Dec 8, 2016

December 8: Birth of Modern Wrestling & History of the Luchador Mask


The Masked Marvel
On December 8th, 1915, a wrestling promoter at the International Wrestling Tournament at the Manhattan Opera House in New York stopped the match demanding that his wrestler was wrongly left off of the fight card, calling attention to a man nonchalantly sitting in the audience wearing a mask. The man's name was The Masked Marvel, who rushed the mat and entered the fight. The whole ordeal was a planned set up, birthing the modern era of American Wrestling. The audience was instantly hooked, and an article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on December 27th of that year called The Masked Marvel "the life-saver of the International wrestling show."
   Within weeks of the Masked Marvel's mysterious entrance speculations were made and newspapers rushed to find the identity of the masked man, and ultimately outed as wrestler Mort Henderson (which also may be an alias).

The first appearance of a wrestler wearing a mask, called a Luchador Mask (or M√°scara), was french wrestler Theobaud Bauer (as The Masked Wrestler) who debuted the mask at the 1865 World's Fair in the Portuguese city of Porto. Bauer introduced the wrestling mask to the United States in the early 1870s. Although masked entertainers where not uncommon, including exotic dancer La Belle Dazle (also known as Bho la Dazlo) who wore a red domino mask, Bauer was the first wrestler to do so.
The Luchador mask is particularly popular in Mexico, where it was first introduced by Mexican Salvador Lutteroth in 1934, who witnessed professional wrestling in Texas along with American Masked wrestler "Cyclone" McKey and began promoting matches (as well as McKey) in Mexico under his organization Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling Enterprise).

Mort Henderson