Local residents and fans of lucha libre, or Mexican-style professional wrestling, had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from one of lucha libre’s most beloved characters this past Saturday, Jan. 6.
Miguel Angel Lopez, also known as the original Rey Misterio, spoke at the Harold J. Ballard Parent Center in Old Town. Despite wearing a mask, Lopez revealed himself as a person to the audience through sharing stories about his life.
Attendees were able to hear about Lopez’s first trip to a lucha libre show, his youth in Tijuana and the events that lead him to take up the persona of Rey Misterio on Jan. 6, 1976.
Lopez explained that he developed his character’s name, which translates to the King of Mystery, on the night of his debut, which was on Mexico’s Three Kings’ holiday, and the fact that he had to keep his real identity a mystery, since he didn’t want his family to know he was a wrestler.
Later on, Lopez also went on to speak about the tough times he faced in his personal life, especially about the separation from one of his sons and the loss of his ability to walk, and how he overcame these bitter moments.
During the event, Lopez was accompanied by the wrestler known as Piloto Suicida, who is a close personal friend of Lopez and was his tag team partner, joining him in the ring during his final wrestling match. Lopez addressed Piloto Suicida as an example of how having good friends can make a great difference in living a healthy life and in overcoming tough moments.
“I love this guy very much and I thank him for not leaving me when I needed help or needed to talk things out with someone,” Lopez stated.
At the end of his presentation, Lopez took the time to take pictures with attendees, answer questions and sign autographs.
This event also served as an opportunity for the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego to officially present Lopez with an award recognizing him for his career in the world of lucha libre and for his contributions to this colorful niche of Mexican culture, one which combines, tradition, athleticism, and dramatics.
“It was important to us to organize this event because lucha libre is a very powerful cultural manifestation with much symbolism,” said Gaspar Orozco, deputy consul of the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego. “Within the universe of lucha libre, Rey Misterio has a very important role and is a notable personality within our region.”
The event was held on the 41st anniversary of Rey Misterio’s professional debut.