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Zero Worship

The superhero who scissor-kicked his way into oblivion

Author Darren Loucaides

MEXICO CITY—Friday nights at Arena México are always lively affairs, but there was one a while back that stood out. Headlining that evening was (cue movie-trailer baritone) the man they call Místico. His entry into the wrestling ring, silver mask aglow, sparked a frenzy of appreciation that caught even veteran arena-goers off guard.

Built in 1956, the Mexican capital’s cathedral to the spectacle known as lucha libre has produced many folk heroes over the years, but few have captured the imagination like Místico. Said to have been raised by a warrior priest, he was a masked crusader of mythic proportions.

There were maybe 15,000 people in the audience that night, and with each swiveling scissor kick, each swan dive onto a foe’s head, every one of them went nuts for Místico.

The heightened passion may have had something to do with a rumor that was making the rounds. “WWE, the gringos,” hissed one of the bikinied ring girls during a break in the program, “want to sign Místico.”

What happened next, though, would become a sad coda to the legend: A few months later, Místico—the greatest luchador since the fabled El Santo—went to the States, rebranded himself as Sin Cara … and flopped.

About a year after that crazy night at Arena México, a hundred or so lucha libre enthusiasts take their seats at the decidedly more modest venue La Loba, a place so small that a droplet of sweat (or an elbow, if you don’t watch out) will occasionally hit you in the face. There’s a rising star wrestling tonight, Black Terror Jr. Still, the talk turns to Místico.

“He never made it out there,” one fan says, shaking his head. “His star has faded.” But then Black Terror Jr. body-slams his opponent with such force that you can feel it through your chair, which is enough to get the crowd’s spirits up. The man they call Místico isn’t mentioned again.

ILLUSTRATION BY PETER OUMANSKI

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