Framework

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Draped in the Arizona flag, RJ Brewer enters Stockton Arena to a chorus of boos. Brewer, (John Stagikas), plays the bad guy of Lucha Libre wrestling by spouting anti-immigration speeches to mostly Latino audiences.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lucha Libre USA wrestler RJ Brewer battles Blue Demon Jr. in the ring at Stockton Arena. Brewer (John Stagikas) 32, plays an anti-immigration bad guy in the Mexican centric sport.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Fans boo Lucha Libre USA wrestler RJ Brewer as he wrestles against Blue Demon Jr. at Stockton Arena. Brewer (John Stagikas) 32, incites the mostly Latino crowd by speaking out against illegal immigration and implying he's the son of Arizona governor Jan Brewer.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lucha Libre USA wrestler RJ Brewer is about to absorb they blow of Blue Demon Jr. during a match at Stockton Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lucha Libre USA fans cheer as wrestlers perform at Stockton Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lucha Libre USA wrestler RJ Brewer warms up backstage in the shadow of the Arizona flag moments before taking the stage against Lucha hero Blue Demon Jr. Brewer (John Stagikas) 32, plays the anti-immigration bad guy in the Mexican centric sport, and claims to be "the son of a powerful woman from Arizona."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

RJ Brewer, preparing for his imminent match against the Blue Demon, tears his wrist tape with his teeth backstage in his locker room. Touring with the Lucha Libre wrestling league, RJ Brewer's mission is to rid wrestling of Mexican influences in America.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Lucha Libre USA wrestlers Marco Corleone, left and Lizmark Jr., face off in the ring at Stockton Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Pequeno Halloween dives on Octagoncito while his partner, Vladamiro waits to be tagged in during the mini match of Masked Warriors Lucha Libre at the Stockton Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

RJ Brewer waits backstage for his match against the Blue Demon at the Stockton Arena as part of the Masked Warriors Lucha Libre tour. As part of the tour, RJ Brewer's mission is to rid wrestling of Mexican influences in America. If Brewer won the match against his arch nemesis, the Blue Demon, the Blue Demon would be obligated to unmask himself.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Tinieblas Jr. takes on Super Nova during a match as part of the Masked Warriors Lucha Libre tour at the Stockton Arena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

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Bringing his message to the mat

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Bringing his message to the mat

By Hector Becerra

In the center of a starkly lighted wrestling ring, RJ Brewer glared at the overwhelmingly Latino crowd and spread the flag of Arizona across his back.

Buff, mean, white and glistening with baby oil, he snatched the microphone from the referee. “I come from the greatest city in the United States: Phoenix, Arizona!” the wrestler yelled in English. “Phoenix is the only city with a woman in power with the guts to get into the president’s face and address the real problem in this country!”

The audience knows that the “problem” he is referring to is illegal immigration. And the woman is his so-called mother — conservative Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigrants.

“You suck, RJ Brewer!” screamed 9-year-old Felipe Soria, spiky-haired and looking like a brown-skinned Bart Simpson. Chants of “Mexico! Mexico!” echoed through the packed arena.

Brewer taunted back: “How dare you boo an American hero!”

Characters are the stock in trade of pro wrestling, drawing audiences into its epic battles of good versus evil. And “RJ Brewer” — a shaved-headed, in-your-face crusader against illegal immigration created two years ago by the Mexican American wrestling promotion company Lucha Libre USA — is el mero malo, the chief bad guy.

Also watch the video “A villian unmasked” and read the full story “‘Crusader’ against illegal immigration brings his message to the mat.”

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