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Lucha Libre

Lucha libre, the Mexican version of free wrestling, is probably only rivaled by soccer in popularity among Mexican people, and its cultural impact may be even greater. The sport embodies contradictions at the heart of national identity: the interplay between tradition and modernity, ritual and obscene parody, machismo and transgender experiences, as male wrestlers often cross-dress and perform feminine roles. Disguising one's identity is a part of professional culture of luchadores and the use of mask and nicknames is the most characteristic feature of lucha libre. Unlike the free wrestling in the United States, the sport in Mexico is more about aerial moves and high-flying than mere power, even if bouts can be bloody in extreme cases. At least a dozen big arenas exists in  Mexico City, most of them having a show twice a week, the largest of which is the 16,000 seat Arena Mexico, considered the Mecca of lucha libre and attracting also foreign tourist. There is also a number of smaller venues entertaining local communities in poor districts of the city. One of them is La Loba, located in Chimalhuacán - an area seldom visited by outsiders and affected by usual problems of semi-slum neighborhoods of megacities: crime, violence, drugs, and poverty. At La Loba, most of the audience are friends, family, and neighbors, which makes of every show a sort of village fest.


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