There are 195 countries in the world, each with its unique history and culture. The small but densely populated country of El Salvador is no different. Among the beautiful beaches, delicious food, and friendly people, you’ll also encounter a country deeply enriched in wrestling history with unbelievably wild tales!
El Salvador and Its Rich Wrestling History and Bright Future Ahead
After the success of an earlier article of mine entitled El Salvador Wrestling – Stories of Grit, Near-Death, and Triumph, where I talked to three of El Salvador’s finest ring gladiators about tales of perseverance, triumphs, and even near-death, I was excited to dig further into my country’s rich history and bright future in wrestling.
From a Lady Satanist who loves hardcore wrestling, an invincible black mummy, to the beloved mischievous deaf-mute wrestler who thrived in wrestling by being himself, these are the wrestlers who make wrestling in El Salvador special.
Silvia, born in El Salvador and known by her ring name La Satánica (Lady Satanist), permanently moved to Guatemala with her family in 2002. She has made quite a name for herself in the neighboring country, and is still going strong now approaching four decades of battling women and men inside the squared circle.
When she finally hangs up her boots, the self-proclaimed adorer of hardcore matches will have held championships, taken the masks from many vanquished opponents, but also accumulated a barrage of injuries throughout her unforgettable journey into lucha libre.
While in town for a couple of days, this veteran of many ring wars took in the sights and visited her family. She also made time to sit down with myself and José Guzmán of Arena Gladiadores, El Salvador’s premier wrestling promotion, at el Café de Don Pedro in El Salvador’s capital of San Salvador.
Upon arriving, I immediately noticed Silvia’s flaming red hair. She stood up, greeted me with a warm smile, and shook my hand.
It was a soft handshake like "the boys" generally used to greet each other. I sensed that this would feel more like a casual get-together amongst friends rather than a formal interview. So, I greeted José with a hug and then sat down.
Once comfortable, I called over the waiter and ordered a Pilsener, which is perfect for the nice weather we were experiencing, and we just started talking.
Below is only a small part of our lengthy conversation.
"I mostly wrestle with men," La Satánica began. "Women wrestlers, at least the ones I usually get, you got to hit them softer. But man, getting them in a Samoan drop and hearing them crunch when I fall backward with them feels so great!"
Since the early age of 14, Silvia remembers going to the local wrestling show and staring in amazement. The luchadors, sporting colorful costumes, entertained the crowd with their intricate moves.
Silvia visualized someday doing the same, promising to herself that somehow, someway, she’d learn to be a luchadora. What pushed her to strive for her goal was seeing lady wrestlers La Tigresa (from Puerto Rico), La Sicodélica, and Diane Von Hoffman.
"I used to love seeing the hair whips they’d do! That is a move I still like to do today," she admitted with a big smile across her face.
"I used to watch my dad wrestle here in El Salvador," remembers Silvia. "His debut was as Estrellita Del Sur when he was only 17 years old. Then as El Brujo and then as Médico Sr."
An evil doctor can always use a good nurse’s assistance, and that’s where a young Silvia came into play.
Her debut came in 1984 alongside her father, whose tag team partner was her brother, who called himself Medico Jr. This duo wreaked havoc as the infamous heel tandem Los Médicos Asesinos (The Killer Medics). Silvia began her wrestling career as their enfermera (nurse).
"We were known for wearing spotless clean all-white outfits, but my father also carried a sharp fork. Every night, my father sharpened that fork. He seemed to enjoy it very much. That weapon was his trademark, and he cut many heads open with that thing," Silvia recalls.
"Once, I remember I got punctured real bad with that fork. I was holding one of our opponents and my dad charged towards him with the sharpened object, but the guy slipped away, barely dodging the fork. My dad got me instead!"
I asked her if this was part of the plan, but she didn’t reply.
"I have those pictures at home in Guatemala," she maintained. "I was just shocked at all the blood that was pouring out. I was drenched."
El Salvador Wrestling Stories
Silvia and José were not short on wild stories from this small but densely populated Central American country. It holds a rich wrestling history filled with unbelievable tales rivaling any other country.
