Lucha Libre fighter shows off bite scars
Whilst lurking around the parking lot of Arena Mexico waiting for the press pass that we've been promised, NewCorrespondent noticed that sitting around chatting to the attendant was Ringo Mendoza, a well known Lucha Libre fighter. At the ripe old age of around sixty, he is still getting in the ring, and also teaches at the Lucha school.
We HAD to speak to him, and he was only too happy to talk. Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs – there’s not much light in underground parking lots.
Click here for the roar of the Lucha Crowd and here for a sense of what it’s like.
Ringo Mendoza RG
RM: My name is Genaro Jacobo Contreras, but in the world of the spectacular Lucha Libre, for 39 years of professional fighting and 8 years of amateur fighting, I’ve always used the name Ringo Mendoza – here in Mexico, as well as Japan, Spain, and France. I’ve always been Ringo Mendoza.
NC: How many championships have you won?
RM: I started by winning a Middleweight championship in the West of the country, afterwards I returned to go to Guadalajara and I won the next stage up, but not quite the heavyweight. After four or five years I went up a category and won the worldwide middleweight championship, the world championship for the next stage up, and after that the world doubles championship, the national trio championship and the world championship for the NWA [US tournament], and the world championship of the Lucha Libre Council. In total, I’ve been fighting in world championships for 28 years.
NC: How many times have you shaved the heads of other fighters? [when a fighter wins in the Lucha Libre, he takes the ‘caballera’ of his opponent, meaning he shaves the head of the man he has beaten] RM: In 39 years of fighting I’ve done it more than 80 times.
NC: And how many masks have you taken? [It is also common for the winner to damask his opponent if he is victorious].
RM: Masks? Only one, from the Texas Ranger, which I got here in Arena Mexico. After I won it from the Texas Ranger the Dog Aguayo [another fighter] was annoyed with me and he and I faced each other in a fight, and here in the Arena Mexico I shaved the head of Dog Aguayo.
NC: What are your most important victories?
RM: The Dog Aguayo, El Faraon, Sangre Chicana, Tony Salazar, Rubi Rubalcaba, el Angel Blanco (padre), Fabuloso Blondie, El Scorpio, Masacre, MS 1, Los Misioneros de la Muerte.
NC: What do you think of the lucha libre now compared to ten years ago?
RM: The Lucha has to be made up of set moves and responses, the techniques – if you make a move he makes another. The Lucha is never going to stop being so, if you watch the films of the Greeks, in these films you can see clearly how they use moves of the fight, what’s more is they use a lot of oil on the body so they can’t get a hold of each other.
Actually, the Lucha has changed a lot because there are many jumps now, they fight in the air, everything is going to evolve but the true Lucha Libre will never be lost – the moves and the responding moves.
NC: Why did you want to be a fighter when you were young?
RM: I didn’t want to be a fighter but my parents separated when I was five or six years old, and so I had to sell newspapers, load baskets, sell pens and ice-cream, shine shoes. During this time I met my teacher, Diablo Velazco – the teacher of the Mil Mascaras (thousand masks), de Alfonso Dantes, de Franco Colombo, del Faraon, del Solitario, del Satanico, de Alberto Munoz, de Atlantis, and many fighters from the school in Guadalajara. He passed on his teachings to me and I inherited all of his knowledge – all the movements and responses.
I’m not angry with the new fighters that do a lot of acrobatics – at the moment that’s the fashion. When that passes they’ll come to feel that – at the moment they can do those jumps but eventually they’ll hurt themselves and then they can’t do it – because of that the fighters don’t last as long as me – I’ve been a professional for 39 years.
NC: Can you show us the scars that you have on your head?
RM: Yes of course – these are bites from other fighters.