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Saturday, December 28, 2013

FIGHTS: So long, Matt Smith!

Bowie V. Ibarra

I'll never forget the day when I joined a Doctor Who 'Meet Up' group at a place called Lion and the Rose in San Antonio, Texas, to watch the 50th Anniversary Special.  The Doctor Who group is pretty cool and I made my way to a table with available seating with a few fellow Doctor Who fan.

I immediately established that I'm ready for Matt Smith to spark discussion on why, I assumed, these three folks were big Matt Smith fans.  And, like the ass that I am, I discovered that the three of us shared the same feeling.

We appreciated Matt Smith's stay, but we were ready for him to go.

I dubbed Matt Smith the 'Peter Davidson' of this modern era.  Like Davidson, Smith had to fill the shoes of who was, at that time, the most popular Doctor since Tom Baker: David Tennant.  And I'll never forget how unhappy I was when he changed into Smith.  In fact, even before he shouted his first 'Geronimo', I was already wishing for another Doctor to take his place.

Why do I gripe about Smith?  For me, the guy just didn't have the emotional depth or skill of Tennant.  After watching episodes scored by Russell T. Davies that were filled with emotional depth, story, and great additions to the Doctor Who canon, I wasn't sure of the new guy.

My initial feelings were justified in the first few episodes.  The guy was 'pantomiming' a Doctor, if that makes any sense.  Like, he was acting whimsical and fun with no real motivation behind it.  Don't get me wrong, there were several episodes where a look or a gesture reached deeper than his actual acting.  I can acknowledge that.  But those moments felt few and far between for me.

And even though the script bolstered his profile, I think it also hindered his performance as well.  I imagine considering the way filming is done for shows, which are typically never linear (read: You might film the end of an episode before moments from the beginning), he might have lost track of how he should 'feel' or what moment came before.  Moffett's scripts can sometimes (okay, ALWAYS) be so overly clever or epic that even I lose track of what exactly is going on.  Perhaps being green, Smith had similar moments where he couldn't immerse himself in the moment because he wasn't exactly sure what that moment was or how he should feel.

Granted, he got better in subsequent seasons, but it always felt like a kind of 'on-the-job' training.  He got better as an actor because he was literally learning how to be a better actor as the program went on.  That's very different than growing the character and learning more about them as the program moved forward, which he did a pretty good job of.

In the end, however, I was still very excited to hear about him leaving and looked forward to that day.

Truth is, he did okay.  He was just alright, in my eyes.  True, you can never really compare apples to oranges when it comes to the unique position of this show.  In this case, I would have taken the orange over the apple, even though the apple could provide the same goodness as the orange.  I just prefer the orange.

Even though has been one of Smith's critics, I am thankful for the time he put in to the show to build the show's legend, and did enjoy his performances as a whole.  But once was enough for me.

So, naturally, when I heard Peter Capaldi was taking Smith's place, I was happy.  Here was an older guy who probably has a little more emotional depth, acting skill, and an obvious stronger presence and intensity that's been missing from the series for a while now, perhaps since Eccleston.

So long, Matt Smith. wishes you well in your future endeavors.  And here's wishing Peter Capaldi a long and successful run.

And if you like superheroes, you need to give the superheroes a chance.  Codename: La Lechusa, Room 26 and the Army of Xulhutdul, and Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull.  Get a copy today via paperback or kindle today.

Bowie V. Ibarra (1975- present) was born and raised in Uvalde, Texas, to a school principal and a book keeper. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and a Master of Arts in Theatre History.
Network with Bowie at his official website,

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

FIGHTS: Review - 'Anchorman 2' picks satire over parody

Bowie V. Ibarra

After the success of the original 'Anchorman' movie with Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Steve Carrell, it was surprising the comedy writers couldn't put together another film until almost a decade later.  For those like, the wait was well worth it for 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'.  If you were a fan of the stupid comedy stylings of the first one, you're going to love the second one.  If you weren't a fan, then do not go see this movie.  It's got the same ridiculous comedy elements as the first one, but moves from straight parody to straight satire.

In brief, in the early 80s, Ronald Joseph Aaron Burgandy loses his anchorman job to his wife and is immediately fired, causing a rift in his family that finds him leaving his wife and young boy to work at a Sea World in San Diego.  He then gets a job to be one of the anchors of a radical new news concept:  24 Hour News at GNN (Global News Network).  The movie takes a cue from 'The Blues Brothers' as Ron puts the newsteam back together.

But they are not the only news team at the new facility.  A competitor named Lime challenges Ron to a wager:  News Team with the highest ratings for their time wins.  The problem is Lime has prime time, and Burgandy has the graveyard hours.

And the silliness builds.

The movie will keep fans of the first one happy, with characters returning and even a surprise near the end of the movie that harkens back to a moment from the first movie.

The comedy tone of the movie changed from parody to satire.  Like all good satirical comedies, the movie's plot hides behind humor to expose the problem with modern news:  It's not news, but a crappy form of entertainment and distraction from ACTUAL news.  Not only that, it also takes a jab at news agencies hiding bad stuff that investors into the company might be involved in, revealing the truth about modern news that they're only going to report what they are, literally, being paid to report.  It's not about actual news content, but content that will get people to tune in to placate their sponsors.  I could go on a rant about this, but you get the picture.

It's also a commentary on the clutches of corporate culture and its effect on the family.  Fortunately, from what I understand, many progressive companies are seeing the value of honoring their employees with time for family. 

In the end, the satirical spin on the 'Anchorman' sequel is great and not too heavy-handed to take away from the enjoyment of the movie.  It is good for some laughs and is ZBFbooks approved!

BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the acclaimed 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  His latest title, 'Codename: La Lechusa' is a supernatural action/adventure story about a single mother by day and assassin by night who is granted magical powers by a curandera.  Coupled with her elevated strength, she takes on bad guys in the south Texas town of San Uvalde.  It is available today in paperback and Kindle from here. .

Network with Bowie at his official website, today!

FIGHTS: Preview - Inspire Pro 'Ecstasy of Gold' event!

Bowie V. Ibarra

South and central Texas continues to be under the radar as a hotbed for some of the best wrestling in the nation, with some of the most enthusiastic fans in the country.  One of the newest quality promotions to get a piece of the indy wrestling market is INSPIRE PRO WRESTLING.  On January 5th, at Marchesa Theatre in Austin, Texas, they bring it again with a tremendous card.

Check this out.










FRANCO DiANGELO vs. JOJO BRAVO vs. GARY JAY vs. (masked dude)


I'm not going to front here.  I haven't been to one of these shows yet.  But every card they have put on in their short history has been stellar.

Now, I might not know about everybody on the card, but let me tell you why I know fans are going to get a chance to see some of the best faces in south Texas.

PAIGE TURNER - I haven't had a chance to see this lady wrestle yet, but she has received the seal of approval from The Best and Worst of Raw's own Brandon Stroud.  That alone gives her some street cred IMO.

AJ SUMMERS - One half of 'The Pump Patrol', he's the littlest heel you will love to hate.  The guy's just a tad bigger than a fireplug, with bulging muscles to his small east coast frame.  But he's also very skilled in the ring, even though he choses being a douchebag over his skills.  Truth is, that style garnered him a company title reign in SATX's own River City Wrestling.  So you know he's good.

ALEX REIGNS -  Aligned outside of Inspire with rough shit-stomper James Claxton as the Sons of Texas, the dude is a master of spreading mayhem.  He recently engaged in a battle with Ray Rowe in SATX's NWA-Branded Outlaw Wrestling that saw the roughneck beat Rowe with outside interference from the lascivious opportunist Samantha Ann.

