Friday, September 23, 2016

Google's Homepage Homage to El Santo!

Back in July 2015, I wrote about Google's homage to Eiji Tsuburaya and his contributions to Japanese kaiju or monster movies. Most notably, his effects work on Godzilla and the Ultraman series.

Google's landing page is known for its often interactive doodles that incorporate current events and colorful pop culture homages.

Just 2 days after Sept 21, voted the National Day of Lucha Libre (El Día Nacional de la Lucha Libre) by the Mexican Senate, Google celebrates the 99th anniversary of the birth of El Santo!

A man whose fame extended past his popularity as a luchador into the realm of a folk icon. El Santo (The Saint) has been referred to as one of "the greatest legends in Mexican sports."

Along with Blue Demon (Santo's biggest rival, pictured above) and Mil Máscaras, they are considered to be among the most famous and iconic of all Mexican luchadores. Santo is also credited with popularizing wrestling in Mexico. 

The legendary feud between Blue Demon and El Santo actually began with a tag team rivalry. Blue Demon and his partner, The Black Shadow, were known as Los Hermanos Shadow (The Shadow Brothers) and would regularly face the Rudo (heel) tag team of El Santo and Gory Guerrero.

Santo would eventually defeat and unmask The Black Shadow in a mask vs. mask match, considered to be one of the most important matches in Lucha Libre history, helping popularizing the concept of mask matches.

Subsequently, both El Santo and Blue Demon would turn technico (face turn) and the two would engage in a well-publicized feud that resulted in Blue Demon winning the NWA World Welterweight Championship from El Santo in 1953. Though their rivalry wasn't settled, they would often appear in Mexican horror films together.

Santo's career lasted 48 years, spanning nearly five decades, and his appearance in movies and comic books cemented his legacy.

Over the years, El Santo would appear in over 50 films as a wrestler who would moonlight as a superhero. Fighting aliens, mummies, Nazis, vampires, werewolves, witches, and zombies.

El Santo never removed his mask, even in private company. He had a special mask made with the mouth cut away just so he could eat. The only time he ever showed his face was when he suddenly removed his mask on TV without warning a week before he passed away from a heart attack.

A statue was erected in his hometown of Tulancingo and his legacy continues to live on.