Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Strange case of Deputy Jesus Eddie Campa and Lucha Libre! By Ricardo Munoz

I meet Jesus Eddie Campa about five years ago and found a man that should write a book or have a movie made about his life and it would be a box office smash.  I have come to know this man and let me tell you that he will never stop amazing you. Behind the image, the badge, his reputation, and all the stuff you read about him you will find a man that is just looking for a way to make his family proud of him.   
Jesus Eddie Campa has always had two passions in life.  His main passion can be seen in the work that he does as Police Chief for the Marshall Police Department.  His passion for serving his community can be seen in every step he takes as the Police Chief of Marshall.  His second passion is following professional wrestling.  So much so that he owned and wrestled in many independent wrestling promotions.  The biggest wrestling promotion Campa was a part of was the Alliance of Lucha Libre Wrestling Association (ALLWA), which he went on to become world champion of. 
I just thought it would be fun to add a few lines to this story that was done by the Marshall News Messenger sometime back.  I truly enjoyed the story and thought that I would post it here once more.   My name is Ricardo Munoz and to those that read my blog @ know that when it comes to the world of Lucha Libre I only write about the great ones.  Deputy Jesus Eddie Campa as I knew him had always been a head of his time and a head of the game, be it in the world of Lucha or in the police world.  Chief a has a nice ring to it, pareja.    Please enjoy the story from the Marshall Messenger. 
By day, Marshall Police Chief Jesus "Eddie" Campa was known as Chief Deputy of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
By night, he was "El Jefe," the villainous boss of the Alliance of Lucha Libre Wrestling Association.
It all started as a joke. He was just trying to help a friend draw interest to his ballroom.
"I was working an off-duty job at a grocery store back home, and a friend of mine who was a general manager at the store decided to open up a ballroom," Campa said. "He opened up this ballroom, and he wasn't having any luck renting it out."
His friend decided to host boxing matches - Campa used to do amateur boxing and kickboxing - as a way to draw interest to the space in hopes that people would want to rent it out for for weddings and quinceañeras.
"It's more of a headache than it's really worth, so I said 'Well what do we do,' and he said 'I don't know let's do wrestling,'" Campa said. "I said, 'Wrestling?' He said 'Yeah like professional wrestling lucha libre let's do that.'"
Growing up in El Paso with a Hispanic family, Campa had dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler.
"We border Mexico, and in Mexico wrestling's really big," he said. "It's known as lucha libre (with) colorful costumes, colorful masks.
"As a kid, you kind of grow up watching it because it was on every television station, so you see the fancy masks and the costumes and the athleticism of the wrestlers, the flips and acrobats so you become attracted to it. I just remember growing up saying I wanted to become a wrestler. I want to be one of those guys."
An uncle who wrestled as "The Mongolian" tried to deter Campa from the profession, citing low pay as the main reason. He stressed for Campa to get an education instead.
As Campa grew older, he realized his dream wouldn't become a reality ... even though he said it would have been cool.
Instead, he went to college and joined the EPCSO. All was going smoothly until his friend needed help gaining publicity for his ballroom. After deciding to host the wrestling event and gaining expertise from friends who were in the wrestling business, it took off.
"Next thing you know, we're looking for sponsors to buy us a wrestling ring, and his (co-worker's) dad starts telling us 'Well you have to have a commissioner, you have to have a owner, building the story,' " Campa said. "Well, OK, who's going to be the commissioner and everyone turns around and looks at me; OK, well I'm the Vince McMahon. So I started seeing my little childhood dreams coming to life."
Their first wrestling show sold out and had guests foaming at the mouth wondering when the next would be.
"Everyone was like, 'When's the next show,' and we're like we don't know; we were just trying to get people to come in and see the ballroom to have their wedding and quinceañeras here, not turn it into wrestling ballroom," he said.
The promotion was originally the Alliance of Lucha Libre of El Paso before becoming the ALLWA/AWA sanctioned by the American Wrestling Association.
Campa was the commissioner, ring announcer, host and time keeper, but it wasn't long before he was thrown into the ring and taught how to wrestle.
"Getting thrown around in the ring, oh it hurts, but it was kind of fun," he said. "That's how my wrestling career got started. Next thing you know, I'm getting thrown in matches as the Boss Man."
For six years, Campa learned the ins and outs of the wrestling world, working both behind the scenes and in front of the crowd, writing scripts, creating the good guys and the bad guys and doing everything else in between.
"The typical story was we had our good guy versus the owner of the company, and we went into the match. If I lost, I'd have to give up control, and I lost and I came back under a mask as Mr. Huesos, and no one knew who I was," he said. "It was your typical story line, and the next thing you know I was the good guy under the mask."
Wearing a black mask and long pants and delivering a clothesline and spear to his opponents, Campa eventually won the World Championship title, an experience he said he won't forget.
"It was awesome. It was a dream come true. The first time I was booed, so it wasn't as cool as I thought it was, but when I won it the second time, I was the good guy, so it was really cool hearing people roaring, chanting your name. It sends chills up and down your spine," he said.
After the release of the movie "Nacho Libre," it propelled the ALLWA into the spotlight as they toured in San Antonio, Las Cruces and Colorado and attracted wrestlers like Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero.
"It was like a dream come true," Campa said. "It kind of started off as kind of a joke, and the next thing you know, we ran for about six years."
In the end, the competition forced them to close their doors.
"I don't know if people know the difference between independent wrestling and your professional companies," he said. "It's hard for an independent to work out because you have limited sponsorship. It's an expensive hobby."
Given the chance, Campa said he would do it all again.
"I always tell people if I win the lottery, I will drop everything that I'm doing and we'll become the next (Extreme Championship Wrestling). We'll start small, and then expand and become a global force - but of course that's all delusions that I have," he said. "I miss those days, those were some fun days."