In Oklahoma’s ever emerging Lucha Libre scene, the newest rising star is a Native warrior hailing from Broken Arrow, Elijah Sparks. In a field that’s predominantly known for being Latino, Sparks—a Choctaw-Chickasaw—has risen deftly through the muscled ranks to become one of the state’s biggest fan draws.
For Sparks, wrestling has always been something of a family affair, one that started with his grandfather and weekend afternoons watching classic matches on television.
“He really used to love to watch wrestling when it was on TV,” Sparks said. “Back in the day, he used to go and help usher at wrestling events. He got my mom to really like it when she was young, and then she turned me on to it too. Eventually I was like, “I really want to do this…I wish there was a way to pursue this dream…”
A few years later, a neighbor introduced Sparks to a wrestler and trainer that taught him the basics of American wrestling. But, when he first started out in the ring, even though he had the name, there was no gimmick to go with it. That’s when a friend made him an offer that changed the course of his entire career.
“After a few matches that I had, a buddy of mine that wore Lucha Libre gear himself was like “Hey man, you look like you got some talent…do you want to start a tag team?” Sparks said. “We told the promoter that I was working with at the time and he was like “Okay, I’ll give you all a shot and try that out.” After that match, he liked what he saw…”
From that moment on, Sparks forged a new identity with a gold-and-blue mask and a gimmick that mixed the traditional luchador with a legendary superhero, partly in tribute to his own personal superhero growing up, WWE wrestler The Hurricane. And, according to Sparks, that heroic aspect is still his favorite part of the job.
“I can be another person, I can be this hero,” Sparks explained. “When I hit the mat and the adrenaline rush hits me, I look around and see the people that came out and are watching the match; maybe they’re having a struggle, a hard time paying bills…so when I come out, I try to be this hero for them. It gives them a little relief time to enjoy themselves…that makes me happy right there.”
While he has turned heel a couple of times in his career, promoters tend to love his “babyface” charisma, which helps because when he heads to the mat, the fans go wild for their Indigenous superhero, especially the kids that show up at event—many of whom come early and stay late to get a high-five and hopefully a picture with Sparks.
“When you got a kid that comes up and says “You look so cool, you’re my favorite wrestler!” it’s a lot to take in,” Sparks said. “It makes me really appreciate it all, you know? I’m just a regular person, going out there and doing what I love to do, so when I get a kid coming up and telling me “You did an awesome job, I want to be like you!” it really makes you feel good.”
Based in Tulsa but wrestling all over Oklahoma—including various OKC Lucha Libre sporting events—Sparks next match is Saturday, March 14th, in Greenland, Arkansas as part of the Trash and Bash Connection taking on the Texas Outlaws. If you come out to cheer him on, Sparks want fans to remember to cheer for all the wrestlers out there, entertaining the people and living their dream.
“Everyone works so hard for what they do,” Sparks added. “I always say support your local talent because one day, hey, maybe they’re the guy that’s going to be on TV and you can say to your kids hey, I met him. I would never want to forget where I came from—even if it’s someplace small like Broken Arrow, you never want to forget where you started or the people that helped get you there.”