BOLT BRADY - This guy has been making a name for himself on the south Texas scene for a few years now, and is finally breaking away as a name to watch on the national scene.  The guy's got talent, speed, and skill, as well as a healthy dose of charisma.  You've got to check him out.

SAMMY GUEVARA/LOW RIDER - Two dudes who are on two different sides of the social philosophy spectrum (Guevara claims to be 'straight edge', but Low Rider has enjoyed making pot smoking gestures), the two have put their philosophies aside to team up and get some action outside of SATX in ATX.  Having competed against each other on several occasions, we'll see if they are able to put their past aside to carve out a name for themselves on the Austin scene.

ANDY DALTON - Dalton is guaranteed to be one of the sleaziest, grossest, most disgusting looking wrestlers you will ever see perform.  He's fat, out of shape, greasy, and completely obnoxious.

With that said, he will also be one of the best and most underrated wrestlers you will ever see on the Texas scene, and he's been around for years.  He is amazingly talented in the ring, and those talents are exceeded only by his knack for getting under the fan's skin.  He is completely unlikeable in that regard, and that makes him a perfect heel that you will absolutely love to hate.

RICKY STARKS - This kid is new on the scene, but has an amazing look, skill in the ring, and an amazing amount of charisma.  This guy is one to watch.

JAMES CLAXTON - A true Texas wrestler that's as rough as they come.  A quality wrestler.

THE GREAT DEPRESSION - This masked wrestler is new on the scene, but has great skills and power.

CARSON - Another great name on the Texas scene, who has earned several titles in Texas, including an NWA title.

RAY ROWE vs. CHRIS HERO - Yet another marquee matchup that is worth the price of admission alone.  Ohio import Rowe has made a name for himself in south Texas, garnering a River City Wrestling title reign, as well as several NWA title reigns.  Chris Hero has been an indy wrestling darling for a while, and will bring his immense talent and skill to this heavy-hitting match.

GREG JAMES vs. TAKAAKI WATANABE - This matchup speaks for itself.  Greg James has spent a year or two on the Texas scene building his skills, so this matchup with NJPW star Watanabe is going to be a real test.  Look for James to be pushed hard by Watanabe's science.  Smart money is on Watanabe, but big money could be made on James.

FRANCO DiANGELO vs. JOJO BRAVO vs. GARY JAY vs. (masked dude)
This match marks the return of the beastly Franco DiAngelo.  The massive dude was on a course to trash folks on the Texas indy scene when a severe injury put him on the shelf for a while.  Here's hoping his return is good for him and he remains healthy.  For the fans, not his opponents. 

JoJo Bravo is a fiery sparkplug with immense love for wrestling and huge skills.  The kid is a true talent, holding several indy titles and making a name for himself across the state.

Gary Jay is one of the meanest beanpoles you will ever meet.  The scruffy ginger looks more at home at a soup kitchen or dumpster diving behind a Dominos Pizza.  But don't let his shitbag demeanor and homeless good looks fool you.  The guy is an amazingly talented grappler, a cruel striker, a shit talker near Andy Dalton level, and has a tremendous pain threshold that has been put to the test against the likes of Texas indy monsters Scot Summers.   He's a brawler at heart, and has no problem taking it to his opponents.  And his is in no way intimidated by DiAngelo, which is a testament more to his heart than his intelligence.

This is a true main event of south Texas stars.

Mike Dell is a good-looking, put together, and talented pro-wrestler.  And he'll let you know it.  The cocky bastard has had his way across Texas, out-wrestling many of the biggest names in Texas wrestling for many years now.

Davey Vega is a wrestler from the mid-west with amazing talent, a buttload of charisma, and a tremendous level of experience on the Austin scene. 

Jordan Jensen is another tremendously talented wrestler with a skill for shit-talking.  The guy has a chip on his shoulder that fires up his wrestling and his mouth.  Stifled by an Austin promotion for backstage hijinks, its good to see this California native back in the ring. 

All three of these dudes are worthy of the title.  I'm a big fan of all three, but put your money on Mike Dell for the win here with his huge experience and power advantage.

It's going to be a great card with lots of action and fun.  If you are in the Austin are on the first weekend of January, 2014, you need to check out this event and have some fun.

Here's a detailed review of the event with Ludwig Voden.  Click on the link and hear more about the matchups.


And if you enjoyed the preview here on this blog, lend some support to the blog by purchasing one of the combat sport books below in Kindle or paperback.  'Pit Fighters: Baptism by Fire' and 'Pit Fighters: Double Cross' are combat sports-themed book that features fights from the early days of MMA, and plenty of underground money fights.  You've got to check them out, and they're available on Kindle or paperback today.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster.  His latest story, 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull' is a Tex-Mexploitation superhero story in the tradition of 'Machete' and 'Black Dynamite'.  Get it in paperback or Kindle today.

BLOOD: Bizzare Riverwalk proposal frighteningly similar to 'Alamo Rising'

Bowie V. Ibarra

Well, I guess I'm not the only one.
So, I have to admit, when I saw on the news the other day that there were plans to reorganize downtown Alamo Plaza to lend it the reverence it once had and rightfully deserves, I was a little freaked out.
See, I wrote this supernatural horror book called 'Alamo Rising' (available in paperback and kindle) about a downtown businessman who has his land taken away from him by the city council.  The businessman happens to be a part of a secret society.  And even though he had 'brothers' on the city council, it wasn't enough to have the land taken away from him by another businessman.
So this guy goes about unleashing a curse placed on the Alamo during the actual battle that will bring death and devastation to downtown.
And now a similar story is actually playing out.
City council is planning what, to me, is a land grab for letting things get out of hand.  Check out this story.  And this one.  And even this.
Truth is, it sounds just like when Austin said, 'Oh, we want to take this land because its a great natural environment we don't want to squander and rare creatures' and they ended up selling off that land to the highest bidder and building apartments on it.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.
So, as I mentioned before, I'm clearly not the only one that has seen downtown San Antonio become a tourist trap rife with overpriced drinks, rude t-shirt souvenir stands, and out-of-place 3-D virtual rides and dumb carnival style amusements.
Seriously?  This is what SATX has let downtown become?  The site of one of the worlds most legendary battles, where hundreds of Mexicans and Texans alike were killed in a battle that would give birth to this great state is now home for a John Cena wax statue and a 3-D Jungle Ride?  Their blood spilled on this sacred land where I can now buy a shirt that says, '1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor', or 'F**k ya'll, I'm from Texas'?  This is how this city honors that battle?
So, I don't really have anything to compare this to.  I've never been to Gettysburg, or Pearl Harbor.  Does New Orleans have a place to honor the big battle that happened there?
I've got a fiver, though, that says there's not a 3-D House of Scares at Pearl Harbor, or a midway to sink baskets and win a confederate or union clad teddy bear at Gettysburg. 
Anyway, just like in 'Alamo Rising', folks in the city are wanting to redo Alamo Plaza.  For me, anytime city council wants something changed, someone is in their ear stuffing money in their pockets to get it done.  Look at the US congress, pushing the healthcare agenda by insurance companies, and eternal wars by the defense industry.  What always looks like doing 'good for the community' will always have an ulterior motive.
Now, I get the motive.  Those 3-D fun houses and place where I can make a wax cast of my hand have no place on such hallowed ground as Alamo Plaza.  But those folks that run those places need to make the changes themselves before the city takes their stuff and makes the changes themselves.
To be honest, I haven't seen the SATX city council like I did the ATX city council, who were a bunch of greedy, snide bastards.  And I sincerely believe this whole Alamo plaza thing is going to play out well.  I just sincerely hope when and if this land grab takes place, the city doesn't just build apartments in its place like Austin did.  There has been moves to bring apartments to downtown, and with a new HEB being built there, this wild speculation might not be such a stretch.
I just hope it doesn't play out like at the end of my book.  Ghosts haunting downtown and then at the end when...
Well, you're going to have to get the book here to find out what happens to the Alamo, downtown, and city council when everything falls apart.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the acclaimed 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  Born and raised in south Texas, Bowie calls his books 'Tex-Mexploitation' literature, as they reflect strong south Texas themes and settings, including 'Codename: La Lechusa' and 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull'.  'Alamo Rising' is supernatural horror story in which a curse is unleashed on downtown San Antonio, and the unsuspecting ghost hunters who have to stop it.  It is available at in paperback and kindle.
Network with Bowie at his official website,

