Mexico – Sea of Cortez

Lucha Libre Lunacy

Wrestling and especially masked wrestlers are a huge hit in Mexico… perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world. The mask adds a dash of mystery to each character and also provides them a colourful outfit and persona. The fast-paced, high-flying in-ring style of the luchadores is mesmerizing for fans and has been captivating spectators for close to a century. Let’s take a look at some of the personalities and history of the genre:

Mask Manufacturing

Don Antonio Martinez is credited with creating some of the earliest lucha libre masks, moving to the face veneers from a successful leather boot business. As the story goes, Martinez employed a set of 17 facial measurements (a trade secret to this day) to help make the masks feel snug for the grapplers using them. Some of Mexico’s greatest wrestling stars would go on to wear a Martinez mask, taking the sport to unimaginable heights.

Lucha_libre_máscaras

The Saint

It takes some dedication to wear your wrestling mask at all times, inside and outside the ring. El Santo became one of Mexico’s cultural icons, appearing in countless movies, comic books, and other media. He only revealed his face to the world late in his life. Appearing on a talk show more than a year after his final match (at the age of 65, no less!), without warning El Santo removed his mask. One week later, the star passed away after suffering a heart attack. The grappler was buried donning his trademark silver disguise. His funeral was one of the biggest in Mexico’s history.

Legendary Lineage

Another hugely popular lucha libre fixture was Mil Mascaras. Hell, the guy even appeared on three different Mexican stamps. Mascaras competed all around the world and is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all-time. A ban on masked wrestlers appearing at Madison Square Gardens was even lifted specifically so Mascaras could work for the then World Wrestling Federation. His legend lives on today through his nephew and current WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio. While Mascaras has never been unmasked during his lengthy career, Del Rio wrestles sans cover.

Dancing with the Demon

Blue Demon rounds out lucha libres first “Big Three” group of stars (also including El Santo and Mil Mascaras). Much like his fellow “Big Three” alums, Demon starred in numerous feature films, even leading a group of masked wrestlers on the big screen. Together they were dubbed The Champions of Justice and gave other legendary super groups such as the Justice League and Avengers a run for their money. Okay, I made that part up, but they were definitely more proficient when it came to cartwheels and somersaults!

misterioenlasbermudas

I guess the “big three” were kind of like the Rat Pack… yup, Frank, Dean and Sammy were replaced by El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon!

For Sale

I nearly every market around Mexico, a traveler can find wrestling masks of varying quality to be purchased. The disguises include replicas for some of the biggest stars of Mexico, as well as those for competitors who have gained popularity abroad. You can even pick up the odd comic superhero façade, such as Spider-Man and Captain America.

Something to Lose

It is humiliating for a wrestler to be unmasked and therefore one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated contests in Mexico is the Mask Match (aka Luchas de Apuestas, which translates to “gambling fights”), where the loser has to reveal their face to the viewing audience. If the masked wrestler’s opponent doesn’t wear a mask, they often put their hair on the line in return. When a wrestler loses and is unmasked, it is common for his personal information to finally be recognized and published. That star is often no longer allowed to compete as that character, a further humiliation heaped on top of the original loss.

Big Time

In 1994, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) joined forces with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to co-promote a pay-per-view event entitled When Worlds Collide. The show launched the careers of many Mexico-based stars, including Rey Mysterio, Jr., La Parka, Eddie Guerrero, and Konnan. Thanks to this platform, the grapplers started being signed to contracts with bigger American promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling and the aforementioned WCW.

Mexico Wrestlers

No Respect

Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, more and more wrestlers from Mexico exploded onto the scene in the U.S., exciting fans with their speed, agility, and aerial offense. Things started off pretty well for the imports, but soon turned sour as the roster became flooded with foreign talent, most of whom weren’t featured much and found themselves buried underneath the bigger American grapplers. A number of stars were stripped of their mask in matches that had little to no meaning. Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerra, and Psicosis all found themselves without their familiar covering and despite revealing themselves to fans, saw little improvement to their position in the pecking order.

Return to Glory

In 2002, pint-sized phenom Rey Mysterio (nee Jr.) debuted with the world’s largest wrestling company WWE, returning to wearing the mask that once brought him such great popularity. Bursting onto the scene by defeating some of WWE’s top stars, a renaissance of masked competitors seemed on the horizon. Sure enough, in 2006, Mysterio captured the World Heavyweight Title. No small feat (pun intended) for the 5’6” ultimate underdog!

