High-Flying, Exuberant Fun from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque
New York, NY (September 14, 2011) – Over-the-top is an understatement when it comes to Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors, the high-spirited Mexican wrestling spectacular that marries exciting aerial maneuvers and extraordinary acrobatics with flamboyant characters and outlandish story lines. Beginning on October 1, Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors begins its second season of explosive battles—in and out of the ring—on MTV2 and MTV Tr3́s. The series is recorded before enthusiastic live audiences at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque in NM.
Almost a religion in Mexico, where it rivals soccer in attendance, lucha libre (free wrestling) boasts a 75-year history of colorful, fun-for-the-whole family entertainment. The tradition of wearing masks harkens back to the Aztecs and the designs are meant to evoke the power of animals, gods and other ancient heroes. The “luchador” or wrestler takes on that identity and the mask is so sacred that to wager and lose one’s mask in a battle is considered a disgrace.
But make no mistake, this is not a sport frozen in time. Having already won the loyalty of generations of Latino fans of all ages, Lucha Libre USA is conquering American audiences—particularly the sought after young male 12-34 demographics—with its unique spin on the art of wrestling and the outsized personalities of its Luchastars.
Beyond the mystique of the mask, lucha stands apart from American pro wrestling with its strict code of honor, the six-sided ring and its own set of tag-team rules. Unlike their American pro wrestling counterparts, luchadors rely on their speed and agility not just power to subdue opponents. Using the ropes, luchadors catapult themselves through the air and stop their opponents with a succession of rapid-fire moves and complex submission holds.
“Lucha is like an action telenovela,” says Lucha Libre USA’s CEO Steven Ship. With over 50 million Hispanics living in the US and a huge contingent of American wrestling fans itching for something to reinvigorate the sport, he sees a bright future for this English language version of this global phenomenon.
To capture that audience, Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors has brought in a well-known, world-class roster of Mexican and U.S .wrestlers, like Lizmark Jr. Super Nova, Marco Corleone, Shane Helms and Tinieblas Jr. They’ve also created some new larger-than-life characters, such as RJ Brewer, an Arizona patriot and supporter of the state’s anti-immigration bill SB 1070, and Tigresa Caliente, a woman of Amazonian proportions.
“Unlike other professional wrestling, our Luchastars come in all shapes, sizes and sexes,” Ship continues. “We have co-ed and trio tag teams and a mini-division of Luchastars under five feet. Outside the ring, we introduce compelling stories that can range from battles over a divorce to immigration issues, from money to morality. Inside those ropes, you’ll witness action you won’t see anywhere else. You have to be a trained athlete and in superb condition to perform these moves.”
“I can’t wait for pro wrestling fans to check out Masked Warriors,” says Corleone. “It’s really a much different product than U.S. fans are used to seeing. As someone who wrestled in the States for years, I can tell you that the lucha style is a lot more high-flying and thrilling than traditional pro wrestling. Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors is going to take the lucha experience to a whole new level.”
Ship has upped the production values for the series too, bringing in Craig Leathers to co-produce and direct the program. “Craig was the executive producer and director of WCW Nitro and is responsible for some of the highest grossing pay-per-view events in the industry,” he says.
Along with the television show, live tours and action figures available in stores like WalMart and Toys R’ Us and other mass merchants are powering the strong momentum for LLUSA. In addition, a new Lucha Libre USA app for iPhone and Android will allow fans to create and become their own Masked Warrior.
“With Lucha Libre USA,” Ship says, “we have created a distinctive fusion of American pop culture and a great Mexican sport, one that appeals equally to the Hispanic audience, the mainstream wrestling fan and the MTV2 viewer.”
About Lucha Libre USA
Lucha Libre USA’s mission is to introduce and promote Mexican pro wrestling to American audiences. In addition to producing live events throughout the United States, Lucha Libre USA has teamed up with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque, where it is currently filming the English-language television series Masked Warriors for MTV2 and Tr3s.
Available in approximately 80 million homes and with the highest concentration of males 12-24 and 12-34 on TV today, MTV2 is man’s best friend. Since its launch in 1996, the network has reflected the subversive interests and behaviors of young men with a compelling and diverse programming line-up inspired by ordinary guys who do extraordinary things. MTV2 is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom, one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. For more information, go to www.mtv2.com and www.mtvpress.com or follow us on Twitter @MTVPress.
About Tr3́s: MTV Música y Más
Tr3ś: MTV Música y Más is available in 7 million Hispanic TV households and 38 million total TV households, making it the most widely distributed TV network dedicated to serving today’s bicultural Latino youth. Tr3́s: MTV Música y Más’ programming is rooted in the fusion of American and Latino music, culture, lifestyle and language.