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For a unique Mexican cultural treat, visit Arena México to watch masked wrestlers in lucha libra bouts. These freestyle wrestlers or luchadores perform not only skillful wrestling holds, but also entertaining aerial acrobatics as they fling themselves off the ropes of the ring onto their opponents.
Although wrestling existed in Mexico in the late 1800s, it really started to become popular when Salvador Gonzalez Lutteroth revamped an earlier arena in 1929 after seeing a wrestling match in Texas. When American wrestlers were brought to Mexico to compete, the sport attracted attention. As you watch the moves of the Mexican luchadores, note how wrestling has evolved differently in the U.S. and Mexico over the past 80 years.
Today’s Arena México was built in 1956 specifically for ringed sports of wrestling and boxing. Mexico City hosted the boxing events of the 1968 Olympics in this venue. Find a good seat in the arena, which has a capacity for 16,500 wrestling fans. Watch individual matches or tag teams of duos or trios performing feats of athleticism, choreography and performance art.
As you experience the excitement of the crowd, realize why the arena is known as the Cathedral of Lucha Libre Mexicana because of its importance to the sport. Some of the men competing here have even had religious nicknames, such as the Mystic, the Saint and Holy, while others have a darker mystique, such as the Black Shadow and the Blue Demon.
These characters are portrayed effectively by the colorful costumes worn by the luchadores. The most important element is the mask, demonstrating a link to ancient Aztec tradition. A wrestler often maintains this persona outside the ring. See one of the popular stars participating in a TV interview and wearing his mask while dressed in a business suit. Purchase souvenir masks on the street near the arena.
Arena México is about 1.5 miles (2.3 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City’s historical center in the Doctores neighborhood. Access the official website for the schedule of events during your visit. Then come to the cathedral to be swept into the fascinating world of lucha libra.
Get the most out of your time at Arena Mexico. Here's a list of some of the top activities:
For many more activities, peruse our Mexico City things to do page.
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