Can the world ever get enough Lucha Libre? We don’t think so. Apparently that sentiment is shared with filmmakers Ian Markiewicz and Alex Hammond, who have put together an amazing new documentary about Latin American wrestling. Now screening in indie theaters and on VOD, their Lucha Mexico film goes way beyond the ring with intimate profiles of stars like Jose “Shocker” Soria, Jon “Strongman” Andersen and Blue Demon Jr. We were lucky enough to catch some time with both Shocker and Strongman, who proudly praised this no-holds-barred expose.
Now for the Lucha-impaired, it’s important to square away a few fundamentals. First, these wrestlers are the equivalent of Marvel superheroes in Mexico. For nearly a century, they’ve donned colorful masks and dominated pop culture with posters, action figures and TV shows. Acrobatics play a huge role in the experience, but (as the movie vividly illustrates) so do scandals and injuries. Both Shocker and Strongman are centerpieces of the film; coming from different countries, but uniting in their love of fist-pumping showmanship.
‘LL: Jon, you’re an English speaker from San Francisco. Can you explain how you became a legitimate Lucha wrestler?
Jon: For starters, I never thought my career would lead me here. As a youngster I was influenced by anyone with a strong presence, not just American wrestlers. Eventually I went pro, and began wrestling all over the world. Then in 2009, I got the opportunity to partner with Shocker. After that I was hooked [on Lucha]. In Mexico, you can’t even describe what the phenomenon is like. It’s like football is America. It’s amazing and it’s completely enriched my life as a professional wrestler.
‘LL: What about you, Shocker? Can you share a bit of your backstory?
Shocker: Well my dad was a wrestler in Mexico and I’ve always been a really big fan. Also, growing up, the movies were a big influence on me. People like El Santo were like heroes to me. I honestly feel like Mexico is the only country where we have real superheroes that live around us. They fight monsters, vampires, aliens…It’s amazing.