BLOOD: David Tennant's 'Richard II' is outstanding

Bowie V. Ibarra

The Royal Shakespeare Company put together an outstanding production of one of Shakespeare's history plays, 'Richard II'.  Starring the world-renowned UK actor, David Tennant of Doctor Who fame, the play is a captivating story of the double-crossed king.

RSC director Gregory Doran makes some fine choices in directing, costumes, and music, bringing an energy to the stage in his use of blocking, levels, and lighting in the thrust stage design.  And his choice of cast is outstanding, especially in the casting of Nigel Lindsay as Bolingbrook, Richard's cousin who returns from exile to reclaim what Richard's regime took from his family and rightful heir.

Word on the street is the RSC plans on doing a series of history plays in the coming seasons.  If they're anything like this one, they're going to be great.

In short, if you get a chance to check out this production, do it.  And don't sweat thinking you can't understand it.  When Shakespeare is done right, you will understand everything that's going on.  And that is definitely the case with this production.

'Richard II' by the RSC is ZBFbooks approved.

BOWIE V. IBARRA is the Texas author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  He earned a BFA in Acting and MA in Theatre History from Texas State University.  His books revolve around zombie horror, supernatural horror, general horror, action/adventure, and combat sports.  Network with Bowie at his official website,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

FIGHTS: 'Chino' Maidana serves Adrian Broner fist-fulls of humble pie, takes title


Earlier this year, I recapped a fight between Adrian Broner vs. Gavin Rees.  In it, I describe Broner's victory as pretty good, but nowhere near the Mayweather status folks claim he's the heir to.  He was good, but not that good as a boxer.  Now as a trash talker, yes, he's a total douchebag.  But as a boxer?  He's just okay.

Well, that assumption was finally put to the test in his title fight against the scrappy Marcos 'El Chino' Maidana at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.  It was a unique chance for Maidana to grab the gold, put in yet a very familiar position of being lined up as a tomato can for a star that promoters were grooming for brighter days.  We know how that played out the first time (don't we, Victor Ortiz).  So, you should have known how this night was probably going to play out.

This was an amazing fight filled with great emotion.  Here's some notes from the fight:
Adrian 'Boner'?
Cocky and brash, Broner plays too much.  Near the end of the 1st round, Broner tried to get into Maidana's head by maneuvering away from a Maidana flurry and dry-humping Maidana from behind.  Funny and rude?  Yes.  It solidified Broner as one of the biggest dumb asses in the sport of boxing today.
But did Madiana serve him a receipt later?  Yes, he did.  Near the end of the fight, with Maidana up on points, he got behind Broner and humped him as well.
Heir to the throne of Mayweather?  After tonight, he'd be lucky to mop the floors of The Money Team gym.  Mayweather might be the king of trash-talking assholes, but at least the guy has the skill to back it up.
Broner comes across as a dude who is impersonating a superstar. The dude's good and has some talent.  You can't get to this level and not have talent and skill.  But he's got to pull his head out of his own ass and put his skill over his trash talk and disgusting antics in the gym.
There's an old saying I hear a lot, especially in Texas, when someone you don't like is leaving the room:  Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
In the end, I'm glad Broner looking like a jackass before, during, and after the fight will forever be preserved online, the modern day stocks, where we can point and laugh at how a dude from Argentina put him on his ass twice and stuffed humble pie down his throat.
Why not?  I'd love to see Maidana hand Broner his ass again.  Who wouldn't?

And if you like boxing, you've got to read the series, 'Pit Fighters'.  The book features a Scottish Boxer who makes his way to America for a big boxing payday, while making some bones in the MMA cages as well.

'Pit Fighters: Baptism by Fire' and 'Pit Fighters: Double Cross' are combat sports-themed book that features fights from the early days of MMA, and plenty of underground money fights.  You've got to check them out, and they're available on Kindle or paperback today.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster.  His latest story, 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull' is a Tex-Mexploitation superhero story in the tradition of 'Machete' and 'Black Dynamite'.  Get it in paperback or Kindle today.

FIGHTS: George St. Pierre cashes out of MMA ... for now

Bowie V. Ibarra

(Photo ripped off from

You've probably already heard that George St. Pierre, the most dominant welterweight champ in UFC history, dropped his title.  Before the fight, St. Pierre had suggested he was having personal health problems.  He had claimed he was losing sleep at night, having problems with his vision, and was experiencing memory loss.  And now Joe Rogan has pitched some wild speculation that George has suffered brain damage.

Let's face it, the symptoms he claims to be experiencing could be associated with brain damage due to concussions.  One of the goals of combat sports is to provide a concussion to your opponent, typically referred to as a 'knockout'.  The problem with knockouts and having your head struck a lot is that, indeed, the brain does experience damage when it smacks against the interior of the skull. 

Yes, the skull is designed to protect the brain.  But the brain is not an organ that is meant to be rattled around in the skull on a daily basis.  The problem with that is that the damage done over time, from tiny concussions to the big ones, is that its cumulative.  The brain does not repair itself.  When you jack it up, its jacked up.  I'm no doctor, but I've read enough about concussions and seen the results from fighting legends to see that there's a high price to pay for combat sports glory.

Now, I can understand the perspective of some thinking George is ducking a rematch with Hendrickson, that he's a pussy, and that he 'owes it to the fans' to rematch Hendrickson.  I get it.  The thing is St. Pierre has been complaining about the problems for a while.  I know a friend of mine was cracking up at St. Pierre during one fight in which he returned to his corner complaining he couldn't see out of one of his eyes.

For me, George St. Pierre walking away from the sport for as long as he needs is the right thing to do.  The guy's one of the greatest champs of all time.  He's got nothing left to prove.  St. Pierre does not 'owe' us another fight so he can destroy himself and we have to watch him become the shell of the man he is mentally and physically in the future.  The last thing UFC needs is St Pierre being the Ali of the sport.  And the last thing MMA needs, the sport that claims to be so 'safe' and 'safer than boxing', is to have one of their all time great champs destroyed mentally forever, being the greeter at the MGM Grand for the rest of his life like Joe Lewis was at Caesars.

St. Pierre's a warrior.  If he chose to walk back into the ring of his own free will and not because douchebag Dana forced him to, then that's cool.  I'd watch him fight.  I'm going to cringe watching the fight, but I'd watch it.  Fighting is what warriors do.  It's their life.

But if he knows how bad he's doing, then who are we to throw shade at him for walking away from a sport he's dominated for years now.  He's given us all he's got, and now he's paying for it.  We need to let him do what's right for him.

