Dr. Lavista 189, Doctores, Cuauhtémoc, 06720 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5588 0266
One of Mexico’s favorite pastimes, just behind soccer and baseball, is wrestling, better known as “lucha libre” in the country. The sport has enjoyed great popularity amongst Mexicans since it was first introduced and promoted at the start of the XX century. Salvador Lutherott, considered the “Father of Lucha Libre” ardently promoted the sport during the 1940s and ’50s and in 1956 built this temple of lucha libre in the Colonia Doctores of Mexico City. It’s a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the “real Mexico”, or to witness a cultural and popular experience that’s just a little bit off the beaten path. With the raucous crowds chanting their support for their favorite wrestlers mixed with the screams of the wandering beer vendors, “Cerveza bien fría!”, and beefed up wrestlers in colorful attires jumping and flying all over the ring, there’s no doubt that it’s an alluring spectacle to witness on a Friday night.
La Arena Mexico was built after La Arena Coliseo, another wrestling venue built by Lutherott and his enterprise Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL), was becoming too small to host the large attendance crowds that were flocking to wrestling shows in the 1940s. Lucha libre was establishing a connection with the Mexican public, who were enthralled with this contact sport that not only combined wrestling, judo, and other martial arts techniques, but that was also very entertaining to watch, and that it promoted characters, either rudos or técnicos (“heels or faces”) that had backstories and plot lines to follow. The company saw the rise of wrestlers that became real national heroes such as El Santo (“The Saint) and Blue Demon who went on to have successful movie careers and established lucha libre as part of Mexican popular culture.
Lutherott promised he would “build the largest wrestling specific venue in the world”, and he did. It has also hosted prominent boxing championship matches and hosted the boxing competitions during the 1968 Olympic games. This “cathedral of Lucha Libre” seats 16,000 people and normally has wrestling shows on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tickets cost $500 pesos for adults and $300 for children. It’s located a couple of blocks from Metro station “Cuauhtémoc” on Línea 1, but the streets in this neighborhood get a little sketchy after dark so just don’t hang around too long after a show. But for a unique and lively experience of “real Mexico”, a wrestling show at Arena México has to be on your bucket list.