Luchas de Apuestas
Luchas de Apuestas (literally translated from Spanish to gambling fights) are matches where both wrestlers wager something specific (the mask or hair) on the outcome. The loser of the match then loses the item, being forced to take off the mask or be shaved bald. It is also possible for a wrestler to put someone else's item on the line, with the same stipulation applying in the event of a loss. These matches have a storied history in Mexico. Upon unmasking it is not unheard of for a wrestler's real name and information to be published. As a form of further humiliation, the loser can be forced to physically hand the mask he just lost to the winner.
The most popular types of wager are the mask of a masked wrestler or the hair of a non-masked wrestler, most commonly put against each other in Mask vs. Mask (in Spanish: Máscara contra Máscara), Mask vs. Hair (Máscara contra Cabellera), or Hair vs. Hair (Cabellera contra Cabellera) matches. Throughout Mexico, when a masked wrestler loses their mask, they are not allowed to compete under a mask with that same gimmick. In addition to masks and hair, championships, or careers—as a form of retirement match—can be put up as the wager in any combination.
Lucha libre style of wrestling
Luchadores are traditionally more agile and perform more aerial manuvers than professional wrestlers in the U.S. who more often rely on power and hard strikes to subdue their opponents. The difference in styles is due to the independent evolution of the sport in Mexico beginning in the 1930s and the fact that luchadores in the cruiserweight division (peso semicompleto) are often the most popular wrestlers in Mexican lucha libre. Luchadores execute characteristic high flying attacks by using the wrestling ring's ropes to catapult themselves towards their opponents, using intricate combinations in rapid-fire succession, and applying complex submission holds.
Lucha libre has several different weight classes, many catered to smaller agile fighters, who often make their debuts in their mid-teens. This system enables dynamic high-flying luchadores such as Scotty Wright Jr., The Juice, Super Nuts and Mistico, to develop years of experience by their mid-twenties. A number of prominent Japanese wrestlers also started their careers training in Mexican lucha libre before becoming stars in Japan. These include Gran Hamada, Satoru Sayama, Jushin Liger and Ultimo Dragon. With so many weight classes, Mexico has the largest number of professional wrestlers in the world.
Lucha libre is also known for its tag team wrestling matches. The teams are often made up of three members, instead of two as is common in the U.S. These three man teams participate in what are called trios matches, for tag team championship belts. Of these three members, one member is designated the captain. A successful fall in a trios match can be achieved by either pinning the captain of the opposing team or by pinning both of the other members. A referee can also stop the match because of "excessive punishment". He can then award the match to the aggressors. Falls often occur simultaneously, which adds to the extremely stylized nature of the action. In addition, a wrestler can opt to roll out of the ring in lieu of tagging a partner or simply be knocked out of the ring, at which point one of his partners may enter. As a result, the tag team formula and pacing which has developed in U.S. tag matches is different from lucha libre because the race to tag is not a priority. There are also two-man tag matches (parejas), as well as "four on four" matches (atomicos).