In Lucha Libre, professional wrestling in Mexico, Luchas de Apuestas are matches with wagers.
In such fights, both wrestlers wager something, often putting their masks or hair on the line against an opponent.
The loser of a Lucha de Apuestas match loses the item they had wagered. The losing wrestler is forced to take off their mask or be shaved.
Given the significance of masks (mascaras) in the history of Lucha libre, handing the mask to the winner is the ultimate humiliation.
In the past, many wrestlers’ personal details have been published after being unmasked.
Types of wagers in luchas de apuestas?
There are several types of wagers in luchas de apuestas. These include:
1. Máscara contra máscara (“mask versus mask”)
Two masked wrestlers wager their masks, and the loser hands their mask to the winner.
The luchador who loses their mask is not allowed to compete using a mask of that same gimmick.
2. Máscara contra cabellera (“mask versus hair”)
The luchador (wrestler) who has already been unmasked in a previous bout can wager his hair against a masked luchador.
If the masked wrestler wins, the unmasked luchador is shaved their head.
If the unmasked luchador wins, he keeps his hair and unmasks the masked luchador.
3. Cabellera contra cabellera (“hair versus hair”)
This fight can take place between masked and unmasked wrestlers and the loser has his head shaved.
Masked wrestlers who lose their fights in a cabellara contra cabellera have to remove their mask just enough to be shaved.
4. Máscara o cabellera contra campeonato (“mask or hair versus title”)
If the champion wins, the competitor is unmasked or shaved.
However, if the champion loses then the winner is crowned as the new champion.
5. Máscara o cabellera contra retiro (“mask or hair versus career”)
In such a match, if the masked or haired wrestler loses, he is unmasked or shaved. However, if he wins then the opponent has to retire.
6. Carrera contra carrera (“career versus career”)
In this type of Luchas de Apuestas, the luchadores put their careers on the line. When a wrestler loses such a match, they have to retire.
7. Apuesta por el nombre (“bet for the name”)
Although rare, this type of Luchas de Apuestas involves two luchadores who share a similar character.
They have to battle to decide who gets the right to use the identity.
Such a scenario often happens when a wrestler leaves a wrestling company and the company has the right to retain their character identity.
The company may then proceed to give that identity to another luchador.
When the previous identity owner returns to the company, they may claim to be the rightful owner of the identity.
To settle the feud, a Lucha de Apuesta where the winner gets the rights to own the character can be organized. Although not all the time, such fights may also result in the loser being unmasked.