Wrestlers square off in campus ring

By Analy Garcia

LOGOS STAFF WRITER

Lucha libres grappled in Ann Barshop Natatorium’s parking lot Wednesday, Sept. 20, to kick off Campus Activities Board events this fall – this one supporting Hispanic Heritage Month.

The event, La Lucha, featured masked wrestlers who kept the audience seated around the ring engaged by interacting with the crowd and keeping up with their character’s persona.

Luis Bazan, owner of Texas Wolverine All-Stars gym, served as emcee throughout the night and taunted both the wrestlers and referees to get reactions – usually laughs, some cheers and boos — from the audience.

In between the four matches, CAB leaders and volunteers went into the ring and threw out T-shirts, featuring UIW’s own luchador, El Cardenal (The Cardinal), to the crowd, which feasted on a nacho bar and drank aguas frescas. Audience members also got lucha pins. Lexi Pedregon, CAB president, said she started the planning process for La Lucha in the summer, working with the Texas Wolverine All-Stars gym and Flavours by Sodexo, UIW’s caterer, to make this event possible.

Bazan said he has owned Texas Wolverine All-Stars gym more than 20 years and has more than 25 years of cheerleading experience, including cheering and choreography for the San Antonio Spurs Coyote Crew.

His company coordinates different types of wrestling performances based on their audience and offers cheer, dance, and fitness classes alongside their wrestling classes for both men and women, Bazan said. “I honestly can’t remember what inspired me to start this,” Bazan said. “It was over 20 years ago. I think people just wanted something fun to do and here we are. As you can see I have a great group of people to help me out.”

Bazan brought enough wrestlers to hold four, one-on-one matches that ran three rounds each before a winner was declared. The wrestlers kept the audience engaged by interacting with the crowd and keeping up with their character’s persona.

The final match featured wrestlers El Volcanico and Veneno Verde. El Volcanico previously held the title of champion but lost to the challenger at UIW. After losing the title, El Volcanico’s attitude and comments caused some students to begin singing “Cielito Lindo” whose lyrics can be translated to “Sing and don’t cry.”

Some students hung around after the main event to take photos and speak with the new champ.

Martin Escobar said he came to the event after learning about it through his sister who attends UIW. “She told us to come because my grandma likes lucha libre,” Escobar said, adding he hopes to attend other events at UIW. And that’s just fine with CAB’s Pedregon.

“We always hope that we have a big attendance at our events because we put this on for students here on campus,” Pedregon said. “It is free for them to enjoy and we always just hope we have a good turnout.”

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