Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s a day when Americans loosely celebrate Mexican-American culture. Modern-day pro wrestling has been indelibly marked by Mexican culture. However, like the holiday, their influences can sometimes be oversimplified or misunderstood. So, I’d like to celebrate the contribution of Mexicans and people of Mexican descent to the world of wrestling. Here is my list of the greatest Mexican wrestlers.
Fray Tormenta- “Friar Storm” is a legitimate hero because he’s a Mexican priest who supported an orphanage for 23 years as a Luchadore. His story inspired a few movies including Nacho Libre.
Juventud Guerrera- The Juice owns the best moonsault of all time.
Super Crazy- I could watch him wrestle Psicosis or Tajiri all day.
10) La Parka
La Auténtica Park’s strut will always be one of my favorite things in wrestling. I have Park on this list because I believe he’s the best wrestler in video game history. If La Parka wasn’t your character in WCW/nWo revenge, then you weren’t playing the game right.
I put Andrade on the list because I want to look smart in the future. I think Andrade is destined for big things because of his talent and connections. The third-generation wrestler is set to join another wrestling family, being engaged to Charlotte Flair. Andrade was a triple Champion in CMLL as La Sombra. He is a co-founder of the popular stable Los Ingobernables, which has even formed popular offshoots. It’s a matter of time before WWE taps his full potential.
8) Tito Santana
Santana was the first Mexican- American to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship and became synonymous with the title. Although billed from Mexico, Santana was born and raised in Texas. He was known for quality work in many underrated feuds.
7) Gory Guerrero
Gory was the patriarch of the famous Guerrero wrestling family. His matches had a reputation for being brutal. Gory became known as an innovator because of his invention of moves such as the Camel Clutch and the Gory Special.
6) El Canek
Canek was a 15-time UWA Champion and hence became the face of the company. In the 80s was famous for defending Mexico against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Stan Hansen, Vader and Andre the Giant.
5) Mil Máscaras
Mil Máscaras was one of the first Mexican Luchadors international acclaim. He wrestled everywhere including WWE, WCW and AJPW. Mil Máscaras was the first to introduce foreign audiences to Lucha libre’s high flying style. He is part of a prestigious wrestling family which includes his nephew Alberto Del Rio. Máscaras also had an acting career, starring luchador based action films.
4) Blue Demon
Demonio Azul is one of the three pillars of Lucha Libre alongside Mil Máscaras and El Santo. He and his compatriots started in Lucha superhero movies. Blue Demon’s rivalry with El Santo is the stuff of legend. His adopted son carries on his legacy as Blue Demon Jr. Apparently, Blue Demon Jr. didn’t know his father was the famous masked wrestler until he was five years old.
3) Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio might be the most recognizable masked wrestler in the United States. The ageless Wonder has been dazzling audiences for 30 years with his high flying. Mysterio is an anomaly because he is one of the few spectacles in wrestling under 6ft.
2) Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero is arguably the most beloved WWE superstar of all time. His family is one of the great wrestling dynasties. Guerrero was regarded as one of the best technicians of his day because of his consistency. He wrestled all over the world, even winning NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 1996 while wearing the Black Tiger mask. It was great watching him lie, cheat and steal with Bugs Bunny like charisma.
1) El Santo
El Santo clearly tops the list of the greatest Mexican wrestlers. I feel like Superman is the best comparison to help you understand El Santo’s popularity. There is a Statue of El Santo at Tulancingo. He is an icon in Mexico because of his wrestling, comic books and movies. In most movies, he had fantastic adventures. However, in a few, he played a normal guy in a Lucha mask. El Santo went to great lengths to never be seen without his mask. He removed it only once during his retirement and died ten days later. Unsurprisingly he was buried in the mask.