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A Ring And A Prayer
Rick Reilly
December 21, 1987
In Mexico there is a most unusual man of the cloth who truly fights the good fight
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December 21, 1987

A Ring And A Prayer

In Mexico there is a most unusual man of the cloth who truly fights the good fight

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Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other side.
—MATTHEW 5:39

Easy to say, Matthew, but not so easy to do when Hellface is about to give you a bionic elbow and Krypton is pinning your arms behind your back and the Gravedigger is trying to peel your mask off and the crowd is starting to throw beer. Easy to say, Matthew, when you don't have 86 orphans to feed, a truck acting up and an electricity bill that's a week overdue. Of course, these things never came up in the King James version.

So it is at times like these that Father Sergio Gutierrez, known to Mexican professional wrestling fans as the masked Fray Tormenta (Brother Tempest), must go a bit beyond what they taught him in seminary. Maybe slap a lip grip on his oppressor, followed by a kickout and a pile drive? Maybe cap it off with some serious rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth?

Unnnngh. Too late. The good and devout padre takes a vicious knee in the solar plexus followed by a whip into the turnbuckle.

"How can you treat a man of God like that?" a woman in the third row is screaming. "You will rot in hell!" Eight rows back, two women are banging on pots with spoons and yelling something about novenas. The crowd in the indoor arena in Mexico City is probably a lot like Mexico in general—about 95% Catholic—and when somebody starts wailing and smiting a man of the cloth, they want retribution. Blood would do.

"Kill him, Padre!" hollers one man. "I'll pay for the funeral!"

This is no time to be forgiving anybody's trespasses. This calls for...the Confessional.

Bounding off the turnbuckle, the good and devout padre leapfrogs Hellface and head-butts the unsuspecting noggin of Krypton. Spinning on his heels, he takes the Gravedigger and airplanes him out of the ring, then grabs the woozy Krypton and ties him up, public-square style, in the ropes.

This leaves the padre alone, mask-to-mask, with Hellface. Who says they don't write morality plays anymore? Leading with an overhand right (O.K., so the ref didn't see it), the padre sends Hellface to Sominexland with one punch and then—uh-oh, here it comes—locks him up in his south-of-the-border version of the figure-four leg vine, known as the Confessional. And woe be to him who enters it.

Hellface anguishes. The crowd roars. The Confessional is working divinely. Hellface pounds the canvas. Submission, submission, the crowd chants. Repent, sinner. The Confessional hears all. One, two, three, counts the ref. The good and devout padre emerges gloriously victorious. Cash your check in the back, Padre.

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