Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata translation
"The true luchador wears, on his head, a mask. On his body, a sequined unitard. On his feet... disco boots!"
In lucha libre
, the Mexican sport of pro wrestling
, it is common for a wrestler to wear a mask,
never revealing their true identities to the public, much like comicbook superhero
es and villains. To be unmasked by a rival wrestler, or indeed anyone at all, is considered an irredeemable dishonor.
The stock characterization for a luchador
is a kindly Gentle Giant
who loves kids. This is from the story of Fray Tormenta
(Friar Storm), a Catholic priest who started wrestling to earn money for his orphanage. Villainous luchadores
are pretty rare.
This trope goes hand-in-hand with the Cool Mask
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- The mascot of Koodo Mobile is an Incredible Shrinking Luchador named El Tabador, named such because the company allows you to have a tab instead of a contract.
- Lucha Master from Airmaster.
- Lala's dad in School Rumble is a luchador. Tenma is a bit of a lucha libre fan, and both she and Karen don her mask on occasion, confounding Lala who can't believe the disparity in her power (as Karen is the only girl who has defeated Lala, while Tenma cannot fight at all).
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, a villainous luchador shows up to be trashed by Kenichi's masters a few times. Later the Manga introduces the much more dangerous Smiling Fist Diego Carlos and his student Rachel Stanley.
- Jesus Burgess from One Piece is a masked luchador pirate, introduced standing on a building and challenging an entire city to fight. Later on, he shows his strength by hurling a hotel at an opponent. He's actually one of those rare luchadores who are evil.
- In an episode of Cats Eye, Hitomi and Ai tie up and gag a pair of female luchadores and steal their costumes.
- In Is This a Zombie?, Ayumu goes to eat at "MaskDonald", a burger joint where the staff are all dressed as luchadores, complete with masks. Masks are also included in the meal, and during a conversation scene, a high school girl can be seen in the background putting on her mask and doing wrestling poses.
- Kaoru's father from Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z.
- While strictly speaking much of the cast of Kinnikuman is made up of wrestlers who wear masks, the only actual luchadores are Skyman and Kinnikuman Mariposa. Mariposa is the only one with any story significance — surprisingly enough, he's a dishonest thief and cheater.
- In Bleach, one of the Vandenreich members is Sternritter "S", Mask de Masculine, a luchador. He manages to invert the character archetype and play it straight at the same time. First of all he's a villain, but also by far the most jovial of the Sternritters. Then it's revealed that the letter "S" stands for "Superstar" and he gets power from the audience's cheers. He's always followed by James, his loyal fan, who keeps cheering for him and whom he protects from harm.
- Saga Mask in Tenjo Tenge uses his lucha skill to beat a flame wielding boxer who beat the series protagonists early on.
- The Voynich Hotel is owned by a retired wrestler. He still wears his mask.
- Examples from Hellboy and related series:
- In Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus, it's mentioned that, in the 50's, Mexican director Eduardo Fernandez created somewhere between nine and twelve low-budget films about Lobster Johnson, portraying him as a luchador hero. In fact, these were the source of the name "Lobster Johnson." Previously, all the fictional portrayals just referred to him as "The Lobster."
- In the Hellboy in Mexico one-shot, released on Cinco de Mayo, Hellboy teams up with three luchador brothers in 1950s Mexico to fight vampires. It's exactly as awesome as (and in the end, far more touching than) it sounds.
- Titan from La Cucaracha.
- Jaime Reyes, the third Blue Beetle, wears an armor with a faceplate that just happens to look like a luchador mask to go with his Mexican heritage. Done intentionally and explained as the mask being modeled after its creators' faces.
- In the Swedish comic De Äventyrslystna Karlakarlarna - "The Adventuresome He-men" - one of the eponymous Bash Brothers is the (appearently Swedish) luchador El Fjongonote .
