Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started and the opportunity to write about lucha libre shows dried up like Hayden Christensen’s career post Star Wars, I’ve been trying to come up with new ideas that would get me back to writing at least weekly, with limited success. One of those ideas; a mailbag column, where I’d answer fan mail about questions ranging from the serious to the not so serious. There was just one problem; no one sent me any questions. Not to be deterred, I eventually just asked a bunch of friends to send me some, may or may not have come up with some on my own and then just put a bunch of fake names to make it seem like I’m more popular than I am. Wait, why am I admitting that? Let me rephrase; these questions you’re about to read are TOTALLY FROM ACTUAL READERS AND NOT MADE UP BY ME, MYSELF AND MY FRIENDS! There; now no one will tell this isn’t totally on the up and up. Oh and as a bonus, I’ll preview tomorrow’s IWRG show at the end to further take your mind off everything that came before the last two sentences. Let’s talk some lucha in the first ever Lucha Bag!
–Dorko Dude, San Diego
…I don’t get it. Am I supposed to say Thumbs Down? Is this Sami Callihan? Is he trying to hack this totally on the up and up Lucha Bag? Why am I still harping on this?! NEXT!
Why are most masked luchadores ugly as hell?
And we follow up the thumbs up question with this savagery! The best answer I can give you here; genetics. I know there are a shit ton of beautiful people out there who hit the lottery in having two parents with the genes of Lizzy Valentine but most of us mere mortals are all born…pretty much average. Thus you’re going to have luchadores that look like the lead singer of the Cars as opposed to, say, Born of the Fourth of July era Tom Cruise or whatever the men and women find attractive in a dude these days. Also let’s be real; if you’re a luchador or a luchadora and you’re trying to score, the biggest draw you have there IS the mask. So it doesn’t matter what you look like; if you’ve got your mask on in the night club or wherever the kids go when COVID-19 isn’t around these days, its likely going to work out for you. Unless you’re clearly posing as said luchador; then it’s going to be the drink throwing scene from the How I Met Your Mother pilot all over again.
Which season of En Busca De Un Ídolo is the best?
–Rich, New York
The easiest question in the short history of the Lucha Bag! When it comes to En Busca de un Ídolo (a formerly very popular CMLL competition that has disappeared for years now because it’s CMLL and we can’t have nice things) it doesn’t get better than the 2014 edition. The field consisted of Black Panther, Cavernario, Dragón Lee, Guerrero Negro Jr., Hechicero, Soberano Jr., Star Jr. and Super Halcón Jr. (lots of juniors!) being coached by Negro Casas and Virus and wrestling each other multiple times in ten minutes matches. Look at the talent field again and think about that! Furthermore, not only did we get some really great matches that we’ve only seen a few times since (Soberano vs. Hechicero, Soberano vs. Star Jr., Dragón Lee vs. Hechicero, Black Panther vs. Hechicero) but of that group only Guerrero Negro Jr. and Super Halcón Jr. didn’t amount to anything. And that’s despite the fact that most of these guys are booked by CMLL, a promotion that looked at LA Park vs. Rush and said “pass.” Combine all of that with the fact that both Lee and Cavernario are superstars and yeah; En Busca de un Ídolo is the Ride the Lightning of En Busca den un Ídolo’s. Now what’s the Reload of the group? That’s also easy; 2015 and it’s precisely because Bobby Z was in it. Or was he? I’m still waiting to confirm he actually existed dammit!
Do luchadores really stick?
–Pep, Mexico City
Unless one of them is Spider-Man, no. But hey, for all I know Spider-Man is wrestling in Mexico right now under a luchador disguise, in which case my advice to him would be this; don’t go to CMLL Pete! You’ll hate it there. Also avoid wrestling Dragón Ban, Hijo del Canis Lupus or Hijo del Dos Caras; working the first two is like riding a roller coaster without a seatbelt on and Hijo del Dos Caras is like a brick wall, only if you sucked the personality out of a brick wall.
Do you think that only fans for luchadoras will start this year or next?
