|Birth name||Manuel Leal|
|Ring name(s)||Tinieblas, el Gigante|
|Billed height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Billed weight||109 kg (240 lb)|
June 8, 1939 |
Mexico City, Mexico
|Trained by||Rafael Salamanca, Dick Medrano|
|Debut||August 20, 1971|
Professional wrestling career
Tinieblas began as a body builder and stunt man who was spotted by luchadores Black Shadow and Dory Dixon. Impressed by Leal's physique they convinced him to begin a career as a "luchador". In 1968, "Lucha Libre" magazine editor Valente Pérez, came up with the idea of a character that would act as a rival for luchador Mil Mascaras. He created a character with a faceless hood and named him "Tinieblas" (Darkness). Perez selected the former body builder turned luchador to wrestle as that character. Tinieblas debuted as a face on August 20, 1971. He would became a large draw in Mexico and toured internationally. Tinieblas was also one of the first luchadores to tour Japan in 1974.
Tinieblas was the second luchador (after El Santo) to have a comic book series based on his character. His first comic book was printed between 1976 to 1979. In 1991, a second series titled, "Tinieblas, El Hijo de la Noche" ("Tinieblas, Son of the night") was created. It was printed until 1995. The Tinieblas comic series was relaunched in the year 2000.
Tinieblas also made appearances in luchador films. In 1971, he starred as a member of a squadron of masked superheroes in the film '"Los Campeones Justicieros"' (The Champions of Justice). Membership in the Champions of Justice included such legendary Mexican wrestling figures as Mil Mascaras, Blue Demon, El Rayo de Jalisco, Sr., El Medico Asesino, El Fantasma Blanco and Superzan. He guest-starred in many low-budget foreign series, such as Vendetta and Rederiet.
Tinieblas debuted at a relatively old age of 32, so he never reached the same physical peak as many other popular luchadores of his generation. However, his character remains popular with young lucha libre fans, primarily due to his appearance in comic books and films. Tinieblas still wrestles occasionally and has appeared alongside his son Tinieblas, Jr.
The 2D wrestling arcade game Saturday Night Slam Masters released by Japanese game company Capcom in 1993 featured a final boss character called "El Escorpión" (The Scorpion), whose appearance was inspired by Tinieblas. The character's name in the original Japanese edition of the game was "The Astro" (アストロ, Asutoro).
Films (listed in reverse chronological order)
- La Furia de las karatecas (Santo in "Fury of the Karate Experts")(1982) co-starring Santo
- El Puño de la muerte (Santo in "Fist of Death") (1982) co-starring Santo
- Investigador Capulina, El (Investigator Capulina) (1975)
- Momias de San Ángel, Las (The Mummies of San Angel) (1975)
- Leyendas macabras de la colonia (Macabre Legends of the Colony) (1974) (co-starring Mil Mascaras)
- El Castillo de las momias de Guanajuato (The Castle of the Mummies of Guanajuato) (1973)
- Una rosa sobre el ring (A Rose in the Ring) (1973) co-starring Mil Mascaras
- Superzan el invencible (Superzan the Invincible) (1971)
- Campeones justicieros, Los (The Champions of Justice) (1971) (credited as Tinieblas el Gigante)
- Las Momias de Guanajuato (The Mummies of Guanajuato) (1970) (Tinieblas played "Satanas", the leader of the killer mummies)
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
Lucha de Apuesta record
|Hair||Tinieblas||TNT||Mexico City, Mexico||July 24, 1973|
|Mask||Tinieblas||Red Terror||Unknown||April 24, 1982|
|Hair||Tinieblas||Super Máquina||Mexico City, Mexico||November 13, 1983|
|Hair||Tinieblas||Bill Anderson||Los Angeles, California||1987|
|Hair||Tinieblas||Abdullah Tamba||Los Angeles, California||1987|
|Mask||Tinieblas||Médico Asesino Jr.||Torreón, Coahuila||April 4, 1999|
|Mask||Tinieblas||El Enfermero 2001||Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua||January 21, 2001||Relevos Suicidas against Máscara Sagrada & Fishman Jr.|
|Mask||Tinieblas||Zombie II||Ensenada, Baja California||January 24, 2003||finals of a 12 wrestler Ruleta Rusa|
- General sources - Championship Information
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "MEXICO". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 389–402. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- General sources - Career
- Madigan, Dan (2007). "Los Enmascarados (the masked men): Tinieblas". Mondo Lucha Libre: the bizare& honorable world of wild Mexican wrestling. HarperColins Publisher. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-0-06-085583-3.
- Various (2005). "El Gigante Sabio / the Wise Giant". Lucha Libre: Masked Superstars of Mexican Wrestling. Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. pp. 125–131. ISBN 968-6842-48-9.
- L.L. Staff (2008). "Lucha Libre: Conoce la historia de las leyendas de cuadrilátero". Tinieblas (1939) (in Spanish) (Mexico). p. 61. Grandes Figuras de la Lucha Libre.