Ranked number nine in the 2016 "PWI Female 50," the Monterrey, Mexico-born Sexy Star has long been turning heads with her undeniable charisma, acrobatic ability, and technical skill. More notably, she's made a name for herself by boldly challenging some of the toughest men in pro wrestling. While Star hinted in Lucha Underground's 2014 series premiere that donning a lucha mask had saved her from going down a dark path, it's only now that she's revealed the deep connection between her traumatic past and her unconventional career path.
"My historical journey into this sport came through abuse I suffered at the hands of a man," she revealed to PWI . "Not physical abuse, but psychological abuse, which is much worse. Most physical injuries can be healed, but psychological injuries can leave you scarred for life."
Though Star declined to give further details about the nature of that relationship, she did make it very clear that she's determined to show men'all men'that they will pay for the crimes of their unnamed brother.
"Every time I face a man in a match, I relive the memories, and it reminds me of why I am in the sport," she said. "I want to prove to myself, and to prove to the whole wide world, that no one has a right to put their hands on me or on any woman."
This revelation from Star's past helps explain why she'a successful luchadora who held multiple women's championships in Mexico'is seemingly hell-bent on competing against the opposite sex.
"Fighting against men makes me more self-confident, stronger, and reaffirms that I am not in any way less than any man," she said. "It also proves to men that they have no reason to think of women in any way, shape, or form less than men, but as equals."
Star may be relatively new to American audiences, but her quest to vanquish male opponents is anything but. Prior to joining Lucha Underground, Star had developed a reputation for wrestling men in her native Mexico, capturing mixed tag titles in both AAA and FILL.
Of course, the situation north of the border was a bit different. Rather than competing in mixed tags, Star found herself in one-on-one matches with the likes of Chavo Guerrero, Pentagon Jr., and Johnny Mundo. While no one would have blamed her for backing out of such encounters, she bravely stood her ground.
"Outside the ring, in the real world, women need to be prepared to confront any affront, and defend themselves against any attack," Star said. "Wrestling reflects reality in this respect."
While Sexy Star's courage made her an instant hit with fans, her first big break didn't come until the penultimate episode of Lucha Underground's second season, when, in a seven-person elimination bout, she captured the vacant Gift of the Gods championship, granting her a future shot at the Lucha Underground heavyweight title.
Unfortunately for the new champ, she soon found herself in the crosshairs of Johnny Mundo, who wanted to take that opportunity away from her. Soon enough, Mundo was indeed granted a title match. And, thanks to outside interference (as well as a set of brass knuckles), he managed to end Sexy Star's reign as champ, temporarily thwarting her plans to challenge for the promotion's top prize.
"He is a pathetic human being," Star said of Mundo. "He is a wrestler who mocks his opponents. And his actions reflect his lack of self-confidence, which is why he resorts to cheating."
Lucky for this scorned luchadora, she'd soon get another chance. On April 9, 2016, Sexy Star entered a 20-person "Aztec Warfare" match, where the Lucha Underground championship was on the line. She gained a measure of revenge by eliminating Mundo, before eventually pinning Mil Muertes to win the bout. In so doing, she made history by becoming the first woman to hold the primary title in one of America's national promotions.
"Remembering the moment brings tears to my eyes," she said. "After 10 years, I finally reached the goal of demonstrating to the whole world that women have the same capability as men."
Unfortunately, the celebration wouldn't last long. At the next day's taping, Star defended the Lucha Underground title against Mundo, who again used a combination of outside interference and brass knuckles to rob her of a championship.
Star did get her rematch a few weeks later, this time inside a steel cage to prevent interference. But predictably, Mundo once again resorted to cheap tricks'this time brazenly removing Star's mask. With Star distracted and visibly distraught, Mundo escaped the cage. At that instant, losing the match was secondary to the indignity she was forced to endure.
"My mask is sacred, and the most precious thing that I have," she said. "If he would have insulted me with words, or left me injured to the point of death, it would not compare."
Considering her entire career has been an act of vengeance against a man who hurt her, it's fair to say that Sexy Star still has a score to settle with Johnny Mundo. And if she ever does get to face him in a fair fight, she's pretty confident how things would go down. "I would absolutely win," she said. "I am 100 percent certain, because I am sure that I am much better than him."
She had better be, for Star is not built along the lines of Nia Jax or Vanessa Kraven. She stands a mere 5'3" and weighs in at 125 pounds. Mundo, who competed as John Morrison in WWE, is 6'1" and 215 pounds. Male opponents, she said, tend to underestimate her because of her gender, which she believes gives her an advantage.
"Mundo thinks that because I am a woman, and because I am smaller in height and weight, that somehow I am weaker than he is," she said. "But I am a woman. I am a smart woman, and a very agile woman. I am superior to him in intelligence, and I am more astute. There is no doubt that I would be the one to have my hand raised high at the end of the match, if the fight was clean."
Despite a rollercoaster year with Lucha Underground, Sexy Star has shown few signs of slowing down. She's made appearances for SHIMMER and, in November of last year, she won the Femenil (Women's) championship for Mexican promotion, The Crash. Last July, Star announced her intentions to become a professional boxer. Her husband, Jhonny Gonzlez, is a two-time former WBC featherweight champion.
Whatever the future holds for Lucha Underground's first female champion, she has no intentions to stop wrestling men anytime soon.
"Never before has a female superhero risen up and leveled the playing field to the point where the person's sex is secondary," she said. "I will enter into the ring against anyone, no matter what sex they are or who they are."
Star also has a very clear message for her detractors, especially those men who underestimate women.
"All of the critics and the whole world needs to understand that women are not weak as we have been labeled," she says. "We as women have the ability to do great things not only in the sport of wrestling, but in anything we choose."
Cecilio Padilla served as interpreter for this story