A group of Mexican professional wrestlers’ latest opponent is the deadly coronavirus as they team up to try to defeat the pandemic by promoting safety measures.
Lucha Libre, Mexico’s style of wrestling that utilizes masked and colorful competitors, is a staple of the country’s rich culture but was not immune from the economic effects of the virus. Wrestling was forced to shut down due to the government-imposed restrictions that shuttered the doors to the arenas where the wrestlers entertained families and tourists alike.
On Thursday, a team of six luchadores took to the streets of Mexico City’s Xochimilco borough to led a campaign called ‘Put the face mask on or we’ll put a maneuver on you’ to stop the spread of the virus.
Mexican wrestler Gran Felipe Jr. hands out face masks to people on the street as part of a local campaign to promote the use of face masks to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Mexico City borough of Xochimilco
Mexican wrestlers recreate a fight with a person who is not wearing a face mask on the street in Mexico City
The wrestlers are part of a campaign promoted by local government to raise awareness on the use of face masks to prevent spread of COVID-19
The drive proved to be a hit as Ciclónico, Gran Felipe Jr., Hip Hop Man, Mr Jerry, Rey Optimus and Minus toured a food market in El Rosario, which is surrounded by a number of neighborhoods that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
The wrestlers handed out 150 face masks, gave tips on how to wear them correctly and treated residents to a few impromptu matches on the streets.
‘We are here to raise awareness among citizens, it is very important to follow health measures until everything is safe,’ Ciclónico told Mexican newspaper El Universal.
Wrestler Rey Optium gives a face mask to a child as part of an increasing effort to spread awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic
A group of Mexican wrestlers stage a playful fight with a food market customer in Mexico City as part of increasing efforts to promote the use of face masks as a preventive measure against coronavirus pandemic
A man puts on a face mask he received from Mexican lucha libre wrestler Ciclónico
As of Friday, the COVID-19 epidemic had killed 66,329 and generated 616,894 confirmed cases.
So far this year, close to 60 wrestlers, out of the business’ 2,000 to 3,000, have died, far more than in in a normal year. Estrella Blanca Jr., Blackman II, Golden Bull and Matematico II all died after they were infected with the virus.
The COVID-10 outbreak affected the checkbooks of the wrestlers who volunteered in El Rosario and hundreds of others who have been out of work as arenas remain closed because they can’t hold the thousands of fans that would normally pack them on weekends.
Gran Felipe Jr. performs with a boy who was given a face mask as part of a local drive to promote the use of face masks as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 epidemic in Mexico City
Mexican wrestlers Mr. Jerry, Hip Hop Man and Gran Felipe Jr. hand out face masks to a cyclist
Lucha libre wrestlers Ciclónico, Gran Felipe Jr. and Rey Optium take part in an impromptu match while they took a break in handing out face masks to residents while visiting the Mexico City borough of Xochimilco to spread awareness about the COVID-19 epidemic
Ciclónico and his two brothers turned to selling flowers as a way to support themselves and their families.
But since early August, the wrestlers accepted an idea pitched by Ciclónico and his brothers, and are participating in a wrestling card that is held Saturdays on the Xochimilco district’s famous ‘floating gardens’.
The matches are also streamed online for a small fee of $1.35, and some of the money that they have generated was put towards the purchase of the masks that were donated during their main event bout to topple the silent coronavirus beast.
‘It is about seeing that people raise awareness and continue to stay at home if necessary. And that they wear face masks to avoid the greatest number of infections,’ Gran Felipe Jr told Milenio.
Gran Felipe Jr. gives sanitizing gel to children as part of a local campaign to promote the use of face masks as a preventive measure against coronavirus in Mexico City