The history of the lucha libre mask traces back hundreds of years

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Luchadores reveal why the mask is synonymous with lucha libre (ABC Television Stations)

Lucha libre has remained popular since the 1800s due to its array of colors, pageantry, and of course, the vibrant and creative lucha mask.

The appeal of the Mexican wrestling sport has spread across the border and into local arenas throughout the United States in large part, because of the draw that the lucha mask has had on audiences.

"The mask is the most important accessory in lucha libre because the mask makes a warrior," said Magno, a professional luchador for over twenty years.

Luchadores place such a premium on their in-ring personas that they refuse to reveal their identities whenever they appear at an event. The mask draws from Mexican history in which Mayans and Aztecs warriors would complete for superiority.

"They used to paint their faces to symbolize the warrior because they used to fight against each other to become the god, to become the top one," according to Magno.

If becoming the top luchador brings fame then losing your mask means drifting into obscurity. According to Magno, a mask-vs-mask match in lucha libre means whoever wins will catapult into the top ranks of the sport while the loser may never be heard from again.

Magno performs all throughout Mexico and the United States. Most recently, he competed at Lucha VaVoom, a fusion show of lucha libre and burlesque.

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