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Lucha Libre For Dummies

ShawnHartXXX

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In an effort to better familiarize you all what we're trying to do here, I've decided to start an FAQ of sorts concerning all things lucha. I know that some of the nuances of lucha libre may seem a little strange, but hopefully this will give you all a better understanding of just what the heck is going on. LOL. Check back often as I'll be updating this periodically with different information. First up - Match types and structure.

-RPA
 

ShawnHartXXX

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Fall Structure

Alright, so to kick things off - here's a rundown some of the match types that are popular in lucha libre and their fall structure. Obviously there are more than I'll have listed here, but for now we'll focus on the most prevalent ones and the stuff you'll be most likely to see in FMLL. Let's begin with how a fall is won.

First and foremost, MOST matches are de dos a tres caídas (best 2 out of 3 falls). Occasionally you'll see a una sola caída/unica caída (one fall to a finish) but that will usually only be under special circumstances. In the more Americanized AAA promotion, the opposite is true, but in the rest of Mexico and here in FMLL, it's best 2/3.

Now, for the most part there are four ways to win a fall - pinfall, submission, count-out, and disqualification. Standard fare, right? Well, in lucha libre things can get a bit more complicated than you might be used to, especially as relates to what constitutes grounds for a DQ. Basically, anything that will get you DQ'd in the US will yield the same result in Mexico with a couple of additional no-no's. They are:

Use of Martinetes - In Mexico, the martinete (a piledriver or any other move that affects the neck in a similar fashion) is sold like DEATH and will result in a DQ for whoever puts it to use. Again, AAA takes a looser stance on this, but it is still seen as a big deal when somebody does it.

Pulling a Mask Off - In lucha libre, a luchador's máscara is synonymous with their identity, therefore pulling a mask off of somebody's head is grounds for disqualification. HOWEVER, ripping or tearing a mask open is perfectly legal. Go figure.

Excessive Punishment - This one can be subjective depending on who's calling the match. Basically it's anything that exceeds what you would see in normal/fair competition... like raining endless fists and feet on a downed/injured opponent, but again.. it's somewhat subjective.

Those are the BASICS as relates to fall structure, however there are ADDITIONAL guidelines that apply depending on what kind of match it is, which brings us to our next section...
 

ShawnHartXXX

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Match Types

The most common match type in lucha libre (and in FMLL) are Tríos Matches, also known as Relevos Austalianos (Australian tag matches). These are six-man tag team matches that typically pit a Técnico (face) team against a Rudo (heel) team. In order to win a fall in a tríos match in the 2/3 falls scenario, a designated team captain or BOTH of his/her teammates must be eliminated/defeated. If it is somebody other than the captain that is pinned/submitted/etc., that person is eliminated for the remainder of the fall.

The biggest difference between tag team matches in lucha libre and the ones we see here in the states is that tags are not necessary. This applies to pretty much all the various kinds of tag meatches in lucha libre. So if the legal man is somehow ejected from the ring, one of his teammates may simply take his place. ALSO, double and triple teaming is legal as long as it doesn't veer into the excessive punishment scenario described in the Fall Structure section. So all three members of one team can't just go hog-wild, kicking the head of one of their downed opponents without getting themselves DQ'd from the fall.

That pretty much sums up tríos matches. The other match types common to this fed and the sport in general are:

Parejas - This is a standard, two on two tag-team bout. Again, tags are unnecessary. The first and second falls can be won by pinning/submitting/disqualifying just ONE member of the opposing team. However, if the match goes to a third fall, BOTH members must be eliminated.

Mano a Mano - Exactly what it sounds like. Plain Jane, one on one, singles bouts.

Lucha en Jaula - A cage match.

Relevos increíbles - A match in which both teams are composed of wrestlers from both sides (rudos and tecnicos) or bitter enemies, hence its translation, "incredible teams"

Mini Estrellas - Miniature versions of superstars and/or other "midget" luchadores go at it in parejas, mano a mano, or tríos matches.

Parejas Mixtas Mini-Mascota - Each team is comprised of a wrestler and a mini. The rules are the same as a standard parejas match.

That about does it for the more common matches. There are many others, of course, but I'll go easy on you for now. :) Next up will be an explanation of luchas de apuestas, then probably be a glossary of some basic terms, moves, and holds. ¡Vaya con Dios!
 
