The female wrestlers (luchadoras) of Lucha Libre
Mexican pro wrestling (Lucha Libre) has a long tradition in Mexico.
The term Lucha Libre itself means "free wrestling" or "free fighting" and is used not only in Mexico, but in other Spanish speaking countries as well.
The masked wrestlers (Luchadores) have attained cult status here, showing up in TV shows (Middleman, Angel) in cartoons (Mucha Lucha), movies (Nacho Libre) and even bands (Los Straitjackets) adopting their personas.
But not all Lucha Libre is luchadores.
Female wrestlers (luchadoras) have just as big of a place in Lucha Libre.
The two major Lucha Libre wrestling promotions in Mexico are Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and Asistencia AsesorÃa y AdministraciÃ³n (AAA) and both have luchadoras on their roster.
There is even an all female wrestling promotion, Lucha Libre Feminil (LLF).
The major promotions have championship belts for the women, and AAA even has a World Mixed Tag Team Championship where the women team up with the men, showing that they can hold their own in the ring.
Compare that to the WWE here, where a mixed tag-team match is just a joke.
Here are some of the most popular luchadoras of the past and present.
Mexican luchadora Tiffany was born Xóchitl Leyva Sánchez on February 20th, 1973 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
She was trained by Jesse Rojas "El Vasco" (her father) and made her lucha libre debut on July 18th, 1993 at the Arena Solidaridad in her hometown of Monterrey.
Tiffany is five foot seven, 150 pounds.
During her career, she has held the Northern Women's Title, the National Women's Title (twice), the AAA Reina de Reinas and the AAA World Mixed Tag Championship (with Chessman).
Marcela was born Maria Elena Santamaría Gomez on May 31st, 1971 in Mexico City, Mexico.
She was trained by luchadores Panchito Villalobos, Rafael Salamanca, Franco Colombo, Jose Luis Feliciano, Satanico and Fantastik, and made her lucha libre debut in December of 1985, in Actopan, Hidalgo, Mexico.
So far in her career, Marcela has held the Distrito Federal Women's Title, the CMLL Women's Title and the Mexican National Women's Championship.
Sexy Star (Sexi Star)
Mexican luchadora Sexy Star was born Dulce Maria Garcia Rivas on September 20th, 1982 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
She was trained by Humberto Garza Jr., Mr. Lince, Gran Apache and Abismo Negro and made her lucha libre debut on August 29th, 2006 at the Arena Coliseo De Monterrey (as Dulce Poly).
Star is five foot three and weighs 126 pounds.
So far she has held the Federacion Internacional de Lucha Libre (FILL) Women's Championship, the FILL Mixed Tag Team Championship (with Humberto Garza Jr.) and the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship.
Not a lot is known about La Hechicera.
She was born on December 28th, 1972, she was trained by El Charro Del Misterio and Inquisidor, and she made her lucha libre debut on January 1, 1997 as La Demoledora.
With her size, her deadliest wrestling moves are the splash, the sit-down splash and la de a caballo (the camel clutch).
La Amapola was born Guadalupe Olvera on September 9, 19?? in Distrito Federal, Mexico.
She was trained by Insolito, Super MuÃ±eco, Satanico, Franco Colombo and Adonis Salazar, and made her lucha libre debut in December, 1997, at Arena Neza, Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico.
She's five foot three and weighs 130 lbs.
La Amapola has held the Grupo Internacional Revolucion (IWRG) Intercontinental Women's Title and the CMLL World Women's Title.
Carolina Escobedo Villanueva was born on April 27th, 19?? in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
She was trained by PequeÃ±o Diamante and made her lucha libre debut in 1998.
La Chacala is five foot ten, and uses her height and weight to good advantage with her finishing move, The Bombazo 252 (a.k.a. "The Chacala Bomb" a sit-out powerbomb)
She has held the Nuevo Leon Women's Title and the LLF Tag Team Titles (with Tsunami).
Almost a lucha libre legend by now, Lola Gonzales was born Maria Dolores Gonzalez on March 2, 1959 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
She was trained by lucha libre legend Gory Guerrero and Dorado Hernandez, and made her wrestling debut on July 17th, 1975 in Ciudad de Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua.
