At 80 years old, Mil Mascaras has this physical status:
Mil Máscaras made his professional wrestling debut on July 20, 1963 in Pachuca. He became popular in Mexico for being one of the best conditioned luchadores in the heavyweight division, which was dominated by foreigners at the time. It was also his size which permitted him to wrestle in the US and Japan under the heavyweight division. Mil Máscaras was one of the first masked luchadores outside of Mexico to play a non-heel role. He rarely resorted to rule breaking, instead relying on his repertoire of moves and counter-moves. Mil Máscaras was also one of the first wrestlers to introduce the high-flying moves of lucha libre, such as the plancha and tope suicida, to Japanese fans. This brought him international fame as one of the first high-flyers, something he was not considered in Mexico where he fell under the mat-power category.
Mil Máscaras made his international wrestling debut in 1968 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, getting involved in rivalries against the likes of Ernie Ladd, John Tolos, Black Gordman and Goliath. In Mexico City, he unmasked El Halcon in a triangular tournament that included Alfonso Dantés in the 1970s. Owing to the limited spread of news at the time, he repeated the feat in a Japanese ring, winning by submission.
Mil Máscaras performed for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) during the '70s. In his Japanese debut on February 19, 1971, he defeated Kantaro Hoshino in Tokyo. It was during this time that he had his best known international feud with American masked wrestler The Destroyer. During the '70s, Mil Máscaras also had feuds with Mexican wrestlers such as TNT, Canek, El Halcon, and Angel Blanco. These feuds took place mostly in Mexico and the US, and were broadcast on Spanish language stations in the USA, Mil Máscaras was also the heavyweight champion of the IWA wrestling promotion, which was founded by Eddie Einhorn, and still holds the title to this day.
In 1974, Mil Máscaras was the World Champion of the short-lived International Wrestling Association promotion based in New York City. He had major title defenses against competitors such as Ivan Koloff and Ernie Ladd.
Mil Máscaras appeared in World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now called WWE). He performed at Madison Square Garden several times after a ban on masked wrestlers was lifted for him, making him the first masked wrestler in the Garden, he defeated The Spoiler (who was not permitted to wear his mask). During this time, he feuded with Superstar Billy Graham over the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.
Mil Máscaras made many appearances during the 80s and the 90s at the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico. He also wrestled in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where his most notable match was a match with Cactus Jack at Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout on February 6, 1990 in the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi, Texas.
On September 10, 1991, at the age of 49, Mil Máscaras won his final title, the WWA (Mexico) World Heavyweight Championship. He held the title until 1994 and assumed a state of semi-retirement after his final reign.
Mil Máscaras' first American pay-per-view appearance was competing in WWF's 1997 Royal Rumble match. He eliminated himself, diving off the top rope out of the ring onto Pierroth Jr., whom he himself had just eliminated. Such a move is common in lucha libre but it is technically a mistake in the Royal Rumble as it leads to elimination.
On December 5, 2002, Mil Máscaras defeated Manny Fernandez at the inaugural show for Legacy Wrestling Enterprises in Fort Worth, Texas. On July 25, he celebrated his 50th in-ring anniversary to the day by teaming with his brother Sicodelico and his nephew El Hijo De Dos Caras to face one of his greatest rivals, Canek, along with Negro Navarro and Rey Bucanero in a special six man tag.
Mil Máscaras also starred in a series of 20 luchador action films beginning with his self-titled debut in 1966 at age 24. In 1966, Mexican movie producer Luis Enrique Vergara was looking for a new "enmascarado" to star in his wrestling/horror movies which were then the rage of Mexican cinema. Mil Máscaras was the first Lucha Libre personality that was created specifically to be a movie star, since his whole persona and flashy look was designed initially for the movies. (His real life wrestling career followed and grew out of the excitement generated by his film appearances.)
Vergara's two regular movie stars had suddenly become unavailable. El Santo had walked out on him over a contract dispute, and Blue Demon was injured unexpectedly and would require a prolonged time-out. Not wanting to stop making his successful cinematic quickies, Vergara decided to transform Lucha Libre newcomer Mil Máscaras as the star of his next two movies. Mil began a movie career that has continued to this day, appearing in a total of 20 Mexican horror/wrestling/action films.
