Box y Lucha 233A-237A (September 1956)

These issues are part of Box y Lucha’s Coleccion Diamante.

Box y Lucha 233A (September 7, 1956)

EMLL (FRI) 08/31/1956 Arena Coliseo [Box y Lucha 232A, Box y Lucha 233A]
1) Enrique Camarena b Kid Vanegas
2) Memo Rubio DRAW Carlos Segura
3) Chivo García b Kiko Torres
4) Canelo Segura b Akio Yoshihara
5) Huracán Ramírez b Giuliano
6) El Gladiador b Black Shadow [MEX MIDDLE, semifinal]
Box y Lucha claims this match went 90 minutes, which seems hard to believe. Said to be the match of the year
7) El Santo b Cavernario Galindo [MEX MIDDLE, semifinal]

Box y Lucha claims Gladiador/Shadow went ninety (90) minutes, which is tremendously hard to believe. Match 5 is the EMLL debut of Huracan Ramirez, who was most recently wrestling in Guadalajara and said to have been previously in Guatemala and El Salvador. He’s billed as not being actor David Silva – who had played the character in the same named movie in 1952 – but his 21-year-old stunt double. It is actually Daniel Garica, who’s closer to 30 years old. The magazine teases a younger brother of Huracan Ramriez is working prelims, but I don’t think any of the three brothers are at this point unless they’re doing it under unfamiliar names. Maybe it’s confusion with the unrelated Chivo Garcia?

Sunday’s show includes Tarzan Lopez and Joe Grant advancing to the final of the Mexican Light Heavyweight tournament.

Elsewhere, the magazine is fascinated by results from a show in Texas: all the matches were one fall! Also, Kimura is telling people he’s going to bring four wrestlers back with him to Japan. Kimura doesn’t seem to return to Japan as a professional wrestler, and maybe it’s just an idea to start a new promotion that never ends up taking.

Box y Lucha 234A (Septmeber 14, 1956)

EMLL (FRI) 09/07/1956 Arena México [Box y Lucha 233A, Box y Lucha 234A]
1) Akio Yoshihara b Chico Veloz
2) Huracán Ramírez DQ Gorilita Flores
3) Bobby Bonales TLDRAW Ray Mendoza
4) Masahiko Kimura b Steiko Watanabe [judo]
5) Tarzán López b Joe Grant [MEX LH, final]
Tarzan took ⅓.
6) Medico Asesino b Lotario [MEX HEAVY, final]
Medico took ⅔ to win

Medico Asesino is the biggest star of the heavyweights, but he’s also not a full timer in EMLL. He’s not long for this promotion. Tarzan Lopez is also closer to the end of his time in on top in EMLL than the beginning, though he’ll at least be around for a few more years to come.

Steiko Watanabe starts to take over here as Kimura’s traveling partner. They have a judo exhibition, which again must’ve looked different than what fans (and writers) were used to. Clinch 227 calls it a bore.

Box y Lucha 235A (September 21, 1956)

EMLL (FRI) 09/14/1956 Arena Coliseo [Box Y Lucha, Box y Lucha 1456, Box y Lucha 234A, Box y Lucha 235A]
1) Frankenstein b Centella Inca
2) Dr. Castro DRAW Moloch
3) Giuliano b Canelo Segura
4) Joe Grant b Bobby Bonales
5) Black Shadow b Cavernario Galindo
6) Medico Asesino b Masahiko Kimura
7) El Santo b Gladiador [MEX MIDDLE, final]

Santo takes falls 2/3 to claim this vacant title. Gladiador, frustrated, immediately challenges Santo for a mask match. The magazine believes Gladiador was outclassed in the tournament final and stands little chance against Santo in a mask match.

Santo winning the title is odd given the other title situation. It’s two conflicting stories: Santo wouldn’t be normally allowed to be a national champion if he’s considered a NWA champion, so whomever booked this tournament seems to have signed off on the title change.

Box y Lucha notes this show had a bad turnout, unusual for an El Santo main event.

There’s also an interview with Medico Asesino, bragging about the fancy cars he owns thanks to his winnings and talking about how he’s manged by former luchador Black Guzman. El Santo interrupts, and tells Medico Asesino is doing so much better as a masked man than when he was wrestling unmasked here years ago. It doesn’t seem like that’s a fact Medico Asesino wanted out. Asesino does reveal he’s now suspended from EMLL for the next three months, though it’s not clear why. I haven’t any more Medico Asesino in EMLL before he passes away in 1960, so this may be his last match with the promotion. His name still will come up in magazines often in the next few years.

