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!

April 5 – Body Slammer

Showcase of the Immortals

WWE WrestleMania has featured countless wrestlers, as well as a host of celebrities in its 30-year history. While the glitz and glamour make WrestleMania the company’s biggest show of the year, it’s the performances of the grapplers that are remembered the most by fans all around the world. Here are the top five performers in WrestleMania’s illustrious history:

#5: Triple H

Given his WrestleMania debut, it was hard to imagine that Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Helmsley as he was known back in 1996) would ever make a list of this type. Then, he was defeated in mere minutes by a returning Ultimate Warrior. Nearly two decades later, Triple H finds himself married to the boss’ daughter and holding an Executive Vice President role within WWE. Triple H became a top draw for the company in 1999 and rode his success to numerous WrestleMania main events, usually defending the World Championship. To this day, he stills appears on the annual card, in one of the prime spots, despite his semi-retirement.

#4: Bret Hart

If you wanted to throw out a lame analogy, you could say that ‘The Hitman’ was the Hart and soul of WrestleMania, especially in its second decade of existence. The Canadian grappler wrestled at each event from 1986-97 and also returned for a one-time battle against WWE owner Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. During his prime years, Hart’s performances often stole the show, including wrestling two matches at the 10th event, defending the World Title in a 60-minute Iron Man match at the 12th show, and his epic brawl with Steve Austin at the 13th rendition.

#3: Hulk Hogan

The Hulkster participated or played some role in the WrestleMania main event for the show’s first nine broadcasts. He returned to WWE in 2002 and battled The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII, in a confrontation between two of the sport’s greatest icons. The next year, Hogan gained some long-simmering revenge over boss Vince McMahon – the two men who can be most credited with the success of the WrestleMania concept. At six different WrestleMania events, Hogan either defended the World Title or challenged for it. For WrestleMania XXX, Hogan returned from five years away from WWE to host the spectacle.

#2: Shawn Michaels

Dubbed ‘Mr. WrestleMania’, Shawn Michaels always seems to shine the brightest come the big event. While Michaels first WrestleMania appearance was all the way back in 1989, it wasn’t until 1994 when he became a top-level player with his hightlight reel ladder match versus Razor Ramon. Despite losing the contest, the ‘Showstopper’s’ career was launched and two years later, he captured the World Championship at WrestleMania XII. After a four-year hiatus from the ring, Michaels returned to put on a number of classic, show-stealing performances, working with a new generation of stars, like Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and John Cena.

#1: The Undertaker

Riding a winning streak of 21-0 at the annual event, the Undertaker continues to thrill audiences nearly a quarter of a decade after he debuted. He has only missed two of the last 23 WrestleMania cards and during that time, has battled every monster possible at WWE’s biggest show of the year, including Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, and Kane. He’s also defeated some of the industry’s top names as he’s piled up the wins. Legends like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, and others have all fallen to ‘The Deadman’. With each passing year, the streak has become a more integral part of the WrestleMania hype.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Body Slammer

Apr 5

The ‘Showcase of the Immortals’, as they call it, used to be a pretty big deal for the Sip Advisor. While I don’t follow wrestling as religiously as I once did, it is still on my bucket list to one day attend a WrestleMania show. Perhaps The Sip Advisor will grow to the point where I’m even offered a spot on the show and can get my greedy paws on a couple of the WWE Divas!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was really good and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d just been body slammed. I used Fireball Whiskey to go along with the Goldschlager and that just heightened the cinnamon flavour. I used my cowboy boot shot glass, as it closely resembled a wrestling boot. Thankfully, I still had some mini wrestling figures lying around at Ma and Pa Sip’s house to go along with my diorama and here we see ol’ Stone Cold Steve Austin delivering his trademark stunner to Kane, while The Undertaker prepares to chokeslam The Rock straight to hell!

Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!

November 13 – Warp Pipe

Game Genie

Today we continue our look into the Sip Advisor’s favourite vidya games. This isn’t an article about the greatest games of all-time, just my top picks from childhood to adulthood, where that inner-child just never really went away. I’m not a massive video game guy, but I’ve always played this or that along the way!

Super Mario Bros.

This is one of the games that really boosted the video game industry and made Nintendo a household name. I’d say my favourite Mario game was Super Mario World (SNES), but I have also enjoyed all the original NES titles, as well as releases for Gameboy, N64, and Wii. The Wii version was great because you could play along with your friends all at the same time, although it usually ended up with us “accidentally” killing each other. One thing is certain: the games were far superior to the ill-advised movie!

money-power-woman

Wrestling Games

As I’ve admitted before, I was a huge wrestling fan in my pre-teen and teenage years. Some of the best wrestling classics came out during this period, especially the games made by THQ in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. The company had the WCW license first and then switched over to WWE, putting out one amazing offering after another. My friends and I spent countless hours fighting our issues out in battle royals. The best part was, if you were eliminated, you had another chance with the next entering character.

GoldenEye 007

Similar to the wrestling games, thousands of hours were wasted maiming each other in this N64 classic. Even those who weren’t gamers in the slightest knew about GoldenEye and had probably played at some point. While the single player missions were spectacular, the multiplayer killfests were even better. Our group would play where any damage killed you and would alternate between remote mines and rocket launchers being the feature weapon.

Plants vs. Zombies

While I’m not the biggest fan of tower defense games, this entry, which has you defending your home against an invading horde of zombies, using plants with their own special powers is a total delight. A sequel has been released, but as of yet, it’s only available to losers with iPhones (sorry, I’m a little bitter it’s not available on computers like the original or even for Android users… that misses a lot of the market). I’m sure it will eventually be in my possession, but the waiting is the hardest part (thanks, Tom Petty!).

plants-vs-zombies

Donkey Kong Country

Oh man, I love these games so much, particularly the Super Nintendo trilogy. The re-launch of the series on the Wii was also a spectacular offering for the eyes and the ears (the fingers not so much, as they had to do all the work!). The thing that’s so amazing about these games is that they’re so visually beautiful with rich colours and the music is fantastic. Combine that with smooth gameplay and wonderful level layouts and this is one of the best 2-D side-scrollers to ever exist.