The first film, simply entitled Mil Máscaras (1966) was shot in black & white, and made Mil out to be a sort of super-hero. The film gave Mil Máscaras a comic book-style origin story, which seems to have been somewhat swiped from the then-popular Doc Savage pulp novels that were selling very well in science-fiction bookstores in the mid-60's. According to the script, Mil was an infant who was found clutched in his dead mother's arms in a war-torn area of Europe during World War 2 and was sent to an orphanage. A group of scientists (not affiliated with any particular country) adopts the boy, secretly using him as a guinea pig, subjecting the child to an intensive regimen of physical exercise and mental training as he matures.
When he reaches adulthood, Mil Máscaras is something of a superman (although without actual superpowers); both his mind and his body have been developed to perfection. The scientists then send him out into the world to help downtrodden people everywhere, to fight criminals and to right wrongs, and just basically help make the world a better place.
The plots of the first two films were rather lackluster. In both Mil Máscaras (1966) and its sequel Los Canallas (also 1966), Mil gets to fight a rather ordinary gang of thugs and a crooked fight promoter who are bullying the locals in some backwater burg in Mexico. Mil's second film Los Canallas and all of them thereafter were shot in Color.
Federico Curiel directed Mil Máscaras' next two films in 1968, both of which feature American horror star John Carradine as a bad guy. Mil's missions were becoming a bit more meaningful by this time. In Enigma of Death, Mil faces off against Carradine who plays the leader of an underground Nazi organization (who disguises himself as a circus clown!), while in Las Vampiras, Mil goes up against a secret cult of female vampires led by a very manic Carradine.
In 1970, Curiel directed Mil Máscaras in two of his team-up movies. The Mummies of Guanajuato teamed Mil up with both Blue Demon and El Santo in what became the highest-grossing Mexican wrestler film of all time, pitting the three enmascarados against a group of re-animated mummies.
The Champions of Justice (also 1970) saw Mil Máscaras in action with fellow wrestlers Blue Demon, Tinieblas, El Medico Asesino and La Sombra Vengadora (who all joined together as sort of a super-team to fight monsters, mad scientists, criminals, evil dwarves or whatever else crossed their paths.) The producers employed a gaggle of masked midget wrestlers in a number of their luchador films in the 70s.
Over the next few years, a number of other team-up movies were made, most co-starring Mil Máscaras, who by this time was becoming the "King of the Team-up Movies". Champions of Justice Return (1972) was very similar to the first Champions film, only with El Fantasma Blanco sitting in for El Medico Asesino, El Rayo de Jalisco replacing Tinieblas, and El Avispon Escarlata replacing La Sombra Vengadora. (Mil didn't appear in the third and final "Champions" film because it would've involved traveling to a foreign country where it was filmed.)
However, in 1973, he teamed up again with Tinieblas and El Fantasma Blanco in two more films, Macabre Legends of the Colony and The Mummies of San Angel (which both resemble "Champions Of Justice" films, in spite of the Blue Demon's conspicuous absence from the casts). Theft of the Mummies of Guanajuato (1972) teamed up Mil with the Blue Angel and El Rayo De Jalisco.
Mil Máscaras then co-starred with super-star strongman Sergio Oliva in Black Power (1973). He fought alongside the then-famous Superzan in Vampires of Coyoacan (1973) and later joined forces once again with El Santo and Blue Demon in 1977's Mystery in Bermuda, which most Mexi-cinema fans consider to be the last real entry in the then fading Mexican wrestling/horror genre.
He also appeared in a solo movie of his own, A Rose in the Ring (1972) and years later, he even teamed up with Santo's son El Hijo del Santo in The Lawless Frontier (1983), making Mil Máscaras the only Mexican superhero to ever co-star with both Santos, father and son. In the late 80's, Mil appeared in two more wrestling films, La Verdad de la Lucha and La Llave Mortal.
Mil's film career lay dormant after 1990 for 17 years, but he more recently resumed appearing in movies. In 2007, Mil Máscaras starred in Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy (also known as Mil Mascaras: Resurrection), the first lucha film featuring any of the so-called "Big Three" stars of the genre (Máscaras, Blue Demon, Santo) to be produced in English. The film screened at festivals around the world garnering awards and award nominations along with positive critical reviews. The film enjoyed almost continuous popularity and publicity for several years after its debut, including two magazine cover articles as late as 2012. He also appeared in a 2008 film entitled Academy of Doom, and a 2015 film called Aztec Revenge.