Mexican wrestling shifts from the ring to the masks


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.

Photograph dated April 16, 2020, showing former professional wrestler José Isaías Huerta Jiménez "Gato Gris", while working in his mask workshop in the state of Puebla (Mexico). EFE/ Hilda Rios
Photograph dated April 16, 2020, showing former professional wrestler José Isaías Huerta Jiménez "Gato Gris", while working in his mask workshop in the state of Puebla (Mexico). EFE/ Hilda Rios

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.

This week, the Mexican government extended until May 30th the National Day of Healthy Distance, the official strategy that suspends non-essential activities of the economy, which originally was to end on April 30th.

This announcement has been accompanied by measures taken by entities such as Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, and the State of Mexico, which have asked their citizens to use a mandatory mask when using public transportation or going out on the street, if necessary.

Therefore, 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.