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ShawnHartXXX

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Luchas de apuestas

After a long, intense feud in lucha libre, there's a good chance we'll be treated to a luchas de apuestas (matches with wagers) match. In this scenario, wrestlers will put their hair or mask (and sometimes both) on the line and the loser will either have to shave his/her head or unmask depending on the stakes of the match. Additionally (but not always) an unmasked wrestler will have to reveal his real name as well. Matches of this type are, for the most part, only employed as big, blow-off matches to long-standing rivalries and, as such, aren't the kind of thing you'll see all that frequently.

Winning these matches (and conversely losing them) is seen as a big deal and can change the course of a luchador's career. However, I must stress that just because somebody loses a lucha de apuesta doesn't mean that the luchador in question HAS to change their name/identity. Blue Panther recently lost his mask and is still Blue Panther, Mascara Año 2000 lost his mask (despite having the word mascara in his name!) back in '93 and is still Mascara Año 2000. It fact, some luchadores have risen to greater heights after losing their mask, whether it be in their current identity or under a different one.

That's it for luchas de apuestas. Stay tuned.
 
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ShawnHartXXX

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Basic Terms

Here's a glossary of some of the basic terminology in lucha libre --

Antifaz - Mask. (see also Máscara)
Batalla - Battle.
Boxer - Brass knuckles.
Cabellera - Hair.
Caída - Fall.
Campeón - Champion.
Campeonato - Championship.
Capitán - Team captain.
Castigo - Punishment.
Cuadrilátero - The ring.
Equipo - Team.
Esquina - Corner.
Falta - A foul. Used to describe ball shots. See below.
Fául - A low blow.
Ganador - Winner. The plural form is Ganadores.
Jaula - Cage.
Llave - Finishing/Signature maneuver.
Lucha - Fight.
Lucha Libre - Wrestling. Translated literally, it means "free fight".
Luchador - A wrestler. The female term is Luchadora and the plural forms are Luchadores/Luchadoras.
Máscara - Mask.
Mesa - Table.
Mini - Midget.
Pareja - Tag Team.
Perdedor - Loser. The plural form is Perdedores.
Primera - First.
Réferi - Referee.
Retador - Challenger.
Rudo - A heel/bad guy. It can also be used to describe the roughhouse wrestling style that was employed by most of the heel wrestler's in lucha libre's earlier days. Literally translates to "rude".
Sangre - Blood.
Segunda - Second.
Silla - Chair.
Técnico - A face or good guy. Literally translates to "technician", as most of the babyface wrestlers traditionally employed a technical style. The Japanese use the term Limpio (clean).
Tercera - Second.
Torneo - Tournament.
Trío - A team of three luchadores.
 

ShawnHartXXX

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Moves/Holds

From luchawiki.org - I'll be cleaning this up later.