Wow; a question that can actually qualify as timely given all the stuff about Bella Thorne joining this OnlyFans a few days ago. Look I’m not going to front; the only things I know about OnlyFans are that Lizzy Valentine has one and the other guys at the site are VERY happy she has one because it involves a lot of photos of her wearing very little. Quite frankly that’s all I need to know. If there’s one thing all men (and some women) enjoy, it’s looking at photos of beautiful women wearing very little. And with Thorne already making enough cash off this to buy a semi-pro hockey team, it’s not a stretch to believe that some luchadora out there will find out about this and go “I can make an account of myself posting racy photos of myself and guys will give me money for it? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!” And you know what; more power to her and any other luchadora who wants to. Too often in endeavors like this the women in these photos are exploited and not all that in control. If OnlyFans allows the women to be in control of promoting their sexuality and profiting off it then I hope every luchadora alive signs up for it and gets rich.
Who are 3 CMLL talents you think would be better off in AAA and 3 AAA talents you think would be better off in CMLL?
Allow me to answer the second part first; no one in AAA would be better off in CMLL. Well other than maybe Daga but that’s largely because I wouldn’t have to deal with him bogging down AAA cards! So I guess that would just be better for me. In all seriousness, CMLL right now is so dire that I wouldn’t wish going there on my worst enemy. They’re beyond stagnant, the creative process is so broken that it makes the last season of Dexter look like a Kenneth Branagh production, there’s a strong sense the locker room is not a great place to be; do I need to go on? It just makes no sense to wish for someone like Laredo Kid, Hijo del Vikingo or even Dave the Clown to go from AAA, a place thriving prior to the pandemic, to the gallows known as Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. It’s just going to lead to misery.
Now three CMLL talents to AAA? That I can do! My picks would be Hechicero, Rey Cometa (going back to AAA) and Star Jr. It’s quite clear to anyone with eyes that Star Jr. is a special talent and he looked like he was taking off in the fall of last year…and then he got a few matches with top guys who didn’t want to sell for him and now he’s kind of in the Soberano position only without a paternal figure in the main event to vouch for him. In other words; he’s cooked in CMLL when he should be a top star, and if nothing else he’d get the shot to be that in AAA. Hechicero meanwhile could walk into AAA right now and immediately be one of the best workers in the rudo division, and while I don’t know if Cometa would be pushed hard, he’d at least get a chance to work in non soul sucking matches. And that be huge for him because Cometa is one of the most underrated luchadores of all time and deserves a chance to strut his stuff every chance he gets. He’s not getting that in CMLL anytime soon (unless he and Espíritu Negro do win this Aniversario poll); he would at least get that in AAA. At least I think so.
You can only choose one Old Man Lucha Apuesta match; Atlantis-Fuerza Guerrera or Atlantis-El Hijo del Santo?
–The Man From Another Place, Another Place
Atlantis vs. Santo. With all due respect to Fuerza Guerrera, he’s like 70 years old now and he’s not Juventud Guerrera, a big requirement for getting me to watch matches featuring dudes named Guerrera. Also; Fuerza vs. Atlantis can’t hold a candle to Atlantis vs. Santo, the greatest mask vs. mask luchador of all time vs. the guy with the most legendary mask in lucha libre history. It doesn’t matter what the match quality would be; CAN YOU IMAGINE THE BUSINESS THAT MATCH WOULD DO?! You could easily fill a stadium with that match, a fact that has haunted me for years because I have DREAMED of this match happening, all while knowing there’s a better chance of the Máscara Sagrada-Black Cat match turning up on YouTube. So yeah; when it comes to old man Apuestas, it’s Atlantis vs. El Hijo del Santo or its nothing at all. Excuse me while I go sob in the corner because this question reminded me this match is never happening.
Do you think that the maestro student relationship in lucha libre helps create inappropriate power relations?
This is a GREAT question that unfortunately has no easy answer. The best one I can give is this; while I cannot personally prove that the maestro/student relationship creates an inappropriate balance of power, I 100% believe it does. I won’t call it an open secret because it’s not (more on that in a moment) but if you’re in the lucha libre world and you’re paying attention, it’s not hard to miss the implication that there have been many situations involving female trainees (most of them very young) getting involved with their much older trainers, sometimes in return for them being trained. The problem is situations like this are often alluded to, but no one talks about them in public, thus keeping it all in the dark and leaving writers like myself with little to work with. It’s a big reason the Speaking Out movement seemed to leave lucha libre untouched; there’s just not enough information available and not people aware (or more appropriately, enough people who care) of what’s going on. Pretty horrifying right?