If you enjoy MMA fights, consider the 'Pit Fighter' combat sports book series from   'Pit Fighters: Baptism by Fire' and 'Pit Fighters: Double Cross' are combat sports-themed books that features fights from the early days of MMA, and plenty of underground money fights.  You've got to check them out, and they're available on Kindle or paperback today.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster.  His latest story, 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull' is a Tex-Mexploitation superhero story in the tradition of 'Machete' and 'Black Dynamite'.  Get it in paperback or Kindle today.

Friday, December 13, 2013

BLOOD: Recap - #SATX's BloodThirsty Thursday scores with 'Ax-Mas

Bowie V. Ibarra

Kelly Warren Hammond, mastermind of the Bloodthirsty Thursday events in San Antonio, Texas, did it again with another outstanding night in the monthly film series.  This month, the put together a solid 'Ax-Mas' double feature, hearkening back to the good old days of cinema with a headliner and a b-movie afterwards.  The films were the controversial (and uncut) 'Silent Night, Deadly Night' and 'Black Christmas'.

'Silent Night, Deadly Night' tells the story of a young orphan who watched his family murdered by a thief dressed as Santa Claus.  Naturally, the kid grows up a big mess that is not remedied in the least through a parochial school for orphans.  Every year, the kid has a hard time with Christmas, until he grows up and gets a job at a toy store that makes a terrible decision to save a buck just in time for Christmas.  Christmas cruelty ensues.

'Black Christmas' plays out like a crime thriller.  It's about a sorority house that is claiming the lives of its members.  A local cop is sought out to help find the killer.  It featured John Saxon, Olivia Hussey of 'Romeo and Juliet' fame, and Andrea Martin from SCTV.

Along with the show was Fast Custom Shirts, a screen-printing team out of Corpus Christi.  It was great to have another chance to get some sweet shirts.  Below were two of my picks.

And as per the event, there was a tribute commemorative poster of the featured movie made.  You saw it above at the top of the blog.  It's a nice and sleazy tribute to the bloody and controversial movie.

In the end, it was yet another outstanding Bloodthirsty Thursday event.  The double feature was a nice touch.  It would be cool if they did that again every so often. 

So apart from a few folks who didn't know what 'NO TALKING' meant when Kelly brought it up formally and it played across the Alamo Drafthouse movie screen twice, it was still an outstanding event that I highly recommend to all the horror hounds of SATX!  This event and showing continues to be approved!

Thanks for all the time and effort put into each event, Bloodthirsty Thursdays

And if you need more south Texas horror, consider a title from the leader in Tex-Mexploitation stories,!  You'll find stories of zombies, supernatural action/adventure, superheroes, and more!  Check it out today!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Bowie V. Ibarra

It's over a year in and the National Wrestling Alliance keeps chugging along in spite of all the folks and many of my fellow 'marks' who thought the NWA couldn't keep it together long enough.  It's clear Tony Brooklyn and Bruce Tharpe are doing what it takes to keep the tradition of not only the NWA alive, but of straight pro-wrestling.  The matches are very 'entertaining', but continue to emphasize the wrestling aspect of its sacred grappling tradition.

Recently, NWA - Houston promoted an event featuring the stars of New Japan Pro-Wrestling taking on some of the best on the US NWA scene.  'NWA Invasion 2013' was an outstanding event, and yet another example of how not only the NWA is providing amazing quality pro-wrestling, but yet another sterling example of how pro-wrestling in Texas is alive and well.

Here are some notes on the DVD:


The DVD is skillfully put together with amazing graphics from Diet Productions.  The video quality exceeds the normal standard for independent pro-wrestling DVD quality.  In fact, the production values eclipse ROH DVDs that I've seen.


Between each match is a professional advertisement for sponsors for NWA Houston.  I don't know about you, but I'm very happy to see that.  It shows that NWA Houston has a pretty nice budget and are taking care of the wrestlers, in my opinion.  It's very smart, and shows the NWA knows how good businesses are run.


Look at this card:

Lou Marconi vs. Raymond Rowe

'The Sons of Texas' Cowboy Claxton/Alex Reigns
'The Lords of Chaos' Damien Wayne/Lance Erikson

'Kingz of the Underground' Scot Summers/Ryan Genesis

Jax Dane vs. Michael Tarver

Jushin 'Thunder' Liger/Hiroyoshi Tenzan
'Killer Elite Squad' Lance Hoyt/Davey Boy Smith, Jr.

Chase Owens vs. Jason Kincaid

Rob Conway vs. Byron Wilcott


One of the best parts of this DVD is listening to the fans and hearing how much they are into the matches.  As a Texas fan, I know how much we let ourselves get into the matches and how much fun can be had at these events.  I've seen some other DVD's where it seems like the fans are sitting on their hands.  But this is a lively crowd, including a hilarious group 'Thank You' every time the ringside timekeeper gives the current minutes of the match.  The 'over here' chant during the Jr. Heavyweight Belt retirement ceremony was pretty funny as well.


From the first match to the end, the wrestlers competing on the card deliver when it comes to great wrestling.

In short, the NWA Invasion DVD is a great souvenir of this historic event that emphasizes outstanding wrestling in the tradition of the National Wrestling Alliance.  It is completely approved.  If you're a fan

Get your copy of this outstanding DVD today here.

And if you need more combat sports action, follow the adventures of El Aire in the combat sports series, 'Pit Fighters'.  'Pit Fighters: Baptism by Fire' and 'Pit Fighters: Double Cross' are combat sports-themed books that features fights from the early days of MMA, and plenty of underground money fights.  You've got to check them out, and they're available on Kindle or paperback today.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster.  His latest story, 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull' is a Tex-Mexploitation superhero story in the tradition of 'Machete' and 'Black Dynamite'.  Get it in paperback or Kindle today.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ZOMBIES/BLOOD/FIGHTS - Excerpt: 'Sword of the Angel' delivers on all levels

Bowie V. Ibarra

The latest title from (The shortened and official website of features everything this blog is dedicated to:  Zombies, Blood, and Fights!
Here's the synopsis:

Espada del Angel was the greatest luchador who ever graced the squared circle in Mexico, the birthplace of lucha libre. His matches filled arenas, and his trophy cases are filled with the masks of defeated foes.

When he retires, he grooms his son to carry his mantle into the future, securing his legacy as one of the greatest in lucha libre history. His son goes on to perpetuate his father’s tradition of lucha excellence as Espada del Angel, Jr.

But as times change, the perception and respect for lucha libre by aficionados fades. Mixed martial arts takes its place as the premiere combat sports style of the new millennium. Espada del Angel, Jr., then faces a philosophical and personal dilemma: should he continue to excel at his sport, or should he retire to prevent further tarnishing his father’s legacy under extreme criticism and ridicule?

As he reaches a crossroad in his spiritual quandary, the greatest terror the world has ever seen sweeps the streets: The zombie apocalypse!

Will Espada, Jr. be overrun along with his fans by the zombies assaulting the city that is the home of his latest matchup? Or will the sinister plague be leveled and the people of the city defended by the Sword of the Angel?
And now, exclusively on the blog, here's an excerpt of the opening pages of 'Sword of the Angel'
 Published by arrangement with the author
 This book is a work of fiction.  People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
 Copyright 2013 Bowie V. Ibarra and  All Rights Reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author and publisher.

