the story of El Santo’s (missing) second NWA World Middleweight reign

Lucha Libre magazine 289 includes a recap of the April 25, 1969 Arena Mexico show, an anniversary show for the building. There are suitable big matches: the main event is a hair match between new rudo force Los Hippies and the team of Black Shadow and Ray Mendoza. The semi-main has Rayo de Jalisco becoming NWA World Middleweight Champion for a third time by beating El Santo. The recap doesn’t include a photo of Rayo (or Santo) with the belt, but the description and captions are clear this is a title change.

The problem is title histories record Santo as last being middleweight champion in the 1950s. Most, including the one on the luchawiki, had Rene Guajardo starting 1969 as champion, losing it the week before, and this match as a title defense. I’m confident that’s incorrect: El Santo actually was champion at the end of 1968 and through early 1969. (Cagematch also seems to have this title change with a slightly incorrect date. None of the other title histories I’ve looked at mention it.) I’m going through magazines from the period right now and it’s stuck out as a big error. Maybe I’ll find something more as I get farther along, but I think I’ve got enough to go now:

  • El Santo probably defeated Rene Guajardo for the NWA Middleweight Championship on December 13, 1968 in Arena Mexico. We don’t have full results from that show; the collection of magazines generally used are missing for the crucial week. It is a big enough show that it gets brought up later, but only for the main event – El Solitario taking Ray Mendoza’s hair is a gigantic deal in the moment, and nothing else gets brought up – so it’s possible a title match could’ve taken place. DJ Spectro did mention Santo/Guajarado title match on this date, but the Facebook photo about it appears to be gone. Box Y Lucha mentioned Santo defeating Guajardo for the title on December 13 as part of a This Day In History bit, but had it as 1966. December 13th would’ve been a Tuesday, but CMLL Tuesday shows would never have big names in that era. Mistaking a 6 for 8 makes more sense. It’d still be better to have a definite recap of the show. Edit: this forum thread also has the December 13, 1968 change with photos which appear to be part of the title change.
  • The first magazine acknowledgement of a title change I can find, between missing issues and the title not being active, is when Lucha Libre 285 (published April 5, 1969) does a rankings update and lists the current champions. Santo is clearly listed as World Middleweight champion – there’s no question he’s champion by this point.
  • I’m missing issue 286, but 287 covers the semi-finals of a tournament to determine a challenger to Santo. The recap is unambiguous about Santo being champion. Guajardo & Jalisco fighting for a shot for the title, not for the title itself.
  • Issue 288, covering that April 18th show, has Jalisco beating Guajardo (an upset) to earn a shot against Santo
  • and Rayo de Jalisco beat El Santo for the title on April 25th in Arena Mexico, as already mentioned. This is where CageMatch slightly differs; I’m confident on it being the 25th. The magazine publish date lines up and it’s also the Arena Mexico Anniversary show, which is typically the last Friday of April. A long ago post on the old Box Y Lucha forum also has this lineup on 04/25, but there’s no cache of it.

The net effect is El Santo should be credited with two NWA World Middleweight Championships reigns. The number of reigns goes up: Averno was the 86th champion, Caristico is essentially the 93rd. Rene Guajardo’s days as champion are about a hundred shorter.

Missing lucha libre title reigns are rare but not unknown. Part of the interest in doing this project is finding them. It seems absurd an El Santo title reign was missing though. Maybe this is one that people in Mexico knew about it but it’s wrong in every title match history I thought to check. Maybe it’ll be a little less wrong now.

(If you like this research or just want to help, any tips about Mexico newspaper archives which might cover lucha libre are greatly appreciated. Doesn’t have to be Mexico City prorer, doesn’t even have to be free if it’s promising enough, I’m just looking for additional sources.)

