Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Mil Mascaras, literally a thousand masks, is also known as the Man of a Thousand Masks and is one of the most well known luchadors in lucha libre wrestling and is also known as the man who introduced lucha libre style to Japan wrestling. Aaron Rodríguez Arellano was born in 1942 and debuted as a professional wrestler in 1965. He was also heralded as being one of the best conditioned wrestlers in the luchador heavyweight division. A division that was dominated by foreign wrestlers then.
Mil Mascaras, like many luchadors, went on to star in movies. One movie he starred in was a self titled movie about a year after his wrestling debut. It was a movie that gave Mil Mascaras an origin and a super hero status. One of the biggest movies he starred in was a movie called Las Momias de Guanajuato (The Mummies of Guanajuato) in which he starred with fellow luchadors, El Santo and the Blue Demon.
Mil Mascaras went to Japan in 1971 to wrestle and introduced high flying luchador moves like the “Plancha”, a slingshot cross body block from the inside of the ring to an opponent on the outside of the ring, and a tope suicida, which is technically a suicide dive through or over the top ropes. His first match in Japan was a victory over Kantaro Hoshino. During this time, he was also involved in his first international feud with the Destroyer. Throughout the 70’s he has feuded with such wrestlers as TNT, El Canek and Angel Blanco. All were Mexican wrestlers.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s he wrestled with the WWE, then the WWWF and then the WWF. He was also the first masked wrestler to wrestle in the Garden as Madison Square Garden had a ban on masked wrestlers, but, lifted the ban so he could wrestle their. The ironic thing is that, he wrestled the Spoiler, another masked wrestler, who was not allowed to wear his mask there.
In 1990, Mil Mascaras wrestled for WCW and had a match against Cactus Jack at the Clash of Champions X: Texas Shootout. His first American pay-per-view match didn’t come until 1997 when he participated in the Royal Rumble and mistakenly eliminated himself by jumping off of the top buckle down onto Pierroth, a wrestler he had just eliminated.
Mil Mascaras has also been known as a bad worker by some superstars like Mick Foley. The wrestlers complained that he would not sell moves and would not put other people over. However, those same wrestlers as well as others have also said that if it were not for his success in Japan in the U.S., then there would be no wrestlers like Tiger Mask or Rey Misterio Jr., wrestling outside of Mexico and Japan.
Mil Mascaras was inducted into the Southern California Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and in 2006 he was made a member of the famed Cauliflower Club and one of his legendary rivals, the Destroyer, presented him with the award. Well into his 60’s today, Mil Mascaras still wrestles every once in awhile and will probably die in a wrestling ring.