13. Kings of Wrestling & Shane Hagadorn vs. Jay, Mark, & Mike "Papa" Briscoe...Final Battle 2010 12/18/10
14. Kings of Wrestling vs. The All Night Express (World Tag Team Title Match)...9th Anniversary Show 2/26/11
15. Highlights of Kings of Wrestling vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (World Tag Team Title Match)...Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1
16. Kings of Wrestling vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly...Honor Takes Center Stage Chatper 2
17. Kings Vs. Wolves II: The Kings of Wrestling vs. The American Wolves...ROH Revolution USA 5/7/11
18. Kings of Wrestling vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (World Tag Team Title Match)...Ring of Honor Wrestling Episode 1 (taped 8/13/11)
You can order the DVDs here.
-- Eric McHugh sent this one in:
This past weekend, PBS presented an episode of "Voces", a program co-produced by Latino Public Broadcasting that features elements of latino culture, primarily historical culture of Latin America and South America. The installment featured most recently was entitled "Tales of Masked Men", a documentary by Carlos Avila about lucha libre pro wrestling. Actor Miguel Sandoval was its narrator.
The program opened with a quote about Mexican culture being mythical and colorful, and often containing a series of rituals. Lucha libre contains all of those characteristics as well and is among the most obvious embodiments from Mexican culture of what this culture is all about. Clips were shown of the inside and outside of the famous Arena Mexico, with a fan saying that what opera means to the Italian populace, lucha libre means the same to the Mexican populace. Many quick clips were then shown from numerous wrestling events of lucha highspots, dives, matwork and the like. We also see vendors selling literally hundreds of different styles of t-shirts, masks and plastic masked heads. Legendary Mexican wrestler Solar said lucha is very much a contact sport, not false theater. If it were the latter, there would be no training necessary.
Lucha libre's literal translation is "free fight" or "free struggle". The term "luchador" is what Mexico calls pro wrestlers, but we habitually call all Mexican pro wrestlers this. In actuality, that term is for those who don't wear masks. The term for a masked Mexican wrestler is "enmascarado". The mask is very sacred to Mexican wrestlers and they wear them at all times in public and even often at home when there is a possibility of being seen. Those masks only come off for good usually as the result of match stipulations, or when a wrestler retires. The terms used in the United States for good guys and bad guys are "babyfaces" and "heels", while in Mexico they are "tecnicos" and "rudos". There is very little, if any, use of "tweeners" in Mexican wrestling. The lines are much more clear-cut than in U.S. wrestling. Lucha has a large following in the U.S. and Japan, but the cradle of lucha libre has always been Mexico City, Mexico.
Pro wrestling existed in Mexico going all the way back to the 1900's decade, but that was your greco-roman Olympic-style and it often featured wrestlers from the States. In the 1930's, Salvador Lutteroth decided to create the lucha style as entertainment for what was then a growing and changing Mexican society. As explained by lucha archivist Christian Cymet, Lutteroth would run the old Arena Modelo with mostly main events from U.S. stars such as Yaqui Joe and Bobby Sampson, but the majority of the undercard would feature the Mexican wrestlers. The first show was September 21, 1933, and this was the founding of Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL). Lutteroth also opened a wrestling school and even ran some smaller arenas to get the product out there. With this new group of wrestlers, Lutteroth was creating characters, not just wrestlers. There were a few mentions of documented masked wrestlers in 1934 such as The Masked Basque, but the first true masked star was Ciclon Mackey wrestling as The Masked Marvel. Mackey, a U.S.-born wrestler, had been a journeyman floundering around the country for several years. He decided to get a mask made up and began wrestling under it with the Masked Marvel moniker, and would always swear he would unmask if anyone could beat him. This caught on with the fans. (Interesting to note that the mask even in 1934 was very similar to the style of today.) It only took a year for many more masked wrestlers to start popping up, and by the 1950's about half of all Mexican pro wrestlers were under hoods.
Heather Levi spoke next. She is a cultural anthropologist and a professor of anthropology at Temple University. She also is a very knowledgeable authority on lucha libre, having actually trained in Mexico years ago. She has even published numerous books and articles about lucha libre. As explained by Levi, the masks had ties to pre-Hispanic culture where many warriors wore ritual masks and would embody a character. This was happening with lucha libre as well. Wrestlers weren't just wrestling under a mask with a name for the fun of it. The mask would embody the wrestler and he would become that name in the eyes of fans. The mask became so iconic that wrestlers would often put them up in mask vs. mask matches, or mask vs. hair if one of the men didn't wear a mask. To lose one's mask would create a "loss of identity" to some, especially in the eyes of their fans. (A clip is shown of an apparently-accidental unmasking during a match as Levi is speaking here. The wrestler, who's face was blurred, very quickly put it back on.) Lucha also became theatrical with overacting and melodrama, but it wasn't considered corny, it was part of the appeal.
The program then tells three stories of three enmascarados. The first is arguably lucha's all-time greatest star, El Santo. El Santo debuted in July of 1942, wearing plain silver tights and a plain silver mask. He was disqualified for ignoring... (Continues on next page)