October 29, 2011 Leave a comment
Lucha Libre is an incredibly diverse type of wrestling. You have your brawlers, your high-flyers, heels called rudos, and faces called técnicos, you have amazing promos and all types of masked wrestlers and unmasked wrestlers. There’s Luchas de Apuestas (matches with wages) where luchadores can bet mask vs. mask, or mask vs. hair if the wrestler is unmasked. In Lucha the heels tend to be brawlers, which is the opposite from American-style wrestling. It even has it’s own division of “Mini-Estellas” for Little People and shorter luchador. It’s a sport that’s just as diverse as American-style wrestling.
…But you wouldn’t know that by watching WWE.
There are currently 3 people who are classified as Luchadores right now in WWE. Two are good guys, faces, like Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara Azul. The other is the a Luchador rudo, Sin Cara Negro/Hunico.
Why are there two Sin Caras? I have no idea. For such a diverse sport, WWE couldn’t find three separate gimmicks for these men. They all have masks, they’re all high flyers, they barely speak…
WWE has a concise, boxed version of what a Luchador is supposed to be. He’s supposed to be small, silent, do complicated moves. And the only types of matches they can have with other Luchadores involve unmasking! Nothing else will do! The only time they’re really allowed to be diverse, to give promos, is if they no longer have their mask, as Sin Cara Negro no longer does. And they couldn’t give him a translator? He’s foreign! He’s a bad guy! Is speaking Spanish supposed to be part of his heel status? They make it seem that way here. Plus now he’s got a gangsta-vibe. So original.
Most of the time these guys aren’t allowed to talk on the mic. Sometimes it’s because they do speak only Spanish. But, seriously, they can’t get a translator? Lucha Libre USA is a smaller, low budget independent fed and still manages to do it! Of course WWE could!
But that would screw up the narrative, wouldn’t it?
Portraying this 100+ year old artform as just one type of wrestler is the epitome of whiteness. It is allowing the American audience to only get a glimpse of Lucha Libre when it’s filtered through the lens of what white Americans want it to me.
Oh no! It’s not diverse! It’s just a guy with a mask doing crazy moves. It’s awesome, but not too awesome because if you really saw how diverse it was, like that in Lucha Libre they actually have female wrestlers who are wrestlers, maybe you wouldn’t want to watch WWE programming? Maybe WWE would actually have to step it the fuck up.
Not that having Luchadores in WWE is bad thing. It’s a great thing! Rey Mysterio is one of my all time favorites! His matches in Mexico, his matches in WWE…doesn’t matter!
The problem is presenting a small portion of something, and watering it down for the white American audience.
Check out the Lucha Libre USA Roster. Do you see the diverse types of masks? Several different gimmicks? The Luchadoras? This is a U.S. company. They’re showing Luchadores and Luchadoras as wrestlers with backstories, and different gimmicks, and allowing them to do promos…it can be done! Lucha Libre USA is a very solid wrestling program. If you have MTV2 you should check it out. It comes on Saturday mornings. They are showing the various styles in Lucha Libre to an American audience the way it should be.
Full and complete.