September 16th, 1956 – Independence Day – is the first ever day where EMLL ran Arena Mexico and Arena Coliseo on the same day. (They didn’t have both arenas until then.) Bobby Bonales & Gladiador defeat Cavernario Galindo & the returning Verdugo in Coliseo, while Dorrel Dixon and Joe Grant win a one night tag team tournament in Arena Mexico. Grant & Dixon are said to have earned 10,000 pesos for winning the tournament. Box y Lucha notes a disappointing turnout led to a gate of 16,000, which meant EMLL lost money running the shows if the prize amount is accurate.

Box y Lucha notes that Jorge Allende and Ray Mendoza nearly got suspended for brawling into the crowd; the ring announcer Maximiliano Aguilar is credited for calming the situation.

Box y Lucha 236A (September 28, 1956)

EMLL (FRI) 09/21/1956 Arena México [Box y Lucha 1456, Box y Lucha 236A, Clinch 227, DJ SpectroEl Hijo del Santo, Punos 13]
***EMLL 22nd Aniversario***
1) Chivo García DRAW Kiko Torres
2) Orquídea DQ Adolfo Bonales
Box y lucha has this as a DQ, Clinch 227 lists as a draw
3) Lotario b Miguel King
4) Huracán Ramírez b Carlos Segura
Canelo Segura replaced Jorge Allende
5) Henry Pilusso b Ray Mendoza
6) Black Shadow & Tarzán López b Cavernario & Mongol
7) El Santo b El Gladiador [mask]
35 minute match. Santo takes fall 1/3. Santo submits Gladiador to win, though Gladiador argues he didn’t give up and the match is resumed. Santo again submits Gladiador to a double armbar and there was no doubt that time. Gladiador is Luis Ramirez Romero.

Gladiador’s been built up with big wins over 1955 and 1956, but the Aniversrio main event really gets set up with just one week build.

I’m guessing Torres/Garcia actually took place after the main event and that’s why there’s no results. This is a sellout, though what a sell out means depending on the source. Box y Lucha 1456’s history piece calls it “20,000” fans. Box y Lucha 236A’s report the week of the show says 15,000. That report also guesses at payouts, based on the gates and what they must know about percentages:

  • King/Loatario 460 pesos
  • Pilusso/Mendoza 675
  • Tarzan/Shadow/Caverario/Mongol 1,600 pesos
  • Santo/Gladiador could not be making more than 2000

Box y Lucha 237A (October 5th, 1956)

EMLL (FRI) 09/28/1956 Arena México [Box y Lucha 236A, Box y Lucha 237A]
1) Bobby Rolando b Carlos Segura
2) Centella Inca b Chico Veloz
3) Pepe Mendieta b Giuliano
4) Black Shadow b El Santo [quarterfinal]
an opening round tournament match! Rated 7 ¾
5) Gladiador b Dorrel Dixon [quarterfinal]
6) Cavernario Galindo b Tarzán López [quarterfinal]
7) Bobby Bonales b Blue Demon [quarterfinal]
8) Black Shadow DQ Gladiador [semifinal]
Gladiador fouled Shadow by accident. Rated 7 ¼
9) Cavernario Galindo b Bobby Bonales [semifinal]
10) Black Shadow b Cavernario Galindo [final]
Shadow wowed with his technique. Rated 7 ¼

This is previewed in 236 as a #1 contenders tournament to the NWA Middleweight Championship. The Mexico City commission puts it foot down, declaring they recognize Santo as champion, he can’t be in a #1 contenders tournament for his own title, and so the commission is out. The commission tries to fix the situation by recognizing Santo as the rightful champion, but Santo refuses that. He believes titles are meant to be won or lost in the ring and he lost the title, simple as that. Santo also makes it clear he doesn’t want to be in another title tournament to decide a new champion – he’s tired from the recent tournaments – and he’ll either face Vera in a decision match for the vacant title or he’ll have no part in it.

Black Shadow wins what’s was supposed to be a title show. Box y Lucha nonetheless brings him up as rightful contender for a time to come.

In other championship news, Mexican National Women’s Champion Rosa Williams says she’ll be retiring soon to marry luchador Tony Lopez and become a housewife. Times are different, but it’s evident things are tough for luchadoras right now; there’s no talk about lifting the ban in women’s wrestling in Mexico City, so anyone left is stuck traveling long distances and working on small shows

Clinch 227 – October 1956

Box y Lucha has two monthly magazines: CLINCH and PUÑOS. It would make sense for one to be wrestling and one to be boxing. They’re the usual half boxing, half lucha libre mix instead. They cover the previous month’s notes.

