The U.S. wrestling scene is now able to feature a whole lot more lucha libre.
Masked Republic, a multiplatform entertainment company, is again finding new ways to elevate talent, this time by procuring a P-3 group visa. While it has been especially difficult for foreign talent to travel abroad over the past year during the pandemic, Masked Republic successfully applied for and has been granted a Legends of Lucha Libre-Expo Lucha group visa for 50 performers.
“Masked Republic exists largely for the benefit of luchadores,” says Kevin Kleinrock, Masked Republic’s president and COO. “That includes contract understanding and negotiation, IP exploitation to create streams of revenue and royalties, and making sure the talent can come and work in the United States.”
Masked Republic founder and CEO Ruben Zamora expresses excitement over the P-3 visa, noting there will be a multitude of luchadores showcasing their talent in America. Since not every wrestler will appear at each show, that provides a diverse array of luchadores to star at the Expo Lucha shows.
“We’re going to run Expo Lucha more than once a year, and we need a lot of stars to produce something worthy for wrestling fans,” Zamora says. “This will also allow these stars to continue to expand their brand outside of Mexico, and it gives a tremendous talent pool for our Expo Lucha live events in the United States.”
The late Brazo de Plata (known in WWE as Super Porky) was among those slated to receive a visa, so the list now consists of 49 wrestlers. It also includes Japanese stars Último Dragón, the Great Sasuke and Tajiri, as well as top Mexican luchadores like Psycho Clown, LA Park, Psicosis, Aero Star and Super Crazy. There are also emerging stars, including Arez, Hijo de Octagón, Mr. Iguana and Súper Astro Jr. The son of the legendary Súper Astro, the up-and-coming star for CMLL will be atop the list of breakout candidates as soon as he appears in the U.S.
Other talents receiving visas also include Lady Apache, Místico (the brother of Rush and Dragon Lee), Damián 666, Baronessa, Mexico indie cult favorite Aeroboy and Drago, another outrageously talented high-flyer.
“We are going to have some outstanding lineups for Expo Lucha events,” Zamora says. “We are very excited to be able to bring some of our legends to the U.S. for the first time in a long time, and to bring a number of up-and-coming stars for the first time ever. Our next Expo Lucha is June 11 and 12, 2022, at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.”
Per the visa, the talent is only allowed to work for the Expo Lucha, but that also allows them to be highlighted in an array of promotions in the United States. Permitting the promotion works with Masked Republic, potential for working relationships exists with AEW, MLW, Impact and Ring of Honor, as well as across the indies.
“Expo Lucha also has deep relationships with wrestling promotions, which we team up with to do events, like Pro Wrestling Revolution in California,” said Kleinrock. “There is a Pro Wrestling Revolution show in September that features LA Park, Lady Apache, Baronessa and Rayo de Jalisco Jr. This will be the first time since the pandemic that Apache and Rayo have wrestled in the United States, and the U.S. debut for Baronessa.”
This whole process marks another way Masked Republic is looking out for talent, accomplishing a feat that has never been done before in wrestling at this scale with the P-3 group visa. The talent on the visas are also signed with Masked Republic for licensing representation, which includes breakout stars in Arez, who is also in MLW, and Mr. Iguana.
“It’s been more and more difficult for talent to get visas, and some had visas, but they were delayed or expired because of the pandemic,” said Kleinrock. “We reached a point where a lot of top luchadores and up-and-coming luchadores couldn’t get one, and we wanted to help solve that. Now that this opportunity has presented itself, we’re so excited to further expand lucha libre beyond the borders of Mexico.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.