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Trial Lawyer Tom Benno, 57, Is ‘Apocalypto,’ a Pro Wrestler in New Lucha Libre League

Posted Dec 6, 2011 8:38 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Attorney Tom Benno knows his days as Apocalypto are numbered. But at 57 the suburban Chicago trial lawyer hopes for another three years as a professional wrestler, in the Gladiator Aztecs Lucha Libre International league known as GALLI.

A melding of traditional American pro wrestling and pure Mexican-style lucha libre, the sport gives him a chance to use lawyerly skills he has already honed, such as maintaining a dramatic presence and thinking on your feet, Benno tells the Chicago Tribune.

However, he also gets to wear a mask, make flying leaps from the corner of the ring and march in accompanied by music associated with Darth Vader and Star Wars.

Fellow Illinois trial attorney Bryan O'Connor, a colleague and friend, attended one of Apocalypto's early matches, which he describes as hilarious.

Benno "had the mannerisms down pat, the way he struts around the ring, the whole deal," O'Connor tells the Trib. "I thought it would be this little neighborhood gym kind of thing, but it was pretty well-done, and the way they had choreographed out the storylines for the wrestlers, that worked too. I don't know why Tom is doing this, but he is doing fine."

Weighing in at an athletic 215 pounds these days, Apocalypto is a wrestling ring mediator, neither good nor evil, who acts "as the situation dictates," Benno explains. His mask is a split face, smiling on one half and frowning on the other.

His wife, Terri, is an accountant. "Not thrilled" about the Apocalypto concept from the outset, she had hoped her husband's enthusiasm for the sport would be short-lived, she tells the newspaper. Now she is resigned to the fact that his pro wrestling career is no fleeting fancy.

"I know Tom is a lone ranger and he doesn't fit into boxes too well," she said. "Would he do something other people would do? No, he would not."

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