- Examples from Batman:
- Latin crimeboss El Sombrero in Batman. Oddly, though, we never see him do any actual wrestling
- Bane is partly luchador-inspired, though his mask and fighting movies may or may not closely resemble a luchador's Depending on the Creators.
- Sonic X has a mysterious masked wrestler who looks a bit like Dr. Eggman.
- The heroine of La Perdida by Jessica Abel attends an art exhibition in Mexico City on the theme of masked luchadores and debates their place in culture with her Mexican friends.
- There's an entire luchador genre in Mexico where the hero is a real luchador playing himself. The most popular series (52 films!) starred El Santo, El Enmascarado de Plata (Saint, The Silver-Masked Man). In these, El Santo has to rescue his love interest du jour from some fantastic threat, such as zombies, vampires, or mad scientists. While the movies are pretty crude, many Mexicans from the time, to current college students to even a few children still consider these movies an important part of Mexico's film history and actually pretty entertaining.
- El Santo wasn't the only prominent luchador film star. Other prominent series stars (some of whom would team up with each other and El Santo on occasion) included:
- Blue Demon, who starred in 25 films.
- Mil Máscaras ("A Thousand Masks"), who was specifically created for the movies during a contract dispute between El Santo and producer Enrique Vergara. He starred in 20 films.
- Las Luchadoras were a female tag team (Lorena Velázquez and gringa actress Elizabeth Campbell) who starred in six films, some of which made it into the English-language market (e.g., Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy). The stars were actresses, not professional wrestlers. Lady luchadoras did exist at the time, but few had movie-star good looks.
- Neutron, a black-masked hero who resembled Strong Bad, starred in dozens of films, but only three had an English dub. One, Neutron the Atomic Superman vs. the Death Robots (AKA Losautómatas de la muerte) was a RiffTrax VOD.
- El Santo is a character in 3 Dev Adam ("Three Big Men"), aka Turkish Spider-Man or Turkish Captain America (Spider-Man is actually the villain of the movie.)
- The fun Captain Ersatz of El Santo in Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is named El Santos to avoid lawsuits. Barely
- Jack Black's character in Nacho Libre, whom is loosely based on Fray Tormenta.
- Wrestlemaniac had a homicidal mutant luchador, whose MO was to Tear Off Your Face.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter gets the initial idea for the Spider-Man mask upon seeing a poster of a luchador mask with a similar red-and-blue coloring.
- The villain in OSS 117: Lost in Rio is also a South American wrestling promoter, and has two masked luchadores as henchmen... Nazi masked luchadores!
- Another villainous luchador is El Macho from Despicable Me 2.
- El Chupacabra from Planes is dressed as one.
- In Machete, during the invasion of Sartana's apartment, one of the mooks wears a luchador mask.
- In Machete Kills, Sartana gets murdered by a man in a luchador mask, and Machete gets attacked by a squad of gun-toting luchadores. Later, Machete finds the mask of the murderer in Luther Voz's lair, and Voz admits it was him.
- One of these works for Wolfram and Hart in Angel, and is the focus of one of the more interesting Season 5 episodes.
- Specifically he is a disgraced hero whose four brothers died to save the world. Also, before his brothers died they had become famous for defeating a robot built by the devil.
- El Diablo Robotico!
- In Los Luchadores, watch Lobo Fuerte and his plucky sidekicks Turbine and Maria Valentine fight evil in Union City.
- An episode of The Middleman featured a gang of luchadores obsessed with killing The Middleman's martial arts trainer and mentor, Sensei Ping (who also, incidentally, wore the mask of a luchador).
- In one episode of Top Gear US that took place mostly in Mexico, Adam had to transport a gaggle of unruly luchadores to a charity event as part of a challenge.
- In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Kevin uncovers a photo of Sergeant Bates doing jello shots off a naked guy in a Luchador mask.
- An episode of Top Chef Masters has the chefs cooking for the crowd of a Lucha Vavoom show, a combination lucha libre/burlesque show whose tagline is "sexo y violencia."
