art, lucha, lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, observations, performance, Performance Art

What’s in a Name, Anyway? The Story Behind My Name Change

As some of you may have noticed, there has been a marked change on my social media in that I recently decided to change my name. Now had I realized what a pain in the ass the entire process was going to be (short story: Facebook wouldn’t allow me to change my name, subsequently forced me to convert my “Timeline” to a “Page” ergo deleting most of my pictures—including anything that anyone tagged me in—and all of my posts), I may have waited a bit longer. However with Lucha de Sound III looming on the horizon, I decided March 29th would be as good date as any to debut my new name.

Not unlike actors, an individual performer’s name carries great significance in lucha libre*. Many popular luchadores essentially establish dynasties, wherein the offspring or proteges will take the name of their predecessor, which is both a sort of a formal public blessing, as well as a continuation of the “brand,” so to speak. In a way it allows notable luchadores to live on beyond the end of their respective careers in the ring.

Fénix came to me as being a representation of existentialist philosophy, specifically the idea that we are perpetually creating ourselves at every moment, ergo there is no essence of self. For this same reason I refused to craft any sort of a backstory for Fénix as a persona, as I didn’t want his essence to proceed him—I wanted him to be able to retell his story every time he entered the ring.

Also because: awesome.
Also: “Ka-BOOM.”

For these reasons, the name Fénix was important to me.

However I later found that there is not only a plethora of luchadores with variations of the name “Fénix” (Ave Fénix, Fénix Azul, Fénix Rojo, and so on), but that there is also a quite famous “Fénix” in AAA. I was forced to make a decision: maintain the name Fénix and potentially live in the shadow of eponymous luchador from AAA; ditch the name despite its significance to me in an effort to establish myself as distinctly different from all of the Fénixes**.

Because distinction is important to luchadores, I went with the latter. The selection process actually took weeks, wherein I had a short list of words that I enjoyed for various reasons. Some of these words included:

  • Rex
  • Raptor
  • Fiero
  • Fury
  • Super
  • Dragoon
  • Quetzal

I won’t go through each one individually, but in short, I found many of these to be unsuitable one reason for another. After tireless deliberation, I landed on a name which my research indicates is unique to me: Ave Rex. The name has a dual meaning: “King of the Birds” in Spanish, or roughly “Hail the King” in Latin—the latter of which gives it a fun semi-blasphemous twist as well.

Since my first year in lucha libre, I knew that I would inevitably have to change my name. Although it took me another 2 years to finally do so, I am content with the name change. Now only if there were a way to expedite all of these cumbersome name-changes across my social media…

*For another discussion, check out Avispa’s recent post about her process for selecting a name

**the author makes no claim that “Fénixes” is in fact plural for “Fénix.” 

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