Now you would have to be blind or a nitwit not to figure out that im a big fan of luchador enmascarado or masked wrestlers if you like and not just those highly agile chaps in Mexico either , i got favourite masked guys in a few places , some are still around, some have removed the hood and some are on the great PPV in the sky ....so lets discuss said residents from Parts Unknown
The First Masked Man in Wirlif World
Without any fear of contradiction , the first masked man I can clearly recall seeing , on my local tv , was THE SPOILER who was in Australia as part of Gary Harts Army
He didnt say much but that only scared me more, he didt rant and rave , he just went and did it ...and he walked the top rope like a gymnast.....Brilliant
AND OFF WE GO
THE ASSASSIN - How good was Jodie Hamilton ?...he was the consumate heel and one helluva trainer by all accounts.
MASKED SUPERSTAR - Quite probably my favourite American hood wearer from the 70s and 80s, only saw him a couple of times on matches from MSG at the time, but the magazines put him over for me and then he was even brilliant as part of Demolition ...Bill Eadie is a genius
MR WRESTLING II - Once again only a guy I saw through the mags initially , then I got a VHS of Bill Watts stuff and saw Wrestling turn on Magnum, so BOOOOO...but yay as well
Whose better than MORTIS?...Ive seen just about the whole world rip the crap out of the WCW blood Runs Cold angle, and yes Glacier was a nufty, but Chris Kanyon done more than his fair share and I thought he was brilliant
Del Wilkes was The Patriot and Id heard about him in the mags, then Vince signed him and whoever was booking him (alongside Mr McMahon) should be jailed for the butcher job they did on him...still I liked him , just a case of wrong place , wrong time I guess.
If Brad Armstrong (RIP) dont end up in a Hal of Fame then im a monkeys relative, apart from his consimate ring skills, he was truly a company man, they dressed him up in some horrendous gimmicks , but he always gave his best AND his best was Badstreet, one third of the last incarnation of the Fabulous Freebirds, it could be said that he was the Buddy Roberts of the group , which is the highest praise anyone can give him ( he sure out worked Jimmy Jam and PS)
So there I was watching NItro one day ( cause it was on Austar on a saturday avo) and who did I see but Rey Misterio, Pscicosis and La Parka , quite possibly 3 of the greatest performers in Lucha history, I actually have a dvd of Rey Rey when he was a skinny little kid in Tijuana working and we all know how far he has gone in the biz, Psicosis also was off the chart talented, sadly him and Juvey got signed by WWE and got turned into a crap comedy act...La Parka has carried on with success , even as far as headlining a Triplemania only a few years ago in a Mascara y Mascara barn burner.....and lets give a shout out to the other Luchadors that Bischoff squashed, Juvey, Ciclope, Atlantis Jnr Super Calo among others
Thanks to the invention of the Intraweb, I no longer had to rely on Apters fiction weeklies to get my mask fix ....I got to see other promotions that normally id never see, PWG, Chikara and ROH and New Japan (which I will get too later)
SO, these technological innovations allowed me to view vastly talented chaps like for instance
Yes, one third of the Throwbacks has made the list , what a vastly brilliant character and worker and a very definite inclusion on anybodys Greatest Masked Blokes ever.
One of ROHs greatest workers and one of Jim Cornettes favourite bookers, I first saw Delerious when he was scaring the crap and then beating the crap out of Austin Aries on ROH tv and I was impressed from the off.
Now here is a masked man thats done the lot, wrestled, booked , owned a company , the lot, from CZW to Rev Pro to ROH and then onto starting up Pro Wrestling Guerilla (with a few mates) Dragon has a done it all and done it very very well.
Sadly this bloke has disappeared since his retirement match in PWG but prior to that he was a ROH staple , which is were I saw him, Generico was a tag champ multiple times until his partner, a bloke named Steen turned on him and those two demolished each other for a year in ROH , someone told me both guys changed their names and are working for Vince BUT I looked and yeh there is one guy that looks like Steen creating a ruckus on Smackdown, but I dont see that famous red and black mask anywhere and trust me I looked.