- The Masked Luchador is a particularly popular character in modern surf music. There are several bands that wear Mexican wrestling masks and adopt mexican-sounding names as part of their stage shows, or even write songs about lucha films and luchadores (the song Los Campiones Del Justicio by The Ghastly Ones). It is believed that the American surf band Los Straitjackets is responsible for this, as they adopted the masks early in their career and subsequently made the genre popular through Mexico because of this, spanning bands like Sr. Bikini or The Blue Demons, all adopting the masks and hiding identity. There's even a FRENCH surf band adopting the masks, called The Bikini Men.
- Strangely enough, the Mexican wrestling masks have been also adopted by several goregrind and grindcore bands, most notably Gut from Germany. Even more strange, the porno-grind bands seem to have an affinity for the masked luchador : Gut of course, but check guys like Ultimo Mondo Cannibale or Spasm.
- One member of the superhero-rock band The Justice Force 5 is a vampire luchador. Well, not really, but that's his gimmick.
- Mexican wrestling, of course. Removing an opponent's mask is cause for disqualification and one of the worst things a Heel can do. (Unless the mask was removed after losing a "Mask vs. Mask" or "Mask vs. Hair" match.)
- El Santo, Mexico's most famous luchador.
- Appears occasionally in American wrestling particularly in the "cruiserweight" divisions. WCW and WWF/WWE each had a few wrestlers take on the style. The biggest name currently would be Rey Mysterio, although WWE is also promoting Sin Cara heavily.
- Not uncommon in Japanese wrestling either, with famous wrestlers like Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Ultimo Dragon.
- Lucha-inspired promotions have been becoming more popular in the United States independent scene. The most prominent is CHIKARA, though Lucha Libre USA and Lucha Va-VOOM are also increasingly well-known.
- ECW helped to popularize the style in the United States, with alumni including the aforementioned Rey Mysterio Jr., Psicosis, La Parka, and Juventud Guerrera. Most of ECW's luchadores ended up getting poached by WCW for their cruiserweight division.
- Psicosis lost his mask in WCW in 1999, and has wrestled without it since then. When he appeared on the first ECW One Night Stand, he wore the mask to the ring and took it off before the match. The fans then proceeded to chant "Put the mask on!"
- Ring of Honor had El Generico, The Generic Luchador. The twist is that he's Canadian. While he's billed as being from Tijuana, and speaks very little English when in character, what makes it funnier is that even if you don't know anything about the man under the mask, you can tell at first glance that he's really a white guy; he's kind of pale, and he also sports a red goatee.
- Jossed further in NXT: he's actually Syrian-Canadian.
- It's also not uncommon for non-luchadores to pretend to be one as a trick. If a heel does it, like when Kurt Angle became "El Gran Luchador" during his feud with Eddie Guerrero, it's a sign of them being a devious wang, whereas if it's a face that pulls it off, like when Kaz Hayashi became "El Gringo" for a night, it's usually so they can get their hands on a cowardly heel who has been ducking them in straight-up fights.
- TNA has an interesting example in Sangriento, a luchadore played by established X-Division wrestler The Amazing Red, who continued to appear unmasked as a different character.
- WWE Hall of Famer Mil Mascaras is arguably the one to pave the way for some of the most prominent Mexican superstars like Rey Mysterio Jr and Eddie Guerrero.
- Lucha Libre Hero from Hero Games, is based off the lucha films mentioned above.
- One of the sample characters in the Martial Arts supplement for GURPS is "Del Duque", a heroic crimefighter in a Luchador-style mask hailing from a world that seems to operate on low-budget-TV-series logic. He is also by far the most powerful of the sample characters (at 350 character points, he's in the lower-end superhero range).
- La Mariposa and Mr. Strong from the Dead or Alive games. La Mariposa (a.k.a. Lisa) from Dead or Alive 4 is a Fragile Speedster variant. Her name is meaningful because it means "butterfly" in Spanish, and she wears a butterfly shaped mask.
