Lucha libre legend Villano IV lost his mask this weekend, putting an end to the character he portrayed for almost forty years.
A luchador is defined by the mask; the mask is the character. And in many cases, fans don’t learn a luchador’s real name/identity until the mask is lost. That’s why luchas de apuestas, or wager matches, are such big deals in Mexico. That’s why, for example, his brother Villano III’s match with Atlantis in 2000 was such a huge deal. Fans invest so much time and emotion into these larger-than-life characters, and when an unmasking occurs, it’s seen as akin to that character dying.
That’s what happened at TripleMania 2022 when Villano IV took on Pentagón Jr., also known as Penta El Zero Miedo or Penta El Oscuro on AEW. According to the Wrestling Observer, Penta and Villano had a nasty and bloody brawl. The match was built up under a creative tournament concept called Ruleta de la Muerte. Under this concept, the losers of each match advance in the tournament until the finalists face off in a mask vs. mask wager match.
As he is now unmasked, the Villano IV character is gone forever. In his place is the man behind the mask, Tomas Diaz Mendoza, 57, who has been wrestling for 42 years.