Also one of The Throwbacks along with Dasher Hatfiled , or he was when I saw him anyway, I first saw Mr Classic on the Wrestle Society X dvd set ( which I think is brilliant ) apparently he was frozen in ice like Captain America since the 1920s , he also went to a 3 hour broadway with Frank Gotch, which is good enough for me, Like I said his been on Chikara King of Trios and also worked a indie show or two in his time ....alledgedly his biggest fan is Colt Cabana.
Yep its Puroresu time sportsfans and havent the Japanese had some deadset masked legends , lets investigate shall we
Yoshihiro Asai is truly a legend , he even got a move named after him (the Asai moonsault) AND his the only blike I ever saw with eight belts at once....
He started in 86 in the NJPW dojo but couldnt get past mid card, so he nicked off the Mexico where he worked in the UWA and learnt to Lucha like a latino, he even won the welterweight belt ...he then worked in Japan for Gran Hamada in the Universal Wrestling Fed, then in 1991, while working for CMLL in Mexico, he designed the Ultimo dragon persona and hasnt been without it since, his worked all over the known world, including but not withstanding WCW, Torymon, WWE, All Japan and New Japan, which is were I saw him wrestle Liger in the Dome, there were some other guys on the card but I forget who they were...a deadset legend
Speaking of legends
JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER
Keichi Yamada, like Dragon, wrestled all over the place prior to putting on the Liger persona
among other places he worked as Flying Fuji Yamada were Stampede, All Star Wrestling (UK) then he came back to Japan and in 1989 was given the persona of Thunder by NJPW bookers
His career then proceeded to erupt and he went a belt winning (and popularity ) spree that is virtually unequaled, even with brain tumour surgery he continued to defy gravity, although he did slow down on the aerobatics after the surgery. Liger even had a heel run in 2001 - 2007 as the leader of CTU , Liger brought his heel persona to CMLL as well...... LIger san has worked just about everywhere , NJPW, ROH , WWE NXT, TNA, WCW, CMLL and PWG and won a loyal following in all of them, may he wrestle forever.
If you dunno who Tiger Mask is , then you must of been around for about 5 minutes, This masked man is a phenom, and the first owner of the gimmick, Saturo Sayama, had a classic series with Dynamite Kid, of course some say that Misawa is the best Tiger Mask and I can see their point, but Sayama is my personal favourite ...Koji Kanemoto had a run as TM 3 with Yamazaki, Minowas and Kota Ibushi having runs as Tigers 4, 5 and W, hell there was even a female tiger mask (Candy Okutsu) called Tiger dream and of course every hero need a heel so there has been many Black Tigers like Rollerball Rocco, Silver King, Rocky Romero and Eddie Guerrerro
One day I was flicking through a mobile dvd stand at a local shopping centre and found some FMW Japan dvds with absolutely horrible gaijin commentators BUT it did have the flying ace HAYABUSA in multiple matches and suffice it to say I was hooked .
Eiji Ezaki made his debut in 1987 and struggled in the japan indies until signing with Frontier Martial Arts dojo in late 1990, in 1991 through 93 he worked mid card matches then Onita sent him to Mexico for more training , it was while he was being trained by Rey Misterio Snr that he developed the character of Hayabusa, he reamined in Mexico ti 1994 but did return home for a first round match in the Super J cup v Liger.
Busa returned to FMW in 95 and then began working their typical blood and guts matches, he did get a offer from WWE for a tryout but remained loyal to Onita, Hayabusa worked a ECW show matched against RVD ...then in 2001 after not quite doing a 2nd rope moonsault correctly, he shattered some vertabrae and ended up a paraplegic, he tried to start a singing career and was always popular at autograph signings until his death in 2016 of a brain heamorrage.
and finally a quick shout out to a guy who has gone virtually ignored BUT I still dug his work...Osamu Matsuda is better known by El Samurai and I first saw him on a Super J vhs tape I bought , and sure, his not got Chris Masters body or Ligers talent BUT he has got that undefinable x factor that I think rates him as one of the best masked workers Ive ever seen.
