wrestling priest helps Mexican street kids: Friar Storm retires

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 2 Jun 1998 19:41:12 -0700 (PDT)


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Fighting-priest quits wrestling ring
10:59 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) June 1, 1998

MEXICO CITY - Mexican wrestling was to become the undisputed domain of
"Satan,'' "Demon'' and "Lucifer'' Friday when fighting Roman Catholic
priest "Friar Storm'' takes off his mask after 23 years in the ring.

Sergio Gutierrez was to remove his red and gold mask, a traditional
act of retirement in Mexico's colorful wrestling circuit, to dedicate
himself full-time to the street children he launched a wrestling
career to support.

"I'm taking off my mask, but I hope people will still support my
little puppies,'' Gutierrez told Spanish language television network
CBS-Telenoticias.

The 3,000 street children and orphans fed, clothed and educated by the
priest over more than two decades are known as ''The Puppies of Friar
Storm.''

"Thanks to the wrestling, this house has produced among others three
doctors, 16 teachers, 12 computer technicians, three lawyers and two
future priests,'' Gutierrez said at his orphanage outside the capital,
near the ancient Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan.

"That is my greatest satisfaction, though my life's dream is still to
establish a city for children.''

Friar Storm, now 53, has been a feature of the Mexican wrestling world
for 23 years and a priest for 25, dedicating his prize money to his
children's home.

His retirement was scheduled to take place in Mexico City's Arena
Mexico, where famous fighters like "The Saint'', ''Hurricane
Ramirez'', "Blue Demon'' and "Tonina Jackson'' helped make wrestling
one of Mexico's most popular spectator sports.

Why "Friar Storm'' as a nom de guerre?

"Friar because I'm a priest ... Storm because once you get into the
ring you're everything but a priest,'' he said.

Gutierrez' career as a fighter won applause not just in Mexico. He
fought in Japan 14 times.

And the years have certainly left their mark.

"I got crooked thumbs, a broken nose, a busted arm, three cracked ribs
and a broken ankle. Thank God the fighting is make believe,'' he said
ironically, adding that the macho sport of flying kicks and
bone-crushing falls was not just "pure pantomime.''

"They've sent me to hospital three times but, thanks be to God, I've
never put any of my adversaries in hospital.''

Friar Storm will keep on fighting, unmasked and outside the ring, for
his children.

But he has taken care to ensure the legend will live on, training a
21-year-old former street kid and future lawyer and priest who will
wear his mask under the name "Friar Storm Junior''.

Junior is currently ranked third in the national wrestling ranking.

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