Sports have skidded to a halt in every corner of the globe. Athletes and stadium workers are at a standstill, and many are scrambling to figure out what to do until cities and stadiums slowly open up again. This extends into the freestyle world of luchadores in Mexico, where wrestlers such as Hijo del Soberano have used ingenuity to forge a path during a difficult time.
After Hijo del Soberano’s gigs as a luchador dried up in his home city in northern Mexico’s Torreón, he turned to sewing. According to NPR, the sewing machine he makes his costumes on is now used to churn out surgical-style masks to protect people from the coronavirus. Sure, these are pretty different from the luchador designs he and his wife sell for as much as $200, but Hijo del Soberano found he could still make something that pays homage to the sport he loves.
“I just altered my skills a bit and made the mask from the nose to the chin,” he told NPR.
On his Facebook page, you can see the different styles he’s been making. Think bright and bejeweled, featuring the color schemes of luchador personalities from Mexico. He’s selling them for $6.50 each and takes orders via WhatsApp. Even as the masks get more media attention, he’s keeping his real identity a secret, as is the tradition of luchadores.
The masks are purportedly strong because they use the same tight-knit techniques that make luchador costumes so sturdy.
“We use the lycra and the fabrics that are used in the wrestling suit makings. They have double stitching, fabric reinforcement,” he told BBC in a separate interview.
He’s reportedly making about 200 masks per week now. His family is having an easier time paying bills and food that they couldn’t afford at the beginning of the lockdown when his luchador work disappeared. Now, he jokes, he just needs to keep up with the demand.
“We’re not hurting for money anymore,” he says. “We just need more hands to make more masks.”