For all the fans of lucha libre: past, present, and future.
For El Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras, and all the luchadors who uphold the sacred masked tradition of lucha libre.
For Dr. Wagner, Jr.  Your IWGP title match in Japan against Koji Kanemoto was one of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen.
For Marlowe Downing.  Thank you, Masked Gringo.
For my cousins Albert and Stanley (d).  Thank you.
For Rainstorm Press, Holly Kasprzak, and Deedee Davis:  Thank you.
For Permuted Press and the now-defunct Library of the Living Dead: Thank you for giving me a chance.
For Bo Woodman:  Thank you, and I owe you a beer.
For ‘Big’ John Flores, Dean Arnall (d), and Gordon Downing (d):  Thank you for providing positive strong male role models for myself and your sons, my friends.
But especially for Valeriano T. Ibarra, my late father.  I miss you, dad.  You tried to teach me the right path.  I regret not spending more time with you, listening to you, and following your example on how to be a good husband, father, friend, community leader, and a gentleman when you were around.  I’ve lost my way, but I am thankful that you instilled in me the value of never giving up, and to always keep fighting no matter how insurmountable the odds.  I’m still working to be half the man you were to your family, friends, and work colleagues.  I just wish I had that time back.  Thank you for being there for me. 
Rest in peace.
¡No me toque, vieja fea!
            The muscle-bound masked wrestler who insulted the old woman raised his hand as if he were going to slap her; she was trying to hit him with her purse.  The old woman had no problem insulting the evil luchador as he walked the aisle to the ring.
            ¡Pinche baboso!” she shouted at him as he walked to the ring in the middle of the packed house in Arena Mexico.  The chorus of boos resounded around the large facility in the heart of Mexico City.  Drunken insults and vulgar hand gestures were flung in the direction of the big man as he climbed into the ring.  He shouted back at them and returned the gestures.  He was the rudo, after all.
            Though a majority of the fans were shouting against the green-masked luchador with fierce opposition, there was still a segment of the crowd cheering for him.  Banging on drums and blowing horns near a sectioned-off portion of the audience were the fans of the rudos.  They wore shirts and headbands with slogans like 100% Rudo or Rudo por Vida.  The rudos were the bad guys, and Calavera Verde was definitely the bad guy.  The fans would toot their horns or bang their drums in staccato three times before chanting ‘Ca-la-ve-ra’!  Then they would bang the drums three more times before saying ‘Ver-de’.  Then they’d repeat it.  The energy was intense.
            It was especially intense for a young boy sitting in the front row right by the ring.  The child was nearly six years old, sitting next to his beautiful mother.  He held a soda in his hand, and a tiny muñeca in his other hand.  The boy trembled with fear as the masked menace taunted the people in his seating area, including his mother, who responded with a dismissive wave and an equally rude taunt.
            ¡Cayete lo sico, baboso!” she shouted.  Her name was Gema, and she was the epitome of Mexican beauty.
            On the young boy’s head was a mask, ready to be pulled down over his face.  The mask was white, with shimmery material that ran from the forehead over the eyes, and down between the eyes forming a point at his chin.  Silver shimmering rays emanated from the sword above the eyes near the hilt, and below the eyes, crossing his cheeks.
            It was a very special mask to the boy, the same mask of the opponent Calavera Verde was about to face.  The mask belonged to the man who was not only the boy’s hero, but was much more than that.
            “Stand up, Esteban,” said his mother in Spanish.
            It didn’t take long for Esteban to obey his loving mother.  He rose to his feet, climbing on the chair.  As the music for Espada del Angel hit, Esteban pulled down the mask over his face.
            His father’s mask.
            Esteban cheered as his father broke the curtainline.  The arena was rattled by the massive cheer from the thousands in attendance.  Flanked by two beautiful Mexican female escorts, Espada del Angel strode to the ring.  The fans applauded, reaching out to him for the opportunity to touch his hand, to touch his mask.
            Espada broke from the escorts to move to a fan who was wearing his mask.  He held the fan by his head, joining their foreheads together.  It was as if he were transferring power to the fan.  Or, perhaps, gaining strength from the supporter.  His mask was a powerful sacred totem, and its image could be seen throughout the arena.  Kindred spirits united with their high priest.
            The escorts stopped near the end of the aisle to the ring.  Espada broke ranks from them and proceeded around the ring.  He greeted fans with a touch of his hand as he walked around the ring.  But he stopped and spent an extra moment with an elderly lady at ringside.  Virginia Gomez had been following lucha libre, but especially Espada del Angel, for decades.  She was his biggest fan, and Espada showed a moment of respect to her before going on his way. 
Esteban watched his father work the ringside fans.  A smile crossed his face, and true joy filled his heart.  He swelled with pride.
Then Esteban shivered with fear as Calavera Verde ran to the edge of the ring.  The ghoulish fighter shouted at Espada.
But Espada held his ground, turning to Calavera Verde and giving him an earful right back.  The crowd cheered, pointing and laughing at Calavera. Esteban chuckled.  His father was using ‘grown-up’ words, and it made Calavera back off.
Then, it was the moment Esteban had been waiting for.  Espada del Angel, the masked hero to most everyone in the arena, much of Mexico, and throughout the world, was walking to him.  He was more than just a hero to Esteban.
Espada del Angel was his dad.
Espada tenderly took his son by the head, and moved his forehead to his son’s.
“I love you, son,” he said in Spanish before turning to his wife and kissing her on the lips.  A true machista.
The fans cheered at the luchador’s pride for his family as the fighters turned to enter the ring.
Within moments, Espada took off his cape with a flourish.  The ring announcer was in fine form as he introduced the luchadors.
Esteban was nervous.  Calavera Verde was strong, and had been beating up his opponents for weeks on end.  His father had stood up to the foe when the villain had threatened one of his friends, Aguila Blanco.
This would be their first meeting.  Esteban knew his dad could tie the monster in knots on the mat with the science of lucha libre.  Espada del Angel was one of the best técnicos Mexican lucha libre had ever known.
But Calavera Verde was Espada’s equal when it came to the tactics of a rudo.  Calavera gouged, scratched, and cheated his way to victory.  Espada del Angel was strong, but he was going to be challenged by this big man in one of the signature 2 out of 3 falls matches of lucha libre.
When the bell rang, the crowd cheered with excitement.  The foes locked up in the middle of the ring, grappling with each other for an advantage.  For every move, a counter.  For every counter, a shift in strategy.
For the next ten minutes, the two exchanged holds, wearing each other down when the action escalated.  Esteban cheered, trying to give power to his hero, his father.  A series of high-flying moves was exchanged.  Espada del Angel was close to victory when the referee was momentarily out of position and Calavera Verde struck Espada del Angel with a kick to the crotch, doubling the hero over and stealing a pinfall.  It was a foul that would have given Espada a disqualification win if the ref saw it.  But he didn’t, and Calavera was proving the efficient rudo.
Esteban tried to get the referee’s attention, along with most everyone else in the arena, but was ignored.  He was crushed and felt like crying.  It was frustrating to see his father doing so well and fall short with such a cheap tactic.  He booed and shouted with his mother and the rest of the fans.  Calavera Verde taunted the audience and took it all in with gleeful pride.
The bell rang for the second fall, and Calavera went after the still-hurt Espada.  After only a few cruel moves and strikes, Calavera taunted the crowd before trying to pin Espada.  But to his surprise and to the joy of all the fans, Espada reversed the maneuver, locking in a quick pinfall for himself.
Esteban jumped for joy into his mother’s arms as they both cheered the much-needed win along with the entire arena.  The relief was palpable, and with the match tied 1-1, the third and final fall would declare the winner.
Espada rolled out of the ring, taking the much-needed moments between falls to recover.  As Calavera tried to argue with the referee that Espada had pulled his trunks, Espada walked to Esteban, still in his mother’s arms.
As Espada kissed Esteban on the head, Esteban shouted in Spanish, “Go get him, dad!”
Espada stepped back in the ring and the match started again.
And once again, the two grapplers went at it: Calavera Verde with a sense of desperation, Espada del Angel with a sense of determination.
The two Mexican warriors put it all on the line in a test of skill, strength, and will.  Espada attacked with high-flying topes and scissors holds from his arsenal.  Calavera responded with backbreakers and strikes.
Before long, Espada hit Calavera with a spectacular throw, leaving the rudo stunned on the mat.  As Calavera rose to his feet, Espada scaled the turnbuckles to the top.
“Fly, daddy,” shouted Esteban in Spanish.
As Espada stood tall on the top rope, he held his hands in front of himself, as if wielding a sword.  He then slowly raised his hands over his head, building anticipation for his signature finishing move.  The crowd cheered as Calavera wobbled to his feet.  They knew what was coming.
Calavera Verde turned around to see Espada taking flight like a soaring eagle.  Jumping high into the air, Espada cut a graceful picture of the beauty of lucha libre.  With his arms extended, his descent was smooth.  His targeting, precise.
Turning sideways in mid-air, his body smashed against Calavera Verde’s chest.  The momentum of the flying body attack knocked the exhausted Calavera Verde to the mat.  The crashing fall on his back and the weight of Espada del Angel completely knocked the air out of him.  With no energy to kick out, Espada covered Calavera’s arms and secured a leg.  The crowd, including Esteban, counted with the referee, “¡Uno, dos, tres!
Esteban jumped for joy into his mother’s arms as they joined the chorus of ecstatic applause that rattled Arena Mexico.  The referee raised the hand of Espada del Angel as the announcer called out his name as the victor.
            After the referee released his hand, Espada del Angel ran to the ropes.  He waved to Virginia, who was sweetly blowing kisses to him.  He then signaled to his wife and son to approach the ring.  Holding young Esteban, his mother brought him to his father.  Espada once again grabbed his son’s masked head and placed his forehead on his.
            “I love you, son,” he said in Spanish.
            Then, Espada returned to the center of the ring to salute the fans.
            “Mama, why do the people love papa so much?” asked Esteban.
            “Because, mi’jo,” she began, “In him and in his mask lies hope.  He is the hope of the people.”
            Esteban looked back with sincere adoration at his father.