Highlights include

  • a editorial complaining about kids under 15 being banned from attending lucha libre
  • an interview with Salvador Lutteroth, which seems re-printed from the year prior. Some details here: the key office people are Lutteroth Jr., Manuel Flores (who seems to be the accountant), Antonio Andere (publicity) and Chucho Lomeli (programmer.)
  • A look back at Medico Asesino’s 1952
  • September 1952 rankings:
    • El Santo is wrestler of the month, most popular, biggest villain and half of the best team with Medicno Asesino
    • Top 10 best: Rolando Vera, Santo, Gori Guerrero, Rito Romero, Blue Demon, Chico Casasola, Black Shadow, Tarzan Lopez, and El Enfermero
  • An article with wrestlers talking about the lowest and highest pays they’ve got. Black Shadow says he got 7,000 pesos for his mask match and about the same for a NWA MIDDLE challenge. Gladiador mentions he got 4,000 pesos for his match on the Arena Mexico opening show.

One bio that caught eye was a long profile of Rosa (Rosita) Williams, the current national woman’s champion. The headline feels very 50s: “Rosa Williams, weaker sex? Yes, but she’s also a champion!” There’s more of a point to it. Young Rosa saw a photo of a woman covered in blood in a newspaper, noticed it said “This is the weaker sex?” and asked her father about it. He explained it was a luchadora. She forgot it about it, but later got became a boxer when a friend was invited here to her own match. Williams says she was an undefeated boxer until the day her boxing match and toured a bit, eventually fighting in the semimain of a show main evented by a Pantera Surina match. (This has to be a previous Pantera Surina luchadora; the famous Pantera Surena was born the same year this magazine was published.) Williams had never seen lucha libre before, and talked to luchador Octavio Gaona Jr. at the show to understand what was happening. She fell in love with it, starting training, and gave up boxing completely.

Williams’ first match was a mixed tag in Plaza el Progreso Guadalajara, teaming with Mario Prado against Golden Terror and the same Pantera Surina. She was very nervous, but her partner helped her get through it and they won the match. Her hardest match was in Torreon’s Palacio de los Deportes, another mixed tag with Raul Torres against Rudy Galindo and Pantera Surina again. Galindo was not yet a Cavernario but fought like one; Williams talks about all the hard shots she took in the match, which left her crying in the corner after the she tagged out. She had a headache for two weeks, and ended up shaving her head to reduce the pain. Williams wrestled around Mexico as a tecnico for five years, got tired of the beatings, and retired – to become a bull fighter instead. That didn’t work out (she didn’t have the right size for it) and she ended up returning to lucha as a ruda instead. She seems to be having much more fun in that style, and won the title as a ruda.

Williams says she won the women’s championship from Irma Gonzalez in El Toreo Cuatro Caminos (!) in February 1955. That’s a pretty big building for a women’s title match and suggests Mexico State didn’t ban women’s wrestling immediately after Mexico City did. Gonzalez is also said to be the first champion, which is different than what we have on the wiki right now. (There, Dama Enmascarada is the first champion; Williams actually says Enmascarada’s never had a chance but would make a good champion.) Williams says she’s since defended against Irma Gonzalez in Cuernavaca and Acapulco, with another match coming in Guadalajara.

Williams plans on getting married to fellow wrestler Tony Lopez in February or March of 1957 and retiring then. “Like any other woman, I want a home, a spouse, and a couple of children.” She cautioned one of her sisters not to train wrestling like Rosa. Her sister isn’t an athlete and won’t want to take the beating. William’s parents also have mixed feelings about this career: her mother hates seeing her get beat up, and her father wish he had never let her see the bloody woman photo, thinking she might have never taken this path. That bloody woman turns out to be Mildred Burke, and Williams is very proud to be the champion and The Best just like Burke was. She wants to retire as champion.

(The story doesn’t end the way Rosa Williams plans here; she’s back wrestling and champion again in 1959.)

The other profile is with referee Gonzalo Avendano. The referee gig is the less important job: he’s the original EMLL trainer, meeting Salvador Lutteroth in 1933 and training the first generation of Mexican born wrestlers. Avenando is military vet and a world traveler. He learned greco-roman wrestling and jiu jitsu in 1908 while attending military college. He says he reached the sixth grade of jiu jitsu and was the only one in America to do so. He also became friends with US wrestling pioneer William Muldon, and learned wrestling from him. Avendano served in World War I, earning the rank of Coronel, then ended up wrestling in Hollywood as “Maravilla Enmascarada” for four matches. He was invited back to Mexico by the governments to teach wrestling and lucha libre in 1931, and met Lutteroth a few years later.

Others lucha libre historians have pointed to Avenando’s jiu jitsu background as a reason for the rolling bumps and other peculiarities of Mexican wrestling style. He definitely seems to have great historical importance for someone we know little about.

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