In professional wrestling masks have always played a great role of importance. Beginning with the Masked Marvel in the early part of the 20th century, right up to Mexico’s famed Luchadors of today, masks have long presented a vehicle for not only great mystery but great flair as well.
Some of the greatest names in the sport have been masked men. As a matter of fact, the simple act of putting on a mask has revived and renewed many a career. Case in point: a very capable wrestler named Johnny Walker, who seemed near the end of his somewhat average career, transformed himself into an absolute wrestling icon when he became Mr. Wrestling II. His new personality nearly tripled his income. Dick Beyer, a top-flight competitor in his own right, was asked the play The Destroyer for a short run in California (against his own wishes) and by chance cemented his name as legend.
In Mexico, masks are simply a way of life in the Lucha Libre ranks. Having a unique mask helps you forge an identity, and keeping that identity hidden from the public is part of the process. The level of secrecy is so strong, the great El Santo even went as far as being buried in his famous silver cowl. You will often see wrestlers challenging one another in “mask vs. mask” bouts, in which the loser is forced to reveal his true self to the audience. This is thought to be the ultimate disgrace in Lucha Libre. Mil Mascaras has never lost his mask in over 30 years, which aids his reputation immensely.
The early masks were made by tailors, even the wrestler’s wives — there were no suppliers back then — and oftentimes they were quite uncomfortable and ill-fitting. This was not the fault of the person creating them, rather the fabric of the time did not pacify the needs of the business. Masks would slide around, making it difficult to see during a bout, and this would inhibit the flow of the action. Add to that the fact they puckered at the seams and grew progressively hotter as you worked in them, which would greatly tax your energy in the ring. As the years went by, this problem never seemed to dissipate.
A contour-fitting mask was impossible to achieve for decades. Dick Beyer’s wife had the creative solution of sewing his Destroyer masks out of women’s girdles. The fit was certainly better, but comfort was out the window. (A tight mask, over time, compresses your ears and facial features.) Thanks to the advent of Spandex, you no longer have to worry about any of these disadvantages, as you can get a mask that breathes and moves with you effortlessly, with a fit never before thought imaginable.
We have had requests for masks made just as they were done 20-30 years ago. When customers get them they are always displeased with the way they fit. I always tell them, “The wrestlers back then weren’t pleased with the way they fit!” If Spandex was an option back then, I assure you every wrestler would have gone that route. If you want a mask made in the old style, we will gladly do that for you. But if you are looking for something to wear actively as a professional, we strongly urge you to opt for the Spandex.
We can create any look you desire, be it a classic style of one of your own ideas. Many of the famous styles are familiar to us, as we keep photographs for our own reference and have patterns for the more commonly requested. However, if you are wanting a mask of a more obscure performer we suggest you send us a photograph (JPGs are fine) along with your request. The more reference the better, so you can recapture the look of your favorite star.