New Zealand, famous for its Kiwis, non-GMO sheep, rugby, overpriced goat cheese I buy at Costco, hobbits and…luchadors. Yes, Wizards and Orks aren’t the only epic characters battling in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
During my recent Suburban Luchador blogosphere tour, I met Ross Longdon, a mild-mannered dad of four and author of Daddysphere.com, the chronicles of a New Zealand dad and his Kiwi adventures. One thing I Iearned from this fellow dad-hero is that children’s birthdays are a universal opportunity for dads all over the world to release their inner luchador.
Recently, during his three-year-old’s birthday, Ross had to abruptly leave on an important, yet mysterious, errand (possibly buying more goat cheese?). Meanwhile, the children frolicked and romped like little gazelles in the backyard until they heard the slamming of the sliding glass door followed by a frightening roar. They turned to look at the disturbance and found a shirtless man wearing a blue luchador mask, sparkly silver cape, and feathery boa. He growled like a rabid dog and his white-tanned skin blinded those brave enough to look.
“I HEAR IT’S SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY TODAY!!” he bellowed.
Some children squealed with delight. Others hid under nearby sheep.
“I AM…EL SPLENDIDO!” he continued, with a strange Kiwi-Spanglish accent. “AND I’M HERE FOR MUCHA LUCHA!” Much like his distant cousin, El Chupacabra, El Splendido is a mysterious character who appears throughout New Zealand, usually at children’s birthdays, PTA meetings and other forbidding locations.
For the next hour, El Splendido took on the hordes of mini-orks as they punched, clawed, poked and climbed his splendi-bod in the Splendi-ring. After succumbing to his lucha-wounds, he hobbled off to the living room where the minions finished him off in a battle of Musical Wrestling Pose.
Unfortunately for Ross, he did not return in time to perform his own Fatality move on this odd intruder, for El Splendido disappeared into the closet just as strangely as he emerged. However, I don’t think this is the last we will hear of El Splendido…either in New Zealand or the rest of Middle Earth…