1966 EMLL Mexico City lineups and thoughts

Here’s all the 1966 Mexico City lineups and results that are now in the database, in case that’s something you need. I haven’t gone deep in checking it out. I can already see a date discrepancy over a hair match and I’ve fixed things after making that backup.

7 things I took away from this year beyond the results:

  1. EMLL’s booker passes away midway thru the year. Nothing really changes. Referee Jesus Lomelin is said to be the lead programmer and had been for a long time when he passed away in June. There are slight changes; Black Shadow gets flipped to being a heel, there are some new pushes later in the year. Those might have happened anyway. There’s no huge change in direction obvious through the rest of the year, with the replacements sticking close to those who were already on top. This felt a bit instructive to the current day CMLL situation.
  2. Lucha libre movies were hurting lucha libre shows (in the short term.) 1965 was the Mexico City introduction of Mil Mascaras. 1966 should’ve been his big year. It was a big year for him to film two movies instead. Mil Mascaras is still around a fair amount, but EMLL never pushes him to the top. Santo is in and out filming movies as well. Blue Demon also spends most of his year filming movies, though it is unclear if he’s medically able to wrestle this year. Even Ray Mendoza is missing for a movie early on.
  3. EMLL had played the same hand too long. I’d like to have Box Y Luchas from this time period (or any time period) to balance things out; Lucha Libre is pushing for new blood at the top even before this year starts. As best as we can tell based on the one source, it seems like the fans have tired of seeing the same people at top. This is year six of Rene Guajardo being the perennial middleweight champion, the rudo who is also acknowledged as the best guy (similar to today Ultimo Guerrero) and some sort of change is needed. It should be Mil’s moment but being seen as the Santo replacement film star stops him from being the Santo replacement in-ring star for this year. Lucha Libre magazine stumps hard for Jerry London in that top spot, though it seems unlikely to go to a foreigner in that time period. The answer seems to be Ray Mendoza, but EMLL deluding itself into believing Gory Guerrero would come back to Mexico City and do a job delay his ascension. It feels a protest vote when Lucha Libre calls Mendoza wrestler of the year. Guajardo’s the one who has had actual success but they’re tired of him.
  4. This was a nothing year for Karloff Lagarde. I felt less positive about Karloff Lagarde’s Wrestling Observer HOF value. He’s NWA Welterweight champion without once defending in Arena Mexico all year. His only title match in Arena Mexico is losing the Arena Mexico Tag Team Championship. Lagarde’s only apuesta match is a hair loss to Jerry London, a setup match for the Aniversario. Lagarde is frequently in main events but typically only to be Rene Guajardo’s junior partner. He does get one singles win over Black Shadow early in the year, but he not main eventing much else on his own. It’s an accumulation year, but not one with any particular glory.
  5. There is help on the way. The year ends with Angel Blanco & Dr. Wagner on the way up. Solitario’s getting some notice as a future star, though he hasn’t jumped out of the pack yet. Anibal has just made the leap to EMLL. The stars of the 70s are on their way.
  6. Jerry London had one of the better years of an EMLL foreigner. Lucha Libre praised him so much that I was surprised they didn’t give him the wrestler of the year. It doesn’t look as impressive just in the results – a short title win, a hair match win and a hair match loss. It reads in instead like he was only supposed to be in for the title match, maybe not even the title switch, and he kept impressing enough that EMLL kept extending his stay. It appears to be his choice to leave, not EMLL letting him go when he loses again to Guajardo.
  7. There are so many tournaments. Very few of them go anywhere or mean anything but I guess it must be over as a gimmick if they keep doing it.

1930s Coahuila/Durango lineups added to the luchadb

I added 1930s lucha libre lineups, mostly from the cities Torreon and Gomez Palacio to the luchadb database in the last few days. This covers every year from 1930 to 1939. They’re integrated into the different pages of this site, and they’re also just available here. This is a slow continuing project to mine the El Siglo de Torreon archive for lucha lineups and results. The project is done! I can move onto other equally futile endeavors.