AAA eSports, Octagon responds to paternity claims

AAA’s eSport division announced they’ll start to hold and stream weekly fighting game tournaments. The eSports division had previously mentioned plans to do more in 2020, though this seems more specifically tied to providing alternate content during the pandemic. AAA lucha libre people will be involved as commentators and guests, though it doesn’t seem like they’ll be actively competing. They’re competing in a different game each Sunday, with a play-in tournament open to anyone the day prior. You can see the schedule of games here. These tournaments will stream on AAA’s Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

A second article has a bit on the business of AAA’s eSports division. The division is operated by Arena Esports GG, with Nacho Ortiz listed as the GM, and they’ve got an agreement to continue the project until the end of the year. They’ve picked games that they think will have strong appeal among Mexican fans – that’s why they added a Dragon Ball game – and they hope the luchadors talking about it on social media will bring fans over to the eSports side. Pagano, Lady Shani, La Hiedra, Octagon Jr., Mr. Iguana, Dave the Clown and Murder Clown are those announced as being part of it. There’s a hope this will help expand AAA’s presence in the US.

In an interview with Diaro Basta, Maximo explains his heart situation. He says he felt bad the day of the La Parka mass, his wife took him to the doctor, and the doctor found a blocked artery. He was in danger of having a heart attack but says he did not have one and they were able to fix the issue.

CMLL posted an interview with Terrible talking about the 2004 Homenaje a Dos Leyendas main event, where he teamed with Hijo del Perro Aguayo against Cien Caras and Mascara 2000 in a double hair match. CMLL is in the process of cleaning and disinfecting Arena Mexico. They’ll have Mistico, Ultimo Guerrero and Stephanie Vaquer on Informa today.

En+Carados had Pagano & Ex-Sin Cara on to promote their empty arena show in Ciudad Juarez. They didn’t address why Ex-Sin Cara is no longer using Cinta de Oro but maybe we’ll find out in a few weeks. They talked about all the donations to the Lucha Memes shows being kept as photographs so the wrestlers can see them and that all the money would be distributed out; I didn’t catch a grand total if there is one. (The fundraiser total is always a useful thing to post if you’re doing one.)

Lucha Memes says their next show will be July 5th in Arena Lopez Mateos, mentioning Mexico State says they will not allow lucha libre events until July. It didn’t seem like they were allowing shows this month and Memes ran anyway so I dunno.

IWRG will air the Hijo del Santo vs Dr. Cerbero mask match on Thursday night. A decent quality version of that match has floated around online, IWRG might have a better copy. They might also be airing the rest of the show, which is not online. Cerbero and Santo seemed to be building towards another apuesta match before the shut down. They’re previously posted the 2009 Rey del Ring show on Facebook, which includes some prelim matches not on YouTube. I think these work better on YouTube, but IWRG’s Facebook has a lot more follows than their YouTube.

Empty arena shows breed empty arena shows. CWF, a promotion in Hidalgo, is running an empty arena show on Sunday for a show on YouTube. They’re planning on using YouTube to raise money, having seen +LuchaTV and Lucha Memes do the same. The two channels they’ll stream on have less than 100 subscribers combined, which means it’s unlikely they’ll be able to turn on the SuperChat function and raise money that way, but they don’t appear to know that yet. San Luis Potosi’s Arena Margartia also posted an empty arena show, though there appears to be no obvious fundraiser attempt going on there. Arena Union in Veracruz will run their own on Friday on Facebook Live, and they’ve at least posted a card number (though no bank.) It’s hard to believe people were making their living working shows on these small arenas (if most were getting paid at all), though I suppose any more they can get can help.

Octagon responded to the claims of his twin sons in a YouTube video. His counter-claims are that it was the twins, not him, who did not want to take a DNA test, that he did support them financially, and that he only sued them because they tried to hold him up for money. Octagon said he has 10 children and that Hijo del Octagon is one of them, which is believed to be false.

The Talavision t-shirt store in Mexico City is closed indefinitely.

Dos Hermanos Luchas have five questions with Hijo del Alebrije.

I was on the latest edition of Winter Palace talking about the year in lucha libre. If you don’t care about Animal Crossing, you’re safe to move on once that section starts.