About a year and a half ago I had the pleasure of attending a Lucha Libre wrestling card that was part of the Mexico: Beyond Expectations festival at Harbourfront Centre. I bring this up because I have a friend whose hard drive crashed and it reminded me of when mine did the same and I lost a ton of my journalism shots — which included the set of Lucha Libre ones the above photo belongs to.
I love shooting pro wrestling events for two reasons: because I love wrestling and believe in its merit as performance art and because the characters are often larger than life. Shooting pro wrestling events can at times feel like you’re shooting a carnival scene. The crowd is electric, the characters larger than life and the entertainment gripping. That is, if its done right. On this summer day it certainly was.
The event featured many wrestlers from the local BSE promotion. Originally, most wrestling and Lucha Libre fans in attendance were there to see Blue Demon Jr., then the NWA heavyweight champion. But the Canadian luchadores certainly didn’t disappoint. I have an article posted here about the actual show and the Canadian contingent. For now I want to discuss the experience of covering the event.
My colleague Steven Humphreys and I arrived quite early and, as the event was free, found ourselves ringside. Being ringside at a Lucha event, which generally involves a lot of fantastic high-flying and dives to the outside, can be hazardous to one’s health. This show was no exception. At one point one of the Luchadores shoved his palm into my lens as I took his picture. Things got worse, though, when another was thrown out of the ring and then hit with a dive from none other than Blue Demon Jr. himself, did a flip on the floor and then landed with his giant boot on my lens. I had a great shot of the guy with his leg up on my camera, but liek many of the others from the day it’s lost forever on a broken hard drive.
Still, capturing the Luchadores on camera as they flew across the ring was an incredible experience. And, I have to say, it was extremely hard to keep up. I remember warning Steve whenever a dive or another high spot (high-risk maneuver) was imminent(years of watching wrestling have taught me how to read the build up to such moves).
Backstage, our attempts to interview Blue Demon Jr. were foiled by the fact that we didn’t have an interpreter with us, and his had left. Still, this gave us more of an opportunity to interview the Canadian Luchadores.
Colt 45, KGB, El Sombre and the others were really great guys. They were hanging out in the dressing room area andproved to be more than obliging when it came to speaking with Steve and I. They were forthcoming and really cool guys when it came to comparing and contrasting Mexican Luchadores with their northern cousins.It was funny too because at another wrestling event I interviewed a much higher profile Luchadore who asked that the only thing I include int he article is that I mention that the interview was done through an interpreter so as not to kill the illusion of him being an authentic Mexican star. I say with all truth and sincerity that I love the guys like him who live the gimmick.
All in all my experience with the Canadian Luchadores was a fantastic one that I was very proud to take part in. To see all of the little kids in Lucha masks enjoying the matches and cheering on the larger than life heroes and villains is exactly, in my opinion, what wrestling, at its core, is about. Good versus bad. Entertainment for all ages. Sports meets the ultimate passion play. I’m proud to say the Canadian boys didn’t disappoint.
For my article on the actual complete Lucha Libre event, click here.
For a photo gallery of my surviving Lucha, and other wrestling, photos, click here.
This post appears as part of the FOCUS 365 photo blog component of Bastard Type