Leyendas de la MáscaraNow as you may of read in a previous blogaroo, I somehow stumbled my way into Mexico City the day before Santo passed away and then hung around for the funeral and one of the most amazing scenes of homage Ive ever seen....BUT ANYWAY...time to bow down to the Legends of Lucha Libre
Then I got to see the co promoted show WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE between WCW , AAA & IWC
on this show I got to see, Masacrita Sagarada ( the mini Legend) Octagon, Heavy Metal, Latin Lover, Fuerza Guerrera (Juveys dad) Blue Panther, Love Machine , Perro Aguayo , Rey Misterio Jnr, Konnan and El Hijo Del Santo with a memorable run in by Los Hermanos Dinamita , I also found out after the show that Konnan actually wore a mask , so i included him in the pics...
then after the show I decided to investigate further into Mexican Lucha and went on to discover guys like El Canek ( who wouldnt do a job if a bus hit him), El Solitario, Tineblas , Fantasma and I began a solid fan support of the Villanos Familia.
And then lets not forget LOS HERMANOS RODRIGUES or Mil Mascaras, El Sicodelico and Dos Caras if you like , all three brothers made it big in Lucha with somehow the least talented (Mil) becoming the biggest star, funny how that works that way huh?.
MODERN MASCARA HEROES
I first saw the original Mistico on Youtube (as you do) and was so impressed I went on a dvd hunt and was very succesful in getting a couple of his greatest hits dvds his fued with and then subsequent turn to team with Averno was brilliant and his fued with Volador was just immense.
He then went to WWE as Sin Cara but for some reason stumbled and was sent home to Mexico and in 2014 signed with AAA as Myzteziz were he had one of the matches of the night ( or the year) vs Rey Mysterio at Triplemania after signing up with CMLL in 2015 he changed his name to Caristico and has had quite the success
ATLANTIS , MASACRITA SAGRADA, DR WAGNER JNR , LOS PSYCHO CIRCUS , AVERNO, MEPHISTO AND ULTIMO GUERRERO
All of the above have grabbed hold of me in one way or another Averno, Mephisto & Ultimo Guerrero were the rudos that were giving Mistico (and all of CMLL) a hard time and did such a good job they are in my heart forever.....as for Dr Wagner Jnr and Atlantis , well those two are beyond legend in Mexico and have always kept my interest, as for those bloody clowns , AAA has got a goldmne on their hands with Pyscho Circus , whether they are fueding like now or when their together, the clown masks alone must make a fortune....and as for the mightiest Mite of them all , Masacrita Sangrada is the Santo of the minis in my opinion and as such should be treated with as much respect and maybe more than most of the CMLL, AAA or Lucha Underground rosters.
AAA & LUCHA UNDERGROUND STARS
Suffice it to say my love of Lucha didnt stop when Mistico went to the WWE, his not the only hood wearer I dig, heres a few that have grabbed the attention whether in AAA or at the temple in Lucha Underground
Lets start with the token aussie in the list , Ryan Rollins has been a fave since his days in MCW but hasnt he gone ahead in leaps and bounds (pardon the pun) since putting on the flag mask, his been a trios team specialist in AAA although he did have a bit of a stink going with Daga there for a while...he was on this years Triplemania in a massive multi team match and he still managed to shine brightly ...although I may be byast.
Aero started out as "El Aquatico" while receiving trainig from Gran Apache he had a couple of goat based pesonas from there and then in 2006 he put on the Aerostar gear and then proceeded to amaze the world with his technique and blance AND he jumps out of lighting rigs just for giggles
Debuted in 1998 as Morfo then Jimmy Boy, your basic boy band gimmick...then in 2008 he became Gato Eveready /El Gato he used this persona till 2011, then he put on the Drago mask and got stuck straight in with a fued against Los Bizarros then came a stint as in El Inframundo he won the AAA mixed tag with Faby Apache , he also worked in All Japan with Argenis.....in 2015 Drago won the Ala De Oro.....then came Lucha Underground and his challenge for the title held by Prince Puma , Drago also had a best of five series against Aerostar...he has since turned heel and holds the LU 6 man with Pindar and Vibora, he has also been known to light up the crowd at Casa Del PWG on occasion.
