Emilio Charles Jr., a CMLL star of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, passed away Thursday. His son posted about his father’s passing on his Facebook account.
Emilio, a second generation wrestler, was an underrated rudo in the mid 80s thru the mid 90s. He was not treated as a top guy, but an underrated well working rudo who could mesh well with young promising tecnicos. He faced Octagon and Atlantis in title matches many times as both guys were taking off in the early 90s. Atlantis was Emilio’s biggest rival for years, and the rivalry was remembered as long were both in CMLL. Emilio’s matches with Atlantis helped establish him as a career.
Emilio may have not gotten to defeat the top tecnicos often, but he did well in apuesta matches. Emilio, a rough looking rudo with long hair, lost a few times early in his career, but was protected as the 90s started and won 8 straight hair matches in Arena Mexico and Arena Coliseo, including a major win over Silver King at the 1996 Anniversary show.
Emilio took on the ironic role of El Rey del Beautiful near the end of the run, in what was build up to a big hair match with 1000% Guapo Shocker. Shocker won, ending Emilio’s long streak and making Shocker a star. Like Atlantis, Shocker brought his own abilities to the feud, but two of the biggest CMLL stars of the last couple decades would not have done as well without facing off with Emilio Charles Jr.
Emilio’s early 2000s are well remembered for his trio with Bestia Salvaje and Scorpio Jr. Bestia & Scorpio were responsible for remaking the barbarian Emilio over into El Rey del Beautiful as part of a new Los Guapos trio (the other two having split with Shocker to set up the feud.) Later, after 09/11, the trio went into another direction as Los Talibanes. It was played totally as absurd comedy, as all three luchadors were being moved down the card for younger wrestlers. Emilio was still well respected after his peak, getting hair wins over Satanico and Asesino Negro after the Shocker loss because he was still considered that big of a star.
Emilio stuck around CMLL as his partners left and new luchadors came in. Emilio was winding down just as Terrible was starting his CMLL career, and the two had a joke of Terrible actually being Emilio’s son because of their similar look. Emilio’s last few years were really the same as his peak, giving young wrestlers big wins. His last two CMLL singles matches – his last two singles match of any kind I can find – was a 2006 hair match loss to Maximo, and a 2007 hair match loss to Mascara Purpura. The last one saw the crowd fiercly boo Purpura and cheer for Charles even after the match, upset their old favorite had been beaten again. Emilio still had the respect of the people.
Emilio was done in CMLL after that match. He worked a little bit more in Guadalajara, and a little bit in IWRG. He last worked there in 2009 and sparsely appeared on indy shows after. There were stories in 2010 about a lucha libre school and a class he was teaching there, but little mention of that since. He was hospitalized in poor shape in 2011 after a spider bite, and left the hospital looking unnaturally thin for Emilio, but recovered. El Hijo del Santo interviews as part of his short lived webshow earlier this year (part 1, part 2). There had been no mention of Emilio being in poor health until the report of his passing.
I’ll have more notes and links later today.
Edit: The birth year has been corrected.