The Family Business: Las Familias Mexicanas

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Pro wrestling has always had a love affair with familial relations, and nowhere is this as big a deal as in Mexico and the world of Lucha Libre. North America has had its share of families, like the Anoa’i or Harts, The Funks, The Von Erichs, and more, while England has the Knight Family, but in Mexico, families have crossed multi generations more often than anywhere else. As we celebrate Cinco De Mayo, honouring Mexico’s May 5 victory over the French armies in 1862, here’s a look at a few of Mexico’s biggest, influential and exciting families in the history of pro wrestling.

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA ALVARADO

Shadito Cruz, patriarch of the Alvarado wrestling family

La Dinastia Alvarado is not only the largest Mexican wrestling family, but one of the largest families in pro wrestling history. Patriarch Shadito Cruz began wrestling in Mexico in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s, wrestling for Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL) – the promotion that became CMLL in 1991. By the 1970’s, Cruz was on his last legs and briefly repackaged himself as El Hombre del Brazo de Oro, before retiring from in-ring action and concentrating on training future generations of wrestlers instead. He gave his new ring persona to his sons, who all joined wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s – Brazo de Oro, El Brazo, Brazo de Plata, Brazo Cibernético, Brazo de Platino, and Super Brazo. Those six brothers had children, most of who also entered the world of Lucha Libre, and those members include Psycho Clown, Máximo, La Máscara, Goya Kong, Muñeca de Plata, Robin, Andros de Plata, Super Brazo Jr., El Brazo Jr., and Brazo Celestial. Máximo founded Los Ingobernables in CMLL, alongside La Sombra (Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas) and Rush, in CMLL in 2014, which in turn spawned the Japanese chapter of the faction, Los Ingobernables de Japon, lead by Tetsuya Naito. Máximo is also married to luchadora India Sioux and recently debuted in AAA alongside his brother La Máscara to help their other brother, Psycho Clown, while forming the new faction Los Mosqueteros del Diablo (“The Musketeers of the Devil”). Braza de Oro is the ex-husband of luchadora legend Lady Apache, while one of the daughters is married to La Alimaña. The family members have worked all across Mexico’s landscape since the early days of lucha libre, from EMLL to CMLL to AAA and even The Crash Lucha.

Shadito Cruz and his multi-generational wrestling family.

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA DIAZ

Ray Mendoza, the patriarch of the Mendoza family

José Díaz Velázquez made his wrestling debut in 1954, but it was as Ray Mendoza, that he would become a huge lucha libre star in North America. A 5x NWA World Light Heavyweight Champion in EMLL and a 3x UWA World Light Heavyweight Champion in Universal Wrestling Association (UWA), Mendoza was a huge ambassador for Mexican wrestling. All five of his sons became wrestlers, José de Jesús (Villano I), José Alfredo (Villano II), Arturo (Villano III), Raymundo Mendoza, Jr. (Villano V) and Thomas (Villano IV), making the familial faction Los Villanos. Arturo (Villano III) married luchadora La Infernal, and their sons also became wrestlers, Villano III Jr. and El Hijo de Villano III, while Villano V’s sons are emerging stars in Mexico, Villano V Jr. and Rokambole Jr.

Los Villanos

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA GARZA

Humberto Garza Sr., the patriarch of the Garza family in Mexico

Humberto Garza was a lucha libre star beginning in the early 1950s with EMLL. His two sons, Humberto Garza Jr. and Hector Garza, followed into the family business as well. Humberto Jr. has wrestled for CMLL, AAA and many more Mexican independents, while Hector Garza worked CMLL and AAA, as well as a stint with WCW during the 1990s. Garza Sr.’s sister married another famous luchador, Mario Segura (aka El Ninja), expanding the families influence. Humberto Jr.’s own son became a wrestler, Ultimo Ninja, as did Hector’s son, El Sultan. Another of Garza Sr.’s sister’s sons also wrestled as Mascara Purpura, while Segura’s son El Ninja Jr. wrestled, as well as his grandson, Garza Jr. (who wrestles for Impact Wrestling, Crash Lucha and MLW).

Garza Jr.

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA GONZALEZ (WAGNER)

Dr. Wagner Sr., the patriarch of the Gonzalez family

One of the 1960s most popular enmascarado (masked wrestler) was Dr. Wagner, who was a successful singles wrestler (3x Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion), as well as one half of La Ola Blanca (“The White Wave”) alongside Ángel Blanco, one of Mexico’s most popular tag teams in the 1960s and 1970s. He retired in 1986, after a car crash caused a severe spinal injury, but not before he lost his mask to the world at the hands of El Solitario in 1985. Wagner’s two sons also followed into the family business, Dr. Wagner Jr. and Silver King. Silver King has had lengthy runs in CMLL, UWA and AAA, not to mention a run with WCW during the 1990s, and his ex-wife is former AAA Reina de Reinas and CMLL Women’s Champion Xochitl Hamada (sister of Ayako Hamada and daughter of Gran Hamada). Dr. Wagner Jr. has become the most decorated member of the family, as the current reigning AAA World Heavyweight Champion (his third reign), 4x CMLL World Tag Team Champion, 3x CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion, and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Following the loss of his mask last year, he’s since changed his name to Rey Wagner. His ex-wife is another former AAA Reina de Reinas Champion in Rossy Moreno (daughter of Alfonso Moreno and sister of luchadoras Alda, Esther and Cynthia Moreno, as well as El Oriental), and their son is current AAA star El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr.

