|Cassandro (left), one of Mexico's highest profile wrestlers, takes to the ring in drag ( Chris Osburn)|
Growing up in East End Toronto, my family was a stone's throw from Maple Leaf Gardens. Occasionally my father would take us to watch live wrestling matches that we'd usually only watch on T.V. during Saturday night wrestling.
We relished in seeing wrestlers, the good, the bad, and the ugly, like the Stomper, Killer Carl Krupp, Whipper Billy Watson, The Stomper, Sweet Daddy Seeky, Lord Athol Layton, Bull Dog Brower and The Beast to name a few were some of the regular characters. That's was when wrasslin' was real wrasslin', or so we thought!
I think wrestling is very different than now. I'm not sure why I loved to watch wrestling, maybe it was a bonding thing with my father, but it was easy to get caught up in the energy charged atmosphere of seeing them live, along ringside. Wrestling has changed from those days and my interest has certainly waned, with the exception of, Mexican wrestling.
Instead of one great match that North American WWE offers, the Mexican masked wrestlers, part of Lucha Underground, offer consistent good to great matches in every episode, which is why it is so popular with fans.
What I really find fascinating and fun about Mexican masked wrestling, is it's theatrical qualities where matches are staged but not fake. The tradition of story telling is manifested by the use of mask, costume, story line and with the inclusion of women who stand head to head with men, are stronger in character, and continue the story line.
Today my ears perked up when I heard The Doc Project on CBC Radio, featuring the Queen of Lucha Libre, and who changed Lucha Libre. What really impressed and touched me was this video I found of the American-born Mexican professional wrestler Saúl Armendáriz or whose ring name is Cassandro who has become part of the wrestling tradition of exóticos.