Mexico: Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez Cocktail

 

  • Rim glass with Salt, Sugar and Chili Flakes
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The luchadores comprise the Sip Advisor’s favourite style of wrestling. I just love seeing these smaller guys steal the show from the larger, hulking bodies with their crazy, high-risk action-packed contests. Perhaps it’s the cruiserweight in me or maybe it’s just the thrill of watching people fly through the air with complete disregard to their own safety. Either way, I thank them for their contributions to my entertainment.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe provided one of my first chances to use the Chipotle Spirit I picked up a couple months back at Rogue Distillery in Portland, Oregon. On that trip, myself and Ma and Pa Sip ate at Gustav’s Pub, where I found this recipe. My favourite aspect is the rim, complete with Chili Flakes, which take a margarita recipe and make it that much better. I went with Grapefruit Soda instead of Juice and may have found a new mixer to advocate for. I love my drinks that have a bit of a bite to them and this was certainly no different!

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January 24 – Paloma

Lost in Translation

Today’s cocktail is the Paloma, which is Spanish, means “dove”. Now, that might not be bookmarked in most people’s Spanish-to-English dictionary, but after visiting Mexico three times in the last year, I feel I now have the highly trained professional expertise to share some terms you’ll want to have saved in your hard drive (your frontal lobe, ese). I assure you that they are all translated 100% correct:

Baño – Emergency Relief Unit

This is the most important word in the Spanish language. Given Mexico’s reputation for rumbly tummies and the ever-present threat of [in scary voice] Montezuma’s Revenge (which by the way, used to be an awesome ride at Knott’s Berry Farm… in retrospect, why would you name a rollercoaster after getting the runs, though!?), this is a term all travelers should keep close to their hearts, or at the very least stomachs when in need of some emergency relief. And I find that with the amount I usually drink on vacation, it’s always beneficial to know where you can get ready for the next round.

mexican_drinking_water

El Bar – Hydration Station

Much like the baño, I find it imperative to know where the nearest place to quench my thirst is. While this term shouldn’t trip up too many travelers, I thought it was worth sharing with Sip Nation.

Cerveza – Drinkable Mexican Drinking Water

Be Smart. Keep Hydrated. Drink lots of Cerveza. You can often find it at El Bar.

Cuánto cuesta? – How much does it cost?

This is the term you want to use once you have become a victim of a common and unavoidable threat in Mexico – the Mexican vendor. After you have fallen prey to the words “almost free” or “free tequila” and have realized your mistake (and let’s hope it’s not fatal), try pointing to something bright (which is most likely everything in the store) and throwing the term, “Cuánto cuesta” at the vendor to show how “in the know” you actually are in a desperate attempt to regain some of your lost pride.

Of course, if you are anything like me, as soon as the vendor answers in Spanish and you look at them blankly, then you come crashing down hard with your gringo status firmly re-established. Then there’s the whole bartering process, which I find about as much as having my chest waxed. Oh hell, just buy the flipping blanket and get out of there!

When I recently tried to pick up a Lucha Libre wrestling mask, the seller wouldn’t move off his price unless I bought two masks. But who needs two La Parka wrestling masks? Maybe Two-Bad from He-Man, I suppose.

La Parka 2

Amigo – Person I want a favour (read: money) from

Pretty much every Mexican male I’ve ever encountered has called me their amigo. I must be special, but upon further thought I wonder if this actually true? Will my new found amigo send me birthday gifts, preferably in $100 denominations? Probably not. Maybe that’s what they’re expecting of me. Oh man, don’t tell my wife. Things are about to get loco with the Sip Advisor budget.

Pollo, carne asada, carnitas – food with wings, food with hooves, smaller food with hooves

Essential to any person’s understanding of Spanish is how to order food – or if you’re enjoying the buffet at an all-inclusive resort, what the hell you’re putting on your plate. Of course, if things are tasting bueno (good), you might want mucho (more)!

Pendejo – um, I’ll tell you when you’re a little older

Or you can click here.

Now that your linguistic lesson is complete, let’s get back to Tequila Week with this great drink!

Drink #24: Paloma

Paloma Drink

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used El Jimador Reposado)
  • Grapefruit Soda or combo of grapefruit juice and lemon-lime soda
  • Rim glass with salt
  • Garnish with lime wheel

In closing, I should let you all know that el mono means monkey. This may not be important to most, but it’s a complete necessary for me and bookmarked in my Spanish-English dictionary. I don’t want to see any doves, I just want to drink them (see above), but if there’s a monkey to be seen, damnit, I want to see it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I wish I had tried this drink with a Grapefruit Soda, such as Fresca, but I didn’t have that on hand and went with a combo of Graprefruit Juice and Lemon-Lime Soda. It tasted pretty good, but I’d love to try the legit recipe. The salted rim is a touch I enjoy on most drinks.