Lucha Libre USA Mexican Wrestling Tour Grapples With Controversy
If everything goes well for RJ Brewer on Friday night, an HP Pavilion crowd will boo him senseless. His job is to antagonize the mostly Latino audience during the pro wrestling tour known as Lucha Libre USA.
Among his hobbies, Brewer lists volunteering for the U.S. Border Patrol with a pit bull named Visa. During a recent stop in San Jose, he vowed again to unmask the tour’s traditional Mexican heroes taking away American jobs.
“I’ve asked countless times for these guys to take their masks off, show me their passports, show me their IDs, show me that they’re legal to work here in the United States,” Brewer thundered during a promotional news conference.
Brewer’s political rhetoric is good for business:
Promoters expect to sell out all 8,000 seats this week.
It also tests the bounds of satire. Lucha Libre USA organizers, as well as the tour’s fans, say that an over-the-top villain is as old as pro wrestling itself. But immigration activists wonder if this particular punch line goes too far.
“It is absolutely detestable that they would condone repeating such vile hate just to improve ratings and ‘get a reaction’ from the audience,” said Laura Rivas, a spokeswoman for the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights based in Oakland.
By design, Lucha Libre USA is a culture clash, combining the colorful acrobatics of lucha libre, Spanish for “freestyle wrestling,” with the English-speaking bravado of American pro