Wrestling in Cancun: full of passion and determination

Wrestlers in Cancun agree that there is a conviction based on feeling, on the sensation of being between the ropes with a secret bathed in the thrill of heroes.

Wrestling in Cancun: full of passion and determination
Lucha libre mask. Photo by Carlos E. Ramirez / Unsplash

In the Colonos arena of supermanzana 89, there is a ring where wrestling is still alive despite the pandemic. Not with the public present, the shouts and cheers, but with the sounds of the bodies hitting the canvas of a group of wrestlers who do not give up their passion and continue training at night after each one of them has a job to support their families.

One of these days was Rey Espartano, Invencible Junior, and Átomo, three masked wrestlers who find in this expression of Mexican culture an escape, a personality, a respite.

Rey Espartano, from Chetumal, but trained in Cancun as a wrestler, started in 2015 in the Revolucion arena, sponsored by Corsario Junior, when he fell in love with the sport at the age of 27, after not believing it was a sport until he started training after a soccer injury when at the age of 24 his Achilles Tendon ruptured.

In training, he was challenged and saw how they should prepare in the ring, and then after a year and eight months of training, he had the opportunity to make his debut.

He is a public official in Benito Juarez, his personality there must be friendly; a few years ago he was studying business administration, he is also a gym instructor, but in the ring he is tough, with a mask that means he assumes another personality, part of that traditional culture where the spectators are also transformed, they become wrestlers.

Invincible Junior, a technical wrestler, who debuted on November 25, 2003, in Playa del Carmen, by the hand of his father, El Invencible, and Arcángel and El Corsario Junior, had problems debuting because he was very young, a high school student, until one day in a fight in a center located on López Portillo Avenue he was rejected, but after not much time he was catapulted.

Practically the dream that any teenager has become a reality for him: one day, when he got out of high school classes, he would start as a wrestler; he received a call to start as a substitute and in the end, the headliner arrived, he could not, but later he was called and entered as a local wrestler in a AAA function in the Plaza de Toros.

They did a show where he fought for AAA and from there they started to call him, and El Invencible Junior did his best, as he says; from there he went to Mexico City, where the dream of being a wrestler gained strength until he had an accident...

Three wrestlers in Cancun.
Three wrestlers in Cancun. Photo: Juan Carlos Pérez, La Jornada Maya

Back on the peninsula, little by little, thanks to this sport he overcame the consequences of his accident, overcame the aftermath, and marked his path to leave his mark.

"For me, it is more than a sport, I have had injuries and this fills me with life, it is a style that for me is everything, if we put more love into it, wrestling in the southeast of Mexico would be better," he said.

For Invincible Junior it is about honor, discipline, and respect, because the career ends at any moment, and that is why everyone must go out 100 percent to make it worth the ticket to others and oneself, every day that dawns.

There are, he says, pseudo wrestlers, made to steam, but in Cancun, there are good ones, the problem is to want only to make money, and for that those who love this practice, this sport, must maintain the level.

So much so that one of the memorable fights was fighting against his father, Invincible, for a few minutes they stopped being father and son and it all ended with a chair shot to the head, the father was the injured one, ten points...

"Professionally you beat me but we'll go head to head, and as a result, the next sign was Invincible vs Invincible Junior, they broke down and fought, came the cries of you're going to kill him, at the finish, a great show."

The Atom, the third wrestler of those who come to train in this arena, transforms. Wearing a mask turns him, it is the magic of being someone else, the one they have to beat the first time is him, he is the rival, trained by Corsario Junior.

The pandemic gave him the strength to support his family, and his spirit has been to know how to get into a ring with the awareness that no one knows who he is.

That has given him the courage to organize himself and go to train, set up the ring, do events, achieve the stage to fight, hear screams, feel the blows, to run in the ring with a mask inspired by the film Ghost Rider, and Atom, a character from the film Giants of Steel.

All three agree that there is a conviction based on feeling, on the sensation of being between the ropes with a secret bathed in the feeling of heroes.

Wrestling season in Cancun
Wrestling season in Cancun

Wrestling season in Cancun depends on low Covid-19 infection rates

Although the project was to return in February, after two years of inactivity in the arenas, wrestling will return to Cancun until mid-March, due to the change in the sanitary traffic lights. In this way, Luis Armando Novelo Barredo, general director of the wrestling promoter Total Wrestling Star (TWS), in Cancun, intends to give space for the situation of Covid-19 infections to improve; he anticipated that the first Expo Lucha Cancun will be held in April.

Novelo Barredo recalled that last January the 2022 season was presented with the idea of starting 11 shows throughout the year starting in February, but the change in the traffic lights at the end of January forced the promoters to postpone the restart for another month, after two years of remaining inactive before the public. The promoter indicated that now that the traffic light is green, activities will begin in mid-March, and this will be the case month after month.

"This gives us time to improve the situation and not have so many restrictions due to capacity and conditions of the venues, that's why we decided to start later, it will be on March 19 (...) we stopped for two years in February", he recalled.

In February 2020 Total Wrestling Star presented its last public event and since then important events such as the match with wrestlers from Chetumal and Cancun against international opponents from the Caribbean were suspended, so from that date, no more public events had been organized.

However, the promoter has remained active in private events such as presentations in hotels in the Riviera Maya or Cancun, which has kept them somehow economically.

Last December 12, TWS did a show in the dome of Los Tules Avenue, in Cancun, but under a program organized by the city hall called Tardes de Lucha, which was suspended due to the increase in Covid-19 infections.

"Those are our only presentations, and from here, we will start in March if the traffic light and the authorities allow it, although they are giving us the facilities so that we can reactivate the wrestling events", he said when anticipating that, for Easter, on April 16 the Spring Break de Gloria event will be organized, in which the first Expo Lucha de Cancún will take place, with the participation of wrestlers from Chetumal, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and other points of the state.

Novelo Barredo indicated that this year they are also preparing for the 12th anniversary of the promoter for November, which is why a wrestling match has been signed between two of the most outstanding wrestlers: Prince Cometa, who is betting his scalp, against Tiger Playa, who will put his mask on the line.

Wrestling, he said, is very popular in popular neighborhoods and is even sought after by tourists who come to the state: "many tourists arrive or contact us to ask when we have events, although unfortunately it was not allowed. Our events are always focused on tourism and normally foreigners come to see the show".