Sunday, May 27, 2007

Luchador - Mil Máscaras

Aaron Rodríguez Arellano (born July 15, 1942), best known as Mil Máscaras (meaning "One Thousand Masks" in Spanish), is a Mexican professional wrestler. He was born in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. He is also an actor.

Mil Máscaras made his wrestling debut in April 1965 in Guadalajara.

He made his international debut in 1968 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, getting involved in great rivalries against the likes of Ernie Ladd, John Tolos, Black Gordman and Goliath. In Mexico City he unmasked El Halcon in a triangular tournament that included Alfonso Dantes in the 1970s, plus he continued wrestling in Japan and had a great feud with The Destroyer. In his Japanese debut on February 19, 1971, Máscaras defeated Kantaro Hoshino in Tokyo under the name Kamen Kizoku, meaning "The Masked Noble". His first movie was Mil Máscaras, released a year after his wrestling debut. Máscaras has been wrestling in lucha libre for many years, for now he is in his early 60s. He was inducted into the Southern California Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2001.

He wrestled in the 70s for All-Japan were he had his most known international feud with American masked wrestler The Destroyer.

Máscaras also appeared in the World Wrestling Federation, competing in Madison Square Garden several times after a ban on masked wrestlers was lifted, making Mil Mascaras the very first masked wrestler in Madison Square Garden, wrestling were he feuded with Superstar Billy Graham; he also wrestled in World Championship Wrestling, where his most notable match was a match with Cactus Jack at Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout on February 6, 1990 in the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi, Texas. His first American Pay-Per-View appearance was competing as one of the 30 entrants in the 1997 Royal Rumble match. He eliminated himself, diving off the top rope out of the ring onto Pierroth, whom he himself had just eliminated. An off-the top rope dive is common in Lucha Libre in Mexico, but it is technically a mistake in the Royal Rumble as it leads to elimination.

An interesting fact is Mil became popular in Mexico for being one of the first wrestlers to have a bodybuilder type body, he competed under the heavyweight division, a division that was dominated by foreigners in Mexico. It was also his size which permitted him to wrestle in the USA and Japan, where he took his lucha moves like top rope plancha and tope suicida to the outside of the ring, making him famous in the USA and Japan (and the lucha style of wrestling) as one of the first high flyers, something he was not considered in Mexico, where he fell under the mat-power wrestler category, compared to the speed and moves of the smaller luchadores (cruiserweights).

He is a controversial figure within the wrestling business, as multiple wrestlers have publically complained of his unwillingness to "sell" moves (make them appear effective when performed on him), and an unwillingness to "put opponents over" (allowing them to win the match, or look good when in the ring with him). One of the most vocal critics was Mick Foley who, in his book "Have a Nice Day!" complained over Mascaras' refusal to sell in a match they had and called him a prima donna.

He is probably the best known Mexican luchador in the world, he is as popular as legends El Santo and Blue Demon in Mexico, El Santo is considered an icon of not only wrestling and cinema but also of popular culture.

Máscaras has two brothers who wrestled, Dos Caras and El Sicodélico. His nephew Dos Caras Jr., is beginning to have a successful career, not only in lucha libre, but also in mixed martial arts fighting, as he was a legitimate Greco-Roman wrestler before turning pro.

His name means Thousand Masks, he almost always enters the ring wearing a different mask, which he removes to reveal his more known design mask. In Japan, he throws the mask he takes off when his name is announced to the public who go crazy trying to get it, something he does not do in Mexico. One of his favorite masks is the "Shark" mask.

Mil Mascaras had feuds also with many Mexican wrestlers, to mention a few, such as TNT, Canek & Angel Blanco. These feuds took place mostly in Mexico and the US, where Mil's matches used to be televised in Los Angeles on Channel 34, an Hispanic channel (now Univision), that used to air wrestling matches from the Olympic Auditorium on Wednesday nights during the 70's.

technorati tags: lucha libre, blue demon, mexico, rey misterio

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