During her career, she has held the Occidente Women's Title, the UWA World Women's Title (four times), the WWA World Women's Title, the TWF Women's Title and the EWWL Women's Championship.
Lola is the only luchadora I know of to have an anime character based on her.
In the anime/manga "School Rumble", the character Lala Gonzalez is based on Lola.
Faby Apache was born Fabiola Balbuena Torres on December 26th, 1980 in Mexico City, Mexico.
She was trained by wrestling legends Gran Apache (her father) and Joshi legends Aja Kong and Mariko Yoshida.
Faby made her wrestling debut on January 20th, 1998, at the Deportivo Azcapotzalco in Mexico City.
She is five foot three and weighs 139 pounds.
Faby has held the AAA Mixed Tag Team Titles twice (once with Gran Apache and once with Aerostar), the 2008 Reina de Reinas and the Sky High of ARSION title in the Japanese wrestling promotion ARSION.
Diana la Cazadora
Diana la Cazadora (Diana the Huntress) was born on January 16, 1978.
She was trained by luchadores Carnicero Aguilar and Centurion Negro, and made her lucha libre debut on August 24, 1997.
Diana is five foot three and weighs 115 pounds.
She has held the LLF Junior Title, the LLF Tag Team Titles (with Nikki Roxx) and the Monterrey Women's Title.
Sarah Stock - Dark Angel - Sarita
Sarah Stock is a luchadora with a difference.
She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on March 4, 1979.
Sarah was trained by Eddie Watts, Phil LaFon, Diluvio Negro I and JosÃ© Luis Feliciano, and made her pro wrestling debut on February 22, 2002 in Canada.
She wrestled for indy wrestling promotions in Canada for awhile, but she didn't become famous until she decided to go down south to Mexico in 2003.
Sarah donned a mask, became Dark Angel and quickly became a fan favorite.
She wrestled for Lucha Libre Femenil (LLF) and on April 2, 2004, Sarah lost her mask in a grueling forty-five minute mask vs. mask match against Princesa Sujei.
Sarah left LLF and went to Asistencia AsesorÃa y AdministraciÃ³n (AAA), but wound up just basically being a ring girl.
So she left AAA and went to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) where she found great success.
Sarah then went to Shimmer Women Athletes (while still doing shows in Mexico) and finally wound up here in the States, working for TNA as Sarita.
Fans in Mexico still love their Dark Angel though and she occasionally shows up at CMLL shows.
Sarah has the distinction of winning the CMLL Bodybuilding Championship for four years in a row.
So she's a Canadian, that rose to fame in Mexico, and now works in the US.
Luchadora Sahori started out in Asistencia AsesorÃa y AdministraciÃ³n (AAA) wrestling with a mask as Lady Ludxor.
She was trained by luchadores Panchito Villalobos, Jose Luis Feliciano, Scorpio, El Hijo Del Gladiador and Franco Colombo.
She lost her mask in a six woman tag team cage match that saw Alda Moreno, Rossy Moreno and Lady Ludxor taking on La Venus, Miss Janeth and Xochitl Hamada.
She then resurfaced as La Novia De La Parka (The girlfriend of La Parka), but that didn't last too long.
Sahori went to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) in 2005 and quietly faded out in 2009.
This is luchadora La Felina.
Like a lot of these ladies, wrestling is a family affair with Felina.
Her sister is also a luchadora, Princesa Yara.
Felina was trained by luchador PequeÃ±o Diamante and made her pro wrestling debut in 1993.
Her finishing move is the La TapatÃa, which up here we call the surfboard or the Romero Special.
Felina held the Lucha Libre Femenil (LLF) Tag Team Titles with her sister twice.
Mary Apache (sometimes Mari Apache) is the daughter of the legendary luchador Gran Apache, the sister of Faby Apache, the stepdaughter of Lady Apache, the sister in law of Billy Boy and the aunt of Marvin the baby.
Yes, Lucha Libre really is a family affair.
