|Formerly known as Mini Charly Manson, muscular lucha libre star is now called Tiago.|
PHOTOS & VIDEO BY MARK EDWARD STUDIO
As Mini Charly Manson, he was a rudo — a lucha libre wrestler who audiences loved to hate. Now, this 28-year-old Mexico City-based luchador has ended his relationship with the AAA, Mexico’s largest lucha libre association, to forge his own path in the ring, with a new name: Tiago.
In this exclusive interview — which also appeared on the Latin America travel site LatinFlyer.com — Tiago tells how he got started and what it’s really like to be a lucha libre star — and some insider secrets about the world of wrestling in Mexico (you can also watch the video of Tiago’s interview in Spanish).
When did you start wrestling?
I started when I was about 15 years old.
How did you get started with professional lucha libre wrestling?
To be honest, I didn’t really like lucha libre. I wasn’t like all the kids who wanted to be a wrestler or who had that dream. I got involved because my father liked lucha libre. He was the one who made me become a wrestler.
|Lucha libre star Tiago (formerly Mini Charly Manson) goes solo and shirtless.|
The character belongs to the company. Obviously my boss saw me and saw my physique and told me, “you’re doing to be that character.”
Why did you leave the AAA, Mexico’s biggest lucha libre organization?
My departure from the AAA is due to the fact that my term was coming to an end. Mini Charly gave all that he had to give, and I wanted more. But unfortunately there wasn’t the support from the executive side, so I decided to be an independent luchador, to begin forging my own new story.
|Lucha libre star Tiago shows new colors after leaving behind his Mini Charly Manson persona.|
Basically, he’s me. My last name is Santiago, and Tiago is the street nickname for Santiago.
Tell us more about the categories of lucha libre wrestlers.
In lucha libre, there are various categories — minis to exotics to women, pesos cruceros y pesos completos. They are also divided between rudos and tecnicos. The rudo is the bad guy, the one who yells at people, who gets the audience mad. The tecnico is the good guy, the one that everyone loves and supports.
|Lucha libre wrestler Tiago shows his talent as a male fitness model, in men's underwear.|
The exotics are extravagant; they’re also characterized as gay. A lot of times they only play the character, but the majority, their sexual preference is as a gay person and so they take advantage of that to be an exotic wrestler.
When you’re a rudo, how does it feel to be “hated” by audiences?
It feels great. If you’re a good wrestler and the people [yell at you] then it’s good. It’s great to see the faces of the people, faces of the scared children, faces of the angry old ladies. For me, it’s fun. Obviously, at first it was difficult. I’d go home sad, but now I know it’s part of my job and there’s no problem.
|All smiles: Lucha libre wrestler Tiago looks forward to a bright future in his new role.|
It’s real. I invite those who say it’s fake to go to a training session, so they can see how hard the training session is.
What are your plans now as Tiago?
The process of becoming Tiago has been fast. I’m going to make a big effort, I will have my own history, my own story. People know the quality of my work.
If you're looking for insider travel tips about Mexico City (where Tiago lives), as well as other hot Latin America travel tips and deals, visit LatinFlyer.com.
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