Video: Bethnal Green Mexican wrestling hub taking Europe by storm

PUBLISHED: 18:05 13 November 2014

Wrestlers in action at Lucha Britannia's recent Halloween Howler (Pic:

Wrestlers in action at Lucha Britannia's recent Halloween Howler (Pic:

copyright alistair veryard photography 2014

The thought of masked Mexican wrestlers with outlandish stage names might sound lightyears away from the backstreets of east London, but the sport’s European hub is closer than you may think.

Lucha Britannia Lucha Britannia

The London School of Lucha Libre – the continent’s biggest freestyle Mexican wrestling training centre – is based at Bethnal Green’s Resistance Gallery, in Poysner Street, with professional stars putting on monthly shows under the banner of Lucha Britannia.

Much more than just a simple fight between athletes, each performance tells a storyline with music, comedy and cabaret.

Lead trainer Greg Burridge, 33, who funded his early wrestling education through his family’s Columbia Road flower market stall, insists the East End setting is a key part of the school’s identity.

“You couldn’t replicate this anywhere else – it’s a cultural part of east London,” said the professional wrestler-turned-stuntman, actor and director.

Wrestlers in action at Lucha Britannia's recent Halloween Howler (Pic: Wrestlers in action at Lucha Britannia's recent Halloween Howler (Pic:

“Wrestling’s an art form and we want take it out of the ring and into other arenas, to show anyone can take part if they’re willing to work for it.”

Watching the pros flying into each other from across the ring is physically impressive enough, but only by experiencing some of the basics do you get a feel for just how technically demanding the sport is.

Slightly questioning my eagerness, the incredible acrobatics of the recent Halloween show still fresh in the memory, I went down on Monday for a special session led by legendary wrestler Cassandro, real name Saúl Armendáriz, the sport’s first openly gay world champion.

Beginning with a thorough warm-up to the sound of club anthems, things soon moved into the ring as the riffs of Metallica began blaring through the speakers.

Lucha Britannia Lucha Britannia

After taking it in turns to practise a series of dives, rolls and flips, the night concluded with a session of close-combat manoeuvres, something much more challenging than I first imagined.

Even learning a simple arm lock made it clear just how much thought is required for each move.

“Wrestling should be on the national curriculum,” said founder Garry Vanderhorne, 43.

“It greats for fitness which increase happiness and builds confidence, plus it really helps to quicken brain responses.

“You’re carrying out extremely dangerous moves and keeping to a storyline while your body’s under incredible anabolic stress the whole time. There’s nothing that can quite compares to it.”

Lucha Britannia will next perform at the Resistance Gallery on Friday, from 8pm. 
Visit for more information.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 17:59

The fascinating story of how a single unexploded wartime bomb had a ‘ripple affect’ that led to hundreds of deaths in a school in east London is told on BBC 2 tonight.

Yesterday, 15:57

They’ve been on the streets for just three weeks, and the new Santander Cycles are proving popular with riders.

Yesterday, 13:29

A storm erupted at last night’s Tower Hamlets Council meeting which called on members to cooperate with a police investigation into the corrupt 2014 election for mayor.

Yesterday, 10:00

A million first-time buyers are expected by the government to benefit from the stamp duty cut over the next five years - but experts have warned there could be unintended downsides for the housing market.

Yesterday, 09:17

The Norwegian government minister for immigration has been finding out how east London is tackling youth radicalisation and extremism.

Wed, 17:10

The first winter market at The Forge historic east London ironworks opens on Friday on the Isle of Dogs.

Wed, 17:02

The Blackwall tunnel is closed southbound following a collision between a lorry and a motorbike.

Wed, 15:57

Two thugs who carried out a violent robbery and car-jacking on three men in Poplar have been jailed.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now