- Guacamelee! is the videogame Trope Codifier.
- Suda51 has a thing for Masked Wrestling, and includes it in his games:
- Flower Sun Rain has Mr. Pirate and his protege, El Crasher who are training for Crasher's next fight.
- MASK de Smith, a character in Killer7. Easily the most powerful character in the game.
- You can also collect luchador trading cards in No More Heroes, Killer7's Spiritual Successor.
- It's quite possible that the tiger motif that appears throughout the game associated with Travis Touchdown, is a subtle homage to the Japanese wrestler Tiger Mask. Interestingly enough, Tiger Mask appeared in Fire Pro Wrestling D. Suda51 began working on videogames with the Fire Pro Wrestling series.
- Total Overdose has a super move that summons a luchador named Mysterioso.
- Freaky Flyers had a character named Cactus Rose. Her backstory included a brief stint as a masked wrestler.
- El Fuerte from Street Fighter IV is one of these.
- Ramon and Angel from The King of Fighters. Neither wears a mask, though. Raiden and Tizoc, from Fatal Fury, both wear masks but are conventional wrestlers.
- Psychonauts has a quartet of minibosses who are all gimmicky luchadores based on both animals and card suits. This despite the fact that the level they're found in is based on Spain. Huh.
- Justified. You are not in Spain, you are in the subconscious world of a institutionalized famous artist.And later you learn that he is not an artist nor has he likely ever been to Spain. He was a wrestler though.
- He did start eating lunch in the art room after The Incident, though.
- A few examples from Pokémon:
- Crasher Wake, a Gym Leader in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl who uses water-type Pokemon.
- Pokémon X and Y introduces Hawlucha, a luchador hawk. It's a Fighting/Flying type and attacks with flying presses, mirroring a luchador's acrobatic fighting style.
- Tenjou Tenge an enemy who essential functions as an Elite Mook shows up at the end of an early story arc. His strong sense of justice leads him to question his role, though.
- King and Armor King from the Tekken series.
- King (and King II) even follow in the Fray Tormenta mould (King was listed as an actual priest; King II was one of the original orphans).
- However, King I, King II and Armor King I follow the more conventional wrestling style. Armor King II has some luchador-based moves, but not all. Then in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, there's a female luchador named 'Jaycee'. Who's actually Julia Chang.
- El Blaze, a newcomer to the Virtua Fighter series who is a blatant expy of Rey Mysterio.
- The NES game Tag Team Wrestling featured a pair of masked wrestlers called the Strong Bads. Yes, they were the inspiration for that other Strong Bad.
- Animal Crossing has a luchador costume available as one of the many "costume themes."
- Masked Wrestlers and Under Ground Monkey variants called ___ Gigas are common foes in Persona 3 and Persona 4.
- The Soccer game Sega Soccer Slam featured the character El Diablo, a massive powerhouse who only refers to himself in the third person.
- Shadow Hearts 2 features this in Joachim Valentine, who first appears as the masked Grand Papillion. One of his special abilities is that every now and then he'll don the mask in a fight and receive a massive stat boost.
- F-Zero story wise is much like lucha libre, only with racing instead of wrestling.
- We Heart Katamari includes a cousin named Lucha, who appropriately enough has the appearance of a luchador.
- Tiger Mask, the Japanese wrestler appears in Fire Pro Wrestling D.
- Saturday Night Slammasters has El Stinger/Stingray and Astro/Scorpio, whose designs are a nod/ripoff to real wrestlers Lizmark and Tinieblas respectively.
- Greco from Chrono Cross (meaningful since his ward's name is 'Romana'-wrestling pun). He's also both a psychic and a priest. Did we mention Chrono Cross is kind of weird?
