According to my research -- which I guess began 25 years ago on the streets of the Mexican border town of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, when I was playing with "Santos" toys that my mom bought me -- Lucha Libre is awesome. What is essentially a telenovela with more punching, flying, muscles and masks rolls into town this Friday as the Lucha Libre USA Masked Warriors Tour makes a stop at the Bayou Music Center. I spoke to two of these Masked Warriors at the only place in Houston that I deemed worthy of their presence: El Gran Malo (2307 Ella Boulevard).
Hair Balls: Señores, Bienvenidos a Houston!
Masked Warriors: Gracias, mucho gusto.
HB: Is this your first time here in the Space City?
Lizmark: We both visited Houston back in 1998, or 1999, while we fought with the WCW (World Championship Wrestling). We fought in the Astrodome, which was really cool.
HB: Yeah, the Dome is not looking too cool these days, unfortunately. But please, introduce yourselves.
Lizmark: My name is Lizmark Jr. I am the current champion of Lucha Libre USA. I am a rudo, also known as a heel. My father was a wrestler, so I fight under his name. This is Octagóncito. He is a Mini-Estrella. He takes his name and mask from the legendary luchador named Octagón.
HB: I was made aware that sometime this week you guys will visit a local school and speak to a group of kids. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Lizmark: Yes, it is important to us to talk to young people about the dangers of bullying. I remember being bullied as a child because some of my classmates knew that my dad was a luchador, and thought that I could also fight. But fighting outside of the ring or octagon is never the answer. We try to inspire them to redirect their energy towards establishing dreams and goals, and then working hard to achieve them.
HB: Have you ever been seriously injured in the ring?
Lizmark: One time I fractured my femur and was out for a whole year and a half. I've also torn a ligament in my ankle and was out for eight months. I've torn both of my triceps and have had a few spinal injuries. This is a tough sport, very hard on your body.
HB: Do you still get nervous before your fights?
Lizmark:: Not exactly nervous, but you do get a tingly, excited feeling. Octagóncito and I have been in this business for more than 20 years. We still get excited when we fight in a new arena in front of a new audience. It is important to be emotional, to keep your heart into fighting. The crowds in California and Nevada were very supportive. We are happy to be here in Houston and will give the public a good show on Friday.
HB: Do you listen to music when you work out? Lizmark:: Octagóncito likes to listen to Pitbull and the Black Eyed Peas. Very upbeat and energetic. I love metal bands lilke Metallica, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. Mexican people, especially in Mexico City, love that kind of music. If we are in Mexico, we find a lucha libre gym and practice. Otherwise, on the road, we use the gym at the hotel to lift weights and do cardio to stay sharp for the fights.
HB: Is it true that Lucha Libre is almost as popular as fútbol in Mexico?
Lizmark: Yes, that is true. Mexicans love the lucha. They are very passionate and knowledgeable. The love is passed on from each generation. You might have a grandfather who was a big lucha fan, who then passed it on to his son and grandson. But not just Mexico. We have fans in the United States and in Japan. We meet other wrestlers and they look at us for inspiration.
HB: Who were your favorite luchadores growing up?
Lizmark: Definitely El Santo, he is usually everyone's favorite. But also Blue Demon, Super Astro, Mil Mascaras, El Canek. There are so many great fighters, it's hard to pick just one or two.
HB: Can I take off your mask?!
Lizmark: You can try, but I recommend that you do not... [Laughs].
You can see the Lucha Libre USA Masked Warriors in action this Friday at the Bayou Music Center. Doors open at 7 p.m., fights begin at 8 p.m. Visit Live Nation for tickets
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Lucha Libre USA Championship Match: Champion Lizmark Jr. vs. El Nuevo Macho
2 out of 3 falls Chavo Guerrero vs. Marco Corleone
Street Fight: RJ Brewer vs. Blue Demon Jr.
Ministar Match: Pequeño Halloween and Vladamiro vs. Octagancito and Mini Park
10,000 Battle Royal
Also in action:
Shane "Hurricane" Helms Melina Rebecca Reyes El Oriental
And Many More!!!