This weekend saw The Greatest Spectacle of Lucha Libre roll into London for two action-packed events pitting some of Mexico and Great Britain’s best high flyers against each other in a melodramatic battle between good and evil.
I’m not going to talk you like I’m some big-time lucha libre expert, because I’m simply not that good at lying. Instead, I’m gonna sit on my chair like a cool substitute teacher and give you the lowdown on this newbie’s first exposure to live lucha libre.
The night saw 4 matches hit the ring, while my stomach saw a plentiful portion of nachos and my wallet saw London beer prices – it was all a real rollercoaster ride of emotion. Like I said, I’m new to this genre of wrestling, so I found it somewhat interesting that the compere explained the heel and face (or rudo y tecnico) dynamic to the audience.
The first contest was a six-person match for, what I assume is the midcard title – there are a lot of titles in wrestling and seemingly even more in lucha libre. Super Tasty Bacon Jr. successfully defended the title against 5 other highly-talented competitors whose names I could not comprehend/did not catch because I’m terrible at my job, although some Internet research on the topic has proven fruitful. Amongst them was a goatish devil dude (El Nordico Fuego); a Venom-esque character complete with a long fake tongue (Lagarto De Plata); his Spiderman-style nemesis; a whiz of a high-flyer in Muneca De Trapo, the night’s only competing woman; and Cassius, a flamboyant tecnico paying homage to Lucha veteran Cassandro.
This bout kicked off the night spectacularly, beginning with 5 …dives (mamma mia) and never letting the energy drop from there. Notable highlights included Cassius’ kiss of death offense; an “accidental” wardrobe malfunction from the contest’s luchadora, who ate a huge powerbomb immediately afterwards, writing her out of the match; and an electric chair set-up that paid off in a Super Cutter that garnered one hell of a pop from the crowd.
The second match saw a team of Mexican-natives tecnicos (Laredo Kid and Xtreme Tiger, I think) take on British rudo team of Will Ospreay and Puro Britanico. Of the many spots, the most fun was undoubtedly Ospreay stretching (and selling) an elastic strip three rows deep into the crowd, letting go and lighting up the chest of a retrained tecnico. The match ended with the British team lying atop one another and eating a Swanton Bomb and 450 splash, which was, you know, pretty great.
After a really long intermission, the night’s 3rd event saw the youngest of the Santos and lucha stalwart, Cassandro take on Silver King and El Hijo De Fishman in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Admittedly, this match was pretty lax on the rules of tag team wrestling to make way for spots, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining (other than me just now, I suppose). As is the norm, the team of tecnicos picked up the win after a high-flying and character-spot filled affair. Yes, I had had a few beers by this point, which explains the hazy recap.
Last night’s main event saw Bandidio challenge for the Honorary World Championship, which is a belt that has only been held by El Hijo Del Santo, so guess which way this match went. Obvious conclusions aside, this one was a barn burner. In a somewhat confusing turn of events, the match ended in submission after Santo trapped his opponent in a camel clutch for a couple of seconds. I say this was confusing merely because people didn’t seem to realise the match was over. After that, everyone thanked each other on mic for keeping Lucha Libre alive and the crowd rose to a standing ovation for the storied promotion.
If there’s one lesson to be learned from this night, it’s that Lucha Libre World crafts a bonkers and delightful universe that deserves my attention… and that beer is expensive in London. I guess that’s two lessons. As I said, I’m bad at this.