Mariella Balbuena Torres was born on October 19th, 1979 and has wrestled not only for Asistencia AsesorÃa y AdministraciÃ³n (AAA) in Mexico, but also All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, Gaea Japan and ARISON in Japan.
She was trained by her father Gran Apache and made her wrestling debut in 1996.
During her career so far she has held the Sky High of ARSION title (in Japan), the Reina de Reinas (Queen of Queens) title, and the AAA Mixed Tag Team Titles (with Gran Apache).
Arianna - Ana Rocha
Ana Rocha has wrestled under many names.
She's been called "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel, Arianna, Sweetheart of Glory, Princess of ACW, Princess of La Familia, Faith in Crush and Leira.
Ana was born on December 28th, 1984 in SÃ£o Miguel, Azores, Portugal and was trained by Top Rope Promotions (under Brickhouse Baker, Scott Ashworth and Jose Perez) after her family moved to the US.
Although she has had a lot of success with wrestling promotions like Ring of Honor (ROH), IWA Mid-South and the National Wrestling Alliance, she has also gained a lot of fame south of the border.
In 2004 Ana debuted in the Mexican wrestling promotion Lucha Libre Femenil (LLF) as the masked Arianna.
She was unmasked by Nikki Roxx in a Hair vs Mask match and used the ring name Ariel.
In LLF she held the LLF Juvenil Championship at one time.
This lady was the step-mother of Faby Apache and Mari Apache.
If anyone every accuses Lucha Libre of being like telenovelas, she is one of the reasons why.
Her life in the ring (and out) sounds like a soap.
Lady Apache's real name is Sandra GonzÃ¡lez CalderÃ³n and she was born on June 26th, 1970 in Mexico City, Mexico.
She was trained by luchadores Gran Apache, Pepe Casas and RaÃºl Reyes and made her pro wrestling debut on June 30th, 1986.
When she made her debut, she was married to one of the men that trained her, Gran Apache, that made her the step-mother of Faby Apache and Mari Apache.
She then divorced Gran and married another luchador, JesÃºs Alvarado Nieves better known by his ring name, Brazo de Oro (Golden Arm).
THEN she divorced Brazo and married Edgar Luna Pozos also known as luchador Electroshock.
During her career she has held the Asistencia AsesorÃa y AdministraciÃ³n (AAA) World Mixed Tag Team Championship (with Electroshock), the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship (twice), the CMLL World Women's Championship (three times), the Mexican National Women's Championship (twice), the Distrito Federal Women's Championship and the PWR Women's Championship (twice).
Luchadora Viviana Ochoa Barradas was born October 18th, 1977 in Zamora, MichoacÃ¡n, Mexico, but she is better known by her wrestling name, Estrellita (Little Star).
Estrellita's nickname is La Britney Spears de la Lucha.
Like many other luch libre stars, she has a wrestling family that includes luchadores Rafael Barradas (her grandfather), Flama Solar (her cousin) and Psicosis AAA (her former husband).
Estrellita was trained by El Hijo del Gladiador, Ringo Mendoza and Gran Apache.
Her lucha libre debut was on February 26th, 1993, at the Auditorio Municipal de Amecameca in Mexico State.
Her favorite wrestling moves are the TapatÃa ( Romero Ceiling Hold) and Corkscrew Plancha (a twisting high dive).
One of the most infamous and long running feuds in lucha libre was between Estrellita and Tiffany.
Estrellita vs Zeuxis for the Mexican National Women's Championship
Luchadora Flavia Antonia Moreno Leon was born on July 23rd, 1970 in Mexico City, Mexico.
She is better known to lucha libre fans as Cynthia Moreno (sometimes Cinthia Moreno).
Cynthia is part of another large lucha libre family.
Her father was luchador Alfonso Moreno, her brother El Oriental is a famous luchador as well and all of her sisters, Esther Moreno, Alda Moreno and Rossy Moreno, are luchadoras.
She was trained by her father, Pepe Casas, Negro Casas and Blue Panther, and made her pro wrestling debut in 1987 at the Arena Azteca Budokan.
