Sofia Alonso announced she had been appointed the new president of CMLL yesterday on CMLL Informa in an interview about Paco Alonso’s death and the future of CMLL. Sofia will now be in charge of the promotion. Sofia noted this was the worst possible way to get this job. Sofia said they all must do their best to hold up what Paco built.
Paco Alonso fainted on Friday and suffered cardiac respiratory arrest in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He passed away early Saturday. (All three of the recent big lucha libre deaths – Aguayo & Silver King as well – were due to heart issues.) Sofia and her mother decided Paco would’ve wanted to have a small private service and did that, only letting the wider world know a day later. If I understood what Sofia said correctly, Paco was cremated even before they announced his death. The CMLL luchadors were told there would be a moment of applause during the show. They did find out who it would be just before they got to the ring, and that was the first they knew of it.
Sofia Alonso said she has no plans for a new era and wants to keep with the good things CMLL and Paco Alonso have already done. She would like to see the different departments working closer together while continuing the traditions of lucha libre. Sofia expects there will be differences because she comes from a different generation than her father, but doesn’t expect them to be big changes. Sofia acknowledged she’s in this position because she’s part of the Lutteroth family, but also had the choice not to be involved. She’s doing this job because she feels strongly about it. She loves lucha libre, loves going to them when she doesn’t have to because she loves lucha. Sofia wants everyone in CMLL to feel that same love of lucha libre. She promised to have an open door to the luchadors and that CMLL going down is not an option. Sofia already lost her father and she’s not going to lose her father’s work.
Sofia Alonso’s interview was exactly what CMLL needed at this moment. CMLL calls itself the serious and stable promotion and everyone around it needed a sign of stability following Paco Alonso’s death. Sofia assured everything that nothing major is changing with the change in leadership. All the people who count on CMLL as a business relationship or their household income need not worry.
I’m always of the opinion that we should always pay attention to what a wrestling promotion (or really any business) says but we should also be careful to watch they actually do to see if they actually are following those words. Sofia Alonso said the right things, but we’ll have to be patient enough to see if small modernizations are the only changes that happen. And we’ll have to wait to see if Sofia is truly in charge. Sofia was the face of CMLL prior to Paco Alonso’s death, so it would’ve only been news if anyone besides Sofia did yesterday’s interview or were announced as president. I’ve been led to believe other people would likely be involved in running CMLL alongside Sofia back as far as when she was first introduced. (Having help wouldn’t be an indictment of Sofia either; she’s stepping into a situation with both AAA & WWE aiming for CMLL’s talent and market, and were continuing an alliance with NJPW is pretty important. Take all the help you can get.) Perhaps she’ll truly end up being the sole person in charge but this is a wait and see a moment in a lot of ways.
Dorian Roldan is the face of AAA ownership and does a tremendous amount for that promotion. My understanding is that his mother, Marisela Pena, is still the actual head of the company, the person who signs the checks. It’s been a family group effort and had been when Joaquin Roldan was alive, but Marisela is the actual big boss. Which means the two most powerful people in Mexican wrestling right now are women. Wrestling universally has and does have problems with sexism. I’m not sure how much I can fairly speak about Mexican culture without living it, but my sense is there’s a lot of sexism issues there as well. The intersection of wrestling and Mexico seems to make this even worse, something that was hard not to reflect on even as CMLL and the Mexican lottery were promoting luchadora contribution to Mexican culture last night. It is an industry where seemingly a quarter of the women end up being named some variation of “sexy” with male trainers coming up with the names. There are few female trainers; it was news to me when Pro Wrestling Revolution announced Lady Apache was training there this summer because she seems like she’d be great at it but it doesn’t seem like an opportunity she’d get with a notable group in Mexico. Faby Apache may be training for AAA, I’m not really sure, and it’s possible Rossy Moreno is training people at Arena Azteca Budokan but there’s no really been a high profile female trainer so far. The few female referees there’s been all seem to be there for their outfits, and it’s even rare at that level. There’s a women ring announcer or two and some of the CMLL luchadoras announce a few times a year, but there’s no full-time female announcer calling shows now and hasn’t been one for a while. Even in the media side, there are not many women involved: Monica Ochoa does interviews for Lucha Central, Angelica Diaz does show results for R de Rudo, various women have covered shows for Estrellas del Ring, but I’m struggling to think of more. +LuchaTV have had women work on-screen for short stints and I think MedioTiempo has as well, but there’s no one else who’s carved out a consistent presence at those outlets as far as I can think. I don’t know everyone – maybe there’s a YouTube vlogger I should know? (edit: I forgot Ana Guiterrez, who has worked on her own site and with CMLL in Guadalajara) – but the flipside to Sofia & Marisela being the two most powerful women in lucha libre is it is hard to figure out who would be the third. The gulf is massive. Mexican wrestling has been that treehouse for ten-year-old boys with a “No Girls Allowed” sign on the front. The girls now own the treehouses. Maybe they can take down the sign, but they’ve got to deal with a lot of people comfortable with having that sign and what it means.
