By Pablo Jaime Sainz
Ruben Zamora remembers that in 1984, when he was still a kid, his uncle took him for the first time to see lucha libre in Tijuana´s municipal auditorium.
It was an experience that changed his life forever, he said.
“I learnt about the world of masks, of capes, of the great Mexican wrestlers”, said 33-year-old Zamora. “It was really something amazing. I became obsessed with lucha libre.”
Frequently, Zamora and his family would cross the border from San Diego to see lucha libre live. But, after a while, he didn’t go for 15 years, due to the security risks that existed at the municipal auditorium back then.
“They used to throw glass bottles, there were fights between wrestlers and the public… It wasn’t a good place for a kid,” Zamora said.
Even though he stopped attending the shows in Tijuana, his love for lucha libre was kept alive through the television presentations that showed in Spanish networks. Every Sunday, he could watch his favorite Mexican wrestlers.
Now Zamora wants other Latino children to learn about the magical world of lucha libre. That´s why he´s become a local lucha libre promoter and on Saturday, June 24, he will bring some of the most recognized wrestlers in Mexico for an event that will take place at the Montgomery High School gym.
His promotion company is called Viva la Lucha! and every month he´s planning to organize a show of professional wrestling, of the highest quality, like the one you can watch on television, he said.
“Since I´m close to Tijuana, I´ve met many of the wrestlers and now I´m sort of a bridge for them in the U.S.,” Zamora said. “Here in San Diego there are smaller promotions that organize shows but it doesn´t look like professional wrestling. On the other hand, I like to see a good show, I think that people deserve much more. That´s why my events will be of the highest quality.”
In the June 24 card will be very popular wrestlers among Mexican fans in the U.S., such as Shocker, TJ Boy, and Fobia.
Also, for all the children there will be a special lucha with the sensational Mini wrestlers, such as Octangocito, Mascarita Sagrada, and Piratita Morgan.
Without a doubt, one of the most famous stars that will participate is 12 time champion Konnan, who, by the way, has lived in San Diego County for the past 14 years.
He said that it´s a great honor to be able to wrestle for the people who live near his community.
“I think that it was about time that San Diego had quality lucha libre,” Konnan said. “Unfortunately there has never been lucha libre in the South Bay, there has never been lucha libre for la raza. Finally they will be able to see the lucha libre that they watch on television live here a few minutes from their home.”
Konnan will be near Zamora to give him advice in his new Viva la Lucha! venture. With Konnan´s experience and Zamora´s passion for lucha libre, we can be sure that each event they organize will be a hit.
“Quality is guaranteed,” Konnan said.
One of the reasons for attending one of the Viva la Lucha! shows is that now San Diego residents won´t have to cross the border into Tijuana to see good lucha libre.
“Here we have a family setting, without alcohol. Here can attend children and grandparents with no problem,” Zamora said. “Besides, here spectators can be closer to the ring, so it´s a more personal setting, you get more involved in the show.”
Most likely, at the June 24 event the classic atmosphere described in an ´80s Mexican cumbia will come alive: “The arena was packed, people was screaming full of emotions, and on the ring the four wrestlers were fighting, idols of the people: El Santo, El Cavernario, Blue Demon and el Bull Dog.”
Zamora said that the June 24 show, and other future shows, will be recorded to be sold on DVD that you will be able to buy at chain-stores such as Wal-Mart and Tower Records.
“It’ll be a ride to yesterday’s lucha libre, when it was clean, when there wasn’t any blood or bottles,” Zamora said.
Added Konnan: “Here wrestlers won’t say bad words, we’re going to follow a family-oriented line.”
Konnan, who is Cuban and Puerto Rican but has done his professional career in Mexico and he feels Mexican at heart, said that in the future he and Rey Misterio Jr., one of the most popular wrestlers in the U.S., are planning to open a lucha libre school in San Diego.
At the Viva la Lucha! they will sell masks and capes, and people will be able to take a picture with their favorite wrestlers.
The event is on Saturday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Montgomery High School gym, located at 3250 Palm Ave., South San Diego
Nacho Libre takes lucha libre to the big screen
By Pablo Jaime Sainz
Can you imagine if the popular El Santo, instead of making movies where he would fight against mummies, vampires, and evil witches, he would’ve made a comedy?
Well, maybe El Santo never made it, but that´s why we have actor Jack Black, who stars in the recently released Nacho Libre.
In this film, Black plays Nacho, a young man, who, after growing up in a Mexican monastery, he decides to become a professional wrestler to help feed the children at the orphanage.
That’s when Nacho is forc-ed to lead a double life, disguised by a sky blue mask, having matches with some of Mexico’s most popular wrestlers.
“I don´t want to brag, but I´ve been told that I´m a natural luchador wrestler,” said Black. “I had the moves from the very beginning,” he said with a comic tone.
In this film also appear Mexican telenovela actress Ana de la Reguera and Culture Clash´s Richard Montoya.