Rolling out the welcome mat for lucha night
Toronto, it’s safe to say, is ready to rumble.
Why? For one, the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, and LuchaTO has brought the colour, pageantry and sheer athleticism of Mexican-style wrestling to Toronto.
Doing so, organizers said, isn’t about introducing a new sporting event. It’s about culture, celebrating a distinct and recognizable aspect of the Mexican world in one of the most multicultural cities on earth.
And the way ex-wrestler and founder Jordan Marques described it, that’s been the idea all along. “What we’re trying to do is bring Toronto the main staples of Latin culture,” Marques said, referring to the group he started in 2015. Marques came to the idea for LuchaTO after his own wrestling career, under the name El Sampre, was scuttled by a concussion in 2014. His passion for lucha libre (Spanish for “free fight”) illustrates that the best things about lucha libre are those that happen at ringside.
“In Toronto,” he said, “the Mexican community is starting to grow. They only see lucha libre back home; they don’t see it here.”
When spectators arrive for a show, he said, they get the full experience of a lucha libre match in Mexico: luchadors, live music, authentic Latin cuisine and other hallmarks.
An event happening on June 4 at La Liga Sports Complex (1107 Finch Ave. W.) will bring wrestlers from around the world, hailing from Mexico, Japan, the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom, marking the firstever lucha libre showcase in Toronto.
Another, not long after, will follow at the Harbourfront Festival, marking Mexican Independence Day.
For those who might expect something more like a sporting contest out of the experience, though, Marques had a caveat. “It involves a lot of acrobatic moves,” he said, “so viewers may feel like it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But that goes hand in hand with the experience and how over-the-top it is.”
Meanwhile, the League of Lady Wrestlers, which celebrates culture by enshrining community, gender equity and female empowerment in the ring, is also looking forward to an exciting 2016.
Details can be found at leagueofladywrestlers.com.
LuchaTO has a regular slate of wrestling planned for their North York facility