Lucha Libre!

As if our weekend weren’t busy enough, our new and dear friends, Teresa and Stefanie, invited us to Lucha Libre on Tuesday night. They had two other friends coming into town and another IMAC student joined us, too. We met at Birria Las 9 Esquinas, which to no one’s surprise, specializes in birria (which is a traditional goat stew — guess who did not try the birria).

Birria Las 9 Esquinas

It’s in a cute plaza in El Centro (about 30 minutes walking from us and near my school). Steven said it was way better than the birria at the Hilton — another big surprise there. The mushroom tacos were also delicious.

After struggling back and forth between my lame Spanish and English (our classmate is from Japan and speaks a bit of English and a bit of Spanish), we mostly reverted to English, but made a few more attempts so as not to feel too guilty about wasting time in Spanish class.

The Arena Coliseo was a 10-minute walk from the restaurant. It was built in 1943 and it’s pretty obvious. We discussed the best seating and decided on row 4 because rows 1-3 are in the line of fire when the wrestlers come shooting out of the ring. For those of you who don’t know, Lucha Libre, in addition to being famous for the wacky masks and costumes, is also known for audience participation. By that I mean first and foremost that you may find a wrestler sprawled next to you or a major fight going on in your face. Then, you will have to move the row of seats back into place when the coast is clear.

Most Lucha Libre fans know to get out of the way and when to do so. However, a guy in the first row Tuesday knew no such thing. His giant and almost full beer got spilled all over him when the action jumped the ring the first time. I did feel bad for him, but when it happened the second time, not so much. Everyone around him had leapt from their seats, but not him. He stayed rooted and lost a second chela (Mexican slang for cerveza). A nice guy next to him bought him a replacement. Mexican hospitality!

The second part of the audience participation is the yelling at the wrestlers and at other parts of the crowd. I would repeat what we shouted, but it’s not intended for a family readership. Although it was Spanish so maybe … I will say that it’s about your mother. (Why is it always about mothers?)

The show was a blast. It’s so completely fake that there are times they aren’t even touching each other. They taunt the audience and each other, flout the rules (are there rules? Rules? hahaha. there are no rules), do a lot of acrobatics and then, magically, someone is pinned. They have women who parade around with the round cards, but I dare you to figure out when one round ends and another begins without those women.

Like a U.S. sporting event, there are people selling beer and food in the stands, but this time it was enchiladas and something that looked like big tan sheets of something crunchy (imagine a 2 foot by 2 foot flat fried pork rind), but even Stefani had no idea what it was. The whole spectacle lasts about 2 hours and when we left, there was a band playing and a few people dancing to keep the fun going.

We took an Uber home. I talked a bit to the driver in an attempt to practice my Spanish, which impressed Steven because he has no idea how bad it was. Once back at the apartment, we crashed. Too much excitement for the old folks.

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