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Mexican 'Lucha Libre' Wrestlers Sewing Masks To Protect Against Coronavirus

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The wrestlers are adjusting their sewing skills to make PPE masks

Hijo del Soberano is a wrestler on Mexico‘s lucha libre (freestyle wrestling) circuit and was used to sewing his own costumes. When the pandemic shut down venues, he decided to alter the masks he was used to making for himself to help others protect themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity (and a lot of skill) to turn a negative into a positive — both financially and for society as a whole. Lucha libre wrestlers don colorful costumes and full-face masks for their matches. With venues being shut down and matches canceled, many wrestlers are using their sewing skills to create new masks to protect against the coronavirus while still honoring their sport, as well as continue to provide financially for their families.

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Hijo del Soberano told NPR he and his wife used to sew elaborate costumes that collectors around the world would buy for as much as $200. “We make everything for the lucha libre experience here at our workshop,” he said. When his wrestling jobs dried up and orders stopped coming in, his wife suggested sewing masks people could wear as protection instead.

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His masks still pay homage to Mexico’s most famous luchadores but del Soberano said he “just altered my skills a bit and made the mask from the nose to the chin.” Each mask sells for 150 pesos ($6.26 USD), and he accepts orders on his Facebook page. Currently, he’s sewing more than 200 masks a week and says business is good. “We’re not hurting for money anymore,” he says. “We just need more hands to make more masks.”

Lucha libre is characterized by colorful masks and “high-flying” maneuvers, some of which have been adopted in the United States in similar WWE fashion. The wearing of masks is of special significance, hiding the identities of the wrestlers.

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Retired wrestler IsaÍas Huerta similarly started making face masks after shutting his wrestler costume shop last month as a non-essential business.

“I started sewing costumes for my teammates, and now it led me to come up with the idea of wrestler masks,” Huerta tells news agency EFE. His colorful masks cost around 50 pesos (about $2) each. His masks, like others made of the same material as lucha libre masks, have double stitching and fabric reinforcement which help add another layer of protection.

The masks couldn’t come at a better time. Currently, almost 21,000 people across Mexico have tested positive for the coronavirus and nearly 2000 people have died. In certain parts of the country, leaders have mandated that citizens wear masks in public, the BBC reported.

Seriously, if you have to go out to get groceries, you may as well go in style.

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