MEXICO CITY — Few of Mexico’s cultural traditions bear been hit as arduous by the coronavirus pandemic as “lucha libre” wrestling. The death toll amongst wrestlers has risen dramatically and wrestling arenas are closed, throwing nearly all people out of labor.
One enterprising band of aspiring younger wrestlers, the three Olivares brothers in Mexico Metropolis’s Xochimilco borough, bear place aside up an impromptu ring on one among the district’s approved “floating gardens.”
They conception to provide livestreamed on-line exhibitions for now — and when restrictions on are residing sports actions are lifted, to bear for tourists playing the newly reopened canals that bustle by the floating fields.
They now bag their residing selling plant life that they develop on Xochimilco’s synthetic islands — identified as chinampas — and peddle tacos and tortas in other locations in the borough.
“We mentioned: ‘Why no longer? Now we bear the ring, now we bear the chinampa, now we bear all the things,’” mentioned the oldest brother, 25, who wrestles under the name “Ciclónico.” “So we determined to bring this excellent-looking out sport to this swish panorama.”
With river boat excursions of the floating gardens factual reopening — although public lucha libre matches sooner than are residing audiences are still largely banned — the brothers are making a bet they are going to also be share of the tourism rebirth.
Others wrestlers bear already taken the game on-line. Victor Gongora, who wrestles under the name “Herodes Jr.,” has been wrestling in matches are residing-streamed on-line for approximately $12, although people pays as miniature as $3 to bag tapes of the match after or no longer it’s over.
But he acknowledges that or no longer it’s a ways rarely the identical without the roaring, swearing crowds which would be a key share of the rowdy events.
“It be share of the culture of Mexico. Lucha libre in Mexico has repeatedly been one thing completed in arenas beefy of people,” mentioned Gongora. “It be the preferable procedure.”
But till arenas reopen — Gongora says his first match with followers at 30% capacity could be held subsequent week — bouts which would be transmitted on-line by video streaming are a short lived repair. “It is a technique to wait on out with the expenses, simply ample to bag by on,” he mentioned.
Many less technologically savvy wrestlers aren’t even that fortunate.
“Almost all of us advance from very heart-broken backgrounds, decrease class households,” mentioned the pinnacle of the Mexico Metropolis Boxing and Lucha Libre Commission, who wrestles under the name “Fantasma.”
“The savings they (the wrestlers) had are long gone, they spent them already,” mentioned Fantasma, who has helped house up city increase payments of about $75 per thirty days for luchadores. “The scenario is factual crucial, very, very corrupt.”
Gongora mentioned some wrestlers he knows bear needed to promote gymnasium and wrestling equipment to bag by the 5 months since the arenas shut down.
Fantasma has taken to organizing meals donations from native supermarkets for out-of-work wrestlers and has inspired them to originate up aspect twin carriageway stands to bag by.
“I repeat them, place aside up a aspect twin carriageway stand to promote fruit juice, a stand to promote quesadillas. Don’t exhaust your money, snatch supplies” for the stands.
But it’s a ways rarely factual the financial woes which would be ravaging lucha libre.
There appears to be like to bear been a keen upturn in deaths amongst wrestlers since the pandemic started in Mexico in March, although how diverse these bear been due to COVID-19 is no longer obvious.
Fantasma says 60 wrestlers, out of a universe of presumably 2,000 or 3,000, bear died up to now this 365 days, a ways better than in in a usual 365 days. Requested how diverse this 365 days’s deaths bear been due to COVID-19, he says he’s undecided, along side: “We do no longer are looking out to assert, out of appreciate” for the wrestlers’ households. There is a stigma connected to dying of the illness for many in Mexico.
But he reels off a checklist of these whose deaths are publicly identified to be of COVID-19: “Estrella Blanca Jr., Blackman II, Golden Bull, Matematico II.”
Gongora’s bear father, the unusual “Herodes,” died in July on the age of nearly 70, although Gongora says: “It turn out to be once coronary heart assault, it wasn’t COVID.”
The sport, with its theatrical stunts and custom of “rudos” — villainous, rule-breaking corrupt guys — and “tecnicos” — the excellent-looking out swish guys, is clearly struggling to outlive.
But few of the schemes have as worthy cultural preservation as that of the Olivares brothers in Xochimilco. They’re simultaneously defending lucha libre and the vastly older agricultural custom of the floating gardens, which date wait on to Aztec times and that are consistently threatened by air pollution and encroaching fashion.
It has been a battle. Their boat nearly sank under the load of the wrestling ring after they transported it to their chinampa. But they hope to provide packages of chinampa excursions and lucha libre matches.
Meanwhile, they promote their chinampa-grown plant life at Xochimilco’s outmoded market, then put collectively tortas and tacos at their meals stall after which observe their wrestling at matches which would be still largely closed to the public.
They are saying they prevail in it to honor their dead father, who wrestled under the name “Gran Felipe.” His 19-365 days aged son has assumed his name, wrestling as “Gran Felipe Jr.”
“He taught us to esteem and appreciate lucha libre, and we prevail on this to honor his name this day,” mentioned the son.