- Title: Mexican wrestling fans demand blood in extreme 'Lucha Libre'
- Date: 18th November 2016
- Summary: WRESTLERS ENTERING FOR MATCH
- Embargoed: 3rd December 2016 22:46
- Keywords: extreme wrestling sport blood match Mexico
- Location: TULANCINGO, HIDALGO, MEXICO
- City: TULANCINGO, HIDALGO, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Sport,Wrestling
- Reuters ID: LVA00258Z4ABN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Mexico's traditional lucha libre wrestling has gone extreme, with a wave of extreme wrestlers emerging to turn the popular event into a blood sport.
In the city of Tulancingo in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo locals head to a local car wash which has been converted into a makeshift wrestling ring to see wrestling that is different - and bloodier - than Mexico's traditional, deeply rooted version in which the fights are often more spectacle that real combat.
While extreme fights have become increasingly popular in the country, extreme wrestling has a lower profile than the more famous professional "Lucha Libre" circuit and tends to book smaller venues.
When the time comes for the Extreme Star Fight, wrestlers climb into the ring. Once the fighting begins, anything goes. They bash each other with chairs and long neon lights, causing small explosions and scattering tiny pieces of glass everywhere.
The fighters, about half of whom wear masks, even use plastic knives and forks to hurt their opponents.
Johnny Serrano has been a wrestler since he was a boy, following a proud family tradition. The sport has seen him head to Japan for exhibition matches. But now in Mexico he has made the switch to extreme wrestling.
He told Reuters that the blood and passion of extreme lucha is winning over wrestling fans.
"To see two individuals, or four individuals hitting each other with something, with people knowing that it will hurt them (wrestlers) more is a taboo and I really think that is the difference. People know that when they see extreme wrestling they know they will see blood, passion and a love for what is extreme wrestling," said Serrano.
Quickly, blood begins to stain the faces of the combatants and the crowd goes wild, shouting even louder. The screaming and yelling goes on for some time as fans swear at the fighters who ignore them.
After 15 minutes of pitched battle in and out of the ring, a pair of winners emerges as a referee raises their arms in victory.
Their faces, tired and bloodied, still manage a smile of satisfaction. But it only lasts a brief moment as new challenges and insults come at them almost immediately.
There's a heavy tension in the air for a few minutes as losers hurl insults at the winners, vowing to take revenge, which is all part of the show. But in the end everyone hugs and praises each other's physical skills.
Hector Perez was once a classical Mexican wrestler but also made the switch. He sees his extreme sport as something of a rebellious act.
"Many think that it is just throwing lamps or blocks but I think extreme wrestling is important as a rebellion towards companies, to colleagues who believe they are classical wrestlers. I invite them to be extreme wrestlers and me a classical wrestler. To be a complete wrestler for me is something of a rebellion," said Perez.
Extreme lucha is still a largely underground sport in Mexico but is expanding across Mexico, include lucha libre's traditional stronghold of Mexico City.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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