Started off in 2005 as "Mascara Oriental" in 2011 he was renamed Fenix and was booked straight away into a fued with his brother Dark Dragon and aswith everybody else in AAA he had a run in or six with Los Perros Del Mal.
he won a stack of titles in AAA , like the Fusion Championship, World tag titles, he got to the finals in the Copa Antonio Pena in 2013 he lost his Fusion belt in a ten way title match and also the rematch against El Hijo Del Fantasma, it was at this point he parted way with AAA
He has also worked Japan with stints in NOAH, Pro Wrestling Wave (?) and the Odo Promotion (?)....in 2015 he entered PWG BoLA and also Chikara in the King of Trios tournament which he won with Aerostar & Drago.....he was also in the 2016 BoLA were he and Pentagon lost to the Young Bucks in a Title match....a stint with Sonjay Dutts Lucha Limitado followed being crowned the first ever Corazon de Oro Champion, then in 2017 Fenix and Penta beat the Bucks for the PWG tag belts, his run in PWG also included a 2017 BoLA were he made the semi finals , after s stack of crap from AAA over who owns what he changed his name to Rey Fenix and copyrighted same ....VIVA REY FENIX
PENTA EL ZERO M
One of my alltime faves is the artist formerly known as Pentagon Jnr , he was also known as Dark Dragon which oddly enough makes him Rey Fenix's brother , his career kicked off in 2010 in AAA as Dark Dragon, then in 2012 he changed to Pentagon Jnr...in 2014 he joined Perros Del Mal and promptly won the AAA tag straps with Joe Lider, in 2016 he won the Reyes de Reyes (King of Kings) then in july of that year won the AAA latin American belt which he lost to Johnny Mundo after a screwjob finish after losing a rematch in January 2017 at Gueres de Titanes he told AAA to stick their job up their arse and quit the promotion.
in 2014 he joined Lucha underground where after beating his brother up went on a arm snapping spree in honor of his unknown master, he was gonna bust Sexy stars arm but Vampiro stopped him this led to a Cero Miedo match were he busted Vamps arm who then revealed his was Penta unknown master....at hte beginningof season 2 of LU Penta attacked Mil Muertes and busted his arm he challenged Matanza a couple of times without success in January 2016 at Ultima Lucha Dos he took the name Pentagon Dark after receiving further training form Vampiro, he didnt beat Matanza and then turned on Vamp forthwith....he has entered two BoLA s and him and Fenix have challenged the Bucks with varied success for the PWG championship...after AAA stopped him using the name Pentagon he will be now known as Penta El Zero M ...which works for me just fine
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
it goes without saying that Lucha in Mexico has a far more vast amount of 2nd and 3rd generation workers than in any other wrestling country (that I can work out anyway)'
Rey Fenix and Penta are heirs to a long history in Lucha ,
but I would have to say that the first sons of superstars would had to have been El Hijo Del Santo and Blue Demon Jnr , their dads had quite the movie career going there for a while, they even teamed up to vanquish the occasional rudo, there is now a Santo Jnr, the grandson of the original Saint , and on the Demon side Blue Demon jnr has his cousin Flama Solar working in Mexico.
And their is also a outbreak of Phantoms with Fantasma son El Hijo Del Fantasma and nephew Fantasma Jnr flying around Mexican rings honoring the mighty Fantasma
SO , there you a blogaroo about my fave masked wrestlers , do with what you see fit
AND LETS NOT FORGET
The Wonder from the UK El Ligero, Id heard for years about this bloke and now thanks to on demand video I have amassed quite a collection of El Ligero stuff from various UK promotions....Look him up if you havent
and Finally Prince Puma
This blokes looks suspiciously like Ricochet if you ask me , but I suppose he cant help that , this bloke is beyond athletic and without doubt will be at or near the top of Lucha Underground for as long as he wants
So there you go, do with what you see fit