Dr. Wagner Jr. (now Rey Wagner), current AAA World Champion

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA GUERRERO

Gory Guerrero, the patriarch of the Guerrero family

Perhaps the most famous wrestling family around the world, the Guerrero family were an influential family in Mexico, but arguably more so in the United States. Gory Guerrero entered the world of lucha libre in 1937, and over the next 50 years, became an inspirational talent in the ring and a renowned trainer outside. He is credited for inventing the Camel Clutch (La de a Caballo), The Gory Special (the back to back backbreaker submission), and the Widow’s Peak (or Gory Neckbreaker). During his time in EMLL, he won belts in multiple weight classes, 2x NWA World Light Heavyweight, plus Mexican National Middleweight and Welterweight, amongst others. His four sons all followed Gory into the business, starting with Chavo Guerrero Sr., Mando Guerrero, Hector Guerrero and finally Eddie Guerrero. Chavo’s son, Chavo Guerrero Jr., has worked all over the world, including WWE, WCW, Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground, and Eddie’s daughter (with wife and former WWE Superstar Vickie Guerrero) Shaul Guerrero is still working in the indie circuit (and married to current WWE Superstar Aiden English). But no one in the Guerrero family transcended the sport like Eddie did – a WWE World Heavyweight Champion, 2x Intercontinental Champion, 2x US Champion, 2x WWF European Champion, 2x WCW Cruiserweight Champion, 4x WWE Tag Team Champion, not to mention 2x ECW World Television Champion, plus the gold he won in Mexico in AAA and WWA.

Gory with his sons

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA GUZMAN (EL SANTO)

El Santo, the patriarch of the Guzman family (and modern Lucha Libre as we know it)

El Santo may not have invented lucha libre, but he may as well have. Since his debut in 1934, he became the world’s most famous masked wrestler and won the entire country of Mexico over. His popularity was so big, he starred in his own franchise of adventure films (usually alongside Blue Demon). A 4x Mexican National Middleweight Champion, 2x Welterweight Champion, and Light Heavyweight Champion, El Santo was the spark that turned lucha libre from a regional fancy to an international phenomenon. Despite having ten children, only his youngest son carried on the tradition, as El Hijo del Santo. El Santo’s own brothers, however, also entered the wrestling business, as Black Guzman, Jimmy Guzman and Pantera Negra, and their children also wrestled, Santo Jr., Axxel, and Rocker II. Axxel married the daughter of another lucha legend, Huracan Ramirez, combining the families that also included Ruddy Garcia, El Demonio Roja, El Matemático and El Catedrático (to name a few).

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA MUNOZ (PIERROTH)
Comandante Pierroth, patriarch of the Munoz family

One of the newer families to make their mark, but they’ve done it quickly. Arturo Muñoz Sánchez got his start in 1994 as the masked character Dr. Kent, but he soon became better known as Poder Boricua, then Toro Blanco, and finally his current character, as Comandante Pierroth, all while working for CMLL. His brothers also became wrestlers, Franco Columbo and Pitbull I and Pitbull II (not to be confused with the ECW tag team from the 1990s). Pierroth’s three sons have all become three of the most exciting new stars in lucha libre, starting off with Rush, who has been a regular with CMLL and NJPW for years now – he co-founded Los Ingobernables original Mexican stable alongside La Mascara and La Sombra in 2014. Another son, Dragon Lee, has become one of the most exciting aerial stars of the past few years, making appearances outside of CMLL with NJPW, Ring of Honor and more. The third son was the original Dragon Lee, but became the new Mistico when the original one went to the WWE to become Sin Cara (and his brother became the current Dragon Lee).

Dragon Lee is one of the break out international stars of the past year (Photo: CMLL)

THE MEXICAN DYNASTIES: LA FAMILIA RODRIGUEZ

Sicodélico, Dos Caras and Mil Mascaras, the three brothers who are the heads of the Rodriguez family

In 1965, Mil Mascaras entered the world of lucha libre and pro wrestling, and became one of Mexico’s great heavyweight wrestlers. By the 1970s, he was arguably the most famous luchador in the world, working not just in Mexico, but with All Japan, WWF, NWA territories like Mid South, Big Time (WCCW), and Championship Wrestling From Florida, and even WCW in the 1990s. He had two brothers who were equally gifted wrestlers, El Sicodelico and Dos Caras. El Sicodelico had two wrestling sons, Sicodelico Jr. and El Hijo de Sicodelico, and his wife’s sister was married to another wrestler, Black Gordman. Dos Caras saw his two sons both wrestle, with Dos Caras Jr. reaching the greatest success when he began working for the WWE without his mask as Alberto Del Rio (and later with Impact and Lucha Underground as Alberto El Patron), where he’s become a 4x World Champion in the WWE. Dos Caras’ other son also wrestles as El Hijo de Dos Caras.

Alberto El Patron/Del Rio continues his family’s legacy

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