Octagón debuted in 1989 in CMLL. The persona was created to emphasize Octagón’s martial arts background, as well as to pay homage of sorts to a cultural icon of the time. While luchadors like Fenix and Drago take inspiration from mythological beasts, Octagón took his inspiration from a wildly different (but still pretty legendary) source: Chuck Norris. The name of the luchador comes from the 1980 film, The Octagon. His mask design came from the same place.
Octagón’s mask is based off of the final ninja that Scott (the protagonist, played by Chuck Norris) fights in the Octagon, a training compound and lair of a group of evil ninjas. The most clear similarities between the movie character and the luchador are the red color scheme, the headband across the forehead, and the length of the mask’s tail.
In the previous entry in this series, we talked about the use of mythological creatures (specifically the phoenix) in luchador mask designs. Octagón’s mask, on the other hand, introduces an interesting facet of Lucha Libre which uses luchador designs to capitalize off of pop culture. My favorite example of this is Las Tortugas Ninjas, a tag team of four luchadores dressed as turtles, created to capitalize off the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Clearly, Octagón’s capitalization off of Chuck Norris’ films was successful, as Octagon rose to stardom in the world of Lucha Libre. He became so popular, in fact, that he inspired multiple spin-off characters in Lucha Libre, such as Pentagon and Octagón Jr, whose mask we’ll be looking at next.
To start, I want to clarify that I’ll be discussing the current iteration of Octagón Jr in AAA. The basic trademarks of Octagón’s mask, the shape and color scheme of red, white, and black, are still very much present in his prodigé’s.
The key difference between the two generations is that Jr’s mask is much more stylized. It fits in with the current generation of luchadores. The nose-hole has been cut out in favor of a larger opening for the nose and mouth, and the eye shape is more winged. The diamond on the mask’s forehead has been changed to a ninja star, fitting into the theme of unique stylization. A particularly nice detail, in my opinion, is that “Jr” inside the star on Octagón Jr’s forehead. It could also be the Japanese character for the word “chikara,” which translates to “strength.” This option is likely more plausible considering how often Octagón Jr has Japanese on his gear, but “Jr.” would be cute too, I think.
Octagón’s character is indicative of an interesting, and pretty amusing, aspect of Lucha Libre. That aspect is the sport’s tendency to capitalize off pop culture in order to draw in fans. What’s really remarkable is that Octagón has inspired so many new reiterations of the luchador, such as Octagón Jr, Pentagon, and Penta el Zero Miedo, that they seem to have outgrown any influence of Chuck Norris. Still, though, the origin of Octagón’s name and appearance is a cool tidbit of Lucha Libre history.
The contrast between Octagón and Octagón Jr’s mask is a fascinating case study of the differences between masks designed in the 1980s and masks designed today. Octagón’s is very similar in shape to the masks of other luchadores in his day, with the rounded eyes, the small cut out nose, and the fairly basic color build. His successor’s mask has a more dramatized shape, and is made of a more shimmery material to catch the spotlight more effectively. Neither, in my opinion, is better than the other, but the contrast shows an interesting development in Lucha Libre culture.