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''El Santo vs. The Diabolical Brain.\\
El Santo vs. The Vampire Women.\\
El Santo and The Blue Demon vs. Dr. Frankenstein.\\
El Santo vs. The Blue Demon IN ATLANTIS.''

''Who the hell is this guy?'' Why the frick is this Santo dude picking a fight with every mythological beast, AncientConspiracy, and cult icon within arm's reach? Is he recognized as a saint by the Vatican? And is The Blue Demon friend [[DramaticPause ...]] [[ScareChord OR FOE?!?!?]]

The term "Larger Than Life" gets thrown around a lot these days, but in the case of Lucha Libre legend '''El Santo''', it is entirely appropriate. At 5'9" he was of only average height, but Santo's reputation puts him on par with pulp legends many times his size, like Film/KingKong, Franchise/{{Godzilla}}, or Film/{{Mothra}}. In fact, those beasts, and many more, were probably next on the wrestler's hit list before his passing in 1984.

Born Rodolfo Guzman Huerta (September 23, 1917 February 5, 1984), he started out normal, or whatever passed for normal in the hard-knock world of Mexican professional wrestling in the 1940s. After starting out as a heel ("rudo" in Spanish), he gained popularity, [[HeelFaceTurn became a face ("tecnico" in Spanish)]], and by the 50s was basically the biggest name in Lucha Libre. It is at about this point that El Santo evolves from mere Wrestling Legend to a cult figure and folk hero.

Keen to cash in on wrestling's popularity, a comic book was published starring Mr. El Santo. As expected for a comic book, it depicted Santo as a Batman-esque crime fighter, and set him up against a trademark-unfriendly RoguesGallery of monsters and ne'er-do-wells plucked from around the world. What made Santo different from conventional superheroes is that he was ''actually real'', and literally did many of the exact things shown in the comics, i.e. wrestling, wearing gaudy costumes, and battling "evil" wrestlers on a regular basis.

Stand back and think about this for a second. How insanely awesome would it be if Comicbook/{{Superman}}, Comicbook/{{Batman}}, and Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} freed themselves from the page, and started flying around/brooding around/slicing around your neighborhood? Now imagine you're a six year old kid in Mexico City in 1954, and your favorite thing in the world is El Santo Comics. It doesn't take long to discover that Santo is a real person. But unlike when you find out that your daddy is Santa Claus, it turns out that Santo is actually buff, actually fights people, and has both an actual superhero costume and a semi-secret identity? All that crazy stuff El Santo does in the comics, like choking out the Loch Ness Monster and hiding out in a secret moonbase, suddenly becomes an order of magnitude more believable. Even the brighter kids can't outright dismiss the more mundane stories, like Santo foiling bank robberies or inventing gadgets, perhaps even fighting sharks. For the youngsters of the 50s and 60s, El Santo was an Actual Real Life Superhero, regardless of his technical lack of superpowers.

''And then there were the movies.'' Yes, the [[BMovie dozens of El Santo films]], where not even the ultimate enemy of rock-bottom production values could contain the sky-high ambitions of Mexico's most famous crimefighter. Over the course of a film career that lasted over two decades, Santo battled everyone from Martians to an entire extended family of Frankenstein monsters. [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 To modern eyes]], these quality of these flicks fall squarely into SoBadItsGood territory, but upon release, the films catapulted Santo to even greater fame and renown. They also made El Santo an international superstar, though more in Latin America and Europe than in North America, where only four of his films were released in English dubs.

The movies also featured Santo's WorthyOpponent Blue Demon, who in true wrestling fashion would [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor switch from ally to enemy and back]] on a fairly regular basis. Take a gander at Wiki/TheOtherWiki for the full filmography.

Legends are invincible, but despite rumors to the contrary, Santo was indeed human. After nearly 50 years in the ring, El Santo's age finally caught up to him. Following a farewell tour against a who's who of Lucha Libre, the masked man retired in 1982 at the ripe old age of 64. In January 1984 on a nationally televised talk show, Santo unmasked for the first and only time in public, shocking his legions of adoring fans. It is widely hypothesized that the luchador knew his time on Earth was about to run out, because a little more than a week after the television incident, Heaven got its Saint back. El Santo was [[BecomingTheMask buried wearing his iconic silver mask]]. Nowadays, his son competes in a similar mask, going by the name [[MeaningfulName "El Hijo del Santo"]]--[[LegacyCharacter The Son of The Saint]], as well as El Hijo's own son who is training as El Nieto Del Santo. Another grandson, going by the name of Axxel, who is the son of Santo's daughter and thus has not been able to use the El Nieto name, tours the Mexican circuit.

