Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre
|Formerly||Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre|
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre Co., Ltd. (CMLL; Spanish pronunciation: [konˈsexo munˈdjal de ˈlutʃa ˈliβɾe], "World Wrestling Council") is a lucha libre professional wrestling promotion based in Mexico City. The promotion is also referred to by its previous name Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL) (Mexican Wrestling Enterprise). Founded in 1933, it is the oldest professional wrestling promotion still in existence.
CMLL has been nicknamed "The serious and the stable", referencing their very conservative booking style and their traditional structure to how wrestlers are used and allowed to express themselves. Outside live television broadcasts, CMLL has not shown matches where one of the competitors bleeds. They have a few steel cage matches and on occasion have Super Libre matches where there are no disqualifications, but otherwise do not promote any variety of matches that would be considered hardcore wrestling, nor match types such as Ladder matches. CMLL has on occasion fired wrestlers for excessive violence, like the use of chairs, during a match or for using profanity while addressing the crowd during a show.
CMLL currently recognizes and promotes twelve "World Championships" for various weight divisions and classifications, six national level and six regional level championships. The CMLL Anniversary Show series is the longest running annual major show, starting in 1934, with the CMLL 84th Anniversary Show being the most recent. CMLL also regularly promotes major events under the names Homenaje a Dos Leyendas ("Homage to two legends"), Sin Piedad ("No Mercy"), Sin Salida ("No Escape"), Infierno en el Ring ("Inferno in the Ring") during the year. CMLL has promoted their regular weekly Super Viernes ("Super Friday") on a regular basis since the 1930s. Founder Salvador Lutteroth funded the building of Arena Coliseo in 1943, making it the first building in Mexico built specifically for professional wrestling.
Prior to 1933, lucha libre shows in Mexico were primarily promoted by foreign promoters doing the occasional match through Mexico or a few scattered local promoters, especially along the U.S. border, who brought in American professional wrestlers as their main attractions.
In 1929, Salvador Lutteroth, who at the time was a property inspector for the Mexican Tax department, moved to Ciudad Juárez near the Mexico/U.S. border. During a trip to El Paso, Texas Lutteroth witnessed a professional wrestling show and was intrigued by the show and especially the main event Greek wrestler Gus Pappas. Four years later Lutteroth, along with his financial backer Francisco Ahumada chartered Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL; The "Mexican Wrestling Enterprise"), the first Mexican owned wrestling promotion in the country. EMLL held their first shown on September 21, 1933, considered the "birth of Lucha libre" and led to Lutteroth being known as "the father of Lucha Libre" .
EMLL initially tried to book Arena Nacional, the premier boxing venue in Mexico City but the promoters would not let him rent it, forcing Lutteroth and EMLL to take up residence in Arena Modelo, an abandoned and run down facility that Lutteroth was able to use as his home base. The concept of Lucha Libre quickly became very popular, so much so that the EMLL 1st Anniversary Show drew a sell out crowd of 5,000 paying fans. In 1934, an American wrestler debuted in Mexico under a black, leather mask, and Lutteroth dubbed him "La Maravilla Enmascarada" or "The Masked Marvel". In the United States the concept of the masked wrestler was more of a mid-level attraction, but the reaction to La Maravilla Enmascarada led to Lutteroth and the EMLL officials to introduce more masks, starting with a wrestler known simply as El Enmascarado ("the Masked Wrestler") and late on El Murciélago Enmascarado ("The Masked Bat"). Through the use of the masks and ring characters EMLL helped create the sacred position of the mask in Lucha libre, making it the ultimate status symbol for luchadors. In the early days of EMLL most of the top names were Americans, but with time EMLL introduced several Mexican natives that became so popular that they began to main event most of the EMLL shows. In order to expand their business EMLL began working with a number of local wrestling promoters across Mexico, allowing them to use the EMLL name and some of their contracted wrestlers while also gaining access to local wrestlers in return. Each booking office was independent of each other but the main office in Mexico City had the final say if there were disputes over who would be able to book certain wrestlers.
In 1942, a masked wrestler clad is silver, simply known as El Santo ("the Saint"), a man who go on to become a cultural icon in Mexico and is often cited as the greatest Mexican wrestler of all time. With the popularity of El Santo as well as other Mexican stars such as Bobby Bonales, Tarzán López, Cavernario Galindo and Gory Guerrero Arena Modelo eventually became too small to accommodate the demand for tickets. To solve the problem Lutteroth financed the construction of Arena Coliseo in Mexico City, the first arena in Mexico built specifically for professional wrestling and the first sports building in Mexico to have built in air conditioning. The arena, nicknamed the "Lagunilla Funnel" due to its interior shape would hold over 8,800 spectators when configured for Lucha libre or boxing. Arena Coliseo began hosting EMLL's annual Anniversary shows starting with the 10th Anniversary show.
