The Olivares wrestling dynasty is originally from Xochimilco, Mexico City. They created the Chinampa Luchas, within the place that taught them to work the land and the lake, but it was also there where they learned the art of wrestling. They are three brothers: the oldest is Ciclónico, followed by Mr. Jerry and finally Gran Felipe Jr.

Their father Gran Felipe was a professional wrestler who took his children from an early age to learn the work of floriculture in the chinampas. This way, since they were children, they could treat with delicacy each petal of their crops, but also the affection and the rudeness of the wrestling that their father instilled in them. The dynasty brought together two Mexican traditions, chinampería, and wrestling.

The countryside

"My father used to bring us to the chinampas early in the morning to help him work. There have always been flowers and plants for gardening and on the Day of the Dead, cempasúchil (marigolds) and Christmas Eve in December. This place is the livelihood of our whole family and we have love and respect for this land because we have been here since we were little. We learned to shovel the soil, to fill the bags, to plant the seeds, to prune, we learned everything from the beginning to the end of a crop," says Ciclónico, the eldest of the three Olivares brothers.

Today, the three of them are about to finish their engineering degree in agronomy and, as they explain, they took this path to care for their plants and the work they learned as children. They have dedicated their lives to thinking about how to improve their plants and their seeds, trying not to damage the Xochimilco ecosystem and adding all the empirical knowledge that their family inherited, and combining it with the scientific knowledge provided by the academy.

The Olivares dynasty's day begins at five in the morning; by six they are already in the gymnasium; at eight they have breakfast and from nine to ten they train some wrestling; the three wrestlers and farmers arrive at the chinampa after ten in the morning and from there they go to school. When they return they organize with their mother, who is in charge of sales in the Xochimilco market, each one has a role that is coupled to their times.

Wrestling

"My father was a professional wrestler in the Xochimilco arena, he was 'El Gran Felipe'. We didn't get to see him wrestle because he got married, retired, and dedicated his time to his family, but one day the brother in the middle, 'Mr. Jerry', decided to go to train and he pulled us two and we stayed. My dad took us by the hand and as he was related to the environment he took us to very good teachers from the beginning, he got involved in wrestling and eventually the three brothers became professional wrestlers," says Ciclónico, the eldest brother.

The Olivares Dynasty already had another wrestling arena project on a piece of land in Xochimilco. They had small but well-attended events. With the pandemic, the events in closed venues were canceled and wrestling, along with any sport or cultural function, was completely stopped.

Gran Flipe Jr. realized that there was a space inside the chinampa that was not being used and another of the brothers remembered that they had an unused ring in their house. That's how they started the project by broadcasting the Chinampaluchas online. The idea of the chinampa is to fight in open-air venues with a small capacity to provide a safe space for Mexican wrestling and also a warmer treatment between athletes and spectators. The wrestling and Mexico City authorities accepted the project that has already been working for a year in the middle of the Xochimilco canal.

"Sowing and wrestling in this place is something mythical for us because it is what we live from and it comes together with our passion for wrestling. My father passed away four years ago and everything we do in honor of his memory, for the love he instilled in us for the struggle and this land. Now we are transmitting what we feel for this place and we do it through wrestling. We feel happy because the figures that have stepped on our chinampa were our idols when we were kids, for us, it is an honor", affirms Gran Felipe Jr.

This new generation united two traditions, the chinampas of Xochimilco and Mexican wrestling that fused is something magical. "As a wrestler, it is something very different that you don't experience anywhere else and as people, it is wonderful to see that the place where my childhood was has been transformed into a wrestling venue. For us it is something unique because we love our land and the place where we are, we always try to do things that do not harm the chinampas," says Ciclónico.

Former professional wrestler José Isaías Huerta Jiménez "Gato Gris", while working in his mask.
Former professional wrestler José Isaías Huerta Jiménez "Gato Gris", while working in his mask workshop in the state of Puebla (Mexico). EFE/ Hilda Rios

Mexican wrestling shifts from the ring to the masks in pandemic

Former wrestler Isaiah Huerta, known as El Gato Gris, has traded the ring for the fight against the coronavirus by making masks of famous Mexican wrestling characters that serve as mouthpieces to combat the spread of the disease. Legendary figures such as El Santo, Blue Demon, Dr. Wagner, La Parka, Black Taurus, Pentagon, Psycho Clown, L.A. Park, Carístico, and El Cuatrero, are now embodied in the masks that Huerta makes in the Mexican state of Puebla for citizens to defend themselves from COVID-19.

The ex-sportsman tells how, after the coronavirus health emergency was declared on March 30, non-essential businesses such as the fabric stores he uses to make wrestling costumes were closed, which motivated him to create the mask. "And since I also practiced wrestling and do this thing with wrestling teams, I came up with the idea of making one with the character Psycho Clown and two others and my son-in-law was the one who put it on the nets," he said in an interview with Efe.

Although at first, the masks were only for his family, the images motivated the wrestlers to request one with their characteristics to play their characters even in their quarantine. Wrestling is an institution in Mexico, where this year 2020 marks 87 years of being implemented as a sport by the World Wrestling Council, which began in 1933 as the Mexican Wrestling Company.

Wrestlers are celebrities and superheroes for Mexicans, who remember these characters from famous dystopian films such as "Saint against the Killers of Another World" and "Blue Demon against Satanic Power". For this reason, El Gato Gris, a fighter with over 40 years of experience, decided to use his passion to contribute to this crisis of COVID-19.

"I think that talking about wrestling is the best thing for me, I've always liked it, so much so that I put it into the sewing for the comrades, so much so that I came up with the idea of the wrestlers' face masks," he says. But the development of the masks also reflects the struggle for survival that Huerta and millions of other Mexicans face during the health emergency.

Huerta expects to overcome the situation with these personalized requests that reach up to 50 pesos (about two dollars). Despite the difficulties, he insists that his creativity and passion will bring him success. "I've always loved and will love wrestling and, as they say, I believe that if I were born again and were the same, I would be a wrestler again," he reflects.

With this creation he is supporting his daily economy, placing personalized orders for the lovers of the Art of Pancrazio, which reach costs of 45 to 50 Mexican pesos (about 1.80 to 2.10 dollars), reflecting that creativity and passion for something achieve successful results. The most requested by their clients are from emblematic characters such as El Santo, Blue Demon, La Parka, and Dr. Wagner who are people's favorites, due to their trajectory during several years and decades for Mexicans.