The arena itself is in Neza. Mexico and was actually created by the Moreno family.
So far in her career Cynthia has held the AJW Japanese Tag Team Titles (with her sister Esther Moreno) and the AAA World Mixed Tag Championship (with her brother Oriental).
Masked luchadora Zeuxis (formerly Seuxis) was born on November 3, 1988, not in Mexico, but in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
She was trained by Negro Navarro, AlimaÃ±a, HuracÃ¡n RamÃrez and Satanico and made her lucha libre debut on April 29, 2008.
Zeuxis has held the REINA World Tag Team Championship with both La Comandante and Mima Shimoda.
Interestingly, there was another Zeuxis who was a painter during the 5th century BC.
I thought nothing of that till I learned the luchadora Zeuxis uses a submission move called Caballete which means "easel".
You gotta admit, that's pretty classy for a pro wrestling character.
This lovely young masked luchadora never really got the fame I thought she would before she retired.
India was born on September 20th, 1984 in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico.
And as usual, she was part of a huge extended lucha libre family.
Her mother and father were both wrestlers (Hombre Bala and the original India Sioux), her brothers were wrestlers and she married luchador Maximo which made her part of the famous Pirata Family.
She made her debut in 2004, but retired a few years ago to give birth to her and Maximo's first child.
Pretty much a legend in Lucha Libre, Martha Villalobos was born Martha Garcia Mejia on May 30th, 1962 in Distrito Federal, Mexico.
She was trained by luchadores Panchito Villalobos and El Enfermero and made her pro wrestling debut on September 9th, 1979 at the Arena Coliseo Acapulco in Guerrero, Mexico.
A consummate heel, Martha was at one timed nicknamed La Aplanadora" (the Steamroller) because she is five foot even and weighs 228 pounds.
Martha retired in 2010.
LLF (Lucha Libre Femenil) luchadora Sucii Love used to be a masked wrestler.
She started out with a mask, but she lost it in 2015 in a match with Lady Jaguar.
Since then she has still been wrestling though.
Her real name is Azucena Bautista Armas and she was born on December 10, 1993 in Tabasco, Zacatecas, Mexico.
Like most masked luchadoras, not a lot is known about La Hiedra.
We know she was born on May 18, 1997 in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
We know she made her debut on November 14, 2010 and was trained by Kendor Jr., Laredo Kid, Sangre Chicana and Villano IV.
And we know she wrestles for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), though she has worked for IWRG.
One thing we do know is that like a lot of other lucha libre stars, she comes from a HUGE wrestling family.
Her father is Sangre Chicana, Sangre Chicana Jr. and Perseus are her brothers, Lady Chicana and Lluvia are her sisters, Aguila Solitaria and Herodes are her uncles, and Aguila Solitaria Jr. and Herodes Jr. are her cousins.
Again, I bet family reunions are a blast.
Lucha Libre at Amazon
Luchadoras in Action
LluviaDeArte on October 21, 2013:
I love this lens. I love all the ladies that do this sport. Super cool badass really....thank you for writing this.
Snakesmum on February 21, 2013:
Wouldn't like to tangle with any of those ladies! :-)
Takkhis on February 18, 2013:
Thanks for sharing :)
anonymous on December 28, 2012:
It is not Luchadors, but Luchadores
anonymous on April 25, 2012:
anonymous on April 25, 2012:
anonymous on November 17, 2011:
These macho women look amazing with their toned body and athletics endeavours, very inspiring.
ctavias0ffering1 on May 25, 2011:
Amazing women, I'll bet they're really lovely ladies, after all, who would argue with any of them.
CruiseReady from East Central Florida on May 25, 2011:
These are formidable looking women, these professional wrestlers. They certainly appear to be in great shape!
Ronald Tucker from Louisville, Kentucky on December 11, 2010:
La Hechicera and La Chacala are "big girls"...I would definitely not want to be on the receiving end of the "sit down splash! I bet her opponent is made immovable!
Very interesting lens on professional wrestling in Mexico and the impact the sport has in other entertainment arenas.