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The 8-Ball 06.28.12: Top 8 Absurd Lucha Libre Gimmicks

June 29, 2012 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 8-Ball. As always, I am your party host, Ryan Byers. Before we get too deep into this week’s column, I wanted to offer my sincere thanks to those who commented on last week’s column, which, though it did not receive the volume of comments and e-mails that I have received on some past editions of the 8-Ball, is probably my most consistently positively reviewed piece in quite some time.

Somewhat ironically, it was not something that I planned to be special but rather something that I threw together at the last minute because it was quick to write and I was facing some serious time constraints. However, sometimes you never know what is going to connect with people, and this was the perfect example.

We can’t constantly dwell on our past accomplishments, though. It’s time to move on to a new topic!

Top 8 Absurd Lucha Libre Gimmicks

I have admitted several times in my writing on this site that I feel like I don’t watch as much lucha libre as I should. It’s not that I dislike lucha. To the contrary, I quite enjoy it when I see it. However, of all of the wrestling styles to which I have been introduced, it was the last, meaning that it still takes a bit of a backseat in my priority viewing order, with both Japanese and American products eclipsing it.

When I do watch lucha, one of the biggest things that I enjoy is the bright, over-the-top characters. Guys like L.A. Park and Mistico have developed almost super heroic personas and used them to delight fans throughout Latin America. Sometimes, though, lucha libre goes a little bit too far. The over-the-top gimmicks, instead of hitting just right, go over the edge and become bizarre parodies of themselves, creations of wild fever dreams as opposed to well-reasoned booking and marketing.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 8 Absurd Lucha Libre Gimmicks.

8. Hatar Kong

Lucha features a lot of elaborate costuming. In addition to the masks that everybody knows about, many wrestlers sport lycra full-body suits, insane wigs, and shoulder pads that would make the Road Warriors proud. In the world of indy lucha libre, though, sometimes guys are forced to get by with a much smaller wardrobe budget. Submitted as Exhibit A is Hatar Kong, a guy who literally looks like he was at a closeout Halloween store and bought the highest end Planet of the Apes costume that they had on the rack. Granted, it’s a high end Halloween costume, but it’s still a Halloween costume nonetheless. Weirder still is the fact that Hatar Kong, on top of looking goofy, has had any opportunity to demonstrate whether he’s a good pro wrestler stripped from him. Is he any good? I have no idea. He could be great. He could be awful. Nobody will ever know, but he’s got the world’s most ludicrously large and clunky lifts built on to his wrestling boots in order to make him look taller. Those boots would anchor Dolph Ziggler down and turn him into an awful wrestler. You’d think if you were going to dress a guy up like a doofus of an ape, you’d at least give him the potential to show off whatever chops he’s got in the ring, but poor Hatar Kong doesn’t even have that.

7. Kahoz

There have been a couple of different wrestlers to use the name and mask of Kahoz over the years, but, for purposes of this entry, I am talking specifically about the original Kahoz. There are two reasons for this. The first is what Kahoz periodically did as part of his entrance. See, Kahoz thought that it would be a good idea to bring a live pigeon to the ring with him and then LEGITIMATELY BITE ITS HEAD OFF. I’m all for a good “crazy man” gimmick in wrestling, but there is such a thing as taking it too far, and mutilating small animals is definitely taking it too far. The second reason that Kahoz is on the list is who was under the hood: Antonio Pena. Pena, for those of you not in the know, would go on to become part of the creative team in CMLL and would eventually split off from that company to found AAA, which became the legitimate second big league lucha promotion in Mexico and continues to hold that position to this day. In other words, he’s the Vince McMahon of Mexico . . . if Vince McMahon used to wrestle and did a gimmick in which he brought hamsters with him to the ring and tap danced on them before his matches.

6. Los Talibanes

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 changed the world in a lot of ways, and professional wrestling wasn’t immune. There has been much written on the internet over the years about Mohammed Hassan, the WWE character that was inspired by 9/11 and the social issues that arose in its wake. Hassan, as the peaceful Arab American who felt cheated by being stereotyped as a terrorist, was a serious, critically acclaimed character. Mexico’s AAA promotion also created a gimmick in response to 9/11, but it wasn’t quite as topical. Instead, it was a straight up middle finger to some of the individuals who were tied to the attackers. Veteran wrestlers Scorpio Jr., Emilio Charles Jr., and Bestia Salvaje, who were previously a stable under the name of “Los Guapos” (a joke built around the fact that all of them are ugly, ugly men), were repackaged as “Los Talibanes” after the attacks. Interestingly, Los Talibanes weren’t necessarily a cheap heat gimmick in the same vein as the numerous Nazi and Communist characters who popped up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and they weren’t particularly offensive. Instead of being generic “foreign” heels and instead of tastelessly mocking Islam as a whole, they were meant to mock the Taliban specifically, who just about everybody can agree were the bad guys in this situation.

