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Lucha Libre's move north

Vida En El Valle

(Published Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 10:51AM)

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The days of iconic luchadores like Mil Mascaras, El Santo and Blue Demon may be relegated to history, but a new generation of Lucha Libre is gaining momentum on American soil.

Blue Demon Jr. and Super Nova are among Lucha Libre USA's Masked Warriors' newest heroes who combine acrobatics, provocative theatrics and controversial storylines.

The Masked Warriors will be in action at the Stockton Arena on Sunday (March 25), then at the Selland Arena in Fresno on April 14. Scenes from the tour will be aired online to promote the MTV2 series of the same name.

Blue Demon Jr. and Super Nova are offspring of sorts to legendary names like El Santo and Mil Mascaras.

Blue Demon Jr. is literally the adopted son of the famous Mexican luchador who held a decades-long rivalry with El Santo.

So popular were the luchadores in México in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, they often starred roles in horror films and were pitted against every type of bad guy and monsters. They are a close second to soccer in popularity in México.

Today's luchadores still maintain the colorful masks. They never reveal their faces or their real names, and many flaunt muscles, long hair and sexiness inside and outside the ring.

At some shows, the referee seems to take a blind eye to a metal, folded chair upside the head of a wrestler, the hair-pulling and tossing of wrestlers outside the ropes, where often a "brawl" takes place within reach of front-row seats.

That's entertainment.

A newcomer is RJ Brewer, whose controversial, anti-immigrant banter has set the stage for a showdown against Blue Demon Jr. Brewer says immigrants are taking the jobs of Americans.

"I'm facing him for the dignity of our people. He has a big mouth, and everything he says, I'm going to make him eat," said Blue Demon Jr. in a telephone interview a day prior to a February promotional stop in Stockton.

RJ Brewer never responded to requests for an interview. Blue Demon Jr. and Super Nova deny Brewer is simply adding to the show's popularity with the storyline.

"In this beautiful sport, Lucha Libre, the most-important idea to get across to the fans is respect for one-another, but that is what RJ lacks. And I don't know how far he is willing to take this," said Blue Demon Jr. "I invite the people to come and see me fight for our dignity against my rival RJ."

"He stands to learn a lot from Mexicans," chimed in Super Nova, who began wrestling in México City at age 9.

"What he stands to learn is humility, and respect."

During his day, the original Blue Demon, according to Junior, made some stops in the U.S., but was never as popular as he was in México.

"He's the legend because he worked in the business a very long time in México," said Blue Demon Jr. "He was my teacher, and my best friend. He is my idol forever. I know he's the idol of aging fans."

Blue Demon Jr. and Super Nova believe lucha has improved in the last several decades.

"Many of the athletes have to go to México to improve their skill. They're actors in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), but they're the copies of what is Mexican Lucha Libre," said Demon, who started in 1985 in México City.

"It's turning out the Americans are becoming fans of the Mexican Lucha Libre. The WWE is a show, but we're a sport."

Exporting Lucha Libre USA to México is a possibility.

MTV2 airs the shows in Canada and India.

Details: www.luchalibre.com.

Send e-mail to:

dcasarez@vidaenelvalle.com

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