Lucha Libre in Tijuana

Last Friday night we went to a Lucha Libre wrestling match in Tijuana. I know very little about Mexican wrestling, but really wanted to check out a match.

We got to the Auditorium pretty early and bought tickets. General admission tickets were 150 Pesos, about $11.50US at the current exchange rate, but as we approached the window a man offered to sell us his tickets. He said his wife was sick so they couldn’t go. He had two front row tickets that he was willing to sell for about half price, just a little more than two general admission tickets. We asked the ticket sellers to verify they were good and bought them.

With some time to kill we went to Carnitas Uruapan, a restaurant across the street. We got some chips and salsa. When I ordered a beer they brought me two, Kinsee pointed out the “Cerveza 2×1” sign hanging on the wall, at the right time it seems like everything in TJ is two for one. We ate some delicious nopales and then went back to the auditorium.On our way back we saw these fans who were more than happy to pose for a picture.

We didn’t realize how close the front row was, until we sat down. We were right there about 5 feet from the ring. We got some beers, 20 Pesos, about $1.50US, sadly not two for one, and waited for the match to start. I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect. This guy was my favorite. He walked around the ring making sure the cables were taut before the match, and then stayed on the sides making sure nothing went wrong the entire time. He seemed like the only person involved that wasn’t an actor.

The first match was two on two and one of the guys wasn’t wearing a mask. I never figured out how they decide to wear masks or not, but at one point in one of the later matches one guy tried to take another’s mask off. Aside from the masks Mexican wrestling doesn’t seem that much different than American professional wrestling. It was silly but fun.

The second match brought out an older guy in white chinos. He seemed to be the Vince McMahon of TJ wrestling — everything he did was over dramatic.

I think the second match was four on four. As the night went on the wrestlers got bigger and better. At one point a guy was thrown into the flimsy railing right in front of us. As they came over you could smell the sweat and mildew of their clothes. It was really disgusting.

A lot of the matches involved silly slapstick humor that the crowd would eat up (myself included). My favorite part of the night was when someone was being pinned and another wrestler held the referee’s hand so he couldn’t count him out. The entire crowd made this laughing noise that (whether he does it or not) I can picture Bumblebee Man on The Simpsons making. It’s not quite a full laugh, but obvious that the person making it is amused.

During the last match one wrestler got thrown over the fence near us and they started fighting and hitting each other with chairs right there. Then someone in the crowd got up and started fighting, it was obvious it was setup, but pretty funny and the crowed loved it.

Speaking of the crowd, there was a man about 10 seats away from us, also in the front row, that was really into it. He would yell at the wrestlers and the ref when he disagreed with what was going on. He would show his approval for things they did. I couldn’t tell if he was somehow involved with it, or if he was just a really excited fan.

It was fun and entertaining. I don’t know how often I’ll go back to Lucha matches, but definetely something to see once.

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