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Wrestler Aski Palomino (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

Wrestler Aski Palomino (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

As a masked wrestler dons his costume he sheds his real identity.

Aski the Mayan Wrestler is a champion of the ring who has held the “Light Heavyweight” title on three separate occasions and a tag-team title twice with the Mexican-Entertainment Wrestling Promotion. When the mask is on, he becomes someone different. Not a guy with a day job. He’s a superstar with a secret identity, and he wants to keep it that way.

Aski started wrestling in high school. He grew up in East Dallas and attended North Dallas High School.

“When I was growing up, there wasn’t a lot of options for somebody in the neighborhood I came from,” he says. “I’ve always been a sports guy, so it’s kind of an outlet, per se.”

Luckily for Aski, he received some good exposure in his early days. He went pro in 2003 when the MEWP offered him his first wrestling contract.

That’s when he started wearing the mask of a luchador.

“I met a few local wrestlers here in town and I started training with them. More and more I started getting acclimated with the Mexican style of wrestling.”

Where American wrestling focuses more on drama — like the backstory behind matches, heel turns and broken alliances — the Mexican style is all about watching freestyle performers sharing the stage.

Born in Mexico and raised there until he was 8, Aski is proud to continue the cultural tradition.

“For me, my heritage is Mexican … Wrestling has always been in my culture,” he says. So when it was time to create his new persona and make his mask, Aski took it seriously.

“The mask is part of the culture. It’s a symbol. When you talk about Mexican wrestling, it’s a sacred symbol.”

He and his friend started making mask designs for Aski the Mayan Warrior. Aski wanted his mask to pay homage to his home.

“I definitely wanted to keep true to my roots, to my heritage. I wanted to pay tribute to where I came from. It was dominated by the Mayans and the Aztecs back in those days. It’s more of an homage to my culture back then.

“Back in those ancient times they were known for the way they drew paint around their face.” Aski says he knew the mask had to have that same design. A warrior’s design. Even his name is pulled from his cultural past. In the Otomic dialect, “Aski” means friend. A name he chose because he wants to be known as a friend to all his fans, he says.

Aski wrestled full time for the better part of a decade. He won multiple titles and was able to work with people such as former W.W.E. Superstar Rodney “Redd Dogg” Mack, Jazz; Texas wrestling legend Tim “Killer” Brooks; Dallas Mexican Luchador Mac Reyes; and Dragon Oriental.

He still slips on his mask from time to time, but that’s more for fun than anything else.

“I always said once this stops being fun and I don’t love wrestling then there’s no reason for me to continue,” he says.

So Aski has slowed down a little. At least when it comes jumping off the top rope. This year he started filming his first movie, called “Azteq vs. the Lonely Woods Prowler,” an action movie based on a graphic novel of the same name. For legal reasons, Aski says, they couldn’t get the rights to the name Aski, but the titular Azteq is based on him.

In the movie, the masked luchador protagonist and a local police homicide detective, Chris Longley, head to Fort Lake when the wrestler’s ex-girlfriend is reported missing, and the action picks up from there.

Since the filming of the slasher movie, Aski has been hitting the gym to get into “movie shape,” he jokes. “It’s my very first movie that I’ve been a part of. So far, it’s a lot of fun.”

Aski still finds time for a few matches at the Gaston Bazaar on Buckner. In the last few years, the bazaar has emerged as East Dallas’ premier location to see real luchadors. Aski is one of the bazaar’s founders.

“We just got lucky with finding this place,” he says. “Whenever I’m not on the road traveling all over the state or in Mexico, whenever I’ve got some down time and here locally, that’s the only place I’ll wrestle.”

It’s about being loyal, Aski says. And that’s something a técnico luchador has to be.

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