In 1953, Salvador Lutteroth joined the US based National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), becoming the official NWA territory for all of Mexico, known as "NWA-EMLL" outside Mexico. By joining the NWA, Lutteroth and EMLL gained control of the NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship. They were also able to re-brand their "World Middleweight Championship" to become the NWA World Middleweight Championship and their "World Welterweight Championship" became the NWA World Middleweight Championship. In the early 1950s television became as a viable entertainment medium in Mexico which was set to bolster the popularity of EMLL, but Arena Coliseo was not equipped properly for television transmissions. As it turns out luck was on Lutteroth and EMLL's side as Lutteroth and the personnel at Arena Coliseo bought a lottery ticket worth 5 million Pesos. Lutteroth used his portion of the winnings to finance the construction of Arena México, on the location where Arena Modelo used to sit. Arena México enabled EMLL to broadcast their weekly wrestling shows across Mexico, yielding a popularity explosion for the sport. Starting in 1956, with the EMLL 23rd Anniversary Show all anniversary shows were held in Arena México, except the EMLL 46th Anniversary Show. Over time the arena became known as "The Cathedral of Lucha Libre".
Over time, Lutteroth retired from the day-to-day operations of EMLL leaving the company in the hands of his son Salvador "Chavo" Lutteroth Jr. in 1975 local promoter Francisco Flores, along with EMLL trainer Ray Mendoza broke away from EMLL, citing their displeasure with EMLL's conservative, restrictive promotional style. The two took a number of EMLL's younger wrestlers with them to form Lucha Libre Internacional, S. C, later known as the Universal Wrestling Association (UWA). With the creation of the UWA EMLL faced a rival national promotion for the first time.
In the mid-1980s, Chavo Lutteroth retired, allowing his nephew Paco Alonso, grandson of Salvador Lutteroth, to take control of EMLL. In the late 1980s EMLL decided to leave the NWA, seeking to distance themselves from the political infighting in the National Wrestling Alliance. In 1991 EMLL changed their name to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL; "World Wrestling Council") to establish a new identity after the NWA split. From 1991 through 1993 CMLL created eight "CMLL World" titles in addition to the three NWA branded titles they retained and a slew of other championships. At the start of the 1990s the company began appearing on the national Televisa network, which led to a second big boom in business due to the renewed national television exposure, in the mid-1970s through the 1980s, magazines and newspapers were the sole medium of Lucha Libre for most Mexicans.
AAA split and rivalry
In the mid-1980s, retired wrestler Antonio Peña became one of the main bookers for EMLL, helping determine who would win matches, what storylines to use and so on, he was also a driving force behind the name change to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. Peña would often clash with Juan Herrera, the other main booker for CMLL at the time. Herrera wanted to maintain the old style of booking with heavyweights such as Atlantis, El Dandy and El Satánico, while Peña wanted to feature younger, faster moving wrestlers such as Konnan, Octagón or Máscara Sagrada. In the end CMLL owner Paco Alonso decided to go with Herrera's booking style.
After Paco Alonso chose to ignore Peña's booking ideas, Peña began negotiations with Televisa television channel to fund a new wrestling promotion that would provide Televisa with weekly wrestling shows. In 1992 Peña started a booking agency, providing wrestlers and matches for the Televisa owned Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) promotion. While Peña technically owned the promotion Televisa owns the rights to the AAA name. In a move that mirrored Flores' departure in the 1970s Peña left the promotion alongside a number of young wrestlers who were unhappy with their position in the promotion. With the creation of AAA the promotion replaced the UWA as Mexico's other main wrestling promotion, creating a long running rivalry between CMLL and AAA. Starting in 1996 CMLL began promoting an annual show in March, first paying homage to Salvador Lutteroth, then later Lutteroth and El Santo and then finally becoming the Homenaje a Dos Leyendas ("Homage to Two Legends") annual show series.
