London, England - A group of Mexican professional wrestlers' latest opponent is the deadly coronavirus as they team up to try to defeat the pandemic by promoting safety measures.
Lucha Libre, Mexico's style of wrestling that utilizes masked and colorful competitors, is a staple of the country's rich culture but was not immune from the economic effects of the virus. Wrestling was forced to shut down due to the government-imposed restrictions that closed the arenas where the wrestlers entertained families and tourists alike.
Last week, a team of six luchadores took to the streets of Mexico City's Xochimilco borough to led a campaign called 'Put a face mask on or we'll put a move on you' to stop the spread of the virus.
The drive proved to be a hit as Ciclónico, Gran Felipe Jr., Hip Hop Man, Mr Jerry, Rey Optimus and Minus toured a food market in El Rosario, which is surrounded by a number of neighborhoods that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
The wrestlers handed out 150 face masks, gave tips on how to wear them correctly and treated residents to a few impromptu lucha libre matches on the streets.
"We are here to raise awareness among citizens, it is very important to follow health measures until everything is safe," Ciclónico told El Universal.
So far this year, close to 60 wrestlers, out of the business' 2,000 to 3,000, have died, far more than in a normal year. Estrella Blanca Jr., Blackman II, Golden Bull and Matematico II all died after they were infected with the virus.
The COVID-10 outbreak affected the checkbooks of the wrestlers who volunteered in El Rosario and hundreds of others who have been out of work as arenas remain closed because they can't hold the thousands of fans that would normally pack them on weekends. Ciclónico and his two brothers turned to selling flowers as a way to support themselves and their families.
But since early August, the wrestlers accepted an idea pitched by Ciclónico, and are participating in a wrestling card held on Saturdays on the pier at the Xochimilco district's famous 'floating gardens.'
The matches are also streamed online for a small fee of $1.35, and some of the money that they have generated was put towards the purchase of the masks that were donated during their main event bout to topple the silent coronavirus beast.
'It is about raising awareness and encouraging people to continue to stay at home as much as possible. And, if its necessary to go out, that they wear face masks to avoid a greater number of infections,' Gran Felipe Jr told Milenio.