Now can all of that change in a minute? Absolutely, but it’s going to take just more than a brave luchadora coming forward to tell her story. She’s going to need support from the lucha libre media, from the worldwide wrestling media , her fellow luchadores and luchadoras, the lucha fans and the promotions. Some of that she will get; the others not so much considering the promotions are largely responsible for creating the current culture, while the (all due respect) the Wrestling Observer’s, Fightful’s, Torch’s, Insider’s and Ryan Satin’s of the world only seem to care about lucha libre when American lucha promotions are sending them C&D’s, when Triplemania or the Aniversario are going on or when luchadores are throwing cement blocks at each other. In short it makes it very difficult for any luchadora or even a luchador to come out about their experiences because the likelihood is no one outside of the lucha bubble is going to care and the result is you being banished to the lucha libre Phantom Zone. So to reiterate; I 100% believe there’s an inappropriate balance of power in the maestro/student relationship in lucha libre, I 100% there are many women (and men) who have stories regarding that and other forms of sexual harassment/assault/rape waiting to be told and I would love nothing more than for someone to come forward (whether on their own or to someone) and help expose this so we can start moving that aspect of lucha libre into the 21st Century. But do I have proof of any of this? Unfortunately no. And until then, this is where we are.
I had a few more question after that one but quite frankly I’m not sure how appropriate it is to follow up something as serious as that with some less serious questions. Throw in the fact that there’s going to be more Lucha Bags, we’ll save those questions for next week’s edition and move into a quick breakdown of tomorrow’s IWRG Rey del Ring final!
Shadow Boy vs. Rey Halcón Jr.: I’m not too familiar with either of these guys, so I’m going to with my default answer for IWRG openers; when in doubt, expect a whole lot of dives and sloppy moments. Maybe expect a few more of those as well given how rusty a lot of these guys are. Winner: Shadow Boy.
Toxin vs. Puma de Oro: Last week Puma de Oro defeated Fly Star in a match I would’ve liked to have seen, only the stream died because Mas Lucha and IWRG can’t get their shit together. This week Puma will take on part time AAA star Toxin, which makes sense considering Toxin served as Fly Star’s partner and rival for the better part of the last few years. Needless to say it should be a lot of fun; Puma is a solid worker and Toxin can be absolutely sensational. Barring heavy rust, this should be one to watch. Winner: Toxin.
Yoshioka vs. Dragón Bane: This is sort of the prelude to the main event as Yoshioka is a Dragon Gate import, much like Shun Skywalker, while Dragón Bane is Hijo del Canis Lupus’ brother. Fun stuff. I honestly know very little about Yoshioka and I honestly don’t need to know much about him because, yet again, this match is all about Dragón Bane. If he’s on point, he can be sensational and this match will follow suit. If he’s going full on Canadian Destroyer and doing his best Matthew Tkachuk impersonation then this could get ugly and fast. Winner: Dragón Bane.
Demonio Infernal & Fresero Jr. vs. Trauma I & Trauma II: This is IWRG’s first tag match since returning and kind of a weird sight, although understandable given that it’s probably wise to do more singles matches in COVID era lucha. It should at least be solid; the Trauma’s are of course a very good team, Demonio Infernal is a solid worker and Fresero is really big and generally very entertaining, though more so when his lizard friend is around. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with Demonio here given he’s got a big match coming up on the show next week. Winners: Demonio and Fresero.
Shun Skywalker vs. Hijo del Canis Lupus: Fun fact; this is in fact NOT the Rey del Ring final, as the winner moves on to face Demonio Infernal next week to determine the winner of Rey del Ring. So this is more the semi-final I suppose. This feels very similar to the Yoshioka-Dragón Bane encounter because, like his brother, you never quite know what you’re getting from Hijo del Canis Lupus. The difference here is you do know what you’re getting from Shun Skywalker, an incredibly talented high flyer who, at only 24 years old, looks poised to be a huge star for Dragon Gate down the line. He was able to get strong work out of Dragón Bane back in June and I think he’s more than capable of getting a ton out of Lupus, even if he’s unfortunately the underdog going in. Winner: Hijo del Canis Lupus.
There you go sports fans. The plan is to be back tomorrow for a review of this IWRG show; whether the IWRG stream will cooperate remains to be seen. If nothing else though I plan to return next week with yet another Lucha Bag column. If you have a question you want answered, feel free to send it to us over on Facebook (Lucha Central), Twitter (@LuchaCentralCom), Instagram (luchacentral) and, against my better judgment, my own email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Yes that’s my email, yes it’s lame and yes I’m going to regret this but whatever. Send the questions that way. TILL NEXT TIME!
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