Lucha VaVoom, an LA stage show that melds the art of Mexican wrestling with striptease

The Associated Press

In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 photo, wrestler Niebla Roja, top, flies over referee Platainitos, to land on wrestler Cassandro, left, during a performance at Lucha VaVoom's Valentine’s show at The Mayan Theatre downtown Los Angeles. At right, wrestler, Dr. Maldad. The esoteric hybrid of American burlesque and Mexican wrestling is an outrageous hit. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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Then it was two hours of happy mayhem punctuated by energetic strippers, comedians telling plenty of flatulence jokes, a parade of nearly naked ring girls, more loud music, more flashing lights, and lots and lots of comically violent performances by the luchadores.

Finally, it was time for Cassandro, the cross-dressing transvestite who is the Liberace of wrestling. He came waltzing into the ring in a sequined robe, blowing kisses to the audience and wearing a colorful wrestling costume that looks more like a woman's bathing suit.

Unlike most luchadores, Cassandro doesn't bother with a mask. He says he doesn't want to hide his pretty face. It's a face plastered with glitter, rouge, eyeliner, bright blue eyeshadow and even brighter red lipstick.

But don't let appearances fool you. Cassandro is a superb athlete, holder of three championship belts. And so what if wrestling is fake. There's nothing fake about the high dive he's about to do off the balcony.

"People ask how you can do it without getting hurt. The answer is you can't," he said before the show. He's got the pins in his surgically repaired legs to prove it.

On this night, he landed hard on his collarbone and grimaced in pain. But the show must go on. So he got up, tossed his vanquished opponent back into the ring and pinned him.

Turning to the audience, he flashed that 1,000-watt grin of his and then headed to the dressing room as the last stripper of the night took it off.

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