Lucha libre, a Spanish phrase loosely translated into English as "free-style fighting," is a genre of professional wrestling developed in Mexico. Traditionally, Lucha Libre traces back to the early 1930s when Salvador Lutterroth brought American wrestlers he had seen during his time in Texas to Mexico, although there had been previous attempts to bring it to Mexico. A male Lucha Libre perfomer is known as a luchador, the plural of which is luchadores; a female is a luchadora.
Because most wrestlers in Mexico are smaller than their counterparts elsewhere in North America, there is less emphasis on power moves than in the United States or Canada. Mexican wrestling is marked by rapid sequences of holds and moves, as well as spectacular high-flying moves, many of which have been adopted north of the border.
In Mexico and other Spanish-speaking areas such as Puerto Rico, lucha libre is used to refer to all forms of professional wrestling, not just the Mexican style. However, since Mexico is the largest and most influential Spanish-speaking market for wrestling, the term is more synonymous with Mexican professional wrestling.
Legendary masked wrestler/actor who achieved icon status via his highly colorful wrestling career and starring appearances in nearly 60 motion pictures. Born Rodolfo Guzman Huerta on September 23rd, 1917 in Hidalgo, Mexico, he was the fifth of seven children. Wrestling took off in the early 1930s in Mexico after several promoters had witnessed events in Texas, and in Mexico the sport eventually became known as "Luche Libre". Rodolfo's first wrestling appearance was alleged to have been at Arena Peralvillo Cozumel on June 28th, 1934, and he soon became an active figure on the Mexican wrestling circuit under various names including "El Hombre Rojo", "Rudy Guzman", "El Demonio Negro" and "El Murcielago II". After initially competing as a "rudo" (bad or "heel" wrestler), Rodolfo became a "techno" (good or "babyface" wrestler) and that's the way he remained for the next fifty years.
Santo's final film appearance was in La Furia de los karatekas (1982) filmed in Florida. He officially retired from wrestling/acting on July 26th, 1982 (at the age of 65!). After nearly fifty years of never being seen without his trademark mask, Santo appeared on the Mexican TV talk show "Contrapunto" on January 26th 1984, and without warning, unmasked and revealed his face. Santo passed away from a heart attack less than a week later on February 5th, 1984. The Mexican people were shattered by the death of their idol, and his funeral was attended by tens of thousands of fans, plus many wrestling figures. Santo was laid to rest at a mausoleum in Mexico City wearing his beloved silver mask.