            It was a week after one of Espada del Angel’s greatest triumphs, and Esteban was still proud as a peacock.  His father had a show in Monterrey, and Esteban was watching it live on television.
            “Mama, papa’s about to be introduced,” he said.  He took a seat on the beanbag chair holding his Espada del Angel and Calavera Verde toys as he watched the interview.
            “So, Espada, that was a great victory over Calavera Verde last week,” said the announcer in Spanish.
            “Yes, it was,” said Esteban’s dad.  “He was a strong opponent.  He was also a very dirty fighter.  But with my superior skill and science, I was victorious.”
            Esteban beamed with pride.
            “Is there something you’d like to tell all your fans?”
            “Yes.  To all of my fans, I want you to know that you give me my strength to fight for you.  Every time I go to the ring, my fans always help me through my fight.”
            “That’s fantastic,” said the announcer.
            What neither of them saw was Calavera Verde sneaking up behind the two with a steel chair.  But everyone in the live audience and everyone watching at home could see, including Esteban.
            “Mama!” shouted Esteban in a panic, pointing at the television.  “Mama!”
            His mother ran in fear to the room where Esteban was watching TV.  They watched in horror as Calavera Verde smacked Espada right across the back with the steel chair, knocking him to the ground.
            “No!” shouted Esteban, embracing his mother.  Already, tears of fear and anger began to race down his cheeks.  He was helpless to help his father.
            As the crowd in the arena shouted and boo’d the heinous act, Calavera wound up and smacked Espada three more times.  Each time, Esteban shouted “No!” with a bitter sadness.
            One of Espada’s friends tried to help him, but was smashed across the face by the chair.
            “Don’t look, mi’jo,” said Esteban’s mother as Calavera dropped the chair on the floor.  Calavera lifted Espada off the ground and put his rival’s head between his legs.  The announcer tried to stop the rudo, but was shoved to the ground for his efforts.
            “Please,” whispered Esteban’s mother, simmering with anger.  “Somebody stop this.”
            Calavera heaved Espada up against his body.  Espada’s head was lined up over the chair.  The crowd cried out in terror as Calavera raised a leg before using his other leg to hop up in the air.  Espada’s head was driven into the steel chair.  The weight of his own body seemingly pile-driven onto his neck.
            “No!” shouted Esteban’s mother as she watched the gruesome scene play out.
            Though she thought she was shielding Esteban from the horrible attack, he was peeking.  And he saw the whole ruthless assault on his father play out.
            Then, Calavera Verde picked up the microphone the announcer had dropped.  He then stood over Espada.
            “You think you’re better than me, Espada?  You think your fans are going to save you now?  I hate you, Espada.  You’re a piece of trash, and I’m going to take out the trash.  I want to put you away forever.  I challenge you to a mask vs. mask match.  I want to end your career, take your mask, and kick you out of here.”
            “Calavera will pay, mi’jo,” said Esteban’s mother.  Don’t you worry.  Calavera will pay for this outrage.”
            They both watched as a medical crew attended to the injured Espada.  They placed a brace around his neck and slowly lifted him onto a stretcher.  They secured his head to the backboard with a strap. 
            Esteban wiped a tear from his eyes.  He looked at the toy Calavera Verde in his hand and threw it at the wall.
            “See,” shouted Calavera Verde at the audience.  “See your hero?  He’s broken.  He’s a broken man.  And I destroyed him.”
            Calavera threw the microphone to the ground and began to walk away.  He started taunting the crowd, who gladly jeered him.  The fans even started throwing cups, trash, even batteries at him as he pointed and laughed at all of them.
            Vete, mi’jo,” said his mother.  “Go to your room.”
            She lifted up Esteban by his hand.  He looked at the television one last time as he followed her command.  The medical officials were checking on the neck brace and moving him out of the arena.
            Then, something amazing happened.  Espada waved his hand, calling for the microphone.  When one of the crew saw him signaling for it, they responded.  The person picked up the microphone and handed it to him.
            “Calavera!  Listen to me now, you bastard.  You made a big mistake.  You insulted me.  You insulted lucha libre.  But most of all, you insulted the people.”
            The crowd cheered as Espada paused before declaring, “I accept your challenge.  ¡Lucha de apuesta! Mask vs. Mask!”
            “Oh, my God,” whispered Esteban’s mother.
            Esteban stood wide-eyed, too.  Both of them knew the deep implications of a Mask vs. Mask match.  The winner would hold the mask of the loser as a trophy forever.  The loser would be forced into retirement and have his name, birthplace, and birthday revealed to the world, forever destroying his persona.
            Esteban gulped.
            By the end of the evening, Esteban and Gema found out what hospital Espada del Angel was in and were able to make contact with him.
            Esteban desperately wanted to talk to his father, but Gema had to speak with the love of her life first.  He couldn’t hear his father, but he could figure out what was being said by what Gema was saying.
            “How are you?... When will you be out?... Oh, fantastic.  We’ll have the house ready for you… Mi amor, do not fight him.  Do not… AmorAmor, por favor.  I will not allow you to fight Calavera… No!”
            Esteban could hear his father shouting on the other end of the line.
            “But you’re hurt, amor.  He’s going to…”
            More shouting from a distant hospital bed.
            Then, penitence.  “I’m sorry… I’m sorry… Mi amor, mi vida, I’m sorry… I love you.”
            She started to sob.
            “I love you and… I don’t want you to be hurt.. .I know… I know… I know, and I love you, amor.”  Gema wiped a tear from her face, twisting the phone cord in her hand.  Esteban handed her a tissue to wipe her runny eye liner.  “You are my love, my life.. I know, but I get scared when I think how you might get hurt… okay… okay.. My heart and my arms wait for your return, papi… okay.”
            She then turned to Esteban, handing him the phone.  “Your father wants to talk to you.”
            Esteban’s heart beat like a drum.  He readily took the phone from Gema and placed it against his ear.
            “Hello, mi’jo.”
            Esteban’s heart was filled with joy and a sense of relief when he heard his father’s voice.  He actually sounded pretty good.
            “Papa, are you okay?”
            “Yes, mi’jo.  I am fine.”
            “When are you coming home?”
            “Very soon, mi’jo.”
            “Papa, please don’t fight Calavera Verde.  Please don’t.”
            “Ay, what kind of son am I raising?”
            The question stunned Esteban.  Before he could answer, his father continued.
            “What have I taught you about life, mi’jo?  About what happens to anyone who lays a hand on you?”
            “I must defend myself,” Esteban answered.
            “When?” asked his father.
            “All the time,” said Esteban.
            “Every time.”
            “But papa,” pleaded Esteban.  “You are hurt.  He will hurt you again.”
            “Stop right now, Esteban,” shouted his father from the other end of the line.  “You are sounding like your mother.”
            It hurt to hear his father say those mean words.  But he knew he was right.  He wanted nothing more than to be big and strong like his father, both physically and mentally.  It hurt, but he had to listen.
            “If you want to be a man, son, then you must grow up and fight for your honor.  Do you understand?”
            “Yes, papa.”  A tear was falling down Esteban’s cheek.  He wiped it away quickly and defiantly, trying to fight his fear and replace it with the courage his father was trying to instill in him.
            “Calavera Verde insulted you.  He insulted your mother.  And he insulted my mask.  He challenged me for my mask, mi’jo.  You know what that means?”
            “Yes, papa.”
            “I was challenged, and I can never back down.  No matter how big or how small.  It is what a man does.  He faces challenges head on, no matter the cost. ¿Me comprendes?
            “Yes, papa.”
            “I love you, mi’jo.  But you’re not going to grow into a man with a strong mind if you let fear rule your heart.”
            Esteban nodded solemnly as he let the power of his father’s words sink in.