MedioTiempo writes about the history of female promoters. The most well known is Lila Cavazos, who promoted in Monterrey in the 80s and 90s (and was the mother of Antifaz del Norte.) When I was first starting the luchadb and Box Y Lucha’s page of lineups were kindly sent to me, I’d always see a lot of Martha Villalobos promoted small AAA affiliated shows around Mexico City. They usually were using mostly unknown people, though a few of the minis made it to CMLL. The article mentions Lola Gonzalez as a promoter of the past too. Arena Azteca Budokan is owned by the Moreno family and sisters Rossy & Esther are the ones running the Dinastia Moreno shows. Roxana Cantu promoters mostly at Arena Cuatro Caminos in Nuevo Laredo, where she’s taken over for her father who promoted the area for a long time. Alma Zuniga of Chilpancingo is also a promoter in Chilpanginco. I’ve been told one of the Negro Casas daughters is involved with running Mexico City indie RO Wrestling; I think it’s Omii and that’s why it’s RO but now I’m worried I’m remembering this wrong.
Gala Lutteroth Kochen, as the CMLL Director of Cultural, was part of the group representing the promotion at the lottery drawing last night.
Two promotions which aspire to be regular fixtures kick off this week. The first is tonight when Nacion Lucha Libre runs their first show in Sala de Armas in Mexico City at 8 pm. This is the Alberto el Patron fronted group, though it is someone else who is footing the bills. They do have a TV deal and will air on ImagenTV starting on July 20th. ImagenTV didn’t seem a big part of the promotion at the introduction press conference but has promoted the event with luchador guests on their talk shows. The only real news about the promotion since that press conference was the lineup getting torn up and reassembled into this when all AAA-affiliated luchadors pulled off the show. The AAA wrestlers said they were not allowed to work on an Azteca-competing TV network in Mexico, while Nacion Lucha Libre is pushing the idea that their wrestlers are free to work anywhere they want because they’re all about freedom for their luchadors and criticized this as AAA trying to stop them. AAA surely actually does want to stop them – Nacion Lucha Libre is a threat to cut into their market – but that’s also something any wrestling promotion in Mexico should’ve been aware of from day one. AAA respectfully sent condolences out about Paco Alonso death (a courtesy CMLL hasn’t extended to them), but if there’s a chance for AAA to better themselves by taking away talent or resourced from CMLL today, they will do it.
The lineup, even more so it the initial form, is leaning heavily on a Mexico versus the World theme. The main event has Alberto teaming with Fantasma and LA Park against MVP, Apolo, and Mesias. Bandido versus Rey Horus seems like the most promising match on the show. Kamilla, the tall blond woman from the US who appeared at the first press conference, will be at the show to continue whatever they were setting up with Dulce Sexy. Tinieblas and Dos Caras (not to be confused with Cedric Alexander) will be honored on the show. This is the first show for a promotion that looked a little bit shaky, both at the press conference and having to redo their lineup. It is a safe bet they’ll have some changes tonight again. Hopefully, it’s not too serious.
