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America, meet Maximo, the 'gay' wrestler

April 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a hot-pink Mohawk haircut and leotard to match, he pirouettes before taking down his muscle-bound enemies with a swift kick to the groin. Maximo, Mexican professional wrestling's latest sensation, then delivers a crowning blow - a kiss on the lips of his macho opponent - to the delight of a roaring crowd.

Maximo is one of the "Exotics," a group of effeminate fighters in the testosterone-fueled world of Mexico's Lucha Libre, the inspiration for the World Wrestling Federation, now World Wrestling Entertainment.

Known casually as "gay" wrestlers, Exotics have been around since the 1970s but are experiencing a wrestling revival. Their characters are strong, yet sensitive good guys overcoming evil, they say.

But showing your soft side in the ring isn't as easy as it might look, Maximo says.

"It's kind of hard playing this part, no? Especially because the sport is about being tough, rude and violent," he said. "But as long as the public loves us, we'll be there."


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