- What Could Have Been example: Hideo Kojima's first draft for the war-based game he was told to design was a game called Lost Warld, starring a masked luchadora (a female luchador). Tragically, the game got canned, and now all we have is this boring Snake guy instead.
- Evil Rose should fit the bill pretty well.
- There is a videogame based on the AAA (One of the 2 major Lucha Libre associations in Mexico). The tagline? No es wrestling, es Lucha Libre (It's not wrestling, it's Lucha Libre).
- Masked Muscle from Super Punch-Out!!. Yes, in a BOXING game.
- The Heavy from Team Fortress 2 has a luchador mask called the "Large Luchadore", and in Poker Night at the Inventory, he asks Strong Bad if his mask means he wrestles, like Iron Sheik. Strong Bad snubs the idea, saying he's a wrestle man, not a hack wrestler.
- Saints Row The Third has The Luchadores, an entire gang made up of luchadores led by one wrestler named Killbane, the Walking Apocalypse.
- "Ringside" from Rhythm Heaven Fever involves a masked wrestler answering interview questions and posing for the cameras after a big match. Notably, he doesn't seem to be actually listening to the questions - both the English and Japanese versions have the questions as gibberish, to which he responses with "Yeah".
- There's a sequence in Yakuza 3 during which Kazuma Kiryuu and Rikiya Shimabukuro stage a wrestling match for the children at Kazuma's orphanage, posing as masked wrestlers Dragon Mask and Ricky Mask. The costume shows up in later installments as a bonus outfit.
- El Plancha (AKA Dice) from the Toaplan Beat 'em Up Knuckle Bash.
- Star Man from Pro Wrestling.
- Various Luchadore costume pieces are available for unlock as pvp rewards in Champions Online.
- The title character (and the game's actual protagonist, Mutt) in The Legend of el Lobodestroyo Vs. la Liga de los Villanos.
- Strong Bad's look is based on this, although the mask is apparently his actual face.
- He actually wrestles in a few toons, although he makes it clear in one of them that "Being an awesome wrestler has nothing to do with awesome wrestling moves." Furthermore, in the same toon he goes through a variety of gimmicks none of which are the straight Masked Luchador gimmick - the final one even involves facepaint!
- Dr. McLuchador from The Adventures Of Dr Mcninja, who was exiled from Cumberland for his extreme, wrestling-based methods. And his extreme methods in general, really. It turns out that the real McLuchador died years ago in obscurity. The one who appears is McNinja himself (who faked his death thanks to the events of the last plot arc), using the persona to infiltrate King Radical's organisation.
- El Lightning Blue from The B-Movie Comic.
- The entire cast of ˇMucha Lucha! consists of young masked luchadores attending "The Foremost World-Renowned International School of Lucha", but not all of them are Mexican.
- The Angry Beavers had El Grapadura (The Stapler), who had his own TV show and even starred in a movie with the beavers.
- El Toro Fuertetranslation from Jackie Chan Adventures. Like Tohru, he was kind of a bad guy at first before becoming a steadfast ally of Jackie and a Gentle Giant.
- A stock background character in The Fairly OddParents.
- White Pantera's costume in El Tigre is highly reminiscent of these.
- Pantha, a female Brazilian luchadora from Teen Titans.
- El Superbeasto.
- Johnny "the Mayor" Bledsoe, the mayor of Hill Valley on the bizarre The Oblongs, wore a luchador mask (and a business suit), although he acted more like an American wrestler—"Macho Man" Randy Savage, specifically.
- Speaking of the Macho Man, he also voices the superhuman Luchador "Wrass-Lor" in an episode of Dial M for Monkey. The plot: "Fight me or I destroy the earth!"
- The two dogcatchers working for Doctor Applecheeks in Tom and Jerry: The Movie resemble Mexican wrestlers.
- One shows up in, of all things, Avatar: The Last Airbender , as one of the professional earthbenders that Toph beats in "The Blind Bandit."
- Soos dresses up as one in the Summerween episode of Gravity Falls.