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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

Mondo Lucha Returns to Turner Hall

More Brawn, Beauties and Bands

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Dysfunction, one of Mondo Lucha’s villains, jumps the ropes of the ring, runs to a corner post and climbs up it.

Esta numero UNO!” He jeers, sticking an index finger up in the air. The audience at Mexican Fiesta boos loudly. He waves a hand at them. “QUIETE!” He demands.

Then Dysfunction’s clean cut opponent, Isaias Valazquez, enters the ring. The audience instantly knows he is the hero and cheers wildly. The two engage in a battle royale, one that follows all the drama Mondo Lucha fans would expect—Valazquez gets in some solid hits, thumping Dysfunction across the chest with his forearm.

“No! No mas!” Dysfunction shouts. But then he gets the upper hand and for a tense short while, it looks like the hero is doomed.

“I’m just too good and you all KNOW IT!” Dysfunction shouts at the audience, and when they boo, he responds “SHADDUP!” Valazquez rebounds and beats down Dysfunction, who lies crumpled in the ring as Valazquez basks in the audience’s cheers.

The Mexican Fiesta bouts, which took place Aug. 23 and 24, were more or less a family friendly dress rehearsal for Mondo Lucha’s big show on Sept. 5, at the Turner Hall Ballroom.

Mondo Lucha was founded in 2008 by Andrew Gorzalski and Jay Gilkay, who quickly perfected the show’s formula of brawn, beauties and bands. Based the Mexican wrestling style known as lucha libre, the luchador wrestlers often have colorful masks and identities. One Mondo Lucha regular, the towering K.G.Beast, wears a red leotard with a red and gold luchador mask emblazoned with the hammer and sickle. Between wrestling rounds, Turner Hall fills with wolf whistles as various burlesque performers dance and shed clothing.

Gorzalski says the burlesque stars for this show include Mondo Lucha mainstay Lola Van Ella as well as Sweet Pea (the Burlesque Hall of Fame awarded her “most dazzling dancer,” 2013), and Musette, “the Mistress of Mischief.” Each Mondo Lucha also features a local band who entertains the crowd for intermissions from the action. Body Futures takes the stage this time around.

“They’re unapologetically rock n’ roll,” Gorzalski says. “Doesn’t the world need more of that?”

Mondo Lucha might seem like a testosterone fest, a parade of rock, sweaty biceps, and thong clad butt cheeks, but there’s a self-aware campiness that makes it more fun than that.

For example, one wrestler, Shockwave, is a break dancing robot. Another of Mondo Lucha’s favorite characters is El Chivas Blanco (“the White Goat”) a small but spry wrestler that wears a vinyl goat mask and sometimes a woman’s one-piece bathing suit. He often outwits his larger opponents by unleashing a series of Bugs Bunny style maneuvers on them.

All of this has led to a devoted following of Mondo Lucha fans, some who show up in their own luchador masks to cheer on their favorite wrestlers as they toss each other around (and sometimes out of) the ring.

“These fans never seem to end.” Gorzalski says. “And shouldn’t.”

Mondo Lucha takes place Sept. 5, at Turner Hall Ballroom. Doors open at 7 p.m.