CMLL in the 21st century
From 2007 to 2009, CMLL had a working relationship with American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which saw CMLL's Averno, Rey Bucanero, Último Guerrero and Volador, Jr. winning the 2008 TNA World X Cup and TNA worker Alex Shelley winning the 2008 CMLL International Grand Prix. In 2008, CMLL established a working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling as part of "G-1 World", several wrestlers have since toured between the two companies winning titles, including Místico winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and Jushin Thunder Liger winning the CMLL Universal Championship tournament. Since 2011, the two promotions have annually co-promoted events in Japan, under the name Fantastica Mania. In 2011, CMLL established a working relationship with Japanese women's promotion Universal Woman's Pro Wrestling Reina and announced that the two promotions would create a new championship for women who have been in the professional wrestling industry for less than ten years, called the CMLL-Reina International Junior Championship. This was followed by the establishment of the CMLL-Reina International Championship one year later.
On March 16, 2010, a video was posted on YouTube featuring an interview David Marquez had with NWA Executive Director and Legal Counsel Robert Trobich. Trobich announced that CMLL did not have permission to use the NWA trademark. The rights to usage of the NWA trademark in Mexico is now held by NWA Mexico, represented by Blue Demon, Jr. CMLL replaced the three championships with the NWA World Historic Light Heavyweight Championship, NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship and the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship.
On September 19, 2014, CMLL became only the second promotion in the Americas, after WWE, to draw a $1 million gate with their 81st Anniversary Show, headlined by a Mask vs. Mask match between Atlantis and Último Guerrero.
On November 6, 2014, the promotion made an alliance with the Mexican independent group Lucha Libre Elite to help bring independent wrestlers into CMLL.
On July 6, 2016, NJPW announced that they would broadcast CMLL Friday shows in their video-streaming service, NJPW World. On August 10, CMLL announced a working relationship with American promotion Ring of Honor (ROH). The two promotions were linked through their separate relationships with NJPW.
On May 8, 2017, CMLL announced that it was opening Freedom sports bar & Grill And the priest-wrestler Fray Tormenta gave the blessing to the Freedom Arena Mexico, before it opens its doors to the public next Friday May 12.
Style and television
Most CMLL events are held in the famous Arena Mexico in Mexico City, with the biggest weekly show being the Friday night Super Viernes ("Super Friday") show, but they also have regular shows on Tuesday and Saturday night.
Of all the major professional wrestling promotions in the world, CMLL is one of the most conservative, having earned the nickname "The serious and the stable" (La Seria y Estable) over time. Matches with blood are not broadcast unless it accidentally happens during a live event. CMLL rarely uses specialty or "gimmick matches" outside a limited number of steel cage matches and the occasional Super Libre, no-disqualification matches. While other promotions have adopted matches such as the ladder match, CMLL remains much more traditional. They also have strict rules for what they will allow to happen during their shows, on one occasion a match between Dr. Wagner Jr. and L.A. Park during the CMLL 75th Anniversary Show degenerated into a brawl on the floor that was so out of control that both wrestler were fired by CMLL a short time later. CMLL also has strict rules on what wrestlers can and cannot say during their shows, a rule illustrated in 2015 where L.A. Park was fired from the promotion only three weeks after returning due to a profanity laden rant during a CMLL show.
CMLL's main programming, hosted by Alfonso Morales, Leobardo Magadan and Miguel Linares, is broadcast regularly on Televisa in Mexico, on LATV in the United States, and formerly on Telelatino in Canada and The Wrestling Channel in the United Kingdom. CMLL also had a syndicated show called "Sin Limite de Tiempo" ("with no time limit") which shows matches from Arena Coliseo shows and matches they could not fit onto the regular broadcast. It aired in Los Angeles on KWHY and Also Air in San Francisco on KEMO-TV. This show was followed up by "Guerreros del Ring" on Canal 52MX. Also, Spanish-language American sports channel Fox Sports en Español recently started broadcasting CMLL programming. Recently CMLL also added the Mexican network Cadena Tres to its list of networks airing CMLL Wrestling. Galavision began airing CMLL wrestling in the spring of 2011. Galavision shows only a one-hour version while LATV has shown a two-hour version. In 2015 several of CMLL's shows became available live on their YouTube channel and they have held a number of internet-Pay Per Views (PPVs)
