In Lucha Libre, the Mexican form of pro wrestling, great emphasis is placed on the effectiveness of the “low-blow.” When a Luchadore suffers a kick to the balls, he sells the agony with exaggerated and woeful expressions of pure agony. He acts far more injured than wrestlers in other countries. Are Mexicans more susceptible to the pain of groin attacks, or are there other reasons that this dirty move has such power and emphasis in Mexico?
I realize, from personal experience, that a crotch shot is a horrible and painful injury, but the Luchadores act as if they’ve been utterly emasculated — painfully castrated — their manhood in ruins as they fall to the canvas clutching their crotches in the worst pain and humiliation of their lives.
The rules of Lucha Libre (such as they exist) place greater emphasis on the seriousness of the Low-Blow as an illegal action. Any wrestler who uses this unlawful attack (and gets caught) automatically loses the bout.
Automatic D.Q. is a stiffer penalty (no pun intended) compared to the rules of wrestling federations in other countries where the crotch shot may draw a half-hearted warning and a “Tsk Tsk” from the official.
Of course, placing Zero Tolerance on low blows only grants more power to the move and causes it to be used (ironically) even more frequently. The “rules” strictly forbid this sort of attack, so a boundary is created. And the easiest way for a Heel to generate heat from the crowd is to blatantly cross a boundary.
Some argue that if you legalize drugs, many people would stop using them (because what fun is it to partake in legal activities??) Likewise, if groin shots were legalized, the cheaters probably would stop using them, and find other unlawful ways to destroy and humiliate the fan-favorite.
The prevalence of groin shots — the emphasis on the male genitalia — makes sense when you consider the importance of Machismo in Mexican culture. We’ve discussed in earlier articles how Lucha Libre riffs on the cultural importance of being Macho — strong, brave, able to absorb pain. What better way to test (or destroy) the manhood of a macho wrestler than to kick him in the very symbol of masculinity?!
The manliness — the Machismo — of the heroic wrestler is emphasized by displaying his impressive, muscular body. Attention is drawn to his genitals by dressing him in bright, bulging, revealing trunks.
So the power of the low blow is emphasized when used on a Macho man. We witness the destruction of the hyper-masculine Alpha Male’s strength — the cancellation of his power and his libido. He seems so impressive and potent before the low-blow, and so he is even more pathetic when curled up in a ball, limp and immobile, after the low-blow is delivered.
One of the greatest fears of Mexican males is that they will be emasculated, dominated, castrated, or raped (or invaded) by a stronger man (or nation). This fear is portrayed and exploited in the ring whenever the big, tough hero takes a shot to the groin. THIS could happen to you too, Amigo.
Besides kicking their opponents in the nuts, the cheaters in Lucha Libre will also entangle a victim in the ropes — which symbolically arrests or enslaves him — and then clench, squeeze, and twist the “helpless” man’s groin to destroy his manhood and eliminate his potency.
In most cultures it is considered unmanly (or unsanitary) to grab another man’s crotch — but in Mexican wrestling, the end justifies the means: the hero’s machismo is extinguished.
The message being sent to the males in the audience is that they, too, must be Macho, pain-tolerant, and long-suffering. They shouldn’t whine about their poverty or complain about the corrupt system that is emasculating them. Rather they should show their manliness by quietly enduring the humiliation and pain.