"I remember I was in a chain match once," recalls Silvia. "I got hit with it because it wrapped around my arm.
"At the time I was 17 years old and only in high school. When people saw the chain marks, the school principal called me into his office and wanted to know what had happened. The chain had left all kinds of different colors on my arm!"
"I started explaining to him that I was a sportswoman, an athlete and that I exercised with my dad. With a doubting look and half paying attention to my blatant lie, the principal asked me what sport I spoke of where people get hit with chains?
"I told him in a casual tone, ‘Professional wrestling.’
"’You’re a wrestler?!’ he shot back, now at full attention. He wanted to learn more.
"Still incredulous to it all, I began showing him ads from the paper with my dad and brother as Los Médicos Asesinos, and I was there as their nurse. I didn’t wear a mask, only the little nurse’s hat, so he immediately recognized me. We were all in white in Arena Santa Anita. We looked so cute!" [laughs]
But when the fans saw this heel tandem clad in white, they saw red and made sure those outfits didn’t stay unsoiled.
"I’ve had hot oil thrown on me, eggs, coffee… you name something that could mess up a white outfit, they threw it at us," Silvia said.
José added, "Everything thrown would create a muddy, disgusting slush on the floor. Any fancy outfit you planned on wearing to the ring, they’d mess it up. They’d even throw bleached water sometimes and went to the extremes of shooting the wrestlers like when Comanche Lima got shot in the a**! I was there for that."
"Oh, yeah, that’s right!" remembered Silvia as she now began feeling more relaxed in the conversation and about to order a Pilsener as well.
"And Ringo El Mercenario (from Puerto Rico), they even burned his motorcycle!" added José.
Both José and Silvia were laughing as if all that was normal behavior and nothing verging on criminal.
"People sure did get a little over-emotional with the wrestling! Especially when the one they were rooting for lost." Silvia assured.
"Yeah, Ringo was despised by the fans," José chimed in. "He was just leaving the arena, and when he got to his motorcycle, it was engulfed in flames! Just unbelievable stuff.
"Sometimes the fans would go so overboard, that some wrestlers who’d debut as heels, quickly wanted to turn técnico because it got too dangerous."
"They hated us heels," added Silvia.
Al Copetes, El Villano, Los Chicanos, and Two-Face were some of the most hated heels in the country. And, of course, Silvia’s dad, as part of the Médico Asesinos.
"Al Copetes would hit people with whatever he’d get his hands on. That guy was crazy, but for real." said Silvia.
It seems like the famed Arena Santa Anita that is constantly mentioned when talking about El Salvador’s wrestling scene was an arena only in name. Saying the building had its problems would be a grave understatement.
"Arena Santa Anita had a really bad roof and the canals where the water was supposed to drain were all clogged up, so there would be at least six inches of water around the ring and Al Copetes was thrown onto that. The fans loved it," said José.
"El Maldito (The Damned, or someone one who acts with malice) and El Brujo (The Witch-doctor) were real messed up too," he further recalled.
El Maldito had a perfect name because that’s what he was," offered Silvia.
"He didn’t have a full set of his teeth, and he’d ‘bite’ the técnico and people would yell at him, ‘What do you think you’re doing to him, a**hole? You don’t even have any teeth!'” recalled José.
Both Silvia and José laughed at that story. I admit I couldn’t contain myself either.
"And whatever happened to him?" asked Silvia.
"He died unfortunately," José answered.
After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, José continued.
"He used to cut his hair like Mr. T from the A-Team. He was crazy. He would take some insane bumps like taking a dropkick and going over the ropes and landing stomach first on the outside. Mind you, we never had padding."
"Yeah, right on the concrete floor," added Silvia, emphasizing how bad the conditions were when wrestling.
José continued, "El Maldito would smoke a big one too before going out to wrestle. I had him wrestle for me back in 2012 and he was almost in his sixties and he’d still smoke weed, just smaller than the ones he used to inhale when younger though."
