The crowd gasps suddenly- one of the Crazy Chickens, in his bright red plumage costume and beaked mask, launched Chocolate Caliente through the ropes, past the security guards, and into the front row seats. “Is he alright?” we all collectively think. For a moment, even Drew Carey and his fellow commentators are speechless. And then our attention is drawn back to the ring, where the other Crazy Chicken pulls an egg out of his suit, taunts Dirty Sanchez with it, and lays it on the mat. I am hooked.
This is Lucha VaVOOM, best described as an insane, attack-on-your senses combination of Mexican masked wrestling, burlesque, and comedy. It’s a traveling production that I witnessed at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles, which as a venue, felt perfect. The whole place is built in the style of Disneyland’s Indiana Jones ride, but with a booming bass, flashing lights, and generous use of a fog machine. And just like that attraction, watching Lucha VaVOOM is like being transported to an alternate reality.
I had a good feeling about things when, an hour before the start of the show, the line to get in was already down the block. As the lights dimmed, the multiple screens throughout the room displayed scenes of the wrestlers and dancers arriving at the theater in 1940’s-era cars- at this point I was honestly still a bit confused. And then we witnessed our first performance- the truly incredible Veronica Yune, who somehow managed to strip to her undies while doing circus-style flips through a ring 20 feet above the floor. And then we where shown a video with the only three rules of Lucha VaVOOM- 1) the dancers get energized when you scream, 2) if you see a muscled and masked wrestler hurtling toward you, move, and 3) don’t puke.
Through the next three hours or so, I truly started to understand the Lucha VaVOOM experience. It’s a place where you can encounter zombies and roller skaters disrobing while performing incredible acrobatics. A place where masked wrestlers fight two-on-two with incredible smack downs and pile drives, and where the whole room shakes when fighters hit the floor. A place where normally family-friendly comedians drop f-bombs during their live commentary.
Lucha VaVoom has rotating acts, but, to go into too much more detail would, I think, spoil the surprise. It’s a bit kitschy, a bit provocative, a lot impressive, and 100% unadulterated fun. If you can appreciate incredible physical performances in an entirely unexpected setting, you will enjoy this show. Try to spend a little time at ring-level- the Mayan Theater has a fantastic bar on the first floor where you can stand and cheer while enjoying your favorite libation. You can even grab a picture with your favorite wrestler, as they roam the venue after they finish their fight. And most importantly, when you hear “LUCHA” you best scream “VAVOOOOOM!!!”
All photo courtesy of Scott Toohey.