spent them already,” said Fantasma, who has helped arrange city give a boost to funds of about $75 per month for luchadores. “The command is exact serious, very, very unfriendly.”

Gongora said some wrestlers he knows hang needed to sell gym and wrestling gear to acquire thru the five months for the reason that arenas shut down.

Fantasma has taken to organizing food donations from native supermarkets for out-of-work wrestlers and has inspired them to originate up avenue stands to acquire by.

“I bid them, assign up a avenue stand to sell fruit juice, a stand to sell quesadillas. Fabricate no longer expend you money, purchase offers” for the stands.

Nonetheless it is no longer exact the financial woes that are ravaging lucha libre.

There looks to hang been a animated upturn in deaths amongst wrestlers for the reason that pandemic started in Mexico in March, though how a spread of those were attributable to COVID-19 is no longer constructive.

Fantasma says 60 wrestlers, out of a universe of perchance 2,000 or 3,000, hang died to this level this twelve months, extra of in in an extended-established twelve months. Requested how a spread of this twelve months’s deaths were attributable to COVID-19, he says he’s no longer certain, adding: “We form no longer desire to roar, out of admire” for the wrestlers’ households. There may be a stigma related to death of the disease for many in Mexico.

Nonetheless he reels off a listing of those whose deaths are publicly identified to be of COVID-19: “Estrella Blanca Jr., Blackman II, Golden Bull, Matematico II.”

Gongora’s hang father, the brand new “Herodes,” died in July at the age of nearly 70, though Gongora says: “It was heart assault, it wasn’t COVID.”

The sport, with its theatrical stunts and custom of “rudos” — villainous, rule-breaking unfriendly guys — and “tecnicos” — the handsome fine guys, is clearly struggling to outlive.

Nonetheless few of the schemes indulge in as much cultural preservation as that of the Olivares brothers in Xochimilco. They are simultaneously defending lucha libre and the vastly older agricultural custom of the floating gardens, which date help to Aztec cases and which are continuously threatened by air pollution and encroaching enhance.

It has been a warfare. Their boat nearly sank below the weight of the wrestling ring as soon as they transported it to their chinampa. Nonetheless they hope to provide programs of chinampa excursions and lucha libre fits.

Within the meantime, they sell their chinampa-grown flora at Xochimilco’s dilapidated market, then prepare tortas and tacos at their food stall and then note their wrestling at fits that are silent largely closed to the general public.

They roar they lift out it to honor their gradual father, who wrestled below the name “Gran Felipe.” His 19-twelve months old son has assumed his name, wrestling as “Gran Felipe Jr.”

“He taught us to relish and admire lucha libre, and we lift out this to honor his name as of late,” said the son.

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