Salute El Santo With 5 Great Lucha Libre Travel Destinations
Photo: El Santo Statue in Tulancingo, Mexico. (Photo via Jay Galvin on Flickr)
Google users may have noticed a Mexican luchador mask adorning the website’s homepage Friday celebrating what would have been the 99th birthday of wrestling legend El Santo.
El Santo—born Rodolfo Guzman Huerta— is revered as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and credited with the popularization of lucha libre in Mexico. In celebration of his illustrious career and his unquestionable influence, here are five lucha libre destinations to visit next time you hit the road for vacation.
The first place any lucha libre fan must visit is Tulancingo, Mexico, the home of El Santo and the site of a statue dedicated to the innovator. While the original statue dedicated in 1999 was vandalized and eventually removed, it has been replaced with a better representation and is still a place wrestling fans can pay homage.
In addition to the statue, the highway near the tribute was renamed “Boulevard Rodolfo Guzman Huerta,” and the legend is buried a short distance away. Not only can wrestling fans get a genuine taste of Mexican life in the city, but they can also pay their respect to the legend known as El Santo in Tulancingo.
Arena Mexico and Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is a hotbed of wrestling tradition in the country, and it is the home of two of the most well-known arenas in all of professional wrestling: Arena Mexico and Arena Coliseo.
Arena Mexico opened its doors to the public in 1956 and has hosted wrestling and boxing matches ever since. Not only is the building the home to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre’s (CMLL) two weekly shows, but it also is the host for the company’s feature events and pay-per-view shows.
On the other hand, Arena Coliseo was the original home of CMLL and was opened in 1943. It was the main venue for CMLL until Arena Mexico’s completion, but the building still hosts wrestling events. Both arenas are a staple of Mexico City and valuable to the history of wrestling in the country.
READ MORE: 6 Places To Embrace In Mexico City
Lucha Libre Taco Shop, San Diego, California
For the next lucha libre location, travelers must cross the border into the United States and visit the Lucha Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, California. The building serves delicious authentic Mexican dishes, but it is the décor of the building which really gives it the lucha libre feeling.
The walls of the company’s two building are adorned with colorful images of vintage Mexican luchadors and masks from around the world. In addition, diners can choose to sit in the champion’s booth (gold upholstery makes you feel like a champion) or inside a small wrestling ring in the taco shop’s second location in the North Park section of San Diego.
Lucha Underground Arena, Boyle Heights, California
For wrestling fans today, one of the best shows in the wrestling industry is Lucha Underground, and it is filmed in the Lucha Underground Arena in Boyle Heights, California. While the building was just an old warehouse just a few years ago, it has been transformed into the Mecca of lucha libre in the United States.
The show’s third season is underway, and Lucha Underground Arena—dubbed The Temple by the believers—has been the home of several Match of the Year contenders and some of the biggest stars in the industry. From Rey Mysterio to Blue Demon Jr. to Dr. Wagner Jr., The Temple is the American version of Arena Mexico or Arena Coliseo.
More by Donald Wood
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