Really, it’s all done. I couldn’t find a reference of lucha libre prior to 1934. The Guadalajara newspaper had lucha libre mentions pre-Salvador Lutteroth. Torreon didn’t get it until a few months after EMLL was founded, or at least it didn’t come up. The lineups resemble the cards of the early days in Mexico City in style if not the same talent, with just one or two singles matches on early cards. It starts to expand to about four matches with the occasional tag match or battle royal by the end of the decade. With no more than 8 people per show, it was quicker to go thru a month of lineups than it is to do one card today, so this was quick to finish.

Shows added by year that include some link to El Siglo de Torreon

193X  255
194X  414
195X  979
196X  133
197X  268
198X 1169
199X 1730
200X 1575
201X   23
     6546 events total

This was very much a still figuring out how lucha libre worked period. There are only a couple title matches, there were no real apuesta matches, the shows are in venues which would quickly disappear. The posters would show up more days in advance than later years, probably because there was more space needing to be filled.

There also isn’t much news on lucha libre outside of lineups and results. There are occasional stories about lucha libre in Mexico City and the odd wire story from New York slips through. Even in the 1930s, there were recaps of shows complaining about how silly things had become.

I got a lot of lineups in this project. I didn’t get many results, but the lineups alone were helpful in getting a sense of what lucha libre looked like in Torreon and Gomez Palacio during different points of time. This has always been a busy area for lucha libre, and the newspapers gave indications when the business was going up and down. I felt like I learned some, and also learned that I, even more, wish there was a public newspaper archive like this for a Mexico City or Monterrey paper that covered lucha libre. I do have plenty of magazines which did so, and I should go back to figuring those out.

1940s Coahuila/Durango lineups added to the luchadb

I added 1940s lucha libre lineups, mostly from the cities Torreon and Gomez Palacio to the luchadb database last month. This covers every year from 1940 to 1949. They’re integrated in the different pages of this site, and they’re also just available here. This is a slow continuing project to mine the El Siglo de Torreon archive for lucha lineups and results, which is finally nearing completion.

I had been hoping to finish this in August. It is now October. It didn’t go quickly. There was a lot of lucha.

1970s: 323
1960s: 258
1950s: 909
1940s: 415

Not as bad as 1950s. It still turned out to be a lot, though it varied quite a bit per year.

1940 24
1941 15
1942 4
1943 4
1944 13
1945 23
1946 80
1947 83
1948 83
1949 86

I think the pattern is no one pays much attention if there’s only one promotion, but pay a lot more attention if there are two or more groups. (Until today, where shrinking newspapers mean no one pays attention.) There also weren’t as many sports to cover in 40s, so wrestling was covered as a way to fill up one of those eight pages they were putting out a day.

Another reason the shows might have gone up starting with 1945 is that was the year Palacio de los Depotes was opened. That building, or others with the same name, have been in use since that year.

The other thing that helpfully filled space in the paper are reports of fights around or after lucha libre shows. I suspect they were no more common here than any other decade, and it just got brought up more. There’s issues with thrown objects, a wrestler getting into fight with police (and later hauled in front of a judge), and just a general brawl outside of a show. There’s an uproar about lepers coming to a show, in a truly random bit.

There’s also a 1948 article complaining how wrestling has gotten too silly and isn’t like it was in the old days anymore. This article has a nice illustration of Japanese (?) wrestler Taro Sato.

My favorite find is buried in Casos Deportivos column, which occasionally mentioned lucha libre at this point. In 1949, there’s a mention that Salvador Lutteroth was looking to put together enough money to build a Madision Square Garden level arena in Mexico City to host boxing, lucha libre and basketball. This is the plan for Arena Mexico, which is still 7 years away from coming into existance. The story has always been the Black Shadow/El Santo mask match selling out while turning lots of people away spurred Lutteroth into building Arena Mexico. That was in 1952. It might have pushed him to finally do it, but the idea had been in his head for a few years by that point.