Mexico’s Lucha Libre wrestlers set up ring in Xochimilco to fight COVID-19

The sport, with its theatrical stunts and tradition of heels vs faces, is clearly struggling to survive COVID-19

Mexico’s Lucha Libre wrestlers set up ring in Xochimilco to fight COVID-19
Lucha Libre has been hard hit by coronavirus - Photo: Carlos Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL
English 24/09/2020 14:16 Perla Miranda Mexico City Actualizada 14:16

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In Xochimilco lake, among plants and trees, the Olivares family installed a ring in which masked Lucha Libre wrestlers fight with the objective of reviving the famous Mexican sports show in the community hoping to generate income from the shows they stream since they have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project is known as “Chinampaluchas” and was created by the Olivares dynasty, who had to suspend their Lucha Libre shows in the arena by the same name due to the COVID-19 health emergency. The show consists of moving the wrestlers in a canoe to a chinampa where a ring waits for them to wrestle.

Photo: Israel Rosas/Xinhua

“Xochimilco is a mythical place; it has an amazing calmness, gorgeous landscaped, that is why when we had to close the arena due to the lockdown, in addition to stopping promoting this event and then watching our mates having a hard time because there are no shows and no income, we decided to create the ‘Chinampaluchas’ concept,” said Gran Felipe Junior.

So far, the shows are performed without public and before the wrestlers get on the ring, someone is in charge of disinfecting it.

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Among the plants of a plant nursery, the Lucha Libre wrestlers face each other as if they were at a normal show, the only difference is that this show is recorded and is then promoted through streaming; those interested in watching the show must pay MXN $30.

“We have not had such a good response; at first, we thought of charging MXN $40 per person, but we were not able to raise funds; now the cost is MXN $30 and we will keep promoting it but we also hope that, when there is low COVID-19 risk, the chinampa will become a new arena, that they allow us to bring in public, always following health measures. That is our way to practice Lucha Libre with creativity and offer a different experience,” said Ciclónico, who is also a member of the Olivares dynasty.

Mr. Gerry remembers the love for Lucha Libre that blossomed in him and his brothers thanks to his father, known as El Gran Felipe, when he fought in the arenas of Xochimilco, Neza, and Pantitlán.

“We were children, we improvised man rings; my mother scolded us but my dad, instead of getting angry, took us to the Arena Mexico; it then became a dream to fight there and while it happened, we cried out to support our idols.”

Now, his immediate dream is for Chinampaluchas to generate more resources for the wrestlers; he asserts that so far, coronavirus has been his worst enemy.

Photo: Carlos Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL

“We don’t want this sport to be lost; we understand the emergency situation due to COVID, but we see the needs of our mates and ourselves; this is how we live and we dream of people being able to come to enjoy a Lucha Libre show in the chinampa,” said Gran Felipe Jr.

The project has been joined by renowned wrestlers like Schoker, El Último Guerrero, Zumbido, and Hip Hop Man, among others. Moreover, in order to raise more funds, starting in September, they are giving theme shows including Independence Day, Day of the Death, and Christmas.

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“We invite all Lucha Libre fans to watch the shows in streaming, and those [who don’t know Lucha Libre] to get to know this project and the fantastic world of Lucha Libre.”

Before getting off the ring, the Olivares brothers urged Mexicans to remain vigilant against SARS-CoV-2 and follow all the health measures to prevent infections.

Photo: Carlos Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL

“It’s the fight for our life; we must be united in a single side to defeat the terrible COVID,” they said.