Lucha libre using immigration to attract US fans

RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated Press Published:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Lucha libre -- or "free wrestling" in Spanish -- is a brand of Mexican wrestling that dates to the 1930s. The sport came north to the United States, along with Mexican immigrants, and over the years spawned clubs in some larger U.S. cities with large Latino communities.

More recently, the sport's promoters and the wrestlers who adopt fictional personas have begun to employ an overtly political storyline in their matches -- one that revolves around immigration.

One lucha libre promotion is leading the charge away from the slapstick and simple storylines with a tour in U.S. cities with sizable Latino populations, including events in Reno, Nev., and San Jose, Calif., this week. It's using recent events in Arizona as a backdrop while pitting masked Mexican wrestlers against American "bad guys."