            It wasn’t long until those words were put to the test.  News spread of his dad’s injuries, but so did the ridicule.
            “Hey, Esteban.  Is your dad still hurt?” yelled Manuel in Spanish, one of Esteban’s least favorite kids at school.
            “Yeah. Are you going to cry?” said Beto, Esteban’s second-to-least favorite kid at school.  His Spanish was worse than his hygiene.
            Esteban scowled at them, then he took a moment before walking away.
            “Don’t cry, Esteban,” said Beto, running up beside him.  “It’s all fake anyway.”
            Exactamente,” Manuel exclaimed.  “Why are you crying?  Your dad’s not really hurt.  It’s fake.”
            Esteban wanted to run away from the teasing, the ridicule.  They were wrong, and they knew it.
            But that’s when his father’s words came back to him.  It was the very words he spoke to Esteban only days before:  A man faces challenges head on, no matter what the cost.
            Esteban stopped in his tracks, gulping.  He turned to face his rivals.
            “Hey, you leave my father alone!” shouted Esteban.  The shout took Manuel and Beto by surprise.
            Manuel hesitated before shouting back.  “Well, look at you, standing up for…”
            But he didn’t even finish the sentence when Esteban cracked Manuel in the mouth.  The surprise shot took Manuel completely by surprise.  It split his bottom lip as he fell to the ground on his ass.
            Esteban stood, just as stunned as the boys were.  He looked at his fist with amazement.  “Wow,” he muttered in surprise.
            Before he could savor the glory of the attack, he was tackled to the ground by Beto, who clumsily tried to strike Esteban before they both got back to their feet.
            The two sides stood apart from each other.  A newfound respect was reforming the bitter relationship.
            “We’re going to get you back,” said Beto.
            “Whenever, cobardes,” said Esteban.
            The boys scurried off to another part of the playground, leaving Esteban alone.  The kids who had gathered for the skirmish walked off.
            “Hey, Esteban,” came a voice from behind him.  “Are you okay?”  It was one of his friends.
            “Fine,” he said.
            Esteban was frightened.  He didn’t want that kind of retaliation.  But he somehow felt different.  Even Beto’s threat felt empty, as if he were only saying it to save face.
            He knew one thing for sure, though.
            Acting on his father’s words made him stronger.