Throughout his entire career, [[BigGood Santo was also a hero to the people]], giving back to the community [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming through charity and giving public support to many causes in favor of Mexico's poor]]. This made his wrestling name take on a more literal meaning to many of his fans, and some people in Mexico actually hold the belief that Santo is the saint that the Vatican will never canonize, but a saint just the same.

In the last year of his life, he gave a newspaper interview discussing his career. He admitted he was not the best in-ring technician, nor the most charismatic, was only drawn to the "masked man" gimmick due to the fact that it was popularized by others, and that he had followed others in trying to make his name in the movies. He didn't know, for the life of him, how he ended up as the most popular wrestler in all of Mexico. [[HumbleHero Perhaps that was the reason why.]]

These days, few people actually believe that El Santo applied a scorpion leg lock to Count Dracula, but [[ShiftingTheBurdenOfProof no one can prove he didn't]], and so the legend of the Wrestling Saint cannot be destroyed. From Guadalajara to Gunma Prefecture, his story lives on.

!!Selected El Santo Filmography:
* ''Film/SantoContraElCerebroDelMal'' (Santo Vs. The Evil Brain, 1958)
* ''Film/SantoContraHombresInfernales'' (Santo vs. The Infernal Men, 1958)
* ''Film/InvasionOfTheZombies'' (English Title) aka ''Santo contra los zombies'' (Santo vs. The Zombies, 1961)
* ''Film/SamsonVsTheVampireWomen'' (English Title) aka ''Santo contra las mujeres vampiro'' (Santo vs. The Vampire Women, 1962)
* ''Film/SamsonInTheWaxMuseum'' (English Title) aka ''Santo en el museo de cera'' (Santo In The Wax Museum, 1963)
* ''Film/SantoEnAtacanLasBrujas'' (Santo in The Witches Attack, 1964)
* ''Film/SantoContraLaInvasionDeLosMarcianos'' (Santo vs. The Martian Invasion, 1966)
* ''Film/SantoEnOperacion67'' (Santo in Operation 67, 1966) (Santo's first color film)
* ''Film/SantoContraCapulina'' (Santo vs Capulina, 1968) (crossover with Mexican comedian Capulina)
* ''Film/SantoEnElTesoroDeDracula'' (Santo in Dracula's Treasure, 1968) aka ''El Vampiro y el Sexo'' (The Vampire and the Sex, the "adult" version of the film, [[MissingEpisode unreleased until 2011]]).
* ''Film/SantoContraBlueDemonEnLaAtlántida'' (Santo vs. Blue Demon in Atlantis, 1969)
* ''Film/SantoYBlueDemonContraLosMonstruos'' (Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters, 1969)
* ''Film/SantoEnLasMomiasDeGuanajuato'' (Santo in The Mummies of Guanajuato, 1970) (co-starring Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon)
* ''Film/SantoVsLaHijaDeFrankestein'' (Santo vs. Frankenstein's Daughter, 1971)
* ''Film/SantoYBlueDemonContraDraculaYElHombreLobo'' (Santo and Blue Demon Vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man, 1972)
* ''Film/SantoYBlueDemonContraElDoctorFrankenstein'' (Santo and Blue Demon Vs Dr. Frankenstein, 1973)
* ''Film/TheMaskedManStrikesAgain'' (English Title) aka ''Santo contra el doctor Muerte'' (Santo Vs Dr. Death, 1973)
* ''3 Dev Adam'' (''Film/ThreeBigMen'', 1973): Turkish film featuring extremely unauthorized and out-of-character portrayals of El Santo, ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, and Franchise/{{Spider Man}}.
* ''Film/SantoEnLaFuriaDeLosKaratekas'' (Santo in Fury of the Karate Experts, 1982)

* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: Was to Lucha Libre what Wrestling/{{Rikidozan}} had been for ''puoreso'' in Japan and Wrestling/LouThesz had been for pro wrestling in America.
* ArchEnemy
** Primarily Blue Demon and Black Shadow, until Santo unmasked Shadow, causing them to pull a HeelFaceTurn.
** Los Misioneros de la Muerte (Negro Navarro, El Signo and El Texano) in UWA. Incidentally, founding member Negro Navarro was a [[AscendedFanboy fanboy]] of Black Shadow, who had become Santo's ally by that point.
* BashBrothers: Gori Guerrero, El Gran Hamada and occasionally Blue Demon
* TheCape: His personality as El Santo.
* DramaticUnmask: Shortly after his retirement, Santo unmasked himself on the Mexican television show ''Contrapunto'', the only recorded case of him ever showing his real face in public, as one last goodbye to his fans. He died a week later.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Though even when he was officially the bad guy against what would be then be considered the closest thing EMLL had to a top face, Tarzán López, a lot of people really loved Santo, forcing him to "turn face".
* {{Expy}}
** Mil Máscaras was created for a movie when El Santo wasn't available and [[{{Defictionalization}} then turned into a luchador]] by EMLL.
** Creator/GuillermoDelToro pays {{homage}} to The Saint in his book series (and the TV adaptation thereof) Literature/TheStrain with The Silver Angel, a Saint-like luchadore/action star who withdrew into anonymity after a crippling knee injury ended his career. Decades later, the vampire apocalypse offers a second chance for a RetiredBadass to reclaim his mask, and live up to his legend.
* FinishingMove: Tope de Cristo (diving headbutt), the Boston Crab
* IHaveManyNames: Rudy Guzmán, El Hombre Rojo, El Demonio and El Murcielago II before he became El Santo
* IKnowKarate: He did Ju-Jitsu, then regular wrestling, before turning pro
* ItRunsInTheFamily: He was first trained by his brother, Black Guzmán. Their two other brothers, Pantera Negra and Jimmy Guzmán were also luchadors.
* LegacyCharacter: His son El Hijio Del Santo took over the mask after him, and his son is training at Wrestling/ProWrestlingNOAH to take over after him as El Nieto Del Santo. There was also an unrelated female wrestler who went by La Novia Del Santo (The Bride Of El Santo, known as Irma González without the mask) who used the persona with Santo's blessing, and a male homosexual wrestler with the same name, who did ''not'' have his approval.
* LivingLegend: As our article makes quite clear, he was ''definitely'' one of these. He was arguably the closest thing the world has ever seen to a real-life {{superhero}}.
* MaskedLuchador: We'd tell you it did not apply to him, but that would be a lie.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: While his fancy diving moves were not unappreciated, his basic but superb grappling skills and mysterious gimmick were the things most responsible for getting him over.
* PassingTheTorch
** His son was in the audience during his retirement tour, wearing a Silver Mask and was identified as Hijo Del Santo. Santo initially did not approve of his son's wrestling career, so he had a different gimmick prior to that point.
** [[AscendedExtra Less directly]], Santo's StuntDouble Black Man would become the biggest draw in Mexico alongside Kung Fu and Kato Kung Lee, as though Santo's feud with Los Misioneros de la Muerte had concluded, they were still around, still hated and tercias matches were still the most popular in Mexico. Los Tres Fantasticos were just what LLI needed when Santo departed.
* PintSizedPowerhouse: His legacy is such that the mid to light weight divisions, such as the Welterweights, are considered more prestigious in Mexico than the heavyweight divisions.
* RingOldies: Wrestled well into his 60s.
* TheRival: Los Hermanos Shadow (Black Shadow and Blue Demon) after their turns to tecnicos. Perro Aguayo was his last rival in individual competition, a rivalry their sons would continue.
* SecretIdentity: For decades, El Santo's real name was not part of the public record in keeping with the traditions of Lucha Libre. His son and grandson's names are kept secret as well, all that is known is that El Hijo Del Santo is Santo's youngest son.
* SignatureMove: Suicide dive, the somersault plancha and the camel clutch. The latter was so associated with him that when he died his son decided to trademark it. It was actually invented by Gori Guerrero, so you can imagine how that went over.
* TagTeam: La Pareja Atómica with Gori Guerrero
* TournamentArc: The Silver Legend Tournament annually held by Wrestling/{{CMLL}} in his honor, though sometimes it is the tournament of the two legends instead, which also honors company founder Salvador Lutteroth.
* TropeCodifier: Not the first masked wrestler, but the single most iconic one.
* WrestlingFamily: Santo was the patriarch and had 10 children and ''25'' grandchildren, of whom El Hijo Del Santo, El Nieto Del Santo, and Axxel are wrestlers.