Miguel, aka “La Rosa,” is a veteran exótico wrestler and wrestling gym owner in Mexico City. Over time, his role in Gabriel’s life ranges from inspiration to trainer to antagonist to father figure. I try not to pick favorites from my characters, but it is hard not to with Miguel around. I love this smart, tough, loving man.


Though he entrusted the development of Gabriel’s technical skills to Arturo, Miguel insisted that Gabriel continue his own, unfathomable tutoring. It was classroom work, of sorts, a training of Gabriel’s mind that only Miguel could explain—but steadfastly refused to do so.

His unconventional training included handing Gabriel a list of research assignments. Study the rise of the PRI and the role of Superbarrio in the emergence of opposition politics. Watch and compare the El Santo movies of the 1960s to the El Santo movies of the 1970s. Contrast and compare American professional wrestling performance to lucha libre.

“I know who El Santo is. My dad used to watch his movies with me when I was little. But how is watching Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro relevant to my getting a pro license?” Gabriel asked. He spat out his words in a rapid-fire complaint.

Miguel smirked and tossed a magazine across the room. “Read this,” he said.

Lucha Semanal?”

Miguel nodded, as if acknowledging a secret he hadn’t shared.

“A thirty-year-old magazine? I wasn’t even born yet.”

“That’s the point, college boy,” Miguel said, going back to work, smiling to himself.