"I never liked that smell, I’d ask my dad what that smell was and he’d calmly tell me that it was to get rid of the mosquitoes, and I used to believe him. I just didn’t know!" laughed Silvia when remembering how innocent childhood could be.
"Almost next to Arena Santa Anita, we had the Acelhuate River (a 40 km long mostly polluted body of water that goes through much of the city and 5% of the country), so it was common to have lots of mosquitoes," said José.
"You could see that river running right behind the bleachers. El Maldito would smoke back there and he’d say that he was making his mosquito friends a little loco."
We all laughed.
"In Arena Metro there was a little more order though," José clarified.
"They didn’t allow people to throw stuff. Arena El Salvador was a little calmer too. But Arena Santa Anita was out of control. It had a barbed wire and spiral razor-filled fence."
La Satánica – A Born Heel
Although La Satánica would never claim to be the most technically gifted lady wrestler, she is a born heel. She can hold her own in various wrestling styles and work with almost any opponent with her years of experience.
"I’ve always been a heel, except when I was the Fabulous Silvia where they had me working as a técnico (babyface).
"These name changes are based on whatever the promoter wants, but I’ve always enjoyed being a heel much more," said Silvia. "It’s a different style and technique. I always liked making eye contact with someone in the crowd. It’s like they say, ‘If looks could kill!’"
She continued, "The técnicos suffer more. They take more hits, and are traditionally the ones performing the high risk moves. We heels enjoy mistreating and hitting our opponents. And of course, the boos are what energizes us. We love it!"
Silvia unleashed an unexpected cackle as if imagining the boos still echoing in her mind, though temporarily silenced by the shutting down of wrestling shows during the lockdowns of 2020 and a lot of ’21.
Silvia always endeavors to prove that she belongs in the ring and is a devotee of hardcore-style matches and fearless in the ring.
"Ya en la lucha, de donde caiga." It means in English that you must take whatever cards are dealt with without shying away from what might happen in wrestling.
"Many of the women here in Guatemala have never gotten their head busted open. I tell them it’s no big deal. I’ve gotten busted open with bottles, forks, chains even with the ring post."
She showed me a scar over her eye and told me it was less than two years ago where she struck the ring corner working for Arena Gladiadores’ rival promotion in El Salvador.
Her other means of income consists of making wrestling masks, wrestling gear and assorted outfits, costumes, and various crafts.
"They tell me I’m a she-devil in the ring hitting even the men and could never imagine me nice and calm at home making my little crafts, little stuffed animals. It’s like the other me, but when I get dressed in the locker room getting ready for a match, I transform," said Silvia with a gleam in her eye.
She continued, "It’s like we say, my hands itch to be up there in the ring. As time goes by and I haven’t wrestled, I get anxious and feel an adrenaline rush. I just have this urge to massacre whoever gets in front of me. I especially enjoy clubbing the girls who think they’re so pretty, some fans love that. They clamor me to do it, and I’m supposed to be getting booed, but many like the heels."
"I got a bad reputation because I knocked one of Comanche Lima’s teeth out after I kicked him. That was an accident. I did break two ribs on another guy, and that was on purpose. But I do believe in equality. Male and women wrestlers should both be treated as equals without special treatment."
We continued listening to La Satánica as the server placed a couple more drinks on the table.
"I enjoy hazing or initiating the new guys. They know what’s coming. It wasn’t easy for me to get into wrestling, and it’s been very trying, so why am I going to make it easy on the new guys or girls? I’ve taken real bad hits too, but you get used to it. Your body and skin get harder.
"Sometimes when you hit someone who already has a calloused chest, for example, it hurts you more than them. I’ve had to wrestle with bad injuries. Once I wrestled with a fracture, didn’t even know it was that bad. I took a pain shot some numbing spray and a couple of swigs of alcohol and I was ready to go."
"I’d like to retire when reaching 40 years of wrestling in the ring. Right now (in March 2021), I’ve got 38 under my belt. I tell people like Hacha de España (wrestler and promoter in Guatemala) that I want to retire, and he always tells me that I still have gas in the tank. He says, ‘It’s not time for you to close the book on your career just yet, and the new girls still need you.’"
