Lucha Libre Finds New Home in Toronto

House of Glory brought the high-flying Mexican Lucha Libre style of professional wrestling to Toronto this past weekend, putting on a successful and entertaining show.

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Jul 16 2015, 3:21pm

Photo by Robb Vanderstoel

This story originally appeared on VICE Sports Canada.

Lucha T.O. and New York-based House of Glory brought the high-flying Mexican Lucha Libre style of professional wrestling back to the Greater Toronto Area this past weekend.

Headlined by world renowned luchador Lince Dorado versus House of Glory co-founder and three-time TNA X-division champion The Amazing Red—and featuring House of Glory world heavyweight champion Brian XL defending his title for the first time in Canada against Ontario favourite Louis Lyndon—Lucha T.O. Chapter 1 was the first step in what promoter Jordan Matthew Marques plans to be a brand that will deliver "different types of events, merchandise, and rental opportunities."

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"We are starting off with live Lucha Libre events but eventually we want to dip our feet in other avenues such as Lucha Libre improv comedy shows, our own Masked Republic licensed T-shirt line, and provide other companies with graphic design work," he said.

Lucha T.O. is the brainchild of Marcus Marquez and Rob Fuego, founders of Lucha T.O.'s predecessor Squared Circle Live, both of whom have extensive ties to the Mexican professional wrestling world. El Fuego has competed in CMLL, one of the biggest companies in Mexico and the oldest active professional wrestling promotion in the world, while Marquez has been in the ring with superstar luchadors like El Hijo del Santo, Blue Demon Jr., and WWE's own Sin Cara (aka Incognito). Fuego is no stranger to organizing Lucha Libre events, as he was involved in the free Lucha Libre show that was part of the Mexico: Beyond Your Expectations festival at Toronto Harbourfront in 2009.

Wrestler Smiley unleashes a 450 Splash on all three of his team's opponents. —Photo by Robb Vanderstoel

Lucha T.O.'s partnership with House of Glory began last year when Amazing Red challenged Squared Circle Live and Ring of Honor star Michael Elgin in the main event of Squared Circle's Epic Encounters. Red says Elgin had wanted to work with him and they had their first match in New York at House of Glory. Squared Circle later contacted House of Glory and they had a chance to bring the match north of the border, where Brian XL, the other HOG co-founder, says they surpassed the original match. The relationship continued when HOG challenged Squared Circle Live at its final live event last December.

Red and XL say the partnership with Lucha T.O. is a natural fit, as the Lucha is so similar to the cruiserweight/X-Division that they both excel. They also teach the to their students at the House of Glory wrestling school. Both Red and XL were trained in House of Hardcore by the legendary Mikey Whipwreck, who inspired them to follow their wrestling dreams even though they don't fit the muscle-bound giant image that professional wrestlers have had in the past.

Amazing Red dives over the top rope to take out Lince Dorado. —Photo by Robb Vanderstoel

Marques says every wrestler on the Lucha T.O. roster has been trained in the Lucha Libre style—even 320-pounder John Greed, who along with his Overdogs partner Sebastian Suave defeated House of Glory's Anthony Gangone and Marq Quin on Sunday. The Overdogs were themselves trained by El Fuego in the Lucha style.

"When we were coming up, [Greed] would always volunteer for Lucha, high-flying stuff," Suave says. "A lot of times the cruiser guys don't want to do power moves and big guys don't want to fly, but he was always up for it."

John Greed with a Five-Ton Frog Splash off the top rope on Marq Quin. —Photo by Robb Vanderstoel

Greed says he will never say no and has to try everything once. "That's how I live my whole life, whether it's jumping out of an airplane or off the top rope."

Player Uno and Player Dos of Canada's best known Lucha tag team the Super Smash Bros., were excited to hear of Squared Circle Live's return as Lucha T.O., saying that it offers an alternative to what's already out there and is of the Lucha that Squared Circle was once known for. They don't claim to have an advantage, as their has been evolving, and even though they have a good Lucha basis because of their time in Chikara wrestling in Philadelphia, Lucha is more advanced now.

The Lucha Bunnies with host and ring announcer Dave Martin. —Photo by Robb Vanderstoel

Dorado, the main event star whose name translates as "the Golden Lynx", feels the same way. Growing up in a poor neighbourhood in Puerto Rico, Dorado says Lucha was his way out. In his town they could only access four television stations and two of them were wrestling channels that only broadcast Mexican and Puerto Rican Lucha Libre. It was in first grade that he first experienced American wrestling when his uncle brought him a tape of WWF Survivor Series 1994 headlined by Undertaker versus Yokozuna in a casket match.

Lince Dorado repping his Lucha World Order merchandise. —Photo by Robb Vanderstoel

Dorado says that "the Lucha boom is prospering", and when Lucha T.O. contacted him he felt like he needed to be a part of it. He'll be back in Canada for Chapter 2 in August.

"What's on TV is changing, and change is good. It's colourful. You know what they are. You can relate to the characters," he says.