5. Los Insectos

Folks in our 411 Wrestling comment section who don’t care for the CHIKARA independent promotion often like to make fun of the fact that they count among their roster a group known as the Colony, a stable of wrestlers inspired by ants. The Colony isn’t truly original to CHIKARA, though. In fact, AAA did the concept about ten years earlier and took the concept a step further, with a stable of wrestlers who were inspired by a variety of insects as opposed to just being ants. The members all wore insanely colorful full body gear, and they were given names such as La Hormiga (the Ant), La Avispa (the Wasp), La Mosca (the Mosquito) and, my personal favorite, Abeja Africana. See, it wasn’t enough that he was a regular bee . . . he had to be an AFRICIAN BEE~!, which we usually refer to as “killer bees” up here in the United States. Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair would be proud of him, no doubt.

4. Fake Jeff Hardy

Normally, the wrestler pictured above competes under a mask and uses the name Demencia. However, there is one independent promoter in Mexico who has decided that garden variety luchadors aren’t going to draw on his shows. Instead, he has decided to promote shows featuring a group of wrestlers that he has crowned “El Dobles de La WWE,” or “The Doubles of the WWE,” gentlemen who somewhat resemble and wrestle like current and former World Wrestling Entertainment stars. During those shows, Demencia removes his hood and transforms into “El Doble de Jeff Hardy” or “Fake Jeff Hardy,” the promotion’s resident knockoff of the Charismatic Enigma. To me, the funniest thing about the gimmick is that he’s not billed as Jeff Hardy . . . he is expressly billed as Fake Jeff Hardy, as though the promoter is apparently not quite bright enough to come up with any original ideas for his promotion but has just enough intelligence to know what he needs to do in order to avoid being sued. So, if you’re ever in Monterrey, keep an eye out for show posters, and you might be able to see Fake Jeff Hardy teaming up with some of his fellow “doubles” like Fake Big Show and Fake John Cena.

3. Gato Eveready

Product placement is all over television these days, and pro wrestling is not immune. In recent years, we’ve seen WWE commentators extol the virtues of Kentucky Grilled Chicken during matches, and none of us will ever forget where we were when Santino Marella stole Jerry “Stupid” Lawler’s delicious Subway sandwich. However, lucha libre has taken the concept of product placement in wrestling to the next level. They introduced a wrestler who is literally a living, breathing mascot for one of their sponsors. AAA was sponsored by Eveready batteries, the logo for which prominently features a cat. Thus, the persona of “El Gato Eveready” or “The Eveready Cat” was created and handed to midcard wrestler Alan, who is best known as part of the Barrio Boys stable. (I’m still trying to figure out which is worse – wrestling as a giant advertisement for batteries or having “Alan” as your sole ring name.) Weirder still is the fact that, for some reason, Gato Eveready was booked into an angle in which he had to fend off the unwanted sexual advances of Pimpinela Escarlata, AAA’s resident transvestite character. Maybe I’m crazy, but I have a feeling that there are some sponsors that wouldn’t necessarily care for their mascot being booked in such an angle, which may explain why the Pimpinela/Gato storyline was dropped abruptly weeks after it began.

2. Burro Exotico

I just referred to Pimpinela Escarlata in the entry above. As I have referenced in past editions of this column, Pimpinela is part of an entire genre of luchadors known as “exoticos,” who are essentially men that do gay, transvestite characters. Another trend in lucha libre, usually unrelated to the exoticos, consists of characters popping up on the independents who have been inspired by popular children’s movies and television shows. (And “inspired by” is saying it politiely. A more accurate phrase would probably “blatantly ripped off from.”) One of the characters that has popped up in wrestling is Donkey from the Shrek films or, as he is known south of the border, “Burro.” For some reason, though, the people who came up with the idea of Donkey as a professional wrestler didn’t stop there. They decided that the next logical step to take would be to create a gay, transvestite version of the donkey from Shrek. Because, ya know, why wouldn’t you do that? The result is Burro Exotico, who is pictured above and has one of the single most terrifying masks in the entire history of lucha libre. Think of the ground that covers for just a second. Fortunately, Burro Exotico has now lost a mask vs. mask match to the original Burro, meaning that this nightmarish creature no longer has to be seen again.

1. Los Teletubbies

It’s the Teletubbies. Yes, the Teletubbies. The four main characters from a television show designed for children ages three and under, virtually none of whom actually watch wrestling. I don’t think that I need to say much more than that. The pictures and the videos speak for themselves.


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