Candado - [padlock] Headlock.
Candado Invertido - Front facelock.
Casita - Stepover armbar with a rolling cradle. Also known as La Magistral, but that term is never used in Mexico and I have only seen it being used in Japan. Allegedly invented by Pepe Casas.
Campana - Pendulum Submission Hold, used by Halloween and Bull Nakano among others.
Cangrejo - Crab, mostly a Boston Crab, but it's a generic term. A half Boston crab is known as "medio cangrejo" (half crab), and a Scorpion Deathlock is often called "Cangrejo Japonés".
Cavernaria - Submission hold in which a sitting attacker places his knees on the lower back of a kneeling opponent, and pulls him back with a chinlock or from the hair. Invented by Cavernario Galindo.
Cerrajera - Standing octopus hold with a "palanca" (armlock). Invented by Enrique Llanes.
Cristo - Sort of a suspsended full nelson hold.
Crotch - Also crotch slam or "crochito". Throws, like a bodyslam or a powerslam. This is a wrong, nonsensical term made-up by the commentators.
Cruceta - Figure-four leglock. Also referred to as "La Cruceta del Enfermero" since El Enfermero made it popular in Mexico.
Desnucadora - Literally, neckbreaker. Any powerbomb move is a desnucadora.
Escorpión - Scorpion (deathlock) aka sharpshooter. Also called Cangrejo Japonés
Espaldas planas - Used to say that both shoulders are touching the mat.
Estacas - Monkey flip.
Estacas Indias - Indian Deathlock.
Fault/Faul - [Pronounced foul] A low blow.
Fuerza Punt - A term born in the highspots.com lucha libre boards and designed to describe Fuerza Guerrera's inverted atomic drop.
Gory Special - Back-to-back backbreaker submission, invented by Gory Guerrero.
Guillotina - [Guillotine] A legdrop.
Huracanrana/Huracarrana - A frankensteiner finishing in a double leg cradle (rana). Invented by Huracán Ramírez. The only two correct spellings are the ones mentioned here, all other variations are misspellings.
Lazo - Lariat.
Martinete - Piledriver, usually a Tombstone piledriver. This move is banned in Mexico as it's lethal, and EVERYBODY (and I mean EVERYBODY) sells it like death (well, except when somebody screws up and uses it by mistake, i.e. Dandy vs. Antifaz hair vs. mask match).
Mortal - Any 360 or 180 flip (a moonsault, a somersault bodyblock, etc.)
Nudo - [Knot] Basically, any submission in which the attacker ties his opponent's legs and/or arms in a knot.
Nudo Lagunero - Sometimes, images explain things better than words. [Image credit, MTY.]
Palanca - [Lever] Any armbar.
Patada - Kick.
Patadas Voladoras - Dropkick (or flying dropkick). Used in a plural form (patadas) since, at least in theory, both feet connect. In Mexico many wrestlers use a dropkick falling flat on their back, and sometimes this kind of kick is called "Patadas de Canguro a la Fishman" (Fishman's Kangaroo Kick).
Pescado - Slingshot bodyblock.
Plancha - [Iron board] Any move in which the attacker connects with his chest/abdominal area, like a splash or a cross body block.
Puente Olímpico - [Olympic Bridge] Japanese leg roll clutch.
Puñetazo - Punch.
Quebrada - A moonsault after springboard off the second drop. Also called Asai Moonsault as it was popularized by Yoshihiro "Ultimo Dragon" Asai- though Asai Moonsault generally refers to the version of the move executed to the floor. The quebrada was invented by the original Fantasma de la Quebrada.
Quebradora - Generic term for backbreaker.
Quebradora con giro - Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. "Con Giro" is often misspelled as "Con Hilo" (bad translation from Japanese).
Quebradora de a caballo - Also, "la de a caballo". Camel clutch, invented by Gory Guerrero but popularized by El Santo.
Quebradora en todo lo alto - Torture rack.
Casadora - A luchador throws himself into a wheelbarrow position, often as setup for an armdrag or, sometimes (more commonly in the U.S.), a bulldog.
Rana - The linked pinning position. A rana is JUST the pinning position, not the actual movement done before reaching that position. The finishing position of a sunset flip is also a rana. [PICTURE]
Reinera - Back-to-back standing (and usually spinning) torture rack. Invented by Rolando Vera.
Ringuina - Ringo Mendoza's trademark submission where first he grabs his opponent's arm, steps behind him, grapevines his leg and catches him in an back hammerlock. Attacker then rolls to a side, puts his leg onto his opponent's neck and shoulder and forms a grounded octopus submission hold [thanks to Canz for the detailed explanation].
Salida de Bandera - Over the top rope bump. Also called "Jerry Bump" on the internet, since Jerry Estrada used to be the king of the salida de bandera during AAA's best days.
Segadora - Spot where a wrestler kicks his running opponent under his thigh, making him jump and bounce off, or through the ropes.
Senton - Move in which attacker falls over his opponent with his back.
Suástica - Abdominal stretch variation, with the attacker pulling up his opponent's free leg. Invented by Murciélago Velázquez but popularized by El Nazi.
Suicida - [Suicide] Particle added after a move (usually a tope or a plancha) to state that it's from the ring to the outside.
Tijeras - [Scissors] Any headscissors variation.
Tirabuzón - [Corkscrew] An abdominal stretch.
Tope - Any move in which the attacker hits his opponent with his head.
Tope con Giro - Literally, Tope with a twist. Often misspelled as "tope con hilo" (again, bad Japanese translation).
Tope Suicida - Tope to the outside. Black Warrior, Solitario, El Hijo del Santo, Black Shadow and Ciclon Ramirez rightfully are the gods of the tope suicida.
Tapatía - [the one from Jalisco] An inverted surfboard.
Tornillo - Any spinning or corkscrew move
Valaguesa - Attacker sets opponent on top rope, bending their body forward. He then puts his left shoulder against the back of the opponent's neck, hooks both legs and lifts him off in that position, so he ends up vertically folded on his shoulder. Finally he jumps and kneels down, bending the opponent with a lot of pressure on his neck. The jump is often done after spinning a few times. Often referred to in English as the Muscle Buster or Kinniku Buster (in reference to the "Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E." character's finisher)
 

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