What do you get when you combine 26 oiled; (mostly) muscular, men and 3 midgets all dressed in lycra,  and hundreds of Mexican locals with 8 gringos out for a good time? The craziness that is Lucha Libre!

On Friday night, a group of us from the hostel decided to flag the expensive tour they were offering and head to Arena Mexico by ourselves. Apparently the largest arena specifically built for professional wrestling in the world, Arena Mexico hosts the filmed for TV "CMLL Super Viernes" (Super Friday) and for the bargain price of 75 pesos (£3) we got to spend 3 hours watching grown men and midgets parading around in lycra. 

The unlit streets around the stadium filled with vendors selling cheap tacos and an abundance of wrestling masks give the place a festive yet grimy atmosphere. Buying tickets through the bulletproof windows of the ticket booth where you can only see the fingers of the person serving you just adds to the occasion. Unable to resist we all fork out for a mask and head into the stadium although a thorough frisking from security gets most of our cameras confiscated. Putting on our masks we were immediately transformed into super awesome luchadores - that is until we looked around and realised the only people in who weren't in the ring wearing the masks were us gringos! ah well - let the show begin!

Flanked by bikini clad models who couldn't keep a beat if they tried and who were real Monet's (those of you who have watched 'Clueless' will know what I mean!) the luchadores all paraded out on to the stage to the beat of random macho nineties rock songs. Hundreds (but not thousands) of excited Mexicans began waving their beers and swearing at their favourite villains  

An eager bartender tried his luck overcharging us for our beers only for his attempts to be thwarted by our spanish speaking amiga. Boom! That's right buddy - we're onto you!
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tough luchadores!
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Watch out front row that midget's heading your way!
Deciphering what's going on, beyond the obvious tousling, is a little tricky but basically the 'rudos' are the big, burly baddies who usually cheat their way to beating the 'technicos', the lets say, less brawny, but more tactical fighters. Even though we didnt understand it was easy enough to join in with the cheering, booing and chanting which is an integral part of any match. 

The enormous wrestlers began flinging each other around the ring in a carefully arranged set of choreographed  moves. While there were some very impressive aerial acrobatics we quickly grew weary of the repetitiveness, that is until 2 wrestlers strode onto the stage with their mini-me's and began tossing them at each other, and into the front row of the audience. Reminiscent of the temper tantrum mini-me throw in Austin Powers the respective midgets took to each other with their pounding little fists and the crowd went wild.

With the importance placed on masks in lucha libre, losing your mask to an opponent is seen as the ultimate insult, and apparently results in disqualification of the oppenant who removes it, but there must be more to it than that as when one wrestler de-masked another he seemed to win that round leaving us all confused!

The second to last match involved two beefcakes in spandex who looked well past it, but they definitely saved the best for last as when Rush stepped out on the stage all the females in the crowd went wild. Perfectly toned arms and shoulders, and a pert tukus, well, lets just saw we joined in the appreciation of such a fine specimen. 

By the time the final '3 count' was done, our glasses were empty and we were all more than ready to head out. The short metro ride and walk back to the hostel was filled with bemused locals enjoying the spectacle of masked gringos debriefing the evening that was.
 



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