A spectator cheers for the wrestlers. Photo by Marta Franco.

“Hit him! Hit him,” chanted the spectators in Spanish as they watched large masked men in brightly colored spandex smash, bludgeon and humiliate each other for the crowd’s amusement during the Lucha Libre Mexicana Tournament at Roccapulco Supper Club on Sunday night.

The men wrestled so furiously that three bouts had to be interrupted so that maintenance crews could shore up the plywood-lined ring’s substructure to prevent collapse.

Dulce Gomez, who helped organize the event, is married to one of the luchadores, whose identity must remain secret according to tradition of the sport. Gomez said the wrestlers wanted to bring the Mexican style of wrestling to the Mission District.

“We put on a lot of bouts at local flea markets, but we wanted to bring some fights to the Mission District because it’s a very Latin neighborhood here,” said Gomez. She and the wrestlers hope to make Lucha Libre a monthly event at Roccapulco.

Sitting at ringside, Alberto Guzman watched the bouts beside his two sons, 7-year-old Daniel and 11-year-old Jose, as the sound of 200-pound bodies slamming against the ring reverberated around the dimly light room.

Reared in Guadalajara, Guzman and his sons came from San Jose to the Mission Street club to witness the homegrown spectacle of his youth.

“I brought my kids here because I want them to experience the real thing,” he said. “When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to watch wrestling in Mexico every Sunday.”

And though it was a male dominated crowd there were many women and young girls there as well cheering on the wrestlers.

“We are here to show our daughter something about our country,” said Yeimy Lopez, a Guatemalan married to a Mexican who grew up going to the matches every weekend in Mexico City.

“In this case we are teaching her something about our culture. I guess she likes it,” Lopez said with a little laugh as her 6-year old daughter donning a pink and gold luchador mask tore off to meet the next bout’s wrestlers.

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