A lover of the Irish ‘luchador’ Pablo Picante (a character featured in burrito bars of the same name in Dublin, so not exactly the real deal!), I had to visit the famous Lucha Libre, Mexican professional wrestling, while I was in Mexico City.
Myself and my friend Alex made our way to the Arena México on Friday night for the 8.30pm show. Having heard that it was slightly dangerous around that area I was a bit apprehensive but it was perfectly fine! Throngs of people, men, women, children, were in attendance at the giant area that can accommodate up to 16,500 die-hard fans.
Inside the arena, it is mayhem! At the beginning, the crowd is a lot sparser as the ‘rookie’ wrestlers fight at the start of the event. Towards the end of the show (about 10.30pm) the crowd definitely gets bigger in anticipation of the big fights of the night. Crowd-watching was almost as much fun as watching the wrestlers in their crazy masks, costumes and wigs flying from one side of the ring to the other. Children as young as three and four were joining the crowd shouting “puto puto!!” (which I think is a pejorative reference to a gay man) at the wrestlers they didn’t like! (they either say puto or ‘puta’ which is ‘whore’…can’t remember which, both are pretty bad though in fairness!) There were big drums, whistles, foghorns, grown men in masks flinging beer about the place and when the female ‘luchadoras’ were in the ring, giant bras being waved about in the air…
The security is really tight, the aforementioned beer-flinging man was kindly shown the exit. You’re patted down and your bags are checked before entry and they have a strict no photography policy (which explains the crappy quality of the photos as I was trying to be discrete with my phone!). You can see loads of people taking photos on their mobiles but I think you have to be pretty low key about it.
Every night there is supposedly one main headliner luchador, and we got to see ‘Último Guerrero’ in action. All in all it was a great night’s entertainment and definitely worth a visit – the theatrics of the wrestlers (including masked midgets and luchador fights with the commentators), as well as the antics of the crowds made it really worthwhile. I laughed and shouted my ass off all the way through along with the rest!
Word of warning though: somehow we managed to get ripped off right beside the ticket sales booth! We approached the booth and were immediately accosted by a man and a woman, standing right beside the booth. They were pointing at the signs above the booth, asking which ticket price we wanted – I think the highest price was 320 pesos (about 20 euros) for ringside seats, but we opted for the more affordable mid-range tickets at 150 pesos. Or so we thought! Unfortunately these guys were scammers, the woman buys the tickets you choose really quickly from the official ticket sellers in the booth (really tiny dark hole in the wall booth) and the guy takes your money and gives you the tickets. Only on the way through the turnstiles did Alex take a look and see that our ticket ‘precio’ say $85 instead of $150, GAH!! The seats weren’t that bad in the end but a lesson was learned!