Each year CMLL promotes a number of signature events, some shown as pay-per-view events and others shown on regular television. Over the last couple of years CMLL have held three regular events each year and a number of one off, special events. The Major show, shown in order of when they happen during the year, include:
|Event||Created||Next/Most recent date||Notes|
|Entre el Cielo y el Infierno||2010||October 15, 2010||A name used either as the main name or as the "tag line" for various shows. The 2010 show was the first promoted specifically under the Entre el Cielo y el Infierno ("Between heaven and hell") name.|
|Fantastica Mania||2011||January 13, 2017||Shows co-produced with New Japan Pro Wrestling, held in Japan in January each year. The most recent show was the Fantastica Mania 2017 show.|
|La Hora Cero||2009||January 11, 2009||A one time pay-per-view.|
|Homenaje a Dos Leyendas||1996||March 16, 2018||Annual show since 2005, honors 2 "legends", one is always Salvador Lutteroth, CMLL's founder. Last event was the 2018 edition.|
|Infierno en el Ring||2008||December 25, 2016||Infierno en el Ring is an annual "multi-person" Steel Cage elimination match, sometimes it gets its own show, in other years it's the main event of another Major Event. The most recent event was the 2016 Infierno en el Ring.|
|CMLL Anniversary Show||1934||September 16, 2017||The biggest show of CMLL's year, commemorates CMLL's debut in 1933. The longest running annual show in professional wrestling. The last anniversary show was 84th Anniversary held on September 16, 2017.|
|Sin Piedad||2000||January 1, 2016||Traditionally CMLL's "End of year" show. Last show held was the 2016 Sin Piedad.|
|Juicio Final||1991||August 1, 2014||Held intermittently since 1990. Most recently the 2014 Juicio Final|
|Sin Salida||2009||July 17, 2015||Held intermittently since 2009. Most recent show was Sin Salida (2015).|
- CMLL-promoted world championships
- CMLL-promoted secondary championships
|Championship||Current Champion(s)||Held since||Reigns||Days
|CMLL Arena Coliseo Tag Team Championship||Esfinge and Tritón||March 10, 2018||1||14+|||
|Mexican National Heavyweight Championship||El Terrible||October 29, 2017||1||146+|
|Mexican National Light Heavyweight Championship||Atlantis||August 24, 2015||1||943+|||
|Mexican National Welterweight Championship||Soberano Jr.||May 12, 2017||1||316+|||
|Mexican National Lightweight Championship||Eléctrico||August 13, 2013||1||1684+|||
|Mexican National Trios Championship||Nuevo Generacion Dinamitas
(El Cuatrero, Forastero and Sansón)
|July 25, 2017||1||242+|||
|Mexican National Women's Championship||Princesa Sugehit||February 25, 2016||1||758+|||
- CMLL Guadalajara championships
|Championship||Current Champion(s)||Held since||Reigns||Days
|Occidente Heavyweight Championship||Furia Roja||March 13, 2018||1||11+|||
|Occidente Light Heavyweight Championship||Puma||July 23, 2015||1||975+|||
|Occidente Middleweight Championship||Jocker||January 31, 2016||1||783+|
|Occidente Welterweight Championship||Star Black||September 25, 2016||1||545+|||
|Occidente Tag Team Championship||El Rielero and Vaquero Jr.||July 16, 2017||1||251+|
|Occidente Trios Championship||Nuevo Generacion Dinamitas
(El Cuatrero, Forastero and Sansón)
|November 1, 2015||1||874+|||
- Championships recognized by CMLL
|Championship||Current Champion(s)||Held since||Reigns||Days
|CMLL-Reina International Championship||Zeuxis||August 13, 2017||1||223+|||
|CMLL-Reina International Junior Championship||Kaho Kobayashi||September 15, 2017||1||190+|||
|FULL World Championship||Rey Bucanero||April 30, 2016||1||693+|||
- No longer promoted / Inactive
|Championship||Last Recognized Champion(s)||Date created||End of Recognition||Ref.|
|CMLL Japan Super Lightweight Championship||Ricky Marvin||February 27, 1999||August 6, 2000|||
|CMLL Japan Tag Team Championship||Masato Yakushiji and Naohiro Hoshikawa||February 24, 1999||July 7, 1999|||
|CMLL Japan Women's Championship||Chikako Shiratori||October 17, 1999||February 13, 2000|||
|LLA Azteca Championship||Místico||December 19, 2009||May 12, 2013|||
|Mexican National Middleweight Championship||Blue Panther||1933||1992|||
|Mexican National Mini-Estrella Championship||Mascarita Dorada||January 8, 1993||November 5, 2004|||
|Mexican National Tag Team Championship||Los Destructores
(Tony Arce and Vulano)
|June 14, 1957||1993|||
|NWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship||El Faraón||October 1990||November 1990|||
|NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship||El Texano Jr.||November 6, 1952||August 12, 2012|||
|NWA World Middleweight Championship||Averno||1939||August 12, 2012|||
|NWA World Welterweight Championship||Mephisto||March 15, 1946||August 12, 2012|||
|Occidente Lightweight Championship||Pluma Negra||1985||2006|
|IWC World Heavyweight Championship||La Parka||September 1995||July 1996|||
CMLL conducts several annual tournaments which usually signify a big push. Tournaments have been left out of the schedule for unexplained reasons. Some tournaments are conducted as torneo ciberneticos, a large multi-man tag team elimination match, others are normal single elimination tournament.
