The Protector of Corazón Coto del Valle reveals how being a childhood bully, professional wrestler at 16, and mysterious adventuress at 21 led to her current role as legendary folk hero. Que Pasa Wahakka interview by Eva López on May 18, 2019.

Mecanica defendng her village

The modern feminine struggle cannot be explained without Mecañica, protector of Corazón Coto del Valle from criminals, capitalists, imperialists, and other forces of evil for almost a decade. I sat down with the living legend at Conchita's, her favorite dive bar, as the normally rowdy guests and staff of all ages listened in silent awe.

Let's start with your mysterious childhood. When did you get involved in wrestling?

Growing up in [REDACTED] made me a mean kid. Stealing and beating up boys until 12 or so. It wasn’t a far leap to wrestling.

How did you decide on your public image...the mask, the name?

Obviously the mask to protect those still connected to my old identity, but also from my childhood obsession with Santos. Turned out to be great marketing. Hopefully the ideas behind it will outlive me.

I stole the name from an old comic book called Mechanix. It's about a female adventurer who used to be a wrestler. Haven't read since I was six, but the name stuck.

I imagine it makes it easier to be a normal person on your days off.

Nice try, but Mecañica has been my only identity for years. May the lovely and talented [REDACTED] rest in power.

Do you miss your pro wrestler days?

I miss the fans, I miss the camaraderie with amazing women, but don't miss all-day training, money hassles, or sleazy managers. I love watching today's fighting females, though. They're way better athletes than my generation's. They're funnier, better at building fan bases, and so much smarter about the business. Some are fantastic entertainers!

[Laughs] Maybe I do miss the action after all! But you're only young once.

When did you start planning for life after wrestling?

Not seriously til the [REDACTED] loss. [REDACTED] years of injuries were beginning to pile up. Plus a lot of my fans wanted me to use my fame to combat real issues. Femicinida... wife beating, abductions, girl trafficking. That's when I started thinking, "What can a wrestler do about real problems?"

Studying the lives of older badass females helped shape my direction. Here are just a few:

Lola (La Dinamita) Gonzalez
Lola "La Dinamita" Gonzalez's early matches taught me girls can be good and look fabulous while kicking evil's butt!
Honor Blackman
Honor Blackman's self defense book showed it's possible to take on bigger, stronger male opponents.
The Gulabi Gang
The Gulabi Gang shows how building a community with long-term goals can minimize all forms of violence against women.
Such an amazing list. How did this research inspire you to act?

Public protests, interviews, social media. Old women, kids and young radicals started using my mask design as a symbol of rebellion. But local government and organized crime were practically married in [REDACTED]. I was ambushed, shot, beaten, thrown off a cliff and left for dead.

Holy mother of god! How did you...?

Memory's a little rattled, but I woke up at a Las Navajeras hideout. They spent months nursing me to health with their combination of mystical potions and heavy pharmaceuticals. It's all the same to them.

An old woman called the Seniorita smuggled me to a weatlhy planet. I was [REDACTED]-year-old illegal, didn't know the language, working as a baby sitter and housecleaner.

Sounds like you could've grown old there.

Quite the opposite. Felt like I was dying, especially when a femicidal Wahakka story made the news. Couldn't stop thinking, "How many others are like me, but didn't make it?" Inspired by the legend of Santos, I adapted my wrestling training to actual crime fighting at nights. The Honor Blackman book led me to pick up karate, kung-fu, muay thai, and pencak silat.

That's so Mecanica: Year One.

[Loud laughter] Bruce Wayne on a babysitter's budget! To this day I only wear what the locals give me, which explains how my outfits get torn off all the time! Extra incentive to stay in shape!

Glad you've got a sense of humor about it.

Honey, I've been fighting men twice my size for damn near a decade. Any time I dish out more than I take is a good night. It's part of what makes me an intergalactic sex symbol.

That reminds me. Whatever happened to the men who tried to kill you?

Not a problem anymore. For anyone.

Gulp! Uhhh...tell me about the Gulabi Gang influence.

Years of doing everything myself—investigating, negotiating, busting heads—barely made a dent in improving girl's lives. The Gulabi Gang showed me what could happen if disparate groups started working together. Las Navajeras and the church ladies are always at each other's throats, but so far the alliance is working.

What would your younger and current selves tell each other?

She'd hate turning out like this; heavier, slower, working with sworn enemies for some distant "greater good." I'd try getting her to see the bigger picture, but young people never want advice until they get hurt. Whatever. I'm happy to see those who grow and outlive their mistakes, and heartbroken by those who don't.

You're compassion in action. Does it get any easier with--

[Touching her hidden earpiece] --Hold that thought. That wife beating thief I caught last night just busted out of jail. Goddamn it, Sharky! Cops shot out his flight engines, so I should be able to catch him before he reaches the border! And when I do...!

little girl in front of wrestling posters
Wrestling chose me at an early age.
left-for-dead Mecanica looking up at the sky
Waking up alive made this a beautiful night.
young and old versions of Mecanica square off
Young vs. Old...only one will survive!

About the Author

Eva López is a journalist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker from Wahakka. Her focus is on cultural and feminist issues, and street-level economics. Among her passions are thrift shop fashions, Vespa scooters, and a tireless pursuit of the perfect quacamole.