            The arena was filled with electricity as Espada del Angel and Calavera Verde gave it their all in their high stakes lucha rumble, one fall to a pinfall, or submission finish.
            For close to fifteen minutes, the two exchanged holds.  The advantage bounced back and forth between the bitter rivals.
            Esteban was very upset.  Calavera Verde had responded to Espada’s scientific wrestling by fighting dirty, smacking Espada’s head into the steel turnpost.  Espada’s blood began to stain his white mask in red.
            But the ultimate insult was Calavera tearing at Espada’s mask.  A portion of the mask was ripped open near his eyes, revealing a bloody portion of his head and hair.  It wasn’t looking good for Espada del Angel.
            Esteban’s mother held him close as Espada gained an advantage.  Calavera lifted Espada up in the air for a powerbomb throw, but Espada took control of the move by locking his legs around Calavera’s head and swinging himself toward the mat.  The pendulum motion sent Calavera tumbling headfirst to the mat.  Dazed, Calavera rose to his feet only to be met with a  flying headbutt that smacked him right on the chest and knocked him back to the mat.  The tide had turned.
            “Go, papa!” shouted Esteban, cheering in a rising fury with the rest of the crowd.  This was Espada’s big chance.
            With Calavera rising from the mat, Espada kicked him in the solar plexus, doubling the reeling rudo over.  Throwing one of Calavera’s arms around his head, Espada put one of his own around Calavera’s before heaving him up vertically into the air.  As Calavera’s feet reached heavenward and his head aligned with the canvas below, Espada fell to this own back to drive Calavera’s head into the mat with all the weight of his own body. 
Calavera lay flat on his back on the mat.
            Quickly rising back to his feet, Espada did not waste a second scaling the turnbuckle to the absolute delight of the fans and his son.  It was as if Espada were a conductor of a classical orchestra as he raised his hands to signal his finishing move.  Calavera slowly rose from the mat to his feet.  His destiny was about to pass.
            As his hands rose to the pinnacle above his head, and the fans reached the height of their frenzy for him, Espada took flight.  Esteban and the fans held their breath.
            It might have been the highest Espada had ever flown.  With his arms spread, the arc of his flight was filled with the true grace and elegance of a master of lucha libre.
            Having taken flight, Espada had committed, and there was no turning back as Calavera quickly rolled out of Espada’s flight pattern.  The crowd gasped in shock as Espada crash landed on the mat, missing his intended target completely.
            The sound of his body crashing to the mat made Esteban and his mother cry out in fearful anguish.  The entire crowd felt the same way as they watched Espada writhe in pain on the mat.
            “Please, papa,” shouted Esteban in Spanish, “Please get up!”
            Calavera sat in a corner, gripping his neck and shoulder.  Then he turned to Esteban and his mother, rising slowly and leaning over the top rope.  He shouted at the family.
            “I’m taking your father’s mask!”
            “No!” shouted Esteban and his mother.
            Virginia, the old woman, prayed for Espada, gripping a rosary in her hands.  She held those hands to her head, closing her eyes tight.
            Like a cruel street thug, Calavera moved to the injured Espada and began to stomp his solar plexus and head.  Pointing to Esteban, he mocked Espada again.
            “Look at your father now,” he shouted, kicking and stomping Espada.
            “No!” shouted Esteban.
            “Get up, amor,” cried Gema.  “Get up!”
            Calavera lifted Espada off the mat and dragged him to the middle rope.  He draped Espada’s neck and arms on the rope, choking him mercilessly in front of his family.  The crowd knew exactly what he was doing to Espada’s family, and began to throw things at the rudo.
            “Your man is finished,” Calavera shouted at his rival’s family, laughing.  He fish-hooked Espada before tearing at his mask again.
            Esteban began to weep for his father.  The beating Espada was taking was completely unneccesary.  He was finished.  The crowd howled with disgust.
            Calavera led the stumbling Espada to the center of the ring, taunting the angry crowd all the while.  Bottles were littering the ring.  A triple-A battery struck his chest.  Calavera simply pointed at the crowd and laughed.
            Calavera threw one of Espada’s arms over his neck while placing one of his over Espada’s.  He then gave the audience a thumbs-up, signaling the start of his finishing power move:  The Gravedigger Screwdriver.
            Everyone in the arena (apart from the rudo fans) cried out in a panicked frenzy as Calavera flipped his thumb down.
            “No!” shouted Esteban over and over again.  His mother would not watch.  She turned her head away.
            Virginia watched in sadness.  Her hands remained together in faith, like a votive statue, holding out hope.
            Like a miracle, before Calavera could execute the power move, Espada fell to the mat and rolled to his back, bringing Calavera to the mat with him.  With all the science of a pure técnico, Espada hooked Calavera’s legs with his other arm and a leg.  Wrapped tight as if in a ball, Espada rolled Calavea on his shoulders.  The rudo struggled to be released from the scientific pinning maneuver, but was locked in place skillfully by Espada.
            The ref started the count.  It would be considered slow by all standards.  The crowd counted along with every slow slap to the mat:  ¡Uno!  ¡Dos!  ¡Tres!
            At the three count, Espada broke the hold as the victor.  The entire arena exploded in ecstatic joy.
            And just like that, Espada avenged the dishonor placed on him, his family, his fans, and his mask.  He stumbled to a corner, catching his breath, and looking to his family.  He waved at his wife, signaling her to come over.
            “Come here, Esteban,” she said, lifting up her son with strength and elegance, even in heels.  They moved to the corner.
            Espada leaned through the ropes and kissed his wife on the lips before kissing his son on the forehead.
            “I love you both so much,” he whispered to them.
            “I love you, too,” they both replied as he rose to his feet to the cheers of the crowd.
            In the ring, Calavera was making a fuss to the referee.  It was all in vain as Espada demanded Calavera to remove his mask and reveal his identity.
            Officials and athletic commission members stepped into the ring as well as an announcer.  Calavera tried to use the transition to escape, but Espada quickly pulled him back by the trunks.
            Espada moved to the announcer and took the microphone, talking in Spanish.
            “It’s time, Calavera.  It’s time to remove your mask.”
            Calavera hesitated, then tried to leave again to a chorus of boos.  Esteban clinched his fists and teeth in frustration.  ¡Cobarde!” he shouted.
            Virginia was outside the ring, pointing and shouting at him.  Calavera glared at her, yelling right back when Espada grabbed him by the arm.  Spinning the heel around, Espada punched Calavera about the face.  Calavera quickly submitted, cowering in the corner and holding up his hands.  Esteban could hear him crying out, “Stop!  Stop!”
            It was time for vindication.  Calavera now had to relinquish his mask.
            Espada led Calavera to the center of the ring and shouted, “Remove your mask now!”
            Calavera reached behind his head and started to untie his mask.  The Boxing and Lucha Commissioner entered the ring.
            Esteban’s heart leapt.  It was the utter humiliation Calavera deserved for attacking his father.  Justice was to be served.
            As the commissioner handed Calavera Verde’s secret identity to the ring announcer, Calavera tried to leave one last time.  But Espada reached out to him and grabbed him by the now-loosened mask.  With one strong yank, he removed the mask from Calavera’s head.
            Outside the ring, Virginia’s eyes widened, seeing the face of the hated rival for the first time.  She clapped with joy, watching the triumph play out.
            Calavera stumbled out of the ring, humiliated, as the ring announcer read the card the commissioner handed to him.
            “Ladies and gentlemen, I have in my hand Calavera Verde’s true identity.  His name is Humberto Cuevas Gutierrez.  He was born in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato on February twenty-sixth, 1968.”
            Esteban jumped for joy, moving from his seat and taunting the disgraced Calavera Verde.
            “Haha,” laughed Esteban, pointing at Calavera.  ¡No vale nada, payaso feo!” he shouted, calling him an ugly clown.
            ¡Callete lo sico, pinche carbón!” shouted Humberto, walking up the ramp in disgrace.
            Mi’jo,” shouted Espada to his son.  Esteban turned to see his father signaling him to the ring.  Ven,” he said, signaling for him to approach.
            Along with his mother, Esteban dashed to the ring.  Climbing up on the apron, his father reached over the ropes and pulled his son into his arms.  He handed Esteban the mask.
            “Another trophy for our family,” said Espada.
            Esteban waved the mask at the retreating and humiliated Humberto to the wild applause of the crowd.

            Esteban and his mother sat with anticipation in Espada’s locker room.  Espada’s trainers were having cigarettes in another corner of the room when they all heard the members of the press begin to call out Espada’s name.  Camera flashes could be seen from under the space in the doorway.
            “Papa,” shouted Esteban, jumping from his seat.
            In mere moments, his father opened the door and walked in, followed by his manager.  They quickly closed the door before the press could come inside.
            As the door was locked, Esteban ran to his father and jumped.  Wrapping his arms around his father’s neck, the boy was embraced with paternal love.
            “I’m so proud of you, papa.  You beat him.”
            We beat him, mi’jo,” said Espada.  “I couldn’t have done it without your support.”
            Esteban embraced his father again.  “I love you, dad.”
            “I love you, too, mi’jo,” said Espada, carrying his son to a chair.  He sat his young son on his lap, looking into his boy’s eyes.  Into his own eyes.
            Then, he said, “I want you to understand this, mi’jo.  One day, when you have committed yourself, when you have trained, and when you are ready, you will wear this mask.”
            Incredulous, Esteban’s eyes widened with joy.  A smile spread across his face.  “Really?”
            “You have to, mi’jo.  One day, I will not be able to fight like this anymore.  My body and my mind will be too old to compete.  This is a young man’s sport.  Someone will need to carry on the tradition of our mask.  That someone is you.”
            Esteban gulped.  The weight of that future responsibility suddenly struck his soul with power, with excitement, and inspiration.
            “On your 13th birthday, you will begin training if continuing our family legacy is what you want to do.”
            “I do,” said Esteban.  He reached up and touched his father’s mask tenderly.
            In spite of the mask, Esteban could see the pride swell in his father’s eyes.
            “One day,” said Espada, “you will wear this mask and be the hope of the people.”
Find out where the rest of the story goes as the legacy of Espada del Angel moves forward in 'Sword of the Angel' in paperback or Kindle today!
Follow the adventures of El Aire in the comb sports series, 'Pit Fighters'.  'Pit Fighters: Baptism by Fire' and 'Pit Fighters: Double Cross' are combat sports-themed books that features fights from the early days of MMA, and plenty of underground money fights.  You've got to check them out, and they're available on Kindle or paperback today.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster.  His latest story, 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull' is a Tex-Mexploitation superhero story in the tradition of 'Machete' and 'Black Dynamite'.  Get it in paperback or Kindle today.