Rollercoaster Tycoon

I love amusement parks and all the rides they contain. Therefore, when these games were released, I was an early adopter. It was so much fun to build your own parks and achieve whatever tasks were outlined. I didn’t play around too much with rollercoaster design except to launch unsuspecting riders off of a dangerously built ride and send them flying through the air to a fiery death!

Tetris

There’s just something about Tetris that is so addicting. I especially enjoyed the N64 edition (The New Tetris), which Broski Sip, Cousin Sip, and I used to play a lot, challenging each other to see who could last the longest without dying. The more lines you made, the faster you were able to build the world’s greatest landmarks. Much like Donkey Kong Country, the music in this franchise has always been top notch and keeps you wanting to play the game.

Drink #317: Warp Pipe

Warp Pipe Drink Recipe

That wraps up our look at my favourite video games of all-time. What are some of your favourite electronic pastimes? Perhaps you’ll steer me towards a new addiction, you pusher!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Once again, we go to The Drunken Moogle for this recipe, as they seem to have the market cornered on awesome video game-themed drinks. I used the split-sized glasses to help accentuate that image of the pipes in Super Mario Bros. This backfired on me a little when I went to split them up for Mrs. Sip and myself and she decided to nap instead, leaving me with two cocktails to down. Luckily, they were pretty light and tasty and I enjoyed the double treat!

September 10 – Homeward Bound

Welcome Back

Some players just don’t look right in jerseys that differ from the one they’ve worn for years. In most of the big leagues, athletes can sign one-day contracts so that they may retire as a member of the team that made their career. Other times, a trade brings that star back into the fold. Then, there’s always returning from retirement. Here is some of the greatest returns home in sports history.

Trevor Linden – Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

Trevor Linden, captain of the Vancouver Canucks was traded to the New York Islanders in 1998. After bouncing around to a couple other teams, the Canucks reacquired the heart and soul leader of their last championship appearance team. In Linden’s first game back (which I attended with the Sip Family), he notched a couple points and was named the second star of the game, allowing fans to dedicate all their energy specifically to one of the team’s most legendary figures. A few years later, Linden left the game the right way, serenaded by the fans who adored him for so many years, and making a final trip around the ice surface that hosted so many memories for all involved.

Doug Gilmour – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Growing up, for some bizarre reason that I may never be able to explain, I was a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Please collect your jaws from the floor… sadly, it’s true. My favourite player was Doug Gilmour, a gritty and talented player, who nearly led the team to their first Stanley Cup since 1967. Gilmour was traded to New Jersey in 1997, but would return to the Leafs at the 2003 trade deadline, causing fans to rejoice. Sadly, in just his second shift back with the team, he collided knee-on-knee with Calgary’s Dave Lowry and was done for the season, later calling it a career that summer.

Hulk Hogan – World Wrestling Entertainment

In the 1980’s, Hulk Hogan’s symbiotic relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation launched both entities into the stratosphere. Working together, Hogan became one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time, while the WWF became the first promotion to enjoy national mainstream exposure and success. Hogan left the company in 1993 to perform in World Championship Wrestling and didn’t return to the soon-to-be-renamed WWE until 2002. He originally returned as a bad guy, but fans would not have any of that, cheering for Hogan to once again become the “Real American” character most had grown up with. They got their wish and fans feverishly ate up the nostalgia act.

Ken Griffey, Jr. – Seattle Mariners (MLB)

Ken Griffey, Jr. grew up in the Seattle Mariners organization, debuting in 1989 and even playing alongside his father, Ken Griffey, Sr. Griffey became the face of the franchise and even the entire league, adorning video games, posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise. The slugger was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, as he wished to play closer to home and be more involved in the lives of his children. Griffey’s numbers declined following the trade, but petitions were signed by Seattle fans to bring him back. Finally, in 2009, Griffey returned to the Mariners. His second tenure had its issues, like Griffey being accused of napping in the clubhouse during games, but he was honoured into the team’s Hall of Fame in August 2013.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls (NBA)

After winning three straight NBA titles in the early 90’s, there was nothing left for Michael Jordan to accomplish. When his father was murdered that summer, Jordan retired from basketball and decided to try his hand at professional baseball, hoping to realize his father’s dream of him playing in the Majors. When his baseball dream fizzled out, it was back to the hard court and the Bulls for Jordan. Another three NBA Championships followed before Jordan left the game again in 1999. His last return to basketball was with the Washington Wizards, a team he had part-ownership with and had been President of Basketball Operations.

Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Like Jordan, Mario Lemieux kept returning to the game he loved after time away from the rink proved he still had too much passion for the sport to watch from the sidelines. Super Mario returned from cancer and a retirement to put up all-star level numbers and pad his legacy as one of the game’s greatest players. While he never won another Stanley Cup, he was an integral member of Canada’s gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics and also saved the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise as owner of the team, ushering in the Sidney Crosby era.

Drink #253: Homeward Bound

Sept 10

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s)
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

What was your favourite return home? As above, it can be an athlete, an actor, or hell, it could be Ron Jeremy’s long-awaited return to the world of pornography!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a simple, but very enjoyable cocktail. I love the name about as much as I adore Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum and the moment I saw this recipe advertised at a local bar, I knew I’d be making it when I went home. The caramel-flavour of the Spiced Rum works nicely with the tart Lemonade and makes for one fine drink!