"I fractured my shoulder two years ago and recently seriously hurt my ribs. But since I’m such a stubborn gal, I carry on with wrestling!"
Even when not scheduled to appear on a card, she cheers on her eldest son Medico Jr. who works for Arena Guatemala-Mexico. She admits that it’s hard for her to watch because she wants to be in there too.
It seems like wrestling runs in the family and says her grandchild is also rapidly showing interest in the grappling game. Her daughter, though, is a different story. She never liked seeing her mom wrestle and always feared for her well-being, but she loves her dearly.
Silvia’s love for the mat game hasn’t subsided one bit after all these years. But when she retires, she’s thinking about having a final match in Guatemala and one in El Salvador. We all believe that it would be a fitting closure to a mat career spanning four decades.
She said that if I ever get in the ring, she’ll gladly give me a couple of good hard slaps on the chest to break me in the business. I guess I should feel honored and take up that offer!
La Momia Negra and Sordomudo Cruz
A couple of weekends after speaking with La Satánica, I had the privilege of speaking with two more unique El Salvador ring veterans.
One was Bobby Kings, who became La Momia Negra (The Black Mummy), and his friend, although deaf-mute, was able to have a very successful career in the squared circle and amongst fans is one of the most well-remembered and beloved wrestlers.
“A lot of the deficiencies seen in today’s wrestlers can be corrected with proper training. To be a good wrestler, you need to be a masochist and enjoy hitting and not mind getting hit,” explained Bobby Kings, aka La Momia Negra.
Roberto Reyes, known as Bobby Kings, is the long-time owner of a billiards hall that serves as a museum dedicated to El Salvador’s former wrestlers. In it, you will see many unique photographs of the men and women who’ve paved the way for today’s mat warriors.
Over the years, while San Salvador has gone through significant shifts and changes, the establishment refuses to leave behind the decades of the ’60s and ’70s, which are considered El Salvador’s “Golden Age” of professional wrestling.
The locale has seen better times and used to be the headquarters of the “El Salvador’s Society For Professional Wrestlers.” Now, it’s a spartan remnant of an era in wrestling that has yet to return.
“The top Mexican wrestling stars came through here in that span of time,” explains Bobby King. “Once that stopped in the late ’90s, wrestling here never recovered.
“The agreement was for them to train with our boys, and this helped us learn how to do things better. They used mostly the same holds but taught us how to improve them and present them better to the public.”
Another gentleman who accompanied me that afternoon has been friends with Bobby Kings for years. He went by the name Sordomudo Cruz and as his name indicates in Spanish, he is deaf-mute. But as told to me, this was never a hindrance for Sordomudo, who proved to be a fast learner and dedicated ring tactician.
Bobby Kings was invaluable in facilitating the communication with the beloved ex-wrestler. Still, Sordomudo was content allowing Bobby Kings to monopolize most of the conversation with me while he kicked back and relaxed.
Bobby Kings continued, "One of our finest trainers was Tony Jackson (Oscar Antonio). Sordomudo became one of his students because he didn’t have to repeat himself too often with him. Sordomudo’s work ethic was tremendous. He had a fine dropkick, horizontal to his opponent, both feet landing on his chest and with power!"
"I actually debuted against Sordomudo in 1997," chimed in José Guzman from Arena Gladiadores, who had once again accompanied me to speak with these ring veterans.
"In my first ever match, his dropkick made me fall out of the ring. Once outside, he did a tope over the top rope and onto me outside of the ring. I scuffed up my left arm on the concrete trying to catch him."
Sordomudo smiled and made a noise with his mouth. Then he motioned with his hands, imitating the magnificent tope that landed him on the outside atop of José.
"Tony Jackson is now bed-ridden though," said Bobby with a sadness in his voice as he put his hand over his eyes and pressed on them as if forcing back tears. "It is very sad, he was excellent."
