Book Review

Democracia Populista


—Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico


It was all over for Mr. Niebla. All over. There he was, on his back in the center of the Coliseo Arena, out cold. And standing on the ropes above him was Pimpinela — six-foot-two, 250 pounds, blond, and smiling — with one foot on each of the corner turnbuckles and facing the crowd and just waiting to launch the flying backslam or reverse judo flip that would make his World Champion Belt as safe as the money that Carlos Salinas has stashed in Ireland.

“¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi!” the crowd chanted, waiting for Pimpinela to throw himself backward onto the foggy Mr. Niebla and end the title match. But at that very moment, with his title defense one leap away, Pimpinela stopped and looked into the sleeve of his left glove— not for long, but just long enough for Tarzan Boy, Mr. Niebla’s corner man, to jump into the ring with a big piece of sheet metal.

Tarzan Boy had been standing outside the ring, stomping on the sheet metal that had been bent double two fights earlier, after Crazzy Demon had ripped it from the ventilation system and used it to knock Principe Franky unconscious, almost winning a three-on-three death match. Now, everyone watching Tarzan Boy was bewildered, because he had just escaped a similar attack in a four-on-four match, when Dr. Wagner Jr., Arandu, Mosco de la Merced, and Charles Lucero used sheet metal, planks ripped from the floor, and a fan’s belt to put down Salsero — Tarzan Boy’s over-sexed Afro-Caribbean teammate who uses his sexual charms to bedevil and humiliate his opponents and tonight drove a pack of high school girls and one tall handsome crossdresser in a front-row seat crazy wild by gyrating his hips to taunt Arandu. Yet in the night’s final championship match, Tarzan Boy, a handsome good guy, was in the ring, quietly walking up behind Pimpinela.

And it was Boom! Boom! and Boom! One hard blow to the back of Pimpi’s head and he hit the canvas — and bounced! — falling unconscious a few feet from Mr. Niebla, who was awakened by the shock of the six-foot-two, 250-pound, blond man hitting the canvas beside him.

Not only did Pimpi’s fall wake Mr. Niebla. It jarred the unconscious ref to his senses, and as Mr. Niebla saw the opportunity to pin Pimpi the ref began using his elbows to drag himself across the ring for the three-count that would make Niebla the Champion of the World.

Mr. Niebla is not all bad, and since not everyone is comfortable with a six-foot-two, 250-pound, blond Mexicano who wears a black, crushed-velvet woman’s bathing suit, elbow-length, black crushed-velvet gloves, and a transparent Spandex leotard to cover his shaved legs, some in the crowd began their own chant: “¡Niebla! ¡Niebla! ¡Niebla!” as the ref dragged himself over to Mr. Niebla, who had collapsed on top of the unconscious Pimpinela.

“El ref es un pinche Montecodooooo,” yelled one man with a Chilango accent. El ref, fat and bowtied, must have forgotten that it was Niebla’s flying drop-kick that had left him unconscious. And he couldn’t know that while he was out, Pimpinela, furious at Niebla for what he had done to the ref, walked across the ring, decked Niebla, then climbed to the top of the ropes and got ready to end the match — stopping only to pull a tube of lipstick from the sleeve of his glove, not to use as a weapon because Pimpinela doesn’t fight that way, but for a quick touch-up that would make him look just that much better on TV talking about his next title defense. That was his only mistake.

And it was Boom! Boom! and Boom! as the ref’s hand slapped the canvas three times to make the masked Mr. Niebla the Heavyweight Champion of the World!

Pos, como dijo Abraham Lincoln (or was it Benito Juárez) people are mostly fools and you can fool most of them. But not all the time!

And not tonight. Raza had paid for its seats and watched the match and as the ref placed the Champion Belt on Mr. Niebla, raza began to chant: ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! ¡Pim-pi! — louder and louder and louder and louder until it they probably heard it the barrio altito where the Garzas and the Sadas and all those people who own the city have their fancy houses and swimming pool parties.

Pos this was too much. Too much! As the crowd climbed into the ring and people grabbed for Niebla’s Champion Belt, into the ring stepped the Wrestling Commissioner of the State of Nuevo Leon — who might have been called in by Mr. Garza Sada, or by the porcine (Huy! Huy! Huy!) Mayor Chuy himself. Shaking his head from side to side, the commissioner ordered the ref out of the ring, took the Champion Belt from Niebla, and sent both fighters to their corners.

“Tengo que nulificar los resultados de éste…” was all you could hear before the crowd went wild again, some shouting Pimpis, some shouting Nieblas, and the really big lady in front of me shouting, “¡Chinga tu madre, buey!”

You can’t win by cheating and the commissioner proved it. I mean, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas should have been so lucky when Carlos Salinas stole the presidential election from him in 1988. But on this night, in the city of Treviños, Garzas, Sadas, and Peñas, raza’s resolve was rock solid.

And Pimpinela is still the Heavyweight Champion of the World!

Luis Del Bosque has written about sports for U.S. publications, including the Liberty Vindicator and the Anahuac Progress.