Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lucha Libre Legend, Santo, part 1

Santo and Blue Demon, How cool are they?

Santo is the professional name of Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta (September 23, 1917 - February 5, 1984), more widely known as Santo, El Enmascarado de Plata ("Santo, the Silver-Masked Man" in English) who was a Mexican wrestler, film actor, and folk hero.

El Santo, along with Blue Demon & Mil Mascaras, is perhaps the most famous and iconic of all Mexican luchadores, or free wrestlers, and has been referred to as "the greatest legend in Mexican sports". His wrestling career spanned nearly five decades, during which he became a folk hero and a symbol of justice for the common man through his appearances in comic books and movies. He and Blue Demon are said to have popularized professional wrestling in Mexico just as Rikidozan did in Japan and Hulk Hogan did in the United States.

Born in Tulancingo in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, to Jesús Guzmán Campuzano and Josefina Huerta (Márquez) de Guzmán as the fifth of seven children, Rodolfo came to Mexico City in the 1920s, where his family settled in the Tepito neighbourhood. He practiced baseball and American football, and then became interested in wrestling. He learned Ju-Jitsu, then classical wrestling, and although accounts vary as to exactly when and where he first wrestled competitively, either in Arena Peralvillo Cozumel on the 28th of June 1934, or Deportivo Islas in the Guerrero colony of Mexico City in 1935, but by the second half of the 1930s, he was established as a wrestler, using the names Rudy Guzmán, El Hombre Rojo (the Red Man), El Demonio Negro (The Black Demon) and El Murcielago II (The Bat II). The last name was a rip-off of the name of a famous wrestler Jesus Velazquez named "El Murcielago" (The Bat), and after an appeal by the Bat to the Mexican boxing and wrestling commission, the regulatory body ruled that Guzmán could not use the name.

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