Winter 2015 - page 25

After her matches, Avispa is inevitably
mobbed by adoring young fans, the lion’s
share of them girls visibly inspired by her per-
formance. A female luchador is uncommon
in Mexico and especially so in the U.S.
Back at the Volcánica gym, Ave Rex and
La Avispa are running drills at breakneck
speed, repeatedly crashing down flat-backed,
arms splayed wide to the mat. Their impact
telegraphs vibrations into the surrounding
concrete floor and walls. The pair rotate and
begin to stalk each other across the ring. They
cross arms and lock wrists, each straining
against the other, seeking leverage. Just as
Rex is gaining the advantage over Avispa, José
“Profe” Gómez ducks through the ropes into
the ring, tapping La Avispa’s shoulder lightly.
El Profe takes Avispa’s place in the wristlock,
effortlessly weaving hands and arms with Rex
as he steps into the hold. Gómez first started
training as a luchador in Mexico when he
was just 16. His 30-year career in the ring
has taken him all over Mexico and Latin
America and now to the Pacific Northwest.
He operates Lucha Libre Volcánica with his
wife, María, and he is the promotion’s senior
instructor. His younger brother and son are
both experienced luchadores with Volcánica
as well.
Profe’s hands begin to shake, presum-
ably straining against the phantom pressure
applied by Ave Rex. The smallest details
matter. If the audience believes it, then it can
be real. Gómez deftly evaporates from the
hold as Avispa steps back in to lock up with
Rex again. The struggle between luchador and
luchadora resumes; I keep the camera rolling.
My vantage between the ropes is more or
less the same as it was those many years ago
in Mexico. It is the distance between myself
and the luchadores inside the ring that has
changed. We are much closer now.
went to press, Erich was filming Ave
Rex in the cradle of lucha libre, Mexico City.
You can learn more about Erich’s documentary
project at Follow the action at
In the field house at Lucha de Sound last year, alums Ave Rex and La Avispa.
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