Lucha libre is a form of Mexican wrestling that showcases acrobatic hits and kicks, as well as traditional wrestling holds and moves. Lucha matches feature one-on-one wrestling or, on some occasions, "tag-teams" of 2 versus 2.
In a tag-team match, partners touch the floor outside of the ring to switch places, eliminating the need to actually tag hands -- a rule unique to lucha libre. Matches are often determined by a -- 2 out of 3 falls -- rule, not used in many other countries. To win a match, one must pin their opponent in the ring for a count of 3 or keep the opponent out of the ring for a pre-determined amount of time. The match can also be won if the opponent is disqualified for any reason.
A luchador (wrestler) may be disqualified for a variety of reasons. Any time an illegal hold is used, a luchador is at risk to be thrown out of the match by the referee. Any use of weapons or attacks to more sensitive areas of the body, are also grounds for disqualification. More serious offenses, like injuring the referee or ripping off the mask of the opponent, lead to immediate and automatic loss of the match.
Since the inception of lucha libre, masks have been used in part as an homage to Mexico's Aztec roots. A mask says a lot about the personality of the luchador who wears it. Over the years the designs have evolved from simple patterns and colors to vibrant representations of animals and gods. Removal of an opponent's mask is not taken lightly in a lucha match, and is seen as a sign of disrespect. Most wrestlers begin their wrestling stints with masks, but over the span of their careers, many lose them during important matches, shaming the wrestler and often signifying a "identity change" in their wrestling personas. Most wrestlers fall into one of 2 categories -- "roods, bad guys and "tecnicos", good guys. Masks usually illuminate which category the luchador belongs to.