I told him that I remember speaking with Tony Jackson’s son, who attended the previous Arena Gladiadores event that paid homage to several Salvadorian wrestling legends.
"I began training to become a wrestler in the early ‘70s," explained Bobby, "but while training, I destroyed my knee on a steel ring post. I was going to call myself Bobby Kings because my name is Roberto Reyes. But then, for six months, I was limping around.
"My teacher El Diablo Rojo told me that with my injury, I had to forget about being a técnico (babyface) because traditionally, they are more athletic and high flying than rudos (heels). I was devastated until he offered me a solution.
"‘You’re going to have to turn heel,’ he said, ‘but with your face and personality, people aren’t going to buy it. So, we’re going to make you into a monster, and call you La Momia Negra (Black Mummy). You’ll work slow and methodical and won’t take bumps. We’ll sell you as an invincible monster with your only weak spot being your spinal column.’"
This idea is a similar gimmick to La Momia (The Mummy) from the wildly popular Argentinean wrestling show created by Martin Karadagian called "Titanes En El Ring.” But the unruly Salvadorian crowds were more uninhibited when expressing their disdain towards the character than the children in the television studio where Titanes took place.
"Since I was like some sort of creature, I was allowed to attack my opponent any which way. But the fans began trying to break all sorts of things on my head: wooden boards, chairs, roof tiles, even glass bottles to see if I was indeed invincible!" recalled Bobby.
I asked Sordomudo Cruz if he remembered how the fans attacked La Momia Negra. He muttered something indiscernible but excitingly motioned at the glass beer bottle on the table and pantomimed like someone breaking it over his head.
"I had some protection for my head," offered Bobby Kings. "It was a helmet I wore, but those fans went nuts when they saw La Momia Negra. I paid some drunkards from the local neighborhood to be my pallbearers and carry me in a coffin on my way to the ring, but before my entrance, they decided to switch off the lights, and the bottles started flying.
"When they got hit, they fled in a panic, dropping me while I was inside the coffin! All I could do was hear all the commotion outside as the fans went bonkers. I just hoped nobody decided to open the coffin with me inside."
Bobby, José, and I laughed almost uncontrollably and this wacky story.
The Black Mummy and Sordomudo Go To Panama
Around 1977, while La Momia Negra was getting anything and everything tossed at him or broken over his head, a visit by a Japanese person who acted like an average fan just passing through helped La Momia Negra and Sordomudo get an opportunity to wrestle outside of El Salvador.
"He came to one of the shows," Bobby Kings remembers. "But he wasn’t just a fan; he was a wrestler who worked in Panama and a talent scout. He later went through Guatemala and Mexico.
"On his way back to Panama, he put in a good work for us and shared the footage he took with his camera. I got a call from the guy in charge over there named Sammy de la Guardia and he said that he wanted both Sordomudo and me to work in Panama."
Sordomudo quickly became agitated when reminded of the story because he believes that Bobby Kings’ unpreparedness allowed them to get paid too little in Panama and should’ve negotiated better.
"Well, he caught me by surprise," admitted Bobby Kings. "I told him how much we got paid in El Salvador and he was surprised at how paltry our salaries were. He naturally bumped it up some and paid our living expenses while in Panama for nine months, but looking back, we could’ve gotten more."
Sordomudo seconded him with that comment as if still imagining how much money they could’ve made. But since he became well-liked, he did get called over for a second time to Panama and stayed for six months.
“They told us that they needed to test us in the ring,” Bobby remembers. “I was nervous as heck because I wasn’t skilled like the others. But they told me not to worry because I’d been brought over for my character and not because of my wrestling prowess."
Mischiveous Sordomudo Cruz
"One of the head trainers was the Mexican luchador Solar," recalls Bobby.
"He was doing pretty well for himself and took us out for a night on the town. That night, he was wearing a new pair of pants he’d bought. They were a little loose on the sides, but they looked good on him.
"Anyways, while everybody was playing pool, he kept adjusting them because they were slipping. Sordomudo began imitating Solar and he wasn’t too happy about that, but we quickly calmed him down."
