Lucha Libre is the very soul of Mexico, its imagery and heroes are carried into all areas of life in music, film, cartoons and paintings. Lucha Libre, literally ‘Free Wrestling’ or ‘Free Fight’, is an important part of Mexican culture. It is second only to football as Mexico's second-biggest spectator event and can be seen on any night of the week in at least 10 venues across Mexico City alone.
There are many versions of the origins of lucha libre. The generally accepted story is that in 1929, Don Salvador Lutteroth witnessed a wrestling match in Texas and decided to give it a go in Mexico. By 1933 he started the ‘Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre’.
In the beginning, many of the wrestlers were foreign, including the American Bobby Sampson and the Irishman Cyclone Mackay. Ten years later Lutteroth built the first lucha libre arena in Mexico City – Arena Coliseo.
Little by little Mexico started to produce wrestlers who over the years have become more acrobatic, theatrical and spectacular. Lutteroth was, in large part, instrumental in developing the careers of the best-known luchadores, including El Santo and Gory Guerrero.