Nacion Lucha Libre’s plan is to run shows every 2-3 weeks, touring around Mexico in a similar fashion to AAA. They have not publicly announced those future shows and that’s my biggest red flag about this promotion. No matter how good the show is or how many tickets are bought, that’s something they need to do immediately. If there’s no next show date for me to write about tomorrow, this is trouble. A lot of stuff Alberto has been involved with over the last few years have ended up being trouble, so it’s easy to be skeptical of this one.
Ticket seems to be selling decently well; the first two sections were sold out as of late night. They’re also expecting a big turnout by how they’re handling logistics. The Diablo Rojo baseball team usually plays their weekday home games at 7 pm. They’re playing at 4 pm today by request of the building management because the Nacion Lucha Libre show is starting in the same sports zone at 7. They’re not thrilled. It does suggest the building expects a lot of people to be in the area.
Pro Wrestling Mexico, the other new promotion debuting this week, streamed a press conference to hype Sunday’s show.
The Jushin Thunder Lyger Thursday Arena Lopez Mateos show is now a Sunday Arena Lopez Mateos show. It seems like more people would come on Sunday all along, so I’m suspicious that whomever originally had Liger booked on Sunday changed their mind about running.
Ultimo Guerrero says he wants a 1v1 hair match against Ciber. So that’s one.
Angel Garza (Jr.) had an interview with AS Mexico. He revealed he was invited to try out for WWE and asked to suggest someone to come with him. He picked Humbert Carrillo (Ultimo Ninja). They didn’t get picked after the tryout. They didn’t get picked again a year later after going to NXT for it. It was the third tryout – after WWE had noticed Garza appearing on Impact’s TV show and asked him about his status – that WWE wanted to bring him in it. Carrillo passed the medical tests but Garza did not due to his shoulder. He was signed after that shoulder healed. Garza credits his uncles (Humberto Garza Jr., Mario Segura, and Hector Garza) for teaching them about how to present themselves as a luchador to stand out. Garza says WWE suggested he use his name “Humberto Garza”, but he didn’t want to wrestler under the same first name as his cousin. He did want to keep the Garza name and eventually arrived at Angel Garza. He’s training with Black Magic (Norman Smiley) at NXT.
Blue Demon and Dr. Wagner will have a match on August 6th in Arena Aficion. Both of these men vowed they will stop wrestling if they lose at TripleMania with the later exception of the US shows. One of these men – let’s call him Dr. Wagner – got goaded into making that vow by LA Park and now the extensions are not the real thing which will make him look like a fool. It makes me wonder if perhaps they’ll do some finish at TripleMania to give him an out to go on, or if he’ll just be “fulfilling already agreed upon dates” for the next five years or so.
RIOT on 08/23 (“Rina en El Cerro de la Silla”) at Arena Femenil Monterrey
- Arez vs Demonio del Aire in a quarterfinal
- Douki vs Belial in a quarterfinal
- Madness vs Iron Kid in a quarterfinal – new
- Aramis vs Latigo in a quarterfinal – new
- Erik Ortiz, Fuego del Sol, Dralion, Tony Rodriguez in quarterfinals
- Lord Byron & Kaientai vs Fresero Jr. & Mr. Iguana
- Kratoz & Prometo vs Willy Banderas & Bryan Villa
+LuchaTV has an interview with Xtreme Tiger.
An interview with DTU’s Samuray Jr. mentioned he’s following on from his uncle, a luchador in the 60s.
CMLL (MON) 07/15/2019 Arena Puebla
1) Rey Samuray & Tigre Rojo Jr. vs Fuerza Chicana & Toro Bill Jr.
2) Marcela & Skadi vs Amapola & Dalys
3) Kráneo, Stigma, Titán vs Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto
4) King Jaguar vs Perverso [hair]
5) Ángel de Oro, Soberano Jr., Volador Jr. vs Gran Guerrero, Negro Casas, Último Guerrero
6) Cuatrero, Forastero, Sansón © vs La Bestia Del Ring, Rush, Terrible [MEX TRIOS]
This appears to be the Arena Puebla Anniversary show, though the poster doesn’t mention it as much. The semi-main posts to a Soberano/Casas singles match next week, so that could officially be it. A title change in the main event is unlikely but definitely not impossible. Normal patterns would have the young Perverso beating the older King Jaguar in the hair match, but Perverso won the lead-up match.