We all laughed at this story, but we were merely scraping the surface with Sordomudo Cruz.
José Guzman then added, "Sordomudo was a riot. I remember going to a small town out in the country where Sordomudo’s opponent liked grabbing his boot and biting it. That was like a part of his wildman gimmick. Well, Sordomudo got fed up and went outside of the ring.
"When his opponent wasn’t looking, he slyly stepped in cow manure. When he got back inside, Sordomudo acted nonchalantly and allowed his opponent to bite his boot once more. The guy’s eyes enlarged and he cried out in disgust. He started spitting all over and wiping his tongue with his forearm! He was almost puking."
He continued, "I once saw Sordomudo in an armbar, and his face was fixed towards the crowd while selling the hold. Well, his opponent tried to lead him to another part of the ring and began releasing the armbar, but Sordomudo put it back on himself.
"His opponent once more attempted loosening the hold, trying go into another sequence, but Sordomudo locked the armbar on himself once again. It went on like this for several minutes."
I listened intently because I had no idea where this story was going, and I thought I’d heard it all.
"He meant on staying in that armbar as long as possible because he was busy staring up a woman’s dress in the audience. He was smitten!"
José and I laughed uncontrollably at these unforgettable stories of Cruz. Bobby Kings was not too amused.
El Leñador – The Woodcutter
The mood changed when speaking about El Leñador (in English, this can mean a woodcutter and someone who uses rough tactics in a match).
When Panamanian promoter Sammy de la Guardia hired La Momia Negra and Sordomudo, El Leñador wanted to go with them to Panama. But Sordomudo advised against this because El Leñador became violent and too unpredictable when drunk.
"In Arena Metropolitana, boxers and wrestlers would train," Bobby Kings remembered. "When El Leñador and the other wrestlers showed up, the boxers would holler, ‘Here come these clowns!’
"Leñador kept quiet and went about his business. But once, after hitting the sauce a little too much, as he frequently did, he showed up and yelled, ‘Here comes the clown!’ and grabbed all their clothes and threw them out on the street for the buses to run over.
"Then he said, ‘Well, which one of you called me a clown? I’m here, do something about it!’ None of the boxers did anything to him, and they just decided to go home.
"There was an instance where he was all sauced up once again and wouldn’t let people inside of the arena, even threatening promoter Don Toño. El Leñador’s trainer El Diable Rojo showed up and took him down a notch and calmed him down."
And the unbelievable stories on El Leñador continued.
"He’d go to his rival, Mr. Flama’s business which sold and fixed radio and televisions. There he’d threaten and fight him out in the street. Once he grabbed a large television set and smashed it over his head in front of the customers! This was to get people to go to the shows and it worked."
When he went to Guatemala, he was mistreated by the promoters, given inadequate food, and forced to sleep in the ring. So when the same promoter sent some of his wrestlers to Guatemala, El Leñador took it out on them instead. He gave them these open hand slaps that sent them flying out of the ring. They didn’t want to work with him afterward.
He had a sad ending, though. One night he ran outside nude with only a blanket around him. He got a knife, cut his throat, and stabbed himself in his stomach, bleeding to death.
After that somber story, the conversation switched to soccer and other non-wrestling topics. Sometimes there are more stories to tell, but they’re best left for another occasion.
My new friends and I then ate dinner. Sordomudo, always with a smile on his face, ate more than any of us: a big bowl of Sopa de Patas soup (beef tripe, cassava, and beef broth) for starters, then a steak which seemed to cover half the table. I was the less adventurous of the bunch ordering the chicken lasagna.
Once again, a big thank you to José Guzman of Arena Gladiadores for contacting these Salvadoran wrestling legends and setting up these interviews.
These stories may also interest you:
- El Salvador Wrestling – Stories of Grit, Near-Death, and Triumph
- The Tempest | The Mexican Luchador Who Became an International Star
- Lucha Libre | 5 Chilling Cases of Murder and the Paranormal
- Titanes en el Ring – Argentina’s Crazy Wrestling Show
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