One of Mexico’s most important men in the world of professional wrestling, Francisco “Paco” Alonso Lutteroth, has passed away at the age of 67. The third generation wrestling promoter, Paco Alonso was the owner and president of Mexico’s Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and the grandson of the company’s founder and Godfather of Lucha Libre, Salvador Lutteroth. The news was reported on Sunday by CMLL.
⚫ HASTA SIEMPRE SR. FRANCISCO ALONSO LUTTEROTH ⚫
Con profunda pena, informamos el deceso del Sr. Francisco Alonso Lutteroth, Presidente del Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre ocurrido el Sábado 6 de Julio de 2019. pic.twitter.com/7GHcWgtdZx
— Lucha Libre CMLL (@CMLL_OFICIAL) July 7, 2019
Paco Alonso’s grandfather, Salvador Lutteroth, is generally considered the founding father of modern lucha libre after he founded Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL) in 1933 (CMLL is the world’s oldest professional wrestling company still in operation). EMLL was one of the world’s top promotions for decades and was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) starting in 1953. With stars like El Santo becoming international celebrities, EMLL saw unwavering success in Mexico and a global reputation to match.
In the mid-1970s, Salvador handed over the company to his son, Salvador “Chavo” Lutteroth Jr., but in the decade-plus that Chavo ran the company, it saw it’s popularity begin to waiver. Chavo failed to command the same respect his father had, and EMLL saw it’s popularity face challenges from newer promotions like Universal Wrestling Association (UWA), founded in 1975 by former EMLL star Rey Mendoza and EMLL promoter Francisco Flores.
In 1987, Chavo realized it was time for a change, and surrendered the company to his nephew, Paco Alonso. One of his first moves was a bold one – CMLL withdrew from the NWA after over 30 years. In 1991, in an effort to remove themselves from the failing legacy of EMLL, he rebranded the company to its current name, CMLL. He also secured CMLL with television, securing a deal with Televisa. CMLL saw a huge comeback in the 1990s and established itself as Mexico’s premier wrestling promotion once again.
In 1992, Paco Alonso’s booker, Antonio Peña left the company to form Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) as CMLL’s next major rival. CMLL weathered the storm more calmly under Paco Alonso than Chavo had with UWA, and CMLL remains the number one promotion in Mexico, although AAA is still within striking distance. CMLL maintains a strong global presence as well, as one of the main members of the IWGP Conception, with New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor. CMLL stars are regularly featured on NJPW cards (especially in tournaments) and ROH events.
It’s sad that Paco Alonso won’t see CMLL continue into the upcoming new wrestling war, with CMLL’s arch-rival AAA Lucha Libre in alliance with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), IMPACT Wrestling and Major League Wrestling (MLW). But he can rest easy that he left CMLL still one of the global giants of professional wrestling, as respected today as it was when it was fun by his grandfather.
The Last Word on Pro Wrestling staff extends its condolences to the entire Lutteroth family and all of his friends, peers, and fans.
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