Myth Behind the Gard: Lucha de los Musos

Badaim joins us to cover the origin of Meso Libre, everyone's favorite 3 drop!

Lucha libre is a fighting style that first appeared in Mexico in the mid 1800's. While the style of wrestling is derived from Greco-Roman traditions, the distinct characteristic of using masks is a relatively novel addition of an ancient practice from the Aztec period, where masks allowed the user to invoke or become an avatar for animal spirits or deities.

Lucha libre fighting styles usually involve Aerial or acrobatic moves to show off the wrestlers athleticism and be more conducive to the viewing audience. This development became particularly popular with the advent of television in the 1940's and also solidified the tradition of using masks with the introduction of El Santo, who went on to use the mystery of his identity through the mask to launch his popularity as well as the tradition of using masks by luchadores in general.

Tag-team matches differ from the North American tradition by using teams of 3 instead of 2. Matches are won when the team captain or the other two members of the team are pinned. Unlike North American wrestling, tagging out does not need contact between the teammates, but instead the tagging out occurs when one of the team members leaves the ring. This allows the wrestlers tagging in to give a more dynamic and acrobatic entrance.

While not all luchadores use a mask, losing a mask to a rival in a 'lucha de apuesta' or 'match of wager' is seen as an ultimate insult. Apuesta matches can also put hair on the line, where the opponent cuts the loser's hair in the ring after the loss. Some notable instances of this kind of match is when Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk (mask vs. hair) and Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis in a hair vs. hair match. Since a luchadores identity is usually secret before the unmasking, the luchadores name, hometown and career history are also revealed. While they are usually unable to wear the same mask again, many unmasked wrestlers continue their fighting careers afterwards.

In popular culture, the film Nacho Libre was inspired by a real-life catholic priest who used a mask to hide his identity to wrestle and raise funds for his church. Variations with female wrestlers and dwarves have also become popular in their own right. Lucha libre has since become a worldwide phenomenon, with diasporas of regional traditions in Japan, Australia, the UK, and North and south America.


Bragi Finds his Muse: Lucha de los Musos

The Carny ringmaster strutted up to the microphone, tipping her top hat with an appropriate excess of brio and bombast. 'Don't go anywhere just yet boys and girls! We have a last minute entry! Give it up for: Los Musos del Norte!' Bragi and the muses bounded onto the narrow stage, pulling pulses of reverberating exuberance from the diminutive crowd. The cramped venue concentrated the cheers into amplified echoes flowing from all sides. Bragi had performed countless times before, but with his untested abilities, accompaniment, and masked identity; his limbs trembled with a giddiness he had not felt for centuries. His neurons had grown numb to the chants for his name, so the cheers for this unknown stranger behind a mask of glittering bolts cut fresh rows of anticipations into his heart. Absolved of that persisting pretence, Bragi now had the opportunity to prove himself all over again, and not only to the burgeoning bellows churning before him. Xinyi looked back over her shoulder and gave him a resilient nod. She plugged in her lyre and gave the room a gaining feedback charged with a growing spark. A flaming chord ripped from the monitor and drew excited gasps bedazzled by the pyrotechnic display. Cal sustained a tremelo with his arms held high above his theramin, ready to pounce from his quivering perch onto the unpracticed piece. Psi reclined ambivalently on her hovering laser lyre, plucking Mel and Pan into an acrobatic dancing duet defying physics and direction. Nia billowed smoke from her neck, accentuating the towering hologram of the cognate emitted from her crystal dome. But just as they were about to dive into their set, another masked figure in a leopard print leotard leapt onto the stage with a microphone held high in defiance. The crowd stirred polarising boos and cheers, but the figure yielded no impact to their pleas. 'Oye! Oye! No mames güey! No mames! These fools think they can just take our spot and bite on our look like that? Chale holmes that's cold blooded!' The crowd excreted a stinging ooze through the masked man's accusatory finger. Bragi felt frozen in confusion, but somehow a strangely confident voice weaved out from his lips, as if the mask itself spoke through him. 'We're just here to win compa. If you had the same attitude, you wouldn't be so worried.' The crowd lashed back in Bragi's favor. Undeterred, the masked man nodded while rolling his shoulders and cracking his neck. 'Aight bro, I see you maddogging me con esos little ojitos. Why don't we do una apuesta? Winner cuts the loser's hair. That pelo rubio is as good as mine!' 'Ay, qué manera of creep wants hair?!' Pan gagged dramatically. 'The same kind that's about to lose his own! Mira ese!' Bragi tore fleet fingers down the neck of his freshly requisitioned guitar, lashing electric licks out from the steel strings. The muses furiously followed Bragi's manic tempo that took over the thrashing ensemble and the crowds gyrating glee. Bragi could feel that he wasn't the only one overcome by the strange power imbued by the masks. They all seemed to flow in synchronicity, instinctively knowing which note would harmonize with the next. Their performance paralleled a battle royale of acrobatic arpeggios tag-teaming into choral combos. While the others lost themselves enwrapped in the rhythm, Bragi and Xin managed to stay semi-lucid to scan the crowd for their offending elf. Cellphone screens flashed and flickered at the ends of swaying arms. Combined with the stage lights, it was impossible for Bragi to discern anything from amidst the strobing glare. Xin's heightened vampiric senses suffered no such difficulties. She even gave Bragi a reassuring look that spoke volumes without a word. Bragi could feel her crawl through his thoughts to point out an unassuming shadowy corner with her eyes. Through a strained squint Bragi could barely make out the red light of a digital recorder protruding from the throng. Bragi leapt off the stage, surfing across the roiling crowd toward the fraudulent fae. Seeing Bragi, the elf started to scramble for the exit. The rival lucha band frothed lividly from the wings of the stage with their cut ponytails in hand, already having resigned themselves to Bragi and the Muse's exemplary performance. 'So it's like that huh? Upstage us but then try to leave before collecting your prize? That's some mad disrespect ese!' Bragi ignored the impromptu rivals, as he was exclusively fixated on the escaping elf weaving through the swirling mass. Just as the elf was about to reach the door, Leif stepped out from the corner and blocked her way. She frantically twirled about face, only to see Bragi emerge to close off her path. 'Ah don thank ye ganne git oot ah dis wan lassie. Ow bout wee guise ye whatever daes paein youse far de ballad auhn ah only brek alf yer bons?' Leif cracked his knuckles gleefully, but the elf only gave him an unsettling smirk. The elf whipped out an enchanted stone and quickly scribbled a circle into the air. A portal cut through reality, spilling out snow and frigid air from its mouth. She gave a solemn nod as she slipped through. 'Never pay full price!' The portal squeezed shut behind her, leaving Bragi and Leif to claw at the emptiness. 'Ach, dat cheeky bint guise us da slip! Wat noo?' 'I caught a the distance: stairs. Giant stairs.That can only be one place: Jotunheim. The land of giants.' A slow clap and a booming voice shook them from behind. 'Yes, Yes! Brilliant!'

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