We've always romanticised what our first Lucha Libre would be like. Running from both gangsters and the law through the mean streets of Mexico City, we duck down a back street only to discover the most magnificent fighting arena imaginable. We quickly buy our ticket to become lost in the crowd, adrenaline still coursing through our veins from our crafty escape. Wrestlers fly through the air and crash down to the mat in an epic battle of good versus evil that makes what we just fled from outside seem positively boring by comparison. We never thought the luchadores would come to London and we'd be able to see their thrilling theatrics by simply walking up to the Roundhouse on a Friday night. No chases, no near-death experiences, no one even asked us to buy skunk. The cashpoint at Sainsbury's was out of money, but that was about it in terms of pre-event excitement.
Inside the Roundhouse it was a different story altogether. The venue we associate so closely with music, where we had seen My Bloody Valentine just a fortnight before, had been transformed into The Luchadrome. A proper wrestling ring sat in the centre of the giant room, with fans crowded all around. The bar's Kronenburg taps had disappeared, to be happily replaced by frozen margarita dispensers, shots of tequila and bottles of Sol. Music sometimes still tore through the space, but only to introduce one of the larger-than-life superheroes of the ring.
Each of the four bouts featured some variation of heroic técnicos fighting against villainous rudos. The first match showed just how unfairly the rudos played as two towering baddies took on two mini técnicos, each only measuring approximately 135 centimetres high. Despite their diminuitive stature, Mascarita Sagrada and Octagoncito fought valiantly through three rounds, ultimately emerging victorious to the congratulatory screams of their fans.
Without a doubt, the next bout was our favourite of the entire night. It might have been its placement at just the right time between after-work exhaustion and our optimal margarita buzz, but more likely it had everything to do with Cassandro. A master of the Exotico style, Cassandro truly deserves the title "The Queen of the Ring". Strutting into the Luchadrome with a feathery headress and a sparkling costume, this luchador proved that you don't need a mask when you have mascara. Cassandro was much more than his make-up, however, as his high-flying leaps and somersaults stunned his opponents through much of their three rounds. Unfortunately Cassandro's partner, Black Fish, was not so on top of his game this time, and the team of El Hijo del Solitario and Magno won the bout.
Following a brief interval and a sadly unimpressive match between Negro Navarro and Solar, it was time for the main event. Three técnicos stood up against three rudos in the most specatuclar fight on the bill. Each side displayed maximum star power as the rudos were led by the legendary Blue Demon Jr. and the técnicos put forth the equally famous El Hijo del Santo. Six wrestlers in a ring quickly turns into a blur of body parts, so we were thankful that the action frequently spilled into the audience. Although at first it seemed as though the rudos had won, their wicked cheating ways had not gone unnoticed by the referee. Their prompt disqualification left the técnicos technically victorious, ensuring that the audience could go home with their faith restored in the ability of good to triumph over evil.
Despite how many brilliant gigs we've seen there, Lucha Libre London was possiby the most fun we've ever had at the Roundhouse. The audience was packed wih Lucha Libre enthusiasts, many wearing masks and some in full costume. The margaritas were of exceptional quality and a bit of a bargain at £3, considering how much you could taste the tequila. The wrestlers were obviously thrilled to be taking their talent this far abroad, as even their struggles in the ring seemed good-natured and fun. Whilst you should rush down to the Roundhouse this weekend to catch it before Sunday's final show, we hope these luchadores loved London enough to return before too long.
Lucha Libre London at the Roundhouse continues from 5–6 July 08 at 7 p.m. each night. Cost: £20 standing, £30–£75 seated.