In preparation for the 2018/2019 season, Mexican professional football clubs have released their new kits. The trend has taken off in recent years where teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich release special themed shirts designed by artists.
Liga MX and lucha libre, the kind of wrestling in which masked warriors execute breathtaking feats and is one of the country’s most colorful exports, have a lot in common. They’re both dramatic, controversial, and often cross the boundary between sport and entertainment. But what happens if you mix the two concepts into one?
Soccer kits have become more adventurous in recent years — think of Tottenham Hotspur’s “cosmic” jersey, which they will wear on the road this season, or Manchester City’s paisley shirt, which helped them win ESPN’s Premier League kit ranking last season — but they are still a long way behind the glitz and glam of professional wrestling outfits.
Charly, a Mexican kit maker, has helped to alter that by combining two of the country’s most popular kinds of entertainment. Charly has developed some fantastic third jerseys for six Liga MX teams for the 2022 Clausura season in conjunction with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, a professional wrestling company located in Mexico City that is celebrating its 30th year.
The clubs involved in Charly’s “From The Ring To The Field” initiative include Atlas, Leon, Pachuca, Queretaro, Santos Laguna, and Tijuana, and the kits all feature vibrant and distinctive lucha libre motifs. The end effect is spectacular, comparable to the unique series of kits published by the same company in 2020 to commemorate Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos.
The designs were initially presented in December, and when Santos Laguna faced Tigres last week, they became the first team to wear their distinctive lucha libre suit in a match.
Charly also developed six new masked wrestling personas, one for each club, by thinking outside the box — or the ring, as it were. Take a look at the six competitors below and choose your favorite! (These kits may be purchased here.)
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El Academico is a wrestler.
A brawler who remained true to his roots and his tribe for centuries, surviving thanks to their loyalty to the red-and-black in their hearts. El Academico’s major goal is to keep the sport’s core alive, with a focus on visually beautiful, but effective, lucha libre. He may be a fan of Arsenal and Atlas as a grappler who emphasizes style.
It is fitting that the most audacious design goes to the current champions. Atlas’ magnificent outfit, which is plastered with writing in the traditional manner of promotional wrestling posters, will surely stick out when worn in the 2022 Clausura. Atlas’ ardent fans had to wait 70 years before seeing their club win another Liga MX title, which they finally did in late 2021. A second consecutive title might be within the team’s reach with coach Diego Cocca’s organized and effective style of play.
Leonidas is a wrestler.
Leonidas rises tall as a protector of the area from the famous Arco de la Calzada (the city of Leon’s symbol). For Leonidas, each fight in the arena is a chance to prove that a lion can be as fearless as he looks. He’s the Carles Puyol of the wrestling world, with his uncompromising presence, regional pride, and unusual hairdo.
In a colorful black-and-green arrangement, Leonidas and eight stars commemorating eight Liga MX championships are both on display. Since 2019, Leon has made three finals appearances and won one Liga MX title, making them one of the most courageous and daring Mexican clubs in recent years. The club will be likely to bounce back in these uniforms after nearly missing out on a trophy last season.
Wrestler: Eternal Resistance
The pride of Queretaro, known as Los Gallos Blancos (The White Roosters), was born to fight, as seen by his many confrontations with rivals. The position of Resistencia Eterna in the ring above the others serves as a reminder to those who believe that when the rooster crows, people rise up.
This blue-and-white jersey bears pictures of rooster feathers, a nod to the team’s moniker, in addition to the Resistencia Eterna mask. Queretaro is one of just a few top-flight teams that has failed to won a Liga MX championship, despite once (briefly) having Brazil star Ronaldinho on its books in the 2014-15 season. We’ll see whether new uniform catches the attention of another big player who can help the team win its first title.
Super Tuzo is a wrestler.
With the debut of Super Tuzo in the state of Hidalgo, where Pachuca’s academy develops some of the greatest young players in the nation, a new legend is formed. Super Tuzo zealously promotes the city of Pachuca as the “Icon of the Windy Beauty,” reminding all opponents that the air is his ally, so anticipate lots of reckless dives from the top rope.
Pachuca’s vivid blue and pink design is adorned with pop art-style stamped pictures of Super Tuzo, inspired by old-school advertising posters. This jersey has a luchador mask-like collar on the front, much like the others in the range. Pachuca is the oldest club in Mexican soccer, having been founded by English miners in the late 1800s. We’ll probably see at least a few prospective stars-in-the-making racing down the field wearing these flamboyant jerseys this season, since the team is recognized for fostering intriguing new talent.
Espiritu Guerrero is a wrestler.
Espiritu Guerrero, a warrior for everyone, has earned a reputation for himself in the desert in a short length of time. The wrestler and his squad have a single goal: battle till they win, backed by thousands of people in the Comarca Lagunera area of northern Mexico.
Santos Laguna’s fading green-and-white design, which has a large picture of Espiritu Guerrero, is suggestive of the sun beaming brilliantly over the desert city of Torreon. The “Warrior Spirit” of Santos Laguna is one of the key reasons why the club always punches above its weight, changing itself from a mediocre newcomer in the 1980s to a championship challenger in the twenty-first century. With three Liga MX titles since 2012, the team that often upsets the league’s conventional powerhouse might be on the verge of a fourth.
Rey Xolo is a wrestler.
Rey Xolo, like the club he represents, is a youthful contender in his profession, yet legend has it that his soul resides and controls in Mictlan, an Aztec underworld. He is guarded by a respected pack of dogs known as Xoloitzcuintles in this fabled region. He may not be a championship candidate right now, but he’ll fight knowing that every dog has their day.
Club Tijuana’s traditional colors of red and black are on show here in a bold design for Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, more generally known as Club Tijuana or Xolos, with Rey Xolo front and center. Club Tijuana is one of Liga MX’s newest clubs, having been founded in 2007. These jerseys might provide the team with the additional bite it needs after placing last in the 2021 Apertura competition. Tijuana and Charly, who aren’t afraid to try new things, made news in 2019 for their Star Wars-inspired shirt, which featured Stormtroopers stepping out onto the field to assist with the presentation before a match.
Charly provided all of the photographs.