Manchester goes Mexican

Meet Cassandro, Mexican wrestling star on the cover of this week's magazine and grappling in the city on Saturday

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Ask most people about wrestling and their thoughts will probably turn to John Cena and The Rock or, if they’re particularly middle-aged, Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. Those are the icons of wrestling who are best known in the UK but in Mexico wrestling is known as lucha libre, or “free fight”, and is second only to football as a national obsession.

This week the sport comes to Manchester’s Albert Hall for one night only. In this week’s Big Issue North, we talk to Cassandro – a Mexican household name also known as the Liberace of Lucha Libre.

“In Mexico it’s like a religion,” he says when we asked him to explain the cultural difference between lucha libre and the US style of wrestling. “I saw my superheroes. They were real, they were human, they were not like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, like those. These were human heroes that I could touch and feel and see.”

Cassandro says he always gets an amazing reception in England and he’s become such an Anglophile that before he retires he’s having one last hurrah in Manchester.

“It’s family oriented, it’s a great entertainment show. Come and see the shining of Mexico that we bring to Manchester. It’s going to be very high flying and very acrobatic. Expect the unexpected. Hold on to your seats, scream your lungs out, cheer and clap. At the end of the show I see the people and they’re like: ‘I’m exhausted.’”

Lucha Libre comes to Manchester’s Albert Hall, 24 June. Click here for tickets

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