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El Gran Felipe  

Preserving and reinventing Mexican Wrestling in Xochimilco during the pandemic

Emilio Espejel takes us to the discovery of a precious tradition, that of Mexican Wrestling. A colorful microcosm, sadly obliged to fade during this pandemic. Thanks to 3 brothers, however, this sporting liturgy continues to live in Mexico City.

Good vision.

The 3 brothers talk on their couch inside their home in Xochimilco, Mexico, November 2020

El Gran Felipe Jr. 19 prepares the ring for the afternoon fight in la chinampa, Xochimilco, Mexico

Faced with the crisis that is being experienced in the sports and tourism industries, due to the adverse effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, young Mexican fighters have reinvented ways to continue providing shows by mounting fighting gangs in the chinampas of Xochimilco.

A chinampa, also known as a floating garden, is a small area built into a lake by overlapping layers of stone, reeds, and soil, in which vegetables and flowers are grown. In ancient times, it was the main cultivation system of the lake area of the Valley of Mexico, although today this agricultural practice is only used in some places, such as Xochimilco. 

During the pandemic, 3 brothers had the idea of offering fighting shows via YouTube, in the fertile land that their father inherited them, giving an alternative of entertainment to people who were confined at home. In that period of time, the intention was to help other fighters to have a little economic sustenance during the crisis, asking for donations during the broadcasts. The brothers are playing an important role in revitalizing Mexican wrestling by saving the tradition of local wrestling, after the extinction of the arena in Xochimilco 10 years ago.

They’re pioneering a new form of figthting that has a place in the traditional chinampas. Their objective is to continue putting on more complex and captivating shows that continue to demonstrate the importance of reinventing local customs and ancestral traditions, as well as the magnificence of staging Lucha Libre in the floating fields of Xochimilco.

Venom 48, during a day of the event in Chinampa Luchas, Xochimilco, Mexico

Galactus (1998-2020)

Galactus, 23, Rey Halcon JR. 22 and Shere, 26 and Gran Felipe JR, 19. during their training in la Chinampa, Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

Rey Optimus 23 years old and his partner Evelin, 19, pose for a portrait moments after the wrestling show at la chinampa in xochimilco, Mexico

Sol Mirrey 15 years of age, poses for a portrait at the end of his fight in the chinampas

Sol Mirrey 15 years of age, during his wrestling show in la chinampa, The wrestlers face off in the chinampas as a new alternative show due to (covid – 19), Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

El Gran Felipe’s Jr. brother, Mr.Jerry during his wrestling show in la chinampa, The wrestlers face off in the chinampas as a new alternative show due to (covid – 19) Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

Wrestlers face off in the chinampas as a new alternative show due to (covid – 19) Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

Tempo 21 years poses for a portrait after his performance in the chinampas as a new alternative show due to (covid – 19) Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

Mr. Jerry, 24 years poses for a portrait after his performance in the chinampas as a new alternative show due to (covid – 19) Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

El Gran Felipe Jr. during a night training at la chinampa Xochimilco, Mexico, 2020

El Gran Felipe Jr. kisses his date in, Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

The mask of El gran Felipe is displayed on a terminator toy head inside the family home, in Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

A trophy from the Arena Olivares championship next to the portrait of Gran Felipe is displayed on tablecloths, in Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

El Gran Felipe Jr. prepares to go to work in Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

Mr. Jerry, 24 (L), and Ciclonico 25 (R) sit next to the marigold flower that they harvest to sell in season during their way to the chinampa Xochimilco, Mexico 2020

To Galactus (who fought between 1998-2020) and everyone who fought until last year.

Credits

Emilio Espejel

IG @emilio_espejel
emilioespejel.com

March 22, 2021

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