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Nation/World

May 5, 2014

LA stage show fuses Mexican wrestling, burlesque

LOS ANGELES — It’s hard to say which zany circus-like act wins over the audience at Lucha VaVoom.

Perhaps it’s the transvestite wrestler who swan-dives from a third-story balcony to pin his opponent to the concrete floor, a move equal parts stunning and stupid. It could be the two female high-wire acrobats who strip nearly naked and spin high above the arena secured only by scarves. Or maybe it’s the three-person masked wrestling tag teams each composed of a man, a woman and a dwarf.

Whatever it is, there’s little question that the esoteric hybrid of American burlesque and Mexican wrestling is an outrageous hit that could be coming to a theater near you.

“I’ve been a wrestling fan, big-time, since the days of Hulk Hogan, but when I saw this — there’s nothing like this,” said Adalid Sanchez, an elementary-school teacher who arrived an hour early to a recent show to stake out a prime spot in the second row of the VIP section.

New York has Broadway. Las Vegas has Cirque du Soleil. Mexico has Lucha Libre wrestling. Only Los Angeles mashes the whole thing together, then leavens it with ample doses of loud, blaring rock music, flashing lights, a celebrity guest performer and a cadre of burlesque-style comedians, said Diane Christensen of Los Angeles.

“This is everything about LA that you love,” said Christensen, adding, “People get dressed up to come here.”

Some people maybe, but not Christensen. At the moment, the Lucha VaVoom ring girl is wearing a pushup bra, a short slip, thong and pretty much nothing else, having just finished a night of escorting big, beefy wrestlers into the ring and posing for photos with fans.

“What do I do when I’m not ring-girling?” she asked with a giggle. “I’m in film production.”

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