“Only in Mexico” They Say

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 6.39.59 PMBy Dardan Surring

It came out of the blue, mentioned by one of our friends at Condos Pacifico. Mexican wrestling was coming to Huatulco Saturday night and he was putting together a gang to attend. First, it conjured up images of burly men in masks, resembling Marvel superheroes and other weird stuff. It also brought to mind actor Jack Black’s movie “Nacho Libre”, where he secretly poses as a Mexican wrestler to save an orphanage.

Back to the proposition. We spread the word, got some strange, quizzical, negative looks, and came up with four brave souls (including me) to venture forth at 5:30 p.m. Not surprisingly, all men.

The bouts were held at Casa Reyes, behind Soriana, in an open air venue on a huge cement pad. The ring was hastily thrown up with a multitude of white plastic chairs surrounding it. We arrived by cab just in time to pay our 75 peso entrance fee, get front row seats and locate both the beer vendor and the bathrooms, extremely important to us macho men. We thought it would be sparsely attended, but there were about 300 people milling around.

Once we were fully loaded with mucho cervezas and settled into our chairs under the stars, the first bout was announced. Surprisingly, a woman (dressed in one of those famous masks) was introduced, followed by a similarly dressed man. Cool, we thought, tag team time, but were shocked to see they were opponents.

Now I have to say, the wrestling ability and acting ability were significantly absent. I don’t know what we expected, but this wasn’t even close. However, it was so over the top and poorly orchestrated, it was hilarious. We started laughing and didn’t stop for 4 1/2 hours. Bout after bout, the wrestling improved slightly while the acting deteriorated. At times the wrestlers stopped mid-bout to pose for pictures with the fans, then back to business.

To our dismay, (and to be honest, a little concern) these athletes would be thrown out of the ring onto unpadded, bare concrete, where the battle continued amongst the fans, throwing chairs, posing again, and overall, putting on one of the most enjoyable evenings I have spent in Huatulco in a long time. I know, I know, I can be easily entertained. Apparently, so can a lot of other people.

During the last confrontation, a true-tag-team all male bout, it got more interesting. One of the combatants, in the heat of battle, opened a forehead cut that poured blood down his face. The blood however, looked a lot like strawberry jam, thinned with ketchup. The kids (who get in for free by the way), have their favorites and hate the bad guys with a passion. I have never seen an event before where yelling, screaming, throwing popcorn and paper cups into the ring, hoping beyond hope to influence the outcome, was normal, acceptable behavior.

The referees were in on the acting, holding the good guys arms so the bad guys could control the action. Somehow, the heroes always came out on top. There was one who soared from the top rope of the ring, flattening his opponent into one of our unsuspecting group. Then, shattering his chair and giving him a rear end bruise he never felt or saw until days later. Fortunately, that was the only incident involving us, and it wasn’t serious, just funny. When we realized we had been caught up in the action, standing up and yelling as well, we also noticed the crowd had embraced us four crazy Canadians and we were all laughing together.

For those who are professional wresting aficionados, all matches were 2 out of 3 falls. Yes, the masked lady beat the man in the first bout. All the matches were choreographed identically; good guys win the first fall, bad guys the next, and the heroes triumph in the end. Predictable, but still strangely entertaining. Apparently, this spectacle only happens once a year or so. We were fortunate to be present at this one, and it will be talked about for years to come. Those who passed on joining us, missed a really fun evening.

Even if we go to another in the future, it won’t be the same. We will know what to expect, and the enjoyment level will be lessened, unless we drag along new uninitiated skeptical persons, who will watch as we did, and laugh their heads off.

I can’t wait!

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