|Tournament||Last winner||Last held||Notes|
|Volador Jr.||July 14, 2017||An elimination tournament consisting of all champions to determine the "Universal champion". Winner received a title belt but it is defended in the annual tournament.|
|International Gran Prix||Diamante Azul||September 1, 2017||Previously an elimination tournament, now a torneo cibernetico. Features a "Mexico vs. International" wrestlers theme with one side being native Mexicans and the other side of the Cibernetico being foreigners, in 2008 it featured several Total Nonstop Action Wrestling wrestlers.|
|Leyenda de Azul
|Rush||December 22, 2017||A tournament in honor of Blue Demon. It is secondary to the Leyenda de Plata tournament but features most of the top wrestlers in the promotion. It has been conducted as a normal torneo cibernético and as a one night tournament.|
|Leyenda de Plata
|Volador Jr.||October 20, 2017||A tournament in honor of El Santo. This has been the most prestigious of the CMLL tournaments and the tournament is usually made up of the best in-ring workers.|
|Reyes del Aire
("Kings of the Air")
|Ángel de Oro||April 7, 2017||This tournament is for high flyers. The tournament usually works as a cibernetico with mostly young and undercard tecnicos, with the idea of focusing more attention on the winner. Most recent tournament was the 2017 CMLL Reyes del Aire tournament.|
|Pequeños Reyes del Aire
("Miniature Kings of the Air")
|Shockercito||January 6, 2015||Like the Reyes del Aire but for Mini-Estrellas|
|Torneo Gran Alternativa
("Great Alternative" Tournament)
|Carístico and Soberano Jr.||June 16, 2017||An elimination tag team tournament where an established star teams with a young midcarder with the intent to give the younger wrestler more credibility.|
|Torneo Nacional de Parejas Increibles
("National Incredible Pairs" Tournament)
|El Terrible and Rush||February 23, 2018||An elimination tag team tournament where a rudo (bad guy) and a tecnico (good guy) team up.|
|La Copa Junior
("The Junior Cup")
|Niebla Roja||December 1, 2017||This tournament features wrestlers who are at least second generation wrestlers, though worked family relations have been accepted as well.|
|En Busca de un Ídolo
("In Search of an Idol")
|Boby Zavala||August 21, 2015||An eight-man tournament with the purpose of identifying which of the "Rookies" in the tournament would move up the ranks of the promotion. The 2015 tournament has been announced.|
|Rey del Inframundo
("King of the Underworld")
|Sansón||November 3, 2017||An eight-man tournament with the purpose of win El Rey del Inframundo. Winner received a title belt but it is defended in the annual tournament.|
Past annual tournaments
These are all the tournament that have been held in the past by Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre but have not been promoted in the last two years.
|Tournament||Last winner||Last held||Notes|
|Copa de Arena Mexico||Team Tall
(Black Warrior, Lizmark, Jr., and Rayo de Jalisco, Jr.)
|July 5, 2002||A one night tournament for trios teams. The winners earns a trophy; each team comes up with a name for their trio. The tournament was only held in 1999, 2001, and 2002. In 1999, the winners were El Satánico, Rey Bucanero and Último Guerrero as "Team Guerreros del Infierno". The 2001 winners were Black Warrior, Shocker, and Apolo Dantes as "Team Shocker".|
|Forjando un Ídolo||Ángel de Oro||May 27, 2011||A 16-man tournament with the purpose of identifying which of the "Rookies" in the tournament would move up the ranks of the promotion.|
|Torneo Sangre Nueva
("New Blood Tournament")
|Soberano, Jr.||March 11, 2013||Tournament for the younger and lower ranked wrestlers in CMLL.|
|Torneo Increibles de Parejas, Arena Puebla||Atlantis and Volador, Jr.||April 1, 2013||An elimination tag team tournament where arudo (bad guy) and a tecnico (good guy) team up.|
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More than 17,000 fans, a standing room only crowd, paid in excess of $1 million, for CMLL's 81st anniversary show at Arena Mexico in Mexico City. In doing so, CMLL has become only the second promotion ever to run in the North, South or Central America (WWE obviously being the other) to ever draw a $1 million gate.
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